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 high 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.
At the end of the EYFS children aim to achieve 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. 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. Our school uses a Sentence Progression Policy - 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 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.
The school follows the Letters and Sounds phonics programme which 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 particularly for INA pupils who are beginning the reading and writing process whilst enabling the early identification of pupils who are struggling.
Throughout the EYFS, emergent mark-making is celebrated and valued as children begin to ascribe meaning to the marks they make, differentiating them from drawings. Work is captured in A1 floor books in order to evidence progress in writing over time. 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.
Within KS1, National Curriculum requirements for SPaG are integrated into the curriculum and children are expected to apply their knowledge of phonics and SPaG when writing independently in an end of unit extended activity. This takes place each half term and is assessed to ascertain next steps for learning. Weekly spelling and dictation tests interleave prior learning to ensure spelling rules and grammar are retained. Writing expectations are equally high across all areas of the curriculum and are evidenced by the appropriate use of subject specific vocabulary in context.
Teachers in each year group are clear in their teaching and assessment of objectives for their year group. Use of the ‘checklist’ marking/assessment tool across Key Stage 2 has supported teachers to be focussed and have clarity in their teaching.
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 subjects - if they are working at age related expectations in their literacy book, there should be evidence of this in their science or humanities books.
Approach to feedback
Our 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 (available to the children at all times on the checklist marking tool) and the discussion involved in this will reinforce the pupil’s understanding and the technical vocabulary relating to the objective. Over time, children also develop the skills to use the assessment tool to proofread, edit and assess their own work and that of their peers.
In addition to these small conversations intended to address a particular misunderstanding, teachers will also regularly assess pieces of independent writing (at least two pieces each half term). 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. This assessment can take place during live marking so that feedback can be given immediately, or can take place later so that children can look back to the checklist and easily see which objectives they achieved (marked pink) and which the teacher thinks should be targets in the next piece of independent writing (marked green). Use of the checklist means that it is often unnecessary to leave a written comment as the targets achieved and for future target are clear.
Fischer Family Trust assessment tracker is used to record the progress that pupils are making in terms of knowing more, remembering more and being able to do more at two points in each academic year. This will record whether children are working towards the age related expectation, at the age related expectation or exceeding the age related expectation.
These judgements will be quality assured by the subject leader using first hand evidence of how pupils are progressing, drawing together evidence from pupil interviews, observations of tasks, reading tasks, work scrutinies and discussions with pupils about what they have remembered about the content they have studied. Children are able to discuss their progress and provide examples across a variety of texts and subjects.
These judgements will inform the curriculum and whether children are ready for the next stage of their curriculum.