English - Writing
Aims of Our Programme:
It is our intent at Gillingstool Primary School to provide our students with a high-quality education in English, which will enable them to speak, read and write fluently. This, in turn, will allow our students to communicate their ideas and emotions to others effectively. Writing at Gillingstool will be underpinned by our reading curriculum. Children will be immersed in a range of high-quality writing through exposure to a range of texts and genres on our quality text map. Our intent is that during their time with us, our students will develop a love for writing – from mark making in EYFS to writing for a range of purposes in Year 6. Writing and grammar skills will be built upon as students move through the year groups but with the basic non-negotiable skills being revisited regularly to ensure a solid foundation upon which to build. It is our intention that by the time our children leave our school, they will see themselves as authors who have a well-developed and secure skill set which they will be able to build upon at secondary school.
Rationale: Knowledge and Skills to be Taught and Why
Writing forms an integral part of our newly revised curriculum at Gillingstool and therefore the progression of knowledge and skills needed to write successfully has been carefully considered to ensure objectives are age-appropriate and clearly sequenced. Writing skills progression is ensured through the use of the writing milestones document which is used to form the learning focus for each session and allows skills to be built upon year by year. Writing objectives are split into 4 main areas: spelling, VGP, composition and handwriting. High quality texts for each year group and genre have been chosen specifically to ensure children are exposed to the grammatical conventions which are expected of them.
Planning - At Gillingstool, writing is planned and taught using the ‘bottoms up approach’. Teachers carefully consider the end of unit outcome and what they want the children to achieve and then work backwards, mapping in appropriate and relevant grammar skills as well as work on the genre.
KS1 Sequence - In EYFS and KS1 teachers use a ‘Talk for Writing’ approach. Children learn to tell a story orally using a story map to scaffold their narrative. They then retell and innovate the story using story mapping and oral rehearsal throughout the teaching sequence. By fully immersing themselves in the text, they then have the knowledge and confidence to write in the same genre confidently.
KS2 Sequence - Teachers use the local authority recommended teaching sequence for writing which lasts 3 weeks for a piece of fiction writing and 2 weeks for a piece of non-fiction. Throughout these units, which are rooted in a quality text, there is a focus on grammar skills, genre features and character and setting description (for fiction pieces), planning, oral rehearsal and editing/revising.
Grammar - There are 2 discrete grammar sessions and 2 opportunities for children to apply the grammar skills they have learned in short burst writes during the unit. These grammar skills are selected from a milestones document, which is progressive and closely mapped to the national curriculum requirements for each year group. This ensures appropriate coverage and progression of the skills in the English curriculum. Grammar skills are also selected carefully to ensure they match appropriately to the end of unit outcome.
Spelling – In KS2, children undertake the Single Word Spelling Test at 3 points during the year. This data is then used to stream spelling teaching across KS2 to ensure children are being exposed to appropriately challenging spelling words.
Assessment - Cold writes are used in KS2 to assess prior knowledge and show progress. Children will write in the same genre as the end of unit outcome but on different subject matter and with limited guidance/input. Teachers will then use this piece of writing to inform their planning and gain a better understanding of what the children are already able to do and what they need support with. This approach ensures teaching is closely tailored to the needs of the students and time is not unnecessarily spent on teaching grammar skills or genre features that are already secure.
Through assessment and gap analysis, which is carried out on a termly basis, teachers are able to identify children who need further support to secure particular writing objectives and implement interventions which will enable these children to catch up and keep up with their peers.
At Gillingstool, the impact of our writing curriculum will be that children will develop a love of writing and make at least good progress in writing from their last point of statutory assessment. By year 6, children will have built a repertoire of writing skills and knowledge which will be rooted in experience of high-quality fiction and non-fiction writing. Children will be able to use their writing skills as a key tool in helping them to learn, and as a result, know more, remember more and understand more.
The impact of our writing curriculum will be measured through the use of Target Tracker to assess and identify gaps, interviews with the students, internal and hub moderation and the annual reporting of standards across the curriculum.