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Substrand 7.2: Using and adapting the conventions and forms of texts

These pages provide a set of specific teaching approaches that can help pupils build, develop and secure their writing skills in the Framework for English substrand 7.2. These pages also provide some basic advice on progression in planning and some core ideas to convey to pupils.

Recognising progression

You will be able to see progress in this substrand when pupils demonstrate increasing ability to consciously and imaginatively exploit the conventions of different text types, or to exchange one genre for another, in order to achieve a range of particular effects. This is expressed in more detail in the substrand from the Framework.

  • Year 7

    Draw on the conventions of written forms to plan writing and develop ideas to fit a specific task.

  • Year 8

    Plan writing and develop ideas to suit a specific audience, purpose and task by adapting familiar forms and conventions.

  • Year 9

    Plan different types of writing and develop ideas by drawing on the ways in which forms and conventions can contribute to the overall impact and effectiveness of texts.

  • Year 10

    Plan and write effectively, making well-judged choices and adaptations to suit particular tasks, purposes and audiences through their knowledge of a range of conventions and forms.

  • Year 11

    Select from a wide range of conventions and forms, adapting or synthesising their distinctive features as appropriate to achieve particular effects and impact in their writing.

  • Extension

    Shape audience response by handling and planning content with inventiveness and originality, subtly exploiting or subverting the conventions of text types and genres for a range of effects and impact.

What aspects could be taught?

Understanding the main conventions of certain texts

It can be helpful to make sure that pupils are clear about the original text and its main structure, for example: the stepped nature of instructions; the temporal structure of a recount; the importance of prioritising information within an explanation or information text.

You could remind pupils that information and explanations are usually in the present tense; that recounts are usually in the past tense; that instructions use imperative verbs; and that discursive and persuasive writing may move from present to past depending on the use of anecdotes and examples within.

Manipulating texts

Pupils can be shown:

  • how to use ICT to transform a text from one medium into others, enabling them to gain greater insight into meaning, language and structure
  • how to create and analyse multi-modal texts, which are increasingly prevalent
  • how the stylistic conventions of non-fiction can be manipulated for comic or satirical effect, or to surprise and engage the reader by mixing genre and purpose – for example, a sensational news report on Goldilocks' theft of porridge offers a parody of tabloid newspapers and their tendency to exaggerate the relatively unimportant; or written instructions to do something trivial, such as cleaning teeth or making a sandwich, can parody the style of instructions found in self-build furniture
  • how to mix text types for effect, for example: combining report and persuasion in a campaigning leaflet; or incorporating elements of explanation, report, instruction and discussion in an article on mobile phones, for a teenage magazine. These examples also show how the newly-created texts are 'text types' in their own right
  • that a parody can exploit both a text type and satirise a behaviour or belief – for example, Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal parodies the enthusiasm for offering proposals or solutions in the eighteenth century and satirises a set of commonly held beliefs

If pupils have a grasp of the possibilities that emerge from adapting texts and their conventions, it can lead to engaging and purposeful lessons.

Adapting writing conventions suggests a range of other ways you can develop these skills, as well as providing a self-audit for your own work.

  • How to build pupils' skills in using and adapting the conventions and forms of texts

    Find a set of specific teaching approaches to help you build pupils' skills in understanding text conventions and beginning to try out ways of adapting them for specific purposes. This focuses on the Framework for English substrand 7.2: 'Using and adapting the conventions and forms of texts', and is part of Teaching for progression: Writing.

  • How to develop pupils' skills in using and adapting the conventions and forms of texts

    Find a set of specific teaching approaches to help pupils move from the skills they have already built in relation to adapting conventions when writing. This focuses on the Framework for English substrand 7.2: 'Using and adapting the conventions and forms of texts', and is part of Teaching for progression: Writing.

  • How to secure and extend pupils' skills in using and adapting the conventions of texts

    Find a set of specific teaching approaches to help secure pupils' knowledge, once they have understood that many texts subtly alter and adapt conventions to the required purpose, by creating such texts themselves. This focuses on the Framework for English substrand 7.2: ‘Using and adapting the conventions and forms of texts’, and is part of Teaching for progression: Writing.