What is the structure of the creative writing classes?
Please see https://paintwritenow.co.uk/class-content/ for a detailed description of the course structure.
Are there trial classes for new students?
Each term, I designate a couple of classes, usually in the second half of the term, where students can pay £20 as a one-off fee to come to do a trial lesson with one of my regular classes. There are limited spaces for trial classes and I must be contacted in advance to organise this; please do not just turn up on the day as it is likely there won’t be availability for this. If a student would like to meet me 1-1 for a session before starting the group classes, I can organise this and would charge £50 for the hour.
Are you a trained primary school teacher?
No, I am not. I have developed my methods and ethos for teaching writing from:
– teaching experience in small groups and 1-1 for the past 10 years
– my degree in literature from Oxford
– my degree in law from the College of Law (which included barrister training for 1 year)
– writing reports for judges in the Court of Appeal for a year
– researching a wide variety of teachers and writers (reading their books, articles / attending talks, etc.), including, but not limited to: Pie Corbett, Jane Considine, Abi Elphinstone, Mary Roche, Steve Bowkett, Michael Rosen, Cressida Cowell and Neil Gaiman
– writing myself
– teacher training days including with Joanna Grace, The English and Media Centre, David Farmer, and others
Do you address spelling and punctuation in the class?
In general I don’t, unless these hinder my understanding of the content of the story. For example, if I can’t read what a word is then I will ask the child to clarify. Or, if the content of the story is unclear due to lack of punctuation, then I will again ask the child for help in understanding the story, and show how a full-stop (for example) can make meaning clearer.
The classes focus on the content of stories: plot, setting, characterisation. I also teach techniques that enhance the content, such as using the senses; using show not tell; similes and metaphors, etc. Please see https://paintwritenow.co.uk/class-content/ for more details. My goal in the classes is for the children to feel enthusiastic about writing.
My child is preparing for the 11+: would the creative writing classes suit them?
The classes are not geared towards 11+ but towards increasing enjoyment of writing. We learn gently, as I have found this is most effective, doing art and games alongside the writing. For example, in half of a term we may do 3 x lessons of art (related to characters / places we will write about) and games (aimed at expanding different skills in writing / the imagination), then a week of writing poems; a week of planning our stories; a week of story-writing. We do not go over any 11+ past papers or study reading or comprehension; the class is purely about enjoyment of writing, accessed through art and games.
Do you teach classes in half-terms and holidays?
I teach term-time weekly classes, and courses in the summer holidays. I do not have availability to teach courses in other holidays.
Do you teach 1-1 classes?
I do not teach 1-1 classes; I don’t have availability for this in my timetable.