At Brookburn, we understand that English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum, and in our school, is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment
The national curriculum for English (writing) aims to ensure that all pupils:
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
At Brookburn, we use a range of resources, to ensure that our children can access a broad, balanced diet of writing opportunities. Our staff work to create a culture of writing in school which offers children the chance to :
- Apply skills and understanding through cross curricular work
- Share work with an audience
- Experience spaced repetition of key grammar and linguistic concepts
- Express themselves through a range of both guided and independent creative writing activities
The teachers at our school use a phased approach when planning writing units.
Phase one : Experience of the genre. Reading and responding to exemplar texts.
Phase two: Structured rehearsal of a text (including drama, speaking and listening and oral rehearsal of the text),
Phase three: Writing (composition/transcription). This includes a range of guided, modelled and structured writing activities before children have the opportunity to apply their skills in an independent text (a ‘Show me what you know’ piece).
Our teaching model is often supplemented by the use of other commonly-used teaching models such as Talk 4 Writing.
Units of work are supported by high-quality texts and prompts and expectations of outcomes are ambitious. Writing is often linked to learning in other areas of the curriculum and uses high quality texts as stimuli.
As part of the writing process:
- Working walls are built in the classroom, with the children throughout writing lessons and form one of many different scaffolding resources children are able to access.
- Children are given opportunities to proof read, edit and re-draft their writing following feedback from their peers and their teacher.
- Children self and peer assess their writing using rules and tools which are displayed in the classroom. The rules focus on the non-negotiable transcription targets and the tools are genre specific targets which will improve composition.
- Writing is assessed by teachers against Year group targets.
- Writing judgements are regularly moderated.
- As a school we submit writing to a national moderation platform (No more marking)
Grammar, punctuation, spelling and handwriting are taught in school through discreet lessons. These are then referred to throughout units via regular retrieval practice. Schemes of work have been purchased by the school to support with the teaching of handwriting and spelling to ensure consistency for all children.
- Daily phonics is taught discreetly from Reception to Year 2.
- In Key stage 2, spelling is taught discreetly for 20 minutes per day 2/3 times per week and, where necessary, some children continue to access discreet phonics lessons.
- Handwriting is taught discreetly for 20 minutes per day 2/3 times per week.
- Every writing lesson begins with a short, focussed session on Grammar and Punctuation, balancing retrieval of prior knowledge and the acquisition of new content.
Mastery of curriculum
In accordance with The National Curriculum, pupils at Brookburn are assessed on meeting a number of expectations.
Pupils’ writing during year 1 will generally develop at a slower pace than their reading. This is because they need to encode the sounds they hear in words (spelling skills), develop the physical skill needed for handwriting, and learn how to organise their ideas in writing.
In writing, pupils at the beginning of year 2 should be able to compose individual sentences orally and then write them down. They should be able to spell many of the words covered in year 1 correctly. They should also be able to make phonically plausible attempts to spell words they have not yet learnt. Finally, they should be able to form individual letters correctly, establishing good handwriting habits from the beginning.
Years 3 and 4
Pupils should be able to write down their ideas with a reasonable degree of accuracy and with good sentence punctuation. Teachers should therefore be consolidating pupils’ writing skills, their vocabulary, their grasp of sentence structure and their knowledge of linguistic terminology. Teaching them to develop as writers involves teaching them to enhance the effectiveness of what they write as well as increasing their competence. Teachers should make sure that pupils build on what they have learnt, particularly in terms of the range of their writing and the more varied grammar, vocabulary and narrative structures from which they can draw to express their ideas. Pupils should be beginning to understand how writing can be different from speech. Joined handwriting should be the norm; pupils should be able to use it fast enough to keep pace with what they want to say.
Pupils’ spelling of common words should be correct, including common exception words and other words that they have learnt. Pupils should spell words as accurately as possible using their phonic knowledge and other knowledge of spelling, such as morphology and etymology.
Years 5 and 6
During years 5 and 6, teachers should continue to emphasise pupils’ enjoyment and understanding of language, especially vocabulary, to support their reading and writing. Pupils’ knowledge of language, gained from stories, plays, poetry, non-fiction and textbooks, will support their increasing fluency as readers, their facility as writers, and their comprehension. As in years 3 and 4, pupils should be taught to enhance the effectiveness of their writing as well as their competence.
By the end of year 6, pupils’ reading and writing should be sufficiently fluent and effortless for them to manage the general demands of the curriculum in year 7, across all subjects and not just in English, but there will continue to be a need for pupils to learn subject-specific vocabulary. They should be able to reflect their understanding of the audience for and purpose of their writing by selecting appropriate vocabulary and grammar. Teachers should prepare pupils for secondary education by ensuring that they can consciously control sentence structure in their writing and understand why sentences are constructed as they are. Pupils should understand nuances in vocabulary choice and age-appropriate, academic vocabulary. This involves consolidation, practice and discussion of language.
Our children are exposed to opportunities throughout their time at Brookburn to engage in exciting, interesting and ambitious English lessons and then to apply their written skills in a range of cross-curricula contexts.
Our data shows that we have consistently high attainment and progress for children in writing.