Writing (Including Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation)
At Adlington Primary School, we strive to create a positive writing culture in our school and work hard to enthuse, inspire and equip our pupils to become skilled, fluent writers. Indeed, we aim to develop a love of language in our learners.
We want every pupil in our care to communicate their knowledge, ideas and emotions through writing confidently. As is outlined in the aims of National Curriculum 2014, we want our learners to ‘write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences’.
Effective composition of writing is dependent on the ability to articulate and communicate well. We firmly believe that ‘writing floats on a sea of talk’ (Britton) and for pupils to acquire a wide and varied vocabulary in their writing, and to use grammar effectively, they need to hear, and use, high quality talk. Furthermore, we teach pupils to consider the audience, purpose and context of their writing and to organise their ideas coherently.
Equally important, is developing competency in transcription skills. We have high expectations of our pupils with regard to spelling and expect them to spell new words by effectively applying patterns and rules they learn throughout their time in primary school. Furthermore, we aim for learners to understand and then effectively apply grammar skills into their writing.
We believe that all pupils should be encouraged to take pride in the presentation of their writing by developing a neat, clear and joined, handwriting style by the time they move to secondary school. We also feel that refining and editing writing over time is an instrumental part of the writing process and teach pupils to do this independently in their growth as writers.
At Adlington, we teach English as whole class lessons, so that all children have access to the age-related skills and knowledge as stipulated in the National Curriculum. Within lessons, teachers and teaching assistants target support wherever it is needed. This may involve a greater level of scaffolding, extra modelling or access to additional support materials such as word banks, phonics cards etc. To extend thinking further and provide stretch, we set precise challenges for pupils that are not simply based on writing ‘more’.
A ‘Yearly Overview’ of the writing genres taught, both narrative and non-fiction, has been devised to show the variety of genres encountered by each cohort and the progression of skills from year to year. Writing units tend to take between two and four weeks to complete with the outcome of each unit being an independent piece of writing. These units are designed to motivate and inspire children, combining structured provision with exciting memorable experiences that elicit awe and wonder. Such related experiences include drama opportunities, handling artefacts, visits out, visitors to school etc.
The approach we adopt to teach writing is based upon Jane Considine’s book ‘The Write Stuff’. High quality demonstration writing is the basis of this model whereby children are explicitly taught and shown how to craft the ideas, grammar and techniques of writing. This leads on to children writing independently in the unit, applying their skills and showcasing what they have learnt. Throughout the learning process, children’s writing is celebrated and displayed in classrooms.
Spellings are taught according to the rules and words contained in Appendix 1 of the English National Curriculum. Teachers use the No Nonsense Spelling scheme to support their teaching in discrete sessions and use these resources to provide activities for pupils.
Grammar and punctuation knowledge and skills are taught in context during English writing lessons, at the point of writing, as much as possible. Occasionally, teachers will deliver a stand alone lesson if they feel that the class need to consolidate their skills further.
Feedback and marking is completed, where possible, within the lesson or as a close to the lesson as is feasible. All marking and feedback is given in line with our marking and feedback policy.
Assessment is an ongoing element of the teaching and learning of writing and takes place constantly: through the verbal feedback children receive during lessons; the written feedback following lessons and the questioning used to ascertain children’s understanding. The Write Stuff 'Performance of Writing' documents are a useful assessment tool that teachers use to help them when assessing children's writing. The assessment of English also includes moderation of children’s writing which takes place within the school at staff meetings, but also as part of a local cluster of schools. All this is designed to ensure that class teachers have secure judgements of where their children are in relation to age related expectations and the statutory guidelines for Years 2 and 6.
We endeavour to ensure that writing is an area of the curriculum at Adlington that children can achieve success in, whatever their ability. We want our pupils to be inspired to write, to take pleasure in writing and most importantly, to see themselves as writers.
By the time they leave Adlington, we want learners to be skilled at writing for different audiences and purposes. We envisage that our pupils will write well-presented, accurate and fluent pieces, including varied vocabulary, accurate spellings and grammatically correct structures.
We aim for the percentage of pupils working at age related expectations to be in line or better than national standards. Equally, we aim for the percentage of pupils working at greater depth will be in line or better than national standards.
Parents and carers will have a good understanding of how they can support spelling, grammar and composition and home, and contribute regularly to homework.