Writing Curriculum Offer
At Abbey Gates, our Writing curriculum is purposeful and challenging. As our curriculum is based around books, teachers carefully select texts which offer a wealth of opportunities for children to write for various purposes and audiences. In some cases texts are carefully selected to, exemplify and, allow children to explore literary devices being used. In addition, teachers carefully plan engaging and exciting events which provide an excellent stimulus for high quality writing. There is also an emphasis on children frequently being asked to revisit, review, practise and apply their grammatical and spelling knowledge within their writing.
It is our intention that children will have numerous opportunities to see the purpose of their writing as a result of writing for associations who are external to the school. For example, the Village newsletter, letters to a charity or even the publication of a book. By the end of their time at Abbey Gates, we want children to:
- Write effectively for a range of purposes and audiences, selecting language that shows good awareness of the reader,
- Describe settings, characters and atmosphere,
- Integrate dialogue in narratives,
- Select vocabulary and grammatical structures that reflect what the writing requires,
- Build cohesion,
- Write at speed with joined, legible handwriting,
- Apply their broad vocabulary, which has been acquired as a result of direct Tier 2 vocabulary instruction across the whole curriculum, within writing.
At Abbey Gates, the stimulus for writing will most frequently come from a high-quality book, as our reading and writing curriculums are closely aligned. In other cases, it may be an experience or trip which the children have taken park in which inspires writing. Our approach to writing follows a sequence of; planning, drafting, revising editing and publishing, as advised by the Education Endowment Foundation in their Improving Literacy in Key Stage 2 report. Children are taught to use various literary devices through demonstration; high quality modelling and scaffolding. Where appropriate, drama techniques are used to allow children to develop their ideas and to bridge the gap between reading and writing.
We ensure that all children understand that writing has a purpose and audience. In the Early Years, this notion is established as children are encouraged to make marks and explain the meaning of them to an adult within their play. As children progress through school, they will see their writing in real-life contexts as they embark on writing projects which require them to, for example, write and send letters and put up posters which they have written. Some children also use their writing ability to apply for positions on our Pupil Parliament and Eco Council. We prioritise developing children’s vocabulary and have carefully selected and plotted the teaching of vital Tier 2 words across the curriculum. Children use this vocabulary within their writing with the audience and purpose in mind.
Grammatical rules are taught within writing lessons, with prior knowledge being continuously revisited. Spelling lessons are discrete and follow Jane Considine’s approach to spelling, which ensures that children learn spelling rules and take part in spelling investigations. This ensures that children are active learners who are equipped with a strong understanding of spelling rules and can apply these rules in multiple contexts, rather than learning a list of spellings by rote. All teachers have high expectations with regards to handwriting. In the Early Years, children are taught where letters should start and end using memorable formation rhymes. In Key Stage One, children participate in discrete handwriting lessons, which provide the children with the skills to join letters and write in cursive style. In Key Stage Two, these skills are consistently practised and perfected within all writing which children complete.
Throughout school, teachers plan writing opportunities based on the Early Learning Goals and National Curriculum. There is a focus on progression of skills and teachers use the school’s bespoke Interim Teacher Assessment Framework as a tool for both planning and assessment.
We have high expectations of all children and expect that the vast majority of pupils reach the expected standard by the time they leave Abbey Gates. In 2019, 97% of children reached this standard, which we are confident will allow them to flourish in their further studies and work and ultimately allow them to have a successful adult life. Ensuring that children reach this standard is achieved through continuous focus on vocabulary, grammar, writing for different purposes and audiences, spelling and overall composition.