Writing at The Wilfred Owen School
Writing is important in everyday life and across all areas of the curriculum. It is integral to all aspects of life and, with this in mind, we endeavour to ensure that children develop a healthy and enthusiastic attitude towards writing that will stay with them. Writing enables pupils to communicate with people around the world. Building on experiences, it encourages thinking and communication skills to grow.
The 2014 National Curriculum aims to ensure that all pupils:
- Read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- Develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- Acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- Appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
- Write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
- Use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
- Are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
We put good quality children’s literature at the heart of English teaching, through using quality texts. This approach promotes a high standard of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, whilst developing their love of literature outcomes for children.
At The Wilfred Owen School, we want every child to develop the key skills, knowledge and understanding in speaking, listening, reading and writing, that will give them a secure starting point for their on-going transition through education. It is crucial that we enable our children with fluency and techniques they will need to succeed in all aspects of the English Curriculum.
As a Writer, we want our children to express themselves creatively and imaginatively and to communicate effectively for a variety of audiences and purposes. Writing opportunities should give them the tools to compose writing of a high standard, through familiarity with techniques, grammar, punctuation and vocabulary, which can achieve a variety of outcomes. We want children to experience writing for real purpose and aim to provide, through cross curricular teaching, contexts which will enable children to see the impact their communication and written word can have. Children will write to their M.P on real life issues that affect them, they will communicate with authors and poets, they will write letters, present their work in a variety of forms and recognise the impact they can have through a secure command of the written word. Children will be exposed to writing from different cultures and backgrounds, be given the opportunity to see writing performed in a variety of ways and will develop a love of writing and an appreciation of its educational, cultural and entertainment values.
In short, a child at The Wilfred Owen will develop these essential characteristics:
• The ability to write fluently and with interesting detail on a number of topics throughout the curriculum.
• A vivid imagination which makes readers engage with and enjoy their writing.
• A highly developed vocabulary and an excellent knowledge of writing techniques to extend details or description.
• Well-organised and structured writing, which includes a variety of sentence structures.
• Excellent transcription skills that ensure their writing is well presented and punctuated, spelled correctly and neat.
Writing is taught daily and will, where possible links will be made to cross curricular subjects. The English curriculum is rooted in the knowledge and skills that pupils need to take advantage of the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life, therefore addressing social disadvantage and injustice. All pupils have the cultural capital to be educated citizens. The English curriculum provides an inter-disciplinary cross-curricular approach, which makes meaningful connections between subjects. These natural links enable pupils to develop creativity across the curriculum. Each teacher subject knowledge enables all pupils to achieve their full potential whatever their background might be. Pupils have a wide vocabulary and a rich understanding of the meaning of words encountered.
A child at Wilfred Owen will develop the following necessary skills:
- Present neatly - This concept involves developing an understanding of handwriting and clear presentation.
- Spell correctly- This concept involves understanding the need for accuracy.
- Punctuate accurately- This concept involves understanding that punctuation adds clarity to writing.
- Write with purpose- This concept involves understanding the purpose or purposes of a piece of writing.
- Use imaginative description- This concept involves developing an appreciation of how best to convey ideas through description.
- Organise writing appropriately- This concept involves developing an appreciation of how best to convey ideas through description.
- Use paragraphs- This concept involves understanding how to group ideas so as to guide the reader.
- Use sentences appropriately- This concept involves using different types of sentences appropriately for both clarity and for effect.
Analysis and presentation
- Analyse writing- This concept involves understanding how grammatical choices give effect and meaning to writing.
- Present writing- This concept involves learning to reflect upon writing and reading it aloud to others.
Writing is taught daily throughout the school. Depending on the teaching and learning of the lesson, the children might work in Kagan groups. Teaching follows a sequence of learning planned in advance. The teaching and learning is based around a quality text/writing stimulus which is central to the writing. The focus of the English can also be linked to the topic that the class is focusing on. The children will follow something, which we call our ‘Writing Cycle’ where the children carry out a cold written task before the sequence of learning starts. Teachers will then plan carefully around addressing any misconceptions and gaps children need to address in order to write in this style of genre. At the end of the sequence of learning, the children will produce a hot write which will have been edited and improved as final draft. This final piece of writing will form as their ‘Remarkable write’, something each child will be incredibly proud of.
Writing in EYFS
Writing continues to follow the phonetic model structured within Letters and Sounds. In addition to these early reading to writing experiences, children have access to a range of early mark-making and preparatory writing materials both indoors and outdoors. Children are encouraged to explore writing for meaning within their own play explorations and to quantify their early ideas. Our prepared environments support children's emergent writing wherever they may be, by developing links between concrete exploration and literacy. Block play can produce a great deal of learning within reading and writing.
In Nursery children are exposed to daily drawing, mark-making and name-writing experiences, which we have mapped into a typical and progressive range. This allows us to ensure that children's preparatory marks and drawings can be constructively developed and that practitioners know how to move learning forward.
In Reception, we are continuing to develop our awareness of how children's drawings feed into cognitive and writing readiness, through an ongoing exploration of daily drawing experiences. Children in Reception also take part in daily focused phonics sessions, where children receive guided practice in the application of phonics within the range. Handwriting and formation are also taught as part of this approach.
