As with a deconstructed menu item, the idea is to make all the ingredients of an academic essay visible to students.

The approach to analytical writing is based on an approach used at St Martin’s Catholic Academy in Leicestershire. This is a school outside OAT which we visited because it achieves a positive progress score of over 1.0 for GCSE English language and we wanted to find out how. As with all great schools, there are always too many variables to pin down success to any one strategy, but one of the approaches that impressed us was what Head of English, Liz Smart, referred to as ‘the deconstructed essay’.

If you were to order, say, a deconstructed burger from a fancy restaurant you’d have the bun, meat, relish etc all served separately; it is up to the patron to reconstruct the ingredients into a recognisable burger. The deconstructed essay is similar. Each of the elements of an analytic essay has been isolated into a discrete sentence which can be taught and practised to the point of mastery. These sentences have been distributed over the KS3 curriculum so that students are introduced to three analytic sentence types per year.

1. Thesis statements
2. Controlling idea
3. Topic sentences
4. Evidence
5. Analyse
6. Evaluate
7. Compare
8. Context
9. Extend

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