Writing at Rolleston
At Rolleston Primary School, our aim is that children leave fully prepared for secondary education and equipped with a variety of toolkits so that they can write cohesively, using appropriate grammar and vocabulary across the curriculum. Our writing curriculum encourages the enjoyment of writing, as well as allowing the children to immerse themselves in, and understand the structure and features of, a variety of different text types. We endeavour to develop the children’s communication and vocabulary skills and understanding of sentence structure as well as developing their handwriting, spelling and understanding and use of Standard English. All of this is linked to our oracy curriculum. The content of our writing lessons is planned to build on children’s previous knowledge and introduce new learning and concepts in exciting, memorable ways. Our curriculum is inclusive, memorable and meaningful and we want children to leave Key Stage 2 being able to write independently and creatively, for a range of purposes and audiences.
Our writing curriculum follows the Talk for Writing initiative. Children are exposed to a variety of different text types and are immersed in new vocabulary through the Word Aware approach. The children apply this vocabulary in a variety of different ways and talk opportunities are used at regular intervals through oracy being integrated in every session. At the start of a unit, children immerse themselves in a high quality text, engaging in a variety of talk activities and drama activities so that they can orally explore the text before writing their own innovated, and then independent, version of the text type. Writing is taught explicitly in daily English lessons and skills learnt are regularly reinforced within lessons across the curriculum and revisited through our “Flashback 5” approach so that they are embedded. The teaching of grammar and Standard English is an essential part of every writing lesson and this is taught through engaging grammar games. In Key Stage 1, this is also taught discretely using the Nelson Grammar Scheme. Using the National Curriculum, key grammar and Standard English skills are taught progressively and systematically throughout the school. The understanding of Standard English is embedded further by giving all children the opportunity to participate in Standard English and Oracy activities. Children are taught handwriting daily through the Teach Handwriting scheme. Our lessons use a combination of novels, film clips, poetry and real life events so that learning is fun, meaningful and memorable. The children’s learned toolkits provide them with language patterns, punctuation and key phrases that are internalised and applied in their own writing so that they become confident and competent writers. Repeated practice of writing genres ensures that pupils leave our school capable of writing for different audiences and purposes. Spelling is taught outside of English lessons through the Nelson Spelling Scheme. Accurate spelling is expected as a non-negotiable in all writing across the curriculum and children are taught and given time to edit their spellings and recognise their own errors. Teachers model writing every lesson through short burst writing, talking clearly through the process so that children have a clear understanding of what makes a successful piece of writing. Throughout this, children are also taught to justify language/sentence structure choices at an age appropriate level and how to edit their writing in order to create the most effective piece of writing. Children are supported through guided and shared writing in order to build up to their own innovated and independent writing.
From the regular monitoring of lessons, plans, books and pupil interviews, it is clear that writing is taught in an engaging, systematic and progressive way, that prior teaching and learning is considered, and that learning is memorable. Children enjoy their English lessons and they enjoy talking about how their writing is constructed and the intended impact on the reader. The impact of our writing curriculum is measured through consistent moderation within and across year groups and teachers. Teachers also attend moderation sessions with the local authority where work is moderated across different schools to ensure consistency in judgements. The English team monitor the teaching and learning of writing frequently to ensure that standards remain consistently high and to identify areas for ongoing CPD.