It is our intention at St Mark’s that every child will be a competent and enthusiastic writer for a variety of different purposes, using grammar and punctuation accurately. They will be able to use rich language developed from their wide range of reading to ensure the text types meet the needs of the audience that is intended.
In all year groups, teachers plan exciting and engaging writing lessons through our class text that we read during our reading lessons.
Teachers plan for children to have an abundance of opportunities to write for different purposes: to inform, to entertain, to persuade and to discuss. We discuss the audience of our writing and think about how we can choose specific features to have the desired effect on the reader. This year, we wrote letters to our local Lidl asking them to work with us on our new walk to school initiative and we also began writing to Grove Court during the Covid-19 pandemic to reach out to others.
We also have afternoons where we visit another classroom to share what we have been writing with other children and teachers. Each week, two fantastic pieces of writing and other work are displayed in our school foyer – we love to show and parents and visitors how hard we work. Around school, you will also find lots of amazing examples of our wonderful writing.
Writing in the Early Years
In our Reception class, we engage and encourage children to develop their fine and gross motor skills, their mark making and their writing skills.
The indoor and outdoor learning environments and activities and resources provided to children support them to become motivated and confident writers. Adults in the early years model writing in a range of ways to children and children are encouraged to write during play and in focused/whole class activities. Children are taught the basics of writing (how to hold a pencil and correct letter formation), they are given opportunities to practise their writing skills and then apply their writing skills to a range of writing forms.
Some of the opportunities for mark making/writing we provide for our children in the Early Years include: Signs, menus (role play café/take away), labels, prescriptions (role play doctor/vet), cards, order forms (role play builders), letters, food orders (role play café/take away), postcards, stories and books, jokes, notes, invitations, poetry, messages, tickets, receipts, recipes, maps, posters, sign up sheets, shopping lists, bills, captions, registers, diaries, instructions driving licences and score sheets.
Writing during an RWI lesson
What our children say…
“We get to go to the library all the time. There are loads of books in there, I like to read the books about other religions.” – Hafizur
“I am writing a letter to Miss because I want to be a librarian. I’m very organised and I like reading books.” – Elisia
“My handwriting is getting much better, Miss said I try really hard. I am trying hard to join now.” – Arihan
“I love it when George comes to school. We get to sing songs about SPAG. The noun song is good – it’s about a person, a place or a thing.” – Chioma
Writing Successes in 2021/22
- Embedded the use of the writing ladders to support teacher’s judgements in levelling writing.
- Took part in writing moderation meetings with others schools to quality assure our levelling. We also had Trisha Bunn come into school to externally validate our data.
- Developed long term planning sheets which ensures coverage for each year group.
- Introduced genre progression sheets which ensure that there is appropriate challenge in each unit of work and that these units are progressive between year groups
- Staff training lead by MD supported teachers and TAs with developing the use of vocabulary
- Purchase WIDGIT online to support SEND/ bottom 20%
Writing Next Steps in 2022/23
- Literacy leader to attend online training
- Purchase handwriting books to support children with letter formation.
- Staff training on handwriting and the use of the Nelson handwriting scheme.
- Staff training on the spelling scheme from Twinkl
- Changes to spelling lessons so that all children are taught age appropriate spelling rules and words
- SEND pupils to be taught age appropriate spellings and 5 spellings which are personalised to their needs
- Opportunities to write are developed. All children to take part in a poetry competition in the Autumn Term.
- Staff meeting to support teachers to scaffold to enable SEND pupils to achieve.
Successes in 2020/21
- Literacy leader introduced NEW Writing Descriptors to help staff and children identify gaps in writing, to inform planning and aid assessment.
- Moderation of writing has helped to further support consistency of teaching, learning and assessment of writing across the school.
- Promotion of writing linked to the outdoors and real life situations in order to inspire and motivate the children and give their writing a real sense of purpose.
- Following support accessed from an external moderator, support for staff given to develop a process for teaching writing.
- Support for Teaching Assistants to develop their understanding of the curriculum and help develop Teaching Assistants’ skill set.
Next Steps for the Literacy Leader in 2021/22
- Support teachers with the process of writing moderation and identifying themes that need developing across classes and the whole school. Work with external moderator to ensure development of themes is swift and impact can be measured.
- Continue to further develop an overview of writing to ensure children are exposed to writing for a range of purposes and audiences, giving them opportunities to write enthusiastically in the modern world.
- Provide a range of writing and reading interventions, focussing on meeting individual needs of SEND and Pupil Premium children.
- Raise the profile of developing a rich vocabulary across the school.
Main Action Points for 2021/22
- Raise progress and attainment of writing across the whole school – particularly focussing on SEND children and PP. (Writing)
- Raise the profile of vocabulary and reading for pleasure across the whole school. (Writing and Reading)