“If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.” Toni Morrison, 1981
At Milton St John’s, we believe that every child should have the opportunity to become an independent, confident and capable writer. Writing within primary school is a vital part of the curriculum as children will use writing in almost all of their subjects and it gives them a voice to share their ideas with the world. Considering the fundamental importance of writing in everyday life, we are driven by the need to develop each learner’s writing ability, thus enabling them to play a full part in society.
Our curriculum drivers underpin all we do and are an essential part of our learning. The drivers help our children to ‘RISE’ up and play a vital role in their community; locally, nationally and globally. They are listed below:
- Respect for the opinions and beliefs of others
- Independence & Resilience
- Engagement & Curiosity
At Milton St John’s, writing is a crucial part of our curriculum. All children from Foundation Stage to Year 6 are provided with many opportunities to develop and apply their writing skills across the curriculum. Our intention is for pupils to be able to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. To be able to do this effectively, pupils will focus on developing effective transcription and composition, along with an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary, grammar and spelling. We also intend for pupils to leave school being able to use fluent and legible handwriting.
We have designed an English curriculum, with reference to the National Curriculum Programme of Study, that meets the needs of our pupils. Transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing) are the key focuses; it is essential that teaching develops pupils’ competence in these two areas. In addition, pupils are taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing.
Our English lessons are taught based around carefully selected high quality books which are rich in language from EYFS to Year 6. These texts are picture books in EYFS and KS1, and a combination of picture books and novels in KS2 enabling pupils to access longer texts. From EYFS through to KS2, the ‘Talk for Writing’ Model is used for all of the picture books to create fiction pieces, following a route map beginning with the initial hook into the story, completing word and sentence level work, story mapping the text, and then beginning to innovate and create their own versions. Non-fiction texts are taught using good examples of the text type and then through learning about the requirements of that text. The non-fiction texts are based on a combination of the picture books, novels or other curriculum areas such as Science, History and Geography. Teaching ensures that high quality models are shared and that the requirements of each different text type are made clear to allow pupils to identify these from a young age.
Spelling is taught beginning with phonics in EYFS (see Phonics Vision Statement) following the Essential Letters and Sounds Scheme where the pupils will complete the application writing task in each Phonics session. In Years 1-6, spelling tests take place on a weekly basis to ensure high standards and progress. In Year 1, these spellings are based around the phonics sound being learnt that week and in Years 2-6, the Twinkl spelling scheme is followed. Spelling is taught on a daily basis for ten minute sessions in Years 2-6 to enable pupils to be able to spell, understand and then apply the spelling set in different writing tasks.
Grammar and Punctuation are taught within the English lessons from EYFS to Year 6, (the books have been chosen especially to show grammatical features named in the National Curriculum) and in Years 5 and 6 discrete Grammar lessons also occur to encourage pupils to further develop their English understanding and writing techniques. Handwriting is taught regularly, beginning with letter formation in EYFS, leading onto pre-cursive writing in Years 1 and 2 (using Letterjoin). This then continues throughout the school as the pupils are taught a legible cursive style of handwriting.
The impact of how writing is taught at Milton St John’s is that all of our pupils make as much progress as they possibly can and grow up to be confident and articulate writers. They are able to create a variety of different text types and show a clear understanding of the features which that text includes. They will be confident and accurate spellers, have good knowledge of vocabulary and grammar and be able to write in a neat, cursive style. Pupils will also be able to enjoy the writing which they produce and feel a sense of achievement in their work with the ability to succeed in all writing lessons.
This impact will be monitored in a variety of ways:
- Regular subject monitoring, which includes book looks, learning walks, and pupil voice which are timetabled throughout the year.
- Analysis of summative Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar assessments.
- Regular writing moderation - across year groups and in MCSP.
- Pupils will be ready to write for purpose in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education and beyond.
- The % of pupils working at ARE within each year group will be at least in line with national averages.
- The % of pupils working at Greater Depth within each year group will be at least in line with national averages
- There will be no significant gaps in the progress of different groups of pupils (e.g. disadvantaged vs non-disadvantaged) as all pupils will have been provided with the tools that they need in order to make as much progress as they possibly can during their journey through our school.