Writing at Shakespeare
Our Writing Rationale
Intent | Why do we teach what we teach?
English is integral to all aspects of life and it is with this in mind that at Shakespeare we endeavor to ensure that children develop confidence in their ability to approach writing to prepare them to engage in the wider world. Our learners find their ‘voice’ in writing from a rich diet of inspiring, high-quality and diverse texts and through extensive opportunities to share their ideas and orally rehearse before crafting their piece for a genuine audience and with a genuine purpose. Our teachers expertly support the children to select and structure material in a way that simplifies the intricate and interconnected discipline that is writing through clear and accessible methods. The skill of fluency in writing empowers children and allows them to be effective communicators. We aim not only to prepare our children for the next stage of their education, but also to lay the foundations for successful lives after school and the jobs of tomorrow, all of which will require the use of their English skills.
At Shakespeare, our writing curriculum follows the objectives of the National Curriculum. The aims of teaching writing, as outlined in the National Curriculum, are to ensure that all pupils:
• acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for writing
• write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
Implementation | What do we teach and when?
At Shakespeare, we believe that all children can be successful in writing. In order to achieve this, our expectation is that through quality first teaching, all our children will successfully access the learning. Pupils use their oracy skills to help them throughout a unit of writing. Pupils will discuss high quality models, orally rehearse sentences, discuss vocabulary and edit and improve their learning following discussion with their teachers and/or their peers.
We expect the vast majority of pupils to move through the programmes of study at broadly the same pace. However, for children who lack fluency in writing or have a particular weakness that hinders their progress, we provide opportunities to consolidate their understanding through additional scaffolding (this could be through adult support or adapted work).
In our Early Years setting, storytelling is a vital and valued thread that runs through our Foundation Stage curriculum. A broad selection of high-quality books, songs, role-play and rhymes create the basis of many cross-curricular topics which revolve around the children's diverse interests as well as seasonal changes and key events.
In EYFS, pupils are provided with a wealth of resources to develop their writing skills. Emergent writers can use various writing resources (chalk, paint, pens, pencils, water, and brushes) to practise making meaningful marks. Pupils can access these materials during independent learning times and use this to extend their play and ultimately their learning. This is enhanced through the delivery of RWI Phonics sessions in which pupils learn individual letter formation and how to hold and build sentences. Fine motor control activities are also provided in EYFS to ensure that pupils are ready for writing.
During their time in Early Years, they will explore a wide breadth of vocabulary and develop their language through oral rehearsal. By the time the children leave our Early Years provision, they will be able to form letters correctly to write their name and create a simple sentence using phonics to support their spelling as well as using capital letters and full stops. They will be able to read their sentences back.
Our Super Six reading spine which inspires our writing.
In the Autumn Term of Year 1, pupils are predominantly taught writing through the delivery of the RWI Phonics Programme ‘Get Writing’ scheme that follows on from their daily reading session; it has a variety of engaging writing activities linked to their storybook. Through its consistent and systematic approach, children become confident in applying their phonics to writing. The programme includes many structured activities that enable children to write accurately and coherently, these activities include how to hold a sentence, build a sentence of their own, and how to edit sentences using their writing toolkits. Children also have lots of time to develop and share ideas through partner work, thinking out loud and orally rehearsing their sentences.
Children are also given opportunities to re-read their writing to check it makes sense and that it has the core components of a successful sentence/ piece of writing, i.e., capital letters, finger spaces, and full stops. The programme ensures that the core writing skills for Year 1, as outlined in the National Curriculum, are explicitly taught in a consistent, clear, and highly structured way, which supports the children in their early writing journey to write with confidence, accuracy, and coherency.
Moving into Year Two and beyond
As pupils progress through Year 1, pupils move away from learning how to write by completing the RWI writing element, to completing writing units as detailed in the LAT English Genre Matrix. The matrix recognises the importance of learning how to write fiction, non-fiction and poetry. As pupils progress through their time at Shakespeare, they will repeat genres which will allow for spaced learning and provide pupils with the opportunity to refine previously learnt skills and show an improved level of sophistication within their writing. Across a term, teachers will plan to deliver a minimum of one fiction unit, one non-fiction unit and one poetry unit. Units are no longer than 3 weeks, which means that there is time to include additional units. These additional units are often based around high-quality, inspiring books (often from the school’s Reading Spine) and are used to address any gaps or misconceptions in learning.
At Shakespeare we believe that all children can be successful in writing. In order to achieve this, our expectation is that through quality first teaching, all our children will successfully access the learning. Pupils use their oracy skills to help them throughout a unit of writing. Pupils will discuss high quality models, orally rehearse sentences, discuss vocabulary and edit and improve their learning following discussion with their teachers and/or their peers.
