Curriculum Statement – Writing
At Normanby Primary School we want children to be able to communicate their knowledge, ideas and emotions through their writing. By becoming fluent and confident writers, we want children to develop an understanding of a range of genres including fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Acquiring a broad bank of vocabulary at a young age is essential so that pupils are able to communicate effectively through conversation and their own writing. When writing independently, we want pupils to be confident using and applying grammatical conventions, to be able to spell words effectively by applying spelling patterns and rules and to take pride in the presentation of their work by developing their own joined style of handwriting.
Planning for Progress
Statutory requirements for the teaching of Writing are detailed in the English Programmes of Study for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 (2013), and in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (2017). Letters and Sounds is the preferred scheme for the teaching of phonics at Normanby Primary School. Staff use these documents to plan in the long, medium and short term and use a cross curricular approach, which is linked to research topics and themes, where possible to engage the children and provide purpose, context and hooks for writing.
In the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, children are taught un-joined cursive letter formation. Some children will begin to join their handwriting in Y2 but, as children move into Key Stage 2, staff model and encourage children to develop their own joined cursive style. In Year 3 and 4, children will begin to join some letters within words but by Y5 children are expected to consistently use a joined cursive style of handwriting to achieve the expected standard. Handwriting is taught discretely and is an integral part of lessons that is reinforced daily.
In the Foundation Stage, pupils start to develop an understanding of spelling through the teaching of phonemes and tricky words. Letters and Sounds is the school’s preferred scheme for phonics. This is continued into Year 1 as the children develop their knowledge of phonics and early spelling patterns further through the Letters and Sounds programme. Pupils in Key Stage 1 and 2 are taught the spelling rules and patterns appropriate to their year group from Appendix 1 of the English Programme of Study. In addition to this, pupils in Key Stage 1 are taught to spell common exception words and pupils in Key Stage 2 are taught to spell words from the Y3/4 and Y5/6 word lists.
All children in Key Stage 1 and 2, children are given new spelling lists to learn each week and are quizzed in school the following week. Children working at a level below their peers are given differentiated spellings and receive spelling intervention to support and consolidate learning. Spellings lists are shared with parents each week in spelling books, on Marvellous Me and are also available on Spelling Shed. All pupils in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 have their own unique username and password to login to Spelling Shed and practise their spellings through interactive games at home on a computer or tablet.
Grammar and punctuation are taught through sequences of work where possible. Teachers plan to teach the required skills through the genres of writing that they are teaching, linking it to the genre to make it more connected with the intended writing outcome. Teachers sometimes focus on particular grammar and punctuation skills as stand-alone lessons, if they feel that the class need additional teaching to embed and develop their understanding or to consolidate skills further. Sentence work is taught across Key Stage 1 and 2 and is linked to the expectations outlined in the Programme of Study and genres of writing being taught within each year group.
High Expectations for All
In all classes, there are children of differing writing ability and attainment. We recognise this fact and provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child. We achieve this through a range of strategies which include effective modelling, shared writing, independent writing and regular focus group work. Alongside narrative and non-narrative writing we also include other activities to include all learning styles and preferences: sequencing, discussion, text mapping, story boards, oral rehearsal and drama. To overcome barriers to learning, children have a variety of writing tools available. These include phonics and spelling resources, word banks and knowledge organisers, texts to model good examples and writing toolkits.
Children are taught writing in mixed ability groups across school but work is differentiated where needed to provide additional support and challenge. Within lessons, teachers and teaching assistants work with groups and individual children in focus groups. Teaching assistants continue to work with children beyond the lesson, where appropriate, to consolidate learning and deliver targeted interventions linked to aspects of writing identified by teachers. This includes areas such as phonics, spelling, punctuation and grammar.
Purposeful marking and feedback is fundamental to children understanding their mistakes and being given opportunities to develop their work further. The Effective Marking and Feedback Policy (2019) gives specific guidance for staff on marking and feedback across the curriculum.
In Key Stage 1, staff mark pieces of writing with the children when they are working with them in a focus group. This encourages the children to take greater pride in their work and helps to build their confidence and self-esteem as they practise reading aloud and spotting their own mistakes. In this way, staff can also set pupil specific development work for them to complete within the lesson. This may include practising letter formation, practising the spelling of a tricky word or a previously taught spelling pattern, or editing or developing a sentence.
In Key Stage 2, staff continue to mark pieces of writing with the children when they are working with them in a focus group. Again, this gives pupils the opportunity to work on specific elements of spelling, punctuation, grammar and cohesion. When marking pieces of independent writing outside the lesson, Key Stage 2 staff use a development page to jot down spelling and grammatical mistakes. Pupils are given the opportunity to respond to teacher marking in lessons and, as pupils progress through Key Stage 2, staff use specific development tasks to focus on and develop particular aspects of a pupil’s writing. This can include for example developing an introduction to a piece of writing, sentence structure or speech.
