Writing Subject Leader - Mrs Prince
Vision and Intent for Writing at Hollybush
At Hollybush our aim is to develop confident, motivated and successful writers. We want to instill a love of writing and encourage children to continuously strive to improve. Our Writing curriculum has been designed in line with the statutory requirements of the national curriculum and with consideration of the specific needs of the children in our school community.
Development of children’s vocabulary and spoken language development is a priority from starting school. Regular opportunities are planned for children to practise their speaking and listening skills so they learn to articulate their ideas clearly and structure their thoughts into speech and writing accurately. The sharp focus on speech and language begins on entry to EYFS and continues into Year 1, where Talk For Writing strategies help children to build vocabulary and embed language skills. All staff have been trained to use colourful semantics strategies to strengthen understanding of word and sentence structure for SEND children and children with communication difficulties. The school is committed to ensuring children develop good language and communication skills through out Early Years and KS1 and have invested in additional Speech and Language time through the NHS Speech and Language team to support disadvantaged children and those with specific communication and interaction needs. Application of these strategies supports children in their writing across all areas of the curriculum.
Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2
At Hollybush we have created our own writing process. This process engages children in understanding and following a journey of writing through each writing topic. It also ensures children are explicitly taught and have regular opportunity to develop key writing skills such as planning, proofreading, editing and evaluating their own writing.
The Hollybush writing process incorporates regular reading opportunities within writing lessons and teachers plan opportunities for children to transfer their reading techniques into their writing. We have a commitment to vocabulary development across all areas of the curriculum and teach children to learn, to remember, and to apply new vocabulary as part of the writing process. Age appropriate spelling, punctuation and grammar are taught in context, relating to the specific text types children are learning about to provide purpose and context. We teach children to write for different audiences and to explore the impact that word choices can have on the reader. We make clear the relationship between sounds and letters which children have learnt in phonics to support effective transcription so that children learn to spell words quickly and accurately.
When it comes to teaching a new text type, we start with the end in mind! We create a clear vision of the type of writing we would like our children to produce at the end of each writing process, a piece of writing that is aspirational and stretches each child’s writing skills. Time is spent unpicking different text types and teaching the features and layout of different texts. This helps children to know how to organise and present their own written ideas coherently for the reader. The writing process takes children step by step on a journey to produce a piece of aspirational writing. Our lessons, work in books and learning walls reflect the journey children go on during each writing project. The process empowers children to understand what they are striving to achieve; to review previous steps in learning; to talk clearly about where they are in the writing process and to identify what they need to do next.
At Hollybush we teach children to take pride in the presentation of their writing. Regular handwriting lessons are taught throughout school and children regularly practise the fluidity, legibility and speed of their handwriting.
Children are encouraged to ‘strive to improve’ their writing. From each individual starting point, our aim is to accelerate the writing progress and for children to be able to understand and acknowledge their own progress. Children’s writing improvements are celebrated in the class ‘Strive to improve’ floor books which capture and showcase progress in writing that is ‘better than good’. As well as celebrating success, the ‘Strive to Improve’ floor books also provide a vehicle for children to deveop their growth mindsets in evaluating and explaining the writing improvements they have made.
Our aim is for children not only to make accelerated progress in writing but also to enjoy doing so! Every writing project begins with an exciting hook to engage children in new learning through a memorable first-hand experience. Pupil interviews tell us that as a result of the writing process, children developing growth mindsets towards writing, and enjoying writing much more too. We are determined to sustain this new love of writing; we are now regularly entering exciting writing competitions, resulting in children’s writing being published and a higher profile being put on writing with both children and parents.
The writing curriculum is aligned with the school values: Respect, Nurture and Aspire. We teach children to respect each other’s learning styles and work creatively to learn in new and exciting ways. We nurture children’s self-belief to ensure children feel comfortable in making mistakes and learn how to improve. We want children to aspire to make accelerated progress through ‘striving to improve’ and to become ‘better than good’ writers!