We believe that understanding language helps children to access the entire curriculum. Through being taught to write and speak fluently, pupils learn to communicate their ideas and emotions to others. This gives children a voice to share their ideas with the world. Considering the fundamental importance of writing in everyday life we are driven by the need to develop each learner’s writing ability thus enabling them to play a full part in society and giving them skills to become independent authors capable of expressing their own ideas and thoughts.
At St Nicholas Priory CE VA Primary School, we recognise that writing is integral to all aspects of life and we mindfully endeavour to ensure that children develop a lifelong, healthy and enthusiastic attitude towards writing. The skill of writing enables pupils to communicate with themselves and others while documenting and conveying their knowledge and ideas. Building on experiences, it encourages expression and higher order thinking skills to develop. Thus, creating a culture of writing in our school ensures our children are given the best opportunities to build their capacity and confidence in a range of writing styles. By creating a stimulating environment and employing appropriate resources, we are determined to provide all pupils with a supportive writing curriculum which will allow learners to recognise their full potential and develop their skills. Writing skills underpin most elements of the school curriculum and are an essential life-skill. Considering the fundamental importance of writing in everyday life, we are driven by the need to develop each learner’s writing ability, thus enabling them to play a full part in society.
To develop imaginative, creative and confident writers.
To provide children with a range of writing strategies and grammatical skills to enable them to write confidently.
To ensure that no opportunity is missed to create a real purpose for writing, to foster enjoyment and recognition of its value.
To help children develop a positive and enthusiastic attitude towards writing, which will nurture a life-long love of writing.
To be exposed to high-quality texts and explore a wide variety of genres and to provide exemplar models for children to aspire to.
To ensure that children of all abilities are able to access, explore and enjoy writing.
Spelling is taught using the national curriculum objectives. A weekly spelling test is carried out to ensure children learn common exception words and the national curriculum word list relevant to their year group. Rules and patterns are explicitly taught in short sessions, focusing on one rule each week to fully embed this knowledge.
We expect pupils to present their work neatly. Fine motor skills and handwriting are taught throughout the school. We teach handwriting using Letterjoin and pupils are expected to join their writing from year 3 onwards. These sessions are explicitly taught once a week.
Each unit of writing follows a format of:
Phase 1: Explore – This phase involves immersion in the text type. Pupils are introduced to a core text as a starting point. Pupils are able to articulate the purpose of the text and the audience it is written for. From here the children learn to analyse exemplar texts (WAGOLLs) and discuss in depth the author’s intent and the authorial choices’ subsequent impact on the reader. This is carried out as a verbal activity in KS1 with a group analysis of the text. Features of the genre are identified as well as structural and organisational features and vocabulary use analysed with regard to intent and impact upon the reader and text as a whole. At this stage pupils are immersed in vocabulary relevant to the text type and context in which they will write. This allows them to collect a range of specific vocabulary to build upon and use in the next phase further embedding vocabulary and creating connections. Additionally, in KS2 at the start of each unit, the text type is signalled by a WAGOLL in the children’s books. This will be neatly labelled with the features for the text type, allowing a key reference point during the writing process and provide children with success criteria to judge their own writing against.
The teacher and children will talk around the language and phrases used in the text type, to convey the tone and style, including levels of formality within the text. Pupils will orally rehearse writing and continue to use dialogic strategies such as drama activities or rehearsing of sentences aloud to their peers in order to receive feedback and language suggestions. This will support them to acquire a deeper understanding of what they are about to write and the language they plan to use. This also offers opportunities to develop pupils’ vocabulary further and engage them in the writing task with increased understanding of purpose, audience and tone.
This phase is enhanced by:
· High quality visuals (still images or films)
· A creative experience (e.g. a drama activity)
Phase 2: Create – This phase is where children are taught new skills and will be completed over several sessions. Texts such as narratives are written in sections (e.g. focusing on story beginnings, middle and ends). Skills are taught within the context and are applied immediately to the child’s draft of their final outcome. This reduces cognitive overload and allows children to concentrate on content and purpose.
During these sessions the objective will link to key skills required in the genre or form of writing, these will be modelled and pupils will rehearse and apply these in context immediately in their writing.
Throughout the unit, the adult will model and co-construct a geoup text with the children using think aloud practices – this practice supports the children’s own oracy and confidence in managing the tone and authorial voice of the text. The teacher will model the construction of a text from the planning, acting as editor and guiding the children to offer suggestions and alternatives. Pupils will then work independently or in small guided groups, depending on need, to create their texts.
Phase 3: Publish – This phase allows the opportunity for pupils to publish their work. Wherever possible we wish to provide real purpose for writing. This may mean that pupils construct and send letters to companies or personalities, or publish their work for display. In some cases this may mean pulling sections of a text together – so that we have a final finished piece. Not every piece needs to be published but every piece does need to be complete.
Writing at St Nicholas will enable our pupils to communicate as life-long learners, allowing them to access the full curriculum and to participate as responsible citizens, acting on issues that matter to them locally and globally.
Pupils will value writing and be able to write for different purposes and audiences throughout the curriculum. They will have a sound understanding of grammar, punctuation and spelling as shown consistently in assessments. Pupils draw on a wide range of ambitious vocabulary to enhance their composition and consider the effect theirs and others’ writing has on a reader. Year 6 pupils leaving the school will be able to write with increased sophistication and consideration of the reader.
Writing will help pupils develop by editing their work and seeking to improve based on the feedback of their teachers and peers. Staff will promote high expectations encouraging children to take pride in their written work.