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The Impact of Writing for Enjoyment Programmes

Added 29 Jan 2024

Writing for Wellbeing Club

Children and young people’s writing is at a crisis point. In 2023, only 1 in 3 (34.6%) children and young people aged 8 to 18 enjoyed writing in their free time. Overall, there has been a 26% decrease in writing for enjoyment since 2010 (Clark et al., 2023).

In 2023, we found that more children and young people aged 8 to 18 write for self-expression than any other reason (Clark et al., 2023). At a time when children and young people have reported being less happy compared with previous years (The Children’s Society, 2023), finding outlets to support wellbeing remains paramount, with creative writing featuring as a readily available self-sustaining low-cost tool to promote wellbeing.

This report brings together insights from the various writing programmes that sit within Young Writers to highlight the important role they can play in the lives of children and young people. Using information from different sources, such as surveys and comments from our participants, we bring to light how writing enjoyment can be supported by designing programmes that celebrate the efforts of the young writers they support.

Key Findings:

After taking part in either Young Poets or Young Mystery Writers:

  • 4 in 5 (80.5%) pupils told us that they felt they were better at writing, compared with before taking part.
  • Over half (56.1%) told us that they enjoyed writing after taking part, compared with 38.1% before taking part, and 34.6% nationally.
  • 4 in 5 (78.3%) pupils told us that they liked being able to choose what they wrote about.
  • While 1 in 4 (26.3%) pupils told us that they thought poetry and stories were ‘fun’ before taking part, this increased to nearly 2 in 3 (63.7%) after taking part.

Overall, while writing for enjoyment is in crisis and skills are declining, this report shows that our Young Writers Programme can successfully support young people’s writing by allowing pupils to play with language, rhythm, volume and movement to explore how writing works and discover their individual writing style. We believe that writing is for everyone and that there are no limits, no lost causes, and no last chances.

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