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Social Sciences

Every Child a Writer

1 September 2009 - 31 March 2011

PI/s in Exeter: Associate Professor Ros Fisher

CI/s in Exeter: Professor Debra Myhill

Research partners: with NFER

Funding awarded: £ 161,729

Sponsor(s): DCSF

About the research

Every Child a Writer was an initiative designed to improve the teaching and standards of writing in years three and four. In 2008, The University of Exeter and the National Foundation for Educational Research were commissioned by the then Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) now Department for Education, to conduct an evaluation of the Every Child a Writer initiative. The study employed quantitative and qualitative methods to evaluate impact and explore process and practice over the second year of the project.
The research aimed to evaluate:

  • the impact of involvement in Every Child a Writer (ECaW) on standards of writing in the schools: on teaching, of both class teachers and one-to-one tutors; on pupils’ attitudes and perceptions; and on the whole school.
  • the delivery of ECaW including investigating processes which supported/hindered the effectiveness of ECaW, and identify features of effective and ineffective practice.
  • perceptions of cost effectiveness.

Key findings indicated:

  • there was no statistical evidence of improvement in standards of writing although schools felt that children had improved in both attainment and confidence.
  • there was some evidence of improvement of teaching of writing in the project classes. In particular teachers made more and improved use of guided writing. 
  • the use of lead teachers to work with project classes was popular and participants found it a useful model of teacher development for both project teachers and lead teachers.
  • the one-to-one teaching element of the project was thought to be beneficial by teachers and pupils’ parents.

The project data have informed subsequent research projects conducted by the research team but there has been little impact from the research. The report was written and published at the time of the general election and the incoming government decided to discontinue the ECaW project.