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Transforming Writing

From September 2011 to September 2013, the National Literacy Trust ran the Transforming Writing project, funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and driven by literacy experts Pie Corbett and Julia Strong.

This two-year research project explored how to improve children’s writing skills through applying effective formative assessment to the teaching of writing. It combined the best of recent practice and Pie Corbett's Talk for Writing approach, with the proven formative assessment work from leading experts such as Shirley Clarke.

The resulting pedagogical model will be transformed into accessible practical support for schools and disseminated across the country in late 2013.

Throughout the project we worked with a group of talented teachers from 12 schools. As action researchers, they trialled different ideas and strategies to shape the final proposed model. The project was also in itself formative. These schools are:

  • Trevithick Learning Academy, Cornwall
  • Knowle Park Primary School, Bristol
  • Eliot Bank Primary School, London
  • Gordonbrock Primary School, London
  • Alderman Jacobs Primary School, Peterborough
  • Rose Hill Primary School, Oxford
  • Edward Bryant Primary School, West Sussex
  • Lowedges Primary School, Sheffield
  • Westbourne Primary School, Bradford
  • St Thomas of Canterbury RC Primary School, Salford
  • Windsor Primary School, Liverpool
  • Penn Wood Primary and Nursery School, Slough

The project was evaluated by the University of Winchester and guided by a steering committee which included formative assessment expert Shirley Clarke. 

Read the final evaluation report

You can also download our interim evaluation report



The National Literacy Trust is a registered charity no. 1116260 and a company limited by guarantee no. 5836486 registered in England and Wales and a registered charity in Scotland no. SC042944.
Registered address: 68 South Lambeth Road, London SW8 1RL.