National Improving Writing Programme

What is it?

The National Improving Writing Programme aims to improve writing attainment in identified P4 and P5 classes with a view to building an infrastructure for sustainable spread beyond the initial programme timeline.


  • Are supported to implement the components of a successful writing bundle
  • Have the opportunity to learn skills and techniques to improve writing attainment in their classroom
  • Gain Quality Improvement knowledge
  • Have the opportunity to share insights and collaborate with practitioners across a national platform

Each participating cohort completes a 12-week quality improvement programme to reduce variation and increase outcomes in writing in their classroom.  Once implemented teachers monitor data and are responsive to class needs to maintain high quality delivery and outcomes. This programme is delivered in partnership with Education Scotland.  Local Leads from each participating local authority are vital for the delivery and sustainability of this work.

By June 2024 the five local authorities participating in Wave 1 will achieve >/=70% in first level CfE (Baseline 0 of 5).

This was achieved early, in June 2023, with all 5 reporting 70% or more.

Click here to read the full evaluation report for Wave 1, including emerging themes and a breakdown of impact to date

Wave 1 of the Programme started in academic year 2022/23 with five local authorities working on improving Curriculum for Excellence first level writing attainment: Aberdeen City, Argyll & Bute, East Lothian, Perth & Kinross and Shetland. Cohort 1 was delivered by a national faculty led by CYPIC and Education Scotland. Spread and implementation continues in Wave 1 local authorities with delivery of further cohorts led by local leads and supported by national faculty as required.

Wave 2 started in academic year 2023/24 with a further five local authorities joining the Programme: Clackmannanshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Eilean Siar (Western Isles), Highland and Scottish Borders.  The first cohort of schools in Wave 2 (led nationally) finished in February 2024 and locally led Cohort 2 then commenced across each of the five local authorities supported by national faculty.

Wave 3 is due to start in September 2024 with a further five local authorities taking part: Aberdeenshire, Dundee, East Ayrshire, Glasgow and Moray.


Wave 1 had a significant impact on the First Level Achievement of Curriculum for Excellence. 

Across Wave 1 Cohort 1, 25% more children attained CfE First Level than was predicted. 

16 schools increased by >20 percentage points


Muirtown Primary (Highland) have kindly shared the below video to demonstrate the impact of the programme on pupils.


A selection of schools reporting the greatest improvement in CfE First Level figures are illustrated in the charts below.

Note: The black line represents ACEL data over time. The turquoise dot represents the school’s predicted writing outcome for this year.  The green dot represents the level reported by participating P4 classes. Some schools did not send all P4 teachers therefore their school outcome differs from the participating class average.


Participants have reported to us how substantial the day-to-day impact has been for them and the children in their classes.  Here’s some of the feedback from Wave 1:

"A truly meaningful and enjoyable programme which changed my tracing and raised attainment."
“Children love data and find it very motivating. My attitude to teaching writing has changed entirely. I look forward to it each day!”
“My teaching practise within writing has hugely improved and I thoroughly enjoy teaching writing as a result.”
“How quickly learners can be pulled up and have their writing improve using the bundle.”
“IT WORKS! I can actually implement what I have learned from people who have actually used this in a classroom.”

The 12-week programme supports teachers to change their practice so that they can fully implement the Writing Change theory outlined in the driver diagram below.  Throughout the in-person sessions and twilights colleagues are coached in QI and guided in best practice pedagogy so that they are equipped to continue improving in their classroom.


Here's a quote which sums up how a lot of participants leave the training, equipped to improve in writing and elsewhere, as needed, in the curriculum:

“The quality of my writing lessons has definitely improved and consequently the writing of the children in my class has improved. I have also created pareto for my maths to help me focus teaching on what is going to have the biggest impact.” (Wave 1 teacher)

Schools continuing to spread this work beyond P4 are joining CYPIC’s regular Writing School-Wide Spread Network, find out more here: Networks - CYPIC 2023

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