Writing~Transcription and Composition
"I kept always two books in my pocket, one to read, one to write in."
~Robert Louis Stevenson~
Writing is an integral part of our school curriculum. Teachers use the National Curriculum to devise long term plans. Careful consideration is given to the sequence of the curriculum and ways in which the lessons build towards a piece of extended writing which showcases pupils’ acquired knowledge, skills and understanding. This extended and incidental approach to writing encourages enjoyment through fast, fun-filled activities.High quality texts are chosen based on current year group themes, including a coverage of poetry, classics and non-fiction. Text immersion, experiences, frequent incidental writing, gathering ideas, drama and oral rehearsal are all approaches used prior to extended writing. It is our intention that our pupils learn how to understand the relationships between words, word meaning, implied meaning and figurative language within writing lessons. In KS2, not only do we teach 5 discreet grammar lessons and 5 discreet spelling lessons across a two week programme, we also interweave our teaching of grammar throughout our English units. As a school, we feel that this is the best approach to ensure that pupils are provided with the opportunity to apply the knowledge of grammatical structures and terms to their own writing. Our planning overview therefore ensures teachers cover a range of genres over the course of the year and weave the teaching of grammar and punctuation into each unit of work. We believe that being able to use neat, legible and joined (for some pupils by the end of KS1 and for others into KS2) handwriting is an important skill. A consistently high standard of writing is expected in order to foster a sense of pride and respect in work across the curriculum. Handwriting needs to become an automatic process, allowing children to record their thinking fluently and legibly. This gives children a means to communicate their thoughts and ideas efficiently. Cursive handwriting also helps children to learn and remember spelling patterns. Skills of transcription and composition from English lessons are also applied across other curriculum subjects.
Our English curriculum is based around a sequence of high-quality age-appropriate texts. We use each book to create opportunities to develop reading fluency and comprehension with a focus on key reading strategies and skills. Not only that, our sequence of lessons allows children to develop their grammar and punctuation knowledge and understanding to use and apply it across the wider curriculum. In Reception and KS1, we explicitly teach RWInc grammar and spelling element and in KS2 we explicitly teach from No Nonsense Spelling and No Nonsense Grammar.
Whilst focusing on Reading and GPS skills, the children are also provided with plentiful opportunities to:
- explore the writing structure and features of different genres
- identify the purpose and audience
- plan and draft a piece of writing with a clear context and purpose before evaluating the effectiveness of writing by editing and proofreading.
- apply their handwriting as it becomes an automatic process that does not interfere with children’s creative thinking.
At Ursuline, we believe that writing is strengthened by instilling a love for reading within our pupils. We value the importance of reading to supplement writing, providing both purpose and context. We believe that pupils who are provided with a reason for writing demonstrate flair and effective writing composition, leading to high quality outcomes. We study high-quality texts and our writing opportunities are derived from this. Our children are taught to develop an understanding of the texts through reading comprehension – exploring the key themes, events, and plots of the texts being studied. From this element of the curriculum, grammar objectives are cleverly interweaved linking closely to the genre being studied. Pupils are supported within lessons and staff model how to write a high-quality piece of work. This enables children to understand how to use the skills that they have been taught in the lessons, building up to an extended piece of independent writing. During each unit of work, children are taught the knowledge and skills that they will need in order to meet the objectives for that unit. They have frequent opportunities to practise grammar, punctuation and spelling. At the end of the unit, they are given the chance to show their knowledge and skills in an independent piece of writing. This involves children planning, drafting, editing and proofreading their writing. We recognise the importance of drafting and editing to ensure writing is fit for purpose and is of the highest quality. Younger or less able children will need more adult support at this stage of the writing process. As children become familiar with the process, they gain the skills to plan, draft, edit and proofread independently. Teachers encourage children to read their work aloud to ensure that their use of punctuation is accurate. Children are encouraged to play around with the order of the sentences and to develop their use of spellings and further their language acquisition with use of a dictionary and a thesaurus. Teachers assess children’s writing against objectives linked to the National Curriculum for each year group. Teachers give feedback to children on writing composition and transcription. This can be done verbally or in writing in line with our marking policy. Our English working walls show the process of each unit and pupils are encouraged to interact with them as a point of reference for their writing. Published pieces of writing are celebrated in displays on resource areas. This ensures the children get to see themselves as authors. Spelling patterns and statutory spellings are also visible in classrooms. The pupils' quality of writing should be the same across all areas of the curriculum and we monitor cross-curricular writing.
We measure the effectiveness and impact of our English Writing curriculum in a variety of different ways. Throughout each unit of work, teachers informally assess children’s writing and give feedback to help them to make progress both with transcription and composition skills. (Monitoring of children’s handwriting is continually undertaken by the class teacher and interventions put in place where necessary. This ensures high standards and consistency across year groups and subjects). At the end of each term, the class teacher assesses the children’s writing against the National Curriculum year group expectations and a judgement is recorded on the school's tracking system. SLT and the English Team monitor children’s progress in writing. This can be done through discussions with teachers and pupils, book scrutinies and lesson observations or drop-ins. Feedback is given to share strengths and any areas for development. Children’s progress in writing is also monitored by class teachers and discussed with the SLT in termly pupil progress meetings. Assessment of writing is reported to children’s parents /carers at parents’/carers'evenings as their progress is discussed. A summative report is given to parents in the child’s annual report. Class teachers meet with colleagues in school to moderate teacher assessment of writing to ensure consistency of standards throughout the school. Moderation of writing sessions with colleagues from schools across our authority further ensures our consistency of standards.