Writing at the Hythe
During English lessons at The Hythe, children are exposed to a variety of texts and genres. At our school, we now think in terms of ‘writing purposes’, of which we have four: Writing to Inform, Writing to Entertain, Writing to Persuade and Writing to Discuss. The number of writing purposes children encounter increases as they move through the school. Our Early Years and KS1 pupils focus on Writing to Inform and Entertain primarily, with an introduction to Persuasion in Years 1 and 2. Learning to Persuade is added in Years 3 and 4, and children study all four purposes in Years 5 and 6.
In EYFS, KS1 and in the Harbour Centre, our pupils follow a Talk for Writing approach, to secure language skills and broaden vocabulary in order to develop writing skills. There is a focus on a fiction text, followed by a non-fiction text every half term.
In KS2, our long-term plan sees teachers focusing on the same writing purpose for the whole half term, which is essential as it allows key skills to be mastered over a longer period of time. Texts have been selected to ensure clear links can be made with foundation subjects and writing skills can be further developed in a cross curricular way. The curriculum provides challenges for all children, including SEND and disadvantaged pupils that allows them to become increasingly confident and independent learners.
We aim to promote a love of reading for our children and recognise that reading impacts positively upon the quality of writing produced. Pupils have opportunities to express their own understanding of what they read and learn about, as well as ask questions to clarify their understanding. Children develop secure phonetic knowledge that leads them into becoming fluent readers who read from a variety of texts for pleasure.
- In Early Years and Keystage 1 teachers use a Talk for Writing approach to plan 3 week units of work based on high quality texts. Through oral rehearsal, drama and highly supported planning children are able to write their own imitation and invention texts.
- In Keystage 2 we follow a spiralling curriculum where children write for 4 purposes- to entertain, to inform, to discuss and to persuade. As children progress through the year groups they develop and refine new skills to apply to these purposes.
- Writing opportunities are planned into all foundation subjects to give children the opportunity to apply their writing skills.
- Each year group takes part in a No More Marking task once a year which gives a comparative judgement against other children in the country.
- All classes have a selection of high quality texts selected for them to use as part of their writing curriculum. These are updated annually to ensure they remain relevant and engaging.
- The Nelson Handwriting scheme is used to teach handwriting across the school. Keystage 1 exercise books have handwriting lines to support children in the early stages of cursive writing.
The Writing curriculum is evaluated through:
- End of Keystage Moderation both internal, cross school and LA
- End of year assessment data
- Book looks
Teaching and learning is evaluated by learning walks, drop-ins, moderation sessions, pupil interviews and work scrutinies.
Internal moderations are carried out 3 times a year unless teachers wish to moderate with the English lead more frequently.
External moderations are carried out once a year with learning partnership schools. The analysis of this is used to identify areas of development and any children who are not making expected progress.
KS1 outcomes were moderated by external moderators in 2019. The moderator summarised that there was a wide range of evidence used to form judgements of writing and that these were fully in line with the KS1 framework. Teachers showed good knowledge of the children and there was support for parents in the reading records.
Teachers use a variety of formative assessments (NMM, Rainbow Writes, GAPs tests) to support their teacher judgements. Through daily teaching, teachers regularly make informal assessments that inform their future planning and additional support is put in place where a need is identified. Children are able to write across different genres and can apply their writing skills across different subjects. Pupil progress meetings are held regularly to discuss progress and attainment for all pupils and groups in reading and writing.
The school has a high level of focus on developing early reading skills with phonics and reading sessions prioritised in Early Years and Key Stage One classes. During these sessions, teachers are regularly assessing children’s understanding to inform their future planning. All children are heard to read regularly and additional reading sessions are assigned when children are identified as in need of support. This helps to quickly close any gaps and move their learning on, in line with children of their age. Formal assessments (Benchmarking, PiRA, Phonics Screening, KS1 and 2 SATS) are used to support teacher judgements.
By the end of Key Stage Two, pupils have made good progress from their starting points and are well prepared for the next stage of their learning. Pupils with SEND and disadvantaged pupils are well supported in class and additional resources are in place to support them where necessary.