Our children are taught all aspects of Writing in class groups. Any child who has achieved year group expectations in class is then given the opportunity to work on these objectives in greater depth.
National curriculum objectives are placed in our long term planning, to ensure there is adequate coverage throughout the year. Content is determined by the National Curriculum, and by our gap analysis, based on termly summative assessments. We incorporate daily ‘Assessment for learning’ teaching (based on formative assessments). Individual curriculum writing targets can be found in the front of every child’s composition book, and these are monitored by the children and teacher. Targets are signed off when there is sufficient evidence. Evidence is gathered via marking and feedback in English and Independent writing books. Writing grids in Independent writing books provide a more detailed analysis of each piece of writing.
Our children benefit from a structured writing process, which includes a series of grammar and punctuation lessons concluding with an independent piece of writing based upon a stimulus.
The national curriculum states that by the end of Key Stage Two, all children should be able to spell the statutory word-lists for years 3 and 4 and years 5 and 6. The lists are a mixture of words pupils frequently use in their writing and those which they often misspell. Some of the listed words may be thought of as quite challenging, but the 100 words in each list can easily be taught within the four years of key stage 2 alongside other words that teachers consider appropriate.
All children receive a daily spelling lesson. This includes: a session to introduce the new spelling pattern, investigate the new spelling pattern and the exceptions, practise applying the spellings to sentences, dictation and a weekly spelling test. These words are taken from the National Curriculum in line with year group expectations. Children then have 10 weekly spellings to learn based upon this. Children are provided with weekly spelling practise on Purple Mash online learning platform at home.
On a daily basis, children are encouraged to use dictionaries and word banks in class to support their spelling in independent work. If a child misspells a word that the teacher considers they should be able to spell, then they are asked to correct it.
To encourage the children further, they can also aim to earn a Forest View Academy spelling award consisting of bronze, silver, gold and The Forest View award badges. For the first three badges the words are taken from the statutory lists. For The Forest View Academy Award the words are taken from the Oxford dictionary list of ‘weird and wonderful words’ to challenge our more gifted spellers.
Handwriting is taught as a whole class in year 3, with children given the opportunity to apply their skills independently throughout all lessons. From year 4 handwriting becomes part of an intervention session. High expectations continue to be set by all teaching staff with regard to handwriting and presentation in books.
Writing skills are used in other areas of the curriculum at The Forest View Academy. Applying in this way encourages learning at greater depth. For example, during science and history topics, children may be asked to write a report on a science experiment they have done, or a paragraph on the clothes that the Egyptians wore. In D.T. children may write a set of instructions as to how they made their pop-up Christmas card. During theme weeks such as, ‘Enterprise Week’ children produce written work related to the theme such as letters of persuasion, newspaper reports. Cross-curricular writing is displayed across school and opportunities are identified on Year group Curriculum Maps.
Our aim in all of the writing we teach in school are to: acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language, and to write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
We teach by firstly providing a stimuli to base our writing skills practice around such as a written extract, a film or an experience. Following this, we practise the EGPS skills needed in writing through modelling. Then finally the children then produce an independent piece of writing based on the stimulus. The children will then self and peer edit to improve their own writing. Inspiration for writing comes from various forms including novel studies, extracts, topics being covered, trips, residentials, visitors and the use of film.
Differentiation can be seen in all composition sessions, through our ‘Steps to Success’ Children are not moved on to new content until they are secure in what they are learning. The ‘Steps to Success’ are a means to achieving age related expectations, while a starred step target provides opportunity to learn the same objective at greater depth. Therefore, if a child has achieved the steps in a session, they may begin the following session on the ‘Starred Step’ which allows for applying in a different way.
Interventions are provided for children during school time. Flexible interventions aim to ensure progress for any children who have not understood an element of writing being taught that day/week. In the classroom, teachers will target specific groups during writing sessions identified in termly pupil progress meetings. The aim is to ensure at least good progress is made.
The expectation is that marking and feedback moves learning on. This will provide next steps for the children, or provide consolidation/questioning asking them to address misconceptions based on the day’s work.
Our academy monitoring schedule is designed to ensure standards are maintained across academies. Formal and informal monitoring (lesson visits/TMVs) incorporate book and planning scrutinises, pupil voice and quality assurance visits.
English subject leaders from all academies meet half-termly to share good practise, develop new initiatives and shape future developments across The Trust. Books are standardised across academies. Children’s achievements against national curriculum objectives are tracked across all academies on, Age Related Expectation Grids.
The methods and strategies used to teach Writing are having a positive impact on learning. At the end of the summer term 2019, 80% of our Year 6 children met the expected standard, which was above the national average figure (78%).
Writing at The Forest View Academy is constantly evolving, as we face the challenges of new assessment procedures and the new curriculum.