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As writers, we understand the ways in which writers approach writing and as teachers we know great ways to inspire young people to engage in the writing process.

Our director, Heather McQuillan is both a teacher who writes and a writer who teaches. She enjoys talking with classroom teachers about ways for them to engage, and engage with, their young writers.

After a long career in education, working as a school and professional development leader, Heather now focuses on teaching writing. She is able to provide teachers with practical ideas to inspire, enable and guide young writers to success through a process of playful and problem-solving approaches to writing.

Heather regularly speaks with teachers at staff meetings, Kahui Ako gatherings and educational conferences. She is also available for ZOOM sessions with staff or educational groups. 


Topics include:

The Essentials of Writing

Prompts for Playful Writing

Redrafting: A Problem-solving Approach

Engaging with Boys and their Writing

Sorting Out Sentences

Heather McQuillan has a Dip Tch (Adv), Bachelor of Education and a Master of Creative Writing (with Distinction). She is the author of a number of award-winning books for young readers and recently her first collection of short short stories Where Oceans Meet was published by Reflex Press UK. She has numerous awards and publications for flash fiction. See Heather's website here.

    Up to 10 young writers get focussed workshop time with one of our experienced tutors. They will explore a number of first drafts and follow a redrafting process through to one or two polished pieces. We can adapt our workshops with themes to suit your school or Kāhui Ako's needs. Who: Year 3 to Year 13
    This is a taster or booster session where up to 10 young writers explore a number of first drafts under guidance from one of our expert tutors. We aim to redraft one short piece. We can customise a workshop and themes to suit the needs of your young writers. Who: Year 3 to Year 13
    We can run a series of 5 X 60-minute ZOOM studio sessions, providing inspiration, guidance and modelling. Between the studio sessions, the students write and share work via Google Docs and receive 1:1 written feedback. For up to 6 writers per studio. Total fee = $1025 +gst Any extra students are $102 each +gst Zoom studio sessions can cover any aspect of creative writing including poetry, flash fiction, short story, creative non-fiction or kick-start a novel. These studio sessions work well during class time or outside school hours.
    Please see our Masterclass Programme on this site that is open to individuals and schools. We can also customise a Masterclass at your school or organisation for your young writers in Year 7 and above. Up to 24 students participate in a focussed workshop with one of our specialist tutors. The purpose is to generate ideas and writing skills in a given genre/ form. Our masterclasses include: memoir, fantasy, lyrics, poetry forms, story, flash fiction, creative non-fiction and spoken word poetry. Please ask if you have another genre of interest. We draw on a pool of talent from within the writing community. Who: Year 7- Year 13 We require a teacher to supervise and support during the session if it is customised to your school. (We provide full supervision for our scheduled Masterclass programme. )
    In a two-day workshop (as above), your children will enjoy the challenges of creating characters and writing for the ears. For Year 7 and up. The script is then edited and Canterbury schools have the option of going to Plains FM to record the play. This will go to air, complete with sound effects, and be upload as a podcast on your website. Link to Plains FM and podcasts.
    An on-going writing programme for schools or Kāhui Ako. We will provide weekly enrichment writing sessions for your pupils. Availability limited. 1.5 hour session minimum.
    Do you have a group of children who have potential but hold back from writing experiences? We can help with small group or 1:1 tutoring to build enjoyment, skills and confidence. A great way to change the mindsets of those children who say, “I’ve got nothing to write about.”


"During term 1, our teaching team, comprising of 10 year 4 to year 6 teachers, was looking for inspiration to improve our writing programmes. 


We contacted Heather McQuillan through the Young Writers’ School and asked if she could work with our team. Her first session focused on what’s worthwhile in writing, boys and writing, and how to build a bank of writing ideas for future development.


Without exception we came away from our professional development with Heather, energised and keen to implement her ideas straight away.


The ideas were practical and relevant to our context and our children. This was evidenced by the increased motivation and engagement of our writers, including the reluctant ones."

- Wendy Dent, Deputy Principal, Hoon Hay School


Please email us about our Professional Development options.

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