As a response to the clear need in our Key Stage 3 students’ work for a shift away from narrative-dominant action sequences towards creative writing that evokes a mood and atmosphere, this learning sequence was developed. 

The underpinning principles:

  • Grammatical metalanguage is used, but it is always explained through examples and patterns
  • Links are always made between the feature introduced and how it might enhance the writing being tackled
  • Discussion is fundamental in encouraging critical conversations about language and effects
  • The use of ‘imitation’ offers model patterns for students to play with and then use in their own writing
  • The use of authentic examples from authentic texts links writers to the broader community of writers
  • Activities should support students in making choices and being designers of writing
  • Language play, experimentation, risk-taking and games should be actively encouraged.


This lesson sequence approaches narrative writing with a specific focus on sentence-level grammatical structures, namely: prepositional phrases, adverbials, relative clauses and subordinate clauses. Each lesson tackles one grammar point and plays with it. A writer’s model is often explored and the students experiment with their own use of the day’s grammatical structure to develop their own writing.

The context for the whole lesson sequence is the writing of an opening to a dystopian novel. Images are used extensively to support the notion of developing a ‘mood’ and the students critically reflect on their own and each others’ writing consistently throughout the programme.

To follow is the full programme: The outline, individual lesson plans, classroom resources and data presentations are all downloadable and we invite you to do so, and hope you enjoy this grammatical journey into the dystopian future as much as we did with our students at the London Nautical School.


Learning Sequence:

Outline, pedagogy and description
4 Week plan and individual plans
Data presentations
Sample work
Annotation guides