English Intent Statement
At Archbishop Benson, we believe that speaking and listening, reading and writing are essential life skills. We aim to nurture a love for reading, writing and discussion, equipping our pupils with the knowledge and skills needed to become life-long readers and authors. Reading and writing weave their way through our CHAIN curriculum, binding skills together for a richer learning experience.
Writing Intent Statement
‘I can do all things through Him who strengthens me’ (Philippians 4:13)
At the heart of our teaching of writing is the importance of achievement for the life opportunities of our children. Our shared understanding and passion for this, along with our school motto
‘With fun and learning, hand in hand, all things are possible.’
help us, with the best intent, to choose how we teach writing, and provide a consistent richness of experience across the school. We strive to teach writing in a way that reflects our shared purpose and Christian ethos, as well as encompassing our school values of Respect, Creation, Fellowship, Wisdom and Hope.
At Archbishop Benson, we aim to nurture a life-long love for writing, equipping our pupils with the knowledge and skills needed to write as authors across our wide and varied curriculum. Through regular and purposeful writing opportunities, we strive for pupils to:
• Write clearly, accurately, coherently and creatively, adapting their language and style for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. We use Talk 4 Writing as an approach for teaching writing from Years 1-6.
• Acquire a wide and rich vocabulary and a solid understanding of grammar and punctuation.
• Be able to spell new words by effectively applying the spelling patterns and rules they learn throughout their time in primary school. We use the Read Write Inc. spelling scheme to teach spelling from Years 2-6.
• Take pride in having high standards of neat, joined handwriting and presentation in all subjects.
• Refine and edit their writing, independently identifying their own areas for improvement and editing their work effectively during and after the writing process.
Our English curriculum is clearly and carefully designed and organised to ensure coherence and progression within and between year groups and key stages so that our children are always prepared for the next step in their learning journey. Our reading and writing curriculums are closely linked and our long-term writing plan ensures that the children are exposed to a wide range of texts and genres.
Our Writing Overviews (long term plans) have a clearly mapped out progression of genres, National Curriculum content, writing skills and techniques, handwriting and spelling (through Read Write Inc). We have a spiral curriculum, with content revisited regularly to ensure children are able to reinforce and build on their learning effectively.
Our model texts, the bedrock of our Talk for Writing approach, are high quality, inspiring and challenging and appropriate for the age group. They contain rich vocabulary and the language, grammar and punctuation features and techniques being taught in that unit.
In English, our aim is to equip our children with a wealth of knowledge and cultural capital. Our texts have been carefully chosen to provide a wide range of content and experiences for the children. Our stories are a mix of traditional and classic tales, contemporary stories and tales from different cultures, and are rich in cultural and social diversity. Often, the text will also, where it’s appropriate and beneficial, be linked to the class topic.
Our writing units are designed with purpose and audience in mind. Where possible and appropriate, children are given a real-life reason for writing.
Writing across the curriculum
We intend to develop writing as a transferrable skill across all subjects taught in the curriculum. We immerse children in a termly History/Geography/Science themed topic and encourage cross-curricular links.
In topic lessons across the curriculum, we aim to provide opportunities for extended writing. These are identified on our CHAIN MTPs. In English lessons, where possible and appropriate, we provide engaging writing hooks that are linked to these topics to give children an audience and purpose for writing.
Children are expected to transfer their key topic knowledge and vocabulary into their writing and vice versa to transfer their spelling, grammar and punctuation knowledge into their topic work. We expect the high standards for writing (content and presentation) in Literacy lessons to be evident within the work in all subjects.
How do we teach writing?
We use the Talk for Writing approach to teach writing.
‘Talk for Writing’ enables children to imitate the key language they need for a particular topic orally before they try reading and analysing it. Through fun activities that help them rehearse the tune of the language they need, followed by shared writing to show them how to craft their writing, children are helped to write in the same style.
This approach is made of 3 main stages:
1. The Immersion and Imitation Stage (learning and analysing a model text)
2. The Innovation Stage (Writing a new text based on the model text)
3. The Invention and Independent Application Stage (Applying the skills and techniques learnt to produce an independent version)
When and how is this introduced?
In EYFS, children learn and retell stories orally, which give them a solid foundation for Talk for Writing.
