I took voluntary redundancy from teaching in the summer of 2010, having taught English for 30 years in an 11-18 comprehensive. I would say the first 10-15 years were sheer bliss: working with wonderful people, students and teachers, supported by a brilliant mentor who continues to be a close friend and colleague, and teaching with a full sense of professional and creative control. Whilst the latter years still contained that element of working with wonderful students and teachers – indeed, this is the only way I endured – the increasing political intervention and target culture pretty much destroyed the job for me. Enough said.

I want to devote this blog to writing primarily about English, but there will be relevant tangents, and then those not so relevant. I haven’t retired, and continue to work as a Senior Examiner at GCSE, as well as writing. I will be promoting the educational materials I have published, trying to explain how I continue to instill as best I can my core ethos as an English teacher within the constraints of the publishing world.

If you like what you read here and think it will interest others, teachers but not just teachers, I would appreciate you sharing this as widely as you can.

Educational Publications

Creative Writing in Schools: Rupert Loydell in conversation with Mike Ferguson, Writing in Education [NAWE], Issue Number 31, 2003

Poems In Your Pocket, Imaginative Approaches to GCSE Poetry: Routes Through English series, Longman – Student resource and photocopiable teachers’ handbook, 1999

Crafting Poetry: Original Writing for GCSE: Devon Curriculum Services – booklet in support of DVD

Various poetry resources [especially for National Poetry Days]Teachit

Wordplay; Dancing With Words; Powering Poetry, Classroom Resources – three separate photocopiable teacher resources for creative writing

The AQA Anthology Poems: Poems from Different Cultures: Cluster One, Devon Curriculum Services – national video/dvd performance and discussion of two AQA GCSE examination poems [also shown on BBC Bitesize annually for duration of this exam]

Writing Workshops, co-authored with Martin Phillips – Cambridge University Press, 2015 Details here

Writing Workshops, Teacher’s Resource – Cambridge University Press, 2015 Details and free download here

Poetry Publications

Poems published in the following anthologies: The Bees Sneeze; The Stumbling Dance; Voices for Kosovo; Things We Said Today, Poems About The Beatles; my kind of angel, i.m. william burroughs; When Good Dogs Have Bad Dreams, Four American Poets – all Stride Books

Nearing The Border, poetry collection – Stride, 1998

Further poems in [historically speaking]: Palantir; Argo; Otter; Odyssey; Scratch; Ramraid Extraordinaire; Headlock

Further poems in: Stride Magazine; International Times; inksweatandtears; Establishment Magazine; Smallminded Books; Tower of Babel [like this press, 2012]; Newspaper Taxis [Serene Press, 2013]; X-Peri; iOTA Poetry; Nerve Damage [Analogue Flashback Books, 2016]; The Gospel According to Archbishop Makeshift [Digital Analogue Books, 2016]

Extracts from novel Writing With HammersThe Use of English Volume 54 Number 2, 2003

Writing with Hammers – complete eBook: further details and available here

Writing with Hammers – can be downloaded for free here

Writing as member of Coleridge Memorial Trust: mobile banners; Land of Canaan tourist information lectern, Ottery St Mary

Yesterday’s Music Today – [edited with Rupert Loydell] Knives Forks and Spoons, November, 2015

Precarious Real – [chapbook sonnet collection] Maquette Press, January, 2016

Poems from 2017 in – After the Pause; Allegro Poetry Magazine; Clementine Unbound; Decals of Desire; Dime Show Review; Hypnopomp Magazine; I am not a silent poet; Ol’ Chanty – Chanticleer Magazine; Strange Poetry; The Open Mouse; unbroken journal; Visitant; Your One Phone Call; Wordgathering

Where To Read Some of My Work [with thanks for supporting]

Poems at International Times here

Poems at new Stride here

Poems at X-Peri here


Just the two: The George Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition, 1979 Crabbe Memorial Competition – First Prize [read here]; Sidmouth Arts Festival, Open Entry Poetry Competition 1994 – First Prize

[© All original poems in this blog are the copyright of the author Mike Ferguson,  2015-2017]


2 thoughts on “About

  1. Curious if you’re the English teacher I had at Clyst Vale in 1993/94. I was a 15 year old Canadian who did a one year stint (during what would have been my GSCE years) there, and if you’re the same Mr. Ferguson, yours was my favourite class. I still remember some of the writing coursework. I was cleaning out our summer house in Prince Edward Island and came across a booklet of your poems, as well as what would have been the UK equivalent of a ‘report card’, in a pile of “don’t throw this out” items from looooooong ago. Hope you’re doing well.
    – Jill Tugwell


    • Hello Jill, wonderful to hear from you. And I do remember you [the Canadian clue was a useful trigger] and I am so glad you have fond memories, as I do because of the good people like yourself I had such pleasure working with. Glad to hear you have a box of ‘don’t throw this out’ stuff! I’ve been tidying under the stairs today and found similar treasures from the past. If you have occasional time to look at postings on this blog, you will find many reflections on the past and CV, though not always directly so. I do keep active poetically and politically, and I trust you are happy and involved. Genuinely lovely to hear from you, Mike


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