Writing a report

Home learning focus

Learn how to write a report.

This lesson includes:

  • two videos

  • three activities


Watch this video to learn how BBC Sport journalists write a formal non-chronological report.

How to write a non-chronological report.

Learn more about the key features of a formal report by watching this video.

How to write a report.

Formal language

The purpose of your writing, as well as your audience, will help you decide whether to use a formal or informal style of language.

In an informative report, formal language is used and may include includes the following features:

  • A serious instead of a chatty tone.
  • Clear and to the point.
  • Specialist vocabulary for the subject.
  • No slang or contractions (there is instead of there’s).
  • Includes complex or multi-clause sentences.


Formal: We went to watch the new movie. It was excellent.

Informal: We’ve seen the new movie. It’s wicked!

The key features of a formal report:

  • Research your topic first - find out key facts, interesting information and organise into groups.

  • Brief introduction - explain what or who you are writing about and why it or they are special.

  • Sub-headings - break up your writing into easily identifiable sections.

  • Formal language.

  • Complex sentences, including subordinate clause sentences (It was a lovely day until it started raining), and relative clause sentences (Maham, who was fast, ran past the defender).

  • Facts only - use statistics or studies to support your points, but don’t include your opinion.

  • Layout - make your report clear and use pictures to illustrate key points.


You may need paper and a pen or pencil for some of these activities.

Activity 1

Check your understanding of formal reports by completing this quiz.

Activity 2

You can either print out this activity sheet or write your answers on a piece of paper.

Have a look at this formal report on Olympian Jessica Ennis-Hill.

Can you find the key features you learnt from the video?

Jessica Ennis-Hill report worksheet

Top Tip!

Using complex sentences, when creating your own formal report, is an effective way to add extra information as well as fluency to your piece.


This sentence includes both a relative clause and a subordinating conjunction:

Jessica Ennis-Hill, who won Olympic gold in 2012, has inspired a generation. Ennis-Hill is one of Britain’s greatest athletes although she is very modest!

Activity 3

Think of your favourite celebrity, musician, sportsperson or hero.

Write a formal report about them.

Remember to use these points:

  • Research your topic first
  • Brief introduction
  • Sub-headings
  • Formal language
  • Complex sentences
  • Facts only
  • Clear layout

Where next?

In this lesson you have learnt to write a report.

There are other useful articles on Bitesize to help you to understand more about factual writing:

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