Almost 3,000 pupils and teachers from 96 schools around the UK will take part in the project

New study to develop teachers’ skills as creative writers

Experts will help teachers develop their own skills as creative writers so they can help boost children’s confidence in writing.

Almost 3,000 pupils, and teachers from 96 schools around the UK, will take part in the University of Exeter and Open University project. Teachers will work with professional writers and apply the techniques they learn to their classrooms.  

The £320,000 project is one of five new studies funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), with support from Arts Council England, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Foyle Foundation and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

The University of Exeter and Open University study has been developed with Arvon, a charity that runs five-day residential creative writing courses and retreats in rural writing houses. The teachers, of Year 5 pupils, will go on two weekend courses to learn about the craft of writing, and academics will measure if this helped to improve the confidence and motivation to write of the eight and nine-year-olds.

The impact of the course on children’s learning and development will be evaluated by a team of independent evaluators led by the University of London - Institute of Education and the Behavioural Insights Team. 

Professor Debra Myhill, from the University of Exeter’s Graduate School of Education, who will lead the project, said: “We will help teachers work with professional poets and novelist to develop their own writing style, and hope this will help them see themselves as writers, not just people who have to teach writing.

“We have followed some teachers already who have been on an Arvon course, and we found working with authors did help them make changes to their practice and curriculum which benefited children by making more room for writing in the curriculum and giving students more time and space to be creative. This resulted in students showing greater levels of motivation and confidence to write.

“We are now looking for schools to take part in this project, particularly those in areas where deprivation is high and fewer people participate in the arts.” 

Sir Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, said: "All children, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, deserve a well-rounded, culturally rich, education. But with schools increasingly accountable for the impact of all of their spending decisions on pupil attainment, there is an urgent need for more and better evidence on the relative benefits of different approaches and strategies. 

“Not only will today’s new trials provide cultural learning opportunities to thousands of primary pupils who might not otherwise have the opportunity, but they will give us much needed evidence on the impact of different approaches.”





Date: 17 October 2017

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