At Ladock School we strive to create a writing community were all children feel they belong and are valued as writers.
Writing is integral to our curriculum and children’s learning. Children begin their journey in EYFS, through the teaching of our systematic phonics scheme: Read Write Inc. (RWI). Furthermore, we nurture a love of reading different text types, develop and expand children’s spoken language, and provide engaging and purposeful opportunities for writing. Because we have a good understanding of the learning needs of all children, we are able promote self-regulatory strategy development through carefully planned learning that gives learners a sense of ownership and responsibility around the challenge of becoming independent writers. In addition, we build on what children already know and have practiced to increase their levels of independence and personal mastery of the writing process.
We value the intertwined relationship between writing and reading, and promote children to read like writers and write like readers – looking for links between the books they read and their own lives; encouraging children to collect and use aspects of their own reading in their writing.
We aim to create a safe and creative writing environment where our high expectations are explicit to children through the delivery of carefully planned and sequenced learning, as well as our own positive outlook on writing and the feedback we provide to children, so that we can ‘learn, love and achieve together’ as a writing community.
Children develop their skills and love for writing from the very beginning of their time at Ladock School.
In our nursery, children begin to experience our systematic phonics scheme, RWI, with opportunities to develop a knowledge of graphemes. Mark making is encouraged through engaging and fun activities set out as part of children’s continuous provision. There are also opportunities for climbing and balancing, so that children can develop their gross motor skills, as well as more intricate activities that strengthen children’s fine motor skills, as they prepare to become successful writers.
As children enter the final year of EYFS, they begin daily RWI phonics lessons, where they develop a secure knowledge of phonemes and their corresponding graphemes, so that they can begin to write phonetically plausible words. Opportunities to explore this skill is developed through carefully planned continuous provision activities. In addition, children engage in small group writing tasks led by the class teacher that are linked to the topic.
These skills are further developed in KS1, as children continue daily RWI phonics lessons and the Get Writing programme. During these lessons, children develop skills in building simple and compound sentences using 'hold a sentence', where they are taught to say the sentence aloud and practice it, before recording it. When writing their sentence, they draw on the phonemes learnt in their daily phonics and have access to a sound mat to help them select the correct grapheme. During phonics, precision teaching is used to teach words that are tricky to spell so children develop an understanding that not all words can be sounded out and they need to be memorised. To help develop the children’s writing voice, a daily writing lesson is also taught, which is linked to the topic and a high quality text.
Handwriting is a basic skill that influences the quality of written work throughout the curriculum. Children are supported in developing their handwriting so that by the end of Key Stage 2 all pupils have the ability to produce fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy joined-up handwriting, and to understand the different forms of handwriting used for different purposes. Weekly handwriting lessons, right from EYFS where they are taught to form letters accurately, enables most children to make handwriting an automatic process that does not interfere with their creative and mental thinking.
At Ladock School, we know that reading aloud poems and whole texts to the class in an engaged way has a significant effect on children’s vocabulary and story comprehension, and increases the range of syntactic structures and linguistic features the children will use in their writing. Therefore, we recognise the importance of reading and children’s exposure to a range of high quality texts. As a Reading for Pleasure school, we strive to embed a passion for reading in each child, providing a range of reading materials and opportunities to read. High quality texts are carefully selected for each topic and made available for the children to share as a class and to read independently. When delivering literacy lessons, an appropriate text is selected to help develop children’s writing voice, this text is often linked to Guided Reading lessons.
For grammar to be taught effectively, we ensure it is delivered in a meaningful and purposeful way, therefore, grammar is linked to our literacy lessons. Writing genres are carefully selected to ensure that children experience the required grammatical progression appropriate to their year group, and are able to apply it to their writing. This helps to embed grammatical concepts, and ensures children are confident in using the required grammatical devices contextually.
As well as the explicit teaching of grammar, literacy lessons begin with the teacher modelling and scaffolding numerous strategies and techniques so that the children can develop greater independence when writing. In addition, children are provided with resources, such as word mats, dictionaries, thesauruses and displays, so that they can employ self-regulation strategies. Furthermore, individual lessons and writing units are chunked down so that all children have the opportunity to gain a secure understanding of how to apply what they have learnt, as well as the opportunity to write at greater depth. This includes chunking the process down into the different writing stages: idea generation, planning, drafting, revising, editing and publishing.
Children are provided with reflective time at different stages of the process, so that children can read back their writing and talk about it with peers and teaching staff. A marking ladder, linked to the audience and purpose,which includes the grammatical and structural features of the writing genre, enables children to reflect on their writing, particularly when drafting, revising, and editing. Teaching staff support this process by providing ‘live’ verbal feedback, as this allows the child to reflect on and attend to feedback raised while still actually engaged in their writing.
We use formative and summative assessment to track each child’s progress. We continually make assessments of children’s writing progress during writing lessons, and are able to offer immediate feedback so that children can respond as they write, including supporting children with spelling, punctuation and grammar.
Independent writing is summatively assessed using a trust-wide evidence grid. We assess children against age related expectations. Ladock School, as well as a small group of local cluster schools, moderate writing to ensure we are making an informed assessment of each child’s progress.
Teachers work closely with the subject lead and SENCO, so that any gaps in learning can be addressed, this can include small-group intervention work, targeted ‘live’ feedback during a writing lesson and the provision of additional resources to aid writing. This process also enables us to recognise those children who require additional challenge and writing feedback so that they can make progress at a greater depth.
Pupil voice is crucial for children to feel they are valued and successful writers, so opportunities for pupil conferencing are provided so that children can reflect on their own writing journey and we develop an understanding of how best to support and promote writing.
The impact on our children is that they have the knowledge and skills to able to write successfully for a purpose and audience. By the end of Key Stage 2, the carefully planned, sequenced and scaffolded lessons enable children to engage with the writing process (idea generation, planning, drafting, revising, editing and publishing) with greater independence. Children enjoy sustained writing and can manipulate language, grammar and punctuation to create effect. As all aspects of the writing are an integral part of the curriculum, cross curricular writing standards have also improved and skills taught in the writing lessons are transferred into other subjects; this shows consolidation of skills and a deeper understanding of how and when to use specific language, grammar and punctuation.