Writing

Writing Curriculum Statement

Curriculum Intent

  • To equip our children with a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for writing and spoken language.
  • To provide our children with the skills, knowledge and vocabulary needed to be confident independent writers so that our children are able to write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
  • To provide our children with opportunities for discussion in order to learn; our children should elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas.
  • To enable our children to be competent speakers and listeners.
  • To promote our school values and British values.
  • To prepare our children for the next steps in their learning journey.

SPOKEN LANGUAGE

Intent

  • To develop our children’s skills needed to communicate effectively across a range of contexts and audiences.
  • To equip our children with a broad, deep and rich vocabulary.

Implementation

We understand the importance of spoken language in our children’s development across our whole school curriculum. The quality and variety of language that our children hear and speak is vital for developing their language and grammar. We encourage our children to use correct spoken language and grammar and this is modelled continually by adults. Opportunities to practise speaking and listening are planned for within English lessons using discussion, debating, presenting and drama. These opportunities are not limited solely to English lessons but are used across all subjects and within the wider school setting: assemblies, class performances, school council discussions and when speaking to visitors.

We understand how important spoken language is and how this links to writing.

Click link for Programme of Study for Speaking and Listening

WRITING

Intent

  • To encourage our children to be accurate and confident when writing independently for an intended audience and purpose.
  • To enable our children to write at length within a given genre.
  • To enable our children to use and understand a wide range of vocabulary, punctuation and grammatical structures.

The programmes of Study for Key stage 1 and Key Stage 2 are divided into two dimensions:

  • Transcription (spelling and handwriting).
  • Composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).

Click here for Overview of Coverage in Writing

Implementation

We see the teaching of writing as a sequential process that allows children to understand, explore and write a variety of text type. By the end of a writing unit, our children will have gained the knowledge and skills needed to be able to write confidently and independently. Children use working walls, dictionaries and thesaurus to support their development of a writing piece.  

Throughout their time at Nicol Mere, our children are given the opportunity to write a wide range of genres. These genres are carefully planned for so that our children’s experience, knowledge and understanding of these are added to and built upon at each stage. Teachers are not restricted to these and have the flexibility to modify writing genres according to the needs and interests of the children in their cohort.

See Long Term Writing Overview

The writing process follows a set sequence. The whole process of writing may take anywhere from a few days up to three school weeks to complete depending on several factors: is the genre completely new to the children? What year group are the children in? How many EGPS/ sentence structure teaching is taking place? How much editing are the children doing?

Click link for Nicol Mere Writing Process

As well as writing in English lessons, children are given ample opportunities to write independently within other subjects across the curriculum. Writing is linked to the knowledge gained in these subject areas and genres that have been taught previously.

Vocabulary, Grammar, Punctuation

Children are taught the specific features of grammar and punctuation within the writing process. Vocabulary, grammar and punctuation are taught in isolation but used and applied in writing and identified and discussed in reading.  Each year group follow a programme of study from which our children gain the knowledge and vocabulary needed to discuss and develop their own writing. These elements are further practised within discrete SPAG lessons and are then applied in writing. Our children learn the correct grammatical terms in English and these terms are integrated within teaching.

Opportunities for teachers to enhance children’s vocabulary arise naturally from their reading and writing. As vocabulary increases, we show children how to understand the relationships between words, how to understand nuances in meaning and how to develop their use and understanding of figurative language. Our children are also exposed to a variety of common sayings and phrases each week in order to broaden children’s understanding and use of vocabulary.

Click on link for NC English Appendix 2

Click on link for NC English Glossary

Spelling

Intent

  • To enable our children to spell known words accurately.
  • To equip our children with decoding strategies needed to tackle unknown words.
  • To enable our children to use their knowledge of letter strings, word formation and spelling patterns to spell unknown words.

Implementation

The teaching of spellings has two parts:

  1. Teaching patterns/letter strings/rules (specific to Y1/2, Y3/4 & Y5/6).
  2. Teaching/practising the statutory word lists (HFW and those specific to Y3/4 & Y5/6).

Early Years Foundation Stage

  1. The letters/letter strings/rules are taught through daily streamed phonics groups following the Letters and Sounds Programme. 
  2. A certain amount of HFW (see EYFS HFW) has been designated to Early Years to teach. These words are taught in daily phonics and English lessons.

Key Stage 1

  1. Letter strings/rules are taught daily through streamed phonics groups. Children are given a set amount of specific words (based on letter strings/rules) to learn each week and are tested and a record of scores are kept by teachers. Children follow the Letters and Sounds programme and then follow a similar structure to KS2 using the Year 2 spelling National Curriculum.
  2. Children are given ample time (at least ten-minute sessions, three times per week) to learn and practise spellings taken from the 100 HFW and the next 200 HFW appropriately.

