At Woodthorpe, we want our children to be enthusiastic and passionate about writing, with each child being engaged within an exciting writing curriculum. Writing is a fundamental part of our curriculum and all children from EYFS to Year 6 have the opportunity to develop their writing skills and use them across the whole curriculum.
We want our children to hold the experiences needed to be able to write. We want children to be involved within the writing process and be supported to develop this essential skill for life.
At Woodthorpe we have adopted ‘The Write Stuff’ by Jane Considine. ‘The Write Stuff’ follows a method called Sentence Stacking where there is an emphasis on vocabulary, sentence structure and developing sections of writing.
An individual lesson is based on a sentence model, broken into three learning chunks. Each learning chunk has three sections:
- Initiate section – a stimulus to capture the children’s imagination and set up a sentence.
- Model section – the teacher closely models a sentence that outlines clear writing features and techniques.
- Enable section – the children write their sentence, following the model.
The writing curriculum is enriched with specific experience days, enabling children to draw upon experiences, making their writing relevant and exciting to them. Children are encouraged to share their work and take pride in what they have produced knowing they have the respect of their peers when doing so.
To ensure children are challenged within their writing, all pupils will be involved within the same writing. Some children might be supported to ensure they can access the curriculum while others might be challenged further and ‘deepen the moment’.
Assessment & Moderation
To inform our assessments we use a standardised, age related grid, to track a pupil’s progress.
Following each assessment cycle, children are given appropriate next steps or ‘targets’ to work on. These targets are differentiated to ensure that pupils are challenged at an appropriate level. Typically a HAP & MAP will be given 6 targets for the term while a LAP might be given 4. An SEN pupil should be given individualised targets suitable for their need.
To ensure that our grading of children’s writing is at the correct pitch, we moderate pupils writing 4 times a year. Three times at the end of each term and once using a tool called ‘No More Marking’. This enables us to moderate against thousands of other schools across the country and gain further confidence in our judgements.
SPAG online is used to assess children’s knowledge of spelling, punctuation and grammar. All classes complete an online assessment each half term, this is then used to identify strengths and weaknesses for each individual class.
Year 2 – 6 follow the Jane Considine spelling curriculum. This is a ‘week by week’, ‘step by step’ spelling curriculum that builds on prior learning. It aims to create an investigatory approach to spelling that allows children to develop their spelling skills rather than be tested upon them.
Spelling Shed is used to teach, assess and reinforce children’s spelling knowledge from year 1 to year 6. Each week an assignment is set which focuses on a given sound, spelling pattern or rule. Throughout the week, children will complete different activities to support their learning of these spellings before completing a ‘hive’ game which assesses their knowledge of the given spellings. Children can also practise their spellings at home. For children who have difficulties with spelling, additional lists may be assigned. Each half term children are to complete an assessment of the statutory spellings for their phase. Children with SEN needs should be assessed using 100 High Frequency words.
Cursive handwriting is taught explicitly from the very start of children’s learning journey at the school. Children engage in a range of activities that develop gross and fine motor skills that will support them in their writing development as well as being explicitly taught how to hold a pencil using the correct grip. Children are taught about the leading line in and loop off and Debbie Hepplewhite resources are used to support the teaching and learning of handwriting. Handwriting practice is often combined with Phonics and spelling patterns that are being taught in the classroom so that children have a valuable and supportive context in which to develop and practise their skills.