Intent: What we aim
We aim to deliver an engaging, exciting and diverse curriculum which helps develop a love of writing and inspires children to want to write around a range of genre and different purposes. We want to encourage children to be imaginative and to bring this to their writing. Teachers look to support children to express their thoughts and ideas clearly and creatively through their written word. Children are provided with essential skills in grammar, punctuation, spelling and composition that will be life-long. At Beam, we seek to develop children into writers with an understanding of the writing process, including planning, drafting, proof reading and editing to enhance their work. Furthermore, we will support children to be articulate and confident communicators who express themselves and enhance their learning when engaging in discussions. Overall, we aim to create a culture where children ‘read as a writer’ and ‘write as a reader’.
Implementation: How do we achieve our aims?
We use the ’Essentials Curriculum’ approach whereby long-term objectives of writing run throughout the curriculum from Year 1 to 6. These ideas are broken down into smaller, assessable ‘milestones’ at a word, sentence and text level which permeate throughout each phase group and are repeatedly built upon through a spaced repetition approach. Each term, teachers assess pupil application of these statements within their writing outcomes. Moderation is carried out termly across the school to strengthen accuracy of teacher judgements.
To ensure consistency throughout the teaching of writing, teachers deliver a writing unit through a three phased teaching approach. Phase One consists of immersing pupils into the text/topic and providing them with the contextual knowledge to be able to write on a deep level. Phase Two surrounds teaching grammar in context to the text. Grammar lessons are purposeful and involve writing tasks which aim to build writing stamina and grammatical application as opposed to stand-alone tasks. At the end of phase two, a WAGOLL (What A Good One Looks Like) is deconstructed using all of the skills which the pupils have learnt within the unit. Phase Three consists of the writing process: planning, drafting, editing, reviewing, publishing. Teachers model how to plan and draft in order to set high expectations and routines to the children.
From the outset at Beam, children are taught to see themselves as authors and that there is an audience and purpose to their writing. The purposes of writing are repeated across the key stages through a range of writing outcomes to solidify understanding of text types and to enhance skills in grammar, punctuation and sentence construction. These purposes are: to inform, to persuade, to entertain, to discuss, to describe, to perform, to instruct and to explain.
Within the Literacy Curriculum, Doug Lemov’s ‘Five Plagues of the Developing Reader’ have been a basis for developing a strong spine of texts containing: archaic language, non-linear time sequences, a complex narrative, figurative/symbolic references, resistance in meaning. We are also keen to expose our pupils to modern texts which represent the diverse nature of the world around us. Texts are used throughout each year group as stimuli to provoke discussion, explore language and produce writing outcomes.
During a written unit, pupils will explore WAGOLLs to examine and measure the impact of grammatical choices made. Teachers will also model the authorial decision making process and will highlight important grammatical choices throughout. Pupils will have opportunities to experiment with applying grammatical features with support from the teacher during the shared writing process. In KS1, for children to become fluent, creative writers, they are encouraged to express ideas through speaking & listening opportunities including partner talk, roleplay and hot-seating. In KS2, drama techniques like the aforementioned and additionally conscience alleys, role on the wall and playing ’devil’s advocate’ are explored and repeated to enhance children’s spoken language, presentation skills and to use as a stimuli pre or post-writing.
In addition, there are opportunities across the curriculum for children to enhance their vocabulary through exploring tier 2 and 3 vocabulary and carrying out formal presentations, taking part in class performances and engaging in debates. Children explore a range of poetry types in KS1 and KS2 with a focus on solidifying understanding of poetic techniques, enhancing skills at crafting poetry and practising performing poems. In KS1, pupils focus on appreciating rhythmic structure, the recitation of this and also receiving an introduction into narrative poetry. This is built upon in KS2 with pupils studying poems with more complex meanings whilst continuing to perform and craft works of their own.
In Year 1, children are taught how to make simple edits and additions to their writing so that they are able to do so more independently in Year 2. In KS2, post-writing, teachers model and encourage children to proof-read and edit their work with the use of a green pen. Teachers make it clear that writing has an audience and purpose to highlight the importance of the publishing part of the writing process. We encourage children to publish their works through artistic means (E.G. the use of double page spreads), ICT (E.G. the use of word, publisher and powerpoint to present information) and through different forms of media (E.G. radio station for performing compositions).
In EYFS and Year 1, the Little Wandle phonics scheme is used to teach spelling. In Year 2 onwards, pupils embark on Beam’s research-led spelling scheme which aims to combine the key aspects of spelling such as investigating rules; exploring the etymology of words; identifying sounds and syllables within words; and morphology. Each week, pupils begin by aiming to prove or disprove a spelling hypothesis. Following this lesson study, pupils continue to explore related words in a variety of ways throughout the week before a progress check occurs to culminate the unit. A spaced repetition approach is used whereby children recap key learning intermittently to help attribute spelling to long-term memory.
Correct letter formation is taught from EYFS and is practised daily. Once Year 1 are confident with printing letters, they are introduced to cursive handwriting which is further developed in Year 2 and beyond. Handwriting is taught regularly through the Nelson Handwriting scheme and is reinforced through teacher modelling.
Impact: How will we know we have achieved our aims?
Children will be engaged and thoughtful in writing lessons. They will take pride in in their work by making choices in language and presentation to appeal to the reader. Children will have strong writing skills that allow them to access the whole curriculum and transition to secondary school with confidence. Pupils know and remember more and have the skills which equip them to progress from their starting points. Writing will be developed from good ideas and is imaginative in use of ambitious vocabulary and figurative language. In addition, Writing will be high quality and well-presented in a range of ways. Children’s understanding of the writing process will help them make good progress, with a high percentage achieving age-related expectations or beyond. Communication skills will be strengthened and children articulate themselves effectively.