Teachers should draw upon the Generic Outcomes when planning all writing teaching sequences. It is the embedding of these skills in particular which will have the greatest impact on pupil outcomes and allow them to make sure progress in their writing.
1. Substantive knowledge - this is the core component knowledge and transcriptional skills so that pupils are able to write. We explore these through the lenses of substantive concepts which are taught through explicit instruction as well as through the direct application of the study within writing lessons and cross-curriculum opportunities to write. The substantive concepts that we develop through our writing curriculum are:
Phonics Spelling Handwriting Grammar Punctuation
2. Disciplinary knowledge – In addition to the core knowledge required to be successful within each of these elements, our curriculum outlines key aspects of how we intend to develop working as a writer. We organise our curriculum so that it focuses on developing different aspects of these competencies at different points. The features of working as a writer in our writing curriculum are:
Plan Draft Revise Edit Publish
Learning to write, like learning to read, is a journey from dependence to independence. Attainment in writing is intrinsically linked to the reading culture of the classroom and school. A programme of reading high quality texts aloud and the opportunity to explore a wide variety of texts and genres enables children to become increasingly aware of purpose, audience, form, voice, written language structures and rhythms, generic markers, language registers and conventions. These form the foundations of a child’s later understanding of written language systems.
We implement our intent using the Exceed Learning Partnership teaching sequence. Teachers should use this document as a direct reference to support with the planning and assessment of writing, building these into the writing sequence. The Teacher Assessment Framework (TAF) statements for the end of key Autumn Term and the end of key Spring Term have also been fully incorporated into Year 2 and Year 6. When teaching English, we combine the teaching of reading and writing skills within a context that is meaningful, purposeful and creative. Phonics/spelling, grammar and vocabulary are the building blocks of English and it is the art of combining these blocks effectively which is the real skill.
Spoken language is the first and most important resource that young writers have. Children need to have a wide experience of story, knowledge of written language and how this works and knowledge of how print works as a means of communication. Young children can compose long before they can transcribe and many teaching approaches at this stage focus on easing the burden of transcription and enabling children to compose more freely. Therefore, initially a child needs the help and support of another person, usually an adult, in order to write conventionally. This support can be gradually withdrawn as transcription becomes easier and the child increases in independence, finding their voice as a writer.
Progress and development will be multi-dimensional. Some kinds of progress will be in the area of composition, and other kinds will relate mainly to transcription. Inexperienced writers who are still struggling with transcription may also need support with developing spelling skills –moving from the phonetic stage to gaining increasing control of standard spelling –and gaining better control of handwriting. As children become more experienced writers, adults will need to use approaches which encourage children’s independence as writers; exploring form, voice, awareness of audience and the needs of the reader. Children will need to explore a wide variety of forms and styles, as well as having ample time to work on their writing –thus increasing their ability and stamina to manage extended texts. Adults model and demonstrate how written language works as a means of communication. Children need to explore different ways and means of composing and publishing writing, including digital and multi-modal texts, related to purpose and audience. Spelling and grammar, linked to language and form, should be taught, modelled and explored as an integral part of the writing curriculum.
Structure We organise intended learning into modules. These group the knowledge, skills and understanding that we want children to remember, do and use. The learning modules are taught in daily lessons in 2 to 3-weekly sequences. We start with a high quality and inspiring text, identifying points within the text at which a piece of extended writing could be crafted, building lessons from this point up. For extended pieces, teachers use key skill checklists to support the writing process.
• ASSESSMENT & FEEDBACK – Teachers should analyse pupils’ writing against the writing progression document / KPIs for the year group. They should provide feedback to pupils on what is working well (WWW) and next steps.
Careers and meaningful opportunities
At Sandringham Primary we provide career links and meaningful opportunities throughout each subject within the curriculum. Our learners benefit from: class discussions, visits from different professionals, visits, webinars and utilising our local expertise.
Teaching tasks should be planned cumulatively throughout the lesson using a TEACH, TASK, TEACH, TASK… approach. This is to provide pace, ambition, and build knowledge. Planning should develop coherent sequences with questions that activate pupils to retrieve and remember. Tasks should give pupils the opportunity to select information, rephrase it, practise it, say it and use it. We also want our pupils to be able to become skilful in organising their information. They will also be asked to integrate their learning through summarising, questioning and retrieving through recapping and embedding. As pupils are selecting, organising and integrating their learning, they will be activating their long-term memories and be able to use what they know.
In order to identify the impact our curriculum is having on our pupils, we check the extent to which learning has become permanently embedded in children’s long-term memory in addition to looking for excellence in their outcomes. When undertaking these we ask the following key questions:
• Does learning ‘travel’ with pupils and can they deliberately reuse it in more sophisticated contexts?
The best form of assessment in writing is at the point of delivery, while pupils are working. This helps us to understand pupils’ development as writers, rather than their ability to produce a prescribed end outcome. By encouraging pupils to articulate their thinking and reflections, we can understand which aspects of writing may require additional teaching and reshape teaching to support this. The assessment of pupils is formative based on pupil outcomes. Additionally, the Generic Outcomes are used to evaluate progress a child has made to secure these. Exemplification materials are available to be used to moderate against in order to ensure that expectations and judgements are secure. External moderation will take place in all year groups.
