Ripley St. John’s CofE
Primary School & Nursery
We aim to develop pupils’ abilities by applying an integrated scheme of Spoken Language, Reading and Writing, including English, Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling (EGPaS). Pupils will be given opportunities to engage with and utilise the requirements of the English Programme of Study; a broad and balanced approach to the teaching of English throughout the curriculum further supports this intention.
In Writing, we want all of our pupils, by the end of Year Six, to be able to:
The Educational Programmes set out in the Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage are followed, and children work towards the Early Learning Goals, aiming to meet the statement of the goals by the end of their Reception year. In Nursery and Reception, the daily routine will involve planned and ‘in the moment’ opportunities which include:
Within Key Stages 1 and 2
The teaching that our infant and junior pupils at St. John’s can expect to experience will include:
Teachers at St. John’s assess the children’s work in Writing in a number of ways, including:
Short-term assessments that teachers make as part of every lesson, helping them to adjust their daily plans. Teachers match these short-term assessments closely to the teaching and learning objectives. These are based around teacher observations, marking and pupil AFL comments from the previous day, usually within day-to-day English exercise books or RWI booklets;
Medium-term and Long-term assessments which are used to measure pupils’ progress against the key objectives, and to help teachers plan for the next unit of work, or their subsequent year group’s learning. These occur each half-term (using a combination of teacher assessment and formal summative assessment), and are used as indicators to assess progress against school and national targets. With the help of these mid-term assessments, teachers are able to set targets for the next half-term and beyond. These assessments combine work completed within day-to-day English exercise books or RWI booklets with independently written pieces to which teachers have decided to set and mark against assessment criteria. Written work completed during wider curriculum, non-core lessons can also be used to provide a broader, all-encompassing picture of pupils’ abilities.
Writing assessments from Year 1 to Year 6 are based upon a pre- and post-write assessment approach (First and Final), with pieces of written work from the beginning and end of each year assessed in line with age-related expectations and displayed within pupils’ individual folders to produce a portfolio of their whole learning journey in Writing whilst at St. John’s.
The pre-write takes place without support so that teachers can identify each child’s starting capabilities. These develop into teaching points, such as misunderstandings of genre coverage or misconceptions with literary devices and features, targeting the areas of need and guiding the learning for that term’s overall teaching, with individual children showing a need for additional support signposted for intervention(s).
The teaching and learning of focus skills then takes place, allowing children opportunities to plan and draft work in preparation for the post-write. This is a chance for children to produce their best work and showcase their writing skills, applying things that they have learned during the writing process but with support from the written planning they have produced during it – much like an author drafts, redrafts and edits before writing their final version for publishing. The post-write is a culmination, allowing teachers to see what the children can achieve after the guided and structured processes of planning, drafting and editing throughout the III process have been delivered.
There should be notable progress from the pre-write (First) to the post-write (Final), showing an identifiable and embedded application of skills and progression throughout an academic year. Logging of this information is completed prior to and upon completion of the writing process on grids that combine Year Group English writing, grammar, punctuation and spelling/vocabulary expectations with genre coverages; these grids are displayed within individual portfolios to enable children the opportunity to own their own learning, progress and development with writing.
Grammar, punctuation and spelling assessments which take the form of weekly spelling tests, as well as the ongoing application of accurate use of grammar, punctuation and spelling in all aspects of children’s writing, and formalised EGPaS tests. Spelling is also assessed using the Single Word Spelling Test in order to establish a child’s ‘Spelling Age’ in comparison to the child’s chronological age. Spelling Bee events are also used to assess progress in spelling against the National Curriculum 2014 word lists for each year group, and to raise the profile and value of spelling development.
In Year 1, spelling tests follow a careful progression and spellings are matched to children’s phonic ability and the Read Write Inc. Scheme, enabling them to demonstrate an ability to apply their knowledge of grapheme/phoneme correspondences.
Grammar and Punctuation assessments are undertaken half-termly during assessment weeks. Assessments take the form of test-style papers and this enables teachers to identify gaps in learning and support planning for the following term’s teaching and learning foci.
What do Writing lessons look like in school?
In English lessons with a discrete focus on Writing, a guideline weekly structure is followed where possible and appropriate. The recommended structure is as follows:
Monday: Spelling and Vocabulary development – children learn, practise and develop their knowledge and use of spelling rules and patterns through different methods of application, and are also provided with opportunities to research and build their subject-specific and technical vocabularies for use during the consequent writing unit(s).
Tuesday: Grammar and Punctuation development – children are introduced to, or supported in their development of, a specific grammatical form or application of punctuation which will be relevant to the genre and content of the forthcoming unit(s) of writing.
Wednesday: Comprehension and Text Analysis – children are provided with opportunities to engage with high-quality model texts known as WAGOLLs (What a good one looks like), and use them to identify key genre-specific features which they will ‘magpie’ and attempt to imitate and innovate within their own independent planning, drafting and publishing.
Thursday: Drafting, Editing and Re-Drafting – children begin to independently implement all of the planning and editing they have assembled to produce initial drafts of their written work, work which will be proof-read and edited during that lesson and immediately improved and developed.
Friday: Editing, Re-Drafting and Publishing – children continue with the writing process and, depending where in the process they are, either use their time to re-draft their work making use of additional editing and improvement opportunities, or will publish a complete final piece.
Each lesson begins with a very short introduction called a ‘Lit Hit’ which, more often than not, re-introduces the children to a literary element of relevance to their current unit of writing; during a unit writing a newspaper article, children could, for example, expect a weeklong ‘Lit Hit’ series to comprise chronology, past tense features, columns, direct speech and indirect speech. This regular, short and sharp repetition throughout their school careers aids the children in committing key features and devices to their working and long-term memories.
The lesson would then usually move into the teaching exposition which is delivered in many ways including through the use of: ICT (Interactive whiteboard, iPads or Notebook laptops), ‘Show-me’ whiteboard work, or short examples of work written into exercise books which is discussed and live-marked using mini-plenaries as part of the input.
During the remainder of the lesson, children are then given time to work independently on the lesson objective to show their understanding, being supported by members of staff and their peers where needed. They may also have access to dictionaries, thesauruses, word mats, an interactive working wall, iPads and Notebook laptops, alongside any other specifically prepared resources a teacher has prepared and shared as part of that lesson or unit of writing.
The lesson concludes in the plenary, an opportunity for pupils to demonstrate oral presentation skills, for teachers to address misconceptions, and to guide and inform future learning intentions.