FPS Writing Curriculum Statement
The writing curriculum focuses on the skills outlined in the National Curriculum so that children will leave our school having met the age related expectations and be prepared for secondary school and then the opportunities and challenges of further education and employment. Units of work may appear to be very different – fiction or non-fiction; novel based or picture or film based – but at the heart of all units will be the age related expectations, which build to end of year and end of key stage targets. We map our writing genre to ensure that all year groups are given the opportunity to write for a range of different purposes.
At the end of the EYFS children aim to achieve at least a Good Level of Development and be able to demonstrate a growing command of English. They gain the gross and fine motor skills necessary to form letters and use their knowledge of letter-sound correspondence to write at an appropriate phonic stage of development.
Across Key Stage 1 and 2, children become increasingly aware of curriculum targets in their year group and are able to discuss them, using the vocabulary set out in the National Curriculum and those words from our Tier 2 Ambitious Vocabulary programme. The process of introducing and teaching age related objectives takes place throughout the autumn term, with opportunities to practise and apply these new skills – and core objectives from previous years – taking place in all three terms.
Teachers build on the knowledge and skills of previous years by consolidating work from previous years before, and during, the process of introducing new age related objectives. Sentence writing progression is linked to age related expectations from the National Curriculum – which increases the range and complexity of sentence structures that children are expected to use in their spoken language and their writing.
Curriculum objectives focus on the development of children’s ability to communicate effectively both in spoken and written English. Our school particularly focuses on the development of grammatical knowledge – necessary for the advancement of children’s spoken and written language.
The ambition of the curriculum is that all children will achieve at least age related expectations. Where necessary – for some children – the curriculum may be modified, but age related objectives from the National Curriculum would remain at the centre of this. Children who are working significantly below the age related expectations will receive additional support in an attempt to close the gap. This is in recognition of the fact that without skills in English, children will struggle to access other subjects in the curriculum.
Writing is taught across all year groups through a range of exciting stimuli which includes books, film clips, artefacts, visitors and real life experiences. We strive to equip children to develop a rich vocabulary which can help them bring their writing to life. Teachers model the writing process, dissect and annotate WAGOLL and demonstrate the ambitious high standards expected of all children.
The school follows its own detailed progressive phonics programme which is based upon the principles of ‘Letters and Sounds’. It is taught systematically throughout EYFS and KS1 and children are grouped within EYFS and across KS1 according to their phonic phase. This enables accelerated progress for pupils who are beginning the reading and writing process whilst enabling the early identification of pupils who are struggling.
Throughout EYFS, emergent mark-making is celebrated and valued as children begin to ascribe meaning to the marks they make, differentiating them from drawings. Children receive a daily dedicated teacher/TA led writing activity. As children demonstrate their ability to write independently using their phonic knowledge, blending and segmenting skills are monitored closely alongside the acquisition of new grapheme-phoneme correspondences. Children are given target cards of next steps which they receive stamps for when evidenced in their writing.Writing activities always form part of the ongoing provision.
Within KS1 and KS2, National Curriculum requirements for GPS are integrated into the curriculum and children are expected to apply their knowledge of phonics and GPS when writing independently. Discreet GPS sessions are timetabled for KS2. Weekly spelling and dictation tests interleave prior learning to ensure spelling rules and grammar are retained. Children are encouraged to use dictionaries, thesaurus, ‘Have a try spelling books’, work banks, spell checkers and each other/teacher to check unknown spellings.
Writing expectations are equally high across all areas of the curriculum and are evidenced by the appropriate use of subject specific vocabulary in context. Year group objectives – and objectives from previous years – are taught and used throughout the year. Children are also given opportunities to apply their writing skills across the curriculum. Crucially, children understand that the quality of their writing should be replicated across all subjects – if they are working at age related expectations in their literacy book, there should be evidence of this in their science or History books. We employ a ‘5 Point Marking Scheme” to ensure non-negotiables regarding punctuation and spelling accurately are being applied.
When pertinent to the task, and particularly when undertaking a piece of sustained writing for a particular genre, the children are taught the writing process from initial ideas, planning, first drafts, editing and improving (purple pen to polish) to final copies. These pieces of creative writing can be independent, paired, group or class activities.
Approach to Feedback
Wherever possible, school has adopted a ‘live marking’ approach whereby teachers use AFL to give verbal feedback to children in lessons. Children can then act on this feedback immediately, without having to wait until the next day and act on a piece of written feedback. This feedback will usually be linked to the year group objectives and the discussion involved in this will reinforce the pupil’s understanding and the technical vocabulary relating to the objective. We have a ‘marking code’ which the children are familiar with and this is used in books to indicate if feedback is verbal or non -verbal.
Feedback with final copies of creative writing takes the form of self and teacher assessment using ‘Steps to Success’ Ladders. This is in-depth marking. The children know the objectives and indicate whether they have met them or not and so does the teacher. The children are informed of what they are doing well and given an area to improve and develop. The children revisit the piece of work and where needed, respond to the marking. Every child is encouraged to let their imagination and personality shine through in their writing.
In addition to these small conversations intended to address a particular misunderstanding, teachers will also regularly assess pieces of independent writing .This assessment makes use of the year group checklist – that teachers and children are both aware of – and is an ongoing method of target setting. Throughout the year the children in all year groups are given specific independent writing tasks to complete in their ‘Independent Writing Book’ to demonstrate progress. These books are passed on from year to year. The writing tasks are completed at least once a half term. A range of different genre is employed and these pieces of independent writing are used as evidence for the end of year writing assessment.
O Track is used to record the progress that pupils are making with their independent writing, GPS and phonics progress. This will record whether children are working towards the age related expectation, at the age related expectation or exceeding the age related expectation. Independent writing assessments are made throughout the year and entered termly and mid way through the Spring Term.
Teachers’ writing judgements are moderated by the school, Equals Trust and LA and during pupil progress meetings. The subject leader (Head Teacher) monitors writing using first hand evidence of how pupils are progressing, drawing together evidence from pupil interviews – are they able to discuss their progress and provide examples across a variety of texts and subjects, lesson observations and work scrutiny.
End of year impact is a measured through end of key stage assessments in EYFS and Year 6 and regarding phonics in Year 1 and Year 2. Year 3, 4, 5 GPS is assessed using the Summer Term NFER Tests. All writing assessments are teacher assessed across a range of work These judgements will inform the curriculum and whether children are ready for the next stage of their curriculum.