Portfields Writing Intent
At Portfields Primary School we believe that all children should be able to communicate their knowledge, ideas and emotions through their writing. We are determined that every child will be able to write fluently using; a wide vocabulary; a solid understanding of grammar and being able to spell new words by applying the spelling patterns and rules they learn throughout their time at Portfields. We want them to be able to write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. We believe that all children should be encouraged to take pride in the presentation of their writing by developing a fluent, joined, handwriting style by the time they move to secondary school. We believe that all good writers refine and edit their writing over time, so we encourage children to develop independence in being able to identify their own areas for improvement in all pieces of writing, editing their work effectively during and after the writing process. We encourage a home-school partnership as we understand the importance of parents and carers in supporting their children to develop their grammar, spelling and composition skills to enhance the skills being taught in school. We believe that the ability to communicate effectively and creatively through written language is a key life skill and central to success in education and empowering future learning.
A Portfields child will:
- have a love of writing and a desire to write for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences;
- write with confidence and fluency ;
- use an extensive vocabulary, a wide range of grammatical structures and spell words accurately by applying their knowledge of spelling patterns.
We teach English as whole class lessons, so that all children have access to the age-related skills and knowledge in the National Curriculum. Within lessons, teachers and teaching assistants target support for children working below age expectation to enable them to achieve at an age-related standard wherever possible. This may involve a greater level of scaffolding; more opportunities for orally rehearsing their writing; access to differentiated activities and additional support material such as word banks and writing frames. Children working below age expectation are given opportunities to extend their writing in a variety of ways, through showing greater control in their writing, a deeper understanding of the impact that their writing has on the reader and by using a higher level of vocabulary and grammar features.
How we teach writing composition:
We teach writing composition through the Talk for Writing process which involves three stages: imitation, innovation and invention. In the imitation stage the children learn a high quality model text off by heart in the first week. This is achieved by using a visual text map as a prompt to help them practise performing the text through drama and games. In the innovation stage, the children box up the text which acts as a plan for later independent writing. In this plan they are able to ‘magpie’ ideas from the original text that they want to include in their own writing later in the week. The children are encouraged to change aspects of the original text to produce a new piece of writing following the same procedure; oral rehearsal using a text map, boxing up, using key words and phrases and identifying key features. In the invention stage, the children will have a secure knowledge of the genre and be able to produce a piece of work (hot task) entirely independently. Through its multi-sensory and interactive teaching approach Talk for Writing enables children of all ages and abilities to learn to write a wide range of fiction and non-fiction text types using various methods including:
- listening to and learning texts and stories;
- taking part in drama and role-play;
- drawing and story mapping;
- collecting words and language strategies;
- building their working knowledge of grammar and punctuation.
Talk for Writing complements our curriculum which teaches children the facts and knowledge of a particular area of study. Talk for Writing gives children the skills needed to present this knowledge in an advanced, informative and satisfying way.
How we teach phonics:
At Portfields we use a synthetic phonics approach based on Twinkl Phonics Scheme, supported by other appropriate materials.
Our aim is that children should be able to:
∙ Blend and segment sounds easily
∙ Learn that segmenting words into their constituent phonemes for spelling is the reverse of blending phonemes into words for reading
∙ Spell words accurately by combining the use of grapheme-phoneme correspondence knowledge as the prime approach, and also morphological knowledge and etymological information
∙ Use a range of approaches to learn and spell irregular words.
Pupils have access to a range of phonics opportunities that include at Foundation Stage and KS1:
∙Whole class teaching of specific spelling patterns
∙ Daily discrete phonics teaching
∙ Using phonics knowledge in real life contexts, games and hands on activities
∙ Applying skills in cross curricular contexts.
Pupils have access to a range of phonics opportunities that include at Key Stage 2:
∙ Whole class teaching of specific spelling patterns
∙ Discrete phonics teaching as part of an intervention group where gaps in phonological knowledge have been identified.
∙ Applying skills in cross curricular contexts.
Spellings are taught according to the rules and words contained in Appendix 1 of the National Curriculum. Teachers use the Twinkl Spelling Scheme to support their teaching and to provide activities that link to the weekly spellings.
The children are given four to six spelling patterns a week, which are then repeated over a four-week period. This allows the children to assimilate the words into their long-term memory. The activities provided by the scheme allow the children to practise the words in a meaningful and exciting way. Most of the activities make the important link of putting the word into context. The children’s progress is assessed with a spelling test at the end of each four week set of spellings and an end of term test on all the spelling patterns learnt for the whole term. At the end of the year the children are given a test to assess their progress of all the spelling patterns that they have been taught.
How we teach spelling:
- Daily spelling lessons are taught four times a week.
- The spelling patterns that the children are going to learn are introduced.
- Children complete the Practice Sheet and write out the spellings in a variety of ways.
- Children complete two activity sheets a week which put the word into context.
- Children play games using the spelling patterns.
- There is an expectation that all children practise their spellings at home.
