Open accessibilty tools

The Amazing Teabrick project

A cross-curricular creative writing project with students from Priory Woods School, Middlesbrough

School: Students from Years 9, 10 and 11 at Priory Woods School, Middlesbrough

Needs: Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD)

The object: Tea Brick from Middlesbrough Museums

Curriculum areas covered: English, Art, ICT


Why I wanted my students to take part in Literacy Loans

I wanted to look at engaging new ways to deliver writing and literacy to secondary age students with SEND. It was an interesting hook for the project and allowed students to work with external adults such as professional writers and museum experts! I liked the idea of using an object in real life to motivate and intrigue the students.

How useful was the planning meeting with the writer and the Education Officer?

It was a very useful opportunity to talk about my focus as a teacher and how we could work together to mould and build a project around the students, as well as what area of learning I wanted to focus on. I found having time to discuss the object and the possibilities with both professionals was very useful to build ideas together. Speaking about the students SEND needs helped to ensure the project was aimed at an appropriate level. The writer and Education Officer gained an insight into student motivators, which helped them tailor the planning. We were able to talk about where I might like the project to go as well as having lots of input of ideas from the author. With the Education Officer, I was able to talk about the students’ prior learning and work out what needed to be delivered to make the project successful.

What did students get from the object introduction session?

They loved engaging with the Education Officer. When it came to guessing what the object was, they were very interested and motivated to ask questions and make guesses. The presentation/session was very visual and the pictures really helped give my students ideas and imagine what the Education Officer was talking about. The session felt relaxed enough that I could join in conversations as a teacher and ask questions and interject if students wanted me to. By the end of the session the students knew a lot about something totally new!


The two sessions with the writer covered a range of skills on our chosen focus including:

  • finding creative inspiration
  • pathways into a career in writing
  • strategies and tips to support creative writing

She also spoke with the students and was able to offer next steps, how to improve work and how to expand ideas. This was extremely useful when supporting the teaching of creative writing, generating ideas and developing a narrative.

How my students benefited from the sessions

I teach mainly teenage boys who are reluctant writers. These sessions gave the students focus and confidence in their ideas and writing. Students found the sessions especially helpful at the initial inspiration stage and also during the editing process. After the sessions with the writer, students had the confidence and drive to edit and improve their own work.

What we went on to do

The project started as a creative writing project with the aim to invent a tea (inspired by the teabrick) and create a non-chronological report/fact file to go alongside, potentially including a set of instructions. The students, however, loved the project and we continued to develop it into a design session for packaging, persuasive text writing for an advert and finally script writing – where the students wrote scripts and filmed their own green screen adverts.


How my students creativity and writing benefited from the project as a whole

I feel the project has increased motivation for my students when it comes to writing – giving them confidence and interest in the subject. In this film Dylan talks about what he has gained from taking part.


Top tips for other teachers or SEN Cos

  1. Let the students follow their own ideas and paths without trying to generate for them. Have fun! My students came up with amazing ideas – let them roll with it.
  2. Make the online sessions a two-way conversation. You are there to be the voice of your class and work alongside the author/Education Officer. You know the students best so make sure you are engaging with the external professionals throughout. Make suggestions and highlight ideas – it all supports the success of the sessions.