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English - Writing

Intent

At Southville, writing is used every single day in almost all subjects of the curriculum; it is a key skill for every child. Our aim is for all our children to write clearly, accurately and coherently by the time the leave us for secondary school; we want to ensure that all our children are confident and capable writers in the future. Throughout their writing journey in school, we hope that they will learn to enjoy writing and they will gain a sense of achievement from the writing they produce.

We believe that having an accurate understanding of English is essential for communication in the world of tomorrow. We know that from an early age writing needs to be legible and set out carefully, and that accuracy is essential at all stages of the writing journey. We also know that without a varied and wide –ranging vocabulary children will struggle to master the standard that is expected of them at the end of Year 6. By having vocabulary at the centre of our approach, our children will be able to grow and develop their writing skills to highest possible standard. Our desire is for our children to engage in their writing with just the right amount of stretch and challenge; we want our children to know how to edit their writing to achieve the best possible outcome and how to write in the most creative and engaging way.

Furthermore, we know that mistakes are part of learning and we strive to use these as teaching points to ensure that our children are constantly improving day by day. By the time our children leave us in Year 6, they will not only know how to express themselves accurately and effectively in a range of fictional texts, but also how to put their viewpoint across when they write about more emotive or diverse issues.

Implementation

As an all through school, we know that children learn best when the teaching style is consistent and familiar from year to year – for this reason we have developed our own approach to teaching writing that is based on a number of key principles that will ensure children learn to write confidently.  During the programme the children will be explicitly taught a wide range of vocabulary, sentence structures, punctuation and language devices that will enable them to write effectively in a range of situations. At the beginning of each year, these skills are modelled explicitly and practiced daily by children so they become familiar and comfortable using them until they are completely independent. 

From early on in the learning journey in Nursery, children explore and experiment with mark making and give meaning to their marks. They begin to learn how to form letters correctly in handwriting activities and they have daily phonics lessons. During independent activities, children work towards using their phonics to write words and phrases that match their spoken sounds. 

In Reception, children have daily phonics lessons, daily whole class writing lessons and every week they work with class teacher to practise writing labels, lists, phrases and repetitive sentences in small groups using paper and pencils. Every day they have a handwriting lesson, where they are taught to write their letters correctly using lead- ins.

In Year 1, children continue to use phonics and learn to write words in sentences about familiar stories and events. Through the year they progress to retelling stories with a beginning, middle and end, before learning how to write simple recounts and descriptions. In handwriting lessons, they continue to practice the direction, shape and size of each letter. As they progress, they are expected to write sequences of sentences, that they can read aloud and discuss with others.

In Year 2, children write a range of text types including adventure, mystery stories, instructions, reports, recounts, letters, diaries and fact files. They learn how to write sentences using conjunctions and expanded noun phrases, as well as commas in a list. Children are encouraged to use a wider vocabulary where words have prefixes and suffixes, as well as how to use apostrophes for possession and contraction. They have handwriting lessons where they increasingly form letters that are the correct size, shape and position on the line.

As children move through the school into lower Key Stage 2, they are taught to write a range of text types using grammatically accurate sentences that use a wider range of punctuation, sentence types and vocabulary. This includes the punctuation of dialogue and the purpose of commas, alongside words and phrases that bring their writing to life.

In Year 3, children learn to a range of stories from different genres. They are taught how to write their first explanation text and how to write adverts with some persuasive techniques. They also practice writing non-chronological reports, diaries and instructions. They learn to use adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, verbs, nouns and pronouns in their sentences to add more detail and clarify the meaning and they are taught how to use speech punctuation.

In Year 4, children write a range of sci-fi, fantasy, mystery adventure and traditional tales. They build on their understanding of persuasive writing techniques that they begin to apply to other text types and they are introduce to the concept of discussion writing in the form of balanced arguments. They learn how to extend their sentences using fronted adverbials of time and punctuate these sentences and their dialogue accurately. They are building their writing stamina and their writing is becoming more varied and engaging.

In Year 5, children’s writing becomes much more sophisticated: they practise writing for different audiences and purposes using more sophisticated and complex sentence structures. They are taught how to accurately use of relative clauses, prepositional phrases, modal verbs and a wider range of conjunctions to extend their ideas. They use brackets and dashes for parenthesis and they are confident at using commas for a range of purposes. The vocabulary choices are more complex and thoughtful – often being used as devices to create mood, atmosphere and cohesion. Children begin to experiment with language devices such as personification, metaphors and repetition for different effects.

 In Year 6, children will be able to write a full range of text types for different purposes and audiences – they will entertain, inform and present ideas coherently and creatively – often playing around with the grammar they have been taught to create the best effect for the reader. They use semi-colons, colons and bullet points accurately alongside all the punctuation they have been taught throughout Key Stage 2. Their writing shows different levels of formality depending on the audience and purpose of the text type they have written and the vocabulary choices are deliberately chosen to match the formality.

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