Paired with our rich reading curriculum, our writing curriculum has been designed to promote flair, creativity and purpose.
We pride ourselves on being as cross curricular as possible and always ensure that our writing outcomes are purposeful by giving the children a range of real life audiences. In the past this has included, hand written poems delivered to our neighbours, letters of thanks for visiting evacuees, non-fiction texts created for the Jorvik Viking centre, letters directed to the governors and DFE, local and national competitions to be in anthologies (Monster Poetry, Ghost Stories) and even our very own published book (We Are Writers). By ensuring the writing is purposeful, we give meaning to the work that our children produce so that they can understand that, although writing can be an art form, it is also a life skill.
Vocabulary is at the heart of our writing curriculum. In Key Stage 1 a word of the week is hidden around school as a way of engaging our youngest children with the excitement of words. This progresses in Year 3 to word of the week, before becoming a daily activity for our children in Years 4 to 6. A new word, as set out by the subject lead, is shared every morning and a variety of activities are used to engage the children with this. We have found that this has led to progress and that the children actively try to use this vocabulary in their independent pieces across the curriculum.
Children are taught writing skills through analysing a range of high quality fiction and non-fiction texts including teacher produced models. Challenging texts are chosen at each stage to ensure that children have an excellent model for their own writing and that there is clear progression. This is highlighted in our Reading Spine. At Jesse Gray, we draw on a range of strategies to teach our children how to write. Each strategy has been carefully researched and trialled to ensure that it is right for our children. These strategies include, and are not limited to, Talk for Writing, Shared Writing, Slow Writing and Independent Writing. By drawing on a range of methodologies we can ensure that children are always engaged and inspired.
Grammar lessons are rarely taught in a stand-alone format, instead they are planned carefully to ensure they link to the text type being covered. This means that children understand how and why grammatical devices are used and see them in context within high quality examples.
Children are assessed formatively throughout every unit of work using our OTrack system to ensure all children are achieving our objectives. We pride ourselves on being responsive to the needs of our class and therefore always adapt our lessons and unit plans based on the constant assessments that we make. We use ‘Independent Writing’ to formally assess our children. Each unit of work builds up to an independent piece created by each child. This piece is carefully planned, drafted, edited and then published. The children take pride in their work and it is celebrated by being showcased in the classroom. All children aim for the ultimate accolade of being placed on our gallery of wonderful writers that is situated in the heart of the school.
We promote SMSC through all aspects of our English curriculum by allowing the children time to appreciate the beauty of language, exploring different perspectives, providing the opportunity to discuss a vast range of social issues and by ensuring that all children engage with texts from different cultures.
The subject leader always ensures that all staff are up to date on new research and teaching practices. Learning walks take place, alongside planning and book scrutiny to ensure that the children are receiving top quality education. Internal moderation takes place regularly and external moderations take place to ensure accuracy and so that we can learn from our peers. CPD is planned in based on assessment outcomes and the bespoke needs of each class as well as each teacher. This ensures that our CPD is responsive and purposeful.