"Lessons can offer too little time to complete writing tasks, and pupils need opportunities to complete extended writing.
More emphasis should be placed on creative and imaginative tasks, and on the teaching of editing and redrafting. Letting pupils choose topics, and giving them real audiences, helps make writing relevant and appealing."
Although this is a restatement of the March 2012 Ofsted report 'Moving English Forward', it is reassuring to read a current endorsement for pupil-owned and sustained writing and the methodology of writing workshops which lie at the heart of NWP.
Equally, as further illumination to my 26.11.2013 blog, 'Inadequate judgements' (see below), we are not alone in protesting that busyness is no substitute for depth:
"senior and middle leaders in schools too often mistake a ‘busy’ lesson for a good one, or adopt an approach to planning, teaching or observing lessons that is overly bureaucratic"
NWP has powerful evidence that pupils make progress as writers when they have greater ownership of their writing, and when their teacher also writes and discusses alongside them. NWP workshop methods enable children to write at greater length, to experiment with new approaches, and to revisit their writing with each other. Through such methods they develop more confidence in writing and responding. These seem to match the new 'national' curriculum expectations that 7 year-olds 'develop resilience to write at length', 'positive attitudes and stamina for writing', 'read aloud for meaning' and 'discuss language'.
A challenge for 2014 will be to be able to prove this progress - and thereby avoid a re-introduction of 'cages' - those reductive tests at 7 and 14 that discouraged the very kind of creativity that some in education seem now to be seeking. I'm reminded of the story of the emperor who, on hearing the beautiful song of a bird in the woods, ordered it to be captured, placed in a gilded cage and brought to his palace. The bird never sang again - until the day of its release.
NWP outreach director