Our Writing Across The Curriculum Spring institute is now open for registration.

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Monday, April 6th – Wednesday, 8th April, 2020

Featuring: Ross Young, Jonny Walker & Felicity Ferguson

Limited to 15 delegates

Download the brochure

We have created our out of term-time institutes so that teachers can come together and enjoy a ‘working holiday’ learning about different aspects of teaching writing and can network and enjoy the company of like minded colleagues. We have found that these ‘working holidays’ can be particularly attractive to schools who are committed to improving children’s writing experiences and outcomes but may have limited budgets. We have found that senior leadership teams are very willing to pay or heavily subsidise teachers’ participation in these institutes.


This spring, The Writing For Pleasure Centre will lead a three day institute that focuses on writing across the curriculum in KS2. This institute will help you and your school teach children how to write meaningfully and successfully across the subject domains. It will also help teachers identify the qualities of successful writing within the subject-specific disciplines. Therefore, this institute will be just as useful for coordinators of the foundation subjects as it will be for literacy coordinators. Our mission is for you to leave the institute itching to do some of your own writing too!

We’ve chosen this focus in response to the new Ofsted framework but also because we know that, when children develop their writing skills across the whole curriculum, their writing progress can increase dramatically. We know too that, when teachers take writing across the curriculum seriously, children become great knowledge- builders.

You’ll come away from this institute knowing how to set up writing projects which encourage children to write up their own science experiments, to explain scientific phenomena or even discuss scientific theories. You’ll also be able to help children learn how to write public history, account for and even debate the past, and write biographies. Children can learn how to effectively explain, discuss and give their opinion on geographical, social and environmental events. We will also discuss how we can give these projects high status, and ensure children see them as purposeful and authentic.

Teachers are also asked to bring an example of practice to share and discuss with the group. This can be what they consider successful practice or it can be something they would like advice and support on developing.

Finally, all teachers who join us for the institute automatically become teacher affiliates to The Writing For Pleasure Centre where they can access our ‘Office Hours’ initiative, read and share examples of practice and access priority and discounted booking for future institutes and writing retreats.

The institute includes:

  • A morning exploring what it is the most effective teachers of writing do and what research states as being the principles of exceptional writing practice.
  • A chance for teachers to discuss, share and audit their own teaching of writing. Teachers will celebrate achievement and look at areas for development in a supportive and collaborative environment.
  • Exploration of the subject-specific writing disciplines (how to help children write well in science, history, geography and social study).
  • How teachers can help children present their knowledge learning and write in personal response to what they are reading and learning across the curriculum.
  • Time for delegates to select, discuss and plan an action research project to conduct when they return to school.

Ross Young, Jonny Walker & Felicity Ferguson:

are staff developers at The Writing For Pleasure Centre. Ross & Felicity are also the national writing representatives for The UKLA (United Kingdom Literacy Association).

Ross and Felicity were the series creators for Power English: Writing, a research-based approach to teaching writing effectively across primary school for Pearson Education.

They are also the authors of two books: Real-World Writing: A handbook for teaching writing effectively across primary school and A Writing For Pleasure pedagogy: from theory to practice (Routledge, 2020).

Jonny is the founder of OtherWise Education, a collaborative learning organisation with a particular focus on writing. OtherWise run projects which develop self-expression, self-understanding and self-belief. These projects include Poetry Retreats and Writes of Passage networks, working with primary and secondary pupils.

Jonny is also an English lecturer with Essex and Thames SCITT.

The Venue:

Park Primary School is a large 3-11 school in Stratford, in the London Borough of Newham.

The school is a fifteen minute walk from Stratford Station (Central Line, Jubilee Line, TfL Line, DLR and National Rail links into Essex and Norfolk) and from Stratford International Station (National Rail links into Kent).

We are a minute or two from the 25/86 Bus Route – (Stop: Atherton Leisure Centre, on Romford Road).

