Clever Writers

What We Intend To Do

“"You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have."
- Maya Angelou, author and poet

We want all our pupils to develop a love of learning English through exposure to, and immersion in, rich experiences of literature at all levels. This means that we both read and encourage pupils to read widely across genres and cultures; we teach children to be curious about language and to be creative, and we teach children to explore language and to delve deeply into how language is used to create ideas, both spoken and written down.

We want all our pupils to receive a full range of opportunities to develop the key skills of English within a broad and balanced curriculum, which includes application of English across all subjects. We will do this by ensuring that teaching:
• develops a strong and systematic knowledge of phonics, which underpins both reading and writing
• makes links between phonics and spelling to support writing
• develops pupils' interest and perseverance in writing for a wide variety of purposes
• provides opportunities for pupils to become secure in using correct English language terminology
• makes links with other subjects and develops use of English across the curriculum
• enables pupils to use their skills to take pleasure in writing, speaking, and reading

How We Teach Writing

Teaching and learning takes place through high quality daily English lessons, delivered by a class teacher and supported by a classroom assistant. Additionally to specific English writing lessons, children are encouraged to seek opportunities for writing in all curriculum areas, with the same expectations of high-quality outcomes.

The time given to English each day may vary between key stages, but the usual provision is sixty minutes a day, which can be split into two sessions.
Opportunities for phonics and spelling practice are taken in daily 20-minute group sessions.

In the Early Years Foundation stage (Reception) children are given opportunities to:
• speak, listen and represent ideas in their activities
• use communication, language and literacy in every part of the curriculum
• listen to and read a range of texts
• become immersed in an environment rich in print and possibilities for communication, where mark-making opportunities are widely available

In the Early Years and Year 1, there is a greater emphasis on phonics with extra time given to develop these skills. We use Little Wandle to deliver all our phonics teaching and spelling in phonics phases 1-5. Daily sessions take place, with Little Wandle catch-up sessions implemented to support children as appropriate.
Beyond phase 5 this is also supported with the use of other high-quality phonics materials, including a whole school phonics/spelling progression document which is linked to the NC 2014. Children in Year 2 receive catch-up phonics intervention daily through the Little Wandle programme.
Spelling lists (from English Appendix 1) are shared with parents and spelling is taught daily, either integrated into lessons or discreetly, depending on need. Spelling tests are given regularly to assess progress and to find any gaps.
Throughout the school a variety of teaching and learning practices for English writing are adopted, which include:
• identifying pupils' misconceptions and valuing their mistakes as starting points for learning
• giving time for pupils to think and valuing their oral contributions
• fostering an ethos in which all children feel they can contribute
• high expectations

Our classroom practice will include:
• ‘I am a Clever Writer’ approach used throughout the school to practise and develop written skills
• use of high-quality picture books and other rich texts as starting points for interest and modelling
• discussions with pupils of their success criteria for meeting objectives
• linking writing to a topic or a purpose in the 'real' world
• children working individually on a task, in pairs or in small groups
• where on occasions appropriate, differentiated tasks assessed throughout lessons, to meet specific needs of individual pupils
• an emphasis on the correct use of grammatical language supported by key vocabulary being displayed
• appropriately demanding tasks where children are encouraged to value and see their mistakes as being an opportunity for clarity and improvement
• working walls, displays and resources
To support good practice, all classrooms will have:
• stage-appropriate prompt cards, resources and pictorial representations, available for daily use
• English vocabulary displayed so that children can use this in the communication of their understanding
• a working wall for developing current understanding during lesson time
• displays that encourage a positive attitude and enthusiasm towards English writing for all groups of children

The English curriculum at Sherborne is delivered using the National Curriculum (2014) and the EYFS follows the Statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, 2021.

How We Know Children Are Learning Well

The impact of teaching and learning English writing is shown through confident writers who enjoy all aspects of English and who demonstrate excellence in their attitudes to writing, speaking and reading.
To recognise and assess this impact we:
• set annual targets for children’s progression and attainment as part of performance management
• use 3 x termly staff moderation of writing, cross-school moderation, pupil conferencing, book-looks, informal discussions, data tracking, planning scrutinies and assessment portfolios

The English subject leader will monitor standards through all of the above.
Three times a year (before Christmas, Easter and then end of the Summer Term), teachers make formal judgements of the children's attainment and progress in English Reading. This is submitted to the Headteacher for review. A meeting takes places following this, where children in need of support over the next twelve weeks are identified.

In the EYFS a formal Baseline Assessment is made in September and reported assessments are carried out in September, May and July. Ongoing English assessment in EYFS is recorded and shared with parents via Tapestry online journal.

At the end of Year 1 the children sit the Phonics Screening Test and those who do not pass re-sit the paper at the end of Year 2. Statutory tests are taken at the end of Key Stage 1 and 2, during May, and reported to the LA and DfE to monitor attainment and progress made.