At Elburton Primary School, we believe that everyone can succeed in writing and we aim to develop children’s ability to produce well-structured writing with appropriate detail that engages the reader. We aim to engage our pupils through a relevant, exciting and challenging writing curriculum which inspires curiosity and provides strong links to high-quality texts and a range of stimulating experiences. Through our writing teaching, we aim to develop children who have a positive and enthusiastic attitude towards writing. We strive for our children to become proficient in the skills which enable them to write with confidence and fluency for a range of purposes and across different genres.
We encourage children to take pride in their work, to ensure children produce legible and cursive handwriting. We aim to develop our children’s ability to plan, draft and improve their work through the understanding of sentence structures, grammar and spelling patterns as required in the National Curriculum.
Through our writing teaching, we want children to:
- Develop understanding and skills to become independent, enthusiastic writers.
- Enjoy using language in different contexts and have the confidence and ability to do so.
- Develop a fluent, legible handwriting style and take care with the presentation of their work.
- Understand the impact their writing has on their audience and write with this in mind.
Throughout the school, teachers plan the majority of writing opportunities based on high-quality texts which promote vocabulary acquisition and develop the children’s cultural capital. The writing opportunities are mapped out carefully at the start of the year to develop strong cross-curricular links where these are meaningful. Every class has a novel, or in KS1, a selection of picture books, that are chosen in relation to their topic and demonstrate high-quality language and writing skills. When planning writing lessons, teachers plan the learning experiences using high-quality texts, film clips or first-hand experiences as hooks to the unit.
An emphasis on spoken English and oracy is evident within all writing units with children preparing for all stages of their writing journey with high quality discussions and the sharing of ideas.
During the year, the children are given the opportunity to write for different purposes including for a wider audience such as Plymouth’s ‘Call of the Wild’ writing competition and Mayflower 400 and this is an important aspect of developing them as writers.
The teaching sequence used throughout the school involves three phases:
The exploring phase:
During this stage, children are immersed in the text to familiarise themselves with the language and features of the genre. A variety of activities are used in the exploring phase of the unit and include the following:
* Reading for meaning activities
* Oracy activities
* Role play and storytelling
* Vocabulary games
* Understanding key vocabulary and acquiring vocabulary for the unit
* Story and text mapping
* Identifying features of the genre and developing success criteria.
The modelling phase:
Once the children are familiar with the text, they are taught the key grammatical features and terminology for that unit of writing through carefully focussed instruction. This gives all children the skills needed to write in a specific genre and that is relevant to the text type incorporated into the teaching sequence. Teachers then model the writing process through carefully sequenced blocks. As they unpick the writing process to prepare them for independent writing, a toolkit / checklist is built of features required for the written outcome. The building stage includes a range of activities:
* Grammar lessons linked to the outcome of the final write
* Punctuation needed to control the writing process
* Teacher Modelling of the writing process through sentence stacking
* Oracy to rehearse sentence structures
* Paired writing activities
The enabling phase:
Now that the children have developed these skills, they are equipped to be able to transfer them into an independent piece of writing. This will demonstrate their knowledge of the language features, grammar skills and style of writing they have been working on. There is an independent written outcome at the end of each unit of work. Editing is crucial to the writing process and children are given the necessary skills to support them with independent editing of written work and children use a ‘purple polishing pen’ to complete the editing process.
Each unit lasts for approximately three weeks.
They are effectively differentiated by outcome to ensure that every child can be successful in their achievement of the learning intention, with high expectations for all learners. Success criteria are shared with the children prior to independent work and these also indicate how greater depth can be achieved and demonstrated.
In order to measure the impact of our writing provision, we complete regular monitoring and there is an established whole school assessment cycle. Each term, children produce an independent piece of writing linked to the genre taught that term in their ‘Progress Books’ which is assessed using Horizon MAT Evidence Gathering Grids. These writes are monitored carefully through cross year moderation where data is agreed by year groups and during Horizon MAT moderation sessions. This is an important aspect of the standardisation of writing. Once data has been agreed, it is inputted on Arbor according to the school’s assessment policy and this is discussed during Pupil Progress Meetings on a termly basis.
In addition to specific writing assessments, we have weekly spelling tests, termly NFER spelling and grammar tests to track progress in grammar acquisition and spelling understanding.
Our writing curriculum enables us to:
- Use a range of writing strategies throughout the school to develop our children’s writing skills which support the depth and breadth of our writing curriculum.
- Use both scheduled and responsive interventions to support all of our children, including those with SEND and EAL.
- Using a MAT wide assessment tool provides us with detailed information about specific weaknesses and difficulties. This allows us to provide high-quality first support through the use of lesson time, as well as the careful scheduling of interventions.