Writing at St Laurence's
We believe consistency and well-taught English is the bedrock of a valuable education. At St Laurence’s we ensure that the teaching of writing is purposeful, robust and shows clear progression for all children.
The Power of Reading uses quality children’s literature and proven creative teaching approaches to support and develop a high quality literacy curriculum and a whole school love of reading and writing. The Power of Reading meets all requirements of the National Curriculum.
Writing is taught through the use of a quality text, which exposes the children to inference, high-level vocabulary, a range of punctuation and characterisation. Each text is purposefully selected in order to promote a love of reading, engagement and high quality writing from each child.
In line with the national curriculum, we ensure that each year group is teaching the explicit grammar, punctuation and spelling objectives required for that age groups. As well as teaching the objectives, teachers are able to embed the skills throughout the year in cross-curricular writing opportunities and ensure that most children are achieving the objectives at the expected level and that some children can achieve at a greater depth standard.
Assessment of writing is fluid as teachers assess writing, once per half term, against moderation criteria created by staff. All year groups use the same format for assessing writing which have been produced in line with the end of Key Stage assessment frameworks as published by the Department for Education.
At St Laurence’s, we believe that fostering a love of writing from the moment our children start nursery is at the core of enabling them to become masterful writers. This mastery equips them with an invaluable tool for self-expression as they move through school and beyond. Linked with our belief that reading is the bedrock of a child’s gateway into a world beyond their own, purposeful writing - and the enjoyment of its creation - enables our children to give voice to these worlds within their imagination.
Writing at St Laurence’s is embedded across our curriculum rather than occurring just within English lessons. Children are exposed to a range of text types through a range of subjects and our Reading Spine celebrates not just exposure to literature through ‘Power of Reading’, but also the many and varied writing opportunities that arise through these.
At St Laurence’s we ensure that the teaching of writing is robust with clear progression for all children. Through using a wide range of quality texts, the children are exposed to inference, high-level and rich vocabulary, a range of punctuation and how meaning can be manipulated through grammar. In line with the National Curriculum, we ensure that each year group is being taught the explicit grammar, punctuation and spelling objectives required.
Skills are then embedded throughout the year in cross-curricular writing opportunities, ensuring that most children are achieving the objectives within the expected level. As purposeful writing is encouraged, children have the opportunity to explore and develop their talents. This enables teachers to not only identify children with the potential to work at the Greater Depth level in Years 2 and 6, but provides them with the opportunities to hone their skills through meaningful and regular practice.
Assessment of writing is fluid as teachers assess writing once per half term, against moderation criteria created by the Writing Lead and reviewed as a staff. There is regular collaboration in year groups and as a whole staff which ensures confidence in judgements across the school.
EYFS and Year 1
Within our Early Years Foundation Stage setting, where possible, writing is given a real-life context and children are encouraged to role play situations where they can practice mark-making and write for purpose. This gives them the perfect introduction to writing as a tool for communication. This, alongside regular immersion in story and text-based learning through Power of Reading, ensures that our Early Years and Year 1 children are given every opportunity to experience and practice reading into writing and experience-based writing at an age-appropriate level.
Children are encouraged to become independent writers by using resources from around the class to support them: phonics displays, Read Write Inc.sound displays, word banks and working walls are all easily accessible for the children to use. Children are encouraged to read and perform their work to an audience and work in small groups editing their writing with an adult.
Grammar is taught through phonics, Read Write Inc. and English lessons. Children who have difficulties writing are targeted for intervention. Children are enabled to become familiar with a text, re-tell stories orally and use the structure of the text to create their own pieces of writing. This, in turn, fosters a love of literacy which can then be built upon in Year 2.
Once children have been taught the basics of structuring sentences as units of information, they are then introduced to a range of grammatical structures and punctuation objectives within each year group in line with the National Curriculum. Through their constant exposure to varied texts, alongside this discrete teaching of objectives, children move through their journey to becoming fluent, expressive and creative writers with the stamina to write across a range of genres and for a range of purposes.
As with all our teaching and learning at St Laurence’s, immersing children in a rich language environment across all subjects supports them with their ‘talk’ for the writing process: they move through a sequence of steps such as discussion, drama and empathising with characters which provides them with the preparation necessary for an accomplished piece of writing. This in turn supports our whole-school intent as we push vocabulary within all areas of the curriculum.
We use the Power of Reading to ensure that children are able to navigate their way through this process as enthusiastic and confident writers. This daily diet of reading provides children with an understanding of how language works, the information it contains and the many ways that this can be delivered and manipulated. It also empowers teachers with solid guidance on choosing the books and curriculum best suited to inspiring young writers – giving them access to a huge range of recommended texts in different styles, genres and from different cultures.
Teachers are constantly working together to review the success of texts and writing taught – assessing the children’s response and engagement and reflecting on lessons and the impact these have had on writing. Due to this, we are confident in our provision of up to date, suitably challenging texts and writing stimuli that are personalised to the needs of each class and year group.
Our Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling curriculum ensures the progression of writing is continuous across Key Stages, with clear expectations of how an Expected Level piece of writing should look in each year group. We monitor this as an English team and as a whole staff – ensuring that objectives are covered thoroughly with plenty of opportunity for the children to practice these both in a guided and independent manner often.
Our school GPS Tracker shows how these grammar, punctuation and spelling objectives are broken down within year groups over each term, with teachers feeding back to the Literacy lead regularly about placement of objectives covered across the year. Writing and GPS are monitored regularly through checks on work-based evidence in books.
Ultimately, the impact we aim to have through our delivery of a rich writing curriculum is that, as they move on from us to further their education, we have given our children the tools they will need to confidently continue to develop their skills of self-expression and communication. This confidence in their own abilities will drive their creativity, passion for English and high aspirations for their own achievement.
Writing allows freedom of expression and enables our children to become self-aware, confident communicators. Through our thorough teaching of the mechanics of writing alongside our robust text exposure and exploration, we are giving our children the gift of being able to channel their creativity and opinions in written form; we are helping them to make sense of their own thoughts and feelings and the impact they can have on both the world around them and their own futures.