Our Curriculum : Writing
English at EHPS is aspirational, enriching, inclusive, enjoyable and enables children to express themselves.
At East Hunsbury Primary School, we intend for our children to leave Year 6 as confident, capable, independent writers who not only understand the purpose and importance of writing within wider society but they also positively engage in the process. We intend them to leave our school with all of the writerly skills necessary to thrive within Key Stage 3 and beyond. We intend for our children to be able to communicate and express themselves effectively through the written word across both fiction and non-fiction; including being able to write for a range of purposes and audiences. We intend for our curriculum to cultivate an enhanced sense of autonomy and authorship in the young whilst being inclusive and enriching.
We intend for our children to take risks when writing; seeking to be original and creative as well as critical and reflective. We want our children to draw upon a rich exposure to quality literature so that throughout the writing process they can write as a reader and read as a writer, thus acquiring more ideas to manipulate and apply.
Throughout their time at East Hunsbury Primary School, we intend our children to be exposed to an ambitious and enjoyable curriculum which covers a range of: plot patterns, text types, composition foci and genres for them to not only grow as writers but also develop culturally, emotionally, socially and spiritually.
The aim of our writing curriculum is to promote and attain the highest standards of writing to enable children to be effective communicators in both fiction and non-fiction and leave EHPS as a writer with true authorial agency.
We aim for the children to be able to:
- Write fluently and accurately for a range of purposes and audiences across a variety of genres and text types
- Take risks in order to create original, effective and creative pieces
- Select their words carefully to create a given effect
- Employ a wide, but effective range, of vocabulary in both fiction and non-fiction
- Understand the importance of reading on their writing
- Learn from other high-quality authors and use this to influence their own writing
- Understand the role of writing on their lives and wider society
- Engage in discussion in order to learn, deepen their thinking and form opinions
- Choose what they want to write, who they want to write it for and what form it will take.
- Identify themselves as writers, understand their rights as writers and their authorial intentions.
- Enjoy and be enriched by the curriculum.
EHPS Agreed Pedagogical Principles for the Effective Teaching of Writing
Our aims are then supported by our agreed set of pedagogical principles that we believe underpin the effective teaching of writing which are being developed with staff during the academic year 2022-2023.
At East Hunsbury Primary School, we have designed our writing curriculum around the two core strands of transcription and composition and have implemented robust systems and comprehensive overviews to ensure that learning is progressive and cumulative.
Furthermore, at the heart of our curriculum is the development of substantive and disciplinary knowledge of writing. The two are closely interrelated and one very important aspect that links them is the distinctive vocabulary and phrasing that underpins understanding within each subject and defines each subject as a separate discipline. This marries with our curriculum silk thread of Oracy.
Talk for Writing’s underpinning process and related teaching strategies enable teachers to develop disciplinary literacy in all subjects and supports children in their learning by providing a consistent transferable way of developing their learning, writing and thinking across the curriculum.
We use the following methodologies for the transcriptional aspects of writing throughout the school:
- Handwriting Kinetic Letters
- Phonics and Spelling Sounds-Write1 (see reading strategy for further information)
- Grammar Pie Corbett Grammar Progression Document which has been
written in consultation with teachers and in-line with the National Curriculum
At East Hunsbury Primary School, we use the Talk for Writing (TfW) approach across our school as our methodology to teach children to become independent, confident and creative writers. Talk for Writing is impactful because is based on how children learn and is rooted in research and best practice. The inclusive approach moves children systematically and supportively from being a dependent writer through to an independent one and complements our reading strategy – they both strengthen one another. Oracy and reading are central to the TfW process and it equips children with the skills of cohesion and composition. Talk for Writing also supports children with English as an Additional Language by immersing them in our language and scaffolding the acquisition of it. Click here for more information on what Talk for Writing is.
The strategies that teachers explicitly teach through the Talk for Writing process are:
- Selecting, judging and applying linguistic devices and words for effect.
- Recall / revising
- Innovating – manipulating what they know to create something new.
