Mrs Orrin & Miss Lansdowne
Writing Subject Lead
Our curriculum starts in the Early Years and progresses sequentially through to Year Six using the Talk for Writing model. In every lesson we focus on threshold concepts that ties the ambitious body of knowledge together with the characteristics children are developing.
These essential characteristics of mastery in writing are:
- A love of writing and an appreciation of its educational, cultural and entertainment values.
- The ability to write fluently and with interesting detail on a number of topics throughout the curriculum.
- A vivid imagination which makes readers engage with and enjoy their writing.
- A highly developed vocabulary and an excellent knowledge of writing techniques to extend details or description.
- Well-organised and structured writing, which includes a variety of sentence structures.
- Excellent transcription skills that ensure their writing is well presented and punctuated, spelled correctly and neat.
In writing, the threshold concepts are:
Threshold concepts are taught repeatedly throughout the curriculum, linking learning into meaningful and rich semantic schemas.
- Present neatly. This concept involves developing an understanding of handwriting and clear presentation.
- Spell correctly. This concept involves understanding the need for accuracy.
- Punctuate accurately. This concept involves understanding that punctuation adds clarity to writing.
- Write with purpose. This concept involves understanding the purpose or purposes of a piece of writing.
- Use imaginative description. This concept involves developing an appreciation of how best to convey ideas through description.
- Organise writing appropriately. This concept involves developing an appreciation of how best to convey ideas through description.
- Use paragraphs. This concept involves understanding how to group ideas so as to guide the reader.
- Use sentences appropriately. This concept involves using different types of sentences appropriately for both clarity and for effect.
- Analyse writing. This concept involves understanding how grammatical choices give effect and meaning to writing.
- Present writing. This concept involves learning to reflect upon writing and reading it aloud to others.
Aims: Using the Talk for Writing Approach to Drive the Writing Curriculum
- As stated in the English National Curriculum (2014) it is important that children develop the ability to: write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
- The T4W approach means that children will rehearse sentence and language patterns that they can then draw upon and adapt in their own writing, not only in English, but across the curriculum.
- T4W encourages regular discussion of vocabulary and the meaning of unfamiliar words which will help the children to broaden their own vocabulary.
- Children are encouraged to take ownership of their own ideas in writing and revisit their writing critically.
- Teachers model the high expectations through shared writing.
- Children learn to write confidently across both fiction and non-fiction which can then be applied across the curriculum.
It is our vision to inspire a lifelong love of writing within our pupils. Writing has changed our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity. We believe that Talk for Writing will drive flair and composition of writing, alongside technical accuracy.
At Gorseland Primary School, we see the importance of writing as an integral tool to expand the life opportunities of our children. This ensures that we develop individuals who can purposefully communicate and express themselves with confidence through creative and explorative learning sequences.
We acknowledge that writing supports our children to review, retain and process information, making connections through their education. Alongside structured, explicitly taught units of work, we encourage our children to write with passion, a strong voice and cohesion through free writing opportunities.
This composition focused approach, supported by a daily ideas diet, developed through slow writing and vocabulary-rich guided reading sessions, links their curriculum journey.
Our writing curriculum is also driven by our desire to improve the children’s awareness of diversity, managing the environment and a love of the arts.
Our children are given purposeful activities in which to show their love of writing and the skill set they have in their ‘writing toolbox’. Examples of our impact are: our children's Dragons’ Den persuasive pitches created for a celebratory event; our Year 3 letters to well-known members of the local community; class books; collaborative narrative writing for Year 6 film productions and our whole school 500 word story writing competition.
Therefore, at Gorseland, our aims are to ensure children experience a wide breadth of study and have, by the end of each key stage, long-term memory of an ambitious body of procedural and semantic knowledge.
Our curriculum maps are carefully crafted and available in school. The curriculum content is available on our website.
Writing begins where the children begin: in the Early Years Foundation Stage. We use Development Matters alongside the Early Years Outcomes documents as a basis to support this. A wealth of outdoor and indoor opportunities are established to engage the children in play-based exploration, developing their gross motor (through activities like painting, sweeping and dance) and fine motor skills (developing through manipulation of tools and mark making). This is all celebrated in the learning environment through child-initiated activities, with adult support and tailored encouragement. Our ‘Gorseland Expects’ writing programme of study gives the body of knowledge that progresses sequentially through the following primary years. It embodies the National Curriculum expectations and more.
To ensure a strong connection to rich vocabulary development, The Gorseland Reading Spine flows through the school, enhancing the experiences of high-quality texts and daily ideas diet. It is important to us that we promote a love of reading and immerse our children in quality literature, and we understand the considerable impact this has on writing progress and attainment.
Writing transitions into KS1 as children learn, practice and apply phonic-based skills to purposeful writing opportunities, developing their transcription ability within words and sentence structures through narrative and information texts. Within KS2, all children are further exposed to a range of writing genres from narrative, information and persuasive texts in Year 3 and 4, with the addition of discussion genres in Year 5 and 6. Through model texts, our children are explicitly taught the processes of writing, especially through shared, ‘live’ writing which shares the frustrations and successes of the process. These rich models provide talking opportunities and embed phonics, grammar and spelling in context. These skills are further reviewed through ‘slow writing’ bursts and fundamental ‘Writing essentials’ checks.
We are committed to giving our children real-life purposes for writing. Through termly free writing units, we encourage and celebrate the unique style and voice of every child and allow time and space for children to express their thoughts and feelings to a chosen audience. This also encourages range and stamina through writing for pleasure, alongside the more structured talk for writing units of work. Children are increasingly more keen to enter competitions and work alongside successful authors.
