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English

Intent

 

Aims for our children

At Crampton, we strive to create a learning environment in which pupils are keen, motivated writers. It is our goal that, from Reception class to Year 6, pupils are enthusiastic about communicating their ideas through their writing and have the tools and flair to do so. Writing as a discipline is not confined just to English. We require that all teaching across the curriculum includes writing opportunities. Resources such as exciting narratives, rich non-fiction, and poetry serve as a jumping off point for lessons, but success in our children’s writing comes from enthusiastic, supportive, and carefully considered teaching.

 

Implementation

 

Teaching

Writing requires a range of skills.

 

Handwriting

Throughout the school, children are encouraged to practise letter formation in a range of ways. Examples in early years include making indentations in sand boxes and tracing over individual letters. Children progress to pencil and paper when appropriate. Opportunities to practise handwriting continue through the school with teacher-led sessions that help students to achieve a standard of presentation that makes them proud of their work on the page.

 

Vocabulary

Through our teaching, the importance of carefully chosen words is regularly emphasised. Discussions around vocabulary are had every day at Crampton as they are a key part of our reading lessons. When using texts to support learning, teachers carefully select vocabulary that will be useful for our children. Such vocabulary is made available using vocabulary sheets, wall displays, and the interactive white board. More recently, teachers have been using a bank of tier 2 words to introduce new vocabulary to their classes. When choosing words, ambitious intent is encouraged and children are praised for pushing themselves.

 

Grammar

The building blocks of writing are crucial when pursuing coherence in writing. Teachers at Crampton regularly incorporate appropriate areas of grammar into their lessons. Short sessions focusing on specific grammatical tools - such as expanded noun phrases, adverbials, and relative clauses - are used as training exercises that are then implemented when modelling for extended writing tasks. Further up the school, regular grammar homework is set.

 

Modelling

  1. Modelled writing (I do)
  2. Shared writing (we do)
  3. Independent writing (you do)

 

Children commonly require examples of what they are aiming for when writing. This is why different types of modelling are important.

 

At one end of the scale is modelled writing. Here teachers take full responsibility for the writing presented to the children. They model the process of writing by making reference to their decisions as they go. This could be by drawing attention to their use of particular punctuation, thinking out loud about word choices, or even revising sentences on the spot to model how ‘finished’ sentences can always be improved.

 

During shared writing, children are invited to contribute their own ideas and make creative choices. The adult remains in overall control, and children are supported in their decisions and more involved in the process of thinking like a writer.

 

Independent writing hands control over to the children. Knowledge gathered through modelled and shared writing, is applied by the children without adult input. A starting point such as a picture or a relevant example of similar writing may be provided but the outcome of the task is very much in the hands of the children.

 

Writing across the curriculum

We want children to feel that their writing skills are valued in a number of subjects which is why staff agree that – where appropriate – at least two extended writing opportunities should be provided in foundation subjects. Learning Journey (History/Geography) is a key area where there is a chance to teach the tools of non-fiction writing. Fact-files are common as well as informative posters.

 

As children progress into upper Key Stage 2, lessons addressing “essay style” writing can be seen. In Year 6, for example, children write balanced arguments about whether Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler was a positive or negative policy.

 

Foundation subjects are not confined just to non-fiction however. Styles such as diaries, letters, and imagined narratives based on historical evidence are also common. An example of this is in Year 5’s topic of The Industrial Revolution where children use information from an 1851 Census to imagine the life of a woman sharing living space with a young son and tenant.

 

Writing across the curriculum also allows us to assess children’s work across a wider range of topics. Moderation sessions are scheduled once a term where children’s work is shared among our teachers. This helps assess what we as a school are doing well as well as identifying areas where the teaching of writing in our curriculum can be improved.

 

Children with additional needs

Writing is all about thought and good ideas. Some children may struggle to put pen to paper for a variety of reasons but they are supported in a variety of ways. Writing frames, useful vocabulary sheets, and adult support are all implemented where required. Children with dyslexia or difficulties with presentation are able to use laptops in order to get their thoughts onto the page without the added barrier of physically writing.

 

Feedback and marking

Writing checklists have been created in accordance with what we as a staff believe are appropriate grammatical and creative targets for children in all year groups (PowerPoint attached below). The lists also refer to marking symbols that appear on children’s work. This means that children are able to refer to these expectations when working to remind them of teacher expectations. These checklists can also be used for children to assess their own work independently or with an adult.

 

 

 

 

Moderation

As a staff, we have regular discussions focusing on what we expect to see in writing throughout the school. This year we have developed a document that sets out our expectations when we assess our children’s work (document attached below).

 

Moving forward it is the school’s intention to moderate work as part of handover discussions between classes. This moderation is designed to establish a child’s starting point in writing for the following academic year so that they are less likely to regress.

Impact

Writers at Crampton are aware of our expectations. They are supported in lessons by teachers who give them plenty of opportunities to develop their skills. By using our checklists and receiving feedback, they know that their work is valued. Writing at Crampton can be found increasingly across the curriculum and our children are more aware of a wider range of writing styles as well as the different purposes their work can have. In suitable ways, children are helped to plan, draft, revise, edit and ultimately publish their work. Many examples of published writing are displayed around the school. The prospect of work ultimately being displayed proudly for all to see is a powerful motivation and again shows children that hard work is valued and rewarded.

 

The ultimate impact of our teaching is that children feel prepared to write in any lesson and with as much independence as possible.

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