Mount Stewart believe that writing is a key skill for life both inside and out of education, and that is why it features all the subjects taught across our school. We aim to provide children with key transferrable writing skills to build on year on year that can be used throughout each phase of their education and prepare them for secondary school.
Teaching children to write for various purposes and audiences can be very exciting, especially here at Mount Stewart. We provide children with a range of engaging hooks to capture their imagination. We aim to provide the children with varied reasons for writing and believe that this not only produces higher quality writing but allows our learners to apply their skills to a range of different contexts.
Writing across all subject areas will prepare our children for high school and the more in-depth approach to analysing, planning and innovating their writing.
Oracy is prioritised in our writing curriculum to build vocabulary for all learners and increase understanding of trickier texts used across our curriculum. Discussion, questioning, and learning texts with actions increase understanding and prepare our children with the tools they need to succeed in their writing. Our aim is for ALL learners to achieve their full potential in writing, and we are committed to providing the scaffolds and challenges needed for our children to achieve this.
Children receive a one-hour Literacy lesson daily and are exposed to age-related expectations for writing within various texts. Writing and reading are closely linked, and we ensure that children are reading daily to build on their knowledge of different writing genres and develop their vocabulary. All classes use a Talk4Writing structure to plan writing units, which encourages plenty of oracy – this means discussion, questioning, imitating and learning texts, and actions rich with key skills.
A high standard of joined, cursive handwriting is modelled across school and children are encouraged to imitate this. Handwriting is taught and practised regularly in separate books but is expected to be evidenced throughout all work produced.
Teachers demonstrate high-quality modelling within each Literacy lesson. Teachers encourage children to include key vocabulary (linked to their concept and essential question), structure their work appropriately into coherent paragraphs and use the grammatical skills and punctuation taught at their year group level.
A WAGOLL (What a good one looks like) is used as an example of success at the start of each unit of work, which provides children with an end goal. Children are encouraged to use this as a structure and innovate their writing to make it their own. They do this through the use of a boxing-up sheet (planning proforma) used within each unit. Teachers ensure that the standard of writing in the WAGOLL reflects the age-related outcomes for each specific year group.
Mount Stewart intends to develop writing as a transferrable skill across all subjects taught in the curriculum. We, therefore, immerse children in half-termly History/Geography themed units and encourage cross-curricular links. We aim to provide engaging writing hooks linked to each termly topic to give children an audience and purpose for writing. Children are expected to transfer their key knowledge and tiered vocabulary into their writing and vice versa to transfer their spelling, grammar and punctuation knowledge into their topic work. We expect the high standards for writing in Literacy lessons to be evident in all books' work.
Children are encouraged to deconstruct texts and identify key features for specific genres of writing. Teachers model the practising of these skills, and children then apply them to their writing. We believe this ability to identify specific features is a key skill across both reading and writing and will improve comprehension in children. As a school, we ensure that genres of writing studied run alongside the learning taking place in Enlivening Reading so that children are fully immersed in the text type.
Mount Stewart ensures that children are aware of their strengths and areas for development in writing so that learners can take ownership of their progress. Teachers leave the next steps in books when marking to ensure that children know exactly what they need to do next to make progress in their writing and children are encouraged to respond to this in purple pen. We ensure that ALL learners are given the next steps and that scaffolds and challenges are put in place for those children working below or above age-related outcomes.
Children identified as not achieving age-related outcomes and/or those on the SEN register may be assessed against the outcomes for the year group below. Daily interventions/support may be put in place to accelerate writing skills in this case. The teacher and the SENDCO/Inclusion Team will decide the nature of the intervention. Class support may include small group work with an adult during lessons to pre-teach vocabulary or model key skills, scaffolds created by the teacher to assist with completing work, and word banks/sentence openers provided to assist the child when writing.
Assessment in writing is ongoing as teachers carry out an in-depth assessment of children's writing at the end of each unit and highlight the age-related outcomes that have been achieved.
Children are tested termly on spelling, grammar and punctuation knowledge (Rising Stars Assessments) and this data is used to inform the next steps for writing.
Herts for Learning Easy Tracking Assessment System is used to analyse gaps in children's knowledge and overview specific groups of children across the school.
Progress across classes is closely monitored by the subject leader and senior leadership team. Monitoring will include: regular book looks, lesson observations, gathering evidence of good practice, pupil voice interviews, looking at data on Herts for Learning Easy Tracking and regular learning walks.
The findings of this monitoring will inform the next steps for the children and the implementation of writing across the school as a whole.