We recognise that English is a subject in its own right but also the medium for teaching and learning across the whole curriculum. The children’s skills in writing enable them to communicate and express themselves in all areas of their learning in school. Our learning is structured, balanced and follows the National Curriculum (2014) for KS1 and the statutory Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum. Early Years also use Development Matters framework (2021). It allows children to deepen their understanding through progressive learning where appropriate. Objectives are made clear to the children in order to inform them of the expectations and the reasons for engaging in their learning.
At Walmley Infant School we use a variety of teaching and learning styles in our writing lessons. The National Curriculum Programmes of study in English and the EYFS requirements are used when planning units of work. Each year group is responsible for ensuring full coverage of the National Curriculum/EYFS Curriculum. A variety of genres are introduced and taught. Children are encouraged to identify key aspects of each type of writing. English plans are displayed in the classroom and are updated weekly during Year Group PPA. Planning is a skills-based journey of learning which is regularly adapted to meet the individual needs of the children.
In Nursery, children will work to develop their gross motor skills alongside being encouraged to make marks during independent activities and during teacher focused activities. Children are encouraged to feel confident about mark making. When children are ready, they are taught to write their names.
In Reception children continue to be encouraged to make marks and experiment with writing for themselves through personal writing symbols and conventional script and write in a variety of learning situations throughout the environment. The writing process is taught in small groups led by a teacher/T.A. where children practise word, caption and sentence level writing. Children use sound mats which are closely linked to phonics and allow children to use and apply what they already know.
Children are given a variety of mark-making tools and opportunities to experiment with them e.g. chalks, brushes of different sizes, whiteboards and pens, paints, pens, felt-tips, pencils.
Independent opportunities for writing are provided on a daily basis e.g. role play /outdoors / labels for models to be saved.
In Key Stage One written models and live modelling scaffold writing while also setting high expectations and challenge for the children. There is an understanding that children need a reason to write. A range of sentences are demonstrated for the children such as questions, statements and exclamations so that children learn the purpose of each. The teacher and teaching assistant facilitate a good pace, support pupils, clarify misconceptions/difficulties, assess the learning taking place and identify areas for future teaching. Lessons will contain mini-plenaries and a plenary to provide opportunities to evaluate what has been learnt and success criteria will be reviewed to address any misconceptions. Children will be given opportunities to peer assess and identify areas for future learning as appropriate. This enables children to build ideas and learn from each other before independent application of writing skills. Vocabulary, grammar and punctuation skills are threaded throughout each piece of writing.
Writing pedagogs are used in KS1 for children to self-assess to identify the success criteria they are able to use and children are given time to reflect on those which they need to focus on in the next piece. Opportunities are given for collaborative learning including shared writing and evaluating to allow children to rehearse and elaborate their writing with others.
Meeting the Need of all Learners
Throughout school there are children with extremes of skills and children who have had a wide variety of experiences before they come to school. Our school aims to provide the children with stimulating and challenging activities which cater for the wide range of abilities throughout our school:
- All children will experience success. Children may be participating in a common task, carefully chosen to be manageable for children with a variety of both special education needs and those who are More Able and Talented or be undertaking a common task, with a specific group of children being given guidance by the teacher whilst other groups work independently.
- Use of questioning throughout a lesson to assess and review learning in order to challenge and support all learners.
- Valuing children’s own self and peer assessments in order to assist learning.
- Judging learners’ understanding with accuracy and using this to inform future learning opportunities and planning: through the use of success criteria, self and peer assessment, questioning, prior knowledge assessments as well as subject specific assessment procedures
- Identifying where a learner is, and provide necessary stimulus to ensure that learners recognise and accept the next stage of learning
- Having high expectations and using personal and social targets (linked to the Behaviour Policy) to motivate all learners to achieve to their full potential.