Writing at KHEF
- To ensure all children can write clearly, accurately and coherently in a range of contexts within a broad and balanced curriculum.
- To demonstrate and teach children the process of writing, editing and improving their work so as to produce writing of the highest quality.
- To provide opportunities for children to have independence and choice in their writing.
- To write with meaning and purpose, providing children with opportunities to adapt their written language for a range of audiences.
- To enable children to write with fluency and confidence, so that they are able to communicate their own thinking and ideas with creativity, flair and enjoyment.
At KHEF we deliver a creative and engaging writing curriculum integrated within the teaching of our curriculum units. These units are designed to be accessible, engaging and relevant to the children. One of the most important elements is that they are based upon real experiences to motivate pupils to write. Teachers ensure that writing is purposeful. At the beginning of a unit, and when needed as the teaching progresses, pupils are given ‘Big Bang Days’. These include a range of activities, based around the unit, and can be a single activity to a whole day. The activities provide pupils with the motivation and experiences to draw upon when writing and are closely linked with the rest of the curriculum.
Pupils are taught to master the six ‘Key Skills’ of writing: Punctuation, Grammar, Sequencing, Detail, Vocabulary and Techniques. Progression in these skills is mapped and developed throughout the school. These skills apply to a range of texts and pupils learn which key skills apply to which text as they progress through the school. The elements of each skill, which they need for the current piece of writing, is on display in the classroom, as is challenging vocabulary (nouns/verbs) and detail words (adjectives/adverbs) linked to their current unit. These are also reviewed daily during ERR and Reading for Meaning sessions, so that pupils become secure in understanding the new vocabulary, enabling them to use them effectively in their writing. Our ultimate aim is for pupils to be able to write a successful piece of writing whatever the genre, applying their skills to any type of writing of their choice.
Following the ‘Big Bang’ or stimulus activities, the writing process follows distinct stages. Pupils explore good examples of texts demonstrating the new learning, identifying and discussing their use. The effectiveness of the text is also discussed and explored. Teachers then model planning and writing, following the same steps ‘My Turn, Together, Your Turn’, explaining how they are using the new learning as they write and demonstrating effective proof-reading and editing as part of the writing process. Pupils then apply this learning to their own writing. Editing is then modelled and taught, with pupils using in-class resources to upstage, improve and edit their writing before marking.
Marking and Assessment
Pupils’ writing is marked against their new learning. Pupils self-assess their own work prior to teacher marking and clear marking codes, consistent across the whole school, are used to provide feedback on the success of their writing. Where children have been successful in their new learning, it is highlighted and pupils are provided with an improvement point and closing the gap comments where further practice is needed. Pupils then respond to these comments, which are subsequently marked by the teachers. As pupils progress through the school and master their year group’s curriculum, modelling is reduced and pupils are given more independence in selecting the key skills needed for a piece, as well as being given more independence in choosing the text type that would be most effective for the given purpose.
We assess writing by giving pupils opportunities to produce independent writing at least twice a half-term. This gives pupils the opportunity to demonstrate all of the skills which they have learnt and show-off how their writing has improved. We have independent writing expectations displayed in each classroom, so that all children are clear of the expectations. This writing is then assessed using the statements on Primary Target Tracker, alongside other writing from across the curriculum, which provides gap analysis to inform future teaching.
Writing across the Curriculum
The rest of the curriculum is closely linked to English, based on the units the pupils are covering in class; therefore most writing is cross-curricular. Writing done outside of taught English sessions is expected to be of the same standard, with children being provided with non-negotiables, as they are in English. Children are required to apply the skills they have learnt in their English lessons whenever they write to ensure the high quality of every written piece.
Writing in Nursery
English teaching is integrated into the Curiosity Corner curriculum followed in Nursery. Children self-register daily by writing their name on a whiteboard with their parent/carer. All children practise writing on their whiteboards daily in their adult-led group. They are then given many opportunities to write or practise writing skills throughout the day.
Writing in Reception
In Reception, children progress from writing labels through to writing phrases and captions, followed by sentences. Classes are divided into several different ability groups to enable more differentiated and personalised learning. Children have a 30 minute writing session 4 x a week, preceded by a 15-20 min Communication & Language session which feeds into the writing phase. The children are given many opportunities to write or practice writing skills during their learning labs. By the end of the year, children in the MA will be using yellow guidelines for all adult-led writing activities. In the Spring term all children are introduced to differentiated grids for checking their work which involves checking for full stops and capital letters, for making sense and finger spaces between words. Verbal feedback is then given to the children and a simple written comment is sometimes used for the purposes of teacher assessment. In the summer term most children are able to use the checklists independently and become familiar with following writing prompts e.g. square brackets and improvement points. This ensures a smooth transition to KS1 for the pupils.
Star Writing at K.H.E.F.
Well done Star Writers!