Subject Leader - Mrs L Gill
At St. Pius X Catholic Primary School, we believe that writing and communication are key life skills. Through the English curriculum at St. Pius X we provide a broad and balanced curriculum. Our ambitious English curriculum fulfils the National Curriculum requirements and we use the Herts for Learning scheme of work as a tool to help us deliver the objectives. The scheme of work is coherently planned, sequenced and has rigorous progression to enable children to reach their full potential as writers and gain the knowledge and skills required to allow pupils to succeed in life. Our skills progression allows the teaching and learning of Writing to be easily adapted to meet the needs of all our pupils. Writing has meaningful links to other subjects such as Science, History, Geography and Art and Design. As a Catholic school, our faith underpins our key teachings and pupils learn the importance of this. Our core Gospel Values are golden threads throughout all our teaching and learning. We approach every area of the curriculum with this in mind. This includes Writing which has awe and wonder within it that should be shared constantly with the pupils to encourage them to develop a love of writing. This approach helps to expand our pupils' social, moral, spiritual and cultural development. Our Writing curriculum not only develops our pupils educationally, but we plan in experiences to develop our children's cultural capital such as visits to other schools for higher ability students, having special days dedicated to this subject and visits to local secondary schools to raise the profile of this subject. We will help children develop the skills and knowledge that will enable them to communicate effectively and creatively through spoken and written language and equip them with the skills to become lifelong learners. We want children to enjoy and appreciate literature and its rich variety.
Literacy is at the heart of all children’s learning. Writing enables children both to communicate with others effectively for a variety of purposes and to examine their own and others’ experiences, feelings and ideas, giving these order and meaning. Because writing is central to children’s intellectual, emotional and social development, it has an essential role across the curriculum and helps pupils’ learning to be coherent and progressive.
We aim for all children to develop a love of and enthusiasm for the English language. Our vision is that all children become confident, fluent readers and writers, with an understanding of a variety of texts and genres. We aim for all children to develop the skills to be able to write confidently in a wide variety of genres. Above all, our ultimate aim is for children to develop a love of writing, and to take this into their adult lives, both as a necessary life skill and as a means of simply enjoying the art of being creative with words.
Long Term Plan
Our Long Term Plans ensure that fiction and non-fiction genres have good coverage across the year groups and across the school. The writing genres for each term are closely linked, wherever possible, to the Topics in each class. This ensures that children are not working from a 'cold' starting point i.e. they always have some prior knowledge of the content they will use in whatever genre of writing they are covering. This gives them confidence as writers and there is more coherence in their learning. The 'Take One Book' aspect of the planning allows children to revisit a genre they have already covered, or to work on an additional genre using familiar, linked knowledge. 'Take One Book' also allows for a different book to be used which approaches the same topic knowledge from a different viewpoint.
The Long Term Planning ensures progression in genre coverage at the appropriate age group levels. The planning also links with our Writing Statements for each year group. Each year group statement builds on from the previous one. Children are placed on the most appropriate year group writing targets and progress through them by teacher assessment of their longer writing tasks. In general, the writing statements are considered 'achieved' if seen in children's independent writing three times. These achieved statements are then 'non-negotiable' to prevent children's writing from slipping back. Children are aware of their writing target statements and know what they are trying to achieve in order to progress.
Each class teaches spelling to the year group expectations. We use the planning, resources and strategies from No Nonsense Spelling. Following this programme across the KS1 and KS2 classes ensures consistency of teaching and pupils become accustomed to the various ways of aquiring good spelling skills. The teaching sequence is based on the Revise, Teach, Practise, Apply principle. Good practice in our lessons includes teacher modelling, Spelling Partners and the use of Spelling Journals not only in Spelling lessons, but also as part of writing lessons,. Other strategies include: Have a Go sheets; Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check; Quickwrite, Word Shapes, Image around the Word, Pyramid Words and Rainbow Writing. We aim to make spelling an enjoyable subject for both teachers and pupils alike.
Grammar & Punctuation
The Grammar and Punctuation sheet forms the basis for lesson planning in KS1 and KS2 and ensures progression. Teachers use the grid below to ensure that they cover the required elements for each year group. Grammar and punctuation is taught as part of the writing process and teachers decide which genre of writing is best to cover eachof the elements. The grid also helps teachers to teach to any gaps in skills, as they are aware of the 'bigger picture' across the key stages.
For each genre unit we work together with the pupils to generate a ‘Mind Map’ or similar of useful vocabulary e.g. feelings words. We display the key words around our screen, using the coloured card key: Noun (red), Verb (blue), Adjective (pink), Adverb (purple). Focused teaching of vocabulary helps expand the banks of words available to pupils when writing, thus improving the quality of the writing produced.
Each genre of writing has a set of 'Success Criteria'. These are based on the typical required features for a genre of writing to be successful as an example of that genre. Success Criteria are displayed on each class' Writing Board and referred to throughout the writing process. They are also present in children's books and children are encouraged to tick off when they think they have achieved them. After discussion with the teacher, the teacher ticks are added as part of the marking. After a longer piece of writing has been marked, Teachers will give a 'Wish' based on any success criteria not met, or a writing statement not yet achieved, to move the child's writing on and provide progression.
Both formative and summative assessment of writing is done by teachers. Summative judgements are given based on assessment across a number of pieces of writing. Pupils are aware of the targets they have met and those which they are aiming to achieve next. Teachers advise pupils how to meet targets and this joint involvement helps move pupils' writing on.
All classes have a Writing Board which celebrates the children's writing on a particular genre. Boards are changed for each new genre covered. Each class has spelling, grammar and Common Exception Words displays.
Wider Celebration of Writing in School
At St Pius X, we always strive to include writing as an aspect of, for example, World Book Day, Roald Dahl Day, National Poetry Day etc. Children's work is celebrated on our Facebook page and on Class Dojo.
We have displays boards to celebrate and show progression in writing.