West St Leonards Primary Academy2018-10-16T17:56:52+00:00


West St Leonards Primary Academy

West St Leonards Primary Academy – a school centred around the ethos of excellent learningWest St Leonards 3 and friendship – is located in the St Leonards area of East Sussex, close to Hastings.

The school journey into Talk for Writing started in 2013, supported and inspired through the first ‘Big Day’ provided by Pie Corbett, where the staff’s enthusiasm for the strategies was visible even from the start. This has led to all staff having a profound involvement within the system, with frequent internal CPD sessions not only allowing staff to share good practice but also to allow a mentoring forum to support each other in areas that require further support. However, the enthusiasm of the staff does not stop there, as all staff have participated in a number of assembly based activities, including performing an imitated text in front of our 411 pupils, to show the dedication the staff have to the strategies whilst also showing how embedded the practice is within the academy.

West St Leonards 1Through a topic based system, the school use an engaging ‘hook’ to draw the children into the learning. Whether it is finding your classroom has turned into a crime scene or whether a trip to the nearby woods shows bear prints in the mud, staff strive to engage the children from the very start and continue providing a similar level of involvement throughout the imitation phase and combining this with an unwavering stance on high expectations in the innovation and invention stages.

We have found the cold task to be essential to the process as a means to identify where the common misconceptions areas lie within a text type in the various year groups. The adaptation of the model text based on these focus areas has meant that children have shown significant improvement as the text and subsequent lessons are directly targeted to the needs of the class but also to the needs of certain individuals too in the way that differentiation can occur across linguistic features that can be provided to extend or scaffold children’s learning.

West St Leonards 2In terms of impact since Talk for Writing began at the academy, we have noticed a rapid rise in children meeting and exceeding the standard in 2014, sustained in 2015 for both key stages. Where the trend may have been disrupted with the introduction of the new curriculum, we have actually found the trend for children making progress actually increasing, thanks to the flexibility and ownership teachers have over the learning but also particularly due to the three part structure of the Talk for Writing process which provides the ‘imitation’ phase as a means for children to seamlessly meet the standards for spoken language as they regularly interpret texts in discussion; however –more importantly- children now have an excellent opportunity to present with expression and intonation, two areas that no longer need to be restricted to certain text types, role play activities or to targeted guided reading sessions; the complex, strategic planning within an already demanding curriculum has now been simplified through children’s imitation of a text, thus easing the teacher workload and allowing for staff to naturally incorporate curriculum standards within a well-established and supportive writing framework.

West St Leonards Primary Academy offers ‘taster mornings’ which include opportunities to observe the Talk for Writing process in action across the academy, reflections with pupils’ books, planning a unit of writing, hear pupils’ views and hear about the impact on standards since we began in 2013.


Dominic O’Regan, Talk4Writing Leader at West St Leonards Primary Academy

Talk for Writing Training

West St Leonards Primary Academy, an exemplary national Talk for Writing Training Centre school is hosting taster mornings for Talk for Writing with a Key stage focus on the following dates:

22nd November 2018 KS1/EYFS
23th January 2019 KS2
27th February 2019 KS1/EYFS
22nd May 2019 KS2
18th June 2019 KS1/EYFS

There will be an opportunity to tour the school, observe lessons, meet and look at pupils’ books, meet the Project Team and discuss the implementation and impact of this approach on teaching of writing.

The timetable for the morning is:

9:00 Welcome, housekeeping and introduction
9:15 Lesson drop ins-
10:15 Reflections and pupils’ writing books with examples across Academy
10:30 Time for questions and coffee with teachers
(planning, activities, resources inc. process from cold task to modelled text to innovation to independent application to hot task)
10:45 Pupils’ views and learning
11:15 Lesson drop ins-
11:45 Ofsted October 2016 and Talk for Writing: implementation and impact

As a training centre we are training one school in Hastings in Talk for Writing- in ‘Sight to Write’ a 12 month project spanning two academic years beginning in October 2017. Further details of the training programme will be added here shortly as the sessions are open to others who may book through the school directly.

Primary Writing Project


The West St Leonards Project Team

In September 2013 we began a two year partnership with Pie Corbett and HMI John Stannard OBE working on ‘The Primary Writing Project’ (PWP). If you would like to come and find out some more about the PWP, please let me know as soon as possible as I have limited places available. The charge for the morning of £125 per attendee is reduced by 50% for PWP 2017-2019 schools.

West St Leonards Primary Academy has been judged to be Outstanding in four areas following its inspection by Ofsted on 18-19 October 2016. The effectiveness of the academy’s leadership & management, the quality of its teaching, learning & assessment, its support for pupils’ personal development, behaviour and welfare, and the quality of its early years provision were all judged to be Outstanding; with pupil outcomes and overall effectiveness judged as Good. It is the only Good school nationally to have achieved four outstanding judgements under the current inspection framework, which has seen over 1,700 primary schools inspected.

How to book

If you would like to come and find out more about Talk for Writing, the PWP or if you would like any further info, please contact email tfw@wslprimaryacademy.org.uk.