The Talk for Writing strategy is based on three stages: Imitation, Innovation, Independent Application - which moves children from dependence into independence.
During the year, each year group will teach approximately 9 units of work and at least two creative / free writing sessions. The sequence is punctuated with regularly opportunities for short-burst writing and an emphasis is placed on activating passive vocabulary.
During each fiction unit, the children will learn:
- How the story is structured / organised (plot pattern)
- How to write effectively focusing on an element of compositiong. setting, action, suspense etc. (writerly toolkit)
- A way to innovate (e.g. substitution, addition, translation, change of view point and/or genre).
During each non-fiction unit, the children will learn:
- How the text is structured/organised
- How to write effectively focusing on the linguistic and grammatical devices the text type demands
- How to write accurately and informatively using a given content
- A way to innovate (e.g. substitution or addition)
The TfW process is cumulative and progressive so as children’s writerly competencies develop and strengthen their ability to structure, compose and innovate will become more sophisticated and complex. Children will learn how to become a ‘writer’ and the skills surrounding collecting ideas, drafting, editing and publishing.
We have progression documents in place for non-fiction, composition toolkits and grammar. To ensure composition is taught at ARE or beyond. These documents also support teacher’s subject knowledge and pitch.
Our writing curriculum is underpinned by reading as we believe the reading feeds the writing. As such, throughout the writing curriculum children will explore a range of models from high quality texts alongside the unit’s ‘model text.’
The quality of the models provided is pivotal to the success of the sequence and the writing and as such these have been written and/or selected by expert teachers.
The writing curriculum is sequenced so that it is cumulative, whereby the children’s knowledge is constantly revisited and built upon. It has also been designed so that, in non-fiction, once the skills have been learnt there is an expectation that they will be applied across the curriculum.
Writing is taught daily across the school and additional spelling and grammar lessons are planned in when, and where, necessary.
This diagram explains the planning that is in place to support the implementation of the curriculum’s intent and the whole school overview. These plans are all available within the school’s English Team’s folder.
Long Term Yearly Overview
Every year group has a 3-page detailed long-term overview which clearly explains prior and future learning alongside age-related expectations. The document details unit outcomes, relevant supporting literature alongside the model, focus and plot pattern being taught. The grammar expectations for each year group are then included and it is expected that through diagnostic assessments teachers will weave in the grammar into the units of work so that it is taught contextually. In many cases the unit of work are complemented by the Talk for Reading units as we believing that the reading feeds the writing.
The long-term and yearly overview will be evaluated on an annual basis taking into consideration impact on learning and feedback from pupils and teachers.
The medium-term plans provide comprehensive overviews of every unit with reference to each aspect of the Talk for Writing process with a link to the texts and wider curriculum where appropriate.
These have either been prepared for staff by expert teachers or written in collaboration to reduce teachers’ workload, ensure progression and support with staff subject knowledge. Note that whilst this planning is a support tool, teachers are encouraged to adapt, by adding to it, it in light of the formative assessments. Ongoing professional development often affects the way we plan and evaluate.
Both the reading and writing curriculum is underpinned by a core reading spine which details the daily read-aloud programme and includes fiction, non-fiction, poetry, short stories and suggested book-club books. We use reading to build core and domain-specific knowledge where necessary and appropriate.
Scan the QR code for further information regarding how the planning is organised to support the implementation of our intended writing curriculum.
All staff are routinely trained and supported in the Talk for Writing approach by an accredited TfW trainer(s) and phase leaders. CPD opportunities are detailed on the training schedule and rigorous, intensive support is provided where necessary by expert teachers. We believe at East Hunsbury that we learn best together so we have created a vibrant professional learning culture that is focussed on a relentless drive to improve ourselves so that we can improve the lives of those whom we teach.
At EHPS we have a Talk for Writing team who actively seek out best practice and use this to further expand teachers’ competencies and confidence when delivering the approach. They work closely together to develop and support staff to drive through the approach successfully.
We develop our staff by drawing upon research-based practice but also using our own practice as important research.
