Talk for Writing in Secondary Schools

Talk for Writing in Secondary Schools

The Talk for Writing approach, which is sweeping through the primary sector because of its impact on both pupil attainment and enthusiasm, has now been successfully adapted by Julia Strong’s work with hundreds of secondary schools to meet the needs of the secondary curriculum.

Because the secondary approach helps teachers of all subject areas focus on the vocabulary and sentence patterns of their subjects, all teachers can see how the approach is relevant to them.

Talk for Writing across the secondary curriculum

Talk for Writing is an engaging teaching framework, based on the principles of formative assessment and interactive learning. It provides a flexible process for developing understanding and expression, moving from imitation to innovation to independent application. In English, it provides a step-by-step approach to creating confident, creative speakers, thinkers, readers and writers.

This can be adapted to suit the needs of any other language. In other subjects across the curriculum, it provides a flexible framework that enables all students to develop the tune of each subject area and co-construct understanding so that they can structure their ideas and express themselves coherently. The fact that similar processes underpin each subject enables students to transfer their understanding of how to express themselves coherently from one subject to another, making it the ideal framework for ensuring that literacy across the curriculum becomes an achievable, meaningful goal.

Its four underpinning principles

Finding out more

If you want to understand more about the approach in secondary schools, Julia Strong’s book entitled Talk for Writing in Secondary Schools is available to buy through the Talk for Writing website here.

The book has received excellent reviews from both teachers and other education professionals. Read the reviews here.

Case Studies

Another way of learning more is to read case studies from schools that have adopted the approach.

• How Slough and Eton College is developing Talk for Writing 
• How Talk for Writing has helped move Thomas Becket Catholic School, Northampton, from special measures to 80% good or better for teaching and learning in just one year. 

What senior leaders and teachers say about the approach

The evaluations following projects, conferences and training days are very encouraging. Here are a few of them:

I talk to the pupils on a regular basis and ask them is the Talk-for-Writing approach useful? They tell me a resounding ‘Yes’. It is very useful. It helps them to learn and it’s been an ideal vehicle for us.
Paul McAteer, Head Teacher, Slough and Eton Business School
The students feel pride in their own improvement and success … It’s slashed the time we have to spend on marking … There’s a real sense of ‘Let’s see what we can do now’ – and there’s much more conversation about teaching and learning now.
Head of Science, Slough and Eton Business College


Secondary training is provided by Julia Strong. For more information on training, click here.

Julia Strong

Talk for Writing secondary expert Julia Strong specialises in literacy across the curriculum in secondary schools and is author of the highly acclaimed book Talk for Writing in Secondary Schools and has co-written several books with Pie Corbett. Read Julia’s full biography here.