At Appletree Gardens First School, writing is a crucial part of our ambitious curriculum. All children from Foundation Stage to Year 4 are provided with many opportunities to develop and apply their writing skills across the curriculum. It is our ambition that pupils are able to speak, read and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions effectively and reach their potential.
Our intention is for pupils to be able to independently plan, revise and evaluate their writing. To be able to do this effectively, pupils focus on developing effective transcription and composition, along with an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary, grammar and spelling patterns. Writers also focus upon the development of fluent, legible handwriting.
Our intentions in writing are for children to:
- Write for a purpose
- See themselves as real writers
- Take ownership of their writing
- See writing as an interesting and enjoyable process
- Acquire the ability to organise and plan their written work
Parents as Partners
Here at Appletree, we recognise that parents are the first and ongoing educators of their own children. We understand the vital role that they play in supporting their children’s learning and encourage open communication between home and school.
Equity and Excellence
We firmly believe that personal and social circumstances should not be an obstacle to achieving educational potential. Our carefully structured skills based curriculum supports and engages all children so as to narrow the gap between the most and least advantaged learners, while improving outcomes for all.
We are a ‘Talk for Writing’ school. This inclusive approach recognises that reading influences writing and that the richness, depth and breadth of reading determines the writer a child becomes.
Our written curriculum is underpinned by an established core reading spine of quality fiction, non-fiction and poetry that all children experience and draw on. The aim of these essential reads is for every child to experience the pleasure and challenge of great literature. These ‘must have’ stories, build children’s language and create shared and deeply imaged common memorable experiences.
Teachers have a good knowledge of the Talk for Writing pedagogy and effective support and training is provided to ensure a consistency of approach across the school. Within year groups and across phases children remember in the long term the content they have been taught and integrate this knowledge into larger concepts. Imaginative units of work are developed from EYFS to Year 4 to create a coherent and sequenced curriculum that first expands and develops the children’s oral language skills then teaches the necessary steps for sentence, paragraph and text construction. A key feature of Talk for Writing is that children internalise the language structures needed to write through ‘talking the text’, as well as close reading. This approach moves from dependence towards independence, with the teacher using shared and guided teaching to develop the ability in children to write creatively and powerfully.
Early writing is taught through mark making, then when the children begin learning Phonics in EYFS, they are taught the letter formations. This begins with writing letters, CVC words then moving on to short sentences using the sounds they have been taught. As part of Talk for Writing the children learn stories and have the chance to write their own. Children are encouraged to write independently in continuous provision, developing a love of writing.
Teachers use assessment well to check understanding and inform teaching. With all new units of work, children are asked to write a ‘Cold Task’. Teachers use this to assess the areas of grammar, punctuation and text structure that the children in their class and year group will need to be taught. Each unit of work is underpinned by the three ‘I’s - Imitation, Innovation and Invention.
Imitation involves getting to know a text inside out.
Innovation involves being taught the craft of writing and having a go. and
Invention involves the children applying their new skills to a new context.
After the teaching of a unit, children are asked to write a ‘Hot Task’. Teachers assess the hot task and measure progress against the ‘Cold Task’.
Teachers track and assess the children’s progress in writing against National Curriculum writing objectives. These same objectives are used when moderating children’s writing. Progress is tracked from Cold Task to Hot Task.
Grammar and Punctuation is generally taught as part of the Talk for Writing units through the model text and through playing sentence games. From time to time certain objectives may be taught explicitly in discrete lessons.
The 2014 statutory curriculum for spelling aims to develop a child’s ability to spell words correctly, using their knowledge of spelling rules and of how common phonemes are spelt. Spelling is a developmental process. The stages through which children pass as they develop as spellers are the following: pre-phonetic, phonetic, transitional and ‘correct’. Spelling is a visual-motor skill and children will therefore need to develop visual strategies alongside their phonic knowledge.
As a school, our aims in teaching spelling are that the pupils will:
- be encouraged to look carefully at the words
- be taught spelling rules and given the opportunity to apply them in writing.
- to understand how the English spelling system works and how its history has influenced our spelling
- be helped and encouraged to develop their confidence as competent spellers
- develop and extend their vocabulary through shared, guided and independent spelling activities
- enjoy spelling and recognise its value