"If you want to change the world, pick up a pen and write." - Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
What does Writing look like at Cubitt Town Primary School?
At Cubitt Town, we believe that writing is a key life skill, which is why it is featured across all subjects taught. This multifaceted approach to writing provides pupils with opportunities to write in a range of writing styles. Our aim is to develop competent writers that leave our school with the transferable writing skills needed in the real world, so that they can effectively communicate in the written word and recognise the impact that their writing can have on others.
Writing is supported with a range of rich core texts that have been carefully chosen to reflect the diverse world we live in. From a variety of genres to the diversity in our author choices, our writing curriculum has been designed to encourage pupils to immerse themselves in many planes. Additionally, pupils are taught to write for a range of purposes and to have a clear understanding of the intended audience of their writing. Sequences of learning are designed to provide pupils with a rich array of quality texts and stimulating experiences which demonstrate how writing can be used for thinking, communicating and as a means of expression.
We support writing with the development of oracy and reading within the school. Pupils are given a range of opportunities to exercise their speaking and listening skills so that they can communicate successfully. We are also aware of the link between oracy and vocabulary acquisition. Moreover, reading with the opportunity to discuss, predict and question helps promote pupil confidence in their journey towards becoming authors. Experiences are not limited to books however, and pupils can further explore how meaning is conveyed through illustrations, photographs, advertisements, films and performances.
Our writing intentions are:
- We create confident writers who develop stamina for writing throughout school and are able to write at length
- We aim for all of our pupils to become independent writers, building on a range of skills as they work through each journey of writing
- We expose all pupils to high quality texts that model excellent writing practises across a broad range of genres
- We develop in our pupils a secure understanding of the purpose of a text type and the intended impact of writing skills/tools as well as the ability to carefully select vocabulary with focus on the desired effect on the readers’ thoughts and feelings
- We ensure that all pupils know how to plan, practise, evaluate their work as well as carry out an effective edit and improvement process using feedback from teachers
- We challenge and encourage pupils to take risks and view mistakes as a positive part of the learning process.
- We celebrate writing at each stage through the learning process to encourage children to take pride in all aspects of learning and in everything they produce.
- We provide a balanced and broad curriculum, which encompasses writing practice and equips children with the skills and knowledge of writing processes including handwriting, spelling, grammar, widening vocabulary and writing for different styles.
- We are inclusive of all children by providing the appropriate scaffolding, support and writing tools children may need in their writing process to experience success.
Children receive at least an hour each day of dedicated literacy learning focused on writing, this is in addition to lessons that integrate writing across the wider curriculum, such as writing a historical account or scientific report.
Within any writing lesson or writing topic, the following elements will be taught:
- An awareness of the purpose and audience
- Backward planning
- Immersion in the text type
- Creating knowledge base
- Grammar and Spelling
- Editing and revising
Writing units of work at Cubitt Town Primary follows a clear sequence, to allow pupils to cumulatively build knowledge and skills. This allows our pupils to follow a learning journey that revisits the aforementioned skills across the year regularly to strengthen their knowledge and application of the written word. Well sequenced lessons ensure that prior learning is checked and built upon; teachers use shared writing, modelled writing and guided writing to teach a range of skills and techniques which enable the children to develop their own writing style using appropriate grammar, punctuation and appropriate vocabulary choices. These lessons also enable the children to make links, apply taught skills in context so they can see a purpose to their writing.
Spelling is taught in discrete lessons and children understand the importance of learning spellings in a memorable and interesting way. A range of strategies are used to support pupils to become competent lifelong spellers. We use SpellingFrame (online platform) to support the acquisition of spelling as well as the No Nonsense spelling programme to help with the application. Accurate spelling is expected in all writing across the curriculum and children are provided opportunities to edit their spellings to enable them to become proactive learners.
The teaching of grammar and standard English is an integral part of every writing lesson and across the whole curriculum. Grammar is taught progressively throughout the school, highlighted in our writing curriculum for each year group. Lessons are taught as part of English lessons so that the connection with their outcome is clearly expressed and applied.
Our writing curriculum supports students with SEND and ensures that all students’ needs are planned for. Those who are not fluent with the foundation skills of a writer take part in an assortment of targeted learning interventions, such as:
- Pre-teaching (including reading and exploration of vocabulary)
- Focus groups within a lesson (supported by resources and adults)
- Post-teaching activities (editing work or practising specific grammar skills)
- Support through visual widgets that provide key vocabulary, sentence structures and/or questions
- Talk4writing sessions to help them orally rehearse their writing
- Opportunities for children to record their ideas in videos so they can rewatch for those who struggle with memory retention
- Specific support: touch typing, text-to-speech/ speech-to-text programs
- Handwriting programs: printing like a pro
In Class Feedback
Teachers use assessment regularly to provide pupils with feedback so they can develop conscientiously as writers. This is provided verbally, through written comments and targets in pupils’ books; teachers assess against the lesson objectives and success criteria identified within each lesson. Moreover, teachers may plan in sessions to take part in 1:1 conferencing with students to provide them with more detailed feedback after extended writing sessions. This may also take the form of next steps.
Teachers use formative assessments to inform their planning so they are able to adapt to the needs of their class. Activities in lessons are tailored to address learning gaps. Additionally, mini-plenaries are used within lessons to take mini pauses within a lesson to review successes and to present areas for improvement to the whole class.
Assessment is ongoing and teachers carry out summative assessments at the end of each term. To add on, teachers regularly moderate within teaching teams. Progress across classes is closely monitored by year leads, the subject leader and senior leadership team. Monitoring will include: regular book looks, lesson observations, gathering evidence of good practice, pupil voice interviews, analysing data and regular learning walks.
The findings of this monitoring will be used to support teachers and to inform next steps for the implementation of writing across the school.