Writing at Gerrans School
“You can make anything by writing” C.S.Lewis
At Gerrans School, we strive to help our children develop into articulate and imaginative communicators, who are well-equipped with the basic skills they need to become life-long learners; English learning is key in this. We aim to ensure all of our children develop a genuine love of language and the written word, broadly through a text-based approach. Careful links are made across the curriculum to ensure that children’s English learning is relevant and meaningful: where possible linking our reading and writing to the topic that we are covering. We ensure that children develop an understanding of how widely writing is used in everyday life and, therefore, how important and useful the skills are that they are learning. Our intentions in writing are for children to:
- Write for a purpose
- See themselves as real writers
- Take ownership of their writing
- See writing as an interesting and enjoyable process
- Acquire the ability to organise and plan their written work
Our whole curriculum is shaped by our school vision which aims to enable all children, regardless of background, ability and additional needs, to become the very best version of themselves they can possibly be.
We teach the National Curriculum, supported by a clear skills and knowledge progression. Through a progressive approach, we hope to ensure that skills and knowledge are built on year by year and sequenced appropriately to maximise learning outcomes for all children. We aim to develop children’s ability to produce well-structured, detailed writing in which the meaning is made clear and which engages the interest of the audience / reader.
Particular attention is paid throughout the school to the formal structures of English: grammatical detail, punctuation and spelling. Teachers clearly model writing skills and document children’s learning journey through the employment of working walls. Guided writing sessions are used to target specific needs of both groups and individuals, and children are taught in the main according to year group, although concessions are made where necessary. Children have opportunities to write at length, in extended, independent writing sessions, thus having opportunities to apply their taught skills to an unsupported piece of writing.
Throughout the Early Years and Key Stage 1, children are taught Literacy skills through daily Read Write Inc lessons. This comprises letter sound tuition, word reading, reading a text, spelling, composition and writing. Children are taught in broadly homogenous groups where they have been placed according to half termly assessments. Once children have completed all phonic levels (Year 2), it is aimed that they move on to RWI’s Comprehension, and Language and Spelling programmes.
In Key Stage 2 writing is taught mainly through a text-based approach based on books which will engage, inspire and motivate all children. As well as reading a wide variety of genres, during the course of the year children are given frequent opportunities to develop their skills in writing across the full range of genres. The books are carefully chosen to expose our children to a range of lifestyles, experiences and to gather a deeper understanding of the plurality of human kind.
All children from Reception to Year 4 undertake a daily 'Talk for Writing' lesson which is sequential and text based. Hence, pupils are given ample opportunities to embed their reading and writing knowledge whilst becoming equipped with a strong composition skill set. Over the course of some weeks they are immersed in a story theme which they then utilise to write their own pieces of fiction, poetry and non-fiction.
Those children in Years 5 and 6 are taught using a text-based approach. We recognise that Talk for Writing no longer meets the needs of these learners and are therefore in the process of developing and adopting a new teaching and learning model for English. We have developed a 'Writing Journey' which outlines our approach to teh use of these texts. This can be downloaded below.
Although it is within the daily focus lesson where English is explicitly taught, scope is provided across the wider curriculum for further writing opportunities. Inspiration is drawn from sources such as The Literacy Shed, BBC materials, festivals and community events. Wherever possible, writing is relevant and ‘real’. For example children take part in and submit written work into the Gerrans Horticulture Show. Writing competitions are undertaken where appropriate and children engage in other writing activities such as letters and so on.
At Gerrans, spelling is taught daily. We use the Read Write Spelling Scheme from Year 2 upowards. The scheme teaches the children relevant spelling rules as well as those words that are statutory for each year group.
We use LetterJoin for handwriting. Handwriting lessons are delivered on a frequent basis and the skill of handwriting is reinforced across all lessons.
By the time children leave our school it is aimed that they will:
- Have made good progress and achieved at least expected standard for English
- Have a life-long love for writing and write for enjoyment
- Be able to produce written work in all areas of the curriculum to a high standard
- Be confident to write for a range of different purposes
- See themselves as writers