This booklet is one of a series about the teaching of language, literacy and English to children and young people aged 3 to 19. The aim of the series is to inspire and inform debate about school strategy. The booklets draw on seminal studies and development work carried out over many years. The series is a co-publication between the United Kingdom Literacy Association and Owen Education, an independent school-improvement agency.
About this booklet
This booklet describes the approaches to the teaching of writing most likely to give children and young people between the ages of 7 and 16 strong voices as writers and a confident control of the English writing system. The booklet offers a comprehensive statement about learning writers, the writing process and the effective teaching of writing. It is sharply critical of aspects of the requirements for writing at Key Stage 2 in the new National Curriculum for English, notably the preoccupation in the orders with the abstract teaching of long lists of spelling rules and large quantities of grammatical terminology, and the inadequate attention given to composition and content in pupils’ writing. The booklet welcomes some aspects of the new orders for writing at Key Stages 3 and 4, but criticises the government’s failure at all three Key Stages to acknowledge the impact of digital media and technology on writing and the implications of this impact for the writing curriculum. Finally, the booklet proposes an alternative curriculum for writing 7 to 16, which includes a repertoire of the kinds of writing which pupils from age 7 should experience, which strikes a better balance between writing as a constructor of meaning and writing as a system, and which welcomes the new possibilities for writing afforded by the digital revolution.
About the author
In his early career, John Richmond was a classroom English teacher in two London secondary schools. Later, he was advisory teacher for English in the Inner London Education Authority; he helped to run two national curriculum-development projects – the National Writing Project and the Language in the National Curriculum Project; and he was adviser for English and drama in Shropshire. During this period, he published books and articles on English teaching and the role of language in learning, and ran courses and gave lectures throughout the UK and internationally. He has been a Visiting Professor in the School of English at the University of Nottingham. Between 1992 and 2011 he worked in educational television, at Channel 4 and Teachers TV in the UK and at Teaching Channel in the USA.