We aim to ensure all of our children develop a genuine love of language and the written word, through a text-based approach. Our writing curriculum ensures that children develop both their transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing). Across our writing curriculum, a range of purposes for writing are sequenced, so that children make progress in different styles of writing (for example narrative writing, informative writing and persuasive writing.) Writing units span a few weeks at a time, focusing on a particular type of writing. This ensures children have time to refine and embed their writing based on feedback and responsive teaching.
We ensure that our children develop an understanding of how widely writing is used in everyday life and, therefore, how important and useful the skills are that they are learning.
Our intentions in writing are for children to:
- write for a purpose;
- see themselves as real writers;
- take ownership of their writing;
- see writing as an interesting and enjoyable process;
- acquire the ability to organise and plan their written work.
In Early Years, children write daily. ‘Hold a Sentence’ writing forms part of RWInc lessons. Composition is completed during small group writing sessions.
In Key Stages 1 and 2, children:
- follow the national curriculum through a text-mapped curriculum devised by the school;
- have four or 5 English sessions each week.
Each writing unit includes the following steps:
- immersion (linked to the class novel): discussing and investigating the features of the genre and generating ideas for writing;
- grammar, punctuation or literary devices: focused teaching and practice in the context of the shared text and genre outcome;
- text and genre deconstruction: unpicking text structures and genre features;
- planning: story mapping and text organisation;
- co-construction: shared and modelled writing;
- writing: independent writing;
- editing: focusing on the technical aspects of writing;
- redrafting: rewrite to develop authorial voices and language choices;
- performing or publishing.
Some of these steps occur more than once within the unit; this supports children to build their knowledge of the text type, grammar and punctuation in discrete chunks before completing their final piece. This ensures they have multiple opportunities to practise the key elements of the unit of work.
Oracy skills are central to our writing curriculum. Children are given multiple opportunities to orally rehearse their own writing, and analyse the impact of authorial choices from the class text.
By using an ‘I do’ (teacher modelling), ‘We do’ (co-construction and partner work). ‘You do’ (independent work) approach throughout each step of the unit, we support children to develop as confident, independent writers.
Teachers use assessment as an integral part of the teaching and learning process and link it clearly to the children’s next steps. At Parklands, we use:
- formative assessment grids (statements taken from the NC), can be found in the front cover of the children’s books;
- constructive marking with ‘next steps’ and ‘modelling’ where appropriate. Teachers leave next steps in books when marking to ensure that children know exactly what they need to do next to make progress in their writing and children are encouraged to respond to this in green pen.
The impact on our children is that they have the knowledge and skills to be able to write successfully for a purpose and audience. With the implementation of the writing sequence being established and taught in both key stages, children are becoming more confident writers and have the ability to plan, draft and edit their own work.
By the end of Key Stage 2, children have developed a writer’s craft, they enjoy sustained writing and can manipulate language, grammar and punctuation to create effect. As all aspects of English are an integral part of the curriculum, cross curricular writing standards have also improved and skills taught in the English lesson are transferred into other subjects; this shows consolidation of skills and a deeper understanding of how and when to use specific language, grammar and punctuation.
Grammar, Punctuation, Vocabulary and Spelling
The teaching of grammar, punctuation, vocabulary and spelling is embedded within reading and writing lessons so that children learn these skills and use them in context. Explicit teaching of grammar, punctuation and spelling is also an integral component of our writing curriculum.
Our curriculum is carefully sequenced to ensure that children build a secure understanding of grammatical features and learn to apply them effectively in a range of contexts. Not only do we teach grammar and punctuation in English lessons, we timetable three extra grammar sessions throughout the week in KS2.
Vocabulary is hugely important in our setting and building this is vitally important for our children. In KS2, Suave Words are introduced to the children at the beginning of each week and are learnt daily throughout each term. Etymology is also studied weekly, focusing on root words, prefixes and suffixes, along with Word Ladders, which explore on synonyms and antonyms. NC Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation Progression plans are in place, to ensure a development of vocabulary across KS2.
Spelling is also taught explicitly in each year group. In Key Stage 1, spelling is a focus of Phonics teaching, which is taught using the Read Write Inc materials. In Key Stage 2, children follow the Spelling Shed programme.
We teach children to use a continuous cursive style of handwriting using the Letter-Join scheme. They start with individual letter formation and correct pencil grip in EYFS. Children begin to join when their letter formation is secure; usually, from Year 2. Children are expected to produce neat, joined, legible handwriting at all times. Handwriting sessions have been timetabled into the week, to ensure standards are kept high.