Wonder Wall Residencies

Promoting strategies for writing in classrooms through creative engagement with authors, storytellers, dramatists, illustrators and poets.

Wonder Wall Residencies provide exciting new opportunities for both primary and secondary schools looking to develop creative strategies for improving writing skills across the curriculum.

During our 1, 2, 3 or 4 day residencies, pupils and teachers work alongside leading authors, poets, illustrators, storytellers and dramatists to achieve transforming progress.

Working in partnership with schools, Wonder Wall Residencies:

  • promote and celebrate the importance of writing in school and its impact on communication in all its forms
  • develop pupils’ understanding of how to improve their writing skills, consolidating the vital connection between talk and writing
  • provide workshops in which teachers and pupils collaborate with published authors, storytellers, poets and dramatists
  • meet the needs of different learning styles and extend gifted and talented writers
  • support the school in developing successful strategies to raise pupils’ confidence in their writing, making an impact on self-esteem, achievement and attainment
  • offer after-school professional development sessions for adults in writing, storytelling skills or writing for children

What makes Wonder Wall Residencies distinctive?

They’re about development, sustainability and partnership.

The work done before, during and after the Wonder Wall Residency sessions supports and extends the work of the school in developing pupils as confident and versatile speakers, listeners and writers.

Schools choose the creative partner/s best suited to their needs and, together with the Wonder Wall team, co-design the residency package that will make a lasting impact on their pupils and staff.

The duration of the residency is entirely negotiable and responsive to the specific needs of the school. The team includes a teaching practitioner with extensive classroom and leadership team experience.

How does the Residency work?

Before the residency:

We liaise with the headteacher and lead teachers to confirm objectives and outcomes, provide a draft schedule for consideration and offer online preparation support

During the residency:

We provide in-school support, and detailed monitoring, evaluation and feedback on each session and pupil response.

After the residency:

We return to the school to support forward planning – building on what has been achieved.


Wonder Wall Creative Literature Residencies Project Examples

Each residency is designed in negotiation with our school partners. Here are three examples of residencies delivered within the last year.

Residency 1: Year 10 GCSE Speaking and Listening

4 poets worked with Year 10 for 2 consecutive days in a comprehensive school in Essex.

The school’s English Department wanted creative input to build students’ confidence in speaking with authority on poetry in preparation for an oral assessment. They felt this would also support their written examination work.

In carousel workshop sessions, each poet performed their poetry and talked about ways in which they used literary devices. Students wrote their own poetry, experimenting with some of these devices.

After the residency, the students were assessed talking about the poets’ work and their own experience of poetry in the residency workshops. The English Department were delighted with the improvement in the quality of their responses.

In the follow-up visit we planned ways in which the work on literary techniques could be applied to their analysis of other written texts, particularly media texts.

Residency 2: Drama for Writing in a primary school

A drama specialist worked with a Greenwich school for 4 days in a 3 week period.

The school wanted to improve the quality of children’s spoken and written expression with a specific focus on developing vocabulary. The specialist worked with all pupils from Foundation through to Year 3, building stories for performance and helping the pupils to extend their thinking and use of language .

Class teachers developed the work to produce a display of outcomes for an Open Day, including filmed performances. The quality of writing content improved significantly for many pupils.

During the residency, class teachers worked alongside the specialist to develop their own skills and also attended after-school workshops.

In the follow-up visit we looked at ways in which drama could be used to enhance the delivery of all aspects of the curriculum.

Residency 3: Supporting GCSE poetry revision with Year 11

One poet worked for 1 day with 2 cohorts of Year 11 students from a Kent comprehensive.

The focus was on developing students’ ability to write about poetry for examination and particularly to build their confidence in comparing poems. They heard from a practising poet how and why language and technique choices are made, listened to poetry in performance and wrote their own poetry.

They also learned how to plan an effective comparative answer and approached the forthcoming mock examination with improved knowledge and understanding. In the follow-up visit we looked at ways in which the analytical skills could be transferred to work in other areas of the English curriculum.

For more information abour Wonder Wall and what it could do for your school, contact Wonder Wall Team project director Eddie Burnett.

Education Consultant: Diana Bruce