Specific Talk for Writing Implementation
Each unit of work follows a clear structure of imitation and innovation as well as including ‘Cold Writes’ and ‘Hot Writes’.
A ‘Cold Write’ is completed at the beginning of each unit and informs planning depending on what the children need to work out. A prompt is given to the children and stuck into the Creative Writing book. A blue corner will identify this piece of writing quickly.
The main focus of the imitation stage is storytelling focused on a model text, which enables the children to explore text features, sentence structure, language patterns and how a specific text-type is composed. Model texts are provided by the English leads for year groups to choose from before a unit of work is completed. If year groups wish to write their own model text, this will be agreed with the English leads beforehand and they will receive a copy before it is taught from.
The imitation stage will consist of the following activities:
- Storytelling using a text map of the model text. Actions for keywords are agreed across the school and ‘Kung Fu Punctuation’ is used punctuation. Children then have the opportunity to create their own text map
- Read as a reader activities are completed. This may include vocabulary work and comprehension activities
- Read as a writer activities are completed. The structure of a model text is explored using the boxing up technique and a Writer’s Toolkit is completed as a task with a pre-agreed focus
- Grammar and punctuation is taught through the model text where possible.
- Daily spelling - introducing x2 words a day with dictation sentences to practice and review.
- Planning is completed using the boxing up grid completed during the innovation stage
- Writing is completed over a series of lessons
- Shared writing is completed during each of the lessons and is informed by previous learning and writing completed by the children to enable misconceptions to be addressed quickly
- Children have frequent opportunities to revisit their writing and edit at the point of writing
- The T4W journey is clearly displayed to enable children to consistently refer to previous learning including text maps, Writer’s Toolkits and shared writing
- Agreed actions for key words and punctuation are displayed
- Planning lessons which follow the agreed T4W structure.
- Creating and learning model texts using agreed actions for punctuation and key words as well as creating a text map before the unit is taught.
- Regularly updating the English Working Wall and/or Washing Line.
- Modelling the writing process.
- Providing opportunities for children to revisit their work as a result of teacher, peer and self evaluation.
- Learning model texts using agreed actions for punctuation and key words.
- Modelling writing during shared and guided writing sessions.
- Aiding children in revisiting and improving their written text map.
- Dragons’ Den purposeful persuasive pitches and marketing materials used for the children’s celebratory event.
- Collaborative narratives created for Year 6 film productions in the Summer term.
- Gorseland’s 500 word story writing competition driven through free writing opportunities for all.
- Letter writing to other classes and well-known members of the community as a purposeful audience for KS1.
- 85% writing at expected standard at the end of KS2 in 2019.
Children use their in-depth understanding of the model text to write their own version.
The ‘Hot Write’ is completed at the end of each unit of writing. The same prompt as the ‘Cold Write’ is given and stuck into Creative Writing books. This provides a valuable assessment opportunity and shows the progress the children have made over the course of a unit. A red corner will identify this piece of writing quickly, rather than use of independent writing folders.
English Working Wall/Washing Lines
Every classroom has an English Working Wall and a Washing Line (where space permits).
We maintain a high level of subject knowledge of writing in our school by regular training and professional development for teachers and subject leaders. Teachers create a positive attitude to writing learning within their classrooms and reinforce an expectation that all children are capable of achieving high standards in writing.
Guidance from our school framework named ‘Gorseland Expects Standards’ is used to plan a bespoke curriculum tailored to pupils’ individual needs to facilitate access to quality learning experiences and develop their writing knowledge, understanding and skills progressively.
With effective subject leadership, we are a well-equipped and resourced school. Regular monitoring shows that our children understand and apply key principles within their work. At Gorseland, we have a rigorous monitoring process of the writing curriculum that is kept up to date and contributes towards our school improvement plan.
For pupils who have special educational needs, with support for tailored plans from the SENCO and SSC Deputy, full access to the full curriculum is given, linked to their specific needs.
For pupils who are disadvantaged in any way, or in receipt of pupil premium, teachers and coaches work together to ensure that the full curriculum can be accessed.
Most Able Pupils
Most able pupils are considered to a high degree when planning and delivering all writing opportunities, especially Free writing. Their work is celebrated, used as models for the class and appropriate high-quality texts are used to deepen and develop their strong voice and clever writing progression. Coaching meetings are used to discuss and build tailored learning opportunities for this group.
English as an Additional Language (EAL)
EAL children at Gorseland are thoroughly supported through tailored plans set during coaching meetings, building skills to access our curriculum and engage and learn from others.
Teacher’s assess children’s work in English by marking independent writing against our bespoke writing curriculum. Progress is judged by comparing cold and hot written tasks, so that gaps can be identified and sequences of work can be adapted to meet the needs of the children.
To ensure children’s progress continues, writing assessments move with the children to their next class teacher.
The successful approach at Gorseland results in an engaging, high-quality writing education that provides children with the foundations and knowledge for understanding the world. EYFS engagement with the local environment ensures that children learn through varied and first hand experiences of the world around them.
Frequent, continuous and progressive learning - both inside and outside the classroom is embedded throughout the writing curriculum. Through various workshops, trips and interactions with experts and local organisations, children have the understanding that writing has changed our lives and that it is vital to the world’s future prosperity.
Teachers are responsible for ensuring a high standard of teaching and learning in writing in their classroom by:
Teaching Assistants play an important role in the teaching of writing by:
At Gorseland we demonstrate the success of our ambitious writing curriculum as follows:
Concrete ways of seeing the impact of what our children achieve in writing