It is our intent that writing across the curriculum will inspire, engage and challenge all pupils, enabling them to develop the skills to effectively communicate their thoughts, ideas and emotions to others. We aim to build the pupils’ stamina for writing, vocabulary knowledge and understanding of grammar, by creating a positive approach to an increasingly wide range of text types (including areas of fiction, non-fiction and poetry).
We recognise the importance of fostering a culture where pupils take pride in their writing; write clearly and accurately; and modify their structure and language choices to suit a variety of audiences, purposes and contexts.
To support pupils in moving towards independent writing at the age-related standard, we provide a wide range of writing stimuli, including the use of film and imagery; modelled, shared and guided writing; peer conferencing; and group discussion. These rich and varied set of learning opportunities support pupils in becoming confident and enthusiastic learners across all areas of the curriculum. At St Michael’s Primary School, we want writing to equip our pupils with the necessary tools to communicate effectively and to provide them with the skills to become lifelong creative writers.
As we believe consistency and well-taught English is the bedrock of a valuable education, at St Michael’s Primary, we ensure that the teaching of writing is purposeful, robust and shows clear progression for all children. In line with the new national curriculum, we ensure that each year group is teaching the grammar, punctuation and spelling objectives required for that age groups.
In reception and Year 1, children learn the spellings related to the RWI sounds that they are learning. Spelling is taught daily through this scheme and embedded in the teaching of reading and writing. Children are also taught red words, which are high frequency words and these are embedded in the rich and varied texts that the children are learning.
From Year 2 onwards, children continue their spelling journey through the teaching of the set words for each year group. The children have regular opportunities to practise these words in the week and have a weekly spelling test. Spelling patterns are assessed at the start and end of every half term to measure the children’s progress.
As well as teaching the objectives, teachers are able to embed the skills throughout the year in cross-curricular writing opportunities and ensure that most children are achieving the objectives at the expected level and that some children can achieve at a greater depth standard. In this sense, assessment of writing is also more fluid as teachers can assess against a set framework. All year groups use the same format for assessing writing which have been produced in line with the end of Key Stage assessment frameworks as published by the Department for Education.
In order to expose children to a variety of genres, which help to utilise and embed the writing skills, teachers use a novel study approach. This journey is designed to show progress, teach the pertinent year group objectives, apply and consolidate these skills and develop vocabulary. Writing is taught through the use of a quality text, which exposes the children to inference, high-level grammar and vocabulary, a range of punctuation and characterisation. Each text is purposefully selected in order to promote a love of reading, engagement and high quality writing from each child. We use our topic subjects as part of this novel study process to embed this subject knowledge and give children a complete vocabulary for writing.
Learners - After our writing structure has been embedded across the school, the impact on our children will be clear: progress, sustained learning and transferable skills. With the implementation of the novel study being well established and taught thoroughly in both key stages, children will become more confident writers and, by the time they are in upper Key Stage 2, most genres of writing will be familiar to them and the teaching will focus on creativity, sustained writing and manipulation of grammar and punctuation skills.
Children’s writing is conferenced throughout the writing process. This involves the teacher discussing the writing with the child, highlighting what the child does well and supporting them to achieve their next steps. This form of feedback helps to refocus and redirect the learner and is recommended by the Education Endowment Fund.
As all aspects of English are an integral part of the curriculum, cross curricular writing standards will also improve and skills taught in the English lesson will be transferred into other subjects; this shows consolidation of skills and a deeper understanding of how and when to use specific punctuation and grammar objectives. We hope that as children move on from St Michael’s Primary School, their creativity, passion for English and high aspirations travel with them and continue to grow and develop as they do.
Assessment - We measure the effectiveness and impact of our English writing, grammar and spelling curriculum in a variety of different ways. We use National and testing to assess pupils' outcomes for grammar, punctuation and spelling as part of the Statutory Assessment Tests (SATs) and through termly summative and formative assessments across school which enable pupils' progress and attainment in the subject matter to be evaluated. Prior to embarking on a particular writing genre, the children complete a ‘dive in’, where the teacher can assess their knowledge of a particular writing genre and the associated grammar and punctuation. Following the teaching of this unit of work, the children repeat this process as a ‘swim out’. This enables the teacher to assess the knowledge gained throughout the piece of writing.
Pupils complete writing assessments on a termly basis, where written work is assessed to inform teachers of pupils' next steps and successes. The impact of the curriculum will be seen through pupils' national assessment results.