Writing at All Souls' CE
Writing Curriculum Rationale
At All Souls’ CE Primary, we are all writers! We want our children to love writing. We want them to have no limits to what their ambitions are and grow up wanting to be authors, journalists, poets and reporters. We want them to embody our Christian core values. We all embrace the school motto of: “we are a place to grow’ – this is both spiritually and academically. The writing curriculum has been carefully designed so that our pupils develop their writing knowledge and understanding. We want all our pupils to remember their learning in writing in our school, to cherish these experiences and embrace the opportunities they are presented with.
The English writing curriculum promotes the three dimensional competencies of text generation, transcription and executive functions. We promote a love and thirst for learning and curiosity about the nature of writing and its necessity to everyday life. It is ambitious and empowers our pupils to become independent and resilient.
We want to equip pupils with ambition beyond the minimum statutory requirements of the English writing National Curriculum and prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. The curriculum is meticulously planned with the intention to address social disadvantage and ensure that all pupils - including those with SEND – have an opportunity to engage with a challenging curriculum and achieve success. Any gaps in pupils’ knowledge are quickly identified and addressed to ensure that pupils are supported to meet the ambitious intended end points of the curriculum in writing.
The English writing curriculum is focused upon the development of pupils’ writing within three-dimensional competences – transcriptional (spelling and handwriting), compositional knowledge (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing) and executive functions (meta-cognition and self-regulation). We believe it is essential to that pupils are taught how to plan, draft, revise evaluate and publish their writing. Disciplinary rigour provides the platform for an interplay between the different aspects of knowledge to ensure pupil proficiency and success. These aspects of writing have been firmly embedded into the units of work across all year groups in school.
As a school we have identified that the ability to write down ideas fluently depends upon effective transcription; that is, on spelling quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics) and understanding morphology (word structure) and orthography (spelling structure) of words. We teach pupils that effective composition involves articulating and communicating ideas, and then organising them coherently for a reader. We strongly believe that writing for an audience and a clear purpose is essential. This requires clarity, awareness of the audience of vocabulary and grammar. Writing also depends on fluent, legible and speedy handwriting.
We actively promote reading as a vehicle to feed writing, as this increases pupils’ motivation and imagination. We seek to ensure that our pupils are able to confidently approach writing tasks inspired their own experiences and the knowledge gained form texts studied and enjoyed – both fiction and non-fiction.
We want our pupils to use the vibrancy of our great town and wider city to learn from other cultures, respect diversity, co-operate with one another and appreciate what they have. We achieve this by providing a strong local contextual links where possible. For example, the curriculum offers a visit to a theatre where learning is hands on and supports the application of writing knowledge in a fun and exciting experience building on the knowledge and concepts pupils have gained.
British Values and our core values placed at the heart of everything we do. This often feeds into the English writing curriculum. Cultural capital development is addressed through author workshops, online exploration, visitors to school and first-hand experiences. We enrich pupils’ time in our school with memorable, unforgettable experiences and provide opportunities to engender an appreciation of human development and achievement.
We effectively develop and invest in our teaching staff to ensure that they are fully equipped with expert subject knowledge in order to support the delivery of the exceptional writing curriculum. Teaching is highly effective for all pupils. Teachers present the curriculum content clearly through composites and component parts supported by the school’s plans, which break the unit knowledge, concepts and skills down for each lesson in each year group.
The curriculum is delivered through a subject specific approach, which supports pupils to develop the key concepts and knowledge of the writing curriculum. Each lesson within a unit of work is carefully crafted and builds upon what has been previously taught from one year to the next.
Frequent audits of the English writing curriculum take place. Following the findings from these audits, the writing curriculum is adapted to build upon the learning opportunities and assessment end points for each year group and ensures progression and repetition in terms of embedding key learning, knowledge and skills.
Pupils take inspiration from authors to support their understanding and determination to succeed as a writer. They explore and practice the knowledge, skills and disciplines involved in the unit and use their workbooks to record their learning through the text analysis, plan, draft, revise, evaluate and publish process. Each writing discipline and knowledge taught is revisited in each phase, at a progressively deeper level. All classes study subject unit specific vocabulary and this develops year on year.
Writing subject specific characteristics, which we expect the pupils to demonstrate, have been developed and shared with all stakeholders. These characteristics underpin all work in mathematics and form a focal point for display areas and provide a common subject specific vocabulary for staff and pupils. These characteristics are to plan writing by:
- identifying the audience for and purpose of the writing, selecting the appropriate form and using other similar writing as models for their own
- note and develop initial ideas, drawing on reading and research where necessary
- write narratives, considering how authors have developed characters and settings in what pupils have read, listened to or seen performed
- select appropriate grammar and vocabulary, understanding how such choices can change and enhance meaning
- in narratives, describing settings, characters and atmosphere and integrating dialogue to convey character and advance the action
- precise longer passages
- use a wide range of devices to build cohesion within and across paragraphs
- use further organisational and presentational devices to structure text and to guide the reader [for example, headings, bullet points, underlining]
- assess the effectiveness of their own and others’ writing
- propose changes to vocabulary, grammar and punctuation to enhance effects and clarify meaning
- ensure the consistent and correct use of tense throughout a piece of writing
- ensure correct subject and verb agreement when using singular and plural, distinguishing between the language of speech and writing and choosing the appropriate register
The teaching of the English writing curriculum is planned and delivered to support pupils to transfer key knowledge into their long-term memory and therefore improve the progress they make. Essential vocabulary is identified within each lesson and unit of work to ensure that our pupils can discuss and evaluate the writing content effectively.
Whilst delivering the curriculum, teachers are constantly checking to ensure that pupils are learning the necessary knowledge and identifying and addressing misunderstandings. Assessment is used as a tool to support pupil learning.
The writing curriculum is research evidence informed in relation to the content, delivery and process of learning.
We use both formative and summative assessment information in writing sessions. Assessment informs learning to ensure that all pupils including disadvantage and those with SEND achieve highly and acquire the knowledge, skills and concepts they need to succeed in life. Staff use assessment information to inform their short-term planning and address misconceptions. This helps us provide the best possible support for all of our pupils. The end points for each phase have been carefully mapped out and further broken down. This means that the essential knowledge, skills and concepts in writing are progressive and build year on year.
Our well-constructed curriculum in writing leads to pupils’ successful learning. This is evidenced in the outcomes within workbooks and display work produced. Pupils are well prepared for the next steps and stages of their learning due to the progressive and well-sequenced curriculum. As a result, pupils make excellent progress they know more and remember more as they move through the writing curriculum at All Souls’ CE Primary.