Writing Intent Statement
Writing is at the heart of the curriculum at Backwell Junior School and we encourage our pupils to apply their knowledge of writing skills across all curriculum subjects. Our goal is for all children to leave primary school with a love of writing and with the ability to express their thoughts, ideas and emotions clearly and creatively through the written word – for a range of audiences, purposes and genres. We want our pupils to develop independence in being able to identify their own areas for improvement in their writing, through effective editing and proofreading during and after the writing process. We want to encourage a home-school partnership, which enables parents and carers to understand how to enhance the knowledge of English language skills being taught in school.
We use a range of ‘hooks’ to engage our pupils and to expose them to a variety of contexts, audiences and genres: when appropriate, units link to the class topic; we use a range of high quality ‘Power of Reading’ texts; and, where possible, we provide opportunities for the children to write in real-life contexts, such as drafting real letters which the children will actually send. To help raise boys’ attainment in writing, many of our ‘Power of Reading’ texts are carefully chosen with them in mind; for example, many of them have a male protagonist that can draw them in.
Our knowledge and skills progression document ensures learning is built upon and a supplementary grammar and punctuation document made for parents/carers enables them to better support children at home. Units of lessons are carefully planned with a purpose in mind, with teaching of relevant grammar and punctuation knowledge being interwoven into this process. The required knowledge is taught through the genres of writing and linked to the genre to better connect them with the intended writing outcome. This makes this knowledge more meaningful and provides a context to apply learning. Additionally, where appropriate or necessary, teaching of discrete grammar and punctuation also supplement this. Spellings are taught according to the rules and words contained in Appendix 1 of the English National Curriculum and the Learning Exchange Spelling scheme. Children receive weekly spelling sessions and are given homework to apply what they have learnt in school, which can be made up of spelling investigations, ‘look-say-cover-write-check’ tables, games and puzzles. The application of spelling patterns is also reinforced through handwriting practice. Handwriting is taught discretely and then also revised and practised in other sessions such as spellings and writing sessions.
We use a mixture of shorter writing opportunities – which are useful for practising specific knowledge in isolation – and longer writes, where children can apply the knowledge of grammar and punctuation skills they have been taught, as well as develop their understanding of the different writing genres. In longer pieces of writing, children plan and draft their work. They use a purple pen to edit and proofread before they then publish their final draft. Discrete editing and proofreading lessons involve a range of strategies such as teacher modelling, WABOLLS/WAGOLLS, editing triangles, partner talk, editing stations and self/peer assessment. The use of editing and proofreading checklists help the children understand the distinction between them. To build confidence and experience, we seek other opportunities for children to write frequently, for all sorts of cross curricular reasons, often based on our topics. We also give the children opportunities to write for pleasure: children have Beautiful Writing Books where they are able to choose their own subject and style of writing.
We think it is really important that the children are aware of their learning journey, and where they are at each stage, so that they see the relevance of the lessons leading up to the end point. Not only do we discuss this within our lessons, but also the children really enjoy referring to the visual learning journeys displayed on their English Working Walls – which also builds excitement when they are looking forward to certain tasks. Another key component of our Working Walls is the displaying of key vocabulary – which can be made up of words we have come across in a book we are reading as well as key words and phrases for the genre we are focusing on. Children are encouraged to use, and take pride in using, the ambitious vocabulary on display.
Differentiated success criteria and rubrics (which additionally include key features for the genre) provide students with a clear understanding of what is expected of them and how they can improve their work. Children use them to self-assess their writing and where they do not meet their required level, they are encouraged to edit their work so that they do. These provide pupils with valuable information about the degree of which specific learning outcomes have been achieved and pupils can use this feedback as a tool to further develop any areas in need of improvement. This helps to encourage autonomous learning. Success criteria and rubrics are also helpful tools that allow teachers to give clear ‘next steps’ targets. Success criteria and rubrics, along with the Learning Exchange ‘Build a Picture’ assessment forms, help inform teachers’ judgements on INSIGHT.
Continuity with West Leigh Infants is maintained via assessment data from the Year 2 teachers. This also enables KS2 teachers to highlight children in Year 3 who might need additional support, where through shared data and our own baseline assessment, individual needs are targeted and supported. In all year groups, children who need additional support within particular areas of their writing or to reach their potential, receive a variety of interventions that are tailored to address their gaps.
By the time our children leave Backwell Junior School, they will have developed their knowledge of English language to write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style in and for a range of genres, purposes and audiences. Our pupils will have enhanced their editing and proofreading skills and have improved their ability to learn autonomously. Most importantly, many will have developed a love of writing and our children will be well equipped for KS3 and beyond.