Writing

 

Aims and Objectives

It is our vision at St Mary’s that children will become confident writers who develop fluency and depth of understanding of a range of genres and can use grammar, punctuation and spelling skills to write with purpose. They will take pride in the presentation of their work and be able to transfer these writing skills across all subject areas.

  • Children will experience a range of quality and engaging texts that inspire and motivate both boys and girls to write.
  • They will be exposed to rich vocabulary through different genres that will widen their imagination and stimulate them, allowing them to understand that writing has a real purpose and that word choice and style can bring about change.
  • We will encourage children to be resilient, resourceful learners who strive to succeed and take responsibility for their own learning; equipped with the skills they require to carefully select appropriate resources to support their learning.
  • In particular, they will recognise the importance of the editing and redrafting process to improve their writing.
  • Children will leave St Mary’s as competent, confident and fluent writers.

How the Subject is Planned

At St Mary’s, we have created a long-term plan for writing that maps out different genres and text types in each year group.  To ensure progression, some writing skills are solely taught in certain year groups but these are reviewed and revisited through reading, science and topic work.  Writing opportunities in other subject areas are also mapped out in medium term planning to ensure that writing skills are transferred in all subject areas.  Texts have been carefully chosen to link to, support and extend writing in topic areas. Grammar and Spelling coverage is also linked in, where possible, to text types. Planning for writing is continually reviewed and adapted to link with curriculum design and the national curriculum.

Pupils are taught through modelling and practising skills for speaking, listening, reading and writing to enable them to succeed in learning and to lead rewarding lives. This sequence enables children to develop their vocabulary and grammar in the early stages, which then allows them to produce increasingly well rounded, high quality texts. This, alongside regular opportunities for editing, ensures that all children meet or exceed the Age Related Expectations of writing.

Spelling

There is a high expectation within the National Curriculum that children will learn many increasingly complex words. At St Mary’s, we use the No-Nonsense Spelling Scheme to teach spellings to ensure coverage and consistency of teaching across the school.  Children are given the opportunity to practise a range of strategies for learning spellings.   This enables children to choose the strategies they find most effective for learning different words.  We will be focusing on the teaching of spelling, which embraces knowledge of spelling conventions, patterns and rules; but integral to the teaching is the opportunity to promote the learning of spellings, including statutory words, common exceptions and personal spellings.  Once learned there is the expectation that these words will be spelled correctly in independent writing in all subjects.  Children have their own spelling journal to be used to support the learning of spellings.  These will enable children to take responsibility for their spelling learning.  They will be used to:

  • Practise strategies
  • Record rules and conventions
  • Refer to word lists and phonetic charts
  • ‘Have a go’ at the point of writing (write a word up to three times to see which one looks right, then choose that word to use in their writing)
  • Word investigations
  • Record personal spellings and targets

Handwriting

Cursive handwriting is taught from Year 1.  

Foundation Stage

Early writing skills begin with physical development. The EYFS provision needs to include opportunities to develop upper body strength, shoulder pivot, elbow pivot and wrist pivot. Children should have access to fine motor skills activities and a range of writing implements to give children the dexterity to manipulate a pencil using the correct, effective grip for writing. Our indoor and outdoor provision offers opportunities to write and make marks for meaning; this may include writing labels, lists or messages.

KS1 and KS2

Children will have a variety of starting points which begin with giving meaning to their marks and emergent writing, moving onto writing using letter shapes and their phonological knowledge. It is important to create a culture which excites the children to write and to get enjoyment from it. We recognise the vital role parents play in engaging and supporting their children in the writing process. Support is provided to parents of appropriate ways to support their children’s love of writing.

Units of work are generally delivered over one to three weeks, depending on the text type. Each unit will build pupils’ knowledge and skills in writing to this particular text type. Pupils will be able to independently produce a piece of work in the style of the focus text type by the end of each unit. Writing in the specified text type will be applied to another area of the curriculum in the following weeks to facilitate the retention of that knowledge.

Teaching Approaches

Sequences of English lessons typically begin by using high quality texts so that the children can learn from different authors and styles of writing, copying both their structure and style. Texts are broken down so that pupils understand the mechanics of the writing, the grammar, vocabulary, punctuation and sentence structure. This is followed by shared and modelled writing with the teacher, which helps to nurture the children’s fluency and creativity. The children then apply their skills in independent pieces of writing which are finally edited and improved by the individual child as well as receiving some input from their peers. Children are taught to edit their writing for grammar, punctuation, spelling and style.

Example Phases of English Unit Planning at St Mary’s

Phase

Key Activities

Familiarise

(1-3 days)

Assessment piece to gain an idea of starting points

Shared read of model text

Learn the text

Map the text using graphic organisers

Explore the text through drama

Analyse

(2-3 days)

Deep dive into the text

Analyse the structure of the text type

Look at sentence construction

Explore vocabulary

Generate writing tool kits and success criteria for the text type

Experiment

(2-3 days)

Use the tool kits to experiment with structure, sentence construction and vocabulary

Short burst writing activities to explore key learning

Write short sections based on the model text

Write a text based closely on the model text

Revise and edit referring to success criteria

Application

(4-5 days)

Planning:

Set writing goals

Generate ideas for writing

Use graphic organisers to note-make and plan

Use DEAL strategies to engage and prompt discussion

Drafting:

Note down key ideas

Graphic organisers

Writing frames

Sharing:

Share ideas and drafts to give pupils feedback

Evaluating:

Check writing goals and success criteria are being achieved through self, peer and teacher assessment

Revising:

Make changes in light of feedback and self-evaluation

Identify a section to improve

Use a thesaurus or vocabulary banks

Editing:

Make changes to ensure accuracy and coherence of the text

Use dictionaries

Check and improve accuracy of sentence construction

Publishing:

Present the work or a section of it so others can read it

Marking, feedback and reporting

Feedback is an integral part of all lessons; it is an essential tool to enable pupil’s progress. A range of feedback used during writing:

Peer Feedback – Within all lessons, pupils are given the opportunity to discuss their learning and understanding with each other. They share ideas and learn from one another through sharing work.

Teacher Feedback – Verbal feedback is given throughout all lessons. Teachers are giving feedback to pupils as they continually assess their learning. Written feedback is provided using the schools marking policy.

Self-Assessment Feedback – Pupils are encouraged self-assess during extended pieces of writing. Targeted questions are given to the pupils to help them analyse and assess their own learning and identify areas for further improvement and development.

Half -termly assessments are made of pupils’ writing in order to establish the level of attainment and progress and to inform future planning. Writing data is verbally reported to parents at parents evening and detailed within the children’s annual reports.

Periodically, St Mary’s introduce a whole school text with the same writing task across the school to allow benchmarking throughout the school and key stages. 

Cross-curricular

Good quality writing is also expected in other subjects, such as science and topic, giving the children opportunities to write for different purposes.

Links to Community, Locality and Trips

Children will be given the opportunity to attend carefully planned trips each year which will provide a purpose for writing e.g. a recount about their time at PGL (Y6) and how to make a hat (Hat works Y2).

Role of the Subject Leader

The Subject leader has a variety of roles. These include:

  • Taking the lead in policy development and quality assuring the planning, delivery and assessment of writing
  • Supporting colleagues in their development and implementation of the teaching of writing
  • Monitoring progress in writing and advising the Senior Leadership Team and Governors on action needed
  • Using release time to support colleagues and disseminate information
  • Auditing resources, monitoring and directing the spending in relation to the subject
  • Keeping up-to-date through research and continuing professional development and attendance at writing co-ordinators meetings

Writing Progression