At St Clement’s & St John’s C.E. Infant School our vision is for all children to have equal opportunities to develop the confidence, compassion, creativity and curiosity necessary to develop a lifelong love of language and literature. We know that future success is linked directly to a broad vocabulary, love of reading and an ability to communicate effectively through text. Therefore, our primary aim is to ensure that children have numerous opportunities to achieve the writing expectations for their age group through intelligent repetition, innovation and skilled teaching.
We want pupils to acquire a wide vocabulary, a solid understanding of grammar and be able to spell new words by effectively applying the spelling patterns and rules they learn throughout their time in primary school. We want them to write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. We believe that all pupils should be encouraged to take pride in the presentation of their writing, in part by developing a good, joined, handwriting style by the time they move to KS2. We believe that all good writers refine and edit their writing over time, so we want children to develop independence in being able to identify their own areas for improvement in all pieces of writing, editing their work effectively during and after the writing process. We understand the importance of parents and carers in supporting their children to develop both grammar, spelling and composition skills, and so we want to encourage a home-school partnership which enables parents and carers to understand how to enhance the skills being taught in school.
In summary, in our teaching of writing, we aim:
The National Curriculum and the Early Years Framework are at the core of our writing curriculum here at St Clement’s. We focus closely on age related expectations, ensuring that the children have all they need to progress on to the next year group or key stage. We aim to plan coherently, including all aspects of the English curriculum in our planning. Each year group have a yearly overview of the writing genres, both narrative and non-fiction, that they will teach. These have been planned to ensure correct coverage of the key genres as well as to build on skills from year to year. We teach skills such as grammar, spelling and punctuation as part of a cohesive unit of work that enables children to make links, apply taught skills in a context and have a purpose for their work. Every narrative unit is linked to a carefully chosen text that acts as a stimulus for teaching the identified text, word and sentence level features that children will be expected to include in their extended writing outcome for that unit. An exemplar piece of modelled writing is created based on the stimulus text and supports pupils to identify and mimic the identified features in their own writing. Non-fiction units are also taught in a similar way that may be based on a stimulus text or may be related to another curriculum area.
We allow plenty of time for quality talk in our planning and often pre-teach vocabulary for our children with English as an Additional Language to provide them with the knowledge that they need to access the texts we are teaching. We use high quality texts as the starting point for all our units of work. Whole class reading starts our units with a close focus on modelled reading strategies, phonics skills and vocabulary. We know that quality texts inspire and motivate children and we encourage exposing children to a range of different texts. We know that good readers are good writers and so we give children every opportunity to relax with a good book – every classroom has a reading area and weekly visits to the school library are timetabled. We encourage the children to magpie words and phrases into their own writing and aim for our classrooms to be vocabulary rich environments. Spellings are taught according to the rules and words contained in Appendix 1 of the English National Curriculum. Teachers use Read Write Inc. and Letter-join to support their teaching and to provide activities that link to the weekly spellings. Children are given spellings to learn each week and are given a spelling test the following week.
Our aim is to create independent writers who can apply the skills they have been taught to have a positive effect on a reader. It is vital that the children see their teachers write daily and know that effective writing takes time and effort. We frequently model the writing and editing process in front of our classes and use ‘Mighty Writer’ to help structure sentences and develop cohesion. We actively encourage pupil input through shared and guided writing. In this way, alongside oral rehearsal, we can scaffold and support our children’s writing whilst making our expectations clear.
We regularly review, assess and adapt our writing scheme and curriculum to make sure that it remains exactly what the children need in order to become confident writers. In addition, we participate in regular moderation events both internally within the Coastal Learning Partnership Trust and externally with other local schools. We are reflective and use this process to continuously improve our own teaching and to standardise our judgements. More information can also be found within our Writing Policy in regards to the teaching of writing at our school.
We aim for all children to achieve age related expectations in writing at the end of EYFS and KS1 and for all children to have made good progress in their journey to becoming skilled and independent writers. Additionally, we aim for our higher attaining children to reach an Exceeding/Greater Depth level in their writing at the end of EYFS and KS1.
Impact is measured and can be viewed in a number of ways at St Clement’s, including the following;