Academic Year 2023-2024 - KS1 and KS2 are currently covering Cycle A on our planning
*we will be moving to single age planning from Autumn 2 2023 (see overviews below)
At Malpas Alport, our overarching aim is to equip children with the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding to communicate fluently and confidently for a range of purposes. We recognise that being able to write well is vital for a child’s prospects at school and in life. We are determined to teach every child to write regardless of social and economic circumstances, ethnicity, language spoken at home, and most special educational needs or disabilities. We aim to ensure all of our children develop a genuine love of language and the written word through taking a text-based approach to teaching writing. Children are exposed to a word-rich curriculum. Through immersion in high-quality texts, teachers identify and explicitly teach rich and varied vocabulary, providing them with the tools to become confident communicators, readers, and writers. By doing this, we aim to close the vocabulary gap for our most disadvantaged children.
It is essential that teaching develops pupils’ competence in the folllowing two dimensions. In addition, pupils should be taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing:
-transcription (spelling and handwriting)
-composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).
Carefully planned writing lessons allow our children to develop their skills, by adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes, and audiences. They are given the opportunity to apply their skills across the curriculum and they are encouraged to use language effectively to create a desired effect on the reader.
We follow a Mastery approach to English through the programme ‘Pathways to Write.’ Units of work are delivered using high quality texts and children in all year groups are given varied opportunities for writing. Skills are built up through repetition within the units, and children apply these skills in the writing activities provided. Many opportunities for widening children’s vocabulary are given through the Pathways to Write approach and this builds on the extensive work we do in school to provide our children with a rich and varied vocabulary. You will find the end of year expectations for writing, reading and spoken language for each of our year groups in the attached documents. For further detail on the skills that your children are learning on a termly basis, please contact your class teacher.
Within writing sessions, children are taught a range of skills in order for them to develop as confident writers.
Planning – Looking at real texts, children are taught different features of types of text and how to plan both orally and written.
Structure – Children are taught to write cohesively within a range of texts.
Vocabulary – Using awareness of the reader, children are taught to use a range of adventurous language.
Grammar – Children are taught to construct sentences which are grammatically correct.
Punctuation – Children are taught to use accurate and increasingly higher level punctuation including punctuation to create specific effect.
Spelling – In accordance with their age and ability, children are taught different spelling strategies to improve their writing following the Pathway to Spell programme.
Handwriting – Children are taught to form letters correctly according to the school handwriting policy.
In measuring the impact, we look for evidence that there is high quality writing throughout the school beginning with a firm foundation in EYFS. By the end of Key Stage One pupils should be able to write down their ideas with a reasonable degree of accuracy and with good sentence punctuation. Joined handwriting should be the norm; pupils should be able to use it fast enough to keep pace with what they want to say. By the end of KS2, we expect that the vast majority of our pupils are equipped with the writing skills they need to succeed at secondary school when they leave us. Pupils should be able to confidently talk about their work in writing lessons and apply age-appropriate skills and knowledge in their work. They should be willing to take risks and learn from their mistakes, showing both perseverance and resilience in develpoing their writing.
Our curriculum ethos is that children produce high-quality, extended writing each half term based on the focus text. There are opportunities for writing to be planned, drafted, redrafted, and then published as a celebration of children's achievements. We believe that if children have become knowledgeable and skilful writers then they will be able to articulate their understanding with confidence. This is why pupil voice is an important tool in assessing whether children have made progress.
Writing involves transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech, before writing) Children at the expected level of development will:
- Write recognisable letters, most of which are correctly formed;
- Spell words by identifying sounds in them and representing the sounds with a
letter or letters;
- Write simple phrases and sentences that can be read by others
Fine motor skills: hold a pencil effectively in preparation for fluent writing – using the tripod grip
in almost all cases
The books at the core of the Pathway units have been carefully selected to engage and inspire, and to provide plentiful opportunities for following the interests of pupils. The Plan, Do, Review model is followed to encourage child-initiated learning and to respond to the interests of the child, additional suggestions for which are included in each unit.
Discrete Teaching of Handwriting
At Malpas Alport, we place great importance on the discrete teaching of handwriting across all phases. In most year groups, discrete handwriting is taught daily with a clear emphasis on explicit teaching and modelling with the aim that by the end of KS2 all pupils will be able to write legibly, fluently and with increasing speed by:
- choosing which shape of a letter to use when given choices and deciding whether or not to join specific letters
- choosing the writing implement that is best suited for a task
We use ‘Read-Write-Inc’ phrases to support the teaching and learning of letter formation from EYFS. If you wish to learn more about the handwriting phrases that we use from EYFS, please see the document below.
Handwriting fluency and stamina
As a school, we would expect and aim for most children to start joining their handwriting by the time they reach KS2. There is an expectation that children develop their use cursive writing during Years 3 and Year 4, in line with the National Curriculum expectations. By Years 5 and Year 6, children are expected to be able to write legibly, with increasing speed and fluency.
For children who are struggling to develop their handwriting skills, we continue to support them with strengthening their fine motor skills and offer them a range of support and writing tools to try and develop their handwriting. In some instances, small group intervention is required to assist in the development of handwriting.
At KS2 the expectation is for children to have cursive handwriting modelled to them by their teacher during any shared writing. It is an expectation that no matter what the subject area being taught, children maintain their handwriting style and presentation.
If you have any further enquiries relating to the writing curriculum, please contact Mrs Williams (writing lead and Deputy Headteacher)