24th November 2021 is annual ‘No pens day’. This is an opportunity across schools and early years settings to put down writing tools and use speaking and listening skills.

Writing is often at the forefront of school life. But this can be such an effortful physical process for some children, that it can detract from opportunities for creativity and imaginative thought. This is an opportunity to develop skills in conversation, debate and discussion, putting talking at the centre of learning.

Throughout a child’s learning journey, they are encouraged to complete pieces of physical ‘work’ to evidence their learning; but we know that it is the ‘process’ of learning and not necessarily the ‘product’ which is the most memorable part of their school life.

For children with SLCN and indeed the whole class, ‘No pens day’ can still be accompanied by visual support to aid understanding and support retention and processing skills, but without the idea of the child producing a ‘product’ which evidences what they have completed in the lesson.

What will you do on ‘No pens day’? Here are a few ideas:

  • Play it out! Encourage children to use their bodies for practical maths activities and act out stories. Recalling what they have heard and understood.

  • Make radio broadcasts and TV shows together, so that children can work together, problem-solving and sharing their knowledge with words and actions.

  • Use language skills to talk through problems, questions and reason in debates.

  • Create collaborative pieces of big artwork, encouraging children to work through their ideas, explain and describe what they are doing.

  • Work together outside to create a manmade stream or waterfall.


    Enjoy no pens day and embrace the freedom to be expressive and creative!

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