How We Teach Writing at St Bernadette Primary School
Promoting a Love of and Enthusiasm for Writing
St. Bernadette is an accredited Storytelling school. By using the Storytelling Schools techniques and resources, we offer the children the opportunity to learn, present and write a range of traditional and cultural stories in a creative and dynamic way. The impact of this is that there is a whole- school, consistent approach which enables the children to become familiar with the process very quickly and build confidence in their ability to remember and tell a variety of stories while improving language and oracy skills. When writing, they are able to be playful and creative by innovating their stories to suit different audiences and need.
The Teaching of Writing Across the School
Early Years Provision
In Nursery, the emphasis is on Phase 1 speaking and listening activities. There is a whole class session at least once per week, and then these skills are developed through child-initiated play.
In Reception, pupils are taught phonics in daily sessions, lasting approximately 25 minutes. Adults follow planning based on Letters and Sounds and use the Little Wandle scheme. The coverage is as follows:
The expectation is that pupils in Reception are confident with Phases 2, 3 and 4 by the end of Autumn term.
Across the EYFS, writing is incorporated into child-initiated learning opportunities and developed through adults skillfully intervening in children’s play, both inside and outdoors. It is also incorporated across the curriculum. In Nursery, planned adult led writing tasks take place so that children are specifically taught the skills of writing and handwriting. In Reception, a weekly adult led task is also put in place for all children to undertake, so that writing and handwriting are taught through an integrated approach, and there is also a planned independent writing task weekly.
Across the EYFS, there is ongoing assessment in phonics lessons and guided and independent writing and this is tracked through the ongoing completion of pupils’ assessment records.
In Reception, internal phonics tracking spreadsheets are used to monitor the progress of all pupils and identify those who are not on track to made the required progress. They also assess using High Frequency Words and pupils have an individual phonics tree in the classroom.
In Nursery, for those pupils who have been identified, intervention is used to close the gap in speaking listening, as articulation of ideas is the key to writing. For those in Reception who are not making the required progress, phonics and writing interventions are planned for and implemented on a regular basis throughout the week.
Key Stage 1 and 2 Provision:
In Year 1, pupils are taught phonics in daily sessions, lasting approximately 25 minutes, following the planning based on Letters and Sounds and adults use the Little Wandle scheme.
The expectation is that pupils in Year 1 are confident with Phase 5 by the end of the year, in preparation for Year 2. Phase 5 is revised in Year 2, dependent on the needs of the cohort.
In Years 2 to 6, Read Write Inc Spelling is taught in daily sessions for a minimum of 10 minutes. Once all sections within each unit are completed, the rest of the year is used to review and revise using spelling games and online resources. Weekly spelling homework is set to consolidate learning.
At St. Bernadette School, handwriting is taught 4 times a week in KS1, twice weekly in LKS2 and weekly in UKS2.
Nursery to Year 5 follow the ‘Penpals For Handwriting’ scheme. Using the interactive tools, video clips, explicit teaching, dictation and other resources, there is clear progression through physical preparation for handwriting by improving hand strength, mastering the correct pencil/ pen hold and posture for writing; securing correct letter formation; beginning and securing joins and developing speed, fluency and a personal style.
In Year 6 dictation paragraphs are used to practise previous handwriting skills whilst revising grammar and spelling.
Writing units are generally 2 to 3 weeks in length and are planned based on key texts or themes- usually linking to guided reading texts. Within each unit there is a variety of writing genres and objectives covered. Over a half term, a minimum of 1 unit must be taught using the Storytelling Schools technique and resources.
Writing is taught daily with at least one independent extended/ timed piece of writing completed every week. Pupils are encouraged and expected to apply their skills in cross- curricular writing also, including high standards of handwriting and presentation.
A minimum of 2 Grammar sessions are taught each week that are ideally applied in writing but can also be stand-alone revision exercises.
Each half term, 2 pieces of ‘Golden Writing’ and 2 piece of cross- curricular writing are produced by the children and assessed by the teacher. Pupils have individual tracking sheets that are used to monitor which writing objectives are being met. These are in- line with the National Curriculum end of Key Stage expectations.
Pupils who have a ‘working at’ target are assessed against and expected to secure ‘working towards’ and ‘working at’ objectives. Pupils who have a ‘greater depth’ target are assessed against and expected to secure ‘working towards’ and ‘working at’ objectives. Writing moderation teams meet termly to share good practice and qualify teacher judgement.
Target review and setting takes place during pupil conferencing to discuss and highlight targets met and set new ones.
In Year 2, for those pupils who did not pass the Phonics Test at the end of Year 1, there is regular intervention.
In each year group, spelling, fine motor skills or handwriting intervention is implemented for those pupils identified in pupil progress meetings. Colourful semantics is used as a tool to improve sentence- level and grammar in KS2.
Effective transcription requires children to control their speaking and writing consciously and to use Standard English. Teachers enhance pupils’ vocabulary naturally from their reading and writing. As vocabulary increases, teachers show pupils how to understand the relationships between words, how to understand nuances in meaning, and how to develop their understanding of, and ability to use, figurative language.
In Year 2 to Six the children follow the Read, Write, Inc scheme to aid in their spelling. This involves daily 15-minute lessons which revolves around partner and group practice, and competitive group challenges that help children commit new words to memory. The programme develops children’s knowledge of word families, how suffixes impact upon root words, and provides mnemonics to remember the trickiest spellings. Click here for more information on Read, Write, Inc.