Celebrate National Writing Day!

National Writing Day, brought to you by First Story, celebrates the power and pleasure of creative writing and its impact on our everyday lives.

This 21 June, communities across the country will be holding events to celebrate and promote the joy and skill of creative writing. Libraries, schools and writing groups will be unleashing their imaginations on the inaugural National Writing Day, with writers Michael Rosen, Jonathan Coe, Nikesh Shukla and Ian Duhig all taking part in the programme of events.

The initiative, of which ALCS is a supporting partner, was established by national literacy charity First Story. It aims to advance the education of young people through creative writing by highlighting the importance of writing in our everyday lives and advocating the inclusion of creative writing in schools, thereby increasing the joy of writing in the broader community.

The charity works with teachers and students to foster creativity and communication skills that can transform lives by increasing students’ confidence and raising aspirations. Part of this work is fulfilled by bringing talented, professional writers into secondary schools serving low-income communities.

Why creative writing?

Through National Writing Day, First Story aims to promote the equal need for creative practices in schools, alongside the need to teach grammar and punctuation, in order to encourage children to enjoy writing more.

Creative writing is not only fun and cathartic, but also empowering and a skill not to be underestimated in gearing social mobility. Research cited by the National Writing Day website suggests that creative practices help children to experiment with ideas and develop their imaginations. They also help to build empathy, encourage creative thinking and independent thought. However, as it stands, creativity is vastly underestimated in the current school curriculum, argues First Story.

Education, jobs and the economy

The arguments pitching ‘useful subjects’ against those of a creative nature are not new, but teachers find themselves increasingly under pressure to focus on tests, rather than aiding the development of creative skills in their students, says the charity.

One such case is the ‘Spag’ test (spelling, punctuation and grammar), introduced via education reforms that focus on aspects like teaching complex grammatical terminology. It was recently found by the Government’s Education Select Committee that there is no evidence to show that these measures have improved children’s actual writing skills.

Added to this, a study carried out by Nesta recommends that the UK government should future-proof the creative sector with further investment in skills, infrastructure and innovation to protect the UK economy, as further automation in the job market is inevitable. The report also highlights the creative economy as one of the UK’s economic ‘unsung success stories’, with jobs in the creative industries currently at 2.6 million and growing.

Take part

Overall, National Writing Day is a celebration of why writing matters: “Writing creatively is more than just learning a skill,” says the National Writing Day website. “It’s about being connected to your own voice, your own language and your own story.”

ALCS is among a number of partners supporting National Writing Day. For more information on who is involved see www.nationalwritingday.org.uk