‘Writing is the painting of the voice.’
At Morningside Primary School, we strive to help our children develop into articulate and imaginative communicators, who are well-equipped with the skills they need to become life-long learners; English learning is key in this.
We aim to ensure all of our children develop a genuine love of language and the written word, through a text-based approach; this links closely to the way we teach reading, as the text that we use in writing lessons, where possible, is the same text as the one that we use in reading lessons.
Our writing curriculum ensures that children develop both their transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing). Across our writing curriculum, a range of purposes for writing are sequenced so that children make progress in different styles of writing (for example narrative writing, informative writing and persuasive writing.) Writing units span three weeks focusing on a particular type of writing, including a short focus piece of writing and a longer . This structure ensures children have time to refine and embed their writing based on feedback and responsive teaching.
By focusing on four core purposes of writing: to entertain, to inform, to persuade and to discuss, we ensure that children develop an understanding of how widely writing is used in everyday life and, therefore, how important and useful the skills are that they are learning.
Our intentions in writing are for children to:
- Write for a purpose
- See themselves as real writers
- Take ownership of their writing
- See writing as an interesting and enjoyable process
- Acquire the ability to organise and plan their written work
In reception, children write daily. ‘Hold a sentence’ writing forms part of RWInc lessons. Composition is completed during small group writing sessions.
In Key Stages 1 and 2, children:
- follow the national curriculum through a text-mapped curriculum devised by the school.
- have four 45-55 minute writing sessions each week.
Each writing cycle runs over three weeks and includes the following steps:
- Immersion (linked to the class novel): discussing and investigating the features of the genre and generating ideas for writing
- Grammar, punctuation or literary devices: focused teaching and practice in the context of the shared text and genre outcome
- Text and genre deconstruction: unpicking text structures and genre features
- Planning: story mapping and text organisation
- Co-construction: shared and modelled writing
- Writing: independent writing
- Editing: focusing on the technical aspects of writing
- Redrafting: rewrite to develop authorial voices and language choices
- Performing or Publishing
Some of these steps occur more than once within the cycle; this supports children to build their knowledge of the text type, grammar and punctuation in discrete chunks before completing their final piece. This ensures they have multiple opportunities to practise the key elements of the unit of work.
Within each cycle, children in Key Stage 1 initially write a carefully scaffolded retelling of the core text, or modelled non-fiction piece. In the second phase of the cycle they have the opportunity to innovate their own version.
In Key Stage 2, children work towards completing a complete example of the text type studied with a short focused interim piece (e.g. an introduction or a dilemma paragraph) completed in the first phase of the cycle.
Oracy skills are central to our writing curriculum. Children are given multiple opportunities to orally rehearse their own writing, and analyse the impact of authorial choices from the class text.
By using an ‘I do’ (teacher modelling), ‘We do’ (co-construction and partner work). ‘You do’ (independent work) approach throughout each step of the cycle, we support children to develop as confident, independent writers.
Each child has a writing target that they are working on displayed on their writing book on a post-it note. The target is spoken about with the children and they are aware of what their target is and how they can achieve it.
When the target is met, this should be stuck into the children’s book using a target met sticker.
Every writing lesson is an opportunity for the class teacher to assess what the children are able to do. If a child has shown they are able to confidently use their writing target, the teacher can give them a new target at any point. School expectations is these targets are changed at least once a half term. This can be more frequent if children have met them earlier.
Every term, the children will complete a writing assessment with no success criteria. This is their formal writing assessment and children will be expected to showcase the grammar and writing styles they have been developing over the course of the term.
An overview of the school’s extended writing curriculum can be found here:
Curriculum Overview Writing
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar
The teaching of spelling, punctuation and grammar is embedded within reading and writing lessons so that children learn these skills and use them in context. Explicit teaching of grammar and punctuation in meaningful contexts is a core component of our writing cycle. Our curriculum is carefully sequenced to ensure that children build a secure understanding of grammatical features and learn to apply them effectively in a range of contexts.
However, spelling is also taught explicitly in each year group. In Key Stage 1, spelling is a focus of Phonics teaching, which is taught using the Read Write Inc materials. In Key Stage 2, children follow the Read Write Inc Spelling programme.
To see how you can help your child, click on the links below to seeing the spelling, punctuation and grammar fundamentals for each year group:
We teach children to use a continuous cursive style of handwriting using the Letter-Join scheme. They start with individual letter formation and correct pencil grip in EYFS. Children begin to join when their letter formation is secure; usually, from the end of Year 1. Children are expected to produce neat, joined, legible handwriting at all times.