At Tushingham Primary School, we want to prepare children with the essential writing skills that they will need for later life. Through our teaching of writing, we intend to give all children an opportunity to develop their knowledge, understanding and skills through our engaging and stimulating text-based units of work. We aim for children to be able to write for a real purpose and audience across a range of subjects. We want children to feel confident to express themselves and their ideas through writing and we value, promote and support individual creativity throughout the writing process.
As with reading, we promote a 'phonics first' approach when children are learning to write in EYFS and Year 1. During these lessons, children begin to write simple words, captions and sentences. Alongside this, we follow a whole school (EYFS to year 6) mastery approach to writing, delivered through our Pathways to Write units. Pathways to Write is a proven methodology, built around ambitious units of work, which develop vocabulary, reading and writing skills using carefully selected books. The high quality texts and innovative writing activities enable children to become literate and knowledgeable, whilst developing their understanding of writing for a purpose.
Within each unit, children master skills through a variety of writing opportunities. Children begin each new unit with the skills from the previous unit (gateways keys) and they then build on these with specific skills that relate to the particular genre of writing that each new unit is teaching (feature skills). The skills are progressive throughout each half termly unit and they work towards the National Curriculum end of year expectations. These are known as mastery keys. These skills are then built on in each subsequent year group. Rich talk and discussions are planned in regularly and these give children an opportunity to use new vocabulary in context, which then filters through to their writing.
A progressive scheme for handwriting, beginning in phase 2 of Unlocking Letters and Sounds and progressing into cursive handwriting in Key stage 1, ensures that children develop the technical skills needed to write clearly, freeing the cognitive space for them to focus on the content of their work.
Pathways to Spell
To fully complement our Pathways to Write units, we also use Pathways to Spell units. This innovative and engaging programme fascinates children about words. These are a series of short, engaging and stimulating spelling lessons which follow a Review, Explain, Practise, Apply and Reflect model. Within the units, there is an important review cycle of objectives, covering the whole curriculum. This ensures gaps in learning are constantly revisited and teachers can therefore adapt their practice, when necessary.
We acknowledge that writing can be challenging for many children, and therefore any children that are not meeting age-related expectations are identified early and are given targeted support both in and out of writing lessons, in order to bridge any gaps in learning.
For all children, but particularly for children with SEND, there is a strong focus on learning in writing being underpinned with opportunities to talk and shape ideas, internalise sentences and stories and examine the features of model texts.
By following the Pathways to Write units of work, we have a clear, progressive and sequential writing curriculum. Children are taught to write coherently, adapting their language and style for a variety of genres, and whenever possible, writing has a real purpose and audience. Children are now successfully implementing their spelling strategies within lessons and applying it to their independent writing. Children are given time make improvements to their work by revisiting and editing work before they publish it. This motivates our children to produce high quality pieces and helps them communicate their ideas with thought and pride.
Outcomes of work in both literacy and topic books evidence the high quality of writing and the variety of writing opportunities. Children achieve highly in the phonics screening check, and at the end of the EYFS. Attainment at the end of KS2 is above the National Average.
The English subject leader regularly accesses professional development courses and disseminates information to teachers. This ensures that all members of staff who deliver the Pathways to Write sessions teach confidently.
You will find the end of year expectations for writing and spelling for each of our year groups in the attached documents. A more detailed document with the progression of skills is help in school.