At Earlham Primary School, the teaching of writing is of paramount importance within our knowledge rich curriculum. Our aim is to develop children’s writing skills in a progressive, engaging and purposeful way in order to ensure children are confident, able and well-equipped for later life. We ensure the curriculum is sequenced and planned to develop and draw upon prior learning. This ensures that children are developing their basic writing skills each year and understanding a range of genres, purposes and audiences.
We ensure we expose children to a wide variety of high-quality texts in order to expand their imagination and develop their understanding of the world around them. We also expose children to successful literacy role models to increase aspiration and provide creative support for their learning. Our writing curriculum is designed to adapt to the needs and interests of individuals. Incorporating our community’s ethnicities, cultures and family set-ups. While we have a rigid progression map, we respond to incidents in the local area or wider world to ensure children are writing for many different reasons and in real life contexts.
We ensure children who are working at a higher level are challenged effectively. For children with additional needs or those working below age related expectations, we provide interventions and further support in order to enhance their understanding.
Overview and implementation
Vocabulary has a high priority in our school as many children have low English acquisition on entry. We also place a high importance on the value of talk. We use a range of strategies to promote accurate speech, effective communication and social skills. Our overall aim is to support children to become reflective, creative writers who understand how to write for a range of purposes and audiences.
Our curriculum has been designed to teach the National Curriculum in an engaging, motivating and inspiring way. The teaching sequences find inspiration to put quality children’s literature at the heart of their learning and create a school culture of reading and writing for pleasure. This text is the catalyst for our entire curriculum as we aim to create a theme around the core message of the text to ensure children’s learning is truly thematic. Lessons follow a clear sequence of immersion in a genre/text time, innovation and invention.
We use a ‘Talk For Writing’ approach to literacy units where appropriate so that children have considerable exposure to the text type as well as having opportunities to magpie words and phrases. The National Curriculum states that spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing and, with oracy being such a high priority for children at Earlham Primary School, we weave talk opportunities into every lesson. Using a variety of drama strategies and groupings for talk, children have numerous opportunities to orally explore a text type before they start to write. The National Curriculum and EYFS Framework is used to inform the planning and delivery of the writing curriculum at Earlham. Writing is taught explicitly in daily literacy lessons and skills learnt are regularly reinforced within lessons across the curriculum. Using a combination of novels, film, poetry and relevant real life events, learning is fun, meaningful, memorable and often cross-curricular. Having studied different texts, pupils immerse themselves in the language and structure of these to create their own toolkit – an aid to writing. This ensures that language patterns, punctuation and key phrases are internalised by the children so that they become confident and competent writers. Repeated practice of writing genres ensures that pupils leave our school capable of writing for different audiences and purposes. This is built on year after year.
Spelling is taught outside of literacy lessons (using Get Spelling in KS2) and children understand the importance of learning and applying spellings. A range of strategies are used to ensure personable learning which supports pupils in becoming competent lifelong spellers. Accurate spelling is expected in all writing across the curriculum and children are taught and given time to edit their spellings and recognise their own errors.
The teaching of grammar and standard English is an integral part of every writing lesson and across the whole curriculum. Using the National Curriculum, key grammar and Standard English skills are taught progressively and systematically throughout the school.
Teachers model the process of writing within every literacy unit so that children understand the thought process behind writing. During this process, teachers think out loud, edit and demonstrate how and why they have structured their writing in the way that they have. Children are then given the opportunity to participate in a shared write, where everybody contributes to the writing outcome. This is scaffolded further into paired, supported and finally independent writing.