My experience over the last twenty years is unequivocal: a day job teaching literature, language and writing to young people is not only a great joy and privilege, but also an important ingredient in my own development as a reader and as a writer. My students have helped me to understand far more about writing and literature than I've ever managed to pass on to them. I'm very much indebted; I work hard to try and repay my dues.
In 2017 I founded an independent examination board (the Writers' Examination Board) so as to continue offering a GCE-Level programme in Creative Writing following the DfE's refusal to ratify the linear version of AQA's 'A' Level in Creative Writing. My programme is the Apprentice of Fine Arts (AFA) in Creative Writing, which is published on the UCAS website and is currently live in eight schools across the South West. We awarded our first cohort of results in August 2019, and a longitudinal study of the programme has been published by the School of Education at the University of Bristol. I've written and given presentations about the AFA for NATE and NAWE, and am very happy to consider potential collaborations with any interested parties.
By way of backstory, I studied English with Medieval Studies at the University of Exeter in the early 1990s, and trained as a teacher of English and Drama on the PGCE programme at the University of Oxford. For twenty years since, I've taught English Literature, English Language, Media Studies, and Creative Writing in schools across the South West, including a thirteen-year spell as Head of English at Bristol Grammar School. Within that time, I've given readings and guest lectures in Creative Writing (Poetry) at the Universities of Sussex, Bath Spa, Exeter, and Bristol, including a residency at Bristol University courtesy of the Bristol Poetry Institute during a sabbatical term in the summer of 2018. From 2011 and 2013, I also taught an adult education class for The Poetry School. My current job title is Head of Creative Writing at Bristol Grammar School. In September 2020, I also began studying part-time for a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Exeter.
I'm keen to hear about and collaborate with any projects relating to the teaching of Creative Writing in secondary education, and beyond, so please feel free to make contact. We may be able to combine forces. Even if we can't, sometimes it's good to know there are kindred spirits out there trying to keep a flame alive within the current educational climate, at least until someone turns the lights back on.