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Alternative approaches to recording support the inclusion of students with barriers to writing, whether it is physical, handwriting or stamina barriers. Alongside pen and paper methods, assistive technology can level the effects of these barriers by allowing pupils to participate in their learning more independently.


For some pupils, a scribe can record their learning and ideas. This could be by either writing or typing.

A scribe does not necessarily have to do all of the writing/typing – negotiate who does what. The scribe could jot down ideas at the beginning of a piece of work or throughout as pupils come up with new ideas.  Some tips for developing the skills of a scribe are:

  • Always provide some visual feedback, for example, sit next to the pupil so that he or she can see what you have written or drawn for them
  • Annotate pupil’s work so that it is clear where help was and was not given and how the result was achieved
  • Allow your pupil plenty of practice in giving instructions and directions (for example: please could you  underline the date and title, add a capital letter and punctuation mark there)
  • Encourage the pupil to edit the piece of work even if its read back to them
  • If the pupil is able to complete some of the work for him or herself, suggest that you start it for them, and allow them to finish so that they have a sense of achievement and completion
  • Try not to give factual help or ideas
  • Recognising that this is hard work for the pupil and they may benefit from rest breaks.
  • If the scribe is handwriting, ensure the handwriting is legible for the pupil to read


Writing frames and close procedures

Writing Frames

Writing frames are often used to scaffold pupils’ writing and they can be used so that pupils can record their key ideas in a way that demands less writing.  They can be used to show pupils how to set out their writing and also to prompt them to include certain features.

Sentence starters are useful for example in practical subjects when learners are asked to evaluate a project they have taken part in, and say, or write, what they have learnt from the experience. They can be given a selection of sentence starters like: ‘I learnt that …’ ‘One thing I discovered was …’, ‘I found out that …’

Sentence frames are helpful when asking learners to organise their thoughts in a particular way, e.g. comparing and contrasting: ‘One similarity between _____ and ____ is that …’, ‘A key distinction between ________ and _________ is that …’

Writing frames can be used for pieces of extended writing, in which case learners can be given the first few words of each paragraph. 

(Clicker – Sentence Sets also search for writing frame resources on Learning Grids)

Cloze Activities

Pupils can demonstrate their learning by filling in the blanks relating to key learning points rather than writing out all of the continuous text.

Cloze refers to the ‘reading closure’ practice required when readers must fill blanks left in text, using whatever knowledge and experience they have. (Hornsby and Sukarna, 1992).

(Clicker – New close document on new document)



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Coxheath Primary School
Stockett Lane, Coxheath
Maidstone, ME17 4PS

01622 745553