Writing Curriculum Statement
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.
The programmes of Study for Key stage 1 and Key Stage 2 are divided into two dimensions:
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?
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.
The teaching of spellings has two parts:
Early Years Foundation Stage
Key Stage 1
Key Stage 2
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.
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.
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.
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