Writing Curriculum Statement
Writing is a crucial part of our curriculum at Findern. By the end of Year Six we intend for our children to have developed a love of writing and to be able to express their ideas clearly, using a variety of techniques and grammatical features depending on the genre that they are working on. Having the opportunity to write a variety of genres using high quality model texts as examples allows our children to develop their own writing style and explore which genres particularly spark their imagination. We also put great importance on editing and improving our work at Findern, something that the children complete in green pen. Afterall, being able to effectively check their own work is a vital skill for all writing throughout life. At Findern, we set high expectations for all our children to take pride in their work, have a fluent handwriting style, produce work that is grammatically correct and that has few spelling errors.
Our English curriculum is based on Pie Corbett’s ‘Talk for Writing’ structure. Each half term we have outlined a specific genre of writing which the children focus on for a number of weeks. We also revisit genres from the previous year, to allow children to recall and apply skills that they learnt during a ‘big write’ unit the previous year. Please refer to our ‘genre coverage’ document to see exactly how this looks.
Baseline assessment (cold task):
Each unit will start with a cold task, where the children have a go at writing in the focus genre before receiving any input from their teacher. Not only does this give the opportunity for the children to recall and apply learning from previous years but it is also used as an immediate assessment tool for the teacher, informing them of children’s strengths and weaknesses from the outset. This should help to inform future planning.
The imitation phase:
The children will then move on to hearing and internalising a model text of whatever genre they are learning about, creating a class text map and adding actions to help them remember the text. This text will include any key grammar and punctuation that will be explicitly taught and applied by the children throughout the unit. They will have the opportunity to practice and apply these new skills in daily short burst writing tasks as well as during oral activities in class. Ultimately, the class will create a toolkit of features that they would expect to see within the text type they are studying which will later act as a support when they are innovating and inventing their own. Where appropriate, these features will be highlighted and discussed during guided reading and whole class reading sessions, allowing children to see them used in a variety of contexts and situations.
The innovation stage:
In this stage, the class will work to innovate on the model text to create their own version through a combination of whole class, paired and independent writing. The class will also create a boxed-up planning template that identifies the structure and key components of the text type. All of this will then be used for the children to create their own, innovated piece of writing. Those learners who find writing more difficult will be encouraged to hug the text closely when innovating, whilst more able learners will extend and embellish the writing more significantly, creating a piece that is potentially quite different to the model text. This work will then be marked and feedback provided to the children ahead of completing their hot task, with specific targets provided for individual children.
Independent application (hot task):
At this stage, the children are given a new stimulus on which to base their writing and are tasked with independently planning, drafting, editing, improving and writing up their own piece of work. This will be the same genre as before and they will be able to use the same boxed-up structure to organise their writing. However, the application of skills and writing process will be entirely independent. Therefore, these pieces of writing allow class teachers to assess how children apply and experiment with the grammar, spelling and punctuation skills that they have previously been taught.
Spellings are taught according to the rules and words contained in Appendix 1 of the English National Curriculum. Children are given spellings to learn each week and are given a spelling test the following week.
In Reception and KS1, daily phonics is the key to the children’s learning of spelling through Twinkl Phonics. In addition, children are taught how to spell common exception words and high frequency words in our half-termly ‘Spellathon’, as per our Early Years and KS1 spelling progression document. From Year 2 and into KS2, the children move towards using their phonic knowledge to help them to understand spelling rules and patterns, which are taught, tested and revisited throughout their time at Findern. When marking work, teachers identify words that children have spelt incorrectly from within that child’s known ability and the child will practice these as part of their English lesson.
In EYFS1 (Nursery) children are taught the fundamental early writing skills including development of fine motor skills, letter formation, pencil grip and pencil control. This is developed further in EYFS and KS1 where children are introduced to letter formation of the full alphabet as part of the Twinkl phonics and handwriting program. Brown, green and blue line guides are used when teaching handwriting which introduces children to letters that sit on the line (green line), ascenders that reach the sky (blue line) and descenders that go underground (brown line). They are also taught how to form lower case and capital letters, including letter orientation and positions on a line.
Teachers model the schools handwriting style when marking, writing on the board and on displays around the classroom. As children progress through school, there is an increasing focus on fluency, consistency and speed. Pen licenses are issued when the class teacher has seen consistently good handwriting in line with year group expectations.
Pupils will make good progress from their own personal starting points. By the end of Year Six they will be able to write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. Our pupils will acquire a wide vocabulary and have a strong command of written language. Furthermore, more children will be equipped to achieve greater depth after working through the Talk for Writing scheme throughout their time at Findern. Most importantly, they will develop a love of writing and be well equipped for their future education.