Our ambition is to expose our children to a rich and varied array of enriching writing opportunities. We purposefully plan opportunities that will allow the children to apply the skills that they have learnt from their writing units but equally allow them to be the writer that they want to be.
In exercising their authorial agency as writers, our curriculum provides regular opportunities for them to be able to decide:
- What they want to write about (content),
- What their writing is seeking to achieve (purpose)
- Who will read their writing (audience)
- What form might be appropriate (form)
Our annual work with the Royal Shakespeare Company, author visits, live lessons (from Pie Corbett) drama for writing and free-writing / invention sessions all contribute to the writing enrichment that we provide at EHPS.
We believe that Talk for Writing is inclusive and through careful scaffolding all children will be able to achieve and make the progress which they are capable of. Each of the 3 stages of Talk for Writing can be adapted to meet the needs of the learners. For example, all children can be innovating, retelling or learning a story but all in a way that has maximum impact on their learning. At EHPS, we understand the importance of liberating the transcriptional elements to facilitate the recording of the compositional. As such, we ensure that we scaffold and challenge in both these areas accordingly.
At EHPS we are a wholly inclusive school and use Talk for Writing within our specialist unit. A teacher in the Specialist unit is a member of the TfW team and we all work closely with the teachers in the Specialist Unit to amend the approach to suit the diverse and individual needs of the children. Talk for Writing will features as an anchor in their curriculum and be a thread that units mainstream and the SU.
By the time the children reach the end of our writing curriculum, they will have experienced a rich variety of the finest literature, they will have written in a range of text types and for a variety of different audiences and purposes. The impact of the curriculum will be that they become an effective communicator through the medium of writing, have developed authorial agency and are able to engage in meaningful discussions about their own work and the work of others.
Writing evidence will be recorded in writing books, which have handwriting lines in them2, and in Upper Key Stage 2 they will record all of their independent writing in hardbacked display books.
Writing will be assessed using:
- Diagnostic assessments3 (cold task) and then the use of the cold capture sheet (see below). As the EEF states:
High-quality assessment and diagnosis should be used to target and adapt teaching to pupil’s needs. Rapid provision of support is important but it is critical to ensure that it is the right support. Diagnostic assessment can be used to inform professional judgment about the best next steps. Diagnostic assessment makes teaching more efficient by ensuring that effort is not wasted on rehearsing skills or content that a pupil already knows.
- The Independent Application task(s) – Hot task which is completed by pupils at the end of each unit- teachers must use this to assess the impact of the teaching and use the NPAT teacher assessment framework (see below) to support any judgements made.
- The NPAT Teacher Assessment Framework for each year group will be routinely cross-checked by teachers both at moderation and as an assessment tool when analysing outcome of the children’s hot tasks. This assessment document will be used to moderate and standardise our assessments both within school and across the Trust.
- Use of the school’s Primary Writing Toolkit folders which is a body of work produced by HfL and published by Collins. This toolkit supports teachers planning, assessment and moderation of writing alongside the NPAT Teacher assessment Framework.
- Cross-curricular writing as detailed in the long-term plan. Here the teachers can assess the application of non-fiction writerly skills in a newly learnt or revisited concept.
- Whole-school and cluster / academy writing moderation led by teachers in school one of which is an SLE.
- No more marking assessment – comparative judgement (and the cold capture sheet completed)
- Pupil voice and surveys will help us understand how children perceive themselves as writers and value writing.
- Year 2 and Year 6, TAF (teacher framework) and exemplification documents are used as a reference during the in-school moderation of these specific year groups.
- Quality Assurance of writing is completed by the writing lead alongside the writing team and class teachers during data entry times.
The way in which we assess children as writers will be routinely monitored to ensure that the information we gather is appropriate, useful and impactful on teaching and learning.
The writing leader, along with phase leaders, will work collaboratively with all staff to offer bespoke support in order to continually improve practice. Leaders will identify any support required through skills audits, team meetings, staff and pupil surveys, learning walks, monitoring systems and the standard of work in books and classrooms.