What Makes A Greater Depth Writer in Year Six

Written by Dan

As a year six teacher, you want your students to be successful in their writing, especially with the fast-approaching SATs. But what does it take to be a greater depth writer? In this blog post, we’ll explore the characteristics of a greater depth writer and how you can help your students reach this level. Keep reading to learn more!

Purpose and Audience

Write effectively for various purposes and audiences, selecting the appropriate form and drawing independently on what they have read as models for their writing.

With their growing skills and confidence, year six students are ready to start expressing themselves through writing on a whole new level. These students can refine how they communicate by writing effectively for various purposes and audiences.

They will understand how to choose the appropriate form for the task at hand and be able to draw confidently on what they have read as examples for use when composing their pieces.

With these skills, children in year six can produce fully developed work that reflects their intelligence and creativity.

The Language of Speech or Writing

Distinguish between the language of speech and writing and choose the appropriate register

One aspect of greater depth writing is the ability to distinguish between the language of speech and writing, or register, each requiring its own set of conventions depending on the audience and purpose.

For example, formal written language such as that found in a school newsletter should be heavier on grammar, technical words, and sentence structure than spoken conversation, which relies more on colloquialisms and idioms.

By ensuring that their students understand how to choose the appropriate register for different contexts, teachers will be aiding them in becoming adept communicators as they progress through secondary school.


Demonstrate an assured and conscious control over levels of formality

Understanding the different levels of formality that children use in their writing is an essential skill for teachers, as it gives them insight into how deeply their students engage with a subject matter.

When a student demonstrates an assured and conscious control over these levels of formality, it indicates a higher level of understanding.

This kind of control allows children to work at greater depth in their learning, which is why it’s so important for teachers to recognise this key indicator of progress.

Understanding when your students demonstrate an assured and conscious control over levels of formality allows you to guide them further in their academic journey.

Purpose and Audience

All writing has a clear purpose and audience, with the reader successfully engaged.

Year 6 teachers need to be aware that as their students grow, they are transitioning from simply completing tasks to working with greater understanding and application of skills.

Achieving a greater depth level in written work can be challenging for many children; however, the results can be gratifying with the writer’s purpose and the identifiable audience. Clear writing objectives can easily be met by focusing on successfully engaging the reader without confusing or frustrating the child.

Engagement is critical here, so teachers must create excitement about the written task for their pupils for its success.

Voice and Style

All writing also shows the individual ‘voice’ and style of the pupil as a writer.

Writing is an incredibly personal form of expression that allows every pupil to express their unique voice. As a year six teacher, understanding when your children have achieved a greater depth level in their writing can be challenging, and it is essential to recognise the individual ‘voice’ and style each child presents in their work.

Pointing out the practical elements of their writing, such as using descriptive language or even clever metaphors, will help pupils become more confident in their writing abilities.

Not only that, but by recognising each pupil’s writing style, you can further enhance the learning opportunities available to them.

Impactful Writing

Shorter pieces are well-crafted for impact, and more extended articles are sustained and consistent.

Creating effective writing that delivers their message and keeps the reader engaged can be challenging. For younger students, shorter pieces are ideal due to their ability to capture a point quickly and effectively, as well as make an impact on the reader.

Teachers must recognise when these shorter works reach greater depth through craftsmanship and critical thinking.

Conversely, longer pieces should have sustained consistency throughout, with each sentence adding to the overall story or concept being developed.

Here, teachers can help their students decide how best to use language so that the audience gains insights throughout the extended piece of work.


Writing is carefully structured and organised according to its context.

When it comes to having children write, the structure and organisation of their work need to be tailored depending on the context. For example, when a teacher is looking to test their student’s understanding of a specific topic, the structure and organisation of their writing should reflect this, such as using particular terminology related to that topic.

On the other hand, if they are writing for pleasure, they can be encouraged to explore and use techniques that allow them to express themselves in whatever fashion best suits them.

Year six teachers need to understand what strategies can help their students differentiate between these contexts and meet expectations by applying the relevant standard of structure and organisation.


Paragraphs guide the reader through the text and are shaped and developed to ensure cohesion.

While the structure of paragraphs and their purpose is often taught in primary school, the importance of composing them effectively when writing needs to be consistently recognised. Every section should be crafted to meet a specific purpose, such as introducing an idea, supporting a point and concluding.

For example, when explaining the steps in a workflow process, each paragraph should be linked to the previous one, using cohesive devices like transition words and alterations.

With appropriate paragraphing, it can be easier for the reader to make sense of what has been written – particularly if they are looking for greater depth in understanding.

