The Write Team: Creative Writers in Schools

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The Bath Festivals‘ Write Team was a creative writing project designed to develop pupil confidence and engagement in their learning. The project, funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation brought together an arts organisation, local authority and schools to share experience and skills, in the support of those pupils who ‘play truant in the mind’. (Collins. J (1998) Playing Truant in the Mind: the social exclusion of quiet pupils. BERA).

The project aimed to engage pupils ‘who keep a low profile; invisible pupils who are quiet and undemanding’ (‘Keeping Up’, DfES, 2007). The project provided a weekly programme of creative writing workshops led by the Project Coordinator and developed by writers to engage pupils, develop their confidence, and readiness to write. The Write Team lead teachers attended these weekly workshops, and used reflective diaries to record both their own creative writing and thoughts on writing and impact of the teaching of writing.

Eleven schools took part, eager to use the project to address the ‘guilt that the majority of teachers have about those pupils whose name they still do not know in the fourth week of term’ (Write Team lead teacher) and five of these schools took part in the project for more than one year. In a local authority with high achieving schools, this project focused on a key area for the Local Authority
School Improvement Team, namely how to support pupils who were not achieving their potential.

The programme of weekly workshops were developed into schemes of work by professional writers: poets, novelists, sports writers and dramatists. The aim of the scheme of work was to provide creative activities for the pupils to enjoy and activities that the teachers could incorporate into their teaching practice and share with colleagues. A writer also visited each school every term to work with
the Write Team pupils and lead teachers who, by the time the writers arrived, were already accustomed to creative writing:

‘It means they (the pupils and teachers) are ready to explore new ways of approaching writing and understand there’s a different, artistic, way of thinking about the art. When we arrive they are ready to really stretch themselves and step into the imaginative and unknown.’ Mandy Coe, Write Team Poet.

by Emma Metcalfe, Write Team Project Manager, from Creativity, Confidence and Challenge: The Write Team Research Report

You can download Write Team anthologies of pupils’ work here:

Write Team Anthology 2008

The Write Team Anthology 2010

The Write Team Anthology 2011

You can watch the Bath Festivals’ YouTube video about The Write Team here

You can download FREE creative writing resources for teachers, written by Mandy Coe, Cliff Yates, Helen Cross, Chrissie Gittins, David Goldblatt, Andy Croft and Shaun McCarthy, on Poetry, Fiction, PSHE, Drama for Film, Storyboarding and Sports Writing here

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