School refusers- listening comprehension

Listen to this clip from Woman’s Hour about children and teenagers who refuse to go to school. Then answer the questions on the google form below. You can listen to the clip twice:



Open form in a new tab

Pay attention to the feedback given to both right and wrong answers.

You can finally listen again and read the transcript:

Can parents take their children on holiday during term time?

We’ve been discussing this case, which hit the headlines in the UK some months ago (click on the picture to watch the video with subtitles):

(Toggle transcript viewer, or click on CC for subtitles)

The case reached the Supreme Court, and this was the result:

(Read transcript here)

Over to you:

  • What are your views on this? Is it reasonable / unreasonable for parents to take their children on holiday when they’re supposed to be attending school?
  • Do you know of any cases where this happens? Does it tend to be justified?
  • What is the effect of such holidays on students? On their classmates? On their teachers?


Would teenagers benefit from a lie-in and a later start to school?

Would teenagers benefit from a lie-in and a later start to school? Where do you stand on this issue?

Why can’t teenagers get up in the morning? (From Trust Me, I’m a Doctor– BBC2):

Update (Feb 2019): The UK Parliament is going to debate a petition to calling for schools to start at 10:00 because “teenagers are too tired”.  More than 179,000 signed the online petition. More on this story here.


travel and holidays-C1

These are the materials and resources we’ve used in our class about travel and holidays:

Term time holidays: listen to this clip from BBC radio Ulster and answer these questions:

BBC news- Term-time holiday- What are the rules?



The Accidental Tourist:

Little Britain Abroad- Majorca:

Come Fly With Me- Life Jackets:

More travel and holiday videos:

London school closes road for rush-hour drop-offs

Read this article and watch the video about a school in London that has decided to close the road leading to school during rush hour to protect children from traffic and pollution.

You can also listen to this reference to it in a news bulletin:

(Or download here)

  • Does something similar happen in your school as well?
  • Do you feel effective measures should be taken?
  • How would it affect families and children?

M5U8- Back to school

This week’s topic is school, and how to express rules, obligation, or the absence of obligation.

Reading and Speaking: School policies versus appearances

You may watch the video we watched in class here:

(Click CC for subtitles)

You may also watch these students’ opinions about school uniforms, and the comments below:


  • SCHOOLS IN FILMS: Watch these clips and answer the questions below each clip:

Dead Poets Society (1989)

Background info: The film is set in a single- sex boarding school in the USA in the 1950s.

  • American Bandstand: American musical variety show on TV in the 1950s. It featured teenagers dancing to popular songs of the moment.
  • Lord Byron: English 19th century poet
  • William Shakespeare: 16th century poet (he wrote sonnets) and playwright.
  • University degrees:(UK and USA)
  • B.A- Bachelor of Arts
  • M.A- Master of Arts
  • Ph. D. Philosophiae Doctor
  • meter / rhyme / figures of speech- elements you need to analyse poetry. 

Watch the clip and answer the questions:

  1. According to Dr. Evans, what is measured on the horizontal of a graph?
  2. What is measured on the vertical of a graph?
  3. What does the teacher think of Dr. Evans’ s method?
  4. What does he tell the students to do with the introduction of the book?

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)

Background information:

Harry Potter attends Hogwarts, a public school (UK) = a private boarding school.


  1. What is the first thing that students have to do when they arrive at Hogwarts?
  2. What happens if a student does something good?
  3. What happens if a student breaks a rule of the school?


  1. Does Ron like Mrs. McGonagall? Why?
  2. Why is she angry?
  3. What does she threaten to do to the students?
  4. What does Harry say to apologise?

Now, you may watch the clips with subtitles in English to help you check your answers.


Topic: school policies versus students’ appearance

This piece of news has hit the headlines recently: Emily Reay (17), a naturally red-head student has been barred from classes for being too ginger. For the last three years, she’s been dying her hair to get a more ‘vibrant colour’. She’s now been requested by her school to change her appearance, or else she will not be allowed to attend lessons.

She wonders “The school’s uniform policy clearly states no unnatural hair colours, like blue or green. Is ginger not a natural hair colour?”

You may read the full story here:

Nice topic for a little speaking practice / debate / argumentative writing:

  • Are the teachers at the school being fair in this situation? Do you understand the school’s intention in doing so?
  • Should schools have a say in these matters (hair colour, tattoos, piercings…)?
  • To what extent can school policies have an effect on students’ appearance?