At Nene and Ramnoth School we are committed to helping every child succeed, whatever their background or ability. We aim to offer our children a rich and exciting English curriculum that will help them to become confident communicators and prepare them for the challenges that they will face in life. We have devised an enriched and engaging writing curriculum where children write with a clear purpose across all subjects.
- To create confident writers who develop stamina for writing throughout school and are able to write at length.
- For all of our children to be independent writers, building on a range of skills as they work through each journey of writing.
- That all of our children are exposed to high quality texts that model excellent writing practices across a broad range of genres.
- For our children to have a secure understanding of the purpose of a text type, the purpose and intended impact of writing skills/tools and the ability to carefully select vocabulary with focus on the desired effect on the readers’ thoughts and feelings so that the impact of their writing is positive.
- Ensure that all pupils know how to plan, practise and evaluate their work as well as carry out an effective edit and improvement process using feedback from the teacher.
- That our children are challenged and encouraged to take risks and view mistakes as a positive part of the learning process.
- To celebrate writing at each stage through the learning process to encourage children to take pride in their work.
- To provide a balanced and broad curriculum, which encompasses writing practice and equips children with the skills and knowledge of writing processes including handwriting, spelling, grammar, widening vocabulary and writing for different styles.
- To be inclusive of all children, including SEND by providing the appropriate scaffolding, support and writing tools those children need in their writing process to experience success.
- That our children have high expectations of themselves where they take pride in all aspects of learning and in everything they produce.
Our curriculum is based on the National Curriculum for a number of reasons:
- We feel that this will best prepare our children for their local secondary school.
- It is our chosen benchmark for our children.
- It is in line with other local primary schools so our children can be at the same standard as their peers upon entering Year 7.
- The skills and knowledge covers the breadth and depth that we want our children to have at the end of their Primary phase of education.
The Writing Journey
Every year group (Year 1 to Year 6) follows the structure of 'Talk for Writing' moving through a process of ‘Imitation’ to ‘Innovation’ to ‘Independent Application’. Learning journeys are usually based on high quality model texts, but we also use videos, real life events and images. Our units of work are linked to the year group themes where possible to provide a rich context for our children.
Each unit of writing begins with a cold write, which provides teachers with an opportunity to assess the knowledge and skills already possessed by the children and informs the planning for the rest of the unit. This is marked against our 'must haves'; a list of writing techniques, skills, grammar, spelling and handwriting expectations which is specific to each year group. The specific genre skills are also added.
A WAGOLL is produced for each unit. The purpose of this is to introduce the genre of the text and also to show the children the expectation of what they themselves are aiming for by the end of the unit. High quality texts can be used but teachers are encouraged to write their own so it includes the skills that will be taught as well as providing an understanding of the process the children will be undertaking themselves to complete the unit. The WAGOLL is used during lessons to identify text structure and organisation, audience and purpose as well as language features associated with the genre being taught, and is referred to regularly.
Writing is taught on a daily basis through a writing sequence designed to build upon previously learned skills and to introduce new ones as seen in the WAGOLL. For KS1 and lower KS2, these series of lessons are part of the ‘mid-write’, which are designed to assess progress of these skills. In upper KS2, the mid-write is one piece of work which aims to show the ability to cohesively use these skills. The mid-write is based around the ‘innovation’ element of the Talk for Writing structure, where children are encouraged to develop their skills in a highly supportive way. Children edit this piece of work with clear and structured support from the teacher. This element of the writing journey is also used as a formative assessment and any skills of the unit which require further development are taught.
At the end of the unit, the children move onto a ‘hot write’ where they independently apply the structure and skills taught in the unit and progress of the unit can be assessed. They also edit this piece of work independently or as a peer task.
Throughout the writing units, it is important that children are able to verbally rehearse their writing before putting pen to paper. Children engage in dialogue with each other and the teacher about their writing throughout the writing journey.
Teachers teach children how to write by showing them. It is expected that teachers will use a range of strategies to develop the writing skills of children in their class. These include:
Modelled writing: The teacher writes and talks through the decisions they are
making as a writer to show the children how to think and write like a writer.
Shared writing: The children collaborate with the teacher to jointly construct a written text. The teacher acts as scribe, prompting, questioning and supporting the children as the text is shaped.
Supported composition: The children write and the teacher supports them as a guide to improve their writing.
Writing in Early Years
As with all aspects of the Early Years curriculum, the skills and knowledge children need to write pervade all aspects of our daily routines. We take a holistic view of learning and children experience a balance of child initiated and adult directed activities across all aspects of learning.
Play is an excellent starting point in providing valuable writing experiences for children. We provide opportunities for, and encourage, mark making in all areas and use a range of resources such as paint and chalk as well as pens and pencils. The use of manipulatives, such as dough and tweezers, provides opportunities to develop fine motor skills and as appropriate, children move on to more formal handwriting sessions. We value children’s mark making and emergent writing and encourage children to attribute meaning to the marks they make. This enables them to see themselves as writers and develop the confidence to ‘have a go’.
Communication and language sits at the heart of Early Years. All our themes are based around high quality texts which immerse our children in language. We create story maps to encourage retelling so the vocabulary of the story is embedded. This gives our children the words and understanding to form good sentences verbally. Alongside this, adults scribe shared sentences using ‘think alouds’ to model the application of phonics, remember finger spaces and add punctuation. This enables children to internalise the rules and structures of writing.
Over time, these opportunities (alongside high quality phonics teaching) ensure children move from 'scribble' to letters then onto words and sentences which they, and others, can read.
Spelling is taught regularly in focused sessions within each class. In Early Years and Year 1 phonics lessons, children spell words using taught phonemes and graphemes, including ‘tricky words’. In Year 2, spellings focus on particular phonemes, common exception words and selected theme-related vocabulary. Weekly spellings are sent home to support learning.
Once children are confident in reading and spelling high frequency words, they are taught spelling rules and are encouraged to apply these rules in their writing. Class teachers use ‘Spelling Shed’ to support the teaching of the different spelling rules and this can then often be used as homework for children when applicable. Spellings are sent home in each year group as part of the children’s homework; the children are then assessed on these words in a variety of ways e.g. spelling tests, hive games, dictation activities.