Over three years (2017-2019) we're taking up residence in eight primary schools across Western Sydney for a term at a time, bringing our special blend of creativity, writing and fun right into the heart of each school.
For each residency we run two creative writing workshops per day at each school as part of a term-long program in which students are supported to develop and extended piece of creative writing, culminating in publication.
To achieve deep and lasting impacts, we're working with the same schools throughout. Our partner schools are:
- Ruse Public School
- St Patrick's Guildford
- Briar Rd Public School
- Merrylands East Public School
- Ambarvale Public School
- Woodland Rd Public School
- Curran Public School
- Yagoona Public School
In our workshops our awesome students have written a whole range of wonderful creations, including a collaborative, fictional biographies of the oldest living person, and Australian Odysseys of epic proportions.
In 2017, we engaged NSF Consulting to run an independent evaluation of the impact of this programs on participating young people. The results are very encouraging! At the end of the first year the evaluation found that:
- Kids love the program! On average they rated it 9.5 out of 10. The top 3 words used to describe the workshops were ‘awesome’ (83%), ‘creative' (77%) and ‘fun’ (77%).
- There was a big impact on young people's confidence and enjoyment of writing. The percentage of students who said were ’very confident’ about their writing increased from 42% before the program to 67% after the program; those who ‘really enjoy’ writing increased from 61% to 81%.
- Outcomes were particularly strong for Indigenous students. After our workshops, 93% of Indigenous students said they "really enjoyed" writing, up from 56% before the program.
- Teachers said they had noticed improvements in academic performance as a result of the program. One teacher said that the one-on-one time the students received in the workshops improved their overall academic achievement in class, as it built up their confidence to perform. Another teacher reported ‘massive’ improvements in academic results from her participating students. She felt this was attributable to the value of the students' development of story characters, which engaged them in a way that built their confidence to try new things and to attempt challenging tasks in other subjects
- One of the greatest strengths of the workshops was to engage those who are not naturally predisposed to such a collaborative and creative environment––such as students who don’t consider themselves to be creative, don’t enjoy challenges or working in teams––and bring about a positive shift in their enjoyment of writing.
This program is one of four Foundation Programs that are laying the groundwork for Sydney Story Factory's expansion across Western Sydney, and the opening of Sydney Story Factory Parramatta. It has been made possible thanks to the Crown Resorts & Packer Family Foundations as part of their Western Sydney Arts Initiative.