St Peter’s Church of England Middle School Writing Statement
At St Peter’s CE Middle School, our intent is for students to leave as confident, capable and independent writers who not only understand the purpose and importance of writing but also enjoy the writing process. Students are taught the importance of using their writing skills across all curriculum areas to demonstrate a clear and confident understanding of all the subjects they learn. Students should be articulate speakers, using standard English to communicate confidently.
Our curriculum builds upon previous teaching and students’ prior knowledge and ensures that each student’s needs are met. We provide students with quality literature to draw upon so that throughout the writing process they can write as a reader and read as a writer. At KS2 and KS3 we use the principles of Talk for Writing so that students can draw upon an extensive linguistic repertoire when writing.
Students develop their vocabulary and spelling skills throughout KS2 and KS3 and effectively apply spelling patterns and rules. They also have a solid understanding of grammar and apply it effectively to their writing.
Our English writing curriculum aims:
To equip students with the skills to produce interesting texts suited to purpose and audience.
To introduce students to a wide variety of text types as examples of good writing.
To ensure students use paragraphs to structure, organise and sequence their ideas.
To enable students to have the confidence to use a range of sentence structures and punctuation.
To encourage all students to use ambitious vocabulary and accurate spelling in their writing.
While writing is taught explicitly in timetabled English lessons, all subject teachers, across the whole school curriculum, embed the use of writing and literacy skills in their subjects. Students therefore incorporate all aspects of writing skills learnt in their English lessons into every subject during their time at St Peter’s.
The English units of work are carefully sequenced to ensure that prior learning of spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG) is revisited and developed. Each year group have clearly planned writing units which cover a range of genres, ensuring that children are able to write for a range of purposes and audiences.
Within the KS3 writing units, and throughout KS2, we cover:
- exploring the features of different text types;
- modelled examples (e.g. spotting features in a WAGOLL – what a good one looks like);
- shared writing (modelled expectations);
- planning, drafting, editing, redrafting;
- discrete SPaG lessons.
Some of the Talk for Writing strategies we use across KS2 and KS3 are:
- Colour coded exemplar texts to identify the particular features of different texts types
Students are able to see clearly how a text is constructed and its features differentiate it from another text type.
- Warming up the words of a unit
Through vocabulary orientated activities, students are introduced to new words which they then embed into their own writing in English and across other subjects, where relevant.
- Modelled examples
Students are given a WAGOLL – what a good one looks like – text to show them what they should be aiming for in their own writing. These examples become progressively harder as the year progresses to enable students to see how to improve their own writing.
- Shared writing
Teachers model their expectations through live writing with the class. This enables students to see how a text is constructed in real time and to talk through its construction with the teacher. Mistakes are modelled as being part of the writing process.
- Story mapping
Story mapping helps students to visualise the direction of their writing and to organise their ideas graphically. Visual representations help students to memorise the direction of their writing and to then facilitate the writing process.
Students are aware of their strengths and areas for development in writing so that they can take ownership of their progress. Teachers use diagnostic feedback, providing a WWW and EBI when marking and verbal feedback throughout their lessons, to ensure that students know exactly what they need to do to make progress. Students are supported in their lessons through careful scaffolding and targeted support to ensure that they make sustained progress. Scaffolds and other resources to support students in their writing are provided in lessons across the whole school curriculum.
Students with additional learning needs, or who are working below age-related expectations, are provided with interventions or support to help them develop their writing at a level that is matched to their individual needs. The nature of the intervention will be decided by the class teacher, the Subject Leader, and/or the Raising Achievement Leader, with support from the SENDCo.
Improving attainment in writing is a priority for all students who are not at age related expectations.
Towards the end of each term, students in KS3 produce an independent piece of writing covering a text type and incorporating aspects of SPaG which have been revised or taught up to that point. In KS2, students produce regular pieces of writing to demonstrate existing and newly acquired writing skills. Near the end of Year 6, students’ work is submitted as evidence for the SATs.
The writing curriculum is monitored by the English Subject Leader through learning walks, book looks, student conferencing and through the analysis of progress and attainment data.
Teachers conduct internal moderation sessions and scrutiny of students’ books to assess the quality of students’ writing. We also work with external moderation groups to ensure that marking of writing in KS2 for the SATs is rigorous and accurate.