Our intention is that children enjoy the process of writing and see themselves as passionate and successful writers. We aim to provide opportunities to enable 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. We balance our teaching of composition and transcription so that the children can write clearly, accurately and coherently adapting their style for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
Priority is given to the development of communication and language, with high quality adult interactions and explicit extending of children’s vocabulary being planned for in continuous provision.
During daily phonic lessons children are taught letter sounds and the grapheme that represents this sound. Children are given opportunities to practice using the correct tripod pencil grip when writing their letters so that their letters are formed correctly. They develop their writing skills using pencils and paper and are taught to sit with the correct posture at a table.
Writing in Key Stage 1
We teach the sequence of writing through the Talk for writing or the Power of Reading approach. These approaches are supplemented with sentence structure and text structure focus.
Prior to teaching a new text the teacher will identify the key vocabulary within the text and pre-teach children the tier 2 and tier 3 words to ensure that all children can access and engage with the text. Initial discussion about the text focuses on developing the oral and language skills that are essential for effective writing. We maximise opportunities for language and learning through peer collaboration.
Writing is a process and we provide children with a range of activities that support their organisation and development of their ideas, their understanding of what a model of excellence looks like, how to improve their own work through drafting, revising and editing and an audience to share their written form with.
Children are taught to blend and segment words as part of their daily RWI phonic provision. When each new sound is introduced the pre-cursive letter formation is also introduced as children practice green words. Letter formation is corrected and support given to those children who are experiencing difficulty with developing a fluent and pre-cursive style. Each week children will practice the green and red words that they have been taught in their spelling home book to reinforce their learning. As children progress on to the spelling element in Year 2, they are taught to spell and handwrite in conjunction so that they form the diagraphs that make up each new word in the pre-cursive and then cursive format.
When marking the writing, initially we refer to SAM to support the children, as children become more experienced writers we refer to the success criteria that we formed as a class during the evaluating what a model of excellence looked like. The children edit their own work in purple pen to show where they have made changes. Teachers mark the children’s work, highlighting where there are errors in grammar, punctuation and spelling at the appropriate level for each child to support their next steps of learning.
Writing in Key Stage 2
We use the Power of Reading approach as the basis to teaching writing so that children are given opportunities to explore the text prior to writing and develop their language capabilities. We adapt the approach to ensure there are grammar, punctuation and sentence structure lessons provided to ensure children are building the necessary skills to reach age related expectations in writing. A Talk for writing approach may be used to support children building a model write within their schema and building confidence as writers.
We develop children’s ability to write at greater length by breaking the writing process into stages: planning, drafting, revising, editing and publishing. This is not a linear process because each writing process and each writer will require different approaches. Alongside this we teach compositional strategies so that children learn about the sentence structure, grammar and punctuation required to elevate a piece of writing. Teaching children through repeated, regular meaningful practice ensures they have more cognitive skills to focus on transcription.
Planning: this involves gathering information, generating ideas, activating prior knowledge, reading exemplar texts to identify key features and considering the style of writing used. Knowing who the audience or purpose of the writing.
Drafting: noting down key ideas, setting a logical order for points to be covered, writing a draft of each section.
Revising: making changes to the content in light of feedback and self-evaluation. Re-reading and checking that it makes sense.
Editing: making changes to the text so that spelling and grammar are accurate.
Publishing: presenting their work so that others can read it. This may not be the outcome for all pieces of writing but should be for many.
We plan opportunities for children to write shorter pieces to build compositional fluency and their ability to write more sustained pieces at length. In KS2, this would be approximately 3 shorter pieces per week and 6 longer pieces over a half term. Our writing will take place in English lessons but will be embedded through further practice in cross-curricular subjects.
Grammar and punctuation will be taught as part of the planning and drafting stages of writing so that children can see where this is applied in writing. Alongside this staff use the Rising Stars Grammar and punctuation scheme to embed and teach concepts to ensure they have covered all aspects of the year group National Curriculum objectives.
Reading and SSP intervention will take priority for a child who has a reading age of below 8, as raising their phonic and reading age will impact upon their ability to write.
Most evidence-based research suggests that creating a culture of writers through collaborative and co-operative learning approaches alongside detailed feedback supports progress. Building self-motivation through creating opportunities for children to enjoy expressing themselves will aid progress. Therefore, at Newburgh we use mixed ability pairings and groupings at most stages of the writing process.
Intervention strategies focus on the mechanics of writing; spelling, handwriting, sentence construction, grammar and punctuation. Each intervention is time-limited with an initial and final assessment to measure progress, especially if this intervention takes place during the whole class writing lesson.
Assessment and feedback
In order for children to make progress they need to know what they need to do better and be given time to address these points. Marking writing is a complex task and will be completed in several different ways.
The teacher may read all the writing after a lesson and collect teaching points to address as a whole class the following lesson. For example, after a piece of writing, it is clear that the children do not understand how to use subordinate clauses and the teacher revisits this concept.
The teacher may live mark throughout the writing lesson, by reading sections and correcting writing with the child.
The teacher might work with a group of children at different stages of the writing process and live mark.
The children may self-assess/peer assess according to a success criteria. If the SC is colour-coded this will support the teacher recognising misconceptions. For example, if all the noun phrase are underlined in the conjunction colour, this demonstrates that a child has not fully understood the concept.
Individual marking and feedback to the child is necessary at points in the writing process and is beneficial for children to raise their awareness of their next steps of learning and to support their motivation and enjoyment of the process.
Throughout the year teachers will assess the objectives for English Writing for each child and each term will make a summative assessment of their writing level.
Moderation activities will take place to support teachers assessing efficiently and accurately. Key stage exemplar material will be used to support judgements.
At Newburgh Primary School we undertake the National Statutory Assessments at the end of EYFS, Year 1 and Year 6.