At Sandown School, writing is a crucial part of our curriculum and is linked to so many different subjects. All children from Foundation Stage to Year 6 are provided with many opportunities to develop and apply their writing skills across the curriculum. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently, so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them.
The overarching aim for English in the National Curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.
We want to teach our children to become independent, creative writers who enjoy the writing process and are proud of the finished product. They have an excellent vocabulary and are able write coherently and with good solid foundations of accurate spelling and correctly formed handwriting. They have an awareness of the range of skills and techniques required to ensure that writing is cohesive and fit for purpose. We also intend for pupils to leave school being able to use fluent, legible and speedy handwriting.
At Sandown School our writing process starts in Foundation Stage, where early writing is taught through mark making, then as children begin to follow Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised they are taught the letter formations and rhymes. They begin with writing (whether using a tool or writing in the air) c-v-c words, moving on to write short sentences using the sounds they have been taught. They are encouraged to write freely and independently in continuous provision. Children are also immersed in stories and verse to encourage a love of language, both written and spoken.
From Years 1-6, to support the teaching of writing teachers use documents from Alan Peat and Michael Tidd. This is to ensure a consistent and systematic approach to teaching the skills of writing across all cohorts.
Each pupil has a writing folder. These are started in Early Years and are adding to each year. Twice a year, in Terms 3 and 6, a good piece of writing is added to the folder. At the end of each year the pupils have time to look back through their writing to see their progress. The children really enjoy looking back to see how far they have come and as staff it is great to see the progress through the school.
Teachers assess independent and scaffolded writing and provide verbal and/or written feedback to pupils. Pupil conferencing is carried out to ensure children are aware of their next steps in writing. Next steps in writing are used to ensure pupils know how they can improve, this then feeds into the pupils’ editing lessons. Editing is used by pupils to improve their writing. This may be completed in purple pen and will be supported by an adult. In KS2 teachers have an Editing Rainbow display. This used as a working wall to display and recap SPAG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) for the current topic or term. Each colour has a part of editing attached to it:
Red – Re-read
Orange – Spelling
Yellow – Punctuation
Green – Language
Blue – Grammar
Purple – Key features
Pink - Handwriting
One section or colour could be focused on in an editing lesson, or all of them (in Upper Key Stage 2). This ensures that the editing lessons have focus and the teacher and children can add to the parts on display to support continuous editing. A WAGOLL (what a good one looks like) is displayed at the end of the rainbow in a pot of gold. This is to show the high expectations of writing and how the features should be used.
Writing across the curriculum is taught by showing the children ‘What a good one looks like’ (WAGOLL) for which a good example is displayed on the pot of gold at the end of the Editing Rainbow. Children then identify the features in the specific text type that is needed e.g. an information text about their learning in history. The children then use this knowledge as a scaffold to write about their learning, as they are familiar with the text type and style of writing needed for that genre.
At Sandown we teach writing through CLPE’s Power of Reading, this links reading and writing together, so pupils can explicitly see how vocabulary is linked within books and writing. Within this we use a range of approaches, for example, drama and role play which also plays a vital role in helping children infer what it is that they want to write and assists in the ability to organise and visualise a well-structured piece of writing.
Pupils are fully immersed in writing, it can be linked to a topic of learning for the term or linked to a class book. Pupils are taught SPaG objectives discretely but these are linked to the topic of writing. SPaG lessons are taught using the Spelling Shed SPaG resources. These are in line with National Curriculum objectives and are clearly linked to each year group. Teachers use the PowerPoints and worksheets to support the teaching of SPaG. We use Literacy skills books to record any discrete teaching of SPaG.
Teachers are expected to teach 2 genres of writing a term and this will result in two whole pieces of writing each term.
Spelling is taught through Spelling Shed, which is used from Foundation Stage to Year 6. This is used as home learning as well as in class. We are using the new scheme of learning for 2022 for spelling. This includes the teaching of definitions of words and morphology. This will aid pupils to have a deeper understanding of the spelling rules and why words are spelt in certain ways. In Foundation Stage and Year 1 spelling is taught through Little Wandle letters and sounds revised. Links are highlighted in writing lessons and linked to phonics lessons, so pupils can apply what they are learning. In Year 2, some pupils will continue with Little Wandle phonics, especially if Phonics Screening has not been passed. However spelling is taught through Spelling Shed lessons in smaller chucks of 20minutes per day. This is then linked to the home learning spellings for the term. In Key Stage Two, spelling is taught for an hour a week and this is again linked to the home learning spellings for the term. Pupils have access to Spelling Shed at home and are encouraged to play games and learn spellings weekly. Certificates are handed out in celebration assembly for a range of reasons, to encourage the use of Spelling Shed.
Pupils have a range of ways to support themselves with spelling within writing lessons. Pupils have access to dictionaries in KS2 and are actively encouraged to use them to become more independent with spelling. Pupils also have access to ‘give it a go’ post it notes, so they can try a spelling before asking for more support or writing in their books. Pupils are also given word banks or mats to support with spellings and topic vocabulary.
In order to create creative writers we partake in DEALT wide workshops run by authors in order to develop greater depth writers. We have had visiting authors and poets to model to the children how to create good writing. These experiences help spark imagination and creativity to encourage pupils to write.
Our overall aim is to prepare the children for the next stage of their learning so that they leave each year group with the required knowledge and skills to ensure that they continue to make good progress moving forwards in writing.
Writing is continuously assessed through the school, whether this is during topic lessons or in discrete writing lessons. Pupils know how to improve and teachers always give pupils next steps. We use the 2 pieces of writing from the writing folders in Term 3 and 6 are used for internal moderation, where teachers can have discussions with partner teachers and other teachers about how to support and challenge their pupils. Within the DEALT academy trust we have external moderation within Year groups and subjects. Teachers regularly meet up with other teachers to discuss writing and moderate across schools. This ensures that staff are in line with their partner teacher as well as other teachers within the DEALT academy.
Pupils are able to:
- Enjoy writing.
- Write in sentences, using correct punctuation and grammar for their year group.
- Edit their work and make improves based on teacher next steps as well as after re-reading.
- Spell with increased accuracy for their year group and can spell common words correctly.
- Write in neatly and consistently for their year group and take pride in their work.
By the time pupils leave Sandown:
- Pupils can write in a fluent and coherent manner, in which sentences form to make sense.
- Pupils are able to write neatly using cursive handwriting at speed.
- Pupils can write for a range of purposes confidently and effectively.
- Pupils can spell most words correctly.
- Pupils can select vocabulary and grammatical structures that match what the writing requires.
- Pupils can use a wide range of punctuation mostly correctly.
- Pupils can edit to improve their writing.
- Pupils write in a creative manner and enjoy writing for pleasure.