Writing is a key life skill which enables children to express themselves, communicate with others and access other areas of the curriculum. It is a complex process which requires a command of sentence and text structure, grammar and punctuation, an ability to edit and evaluate both their own and others writing, a knowledge of how spoken language translates to the written word, an awareness of purpose and audience across different genres and involves a competency in spelling and handwriting.
At Derwent Vale, we want our students to become highly skilled writers, with a solid ability in the basic mechanics of writing such as handwriting, spelling, grammar and punctuation. We want them to understand how different text types are structured, find the evidence for themselves, learn about each component and then create independent pieces of a high quality. We want them to develop a creative flair and their own style, able to adapt their work for a given audience or purpose.
We want our students to:
In Early Years, our curriculum is designed to ensure children:
Nursery children learn picture cards for each letter of the alphabet along with phrases and modelling of the necessary strokes needed to form that letter. Additionally, continuous provision activities consistently promote letter formation throughout the classroom and throughout the year. In Reception, children are taught to segment the sounds to count them, and then to write the word. Phonics, reading, spelling and writing are all intertwined in our teaching. We then teach children to use finger spaces in their writing, to use a capital letter and a full stop.
From KS1, Writing is divided into 4 key areas:
These areas are weaved into English planning units and other topic areas as appropriate. Final written compositions are often based around text-based units, but can be built into other subjects for example when writing reports in history, or a write-up of a science investigation. Text types to be studied are mapped into long and medium term plans.
In Year 1, we teach RWI for as long as the children need it. In Year 2, the majority of our pupils access the CUSP writing curriculum. They are taught the ingredients of a limited range of different texts – for example letters, invites, lists and stories. Together, they learn what the text type looks like, how to create one and then build towards independently producing the text type themselves.
In KS2, the same structure is followed for teaching Writing as in Year 2, but with a broader and more challenging range of text types.
Each class is taught the appropriate punctuation, grammar and handwriting skills needed for their year group. All three form part of Read Write Inc. teaching for EY/ KS1. For Y2/ KS2, CUSP includes grammar and punctuation within the teaching of each text type. Handwriting is then taught explicitly across the week. It is modelled daily by the teacher and then practiced independently by the pupils. The expectation is that standards are the same no matter what subject a child is writing in.
As of June 2023, we have adopted the CUSP Spelling strategy. This takes the spelling lists from the National Curriculum and breaks them into a suitable teaching sequence. The focus is placed on using spellings correctly within work rather than getting them correct in a discrete spelling test.
By the end of Early Years, children should be able to write a clear sentence. This will include finger spaces, capital letters and full stops. Some writers will also be using conjunctions to create compound sentences and beginning to show signs of descriptive. Letters will be formed clearly and mostly accurately. Spelling will be phonetically plausible and often accurate.
By the end of Key Stage 1, children will be able to produce accurate simple sentences. They will be accurate spellers of most of the words they use. They will use punctuation accurately as and when needed. Their letters will be formed correctly, with capitals bigger than lower case letters and will always be neat and clear. Pupils will produce a range of text types that include the key ingredients, including lists, invites, instructions and stories. There will be signs that they are becoming creative writers and that they have accurately written for a specific audience.
By the end of Key Stage 2, children will have a secure and detailed understanding of all grammar terminology taught at primary school. They will be able to use these within their writing and show evidence of effective choices being made to influence the reader. They will have produced a wide range of accurate text types, e.g. balanced arguments, biographies, myths, plays etc – each including the specific features they need. As writers, they will know and use formal and informal language as and when appropriate, and their texts will be designed to meet the expectations of their chosen audience. They will write with creativity regularly, making conscious decisions about specific words and phrases. They will enjoy writing and speak positively about pieces they have produced.