Words are an inexhaustible source of magic. – Albus Dumbledore (J. K. Rowling)
At Burrington, we are passionate about writing, and consider ourselves WRITERS!
Burrington Primary School believe that writing is a key skill for life both inside and out of education and that is why it features across all the subjects taught across our school. Our aim is to provide children with key transferrable writing skills to build on year on year, that can be used throughout each phase of their education and prepare them for secondary school.
At Burrington Primary School, we use the Primary National Curriculum to underpin all aspects of the English Curriculum. Developing a love of reading, and the importance of this for our children both now and in the future, lies at the heart of our English curriculum. We also see the power of reading inspiring writing and as such we have chosen a literature-inspired approach for our writing curriculum.
- Learning journeys are led using a quality text as the stimulus, this may be fiction (including poetry) or non- fiction.
- In Early Years, English is planned around early reading, early writing and phonics.
Teaching children to write for a range of purposes and audiences can be very exciting, especially here at Burrington where we provide children with a range of engaging hooks to capture their imagination! We aim to provide the children with varied reasons for writing and believe that this not only produces higher quality writing, but allows our learners to apply their skills to a range of different contexts.
Writing across all subject areas will prepare our children for high school and the more in-depth approach to analysing, planning and innovating their writing.
Reading and Oracy is prioritised in our writing curriculum in order to build vocabulary for all learners and increase understanding of trickier texts used across our curriculum. Discussion, questioning and learning texts with actions all increase understanding and prepare our children with the tools they need in order to be successful in their writing. Our aim is for ALL learners to achieve their full potential in writing and we are committed to providing the scaffolds and challenge needed in order for our children to achieve this.
A daily English lesson of 45-60 minutes is taught in Year 1 – Year 6 and outcomes are planned with a real purpose in mind. The learning journey (WALT) is shared with children and they understand how each step of their learning will contribute to the outcome.
- As part of daily planning, previous knowledge and next steps within our progression are identified and shared with the children.
- Opportunities for proof-reading and editing written work is planned daily and children are encouraged to take an increased responsibility for proof-reading for mistakes and editing their work, with the reader in mind, as they progress through the school.
- The teaching of grammar and spelling is planned for and taught through the learning journey. Where necessary to introduce a new concept or cement understanding, additional discreet grammar sessions may be planned.
- All classes use a Talk for Writing approach which encourages plenty of oracy and development of vocabulary.
Writing and reading are closely linked and we ensure that children are reading daily in order to build on their knowledge of different genres of writing and develop their vocabulary.
A high standard of joined, cursive handwriting is modelled across school and children are encouraged to imitate this. We work towards children developing a cursive script where handwriting is legible and fluent when writing at speed. Children move from writing simple printed letters to joining, forming a more flowing script. This process is tailored to the maturation and developmental stage of the individual child.
Teachers demonstrate high quality modelling within each English lesson and encourage children to include key vocabulary (linked to their Topic), structure their work appropriately into coherent paragraphs and use the grammatical skills and punctuation taught at their year group level.
Within lessons, teachers and teaching assistants target support for slower graspers to enable them to achieve at an age-related level, wherever possible. This may involve a greater level of scaffolding and access to additional support materials such as Writers Toolkits, Word Banks or a greater level of modelling. The use of a WAGOLL (what a good one looks like) is used as an example of how to be successful at the start of each unit of work. This provides children with an end goal. Children are also given rubrics or success criteria and are encouraged to use this as a structure but also innovate their writing to make it their own. They do this through the use of a boxing-up sheet (planning proforma) used within each unit.
Burrington Primary School intends to develop writing as a transferrable skill across all subjects taught in the curriculum. We therefore immerse children in a termly History/Geography/Science themed topic and encourage cross-curricular links. Our aim is to provide engaging writing hooks that are linked to each termly topic to give children an audience and purpose for writing. Children are expected to transfer their key topic knowledge and vocabulary into their writing and vice versa to transfer their spelling, grammar and punctuation knowledge into their topic work. We expect the high standards for writing in English lessons to be evident within the work in all books.
