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“The Saturday classes are a fantastic and caring place to share your creations with peers and professionals. It is a safe haven for oddities and nonsense to grow up into actual pieces of literature. Or not. Either way, you are welcome.” Charlotte, 17


“Every week, I get to spend time with like-minded people. School for Young Writers is a place where you can express yourself through both your writing and the discussion that follows, where there is no fear of judgement.”
Xavier 16


“I’ve been coming here for a while now, I love how the environment is simultaneously relaxed and hard-working. I appreciate getting practical advice while also being able to work at my own pace. This has been crucial for my development as a writer.”
Freddie, 18


“I’ve enjoyed having a set time to write every week. No matter how busy I get, I always get to write and share my writing with other people who want to be there.”
Derrin, 15


“Everyone has a good sense of humour and we’re all mates. And we get to write in the company of each other and professional, published writers.”
Amelia, 14


“I love the variety of topics and themes, all the nice people you meet, and all the teachers are super nice. It has improved my writing skills immensely.”
Isla, 14


“There have been many opportunities made available to me as a young writer coming to this school. It’s helped me improve and expand how I write.”
Olivia, 16



“I love coming to writing class each week because it’s fun, we don’t only learn how to write, we also learn new games and strategies to help us remember.”
Aaron, 11


“I like getting inspired by some of the best writers around.”
Max, 11


“It is fun. It helped me improve my writing.”
Isabella, 11


“You not only learn, but make friends.”
Lucy, 11


“I like coming here because I get FREEDOM to write for a whole blooming TWO HOURS instead of being told what to do for only one.”
Olivia, 9


“I get to see my friends and I can write to my heart’s desire.”
Polly, 8


“We get to choose our topic and get to play writing games.”
Anya, 8


“We can share our ideas, and we have a very nice teacher.”
Florence, 8


“I like coming on Saturday mornings because I love writing, we get to write about mythical creatures, which are my personal favourite.”
Riley, 10


“For four years I’ve wanted to publish a book. Writing class is good practice.”
Jaren, 10




“A great holiday programme filled with fun! Gets your creative juices flowing!” Genevieve, 12


“I liked the rhyming stories and the letter game. It’s very, very fun.”
Ericsson, 10 ¾


Young writers classes are fun and engaging. They have really helped me develop my ideas.”
Hana, 12


“I really enjoyed writing the poem book because you can be creative. (PS You do have a lot of colouring pencils!).”
Chloe, 10


“I really enjoyed making new friends, the kindness of everyone – THIS WAS AMAZING (not lying). Now I know how to do my writing. I LOVED IT!”
Renee, 9


“Really inspiring, an amazing creative and special way to spend a Thursday.”
Amber, 11


“It was great, I learned a lot and I understood everything clearly.”
Lara, 10





“I highly recommend Heather’s presentations. She is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about the subject of writing. Her friendly conversational style of presentation provides useful content and real life applications for teachers."                                       

Barbara Bowron, President
Christchurch Association for Gifted Education


“The teachers found your ideas to be really appropriate to their children's needs and commented that your experience as a teacher really showed as well as your expertise as a writer.”                  

Jacqui Malham, Deputy Principal
Waitākiri School


“Heather has a lot of experience and provided ideas that were appropriate to each age and stage of child. Heather's love of literacy is contagious.”

Mary Kimber, Principal
Waiau School


"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.


We were so pleased with the impact of Heather’s  first session on our writing programmes that we invited her to come and work with our team again during term 3.  This time, Heather worked with a group of children, modelling how to build on children’s ideas to  develop their writing. This modelling session was followed by an interactive session where we got the opportunity to unpack what makes a great writing lesson. We found Heather’s professional development sessions extremely worthwhile. She was thorough in her preparation and tailored the learning to our needs, providing us with a wealth of practical ideas, which we have since based our writing programmes on.  Her delivery was fast paced, enjoyable and of immense value. 

I highly recommend Heather as a facilitator of writing development."

Wendy Dent, Deputy Principal
Hoon Hay School

"The boys’ group gave the boys an understanding that they could be successful writers and produce work of high quality. Both this and the girls’ group produced work of a high standard and the processes which Young Writers staff went through complemented the work being done at our school."
Alistair Sim, Shirley Primary School

"The teachers were impressed by the quality of the work produced and the enthusiasm with which the children responded."
Lisa Dovey, Halswell School

"Students are introduced to “higher level thinking” of creative writing. They learn the procedure of edit/re-edit several times before publishing. Parents are proud of the writing which is published in booklet form, presented at assemblies and also posted on the school web page."

Margaret Maw, Kaiapoi North School

"Those taking part experienced a new way of working with language. They gained a sense of being a writer and moved forward with new knowledge. The tutor related very quickly to our children and provided instruction and support that encouraged them to write beautifully."

Glenn Bermingham, Rowley Avenue School

"Our dealings with the School of Young Writers over the past several years have been most professional and helpful. Communication is always timely, staff go out of their way to ensure the programmes they provide our students with are of an extremely high standard. Workshops are tailored to meet the needs of the group of students taking part and subsequent workshops continue to build on and move these students further in their writing."

Jenny Washington & Jenny Felton, Mairehau Primary School

PLD Testimonials


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