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Writing

Writing Subject Leader: Jade Mobbs

At Rushton Primary School, we believe that knowledge, understanding and the successful application of the English language is a fundamental life skill; it develops children’s ability to communicate their experiences, desires and knowledge effectively and successfully. Throughout our school, we aim to nurture and develop independent writers through purposeful, engaging and developmental lessons, which link to our rich and stimulating creative curriculum work. During our Talk for Writing lessons, we support our children to express themselves creatively and imaginatively, as they become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama; as well as non-fiction and media texts. Our children also gain an understanding of how language works by looking at its patterns, structures and origins and use their knowledge, skills and understanding across a range of different situations. The daily talk for writing lessons are linked to the current national curriculum objectives.

The units of work begin with a cold write, which is an independent piece of writing to assess previous understanding and knowledge. The children then repeat this task at the end of the unit as a hot write. This showcases the progress and learning that has taken place across the unit.

At the end of EYFS

Children will be able to segment the sounds in simple words, blend them together and also link sounds to letters, naming and sounding the letters of the alphabet. They will use some clearly identifiable letters to communicate meaning, represent some sounds correctly and in sequence. Children will also write their own name and other things such as labels and captions and in addition, write short sentences in meaningful contexts which can be read by themselves and others. Some of these words will be spelt correctly and others will be phonetically plausible.

At the end of Key Stage 1

Pupils will be able to spell by segmenting spoken words into phonemes and represent these by graphemes and learn a few common homophones. They will also learn how to spell common exception words and words with contracted forms. In addition, they will learn how to add suffixes to spell longer words. Children will learn how to develop positive attitudes towards and stamina for writing, by writing narratives about personal experiences and those of others, writing about real events, writing poetry and understand that we write for different purposes. They will be able to plan their work by firstly saying out loud what they are going to write about, then writing down their ideas and learning how to make simple additions, revisions and corrections to their own writing. With regards to grammar and punctuation, they will learn how to use both familiar and new punctuation correctly including full stops, capital letters, exclamation marks, question marks, commas for lists and apostrophes for contracted forms. They will learn how to use sentences with different forms such as statement, question, exclamation, command. Also, they will know how to use expanded noun phrases to describe, use the present and past tenses correctly and consistently. With regards to handwriting, children will be able to form lower-case letters of the correct size relative to one another making sure they start using some of the diagonal and horizontal strokes needed to join letters, write capital letters and digits of the correct size, orientation and relationship to one another and know how to use spacing between words that reflects the size of the letters.

At the end of Key Stage 2

Pupils will be able to use further prefixes and suffixes and understand the guidance for adding them and also spell some words with ‘silent’ letters. They will be able to continue to distinguish between homophones and other words and use knowledge of morphology and etymology in spelling and understand that the spelling of some words needs to be learnt specifically. Children will be able to show they can use dictionaries and thesauruses effectively. They will be able to write legibly, fluently and with increasing speed. Also, they will plan their writing by identifying the audience and purpose of the writing and noting and developing initial ideas. When writing narratives, they will consider how authors have developed characters and settings showing they can draft their writing first and can write at length having developed the stamina necessary for this. Children will be able to evaluate and edit their writing by proofreading for spelling and punctuation errors. They will be able to recognise vocabulary and structures that are appropriate for formal speech and writing, including subjunctive forms and use passive verbs to affect the presentation of information in a sentence. Children will be able to use expanded noun phrases, modal verbs, adverbs, relative clauses, commas, hyphens, brackets, dashes or commas to indicate parenthesis, semicolons, colons or dashes accurately in their writing.

Pedagogy: How the Curriculum is Taught

Our writing curriculum is taught using the following key components:

  • In lessons, the content delivered is coherently sequenced and chunked into three core stages to ensure that learning is progressive.

  • Talk for Writing is an inclusive approach to the teaching of writing. The model texts shared are aspirational and challenging. Effective scaffolds and extensions (based on the needs of individual learners) are essential in lessons to ensure that all learners are able to access the content of lessons.

  • ‘Cold Tasks’ are completed in advance of the start of the unit. This is where children will complete a piece of writing independently before the next new unit. These identified areas should then inform planning for the unit ahead.

  • Vocabulary is systematically built across the curriculum. Teachers use whole class chorusing, stem sentences and repetition of key words and sentences to ensure pupils develop a clear understanding. Use of fast paced questioning ensures that all pupils are secure in the vocabulary that they need.

  • Systemic retrieval practice ensures that all pupils retain new learning.

  • Pupils work in mixed attainment classes and in mixed attainment learning partners and pupil work is not differentiated by task.

  • Teaching is underpinned by methodical, coherent, curriculum design and supported by carefully crafted lessons to develop and secure children’s understanding of grammatical and features of text types.

Assessment

We use a multi-faceted approach to assessment within writing.

  • Cold writes begin every unit and these are used to ascertain any missing skills that need to be taught

  • Retrieval practice takes place at the beginning of every lesson, and throughout

  • Assessment for learning is used within each lesson through skilful use of questioning and live feedback

  • Hot writes at the end of each unit provide opportunities for continuous assessment over the year

  • Staff writing moderation is carried out three times a year at the same time as the data drop, which ensures staff are assessing the children correctly and share good practice

 

Cultural Capital

Enrichment is an essential part of our writing curriculum which provides pupils with discrete time to deepen their learning.  They provide opportunities for new experiences as well as nurturing and developing a thirst for learning. 

 

We use a multi-faceted approach to enrichment within writing:

  • having exciting ‘hooks’ which begin every unit

  • using ‘hot’ writing as opportunities to write to outside agencies and companies

  • a whole school ‘writing week’

  • writing competitions

 

Career Professional Development

We develop strong subject knowledge amongst all staff which is achieved through comprehensive middle leadership development, a focus on developing all teachers’ subject knowledge and pedagogy. All staff benefit from implementing the high-quality planning resources provided by the Trust which is amended to meet the needs of all pupils.

 

Below is a summary of the CPD activities bespoke to writing:

  • Sharing knowledge from trust-wide meetings

  • Bespoke training videos

  • 1:1 discussions with staff about lessons

  • Drop in sessions with the writing lead

  • External training given by Talk for Writing specialists

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