Aim: To promote creativity, a love of writing and self expression in students, within and beyond the curriculum.
Background: During the course of the project the school’s Queen’s Library opened with a full-time librarian, which significantly increased the opportunities for developing extra-curricular activities.
- A new travel-writing scheme of work was introduced for Year 7, helping students to focus on understanding the purpose, audience and tone of voice of a piece.
- Competitions and incentives were offered for creative writing and anthologies of students’ work were created.
- Reading for pleasure was promoted through lunchtime reading clubs and teachers gave talks about their favourite books.
- The head of department attended creative writing CPD with the PTI. Training workshops were held and best practice shared with PTI members from other schools.
- The literature club developed and Year 12 students organised and advertised different themed activities in every term.
- As the popularity of the competitions increased, a new page on the school’s intranet was developed to display students’ work.
- The school librarian, the Art department and Sixth Form volunteers created a literary tube map which was published for Year 7 exercise books.
- A trip to the British Library to see the Gothic exhibition was organised which inspired pupils in their writing as well as providing teaching tools.
- Year 11 (Set 1) and Year 12 helpers ran a lunchtime revision clinic and shared examples of excellent written work to help improve exam technique.
- Two poets (one a former student) and a novelist gave talks at school.
- The creative writing club was expanded and reading lists were widened further.
- Year 7 students were invited to select a ‘challenging classic’ outside their normal comfort zone and create presentations about their understanding of the texts.
- Year 6 students were invited from the area to take part in a friendly competition.
- More non-fiction writing activities were promoted across Key Stage 4.
Evidence: Student questionnaires, exam results, club attendance, competition entries.
Impact: The project created opportunities for departments and pupils to work collaboratively and students requested more class competitions and opportunities to read out their work. The creative writing club grew by over 50% over the course of the second year with greater attendance and competition entries, and the Year 12 organisers enjoyed their ownership of it. GCSE results improved from 43% A* (2013) to 52% A* (2015).
Reflections: Personally I have realised that students achieve their best when they have a genuine enjoyment of a subject. To have skill and flair in written expression is something which needs to be practised and enjoyed, with lots of motivational and relevant incentives to keep students engaged and interested.
Contact: Sarah Snowden, firstname.lastname@example.org