Our aim at The Beeches Primary School is to encourage children to be independent writers for a range of audiences and purposes across different text types. Children will be taught to apply their writing skills across all curriculum subjects. Rich opportunities for writing are regularly provided for the children, which arise from real experiences and visits or from high-quality, challenging texts. We aim to develop the accuracy of our children’s grammar, punctuation and spelling to enhance their writing, and to broaden their vocabulary resulting in eloquent, imaginative writers. Across the school, we aim to encourage children to be confident and articulate orators, who can debate and explain their reasoning clearly, resulting in thoughtful writers and readers.
Writing is evident in every aspect of our curriculum and a variety of text types are taught throughout the school. Lessons are carefully planned so that skills are taught, embedded, revisited and then developed in a sequential way which promotes their learning and retention. Writing lessons are often based around high-quality, language-rich texts, which ensure children are constantly exposed to examples of successful writing. All text types are taught using a recommended writing sequence, which encourages independent, creative writers. First, children are exposed to models of the text and deconstruct it with their teacher, as a result learning the relevant text features, grammar and punctuation expectations, level of formality and vocabulary. Then follows the specific teaching of the skills which need to be utilised in their independent writing. Next, all pupils plan their writing and create a bank of vocabulary/phrases to draw upon. Children then begin to write a draft of their text, whilst continuously editing and reviewing their work, using a mixture of peer and self-assessment. Finally, after proof reading and editing their work, the children are given the opportunity to publish their final draft, which is then assessed and discussed with their teacher. The teacher provides scaffolds, models of writing and support throughout the whole process. The objectives of the National Curriculum are closely followed to ensure that the skills learnt in spelling, punctuation and grammar are embedded and transferred into writing.
Writing is regularly assessed against year group statements in the aspects of composition, grammar and punctuation, spelling and handwriting, which progress throughout the school, building towards the statutory expectations for writing at the expected standard (and at greater depth) at the end of KS2. As a result of these assessments, children’s next steps are identified and woven into future planning so gaps in learning are addressed. There are rigorous systems of moderation and standardisation in place, which include systematic moderation sessions in year groups teams, across phases, in whole school staff meetings and across clusters of schools.
Spelling is an important skill both in and out of school. Spelling rules are explicitly taught as part of dedicated lessons focused on spelling rules and patterns. As a result, children gain an understanding of the meaning of words and their construction, which they can then apply to new words they spell independently. Children are taught words and rules based on the National curriculum year group word lists, high frequency word lists and tricky word lists (set by Letters and sounds). All children then take part in a weekly spelling test to practise and apply their new skills.
Handwriting is taught across the school using the Nelson handwriting scheme, and children practise their skills in specifically timetabled handwriting lessons. Teachers have high expectations of handwriting across the curriculum, and children are expected to join from Year 2 onwards where possible. All children learn to write in pencil and receive a pen license when they are able to join fluently and confidently.
At the Beeches Primary School, vocabulary acquisition is always a focus. The children take part in vocabulary lessons across the curriculum, and are taught word strategies to help them tackle new vocabulary. It is an expectation that all teachers provide children with models that contain imaginative and challenging vocabulary, and children are encouraged to use vocabulary banks and thesauruses to improve their writing.
Finally, we create confident orators through the teaching of oracy skills throughout the school. Children are taught consistent speaking and listening skills from Reception and build upon them throughout their time with us. They are provided with drama, reasoning and debate opportunities during English lessons, and children then use what they have learnt to improve their writing. Where possible teachers provide scaffolds for children to help them explain their thoughts, and teachers model high levels of Standard English. Children should leave our school able to eloquently articulate their thoughts and opinions.
At the end of KS1, children can write simple, coherent narratives about personal experiences and those of others and write about real events with increasing confidence and accuracy. They demarcate most sentences in their writing with capital letters and full stops, and use question marks correctly when required. Most pupils can use some subordination to join clauses and can spell many common exception words.
As their skills of composition, application of grammar and punctuation, accuracy of spelling and consistency of handwriting, build throughout KS2, children leave our school as confident, independent writers for a range of audiences and purposes across a wide range of text types. Children are able to apply their writing skills across all curriculum subjects through the rich opportunities for writing we provide. Accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar enhance their writing. Children have developed a broad and adventurous vocabulary resulting in eloquent, imaginative writers. They can draw upon ideas independently from their own reading. Our children also leave as confident and articulate orators, who can debate and explain their reasoning clearly.