Essex young writers receive funding boost

Published: 24 November 2016 at 14:46

Children singing in class

Quarter of a million pounds of new investment will unlock south Essex youngsters’ creativity in 45 schools.

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A major three-year project that gives primary school children access to the arts to help improve their creative writing will be rolled out across south Essex after receiving grant funding.

Since 2014, Royal Opera House Bridge (ROH Bridge) has been working with Anglia Ruskin University and Billericay Teaching Schools Alliance on the Creative Writing through the Arts (CWttA) initiative in primary schools in Billericay.

Using film, drama, music and dance, early careers teachers were supported to provide arts-based writing sessions that have helped many children achieve better than expected development in their writing skills, with particular improvement apparent in boys.

Now with the support of a £237,000 grant from Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s ‘More and Better’ fund, the project will be rolled out to more schools in those areas over the course of the next three years.

In the first year, 15 schools across south Essex will take part in the scheme. For the next three years, 15 teachers per year will receive training that will enable them to incorporate music, dance, drama, film and visual arts into the classrooms in order to inspire youngsters to write and to write effectively.

Sally Manser, Head of ROH Bridge, said:

“This is a truly exciting project for the schools taking part. Our pilot research has shown that teaching creative writing through cultural activities can make a positive difference to the standard of a child’s writing, one of the government’s key targets for education.

“Cultural education is of vital importance for young people. Schools should seek to provide a wide range of arts and cultural learning opportunities for their pupils and receive the support necessary to do so.”

Dr Geraldine Davis, Principal Lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University, said:

“Raising attainment in children’s writing is linked to longer-term academic success. By incorporating the arts into the classroom, we will find out what works to raise attainment in writing.

"The findings from this important project will enable us to make specific recommendations for educational policy and educational practice across the sector.”