I am passionate about the program and have seen firsthand the benefits in my own classroom. This is a change-agent for teaching writing.

Dawn’s story of writing improvement

Here at Seven Steps, we feel privileged to work alongside so many dedicated educators. And we love nothing more than sharing their inspiring stories with our community.

Our latest success story comes all the way from regional WA and showcases the profound impact one teacher can have, not just on their own students but on the wider school community.

This incredible Seven Steps teacher is also featured in the cover story of the March – May 2024 Education Matters. Grab your copy from the staff room to read the full article or click on the link at the end of this post.

Life-changing professional learning

Dawn Veary discovered Seven Steps at the same time she was exploring evidence-based strategies to engage her most reluctant writers. “I have always included a writing improvement goal in my performance management agreements over the years and in 2020 my manager mentioned Seven Steps to Writing Success PD (professional development).”

“When you live 400 kilometres from Perth, it is expensive and difficult to participate in quality PD, so I was delighted to find that Seven Steps offered online workshops.”

And Dawn was further delighted by the expert-led training itself. “It was exciting. It was inspiring – and the following day I’d incorporate what I’d learnt with my Year 3 students. This was life-changing for both my students and my teaching. Their excitement and enthusiasm was immediate.”

Even for a classroom teacher with more than 30 years’ experience, everything about this approach to writing hit differently for Dawn:


It’s fascinating to watch your students progress and transform before your eyes. By the end of that first year, I could honestly say that I no longer had a single reluctant writer in my Year 3 class, and what’s more, it was those same students who were now clamouring to share their writing with the class.


Success for all students

In 2022, Dawn completed additional Seven Steps training focused specifically on persuasive and informative writing. “This workshop was intensive, and I was happy to be spacing the sessions across three weeks, as it gave me time to absorb what I’d learnt and implement it in my class to fully understand how it could integrate with my school’s pedagogy of inquiry-based learning,” she says.

The tools and strategies she learnt greatly impacted her students’ writing. “Writing collaboratively was an amazing personal growth experience for all students. In the mixed ability groups, weaker students ‘stepped up’ to write stronger texts using the shared resources of information. Peers were able to support each other to produce a high- level piece of informative writing.”

>> Blog: How to transform students informative writing through collaboration
In this blog, see how Dawn takes her students’ informative writing to the next level after attending Workshop Two. See brainstorming and writing samples.

Getting the whole school on board

“We were comfortable with our students’ writing performance, but I knew we could do better. I wanted all our students to experience the emotional wellbeing of not feeling threatened by writing tasks but becoming capable and creative writers.”

Dawn shared the benefits of the Seven Steps with her school, Margaret River Primary. “In my quest to make this a whole-school experience, I continued to share outcomes with my colleagues – classroom anecdotes, students’ written work and hard data from Seven Steps assessment tools. I wanted them to see the impact the approach was having on my students’ writing.” 

“It was important that my colleagues saw it as something integral to what we were already doing, and not ‘another new initiative’ that increased workload or would be a passing fad. I shared some of the tools and strategies I’d used with my Year 3 students, and my colleagues were excited about the potential and saw how closely aligned it was with our school’s pedagogy.”

The improvements in student writing and the potential benefits for the wider school community eventually caught the eye of leadership. So, they invested in a whole-school face-to-face PD in late 2023.

A change-agent for teaching writing

Importantly, a supportive leadership team has backed this program from the start. “Now, in 2024, four Seven Steps ambassadors are actively teaching the Seven Steps, and three leaders across junior, middle and senior level are ready to offer support and encouragement,” says Dawn.

“This will be a critical year to build on last term’s professional development. I am passionate about the program and have seen firsthand the benefits in my own classroom, first with Year 3 students and now that I am teaching Year 6, the benefits have been exponential. This is a change-agent for teaching writing.”

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