The Bridge

Many pupils in their last two years at school are apprehensive about aspects of the transition to university or college. Among their concerns are those centring around written work and a perception that academic writing is difficult.

In 2014 the RLF set up a pilot scheme in association with Education Scotland to address these anxieties: it placed professional writers in ten schools to give workshops to small groups of students to help them bridge the perceived gap between school and university writing. Following the success of the pilot, the RLF is extending the scheme to a limited number of new partner schools in Scotland.

How it Works

  • The writer meets teachers ahead of the Bridge to discuss the workshops and any other matters relating to writing development they want to talk about.
  • Three to five 50 minute sessions take place with a group of up to 12 learners, i.e. up to five workshop sessions on separate days; these may be spaced at intervals convenient for timetabling.
  • Topics covered include structuring, planning, editing, referencing and writing with clarity.
  • Learners come from 5 or 6th years (secondary) and can be of varying abilities and studying different subjects. They may also include those undecided about applying for university.

From Pupils
‘I’m less worried about university writing now.’ 6th year, Baldragon Academy, Dundee.
‘The course really helped me understand academic writing.’ 6th year, Baldragon.
‘I learned about sentence structure and how to structure an essay/argument.’ 6th year, Kirkwall Grammar School.
‘It has made me more confident with writing essays.’ 6th year pupil, Kirkwall Grammar School.
‘The course has cleared up and explained what is important in academic writing.’ 6th year, Kirkwall Grammar School.
‘The course was helpful in making academic writing less daunting.’ 6th year, Mackie Academy.

From Schools
‘The students all seem to have found the workshops incredibly worthwhile and my feeling is that the intensive “all in one week” approach really focused them and that they got more out of it.’ Kirkwall Grammar School.
‘The opportunity to have an RLF Fellow attend Mackie Academy and support our senior Advanced Higher pupils in gaining and developing the necessary skills to support their extended writing pieces in the courses they are studying has been received very positively by both the pupils involved and the staff who are starting to see the benefits in their lessons.’ Mackie Academy.


  • To help prospective students, including those from non-traditional academic backgrounds, make the transition from school writing to university writing.
  • To address general problems with literacy as well as grammar, punctuation, style and essay planning.
  • To introduce learners to or review with them terms which sometimes cause confusion when used by university tutors.
  • To give learners a forum to express in confidence, to an independent professional writer, any concerns they have about their writing.
  • To demystify the world of academia and reduce the apprehension learners often feel about academic writing.