At Ss Peter and Paul School, the teaching of writing is of paramount importance within a broad and balanced curriculum. Our aim is to ensure that every child within our school, regardless of background, leaves our school as a competent writer and with an understanding of the conventions of Standard English, knowing how to use it effectively. This ability to write with confidence for a range of purposes and audiences ensures that children leave Ss Peter and Paul fully prepared for their secondary education, ready to achieve their aspirations and thrive in their adult life. The writing curriculum at our school encourages children to immerse themselves in different text types, understand the features and impact of these, and realise the importance of them beyond education. A secure knowledge of spelling and grammar and an understanding of how to edit writing is taught throughout the school in a systematic and progressive way. The content of writing lessons is planned to build on children’s previous knowledge as well as introduce new learning in a fun and memorable way.
The National Curriculum and EYFS Framework is used to inform the planning and delivery of the writing curriculum at Ss Peter and Paul. Writing is taught explicitly in daily English lessons and skills learnt are regularly reinforced within lessons across the curriculum. Using a combination of novels, film, poetry and relevant real-life events, learning is fun, meaningful and memorable. From the Early Years onwards, language development and communication skills are a key priority. Children are motivated to use and apply new vocabulary and grammar structures by exploring them through real-life contexts, learning to become fluent speakers and having numerous opportunities to practise their letter formation, phonics and writing skills. Whilst in the Foundation Stage, children are immersed daily in a wide range of quality stories, rhymes and non-fiction texts, in order to develop their love of books and reading.
In Key Stages 1 and 2, all classes have a daily English lesson, that follows our ‘Reading through to Writing’ journey. The path for each writing outcome is adjusted to suit the needs of the class. Teachers are supported with the planning and assessment of lessons to ensure that progress is made and sustained and that all areas of the National Curriculum are covered.
Skills are developed in a fun and meaningful way and applied for a range of purposes and audiences. Children are taught to plan, draft, edit, improve and evaluate their own writing and others; this process is underpinned by purposeful grammar activities which explore children’s understanding of the English language and teach them to up-level, and play with new vocabulary. The link between Reading and Writing within English lessons is made explicit. Planning follows the reading to writing process, giving pupils plenty of opportunities to become emerged in rich, quality texts and to read critically as both a reader and writer.
In addition to their daily English lessons, children throughout the school have separate Reading lessons, designed to improve both word recognition and language comprehension. For full details please see our Reading Rationale. At Ss Peter and Paul school we use the ‘Spelling Shed’ to help our children to learn their spellings. The Spelling Shed is a whole school spelling scheme giving 100% coverage of the national curriculum. It is fully controlled by the class teacher and enables each child to have custom spelling lists created for their ability. The scheme is accessible at home on a tablet or phone so that children can practice their spellings as part of their homework in a fun and engaging platform with games to play. Children complete weekly class spelling tests and Ks2 classes have assignments set on Spelling Shed each week.
As part of our work on the wider curriculum, we have evaluated our stimuli for writing. For each term, suggested texts linked to Themes and suggested outcomes linked to our bespoke Reading Spine have been identified. These have been developed across the M.A.C. Teachers are given scope and support to tailor these to the needs of their class and emerging interests but the increased cross over facilitates shared practice and more effective professional development.
From the regular monitoring of plans, books and pupil interviews, it is clear that writing is taught in a systematic and progressive way, that prior teaching and learning is considered, and that learning is memorable. Children enjoy talking about their writing – about its construction, purpose and effect on the reader. Children are confident to share their writing with staff, children and parents alike. As a result of the explicit teaching of writing skills, cross-curricular writing is of the same standard as writing completed in English units. All writing is planned with a clear intention and audience and editing ensures that writing is presented at its best. Children achieve well at the end of both Key stages and leave St. Peter and Paul School with a secure understanding of writing and are well prepared to meet the needs of a challenging secondary curriculum. Teachers use the Romero writing criteria statements alongside a range of the child’s writing to monitor progress and assess them at key points throughout the school year. The English team monitor the teaching and learning of writing frequently to ensure that standards remain consistently high and to identify areas for ongoing CPD.