Extended writing across the curriculum in transition from KS2 to KS3/4 is a one-year professional inquiry project which focuses on whole school literacy work and transition. It requires a particular make-up of the teacher group in order to maximise professional learning by combining the expertise of secondary specialist teachers from a range of curriculum subjects, including secondary English, with Primary feeder school Literacy / English lead teachers. The project focuses on thinking, reading and especially extended writing challenges and genres across the full range of curriculum subject disciplines – across the arts, humanities, sciences and maths. A typical group of up to 20 teachers might include at least one secondary English specialist, at least three, and preferably more, English / Literacy lead teachers from feeder Primary schools, and then secondary teachers from a wide a range of other curriculum subjects including those teaching GCSE and A level.
The bottom line is that through enhancing whole school literacy work the project will develop teachers’ classroom strategies and strengthen transition to raise writing attainment at key stages 2 through to key stage 3 and help key stage 4 pupils raise their attainment in the extended requirements of GCSE exam papers. More ambitious than that, the project focuses on teaching strategies to help children, through their thinking, reading and writing to ‘become a scientist’, ‘become a historian’ and so on across the curriculum subjects. This professional inquiry project views thinking, reading and writing within the discourse of curriculum subject disciplines as central to the purposes of education. It is essential that all children gain core cultural knowledge and key skills to support their educational progress and choices and to underpin their future role in society as active citizens.
Transition is a continuing challenge for Primary and Secondary schools. This project tackles transition from a curriculum perspective rather than foregrounding the social process or technical assessment issues. Primary English / Literacy lead teachers in Key Stage 2 and subject specialist teachers in Key Stage 3 have much to learn from each other. This project brings them together and requires them to share concrete examples of thinking, reading and writing practice from their KS2, KS3 and KS4 lessons within a specific subject discipline.
The extended writing professional inquiry project might most often be commissioned by a secondary school but should always be in negotiation with feeder Primary schools. The one-year project includes six workshop units and is perhaps best started with a half-day double unit session followed by four twilights. The project will be facilitated by an LED associate consultant with subject specialist expertise. Alternatively, it is possible to run it as six twilight sessions. There needs to be time between twilights for classroom experimentation and teachers will need to bring copies of texts, of extended writing tasks, and eventually of children’s writing from their lessons, to the workshop sessions. The participating teachers, in discussion with school leaders, will be supported to involve other members of their teaching teams in the classroom experimentation and evaluation work. For more details please contact LED at LED@cumbria.ac.uk