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Training book for schools

14 John of Gaunt School teachers contribute to training book for schools

14 teachers from The John of Gaunt School have contributed to a training book for teachers that education experts believe could help transform the quality of education in schools and help bridge the literacy gap which recent research suggests was widening even before it was made worse by Covid 19.

Transforming learning across the curriculum by Pie Corbett and Julia Strong focuses on how the Talk for Writing (TfW) approach, which helps pupils move through imitation to innovation to independent application, can be adapted to suit the needs of all curriculum areas with impressive results. And what’s more, the approach energises teachers and learners alike.

The John of Gaunt School (JoG) first became interested in the approach when a primary-trained teacher who was familiar with Talk for Writing joined the school to work with students who needed support with their writing. With her help, the students made outstanding progress so the former deputy headteacher Louise Hamilton started to investigate. She visited Slough and Eton Business & Enterprise College that was showcasing the approach and was blown away by the quality of the teaching and learning that she saw right across the curriculum.

Swift progress was made and JoG became a TFW training school. Headteacher Paul Skipp said, ‘The progress that our students make has risen significantly across the school over the last few years and one of the key reasons is our extravagant literacy programme which is underpinned by Talk for Writing.’

Julia Strong, asked if teachers from JoG could contribute to a book on the approach and the school was delighted to be involved. The book also contains chapters from primary teachers from different parts of the country on how the approach has transformed the quality of learning and pupil engagement in maths, science, history, PE and art etc.

Sadly, there has long been a divide, between the work of primary schools and secondary schools. But Pie and Julia have found, not surprisingly, that the sectors can learn so much from each other. They feel confident that teachers in secondary schools will find the chapters from primary schools useful, just as they are sure that primary school teachers will find much that they can adapt from the chapters written by secondary teachers. In the words of history teacher Stu Gray from JoG: “It’s been brilliant and makes it a pleasure to teach, so I hope what I’ve written helps to explain the beauty of Talk for Writing.”  

Hopefully, teachers will find the book as inspiring as the endorsement below suggests and primary and secondary schools in the Trowbridge area can work together in developing the approach to support all our children in reaching their potential.

“Who’d have thought Talk for Writing could make such a difference to maths, PE and science? Packed with riches, the powerful TfW approach is applied in this book to the entire curriculum by the experts Pie and Julia, with outstanding results. You will find everything you need to be transformative in developing students’ language acquisition and confidence in writing, no matter what the subject. Detailed rationale, links with cognitive science, endless practical examples across the upper primary and secondary curriculum and exemplary chapters written by teachers: get started!” – Shirley Clarke, Formative Assessment Expert

Transforming learning across the curriculum can help every school to develop a practical and meaningful approach to language across the curriculum. This, in turn, should raise standards across the curriculum for all our children and wipe out the inequalities of the postcode lottery.

Transforming learning across the curriculum is available from