Please click here for our writing progression map:
Successful writing is the skill of being able to communicate ideas and thoughts coherently with others through a written form. The aim for all pupils at Ark Academy is that they leave as confident and motivated writers, who are able to write clearly, accurately and coherently.
In order to write successfully, pupils need to develop confidence across two dimensions of writing: transcription and composition. Additionally, pupils need to have a developed understanding of audience and purpose, so they are able to adapt their language and style to suit a range of contexts, audiences and reasons for writing. Finally, as writers, pupils will need to be able to independently plan, edit and evaluate the effectiveness of their own writing. Therefore, we have designed a curriculum which allows pupils to develop all of these skills across their primary learning journey.
Pupils receive daily spelling lessons which are taught through the Read Write Inc ‘Get Spelling’ programme. We chose to use this programme as it is underpinned by explicitly teaching phoneme-grapheme correspondence and was designed to follow on from the RWI phonics programme that we use as a school to teach phonics in EYFS and KS1. Alongside spelling, it also develops pupils’ knowledge of word families, how suffixes and prefixes impact root words and provides mnemonics to help remember tricky spellings. The programme is delivered for 20 minutes daily by trained teaching assistants, using a range of partner talk, group practise and group challenges to help pupils commit new words to memory.
Handwriting is also explicitly taught during this time. Pupils are further motivated to improve their handwriting through our Pen License initiative. Pupils can only use a pen once they have achieved their pen license, which is awarded in assemblies.
Writing lessons are taught using a mixture of ‘Talk-For-Writing’ units and teacher planned ‘stimulus writing’ units that link deliberately to humanities or science topics being studied or the class novel being read in Reading Revolution lessons. All units are underpinned by a strong belief that discussion (talk) is the starting point for all pieces of writing.
In order to write, pupils need to have be able to draw on their knowledge of well-written texts. The ‘Talk-for-Writing’ model allows pupils to internalise language structures needed to write through ‘talking the text’ as well as close reading. The model allows pupils to move from dependence on a text, towards writing independently. Talk-For-Writing units are broken into three phases:
Pupils are immersed in a model text which is pitched just above the cohort. Pupils learn this text to learn the structure of the text genre, acquire new vocabulary, embed sentence structures and get exposure to the uses of punctuation. The imitation phase features:
Pupils move away from the model text. The model text provides the story line onto which they can hang embellishments and writing tools.
Pupils write independently, using the stimulus of the unit and skills taught through the previous weeks. The genre of writing could be the same or it could be different.
We have found that relating writing to what is being studied in other lessons enables a high-level of engagement and motivation as pupils can include the knowledge and vocabulary that they have already learned in other lessons in their writing, giving them more to draw on and write about and enabling them to better transfer learning between subjects and further embed this into their knowledge term memory,
A general teaching sequence includes the following elements in the planning:
The purpose and audience for a text is introduced, alongside a “hook” for writing. Opportunities for skills starters and speaking and listening activities.
Pupils begin to experiment with their own writing, through group writing and shared writing. Teachers model the thought process and build in opportunities to orally rehearse before writing.
Pupils plan and write independently, through discussion and sharing of ideas and using the skills taught over the unit. Time is spent proof-reading, editing and sharing final writing.
Teachers may choose different tasks and activities to cover each section of the planning process. For example, through role play, shared or group writing, modelled writing or short-burst writing activities.
We want our pupils to become increasingly reflective about what they are writing. To develop these skills, it is important that pupils practice the skill of reading their work back over; have time for editing built into the teaching sequences; and have opportunities to discuss the effectiveness of their writing. Pupils edit their work in black pen, and they may do this at various points across a writing unit. For example, immediately following verbal feedback, at the start of the following lesson, during a whole class edit or during small-group intervention.
The writing journey of a pupil at Ark Academy
By the end of EYFS, most pupils will be able to form their letters correctly. They will be able to spell some common high frequency words and use phonetically plausible spelling for words using set one sounds. Pupils will be able to say and write a simple sentence.
By the end of KS1, pupils will be able to write in cursive handwriting. They will be confident in using their ‘set 1, 2 and 3’ phonic sounds to spell words and will also be able to spell common exception words. They will accurately punctuate the end of each sentence. Before writing, KS1 pupils will be able to plan or say what they are going to write out loud and following writing, they will be able to proof-read their work for simple spelling errors and full stops. They will also be able to share their work by reading it back out-loud.
At the end of LKS2, pupils will have increased the legibility of their handwriting and will be writing in pen. In their writing they will be able to confidently use an increasing range of punctuation accurately, alongside proof-reading for punctuation while writing. Pupils will be able to plan writing through discussing similar writing and will organise their writing in short paragraphs around a common theme. Their writing will become more interesting as they begin to extend their sentences through using a range of conjunctions and use a range of suffixes and prefixes to challenge their vocabulary choices. Finally, pupils will be able to more rigorously evaluate their writing, reading what they have written out-loud with intonation and proof-reading their work for spelling and punctuation errors.
By the end of UKS2, pupils will be effective writers who are able to use dictionaries to check the spelling of ambitious words and who use a wide range of punctuation accurately, including the use of commas for clarity and speech marks. Prior to writing, pupils will plan what they will write through identifying the audience in purpose. Their writing will be organised into developed paragraphs around one theme and pupils will include a ride range of cohesive devices across their writing to build cohesion across and within paragraphs. Pupils will be able to include dialogue into their writing which moves the action forward. Following writing, pupils will be able to evaluate how effective the writing has been in terms of meeting the audience and purpose and they will be able to suggest changes based on these criteria.
In Year 7, pupils will begin to gain increasing autonomy and independence in their writing. Pupils are given opportunities to understand and use a range of paragraph structures which allow them to shape their own writing in an increasingly independent way. Pupils also have the opportunity to write in a more analytical manner, using a point-evidence-analysis structure that helps them produce writing that is fluent and clear.