Develop pupils’ Creative Writing skills on a residential

Date Posted: 09/03/2017

School Travel Organiser finds out about Arvon, a company that offers residential breaks for pupils who’d like to advance their Creative Writing skills.

The choice of three writing houses in Devon, Shropshire and Yorkshire, a chance to work with published authors, and a series of workshops that hope to ignite a lifelong love of Creative Writing: a school residential with Arvon is worth considering for teachers who want to push their English pupils to the max.

Arvon has been running residential weeks since 1968, and each year organises over 40 weeks’ worth of stays for schools.

School weeks are led by two professional writers, and include group workshops and time and space to write.

The published writers who lead the workshops can be chosen by the teacher or organiser according to the genre of choice, and a guest writer can also visit midweek. Previous writers who have featured on these residentials have included Mark Haddon, Malorie Blackman, Simon Armitage and Jamila Gavin.

Five days of group workshops are to be expected, plus individual tutorials for students, and independent time to develop their work. The experience is said to help with self-belief, confidence and communication skills.

The Arvon centres to provide what’s described as an ideal environment for imagination to thrive and for writing and language skills to improve. The house and gardens at The Hurst in Shropshire, for example, was the former home of playwright John Osborne.

Writing outside during free time.

Pictured: Writing outside during free time.

What will students do during a stay?

A typical five day residential will see the school group arrive on a Monday afternoon and leave on a Saturday morning.

Tuesday to Friday mornings will be full of group writing workshops led by the tutors, while Tuesday to Friday afternoons will be time for one-to-one detailed tutorials and free writing time.

There will also be tutor readings and guest speaker readings, plus a celebration on the final night when students can read some of the work they’ve produced throughout the week.

In terms of workshops, teachers can choose from a wide range of genres to focus on, from fiction and poetry to playwriting, screenwriting, memoir, comedy, song writing, graphic novels, and spoken word.

Activities might include learning new forms of writing via tuition; making a documentary using a still camera and or a tape recorder for screenwriting; or creating a collaborative poem with the whole school group.

Young writers at Totleigh Barton, Devon

Pictured: Young writers at Totleigh Barton, Devon.

Booking information

School residentials are available to book for up to 16 pupils and two teachers at a time. The weeks are suitable for young people aged 11 and over, although each year Arvon also runs several Primary school weeks for Year 6 pupils.

Teachers who’d like to make a booking should call 020-7324 2562 or e-mail joe.bibby@arvon.org.

For further information visit www.arvon.org/schoolsandgroups.

School Travel Organiser's Guide