To develop as effective writers, we believe children should be taught to:
- Express themselves clearly and precisely for enjoyment.
- Use knowledge acquired from their range of reading texts to model their writing in the style of different authors and also in different genres.
- Demonstrate their understanding of how writing enables them to remember, communicate, organise and develop their ideas and information.
- Write for an increasing range of purposes, matching their language to the needs of the appropriate audience.
- Understand the appropriate use and purpose of an increasing range of written forms on paper and on screen.
- Develop ideas and communicate meaning to a reader, using a wide-ranging broad vocabulary and effective style.
- Write in a neat, joined-up style with accurate spelling and expression.
We aim to develop the children’s ability to produce well structured, detailed writing in which the meaning is made clear and which engages the interest of the reader.
Attention is paid throughout the school to the formal structures of English, grammatical detail, punctuation and spelling.
Our approach to teaching writing covers the ‘transcription’ and ‘composition’ requirements of The National Curriculum (2014).
How we plan writing
In Foundation Stage: Opportunities for developing writing are planned following EYFS guidance and assessed against the Development Matters statements. Early mark making is developed to become emergent writing and subsequently early writing through providing frequent, high-quality, skills-based activities and opportunities for writing.
We use “Herts For Learning” (HFL) planning documents as the basis for our planning for writing. In addition to HFL planning – staff also use a variety of supportive materials such as Pie Corbett’s “Talk for Writing”.
Cross curricular writing is encouraged in all year groups and linked to the theme to give it a real life context and purpose.
Most English lessons will include whole class teaching of the learning objective (WALT).Lessons may also include;
- Teachers modelling writing strategies
- the use of phonics and spelling strategies. (see below for details)
- Guided writing sessions to target specific needs of both groups and individuals,
- Supported writing (do these need to be explained?)
- Shared writing
- Independent writing
- Extended writing opportunities
- Real books may be used as a stimulus or writing model
- Drama or talk for writing opportunities
How children are guided to improve during lessons
Children are provided with a range of opportunities to improve their writing during and after the writing lessons.
- Drafting and editing skills are taught – following our Non-negotiables and marking policies
- Children have access within the classroom to visual aids (writing working walls, handouts, spelling, word list, letter formation cards as applicable to the need and age of the child)
- LSAs are used effectively to support and extend pupils.
- Teachers use formative assessment methods to assess the children’s achievement and progress during the lesson to pick up difficulties and misunderstandings during lesson time.
- Marking after lesson time is used when we wish the children to revisit the objective. In such cases we follow our marking policy which uses symbols to guide children to edit and improve as necessary.
- Use of class visualiser to show good examples
- Children may use the writing TAFS to consider areas that they may need to include
- Pupils may have writing targets to help them focus upon key areas to improve.
All children should make progress in their writing as they move through the school. We assess and track the children’s writing using a variety of methods. These include;
- Regular writing scrutiny and lesson observations
- Subject leader learning walks
- Use of Herts for Learning and Government TAFs and assessment criteria
- Internal data analysis
- Termly progress meetings – where individual’s progress is discussed
- End of phase data analysis
- Small step progress (Pivots) for identified SEND
This informs further implementation in the classroom to meet individual needs.
How we teach Handwriting
At St Andrew’s our intent in teaching handwriting are that the pupils will:
- Achieve a neat, legible style with correctly formed letters in accordance with St. Andrew’s chosen font
- Develop flow and speed;
- Eventually produce the letters automatically and in their independent writing
In EYFS handwriting is taught initially through multi-sensory opportunities, such as paint brushes in water on the playground, chalk, mud, use of ribbons, shaving foam, playdough etc. The children are taught the sounds (phoneme) the letters make and the grapheme which represent the sound. We teach pre-cursive letter formation.
The children are encouraged to develop a tri-point pencil grip as their fine motor skills develop – using “crocodile fingers” to help them learn to pick up their pencils.
Key Stage 1 and 2
Cursive handwriting is taught, with the children learning about the shape and orientation of the letters, joining strokes, spacing between words and size of capital letters etc. Children have regular opportunities to practise and have a dedicated handwriting book.
How we teach phonics
We follow the Little Wandle accredited systematic, synthetic phonics scheme.
Children in our Nursery concentrate on speaking and listening activities, exploring: environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body percussion (e.g. clapping and stamping), rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and oral blending and segmenting (e.g. hearing that d-o-g makes ‘dog’)
Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs, and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy.
Children in Year 1 review Phase 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.
We teach phonics for up to 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. We have regular catch-up interventions to support the children who need more support.
How we teach spelling
From year two and into KS2 the children move towards using their phonic knowledge to help them to understand spelling rules and patterns.
We teach children to use their growing understanding of the morphology and etymology of words to support their spelling. Helping the children to understand how to use and apply known spelling patterns (and to develop strategies to tackle tricky words) is the key to helping them to become successful spellers.
To support this approach we use the No-Nonsense spelling scheme of work to ensure clear progression of subject matter.
Teachers also use weekly spelling tests and dictation passages to drill some of these patterns and apply them contextually. Words are drawn from the National Curriculum Word List for each phase.