At Woodhouse West, we recognise that key language skills are imperative to children succeeding,
both in school and later on in life. The skill of writing enables pupils to communicate with themselves
and others while documenting and conveying their knowledge and ideas. Writing encourages
expression and higher order thinking skills to develop, thus creating a culture of writing in school that
offers pupils the skills and opportunities to write which allow them to flourish.
We aim to develop an English curriculum where reading enriches children’s cultural capital and
influences written work in a positive way. By the time children leave us in Year 6, we aim to have
- Are happy, highly motivated and proficient in the use of reading and writing skills that will
- stand them in good stead for later life.
- Are articulate with an excellent use of vocabulary; both verbally and in written work.
- Have a clear understanding of the writing process: plan, draft, revise and edit their own work,
- and learn how to assess effectively for both themselves and others.
- Are confident to try new things and be able to write for a range of purposes and audiences.
- They will aspire to write using imagination and creativity, using high quality texts and real life experiences as a stimulus. This will involve using a range of authorial content and some content that is generated by staff to suit the purpose.
- Are willing to challenge themselves to be the best that they can be and take great pride in their own work.
To support this to happen, the children from years 1 – 3 have a heavy focus on the transcription elements of the writing process while years 4 - 6 focus more on the composition elements. Children’s work is monitored and moderated regularly to promote high levels of attainment. Children who find writing more challenging are identified early and appropriate support is given early. This may include letter formation and ‘holding a sentence activities.’
Teaching and Learning at Woodhouse West
At Woodhouse West, we follow the National Curriculum for the teaching and learning of writing skills. We are committed to raising the standards of children’s writing to ensure that all children make good progress and achieve in line with national expectations. The curriculum will be monitored by the Writing Lead to ensure that there is a sufficient level of challenge and high quality stimulation to improve standards of writing across school.
Woodhouse West has great focus on two distinct elements of writing: transcription and composition. Automaticity in transcription is developed early on and secured by lower key stage 2 so that older pupils are able to pay attention to the higher-level process of composition, planning, writing and revision. Both of these are essential for developing lifelong, successful writers and it is vital that teaching is adapted and opportunities planned for to develop children’s skills in these areas.
Strategies for the teaching of writing
Children are provided with a range of opportunities to develop, extend and deepen their writing skills in and across each phase of education. In Nursery and Reception, the learning of writing follows the EYFS Framework where children are given the opportunities to extend their understanding of language through play and investigation. The National Curriculum determines what must be taught in Writing Curriculum key stages 1 and 2. The school follows a clear writing cycle which allows for these objectives to be taught and adopts the following phases:
- Key Stage 1 and Year 3 will focus more heavily on the transcription and sentence structure in writing so that when the children reach Year 4, the cognitive load of writing is reduced and the children focus more on the planning, drafting and editing processes.
- Immersion- This is mainly done through reading high quality texts but, on occasion, may include links to video, music or pictures. These high quality elements are used as a hook and inspiration for writing. There are also heavy links to vocabulary and children are immersed in this over the course of a series of lessons. Children are given opportunities to speak and listen to the vocabulary being used and explore the words in a variety of ways before the final piece of writing.
- Speaking and listening – Children are given regular opportunities to discuss and share ideas before implementing this into written work.
- Punctuation, Grammar and Spelling – The teaching of punctuation, grammar and spelling is contextualised to the children’s writing and allows them to build towards a final piece. Children are encouraged to refer back to previous learning in the cycle and include these elements in their independent writing. Writing is linked to specific learning objective within context. The thought processes involved in writing with regards to composition and syntax is modelled clearly by the teacher in shared writing sessions.
- Editing stations are used (particularly in years 5 and 6)
- We adopt an ‘I do, we do, you do’ approach to shared writing where the ideas are discussed and the teacher clearly models their thought process for composing a piece of writing. Once this has been shared, children are given the opportunity to discuss and share ideas for the next section of the writing and this is constructed as a class. For children who are ready, they move on independently while others go back to the shared approach.
- During the ‘I do’ element, syntax and relevant SPaG objectives are explicitly modelled to pupils to allow them to achieve specific objectives and write coherently for a specific audience and purpose. Dictation and ‘hold a sentence’ techniques are used, especially in KS1.
- Following the shared write, children then engage in the process of composing their independent piece by using all the elements from the taught cycle.
- Once a first draft is completed, the children edit and improve their work using editing stations. This activity may be completed independently; in peer groups; with a teacher or T.A. Adaptations will be written in green pen.
- At least two final pieces will be completed in publishing books per half term.
- Children are also given opportunities to practise their writing skills across the curriculum, with extended pieces being completed in foundation subjects each half term.
- In KS2, we use Spelling Shed and children are set weekly spellings from this, with a test on a Friday.
- Twice a week, time is devoted to practising spellings from previous weeks to enhance children’s long term memory.
- Children who find spelling challenging have their own personal zappers which are related to the key words from the level at which they are working.
Assessment is an integral part of teaching and learning and is a continuous process. It is the class
teacher’s responsibility to assess the pupils in their class and identify the next steps in their learning.
The following strategies are used to support this:
- Assessment for Learning – Information for continued assessment is gathered in a variety of ways: by talking to children, observing their work, questioning and marking.
- Assessment of Learning – The attainment of the child is assessed and formally recorded termly. This information is gathered from a range of written pieces that a child has completed and then assessed against the key objectives for the year group. This information is used to identify priority areas across school.
- Feedback – Children are provided with timely feedback to allow them to improve their writing. This may be done either verbally or in written form. Children are also encouraged to self and peer assess each other’s work to develop their understanding.
Staff are also given regular opportunities to moderate within school and across the schools in our locality.
The importance of writing as a means of communication and creativity is promoted by all adults in school and used to support learning across the curriculum. The children are highly motivated to produce high quality pieces of writing and talk with enthusiasm and passion about the writing that takes place in our school. We hope that by building a robust and exciting curriculum that incorporates all of the elements mentioned in this document, the children at Woodhouse West will leave us as enthusiastic and competent writers with a love of the written word.