English - Writing
At NAS, our aim is that all children develop the skills to become confident, enthusiastic, excellent writers who are able to express themselves clearly in writing and who can adapt the style and tone of their writing according to their purpose and audience. We want all our pupils to leave NAS with:
- The ability to write with fluency;
- The ability to think about the impact they want their writing to have on the reader and know how they will achieve this;
- A sophisticated bank of vocabulary and an excellent knowledge of writing techniques to extend details or description;
- The ability to structure and organise their writing to suit the genre;
- Excellent transcription skills so that their writing is well presented, punctuated, spelled correctly and neat;
- The ability to re-read, edit and improve their writing so that every piece of writing they produce is to the best of their ability and better than the last.
The skills involved in writing are taught in daily literacy lessons. Over the course of an academic year, children will experience and develop their skills in a range of writing types, including narrative, non-fiction texts such as reports and recounts, and poetry.
We use Jane Considine’s The Write Stuff as our approach to the teaching of writing. Many of the units within the scheme are based on high quality texts. While some texts and writing outcomes will reflect some of the familiarities of our close village community, many are intended to extend our children’s knowledge of the world beyond our rural locality, equipping them for life beyond the village. This is particularly relevant for our military families. Writing is planned in units of 3-5 weeks length, and where possible the units are linked to topic learning. Each unit has a clearly identified outcome in the form of an independent piece of writing based on the unit’s learning. Children’s books clearly show the writing journey within a unit.
The Write Stuff encompasses the following approach within each unit:
- Experience days: children are immersed in meaningful experiences which generate ideas and vocabulary for sentence stacking days.
- Sentence stacking: children are introduced to and practise a range of styles and grammatical features for sentence writing.
- Independent write: children use their learning to select success criteria and plan and execute an independent write.
- Editing: the children use their knowledge and understanding to check their work for errors or to improve what has already been written.
Children are given the opportunity to use their writing skills across the curriculum in non-core subjects e.g. history, geography, science.
Teachers use regular formative assessment to ensure that the work is appropriately planned and scaffolded to enable children to achieve success and make progress.
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPAG)
SPAG is taught progressively and follows a yearly overview within each year group which is based on the requirements of the National Curriculum.
At NAS we believe that all children are capable of achieving the required standard in spelling and that this will be reflected in their independent writing, showing increasing levels of accuracy and complexity as they move through the school. We achieve this by using a systematic, progressive programme, a consistent approach to the teaching of spelling, and high-quality, discrete lessons.
Spelling at NAS is taught using the Sounds-Write approach that children first meet through their phonics learning. As children progress, other strategies such as etymology and morphology of words are also used to teach and develop understanding.
Children’s spelling is regularly assessed both through their written work and summative assessments, with teachers using the outcomes to inform their planning so that gaps are filled.
All spellings are explicitly taught in school. Spellings may also be set as reinforcement homework.
Year group punctuation and grammar requirements are taught during literacy/writing lessons and follow the yearly writing overviews to ensure progression. They may be taught discretely or as part of the sentence stacking stage of a writing unit. Once taught, misconceptions are addressed by teachers, and we expect to see the punctuation or grammar point being correctly used by children in their independent writing.
A key part of our literacy/writing lessons is the daily SPAG starter. The aim of this is to revisit SPAG points, address misconceptions and on occasion enable children to become familiar with the sorts of questions they may meet on summative assessment papers. The SPAG starter may be oral, written, individual or shared depending on need.
Handwriting is a skill that, like reading and spelling, affects written communication across the curriculum. Children must be able to write with ease, speed and legibility. At NAS, handwriting skills are taught regularly and systematically. From September 2019, all children joining our school in Reception will be taught handwriting according to the Nelson scheme. For more information, please see our current Handwriting Policy.
- The writing journey across the school will become clearly established through the use of the year group and unit overviews, resulting in pupils making clear progress in writing as they move through the school. This will be evident in their books and feedback. Their learning will be sustained and provide them with transferable skills.
- Pupils of all abilities will be able to succeed in all English lessons because work will be appropriately planned and scaffolded.
- Pupils will have a wide vocabulary that they use within their writing.
- Pupils will have a good knowledge of how to adapt their writing based on the context and audience.
- Pupils will leave primary school being able to effectively apply the spelling rules and patterns they have been taught.
- Parents and carers will have a good understanding of how they can support spelling, grammar and composition at home, and contribute regularly to homework.
- The percentage of pupils working at ARE within each year group will be at least in line with national averages.
- The percentage of pupils working at Greater Depth within each year group will be at least in line with national averages.
- There will be no significant gaps in the progress of different groups of pupils (e.g. disadvantaged vs non-disadvantaged).