Our writing curriculum is designed to ensure that each child has the opportunity to build upon their own strengths and abilities in creative and imaginative ways. We encourage all children to become independent learners and provide them with the tools, skills and knowledge to succeed as proficient writers, so that they become lifelong learners who can communicate effectively with others through their language-based skills.
Our intent is to enable our children to become skilled at writing for a range of audiences and purposes and have a toolkit of techniques that they can draw on, built upon the skills and knowledge that they have gained throughout their educational journey here at Our Lady’s. Through quality teaching, differentiation and with support where needed, by the end of Key Stage Two, all children will be able to reach their potential as writers with the skills that they need to express themselves effectively through the written word.
How we implement our writing curriculum
From Reception through to Year 6, children are taught through good quality, challenging texts and resources that act as a stimulus for writing. Staff ensure that their strategies are adapted to suit their children’s needs and interests. Children are given many opportunities to express themselves creatively, during poetry workshops and through drama, as well as through experiencing non-fiction and media texts and by using a wide range of visual literacy techniques such as film and animation to support the creative writing process. We are a Royal Shakespeare Company Associate School through our work with our local Lead School, Dowdales. This enables our children and staff to access the highest quality training and to participate in productions in partnership with other schools. These experiences also play a wider role by offering our children a rich and broad bank of resources to draw upon when producing their own written pieces. Children complete weekly challenging spelling tests to help them to become equipped to use high level and adventurous vocabulary. All classrooms display banks of higher tier words to support children to further widen their vocabulary and of course, championing reading for pleasure (and to enable children to excel in all aspects of the curriculum) is at the heart of the English Curriculum.
Formal and informal assessment
We use a variety of forms of assessment to gauge how children are progressing and to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching and learning within our writing curriculum. This includes the consideration of its wider impact across the curriculum as a building block for all other written and language-based learning.
Regular marking and comparison of work against specific targets for each year group in writing enable staff to identify where children have made progress and achieved their goals and to recognise areas for improvement from which specific targets can be set and communicated with the child. Teachers follow a clear marking policy which enables children to respond to feedback in subsequent lessons if necessary. The whole school follows the same principles so that a rigorous and consistent approach can be maintained. Each child knows where their strengths lie and are aware of the next steps that they need to take to improve their work further. This allows children to play a meaningful part in managing their own progress with an awareness of how to move to the next stage of their learning.
Our children regularly self and peer assess work in class to allow for the spotting and editing of mistakes and for them to set themselves targets for the next lesson. Teacher judgements relating to end of year writing expectations will be made at the end of the academic year.
SMSC in English
English is a great lesson for developing SMSC within the Primary classroom. Our curriculum has been designed to enable children to appreciate a range of texts which brings them into contact with their own literary heritage and texts from other cultures. Children have the opportunity to express their feelings and opinions through carefully planned lessons on topical issues. Our English lessons allow children to be reflective about their own beliefs and perspective on life. They gain knowledge of and respect for different people's faiths, feelings and values and garner a sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning about themselves, others and the world around them.