The Dare to Write? Ethos

Creative Writing is Under Threat

It is vital that children have space and time to explore creative writing. With budget cuts, austerity measures and constraints on educators, the time and space for children to write creatively is in serious decline. This is why Dare to Write? is so important.

Creative Writing Has Intrinsic Value

  • Creative writing helps young people find their voice.
  • Creative writing is a pleasurable, self-affirming activity.
  • Creative writing helps children understand and articulate how they see the world.
  • Creative writing has proven therapeutic benefits, increasing well-being and growing confidence.

The Principles of the Dare to Write? Ethos

We believe that creative writing should be:

  • Inclusive: Creative writing should be accessible to all, in spite of barriers.
  • Exploratory: Creative writing should be fun, playful, and allow for freedom of expression.
  • Individual: Learning about writing should be done in a fluid way, which reflects the needs and interests of the individual. The writer is not a set of criteria and neither is their creative process.
  • Test-free: The focus should be on the creative exploration of ideas rather than grammar, handwriting and assessment.
  • Supported to Flourish: Individuals, groups and organisations who are supportive of this ethos should collaborate at the local level to create communities where writing can flourish.

“We emphasise the importance of children having space to dream and create and imagine.”

Professor Bambo SOyinka


During the last three years, Paper Nations has opened a dialogue with the contemporary writing world. Experts, authors, teachers, parents, and children have all been consulted and have helped identify the strengths and problems facing creative writing for young people today. This dialogue, as well as a solid foundation of research, has gone on to form this Dare to Write? Ethos, on which all the Dare to Write? resources (including the Sourcebook, Platform and Notebooks) are based.

Join Us

To find out how you can work with us to ensure more children can accept our invitation to explore the art of writing, head to our Affiliates Scheme Page.