The ELP Writing KPI document provides working towards, end of year and greater depth objectives to be covered within each year group. This aligns with this Progression Document to support colleagues with the planning and assessment of writing. The Teacher Assessment Framework (TAF) statements for the end of Key Autumn Term and the end of Key Spring Term have also been fully incorporated into Year 2 and Year 6. The objectives are then used to assess against as part of ongoing formative assessment in the classroom.
We use summative assessment ‘to provide an accurate shared meaning without becoming the model for every classroom activity’ (Christodolou, 2017). If our curriculum is effective, it will lead to improvements in summative assessments over time. Teacher assessment judgements are against an agreed assessment model (the curriculum). We make summative judgements termly. Two pieces of writing will be assessed every term throughout the year by using the writing assessment grids. These grids match exactly to the KPI document. A range of genres/text types will be completed across the academic year so that an overview of a child's writing can be assessed. It is important to note that judgements against the Trust KPI documents will be on a ‘best fit’ model. However, for writing there are essential skills as well as the working towards statements that need to be met for working AT to be achieved in each year group These essential skills have been clearly starred (*) within the KPI document. Teachers record summative judgements termly on OTrack.
The Subject Leader undertakes a range of activities to understand what the curriculum looks like across the school and how well pupils know more, remember more and can do more as a result. In addition to the above tools, they use learning walks, planning reviews and book looks. When looking at books, we look at the content and knowledge, teaching sequence and vocabulary. They use their findings to support teachers to improve how they implement our writing curriculum and to make recommendations about the suitability of the intent for their subject.
The Subject Leader will use this document in order to ensure that the sequence of learning within the teaching of writing is delivered across the academy and outcomes are secured for all pupils within all year groups. Where pupils have gaps in learning, the document will be used to identify the stage of pupil learning and the next steps within the sequence in order to ensure that pupils make progress and close these gaps. The Subject Leader formally reports on impact of the curriculum termly to the Curriculum Leader, Principal and Governors.
Children in reception learn to form lower-case and capital letters correctly. They learn to spell words by identifying the sounds and then writing the sound with letters. They write short sentences with words with known sound-letter correspondences using a capital letter and full stop. With support they re-read what they have written to check that it makes sense. We support this by teaching formation as children learn the sounds for each letter using a memorable phrase, encouraging an effective pen grip. When forming letters, the starting point and direction are more important at this stage than the size or position of the letter on a line. We show children how to touch each finger as they say each sound. We support children to form a complete sentence orally before writing and to help children memorise the sentence before writing by repeatedly saying it aloud. We only ask children to write sentences when they have sufficient knowledge of letter-sound correspondences. We also practise writing by dictating sentences to ensure they contain only the taught sound-letter correspondences. We build early editing skills by modelling how to read and re-read writing to check it makes sense.
During Year 1, children build on learning from the early years foundation stage, continuing to learn new grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and revise and consolidate those learnt earlier. They extend their understanding that the letter(s) on the page represent the sounds in spoken words and this underpins pupils’ spelling of all words. This includes common words containing unusual GPCs or ‘common exception words’. Pupils’ writing during Year 1 generally develops at a slower pace than their reading. This is because they need to encode the sounds they hear in words (spelling skills), develop the physical skill needed for handwriting, and learn how to organise their ideas in writing. Pupils listen to and discuss books, so that they develop their vocabulary and understanding of grammar, as well as their knowledge more generally across the curriculum. Teaching develops pupils’ oral vocabulary as well as their ability to understand and use a variety of grammatical structures.
In writing, pupils at the beginning of Year 2 compose individual sentences orally and then write them down. They spell many of the words covered in Year 1 correctly and should also be able to make phonically plausible attempts to spell words they have not yet learnt. Finally, they form individual letters correctly, establishing good handwriting habits from the beginning. Pupils begin to meet extra challenges in terms of spelling during Year 2. Increasingly, they will be taught that there is not always an obvious connection between the way a word is said and the way it is spelt. Variations include different ways of spelling the same sound, the use of so-called silent letters and groups of letters in some words and, sometimes, spelling that has become separated from the way that words are now pronounced, such as the ‘le’ ending in table. Pupils’ motor skills also need to be sufficiently advanced for them to write down ideas that they may be able to compose orally. In addition, writing is intrinsically harder than reading: pupils are likely to be able to read and understand more complex writing (in terms of its vocabulary and structure) than they are capable of producing themselves.
By the end of Year 6, pupils’ writing should be sufficiently fluent and effortless for them to manage the general demands of the curriculum in Year 7, across all subjects and not just in English, but there will continue to be a need for pupils to learn subject-specific vocabulary. They should be able to reflect their understanding of the audience for and purpose of their writing by selecting appropriate vocabulary and grammar. Teachers will prepare pupils for secondary education by ensuring that they can consciously control sentence structure in their writing and understand why sentences are constructed as they are. Pupils will understand nuances in vocabulary choice and age-appropriate, academic vocabulary. This involves consolidation, practice and discussion of language.