At Bishop Wilson, achieving competence in English is a vital part of the education for our pupils. The English curriculum aims to develop language skills in four different areas: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening.
Our intent is that each child should achieve the highest level of performance of which he or she is capable in every aspect of English. We aim to provide our pupils with a wide experience of literature throughout the Early Years Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. We 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.
Our Writing curriculum encourages:
- Children to verbalise their thoughts and ideas.
- Creative writers who take pride in their work.
- Purposeful writing with children adapting their writer’s style to suit a range of genres, contexts and audiences.
Writing is taught using Pie Corbett’s Talk for Writing teaching sequence. Talk for Writing advocates that children imitate the key language needed for a particular genre orally, before reading and analysing it. Learning stories orally is a powerful tool for helping children internalise language and story patterns and key grammatical features. The use of story maps (a visual representation) and actions (kinaesthetic) helps children become familiar with storytelling using expression, and rhythm. Overtime, children build their bank of well-known texts and acquire language which enables them to become inventive and experimental with words to create their own pieces of writing.
The Writing Journey
In Key Stages 1 and 2, a baseline assessment takes place one week prior to a writing unit in order to identify the key focus areas of teaching. The children are given a familiar context and a hook for learning so that they can write confidently. This piece of writing is used to identify gaps in learning and next steps that are to be taught that half term to ensure every child makes progress.
In EYFS, the ‘Cold task’ is facilitated by the EYFS practitioner scribing the children’s stories which they have told orally. The role of the EYFS practitioner is to model the connective language.
Each unit begins with a creative hook to engage the children and immerse them into learning. The model text is introduced to the children in the format of a story map that sums up the simple structure of the text. This exposes children to key grammatical patterns, sentence structures and vocabulary. The children and staff internalise the model text which builds confidence and understanding. The children read the text as a reader, developing comprehension and understanding.
Before transitioning into independent writing, the children need to display an understanding of the underlying structure of the text and recognise the tools that have been used to make the writing effective.
In EYFS, enhancements for continuous provision are based around the children’s story map focus for that term. All children will orally rehearse and internalise the story map, giving them a greater understanding of story book language and structure. This will be embedded through the use of continuous provision by providing high quality resources such as puppets, role play and explorative play.
In KS1, the story map should be used to help the children understand the structure of the story. One way of doing this could be to chop the story map up to show the introduction, build up, problem and resolution. The model text will include key grammatical skills which will be taught through the story map. As the children develop their understanding, they will use them to practise the skill.
In KS2, children should use ‘boxing up’ to help them understand the structure of the text (unless they are working at a pre-key stage level).
Daily skill building and short burst writing lessons should be taking place to build knowledge and understanding.
As a shared writing activity, the children work alongside their teacher to co-construct a toolkit. This allows the children to identify the key language features and transferrable skills that they can use in their own writing. It is imperative that this is completed together as it provides the opportunity to discuss key elements of the genre and the effect it has on the reader.
At this point in the learning journey, the children have acquired the knowledge needed and will use the model text as a basis for creating their own writing. The children should be taught how to build on the underlying structure, using the transferrable skills they have been taught throughout the imitation phase. Using effective differentiation, children will then use planning tools to plan their own writing. Just as there is a clear progression of innovation across the school, there will also be differing levels of innovation in the classroom based on the level of each child. Effective differentiation needs to be planned in order to support the progress of all children.
In EYFS, the children will substitute parts of the story map to innovate. This can be done as a whole class, small groups or on a 1:1 basis with an EYFS practitioner. In Reception, children can use visual stimulus from the story to support them to write key words, phrases or sentences.
For the school’s approach to the assessment of Writing, please see the school’s Marking, Feedback & Assessment Policy (2023).
Throughout each unit, the children are being taught to become independent writers. The hot write is an opportunity for them to show off all of the skills and language they have been taught and can now use independently. There are also multiple opportunities to develop writing across the curriculum. The children will again use a planning device that is appropriately pitched for their level to generate ideas and map out the key skills that they will include in their independent writing. This is then used to inform teachers’ assessments, allowing them to input their half-termly assessment data and inform future planning.
At the beginning of each Writing unit, the children are immersed into learning with a ‘hook’. This is an engaging way of stimulating children’s ideas and be active learners. As well as prompting the children to use their imagination, it also gives the children an idea of the audience and purpose of Writing. There have been many engaging hooks across the school, ranging from: banquets in the classroom, missing teachers, destroyed classrooms, letters arriving from the office, Iron Man invasions, hunts around the school looking for the Gingerbread Man and WW2 experiences.