In Year 1, the children will learn and sequence the story in week 1 of a unit. They will then write a retelling of the story in week 2 before planning and writing a class innovation in week 3.
In Year 2, the children will learn and sequence the model text in week 1, plan and write a class innovation in week 2 and then do their own innovations in week 3. Towards the end of the year, some children may have a go at the independent stage in preparation for Key Stage 2.
Key Stage 2
In Key Stage 2, the children follow the Talk for Writing model of 3 week units made up of the 3 stages above.
We believe that children need to have very secure transcription skills in order to allow them to express themselves freely and confidently and to free up their thinking to concentrate on effective composition.
We use Letterjoin to teach handwriting from Year 1.
Handwriting is first taught to form letters in print in Reception before moving on to a continuous cursive script:
In EYFS and Year 1 children are taught letter formation following the Read Write Inc guidance before we introduce pre-cursive lead-ins in the Summer term of Year 1.
In Year 2, the children consolidate pre-cursive lead-ins before introducing cursive joining. This is then consolidated and refined in Years 3, 4, 5 and 6.
Handwriting is continued to be taught explicitly and as an intervention where necessary in Key Stage 2.
The progression of handwriting skills and what is taught in each year group is clearly set out on our Writing Overviews (LTPs).
A high standard of joined, cursive handwriting is modelled across school after it is introduced by all staff and children are encouraged to imitate this. High quality cursive handwriting is expected to be evidenced throughout all work produced by children across the curriculum.
Handwriting pens are awarded in Years 4-6 when children are forming and joining their handwriting correctly.
In Years 2-6, Spelling is taught using the Read Write Inc Spelling programme (see Spelling page).
We seek to reinforce these spelling rules and patterns in writing lessons and across the curriculum.
We also include the NC statutory words for each year group in the model texts in our Talk 4 Writing units. The words will all be included over the texts for the year.
We promote and model the uses of dictionaries and thesauruses to aid independent checking of the spelling and meaning of words, as well as finding and using more effective vocabulary.
Editing and up levelling
Editing writing is an important skill for life. In KS2, editing writing is an important step towards preparing pupils for proof-reading their own work and making amendments.
If children are to produce their best work, it is important that they are taught to edit effectively.
This is a skill that needs to be properly taught. It is not just a case of giving the children ten minutes of checking time on their own at the end of a piece of writing. They need to be shown and modelled what to look for and how to improve it.
There are 3 stages of editing:
Speaking and listening
Opportunities for speaking and listening activities are planned for in our Writing units so that they match the text genre e.g. debate during a unit on discussion texts. Other opportunities are planned for across the curriculum in our Medium Term Planning including performance and presentation opportunities in worship, assemblies, services and shows.
Classes use a Talk for Writing structure to plan writing units which encourages plenty of oracy – this means discussion, debating, questioning, hot seating and imitating and learning texts that are rich with vocabulary, key features and skills.
Feedback, assessment and moderation
Children complete cold tasks before they start each unit. This helps teachers to identify strengths and weaknesses so that they can effectively target the skills to focus on in the unit.
Writing is marked using the schools marking and assessment policy. Using the distance marking grids, gold stamps are followed up by teachers and TAs, with either individual or group interventions or adaptations to planning and future teaching.
During the innovation week, marking ladders will be used for self, peer and/or teacher assessment and feedback.
Peer assessment and feedback are embraced and regularly used in lessons.
The final independent piece of a unit, as well as other independent writing across the curriculum, can be used for both formative and summative assessment.
Once a term, the final piece of writing will go in our red ‘My Writing’ books (4 pieces of fiction and 2 non-fiction a year).
In Key Stage 2, these pieces are done as a first draft in their workbooks and then, after editing and up levelling, the final draft in the ‘My Writing’ books.
Teachers then complete the assessment grid (for the Year groups curriculum they are working on) for each piece of writing in the ‘My Writing’ books. This grid supports teachers in making accurate judgements.
Once a term, overall writing assessment levels are recorded on Target Tracker. Teachers also regularly fill in the writing strands on Target Tracker.
Children’s writing and assessments are regularly moderated by the writing and moderation leads alongside the class teacher, using the same assessment grids used in the ‘My Writing’ books. This ensures consistency of assessments and helps to identify targets and next steps for the children.