As part of their ongoing literary development, children are encouraged to spell words correctly, rather than simply accepting phonetically plausible alternatives, which maybe problematic to their long term literary development. In order to be competent writers, children must have an accurate tool-kit to call upon. It is through their knowledge of how to read and write these words at speed, that children become competent writers.
In addition to their own explorations in early writing, children take part in daily shared writing experiences, which feed forward to an independent writing experience at the end of each week. In this way, children are well prepared to transition into the next phase of their education.
Writing in KS1/2
For focus genres each term, classes will follow an agreed sequence of work, called the writing cycle. The purpose of the cycle is to identify gaps and misconceptions and explicitly teach key areas of grammar, punctuation, genre and vocabulary linked to the outcome. The cycle is flexible and at the teacher’s discretion, where quality first teaching will give all children the skills to write in a particular context, style or for a specific audience. The cycle is responsive to the needs of the class and may change as work progresses depending on individual cohort gaps in learning.
Sequence of learning:
*High quality text
*Stimulus – arts/drama/film/music/photos
*MAGPIE – what a good one looks like/example text of the genre you are focusing
*New grammar – new grammar from that year groups National Curriculum grammar
*Collection of grammar to include in writing
*Planning and talk for writing
*Draft – modelled/shared/guided writing opportunity
*Final writing – ‘I am an author’ book
Some steps of the sequence may be developed further, some steps may not be included based on the genre of writing that is being taught and carried out by the class. The aim of this sequence is to lead to a piece of writing is to provide children with a high quality example and to give them the skills to produce something of the same quality with a particular emphasis on vocabulary. A range of genres is taught throughout the year, so children are experiencing all aspects of the writing curriculum.
We aim to plan meaningful and, where possible, real life purposes and audiences for writing within and beyond the classroom. We plan purposes which require the children to write in a variety of genres including hybrid genres which allows them to apply their understanding of a range of genres. From Year 1 to Year 6, teachers use the sequence of learning to inform their planning. Every class, use quality texts or parts of texts to stimulate the children and allow for planning of creative teaching and writing experiences. These experiences give children the opportunity to apply what they have learnt and progress in their writing. We teach pupils to plan, proof read, redraft and present their work appropriately taking pride in what they have achieved. We are constantly exposing children to new vocabulary and encouraging them to use it in their writing. We explicitly teach spelling patterns and rules from the National Curriculum and expect children to use these regularly in their writing.
We seek to ensure that planning delivers the requirements of The National Curriculum for England 2014 and is suited to all needs of children in all groups. We endeavour to provide every child with a creative, enjoyable and developmental teaching sequence of learning for writing.
Our planning ensures that:
*There is a clear focus on outcomes
*There are appropriate and achievable learning objectives for all pupils
*We address the needs of pupils who work below or above age-related expectations
*Teaching challenges all pupils’ to ensure progress
*There is continuity and progression in pupils’ learning
*There is balanced coverage of word, sentence and text-level learning
*There are opportunities for pupils to reflect upon their own progress
*Draws links with other areas of the curriculum, where appropriate.
Each genre of written work will be introduced with a cold write. This will be used at the start of each sequence of writing, to inform teacher’s planning, to identify gaps in learning and discover misconceptions. At the end of each writing cycle, each child will be asked to write in the same genre to see if progress has been made. This will give the class teacher an opportunity to measure progress and identify any specific targets for each individual child. An ARE grid, linked to each year groups objectives for the year, will be used to show whether a child is Working Towards (WTS), Expected (EXS) or Greater Depth (GDS).
This assessment information can be tracked on insight and will support staff in giving children an end of key stage level in English.
Assessment of writing
Assessment is regarded as an integral part of teaching and learning and is a continuous process. At The Wilfred Owen School, we are continually assessing our pupils’ and recording their progress, allowing us to ensure that the work are provided with is challenging and will further their progress. Assessment also enables staff to identify children who need further additional/targeted support in their learning.
This assessment happens daily when teaching and facilitating the learning of the children. This assessment informs planning, adaptations to planning and informs teachers of progress within lessons. Marking, dialogue with the children observations, feedback during the learning process and self and peer assessment are all effective forms of formative assessment used throughout the school.
Summative assessment is carried out termly as a formal assessment process of pupils’ writing. It is used to review the progress of the children since the previous term and inform staff of their current ability in relation to key objectives and targets. Assessment grids (ARE) devised by the English Lead, are used as an assessment tool to aid the assessment of writing across the school. This process informs teachers’ of the next steps for children in the following term.
This data is recorded on ‘Insight’ and will support staff in giving children an end of key stage level in Writing.
Feedback to pupils
Feedback to pupils is an essential aspect of our teaching of writing. This feedback is achieved through discussion with the pupils, marking of work, intervention work with pupils and self-assessment.
- Aims to help pupils learn and comments are intended to be constructive, positive and forward looking.
- Is often undertaken while a task is being carried out. This takes the form of a discussion between the teacher and child and is appropriate to age and ability.
- Is used sensitively and with discretion so that pupils assimilate a limited number of corrections at one time – this varies with age and ability.
- Informs discussion with pupils in relation to a particular focus for that child.
- Aims to improve the child’s work and increase their confidence with the task they are focusing on.