Our English curriculum prioritises high-quality texts, about which teachers and pupils are passionate, as the basis of writing. These texts can be visual (picture books or films) or written. The texts both inspire writing, are used to scaffold written outcomes and provide examples (WAGOLLs – ‘what a good one looks like’) for children to analyse and from which to generate word banks and success criteria.
Our units of work begin with engaging in a text and inspiring pupils’ learning, before moving onto text deconstruction and a series of preparation for writing activities, using planning frames, drama, discrete grammar teaching and vocabulary development lessons. All writing outcomes are modelled through sharing writing or example texts and children write across a number of lessons.
As children progress, they develop both a depth of understanding of genre and a broadening of their writing experiences. For example, the skills of writing information texts in KS1 are then applied to non-chronological reports with increasing formality and ambitious constructions in KS2. The skills of narrative writing developed in Year 1, focusing on a sequence of simple sentences applying phonics and handwriting skills, progress to a greater understanding of narrative authorship in KS2, adapting grammatical structures, layout and language in line with the purpose and audience of the text.
Year 1 narrative
Year 2 information text
Year 4 recounts
Year 6 formal letters of persuasion
Our writing overviews carefully plan for cultural capital. We choose texts that broaden children’s reading repertoires and we plan for progression in coverage of fairy tales and classic texts (including Shakespeare in Years 5 and 6). In addition, each year group has a focused author, illustrator and poet which they explore through writing, guided reading, whole class texts and across the curriculum. These focused authors reflect one part of the canon of literature that we feel our pupils should experience in primary school and many of those are also highlighted by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE).
Handwriting (‘Collis cursive’) and spelling are taught discretely and applied to writing. Grammar is taught within the context of writing and guided reading units of work and is also taught discretely in Year 6.
Teachers respond to pupils’ work through written marking and verbal feedback on a whole class, group, paired or individual level. Individual and peer editing is an important component of this approach and is fundamental in pupils’ developing understanding of authorship and the writing process.