Our vision for Writing:
In order to provide our pupils with the best educational experience, teachers’ practice should be based on both subject-specific and general pedagogical research. In the case of writing, this means high-quality modelling of the writing process, including sharing insights into the writer’s mind. Writing is a complex procedure: to aid cognitive development, it should be broken down into manageable chunks and specific steps. Research also tells us that grammar rules are best learnt contextually, within a piece of writing, to allow learners to explore these rules and experiment with how they fit into the writing process. This also applies to the development of language and syntax, with nuances of meaning and effect developed as part of instructional writing.
To embed such complex learning, opportunities are needed to practice word- and sentence-level skills repeatedly over time, but in different contexts. Additionally, an understanding of the writing process should also include the planning, drafting, editing and revision of longer pieces. The development of metacognitive skills within such practice will put pupils in a strong position for their future schooling.
Our daily writing lessons follow an approach developed by Literacy consultant, jane Considine (The Write Stuff). This aligns with the cognitive principles outlines above, and also covers the requirements of the National Curriculum. We have structured units of work into a long-term plan that has strong links to the wider curriculum while also covering a range of genres within fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
Each unit begins with a series of ‘sentence-stacking’ lessons with the purpose of developing pupils’ understanding of grammar, syntax and vocabulary. These provide a high level of cognitive support so that the complexity of learning at these initial stages is scaffolded for success. At appropriate times, ‘experience lessons; are used to provide structured opportunities for vocabulary development, drama, experiential learning or research so that pupils’ understanding of the topic or fictional situation is deepened. Following this, a separate series of independent writing lessons takes pupils from the planning stage to the development of a final written piece.
To align this approach to writing with the pupil’s phonic development, we have adapted it for Key Stage 1 so that the strategies used align with ‘Read Write Inc’ methodologies. This flexible approach allows us to support and challenge appropriately:
- In EYFS, and for the Year 1 pupils who are at the very early stages of word recognition, we use the EYFS strand of The Write Stuff, which follows an oracy-based approach to story-telling and language development.
- In Key Stage 1, we use an adapted approach to The Write Stuff, through the foundation curriculum themes, so that pupils are accessing language development and sentence-level skills through their wider learning. This is as well as their access to Read Write Inc, which encourages sentence-level skills with words linked to their phonic development.
- Once children in Year 2 complete Read Write Inc, teachers follow The Write Stuff plans in the children’s daily English lessons.