Our Spiral Curriclum
Our writing sequence
At Shakespeare, we have a clear writing sequence which supports all children to be successful in developing their writing skills. To ensure that pupils are supported, challenged and ready to write extended pieces, pupils are provided with a range of challenges across a writing unit. All challenges will be planned at an appropriate level, along with any necessary scaffolds. Scaffolds may be in the form of ‘Warm Up Challenges’ in SPAG lessons, an adapted writing toolkit in shared/independent writing, sentences stems, word banks or phonics sound mats.
We start by identifying the language features and grammatical constructions that are needed for a particular genre. Pupils are provided with WAGOLLS (What a good one looks like) so that they are exposed to high quality models and can begin to understand what the outcome of a unit of learning will look like.
We immerse the children in high quality examples and we explore what effect is created by the writer and how this effect was achieved. Together success toolkits are built to support independent writing. The purpose and audience for the final piece of writing is shared.
The children are explicitly taught grammar, punctuation and spelling in order that they will be successful in the particular genre of writing.
Taking inspiration from the wagolls, the children work together to generate ideas and collect vocabulary which can be used within their own writing.
Though teacher modelling and shared writing (I do, we do) the children learn how to compose effective pieces of writing which they then apply into their own scaffolded writing (you do).
The children plan their own independent piece of writing - using what they have learnt already within the unit.
The children have the opportunity to work independently to apply their learning by creating their own pieces of writing.
Edit and improve
Working with a partner, the children look back over their writing to correct errors, add missing details and improve. Editing can take place throughout the writing sequence.
At the end of each unit, the children will produced a published piece of work which showcases their learning for a selected audience.
So that we can support all pupils across the school to achieve well in writing, we have developed a writing progression that supports teachers to plan progressive, sequences of lessons. Every teacher plans writing units that include elements of grammar, punctuation and spelling as well as a range of genre-specific features that we want our pupils to use and apply with confidence. Young writers need support to develop their 'authorial voice' and at Shakespeare, it is our aim for every child to achieve this!
Below is our writing progression of key skills that helps to inform pupils' writing journey at Shakespeare.
In order to meet the demands of the national curriculum. we have created a progression which introduces Alan Peats exciting sentences to coincide with the expectations of the national curriculum. There are a minimum of two sentences in each year group which means each sentence type can be explored and extended throughout the year ensuring they are embedded in each child's sentence repertoire. This in turn, adds to the mastery approach by allowing depth of understand and demonstration of use in a range of contexts.
Alan Peat exciting sentences
Alan Peat sentence types and progression
Teachers will use a range of formative and summative assessment in writing to assess the children’s understanding and what they need to do next. The design and delivery, along with assessment of pupils’ learning ensures that pupils will always know more, understand more and therefore do more. During the lesson, through live marking, questioning and tasks, teachers will check that the children have understood the focus of the learning. The teachers and teaching assistants will assess the pupils’ achievements against the learning objective. Feedback will be provided to support pupils in making progress. In EYFS, feedback is given at the point of learning. In KS1, pupils will have good examples shared to the whole class and then address misconceptions through either discussion with their class teacher or by answering next steps. From Year 2 onwards, Whole Class Feedback will be provided regularly. This celebrates successful learning but importantly supports pupils in addressing any errors or misconceptions. Pupils across the school are given time to respond to any feedback they have been given.
At the end of each writing unit, pupils complete an independent piece of writing which is marked against the LAT English Writing Assessment Tool to which is linked to year group National Curriculum expectations. Teachers use this tool to inform future planning and provide next steps to pupils. Cross-class, cross-year group and cross-school moderation aims to ensure accuracy and consistency in teacher assessments. Children are able to show that their writing knowledge and skills are developing as they apply them to a wide range of genres in a confident and successful way regardless of their starting point. This sense of achievement ensures the love of writing.
Starting in the Early Years and being completed by the majority of children in Year two, RWI Get Writing supports children to write every day, rehearsing out loud what they want to say before spelling the words using graphemes and the "tricky" words they know. The Get Writing! books include writing activities linked to the RWI storybooks.
At Shakespeare, we know that for children to be successful at spelling, a clear structure that consolidates and extends is needed. From year two onwards, we use The spelling books by Jane Considine. This programme will ensure that pupils are taught all the required objectives from the National Curriculum. There is a 15 minute spelling lesson daily. All spelling activities are built on the fundamentals of teaching spelling with strong phonic foundations. All classes display and refer to the complex speeds sound chart. There are also opportunities to investigate the origins of words and build sound associations within word families. Pupils are encouraged to be word detectives and dig deeper as they develop spelling strategies and apply their learning to their independent writing.
In writing lessons, pupils are supported in addressing misspelling in a way that is appropriate to their age or stage.
Handwriting at Shakespeare
In the Early Years and being completed by the majority of children in Year two, RWI Get Writing supports children to accurately form the letters they have learnt. They practise this daily.
At Shakespeare, we use the PenPals handwriting scheme to ensure that all pupils are taught to form letters in a consistent way. Our PenPals approach supports children in the very earliest stages of mark making through to the development of a mature, individual writing style. The document below sets out the handwriting steps and milestones that we aim to enable all pupils to achieve.