We are Felicity Ferguson & Ross Young and we are the founders of The Writing For Pleasure Centre. We are also national council representatives for The United Kingdom Literacy Association, the conveners of their international Teaching Writing research group and organisers of their Teachers’ Writing Group . We are also members of the European Literacy Network.
Between us we have over 50 years experience of teaching in the classroom. We now work full-time talking, reading and writing about teaching young apprentice writers in an effective and pleasurable way. We are both committed writer-teachers; teachers who write and writers who teach.
The mission of The Writing For Pleasure Centre is to help all young people become passionate and successful writers.
We look to accomplish this goal by investigating what world-class writing teaching might be. We do this through:
- Our school residency CPD programme and teacher training workshops.
- Curriculum development and creating resources.
- Conducting, disseminating and publishing research.
- Convening The UKLA’s international Teaching Writing research group and Teachers’ Writing Group.
- Working with children, teachers, school leaders, teacher-educators, educational publishers and charities.
We have developed this research-rich website to share what is presently known to be the most effective teaching practices. It’s our hope that teachers regard The Writing For Pleasure Centre as a place where they can access a specialist network and continued professional development that is free.
The Research Base
For the past fifty years, research has been consistent about what great writing teaching involves. Despite this, we as teachers can be inundated by a variety of approaches and training, all promising a lot but often lacking the necessary grounding to be successful in the long-term. This is why our website is based on the following:
- Extensive scientific research into the most effective writing instruction.
- Case studies of what the best performing teachers of writing do that makes the difference.
- Our own research into a Writing For Pleasure pedagogy.
- The wisdom of professional writers.
The Writing For Pleasure Centre functions both as a think tank and as an action research community. The result is that we are continually engaged in finding and sharing effective practices, case studies and research findings.
We are fortunate to be supported by our close links to national literacy associations like The UKLA and The National Literacy Trust as well as with academics, exceptional teachers of writing and teacher training universities both at home and abroad.
What We Have Done:
- We are authors of two books for Routledge:
- We are the series creators of Power English: Writing (2019) for Pearson Education. It is a research-based approach to teaching writing effectively across primary school [LINK].
- We carry out research-informed CPD training both nationally and internationally. [LINK].
- We have led research into effective writing practice in the UK in association with Goldsmiths and The University Of Sussex [LINK].
- Made contributions to Birth to 5 matters [LINK].
- We are content providers for The National Literacy Trust [LINK].
- We currently curate the Twitter group #WritingRocks.
- We have speak at and help organise international and national conferences on writing.
To date our work is used as part of teacher education at the following universities:
- University of Greenwich
- Canterbury Christchurch University
- University of Sussex
- University of Strathclyde
- University of Chichester
- UCL (University College London)
- Birmingham City University
- St Mary’s University
- Nottingham Trent University
- UWE Bristol
- University of Winchester
- Plymouth Marjon University
- University of Connecticut
- Texas A&M University
- Curtin University
- Queensland University
- Georgia College
I studied French and Russian at Birmingham University, and later gained two MAs, one in Linguistics and the other in Children’s Literature. I have worked in both the maintained and the independent sectors as SENCO and Deputy Head.
When I was ten and a new pupil at secondary school, I completed my first set homework assignment for R.E. – a recount of the one of the seven plagues of Egypt. I wrote it like a story, with my usual enthusiasm and emotional investment. After a few days my book came back with the comment Is this all your own work? To this day I still feel the injury to my early strong sense of myself as a writer. I was a self-styled Jo March, with a drive to write from a very early age. I wrote out of desire, with engagement, pleasure, absorption, satisfaction, as escapism too. I wrote a great deal at home – stories, unfinished novels, programmes for shows put on with friends in somebody’s backyard, started a magazine with me as editor – one issue a month. It’s my ambition for every child to gain as much pleasure and empowerment from writing as I did.
I studied Primary Education with History & Geography as my specialism, at The University Of Brighton, and later gained an MA in Education with Linguistics.
I have been a Primary school teacher for the past ten years. I have worked in both the public and independent sectors. When I was young, I didn’t realise that literature and the written word were for me to use or enjoy. I was never told I was a writer. This all changed when I began talking, learning and writing alongside the children in my classroom. I wanted the children in my classes to have a different experience than I did and to enter the ‘literacy club’ as early as possible, so that they can have a stake in it, have control of it and can use it successfully, meaningfully and for pleasure now and in their futures.