Writing at Birchfield Primary School
We have been working hard to develop how writing is taught at Birchfield Primary School. We want all our pupils to be independent and creative writers who enjoy writing. We have been working on spelling and handwriting to ensure children become coherent writers with good solid foundations.
The process of writing begins in the Foundation Stage. Children complete ‘Squiggle whilst you wiggle’ and ‘Dough Disco’, these develop children’s gross and fine motor skills which will help with their pencil grip. When a child can pick up a pencil, they begin the journey of developing their skills and ability to confidently mark make and begin to write about a variety of experiences. Writing is actively encouraged in the areas of provision and is also a weekly task supported by the adults in small groups.
Pupils should be taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing through our writing process (this is new and currently being embedded). Teachers plan writing linked to a novel, experience or topic theme. This helps children to access the writing and makes writing a relevant learning experience for pupils.
We using writing for purpose and in EYFS and KS1 they write ‘to entertain’ and ‘to inform’, as children move through to KS2 they then begin writing ‘to discuss’ and ‘to persuade’. Within these different purposes the children complete different genres of writing. A process is followed whereby a build-up series of tasks are planned, the children then complete a first draft. The teacher uses this as an assessment piece to inform future planning. The children to then compose a final written piece. This could involve drama or role-play, grammar focused tasks, ideas gathering, short paragraphs and shared writing. We celebrate final pieces across school in different ways.
Writing down ideas fluently depends on effective transcription: that is, on spelling quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics) and understanding the morphology (word structure) and orthography (spelling structure) of words. A rigorous plan is followed for the teaching of spelling (No-nonsense). This promotes phonetic spelling and then the teaching of the National Curriculum spelling rules. Alongside this each year group learn common exception words to build up a bank of spellings which are built upon year on year.
Effective composition involves forming, articulating and communicating ideas, and then organising them coherently for a reader. This requires clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. Writing also depends on fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy handwriting. Teachers also follow a process for handwriting (Penpals) which begins with the teaching of the letter families and then develops into the joining of handwriting (from Year 2 onwards or whenever the child is ready) in a specific order.