At North Town Primary School and Nursery, we strive to help our children develop into articulate and imaginative communicators, who are well-equipped with the skills they need to become life-long learners. Learning to write is key in this. We aim to ensure that children develop an understanding of how widely writing is used in everyday life and, therefore, how important and useful the skills are that they are learning, that all of our children develop a genuine love of language and the written word and that when they are writing they see it as relevant and meaningful. Our intentions in Writing are for all of our children to:
- Always write for a purpose
- See themselves as real writers
- Take ownership of their writing
- See writing as an interesting and enjoyable process.
The teaching and learning of Writing at North Town Primary School and Nursery develops through 3 structured stages, which mirror that of other subjects through Curriculum Maestro. The writing cycle, beginning with the children being exposed to high-quality texts and finishing with them being given the freedom to write creatively, lasts 3 weeks, although it is not always the case that each stage needs to last for one week. Teachers are given the professional discretion to be able to move onto the next stage if they are confident that understanding is secured or spend slightly longer on a stage if it is not. The 3 stages that make up our writing process at North Town are:
Stage 1: The Engage Stage
During this first stage of the writing process, emphasis is placed on the children becoming familiar with the text type that they will go on to write themselves through learning opportunities that also seek to improve their speaking and listening skills. Our teachers plan lessons that allow the children to become engaged and immersed in the text type they are studying, by reading and exploring high-quality examples, drama and role-play opportunities such as hot-seating, feature-spotting and, as the children move into Key Stage 2, a greater focus on relevant grammar and punctuation. Throughout the Engage Stage, evidence of all of the children’s learning may not be included within their Writing books, with other means of capturing their learning utilized, such as photographs and videos.
Stage 2: The Develop and Innovate Stage
As the children’s understanding of the text type increases, the focus of their learning will progress towards how to effectively write in this genre. This will be done through a guided writing approach and excellent modelling by the teacher. Using a high-quality example text and unfolding in stages so that the children are afforded time to carefully consider what is required of them, teachers will explicitly model how to produce a text in this genre, drawing out ideas from the children as they do so, encouraging discussion and explaining to the children the choices they are making on their way towards creating a high-quality piece of writing. The children will then, in stages, write a text that sticks closely to the one they have helped construct alongside their teacher, whilst improving or adapting some areas. For example, when writing a fantasy narrative, the children may decide to change the setting of the story, or to just improve the adjectives that have been used to describe it, or the name and description of the main character. At the Develop and Innovate Stage, it will be important for the children to stick closely to the text produced alongside their teacher and classmates as they learn what is involved and needs to be included in a high-quality text in this genre. At this stage, writing produced will not be considered independent.
Stage 3: The Express Stage
Now that the children’s understanding is secured, they will plan and write in the same genre as they have been learning about but will be given the freedom to express themselves as writers. It will be important for the children to include the accurate features of the text type, that it is structured appropriately (for example using headings and sub-headings in non-fiction writing), and demonstrates the learning and knowledge they have acquired during the first two stages. The writing produced here will be deemed independent, and whilst teachers will read the children’s work and provide whole class or small group feedback, they will not provide written or verbal feedback to individual children about where to improve their writing. However, as the children finish writing each day, opportunities should be afforded for the children to reflect and edit their writing themselves or with a friend through self- and peer-assessment activities. At the end of the Express Stage, the children’s work will be submitted for assessment by their class teacher and feedback provided.
Handwriting At North Town,
We recognise that children’s bones develop at different rates and some children find handwriting a challenge. Throughout the Early Years Foundation Stage, we focus on developing gross and fine motor skills through methods such as Funky Fingers. A focus on these gross and fine motor skills extends into Year 1 and Year 2 if necessary. Teachers model presentation and handwriting at the beginning of each day and set high expectations for presentation in books. Teachers use a specific scheme for teaching handwriting, which they also model when writing themselves, for example during guided writing sessions and when providing any form of written feedback. For children continuing to struggle to meet expectations with their handwriting and presentation of work within Key Stage 2, we provide an intervention programme called Speed Up, carried out by an experienced Learning Support Assistant. This may also involve children being given handwriting to practise at home to address their needs as we feel parental/ carer involvement is crucial.