- Parents/carers are provided with a list of spellings for each term to encourage them to support their children.
Grammar and Punctuation:
The teaching of grammar and punctuation is at the heart of developing children’s writing skills and is a vital and essential part of the creative writing process. We teach grammar and punctuation knowledge and skills as an integral part of our English lessons as much as possible.
How we teach grammar and punctuation:
- Teachers plan to teach the required skills through the genres of writing that they are teaching in order to make it more connected to the writing outcome.
- Teachers sometimes focus on particular grammar and punctuation skills as stand-alone lessons, if they feel that the class or children working below age related expectation need additional lessons to embed and develop their understanding or to consolidate skills.
- To consolidate the grammar and punctuation skills taught in class, we use the Headstart Grammar and Punctuation Scheme which provides differentiated activity sheets, skills practice and independent writing activities for homework.
- There is an expectation that parents support their children with their grammar and punctuation homework. Each activity has a detailed explanation of the grammar or punctuation focus for the week to help parents/carers support their children.
Portfields Primary School aims to encourage all children to write with fluency so that their ideas can be written with ease. In E.Y.F.S children are given access to a wide range of writing tools and mediums to practise the early fine motor skills. The needs of left handed children, or those with physical difficulties are also taken into consideration and where necessary accommodated with resources or specific intervention.
How we teach handwriting:
- We use the Twinkl Handwriting Scheme as the basis for our teaching, which links handwriting to common spelling patterns. This is a progressive development across the school.
- Handwriting takes place every week
- Handwriting lessons include large and fine motor skills activities, as well as prescriptive language to describe the shape and direction of the letter formations and joins.
- Adults expect pupils to reflect the letter formations and joins in their daily handwriting.
- Handwriting is taught from EYFS through to year 6.
Speaking and Listening
The emphasis on language and communication in ‘The Rose Review’ recommends that greater attention should be given to the development of children’s speaking and listening skills.
At Portfields Primary School we prioritise the ‘simple view of reading,’ children being able to read words/text and understand what they have read. We are determined that every child will learn to read fluently and develop a life-long love for reading by the end of their Portfields’ journey. We believe that reading is a key life skill and the ability to read is fundamental to succeed in education and empower future learning.
We recognise the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum; spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are vital for developing their vocabulary and grammar and their understanding for reading and writing. Children are encouraged to develop effective communication skills in preparation for later life. It is our intention to develop children’s ability to speak with confidence, clarity and coherently to a variety of audiences and for a range of purposes; to be able to listen attentively with understanding, pleasure and empathy and contribute to group discussions effectively.
How we teach speaking and listening:
- We give our children confidence in themselves as speakers and listeners by showing them that we value their conversations and opinions. We also encourage a respect for the views of others.
- Model correct use of Standard English and accurate speech to improve grammar
in children’s speech and writing.
- Help them to articulate their ideas and provide audiences and purposes for talk within a range of formal and informal situations and in individual, partner, group and class contexts.
- We provide a range of experiences where children can work collaboratively and participate in activities to reflect on talk and explore real and imagined situations through role play, hot-seating, drama, discussions and debates.
- We provide opportunities to perform to an audience, in class, assemblies and productions, where children’s efforts and skills are celebrated by staff, parents, carers, visitors and peers.
- We develop the children’s ability to listen with attention and understanding in all areas of the curriculum and where necessary, asking and responding to questions appropriately.
English Lesson Sequence:
All year groups have a yearly overview of the writing genres, both narrative and non-fiction, that they will teach. These have been planned to ensure coverage of the key genres as well as building on writing skills from year to year. Each unit of work takes approximately four weeks to complete; the outcome of each unit will be a hot task (extended write) which is used to assess the child’s skills against the National Curriculum objectives set out in our writing assessment grids.
Marking and Feedback:
Feedback and marking should be completed, where possible, within the lesson. All marking and feedback is given in line with our marking and feedback policy.
Summative assessments are entered on to Target Tracker each half term. Teachers use their professional judgement to determine whether a child is working within age-related expectations, above or below. They base their judgements on the quality of the hot task and to what extent children have met the agreed success criteria for that genre of writing. Teachers use these judgements to inform future planning. Each year group has termly writing moderation meetings to ensure consistency of judgements.
- Children will enjoy writing independently across a range of genres.
- Children of all abilities will be able to succeed in English lessons because work will be appropriately scaffolded.
- Children will have a wide vocabulary that they use within their writing.
- Children will have a good knowledge of how to adapt their writing based on the context and the audience.
- Children will leave Portfields being able to effectively apply spelling rules and patterns they have been taught.
- Parents and carers will have a good understanding of how they can support spelling, grammar and punctuation at home and contribute regularly to homework.
- The percentage of children working at Age Related Expectation within each year group will be at least in line with the national average.
- The percentage of children working at Greater Depth within each year group will be at least in line with the national average.
- There will be no significant gaps in the progress of different groups of pupils (e.g. disadvantaged versus non-disadvantaged.