Places to stay:

In an effort to assist you with your search for accommodation, we have listed several good hotels you might consider if you are travelling to London from further afield. All of those listed are much more reasonable if booked in advance. All are within walking distance from Park Primary School. Please note that we cannot guarantee prices, services, or hotel conditions.

  • Hotel Ibis London Stratford (0.6 mile away)
  • Moxy London Stratford (0.9 mile away)
  • Holiday Inn Express London – Stratford (1.0 mile away)
  • The Westbridge Hotel London Stratford (1.0 mile away)

Places to eat:

We do not provide lunch for participants during our institutes. However, we will provide you with a list of shops or cafes in the nearby area so that participants are able to order or bring their lunches with them, or find somewhere great for dinner afterwards. As well as recommendations below, Stratford is home to Westfield, with a huge range of restaurants, food shops and cafes, within 20 min walk of the school.

To keep us all going throughout the day, we will provide coffee, tea and sugary treats!

  • Sawmill Cafe, West Ham Lane (10 minute walk)
  • Pie Republic, Upton Lane (10 minute walk)
  • Dar Marrakech, Stratford Broadway (20 minute walk)
  • Sainsbury’s, Romford Road (less than 5 minutes)
  • Tesco Express, Romford Road (less than 5 minutes)

Download the brochure

Do approaches which teach reading and writing together improve children’s writing?

It is often recommended that reading and writing should be taught together. And whilst studies have shown that reading instruction alone can raise writing attainment (Graham et al, 2017), and instruction specific to the teaching of writing can consequently raise reading progress (Graham & Hebert, 2011), no real studies have been done on integrated programmes or schemes. 

Continue reading “Do approaches which teach reading and writing together improve children’s writing?”

Writing For Pleasure: Primary School Management Interview

Do happy writers make better writers? Lucy Starbuck Braidley talks to two primary educators who believe so, and sees what leaders can learn from their findings…

If you’re looking to refresh, optimise or even radically change the approach to writing pedagogy within your school, the Writing For Pleasure movement can give you an interesting new perspective to consider.

The overall approach aims for children to make progress in their writing, alongside developing a genuine love and sense of satisfaction from the activity of writing itself – thus setting them up to be lifelong writers, as well as learners.

It’s an evidence-based pedagogy that places the child as an autonomous writer at the centre of decision-making about their writing. It enables children to write independently through explicit teaching of authorial skills, and its leading proponents say it’s getting results.

Continue reading “Writing For Pleasure: Primary School Management Interview”

Teaching The Writing Process Is The Best Way To Improve Children’s Writing.

 Research clearly states that teaching children the writing process in an explicit way is the best way to improve their writing outcomes. So how is this done? As we have discussed briefly here, Frank Smith describes the two roles involved in writing as being: the author and the secretary.

The Author

When children are in author mode they are concerned with generating ideas, organising thoughts, and arranging selected words and sentences appropriately and effectively.

The Secretary

When in the secretary mode, the child is more concerned with the transcription of the writing (e.g. using correct spelling, capitalisation, handwriting and punctuation).

Continue reading “Teaching The Writing Process Is The Best Way To Improve Children’s Writing.”

They Won’t Have Anything To Write About: The Dangers Of Believing Pupils Are ‘Culturally Deprived’.

We can’t give children rich lives, but we can give them the lens to appreciate the richness that is already there – Lucy Calkins (1991)

As teachers, our job is to help children claim more control over their own lives. One of the ways people most lack control over their own lives is through lacking control over words. Especially written words. – Peter Elbow (1998)

Within a vast educational literature there is a substantial number of treatises that deal with the failure of the primary school to make connections with the lives of working-class children. –Carolyn Steedman (1982)

Think about it. Is there any lower expectation than thinking children will have nothing to write about?

Continue reading “They Won’t Have Anything To Write About: The Dangers Of Believing Pupils Are ‘Culturally Deprived’.”