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 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 and 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.