This being said, it is essential to remember that paragraph length should naturally vary based on what is being communicated; this can divide information into easily digestible chunks, resulting in deeper, more meaningful comprehension for both teacher and pupil alike!

Openings and Endings

The endings of writing are clear and linked to openings dependent on the text type.

One of the critical ways to assess areas is to evaluate the quality of their endings and how well they link back to their initial openings. Different elements may be more critical in creating solid climaxes depending on the text type used.

For example, conclusions in an argumentative essay should provide closure and support the main idea, while more creative flair could be added to a fiction piece.

Please encourage your children to truly grasp this concept and use it as a benchmark for their writing capabilities!

Individual Viewpoint

Establish a convincing individual viewpoint and sustain it throughout the piece of writing

Creating a convincing individual viewpoint and sustaining it throughout is essential for year six students mastering writing skills. However, this is often easier said than done.

Maintaining a consistent theme and opinion can be challenging and requires appropriate topics to be discussed thoroughly to keep the piece of writing focused.

Planning an organised structure is critical so ideas can be logically developed rather than losing focus or varying from the original point of view and opinion.

Year six teachers should ensure they provide pupils with tasks that explore different perspectives, so they can understand how to effectively create and sustain a credible individual viewpoint when undertaking their own writing projects.

The use of sentences is controlled, and various structures are used to create specific effects.

Year six teachers should understand that having their students use controlled sentences with a range of structures can create the desired effect in their work. By focusing on specific expressions and varied structures, children can further show greater depth in their writing and increase their writing ability.

Through this careful control and range of structures, year six writers will have an advantage in producing creative and thought-provoking works.

Sentence Structure

The use of sentences is controlled, and various structures are used to create specific effects.

Year six teachers should understand that having their students use controlled sentences with a range of structures can create the desired effect in their work. By focusing on specific expressions and varied structures, children can further show greater depth in their writing and increase their writing ability.

Through this careful control and range of structures, year six writers will have an advantage in producing creative and thought-provoking works.

Literacy Devices

Literary devices are well-chosen and used appropriately to create the intended effects.

As a teacher, it is essential to recognise when your students’ work shows they are using literary devices creatively and effectively. Being able to use the suitable device in the right way will help them create the intended effect.

For example, if they want to show anger in character, then using the personification of an object could be one way to go about it.

This will allow them to portray their idea without directly explaining them with dialogue. Understanding how and when to use literary devices helps children express themselves more effectively and can take their learning to a much more exciting level.


Use the range of punctuation taught at Key Stage 2 correctly.

Understanding when and how to use the range of punctuation taught at Key Stage 2 is integral to helping children become competent writers. Teaching children the proper use of apostrophes, colons, semi-colons, and other punctuation will improve their writing clarity, allowing them to explain ideas in more depth.

Year six teachers must ensure their students are confident in using punctuation correctly since it helps them work at a higher skill level and express themselves better.

Use punctuation to avoid ambiguity or enhance meaning.

Specifically, in the context of year six students, precise and deliberate use of punctuation can help communicate complex ideas accurately, ensuring their teachers and any wider readership are transparent and informed by a lack of precision.

It is especially pertinent that young students realise the importance of using punctuation correctly, as it will stand them in good stead to become adept communicators throughout their school career and beyond into adult life.


Consistently apply Year Six spelling expectations across their writing.

Learning effective spelling strategies and fundamentals at this age is particularly important, as it will help students to perfect their writing abilities and scribe more fluidly. Recognising when they are progressing towards meeting their age group’s expectations helps teachers motivate their pupils to strive for greater depth in their writing.

Therefore, teachers should be well versed in the age-related expectations of Year Six spelling and implement them across the board; this will provide the children with the foundation they need to improve upon and successfully meet these expectations.

Writing Style

Writing is fluent, joined and legible with a developed personal style.

As the year six teacher, it’s vital to ensure that your students develop a specific writing style that is fluent and legible. This style should connect sentences with clear links so the reader can follow the idea of their writing.

An added bonus is when students naturally inject their personal flair into their work – this expression level can greatly reward any teacher.

The time and effort put in by both yourself and the student will go a long way towards creating quality pieces of writing that truly stand out!

Teaching year six students the importance of using literary devices, punctuation and spelling correctly, as well as developing their own writing style, can be vital for their success.

Adopting these strategies will help them advance to higher levels of learning and communication and give them the tools they need to express themselves more fluently.

By providing students with a strong foundation, they will be able to cultivate a writing style that is both clear and interesting. This will aid them in their future academic work and any other written tasks they may face. 

If you found this useful, please send our article What Makes A Greater Depth Writer In Year Five to those teachers that need it!

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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