A new report demonstrates how writing about school days out can help to improve children's literacy standards.
Writing skills improved significantly in youngsters who wrote about memorable experiences, a new report by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) reveals.
The initiative was developed by the Calderdale Excellence Partnership, a group of schools collaborating with each other in West Yorkshire.
According to a survey of more than 800 primary and secondary school pupils who took part, writing standards improved by nine months on average.
The EEF says that in 2013, 85,000 11-year-olds left schools without meeting the expected level of writing and this constitutes a major challenge for schools.
Pupils taking part in the study were involved in a memorable experience - such as a trip to a castle, a session with a World War II veteran and a visit to local caves - which they then had to write about.
The institutions then put in place a structured approach to writing about the experience, with children being taught how to self-evaluate and improve their work.
A standardised writing test was carried out at the end of the project and those who had taken part performed considerably better than those in a control group. The results were statistically significant, meaning they were probably an outcome of the programme.
Dr Kevan Collins, chief executive of the EEF, said: "We know that good literacy skills are fundamental to success in secondary school, and for future life chances.
"By supporting further evaluation of this project on a larger scale we hope to improve the attainment of pupils eligible for free school meals, who are less likely to leave primary school with the expected level of literacy."
Carlton Midgley, director of the Calderdale Excellence Partnership, said many examples of high-quality writing were produced by children taking part in the initiative. Youngsters and those in education jobs also found the scheme to be enjoyable, she added.
Posted by Theo Foulds