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Year 6 Non-fiction Unit 3 – Argument

Argument (3 weeks)

Building on the persuasive writing unit in Year 5 (Year 5 non-fiction unit 3), this is a relatively free-standing non-fiction unit, and can be taught at any stage of the autumn or spring terms in Year 6. However, whenever it is taught, the level of reading and writing expected and the word, sentence and presentation skills integrated within it must clearly move forward from previous learning towards end-of-year expectations. This unit can be purposely linked to other areas of the curriculum (see the Resources section for ideas and materials).

Phase 1

Children explore a controversial issue (possibly related to other areas of the curriculum) through reading and discussing a wide range of texts providing examples of for, against and balanced views. These include a variety of formats, on paper and on screen, and probably some media texts, for example TV clips.

Phase 2

Children explore one or more issues through discussion, debate and role-play, and practise the oral presentation of both one-sided and balanced arguments.

Phase 3

Children reread and analyse some of the discussion texts, identifying key language, structure, organisation and presentational features, as preparation for writing.

Phase 4

Following teacher modelling, children write both a one-sided (persuasive) argument and a balanced (reasoned) discussion selecting their own approach and medium for each, to suit their purpose and audience.


  • Through reading, identify the language, grammar, organisational and stylistic features of balanced written discussions which: summarise different sides of an argument; clarify the strengths and weaknesses of different positions; signal personal opinion clearly; draw reasoned conclusions based on available evidence.
  • Recognise and understand the distinction between the persuasive presentation of a particular view and the discursive presentation of a balanced argument.
  • First explore orally and then write a balanced report of a controversial issue, summarising fairly the competing views, analysing strengths and weaknesses of different positions, drawing reasoned conclusions where appropriate, using formal language and presentation as appropriate.
  • Use reading to investigate conditionals, for example using if, then, might, could, would, and their persuasive uses, for example in deduction, speculation, supposition. Build a bank of useful terms and phrases for persuasive argument, for example similarly… whereas…
  • Overall, help to build the ability to select the appropriate style and form to suit a specific purpose and audience, drawing on knowledge of different non-fictional text types and adapting, conflating and combining these where appropriate.

1998 Framework objectives covered:

Year 6, Term 2: T15 recognise how arguments are constructed to be effective through, for example:

  • the expression, sequence and linking of points
  • the provision of persuasive examples, illustrations and evidence
  • pre-empting or answering potential objections
  • appealing to the known views and feelings of the audience;

T16 identify the features of balanced written arguments which:

  • summarise different sides of an argument
  • clarify the strengths and weaknesses of different positions
  • signal personal opinion clearly;

T18 construct effective arguments:

  • developing a point logically and effectively
  • supporting and illustrating points persuasively
  • anticipating possible objections
  • harnessing the known views, interests and feelings of the audience
  • tailoring the writing to formal presentation where appropriate;

T19 write a balanced report of a controversial issue:

  • summarising fairly the competing views
  • analysing strengths and weaknesses of different positions.