Last Updated: Monday, March 05, 2018

Developing writing through effective feedback - Burgh Primary School

What is this?

​A whole school approach to developing writing and a love of books through a planned programme of learning.

Who is this for?

​Headteachers and class teachers in primary schools.

How to use this exemplar to improve practice?

A focus for leadership discussions around improving writing and developing a whole school approach.

Improvement questions

  • Does the school use feedback effectively to inform and support progress in learning?
  • Do our approaches to learning promote creativity, independence and confidence in our learners?
  • Is the approach to developing writing consistent across the school?


PDF file: Effective feedback in writing – case study (800 KB)

​Explore this exemplar

What was done?

As part of the Scottish Attainment Challenge, Burgh Primary identified active literacy as a priority area for raising attainment. Building on active approaches to spelling and reading, which had been implemented the previous year, it was decided to extend this approach to writing. A key focus was an approach to writing where children wrote as real life “authors”. Underpinning this was an extensive professional learning programme, an extended use of moderation, enhanced partnership with parents and a key focus on providing effective feedback.


Self-evaluation of impact of active literacy approaches in improving spelling and reading indicated a similar approach to writing would lead to improvement. The headteacher was inspired by her research into influences beyond the school on developing children’s writing and established, through agreement with staff, that improving writing through a focus on creativity as well as technical aspects, would have significant impact.

What was the impact?

Increased motivation and improvements in technical ability have been demonstrated by almost all pupils. An active literacy approach is central to all literacy learning and impacting positively on all learners. The school’s enhanced approach to moderation and key focus on writing has strengthened teacher confidence in assessing writing. This has raised expectations and improved standards.

There is consistency across all learners in the use of writing criteria and development targets. Feedback to learners is central to learning and has an improved quality and consistency.

Staff have received high quality training for writing which has developed their professional skills and knowledge.