At Woodridge, we strive to help our children develop into articulate and imaginative communicators, who are well-equipped with the basic skills they need to become life-long learners. Writing is an essential part of our curriculum offer, with the skills taught explicitly through daily English lessons and opportunities are provided to write throughout the curriculum. We aim to teach children the necessary skills to be able to write in a clear and concise way, including the correct spelling, punctuation and grammar, for a specific purpose and audience. We hope our children will develop a genuine love of language and the written word throughout their time at Woodridge and feel confident to express their creativity through the written word.
We teach the National Curriculum, supported by a clear skills and knowledge progression. This ensures that skills and knowledge are built on year by year and sequenced appropriately to maximise learning for all children.
In EYFS, children develop from mark making to learning how to hold a pencil properly and beginning to form letters, words and sentences. Opportunities are provided for children to write at a designated writing station, with the focus changing regularly.
Our teaching approach across KS1 and KS2 is to link our writing context to our curriculum topics, finding real life reasons for children to write where possible. We cover two genres per half term, allowing an in depth study of the genre and associated success criteria. We begin a piece of writing with the selection of an inspiring and motivational stimulus, including texts, films, objects and real life experiences. Authors, film makers and real life people are used as our Blue Sky Thinkers and we try to provide our children with a diverse range of texts and people to study. We then build on the stimulus using a range of teaching strategies, such as deconstructing models of excellence, role play, vocabulary exploration, predictions, conscience alleys, questions, illustrations etc. Following on from this, classes develop a modelled/shared write, discreetly integrating carefully selected grammar, punctuation and spelling related to the genre.
Working walls have been developed in all classrooms and support the learning. These are regularly changed and added to as different genres are studied. They can contain examples of flipchart teaching, modelled writing, definitions and children’s work for constant referral. Working walls ensure children are able to be independent and ensure learning is remembered.
After the children have been immersed in the genre and are familiar with the success criteria, they complete an extended, independent and unsupported piece of writing. Having read through the children’s work, the teacher then identifies areas to improve and further grammar, which is explicitly taught before then children have opportunities to self and peer edit. Having completed their final piece, the children have the opportunity to apply their knowledge to another topic within the genre across the curriculum.
At Woodridge, we have developed Writing Portfolios. The children select a piece of writing they are particularly pleased with once a term and add this to their portfolio. This folder then follows them up through the school so they can see how their writing has developed over time and be proud of the progress they have made.
Spelling is taught regularly in focused sessions within each class. In EYFS and KS1, phonics is taught daily and learning to recognise the high frequency words on sight is crucial in developing fluency and accuracy in reading and then writing. Once children are confident in reading and spelling high frequency words, they are taught specific spelling rules and are encouraged to apply these rules in their writing. Class teachers use No Nonsense Spelling to support with the teaching of the different spelling rules and this is then often used as homework for children, with tests carried out weekly.
We explicitly teach cursive handwriting throughout the school, with the children achieving their pen licence when their handwriting is joined, fluent and legible.
At Woodridge, we are lucky to have had authors such as David Walliams visiting the school to share his passion for reading and his experience of being an author.
Attainment in writing is measured formally using the statutory teacher assessments at the end of Key Stage One and Two. These results are measured against the writing attainment of children nationally and are used internally to adapt teaching and tailor support where needed.
Teachers in Years 1 to 6 measure progress in writing regularly, through a combination of summative and more formative assessments. Shared writing, targeted questioning, independent activities and marking and feedback are used to assess and then results are fed back at termly Pupil Progress Meetings. This information then leads to changes in strategy, teaching and intervention support.
By the time the children leave Woodridge, we want to ensure they see themselves as real writers, who see writing as an interesting and enjoyable process. We want them to have the technical skills and imagination to be able to plan and write for a range of purposes and audiences and feel confident in their ability to produce writing of a high quality.
English Subject Leader - Mrs Lisa Hooper