At Normanby Primary School, we strive hard to meet the needs of children with special educational needs, disabilities, English as and additional language and children with particular strengths or talents. When progress falls significantly outside of the expected range, a child may be identified as having special educational needs. Assessment processes look at a range of factors – classroom organisation, teaching materials, teaching styles, learning styles and differentiation – so that we can take some additional or alternative actions to support pupils and help them to learn more effectively. Interventions for children with special education needs are specified on SEND Support Plans. The Support Plans may include specific targets relating to English or more specifically elements of writing.
Promoting Writing and Parental Involvement
Staff have worked to develop a Literature Spine across school so that pupils are inspired to write through high quality, engaging and stimulating texts. Staff have carefully planned the writing curriculum so that it has a cross-curricular approach and links creatively to other areas of the curriculum and the key questions. Giving children cross curricular writing opportunities creates purposeful writing, enables children to deepen their learning and to develop confidence exploring different writing genres.
A number of Key Stage 2 pupils report and write regularly for ‘Pupil News’. The school newspaper, which is shared electronically with parents and carers, provides willing writers with a regular opportunity to develop journalistic writing skills and develop confidence interviewing staff and pupils. The reporters like to report on real events that the pupils have been involved in such as work in class, educational visits and sporting events.
Parental involvement with writing is promoted in a number of ways. Staff use Marvellous Me to share books the classes are reading, other stimuli for writing and to share the children’s work with their parents and carers. Homework activities reinforce writing skills and encourage to practise writing away from the classroom. Children in Key Stage 1 and 2 have access to Spelling Shed at home to practise spelling lists through games and other interactive resources.
In the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, staff hold regular phonics meetings in groups and with individual parents to support early reading and writing skills. The school’s English Leader offers additional spelling sessions for parents of children in Key Stage 2. These aim to provide parents with strategies to support their children practising spellings at home.
Standards and Attainment
The standards of children’s work, attainment and the quality of teaching in Writing are the responsibility of the English Lead and Head Teacher. Termly standards meetings in school provide a useful opportunity for staff to present data and share success in a forum where leaders are able to ask questions and provide ideas to action as a way of supporting teaching and learning further. Progression in knowledge and understanding is ensured through careful transfer of information during transition discussions and moderation of work to clarify expectations and standards for children at different levels of attainment.
Throughout school, staff use a range of Assessment for Learning strategies, and both formative and summative assessments to monitor pupil progress in writing and plan next steps. On entry to 2-Year Old and FS1, staff assess the children during their first thirty hours in school. Staff make a judgement of the children’s attainment in all Early Learning Goals in relation to age related expectations. Exit assessments are completed by FS1 staff at the end of the year.
In Key Stage 1 and 2, writing is assessed termly against writing statements from the English Programme of Study. Within school, staff meet regularly within teams to share approaches to writing and to moderate writing within year groups. Within the Ironstone Academy Trust, schools work together to moderate writing on a termly basis. Some staff have had specific moderator training from the Local Authority and there are a number of STA accredited moderators at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 within the trust. Across Key Stage 2, staff use the Rising Stars Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling Progress tests to assess pupils on a termly basis and identify gaps in their learning.
In the summer term, children in Year 2 complete Statutory Assessment Tests (SATs) in writing. Teacher assessments are used to assess the children’s level of attainment and to determine whether children have met the expected standard. Results are shared with parents in the summer term. At the end of Year 6, children are expected to reach the expected standard in writing. During the summer term, all children in Year 6 are expected to complete Statutory Assessment Tests (SATs) in writing. Results are shared with parents in the summer term, and with receiving secondary schools as part of the transition process.
In addition, termly intervention grids are used across Key Stage 1 and 2 to monitor the progress of pupils over time in reading and writing. When the progress of children causes concern or begins to slow down, teachers work with the English Lead to plan short term interventions to close gaps and accelerate their progress.
Ensuring High Quality Teaching and Learning
All staff have access to high quality and relevant professional development opportunities both in school, through inset training, and through external providers. The school’s English Lead also provides regular training opportunities in school to support parents with aspects of writing so they feel more confident helping their children at home. The school’s English Lead and Senior Leadership Team work together to regularly monitor the quality of teaching and learning in lessons and books. English Leaders and teachers within the Ironstone Academy trust work together to share practice, raise attainment of all children within the Multi-Academy Trust, moderate work and ensure consistency across the schools.
Staff use interactive working walls across school to support pupils with their current learning and to help them approach the writing process with greater independence. Staff try to ensure that working walls are meaningful for the children in a number of ways. Some staff like to use working walls show the writing process from start to finish. Most working walls display words, phrases or sentences relevant to the book or text being studied. Staff sometimes display good examples (WAGOLLS) of writing for pupils to aspire to. Staff also use writing displays to celebrate and showcase pieces of writing the pupils have produced.