Accessibility statement

Catherine Shawyer



I am the Deputy Directory of Initial Teacher Training (ITT) and the Curriculum Area Leader for the Secondary English PGCE course. I feel privileged to undertake these roles, supporting and developing trainees as they progress through their ITT programme and grow into effective and inspriational newly qualified teachers. As a longstanding school teacher of English myself, I have a particular interest in developing young people’s speaking and listening skills as this is fundamental to their cognitive development and supports their progress with reading and writing. I am a strong advocate of using Drama approaches in the English classroom and maximising learners’ participation by the use of practical, interactive strategies.

Previously I was employed as the English consultant (secondary phase) for York Local Authority which gave me opportunities to work alongside teachers in many different schools focusing on improving the quality of teaching and learning at classroom level and the quality of subject leadership in English. Much of my work was concentrated in English Departments, however I also worked on whole school literacy initiatives and with different subject departments (eg Design and Technology) focusing on the literacy demands required in specialist areas.

My career in education started at a school in the North East of England having followed the PGCE English course at the University of Durham. I worked at my first school for six years being fortunate enough to gain internal promotions which enhanced my core skills as an English teacher. I then went on to work in secondary schools in York and North Yorkshire as an English teacher, Subject Leader and a member of a school SLT (Senior Leadership Team).



My principal areas of interest are:

  • teaching speaking and listening effectively;
  • using Drama strategies to engage learners with reading and writing tasks;
  • encouraging learners to read and write for pleasure;
  • using active and interactive teaching and learning approaches to Shakespeare and other writers from the literary canon

I am a member of NATE (National Association for the Teaching of English) and a member of NALDIC (National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum). I am a founding member of the NALDIC Yorkshire & Humberside Regional Interest Group.


Selected publications

In 2009, while still working full time as a classroom teacher, I worked closely with The National Strategies as part of an ICT in English Teaching project. I contributed two classroom based case studies which can be found here at The National Archives:

Using ICT to improve pedagogy in English: Pupils use presentation software to compare poems

Using ICT to improve pedagogy in English: Developing pupils' skills of inference and deduction

Contact details

Department of Education
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: +44 (0)1904 323458