At Marden Primary Academy, we understand that writing is an essential skill and that we must overcome any barriers that prevent children from becoming confident, competent writers. We want our pupils to acquire a wide vocabulary, a sound understanding of grammar and to be able to spell new and common words by applying the spelling patterns and rules they learn throughout their time here. We want children to write clearly and cohesively, adapting their language and style in and for a range of purposes, audiences and genres.
Our writing curriculum has been designed to ensure that all children develop the basic skills in writing as quickly as possible to enable them to write independently. Writing lessons are designed with a clear pathway of progression as children advance through the National Curriculum, which is delivered through the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) framework.
The aims of the English National Curriculum underpin the planning of all writing sessions at Marden. Inquiry-based PYP is used as a vehicle for writing, providing children with a foundation of knowledge that can be transferred and utilised in a variety of writing opportunities.
Early writing is initially taught through mark making in the Early Years. Through the teaching of Phonics International, children are taught letter formation. The children are taught to apply phonic knowledge in discrete writing lessons where oral segmenting is taught, coupled with writing sounds in the correct sequence. Within the first term, sentence writing is modelled. As each child’s phonic knowledge advances, as well as the ability to write high frequency words, the children will be taught to write simple sentences. All children are encouraged to write through child initiated learning time, where they are able to independently select and use a range of writing tools. This process continues in Year 1, where children are expected to apply their phonic knowledge when writing sentences. In addition to discrete phonics lessons, writing is also taught separately.
Across Key Stages 1 and 2, all year groups are expected to be taught writing through multiple genres and to be taught the grammar objectives for their year group. The coverage of writing genres is designed to ensure all children have the opportunity to regularly revisit and develop the required writing skills to write successfully within a multitude of genres. The process of revisiting genres, associating and teaching specific skills with particular genres and linking writing opportunities to inquiry-based learning (where knowledge is formed) ensures we consolidate the learning and understanding of English and writing.
In addition, the teaching of grammar objectives – either discretely or within writing sessions – follows a clear, progressive sequence. This, alongside our writing teaching sequence, ensures all learners understand the necessary features and skills to write successfully for a range of genres.
The writing teaching sequence is designed to ensure children gain the necessary knowledge and skills to achieve the end of year writing age related expectations for their year group. The teaching sequence is followed from Year 1 through to Year 6 and involves:
- Deconstruction – Breaking down examples or WAGOLLS of specific writing genres, identifying their key features and the skills required to write successfully within this genre. Identifying the purpose of a piece of writing and the audience the piece is written for is central to this phase of the writing sequence.
- Planning – Drawing on their knowledge gained through inquiry-based study as part of the PYP framework, children devise a plan for a piece of writing (this may be extended writing) for a specific genre. Planning accounts for the key features and skills needed for the genre, including the grammatical concepts and vocabulary that could be applied.
- Drafting – The children will write an initial draft, applying the necessary skills they have learned associated with a particular genre.
- Evaluating – The children will evaluate their draft, critiquing their writing and considering what editing may need to take place. This may happen during the writing process or post-writing, considering if it meets the intended learning goal and key ingredients.
- Reflect, revise and edit – The children are given the opportunity to reflect on their work, revise and edit their content. The children are provided with the opportunity to correct spellings, identify and rectify grammatical errors, improve vocabulary and punctuation choices and improve sentence structure.
- Publish – This stage is not always necessary, however it provides opportunities for children to produce pieces of work that may be used for display or present their writing in a creative or imaginative way; including through the use of technology. This is also an effective way of demonstrating the writing journey the children have undertaken.
In the Early Years and Key Stage 1, children learn to spell through the teaching of phonics using Phonics International in discrete phonics sessions. Children in Year 2 who can successfully apply their phonics knowledge transition to learning to spell through understanding and applying spelling rules. Similarly, in Key Stage 2, children learn to spell through the learning of rules and game-based activities using the Spelling Shed. Children learn to spell through the practise and testing of spelling lists associated with specific spelling rules or patterns. Through exploring spelling patterns and rules, we aim to create confident and proficient spellers. The children are also taught to proof-read their spelling in their writing, identifying and rectifying any misspellings using dictionaries or technology where appropriate.
Handwriting is taught discretely at Marden Primary Academy. The children are taught correct letter formations from the earliest stages, ensuring the correct posture is adopted for writing, that the correct pencil/pen grip is used and handwriting is fluent and legible. Pupils are taught to write using print in EYFS and KS1 before moving onto joined, cursive script.
All pupils at Marden Primary Academy will be able to write for a range of purposes and audiences across a range of genres. During their learning journey, they will amass a varied vocabulary knowledge and will apply this in their writing across the curriculum. As confident writers, the children will know how to evaluate their writing and will be able to suggest alternative ways to develop what they have written, considering content, punctuation and audience. The nature of PYP inquiry-based learning will ensure all writing opportunities are transdisciplinary and our pupils’ knowledge and skills will be applied across the curriculum.