Forest Primary Writing Rationale
At Far Forest, our aim is to equip children with the necessary skills to write independently for a variety of audiences and purposes. We want our pupils to have a passion for writing where they are able to form, articulate and communicate their ideas, organising them coherently for a reader. This involves not only the need for a wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar but also requires them to have fluent and legible handwriting. We also recognise the importance of spoken language and how this underpins the development of writing. With this in mind, we aim to ensure each and every one of our pupils can write and speak fluently so that they can communicate their ideas in various forms. We also encourage our children to express themselves effectively and to listen and learn from each other. By the end of year 6, we want our pupils’ writing to be sufficiently fluent and effortless to equip them for the general demands of the curriculum as they move into secondary school.
The aim is for all pupils to…
The Writing Process
As a school, we draw on a range of strategies including 'Talk for Writing' and ‘The Write Stuff’ approach so that children rehearse and learn exemplary models of writing at the beginning of a sequence. They dissect and evaluate high quality writing models, analysing the language choices, structure and grammatical rules that make the piece of writing a success.
Our writing approaches provide opportunities for our children to imitate, innovate and invent. The model texts used in each year group are pitched above the pupils’ level. Using these texts, children learn the underlying, transferable structures and language patterns that they will need when writing.
Our writing lessons ensure that our children have exposure to a wide range of genres and learn to write for different purposes and audiences. Our writing curriculum is rooted in reading with all writing opportunities linked to high quality texts. We make secure links between writing and reading, pupils are made aware that they should ‘read as a writer’ and ‘write as a reader’. Grammar skills are taught and embedded from our progression map within our teaching sequences of reading and writing where children are taught the knowledge of grammatical features they will need to apply to their own writing and discuss in the work of others. This ensures that they make purposeful links and build on the skills they have learnt in order to craft their own quality pieces of writing.
Far Forest Writing Journey:
1. Deconstruct – Deconstruct one or more WAGOLLs identifying features and language used in the specific genre.
2. Modelling- Writing is modelled through shared/guided writing by the teacher, this is key in writing lessons so that not only do children know how to incorporate the success criteria but also learn the craft of writing. Children will also identify features, grammatical concepts and vocabulary to use during shared writing.
3. Planning and first draft – Children plan a piece of writing, for a specific purpose and audience they then write a first draft. Teachers will devise the best way and duration of this stage based on their knowledge of their children. This stage often takes place over a few lessons to allow children take part in shared/guided writing activities, spoken language, to explore a stimulus and to create vocabulary banks.
4. Evaluate – Children are given the chance to evaluate their work at regular intervals during the whole process, not just after the first draft. They will evaluate their writing on whether it meets the success criteria, achieves the purpose and is suitable for the proposed audience.
6. Edit – Children are given the opportunity to improve the spelling, grammar and punctuation of their writing in the editing stage.
7. Publish – This stage is not always necessary; however, it is encouraged that children have opportunities to redraft their work and/or present it in an imaginative way.
In EYFS and KS1, the children learn to spell as part of their daily phonics lessons where they learn to apply the sounds taught. For Years 2-6, we have a clear progression of spelling expectations in line with the National Curriculum. New spelling patterns are introduced each week and children are encouraged to use their knowledge of phonics and spelling rules to spell accurately. We use ‘look, cover, write, check’ and additional opportunities to embed spelling rules such as word searches, antonym/synonyms, using words in context, creating graphics and handwriting practice. Children discover rules and spelling patterns through discussion and pattern spotting and are expected to practice spellings within context.
Each week, the children in Year 2-6 will complete a weekly spelling test. These are based on either the spelling rule they have learnt at school or the National Curriculum word lists. Word lists and visual prompts are used in classrooms to assist children with their spelling. In all work, spelling is given a high priority. Children are encouraged to use different strategies to help them spell correctly; including phonics, use of word lists or mats and dictionaries.
Writing also depends on fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy handwriting. In early years children are firstly taught how to hold a pencil effectively using the tripod grip and then taught how to write correctly formed letters whilst saying phrases from the ‘Little Wandle’ phonics scheme. Developing the physical skill needed for handwriting continues into year 1 and they begin to learn a pre-cursive handwriting style where all lowercase letters begin on the line. By the time children reach year 2, they are able to form individual letters correctly and therefore learn to join, so establishing good handwriting habits from the beginning. In Key Stage 2, joined handwriting is the norm and pupils learn to be able to use it fast enough to keep pace with what they want to say. Throughout the curriculum, there is a huge focus on correct letter formation, joined handwriting and neat presentation.
The main intended impact of our delivery of Writing is that all pupils enjoy writing across a range of genres, can write for a range of purposes and audiences, and become confident and effective communicators. They will amass a varied vocabulary that they can use across the curriculum and can apply spelling rules and grammatical concepts in their work. We also aim to ensure that our pupils are proud of their writing and have opportunity to see it on display and shared with others in the school and with their families.
Monitoring will take place throughout the year by the Subject Leader through monitoring books, learning walks and consultations with pupils. Further to this, teachers will take part in moderation with another local school looking at their own year groups and Year 2 and Year 6 may be moderated by the LA in the Summer term.