1stClass@Writing: The Pirate Writing Crew

An Alliance Course
  • Thursday 14 September
Session 1 of 3
  • Free for DSPL 6 members only


Wroxham Gardens, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. EN6 3DJ
The Wroxham School

Who should attend?

DSPL 6 members

Led by

Independent Education Consultant & ECC accredited trainer

Course information

An intervention programme delivered by a teaching assistant for pupils who need support to access Year 3 writing expectations*

3 full day sessions – starting 14 September 2017

Helping pupils to write confidently and independently, 1stClass@Writing enables teaching assistants to make a real difference for pupils who have difficulties with transcription and composition. The thematic adventure context is designed for children in year 3, but the programme can be used successfully with older children.

What is it? 1stClass@Writing is an Every Child Counts programme, developed by Edge Hill University.  It is a highly motivating and effective intervention for pupils in KS2 who have fallen behind in writing.  A trained teaching assistant helps them to make faster progress so that they can catch up with their peers.


  • makes children eager to write
  • balances the development of transcription, grammar and composition
  • supports the new national curriculum for English
  • strengthens teaching assistants’ subject knowledge and wider effectiveness
  • provides detailed evidence of progress and impact
  • provides targeted use of the Pupil Premium

How does it work?  A teaching assistant delivers up to 60 stimulating and motivating 40 minute lessons to a group of up to 4 pupils, 4 times a week, in addition to their daily class lessons.  The children develop key skills of spelling, handwriting, grammar and punctuation in order to complete daily writing tasks relating to the pirate adventure theme.  They develop their composition and editing skills through a balance of supported writing as well as sustained, independent writing.

The training package provides everything needed to run the programme.  These include detailed plans and comprehensive resources. The TA is supported by a senior teacher in the school. The  senior leader will provide the strategic leadership for the programme, support the TA, ensure effective links with the class teachers and manage and monitor the intervention. For example this could be  the deputy HT, the SENCo, a phase or year group leader or a Literacy co-ordinator.  

The teaching assistant starts working with their group of pupils straight after the first training day. Then the training runs alongside the implementation of the teaching programme. In that way the teaching assistant is trained topic by topic.

How effective is it? Over 3,000 pupils in Years 2 to 6 have taken part in 1stClass@Writing in 750 schools.

  • 84% of pupils became more confident and motivated to write  
  • 71% made more progress than their teachers had expected  
  • 93% improved their spelling scores  
Who should attend?

A suitable teaching assistant will:

  • have good levels of spelling, grammar and articulacy;
  • be able to support the pupils in using standard English;
  • have successful experience of supporting pupils with writing;
  • have secure phonic knowledge and skills required to support pupils with segmenting for spelling;
  • be able to engage fully in all three training days that include how to deliver 1st Class@Writing and the subject and pedagogical knowledge needed to teach writing;
  • be able to make independent decisions when teaching pupils, based on an understanding of their needs, supported by the link teacher.
1st Class@Writing: Pirate Writing Crew –  session dates:
14 September 2017 9.30am to 3.30pm with senior leaders 9.30am to 12pm
12 October 2017 9.30am to 3.30pm
30 November 2017 9.30am to 3.30pm with senior leaders 1pm to 3.30pm

NB Each school’s senior leader should attend the first and last half day of training.

Training details
  • 3 days of training for teaching assistants over 2-3 months:
  • how 1stClass@Writing works
  • delivering it to pupils who struggle with writing
  • understanding the writing process
  • giving feedback and helping pupils to be independent writers –
  • liaison with the pupils’ class teachers

Schools also receive a one-year ECC support package including:  

  • online guidance and downloadable resources  
  • access to the ECC online data system, providing analyses of children’s progress to help schools to evaluate and demonstrate the impact of 1stClass@Writing  
  • telephone and email support
  • an optional visit to the school by the trainer to support the delivery, management and evaluation of 1stClass@Writing  (additional cost)
  • opportunities for Every Child Counts accreditation.
Where can I find more information?

Please go to the Every Child Counts website to find out more about the intervention (https://everychildcounts.edgehill.ac.uk)

The following  guidance for schools taking part in 1stClass@Writing is particularly useful for schools to refer to before attending Day 1 of the training:


Training Cost: Free for DSPL 6