At St Ann’s Heath, we love writing! We strive for all children to be able to write with confidence and accuracy for a range of purposes and for different audiences. We believe that linking our writing to high quality texts accessed by the whole class provides an excellent basis for the content of written tasks and is the most effective way to encourage children to utilise a range of ambitious vocabulary, grammar and sentence structures in their own work.
Each year group teaches a range of exciting and engaging topics which cover fiction, non-fiction and poetry all linked to the overarching creative curriculum. Some of our lessons consist of experience days or ‘wow days' which unlock the children's creativity. We tailor our planning carefully to suit the needs of the children ensuring they will be taught a range of grammar, sentence structure and word/vocabulary skills which they will learn how to apply this to their writing.
At St Ann’s Heath we aim for children to be competent and accurate spellers who are able to spell age-related spellings. Through progressive teaching which builds on prior KS1 learning, children are taught to apply spelling rules outlined in the National Curriculum.
Writing is central to our creative curriculum and therefore writing tasks are linked to each unit of learning. Within a unit of work, we provide at least three writing lessons and one grammar focused lesson per week. Where possible, grammar is integrated within lessons but we fully understand that for some elements to be taught most effectively, it is best for them to be taught discretely. Across the school, lessons are taught in mixed ability classes, with work differentiated to support and challenge children of all abilities to ensure that learning is pitched at each child’s level.
A ‘cold task’ is completed near the beginning of each unit of learning which provides a baseline assessment for the children’s writing and grammar skills. Year group teams then work together to produce a skeleton plan ensuring grammar, reading and writing skills are selected with the purpose and audience of the writing in mind and planned for progressively across the unit. The link below shows the progression of grammar skills across the school while the second link shows the progression of writing genres across the school. Each unit of learning finishes with a ‘hot task’ which provides children with an opportunity to showcase all they have learnt in each unit of learning. Children are given opportunities throughout each unit to rehearse editing skills.
Once a ‘hot task’ is complete, teaching staff assess each child’s writing on the appropriate writing assessment grid. Teaching staff in each year group then moderate at least three pieces of writing from each class. Half termly, teaching staff are given time in CPD meetings to moderate writing across the school and once yearly we meet with teaching staff at NRLP5 schools to externally moderate writing.
Once a half term, children select one piece of writing to publish in their ‘star writing’ books. These books will remain with children throughout their time at St Ann’s Heath and not only aim to showcase work the children are most proud of, but also show progression of children’s writing from year 3 to year 6.
Across the school, spelling is taught for twenty minutes per day. Each week, a different spelling rule is the focus of the five sessions which follow this structure: pre-test, introduce, practise, apply, revisit. Teachers use Rising Stars as the main resource for planning spelling which ensures skills are progressive both throughout the year group and across the school.
In order to consolidate phonics teaching from KS1, year 3 revise phase 5 phonics using Phonics Play resources.