Through high quality teaching of writing at Northmead, we strive to develop our learners into articulate and imaginative communicators who speak, read, and write fluently.
While exploring non-fiction, fiction, and poetry units, we aim to ensure all our children develop a love of language and the written word, through a text based approach.
We use elements from ‘Talk for Writing’ in our non-fiction units, as this approach enables children to imitate the language they need for a particular topic, before writing their own version.
In each unit of literacy, immersion in reading, and talk and preparation for writing, are developed through three key stages: imitation, innovation and independent application.
We ensure that children develop an understanding of how important writing is in everyday life, and they are provided with many opportunities to develop and apply their writing skills across the curriculum.
Whole class writing lessons are planned around a high-quality model text. The topic for writing is carefully considered so that it is engaging, age and interest appropriate, can be linked if needed to foundation work, the genre can be applied in context. An inspiring ‘hook’ or stimulus is used to engage and enthuse the children and immerse them in the topic.
There is a strong focus on vocabulary with pre-teaching, a daily vocab focus, higher level word choice, links to Yr3/4 word lists and spellings, a consideration of vocabulary tiers and visual resources such as word mats etc. SPaG is taught within units as well as discreetly. Writing is completed from a plan and teacher modelling of good practise is used to demonstrate how to innovate from the original text. Children edit and improve their writing within each unit through ‘sentence doctor’ starters or designated editing days and daily live marking.
The outcome of each unit is carefully considered ensuring that the children have a clear end goal and are writing for a purpose. A published result is celebrated and shared.
Handwriting lessons are taught discreetly in the lower school and as intervention in the upper school.
At Northmead, we use the Oxford Read Write Inc. spelling programme to teach spelling. It covers the spelling requirements of the 2014 National Curriculum and uses a proven approach underpinned by phonics, which includes preparation for the statutory spelling assessments in England. Each child works within their spelling group at their appropriate level, as identified by their teacher. Spelling rules and concepts are introduced by aliens from an exciting online spelling planet, and children take part in a range of fun spelling activities. As well as learning spelling rules, there are also statutory lists of words for year 3&4 and year 5&6 to learn.
Little Wandle phonics interventions are in place.
Children take home spellings to learn on a weekly basis. In addition, children take a half termly test. This follows the style of the statutory spelling assessment, which they will take in year six.
The impact on our children is that they have the knowledge and skills to be able to write successfully for a purpose and audience. Pupils enjoy writing across a range of genres becoming confident and effective communicators. Our pupils are proud of their writing and have opportunities to see it on display and shared with others in the school and with their families.
With the implementation of the writing sequence being established and taught, children are becoming more confident writers and have the ability to plan, draft and edit their own work. They amass a varied vocabulary that they can use across the curriculum and can apply spelling rules and grammatical concepts in their work.
By the end of Key Stage 2 children have developed a writer’s craft, they enjoy sustained writing and can manipulate language, grammar and punctuation to create effect. As all aspects of English are an integral part of the curriculum, cross curricular writing standards have also improved and skills taught in the writing lessons are transferred into other subjects; this shows consolidation of skills and a deeper understanding of how and when to use specific language, grammar and punctuation.
Attainment in writing is measured consistently throughout the year:
• Each unit of work is assessed against focused objectives through a ‘Hot Write’. This forms a basis for assessment for learning, which in turn informs future planning.
• The pupils undertake Rising Stars GAPS tests and from this progress in SPaG is assessed termly. This is used to track progress against national averages in grammar, punctuation and spelling, in order to effectively inform future planning and identify and address gaps in learning.
• Monitoring takes place throughout the year by the Subject Leader and Senior Leaders through monitoring books, learning walks and consultations with pupils.
• Teachers also take part in cross trust writing moderation meetings.
Looking forward, we intend that the new literacy initiatives that have been implemented, will boost children’s learning, progress and attainment. We intend that by the end of Year 6 most children are meeting age related expectations (ARE) and are ready for the secondary curriculum. Children will move on from Northmead to further their education and learning, and their creativity, passion for writing and high aspirations will travel with them and continue to grow and develop as they do.