We are forever plotting projects designed to celebrate English, the language and the literature. We want children and teachers to discover for themselves how reading and writing, talk and drama have an important place in their lives. We would like everyone to be able to take hold of language in their own ways, and in so doing, deepen their knowledge and understanding of how it works and what it can do.
We met in 2015, at the University of East Anglia. At that time, Jeni was a senior lecturer working with primary PGCE students and Emily was embarking on her PGCE, specialising in Key Stage 2 primary languages. Emily took up her first post, teaching a mixed class of Year 5/6 children, in a small, rural primary school where Jeni is a governor. Since then, they have worked together closely, teaching together, writing together -a variety of academic papers- and, in 2017, giving a TEDx talk with Georgia who was then in Year 6.
The TEDx talk arose from our shared belief in the value and pleasures of writing. We had started, and still run, a writing club for ages 4 – 11 and we work together on classroom projects with Emily’s pupils. We love to write alongside the children and to work closely with each child to help them see how writing is a powerful form of communication which is open to everyone.
We are also involved in teachers’ writing groups. Emily began attending Jeni’s Writing Teachers group at UEA and we have since started a group based in the trust of schools in Suffolk where Emily is a teacher. We are co-chairs of the National Writing Project UK.
Over the next few days we will be having a short interlude from blogging about writing prompts and will introduce you to some of the reasons behind what we do and why we think it’s important.
Emily has a degree in English Literature and French and completed her Masters in Educational Practice and Research in 2019, with a strong focus on researching the impact of freewriting in primary school. She teaches a mixed Year 5/6 class, is English lead and, currently, is acting head of school.
Jeni taught English in primary, secondary and middle schools, before becoming an advisory teacher in Suffolk and then lecturer at UEA. She has been running teachers’ writing groups for over thirty years and is co-founder of the National Writing Project UK.
Jenifer Smith and Simon Wrigley (2015) Introducing Teachers’ Writing Groups Abingdon: Routledge.
Jenifer Smith (2015) Reading Through the Night Leiston: Garlic Press.
Emily Rowe, Jenifer Smith and Simon Wrigley (2018) ‘Writing Reclaimed’ in Laar & Holderness Reclaiming the Curriculum. Camarthen: Crown House.
Emily Rowe and Jenifer Smith (2018) ‘Folding Paper, opening words’ in Writing in Education. NAWE
Emily Rowe ‘Leila’ and Jenifer Smith editorial (2019) in English in Education NATE
Jenifer Smith (2010) Snickety Snack. Leiston: Garlic Press.