At Upperby Primary School we want pupils to enjoy writing for a range of purposes and feel confident communicating their knowledge, ideas and emotions through their writing. We believe that by exposing our pupils to high quality texts, films and providing drama opportunities, our children can acquire a wide vocabulary and the understanding of how to use what they have learnt effectively in their writing. We equip our pupils with the skills they need to become skilful writers. This includes developing their understanding of a range of grammar terminology and introducing spelling patterns to enable them to become accurate and confident writers. We want our pupils to write coherently and precisely, adapting their language and style to suit the range of contexts and audiences we write for. In addition, we want our pupils to take pride in their work and strive for consistent presentation, in part through the development of a legible, joined handwriting style by the time they move to secondary school. We encourage our children to edit and refine their writing, understanding this as an important skill in the writing process. This will enable our pupils to take possession of their writing and encourage their independence throughout the writing process.
At Upperby Primary School we recognise that writing is built upon the foundations of reading and the texts that we expose our pupils to. We encourage our children to read widely and develop their reading skills so that in turn they can become confident writers.
Our writing curriculum is derived around a range of high-quality, age-appropriate texts and short films. Each stimulus is adapted by the teachers and used for a range of different writing opportunities, including drama and oracy tasks.
At EYFS, children are given a range of opportunities to explore their writing stimulus through mark marking in their continuous provision. As the children learn phonics using the Read Write Inc. approach, children are taught the correct letter formation and will begin to write words and short sentences using the sounds they are familiar with.
As children progress into Key Stage One and Key Stage Two the focus remains on high-quality stimuli and children are also taught the appropriate grammar and punctuation knowledge from the National Curriculum. Grammar is taught both discretely and alongside writing so that children can become familiar with a technique and learn how to apply it in their writing. Children will learn the features of a range of different text types which are continually revisited throughout their time at Upperby to ensure familiarity and confidence when writing for different purposes. Pupils are given time to explore a writing genre (often through discussion and drama); plan their own writing; see a modelled write; write independently; edit their work and present a finished piece of writing.
Spellings are taught according to the rules and words contained in Appendix 1 of the National Curriculum. Teachers use Spelling Shed to support their teaching of spelling and to provide activities that link with weekly spellings. Children are given spellings to learn as homework and are tested on these each week. Children are encouraged to use their learnt spellings within their writing and are taught how to use a dictionary and thesaurus to support their own spelling and word choice independently.
Cursive handwriting is taught at Upperby from Year Two. Teachers use Letterjoin to support their teaching of handwriting and children learn joining patterns progressively. Handwriting is taught in small bursts to ensure that children feel confident with the join they are learning.
We measure the impact and effectiveness of our writing curriculum in a variety of different ways. We use national and summative testing to assess pupils’ outcomes for Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling as part of the Statutory Assessment Tests (SATS for Year 6 pupils) and through termly summative assessments across school to ensure pupils’ progress can be evaluated. Additionally, pupils complete writing assessments on a half-termly basis which are assessed by teachers to inform of pupils’ next steps. Each year group (with the exception of EYFS) also completes a No More Marking assessment during the year which allows teachers to rank children’s progress and compare them nationally to other schools.