Key Stage 2

  1. In a typical day, our children have ten minutes (8.50-9.00) to learn/practise spellings taken from the year group word list. Activities may include look-cover-write-check; word searches; crosswords etc.
  2. Children are taught the letter strings/patterns/rules as outlined in the NC appendices within their English groups. A lengthier session is delivered to test last week’s spellings and to introduce the next pattern/rule; this is completed in English groups. The children then revisit the pattern/rule daily for the rest of the week. Children are given a set amount of specific words (based on letter strings/rules) to learn each week and are tested and a record of scores will be kept by teachers.  Every three/four weeks children sit a ‘super spellers’ test which incorporates words taken from the previous three/four weeks and a record of scores will be kept by teachers.  This is a way of ensuring that children are revisiting learnt spelling patterns/rules.

Across each Key Stage, if there are children working below age-related expectations and unable to read the words being taught, then assessment of these children will track objectives back to previous year groups. If children are found to be particularly struggling with spelling, these children are carefully monitored and supported. A range of intervention strategies, including access to a rigorous and systematic programme, are put in place to help.

Dictionaries are available in all classrooms for the children to use as well as high-frequency word lists for children with greater need.  Key vocabulary is available either on working walls, learning lines, on interactive whiteboard charts or handouts. Children are always reminded to write these words correctly. Mis-spelt words will be written by the teacher and then copied three times by the child. By the end of Y6, children are expected to correct any words they are unsure of independently. 

Click link for NC English Appendix 1

Click link for Reception, Year 1, Year 2 HFW list

Handwriting

Intent

  • To enable our children to write fluently and cursively with control.
  • To enable our children to develop a fluent, legible and eventually speedy, handwriting.

Implementation

All children are taught cursive handwriting following the letter formation shown in Figure 1. This is displayed in all classrooms.

Children are introduced to pre-cursive script in Early Years Foundation Stage. This is developed in Year 1 so that when ready, children are writing cursively and joining their handwriting.

All children in the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 have a designated handwriting session/lesson every day.  Children in KS2 have handwriting sessions based upon need.  All children from Year 2 upwards are expected to write in a cursive, legible style.  Year group expectations are clearly outlined in the National Curriculum. 

Our children begin writing using pencil and move onto a school handwriting pen when they can write with joined, legible handwriting. Class teachers assess when individual children are ready to move onto using a school handwriting pen dependent on the stage of letter formation and handwriting, not age.  This is celebrated and pen licenses are awarded.

Children whose handwriting is significantly below their year group expectation or children who struggle with fine motor control and pencil grip are supported and given the opportunity to develop these skills.

Figure 1

Assessment

Assessment in writing is on-going throughout the year. Teachers use writing assessment criteria to assess children’s independent writing and inform next steps in children’s writing. Children are given many opportunities to use a range of skills and write for a range of intended audiences and purposes. An overall judgement at the end of the academic year is made by assessing a sample of a child’s independent writing. These judgements are moderated both internally and externally: year group moderation, cross-year group moderation, external cluster moderations, LA moderators (R, Y2, Y6), Nicol Mere Writing Group (group made of experienced practitioners and LA moderators) and cross authority moderation (Sefton LA). We benefit from a member of staff being a writing moderator for the local Authority.

For English, Grammar Punctuation and Spelling (EGPS), all children in Year 2-6 are formally assessed bi-annually using NFER tests and the rising Stars Scheme. Children in Year 1 are assessed at the end of the summer term. The results/ data from these are used to track children based on their attainment.

Writing within other Curriculum Lessons

Children practise, use and apply their writing skills regularly in other curriculum lessons as a way of recording and presenting new knowledge. The National Curriculum states that children should communicate geographical information in a variety of ways, including through maps and writing at length. Our children have the opportunity to do this.

Additional Provision and SEN

Some children will need extra support for particular spelling difficulties and these can be addressed through smaller focussed intervention groups with a Teaching Assistant or teacher. Catch-up lessons to assist children in their understanding and use of SPAG are given in smaller groups as needed.  In order to challenge more-able writers, opportunities for writing are available through being given more challenging topic-related writing tasks.

Parental Involvement

At Nicol Mere, we offer an open door policy and parents and carers are encouraged to contact the teacher if support and guidance is needed. Children and parents are encouraged to read regularly at home, changing books when necessary. We offer a range of workshops for parents including Spelling and Grammar workshops and End of Key Stage Requirements.  

 

Nicol Mere Writing Curriculum