Children are encouraged to deconstruct texts and identify key features for specific genres of writing. Teachers model the practising of these skills and children then apply them to their own writing. This ability to identify specific features we believe is a key skill across both reading and writing and will improve comprehension in children. As a school, we ensure that genres of writing studied run alongside the learning taking place in Guided reading so that children are fully immersed in the text type.
Burrington Primary school ensures that children are aware of their strengths and areas for development in writing so that learners can take ownership of their progress. Teachers leave next steps in books when marking to ensure that children know exactly what they need to do next to make progress in their writing and children are encouraged to respond to this in purple pen. We ensure that ALL learners are given next steps and that scaffolds and challenges are put in place for those children working below or above age-related outcomes.
Children who are identified as not achieving age-related outcomes and/or those on the SEN register may be assessed against the outcomes for the year group below. Daily interventions/support may be put in place in order to accelerate writing skills in this case. The nature of the intervention will be decided by the teacher and the SENCO. Support in class may include small group work with an adult during lessons to model key skills, scaffolds created by the teacher to assist with completion of work and word banks/sentence openers provided to assist the child when writing.
In Years 1-6 in our school we use the No Nonsense Literacy (Babock) plans, which are aligned with the National Curriculum for English and provide a progression of writers’ skills and grammatical knowledge appropriate for each year group. This is supplemented when and where appropriate with customised planning.
Teachers evaluate their plans daily, making any necessary changes and adaptions in response to assessment for learning and the needs of the class. Where appropriate, TA’s will provide feedback to inform next steps planning.
Teachers plan for adult-led small groups and pre-teaching sessions for identified children.
No Nonsense Literacy (Babock), Little Wandle phonics programme, Twinkle Spelling, NFER and NARA Reading assessments, Nessy, Spelling Frame, The Natural Curriculum (Grammar), Literacy Shed and Hamilton English and Grammar resources are used to support planning.
As part of the ongoing teaching and learning process, teachers assess children's understanding through a range of ‘Assessment for Learning’ strategies. Annotations to planning inform day to day teaching and learning, are based on observation, questioning, informal testing and the marking and evaluation of work. This also enables appropriate written and verbal feedback to be given to children and will inform planning for the following day.
Teachers make use of diagnostic questioning throughout all stages of pupils’ learning, to identify misconceptions. Open-ended questioning is central to teacher input, enabling misconceptions to be revealed and explored. Marking and feedback will also identify misconceptions which will either be challenged or inform next steps. Learners are also taught to assess and evaluate their own understanding by recognising successes, learning from their own mistakes and identifying areas for improvement. (See Feedback and Marking policy for further details.)
Assessment in writing is ongoing as teachers carry out in-depth assessment of children’s writing at the end of each unit, and highlight the age-related outcomes that have been achieved.
Children are tested termly on spelling, grammar and punctuation knowledge (NFER Assessments) and this data is used to inform next steps for writing.
Target Tracker is used to analyse gaps in children’s knowledge and gain an overview of specific groups of children across school.
Progress across classes is closely monitored by the subject leader and senior leadership team. Monitoring will include: regular book looks, lesson observations, gathering evidence of good practice, pupil voice interviews, looking at data on Target Tracker and regular learning walks.
The findings of this monitoring will be used to inform next steps for the children and the implementation of writing across the school as a whole.
At Burrington, Inspiration Days are one day (or week) adventures in learning designed to inspire pupils to engage with Key Stage 1 and 2 Curriculum topics. These may take the form of drama, STEM week, visitors, immersive topic wow days, forest school etc.
Children are highly motivated by this type of learning and in numerous cases, children who are usually quite hard to reach, engaged fully in their learning for the first time. The ‘Inspiration Days’ are a really effective means of creating memorable and exciting learning experiences without having to travel outside the school. They will never forget what they learned on these magical days. - Sarah Joskey, Federation Head Teacher