We adopt a book-based approach in the delivery of our writing curriculum at English Martyrs’ as well as a cross curricular approach, with a particular focus on our History curriculum, allowing children to explore different writing styles and genres for a range of purposes and audiences. We place great emphasis on the use of drama and talk for writing to unlock potential in writing: children deepen their understanding of characters’ perspectives, explore historical contexts and orally rehearse their writing before putting pen to paper. In this way, children engage in writing tasks that are specific and meaningful and gain an understanding of how writing skills can be applied to real life contexts. Literacy and cross curricular displays around the school demonstrate the learning journey of each class and celebrate the excellent writing the children have produced. Spelling and grammar is taught rigorously across both key stages. Children have weekly discrete spelling and grammar lessons linked to their Literacy text, and have spellings set in weekly homework and practise applying these skills in writing lessons.
Pre-cursive handwriting is taught from Reception and children progress to cursive script in Key Stage 1. Teachers model this handwriting during lessons and the cursive script is visible to children in displays around the school. Children who need additional support in spelling or handwriting are targeted in interventions that are tailored to address their specific gaps. Vocabulary is central to our writing curriculum and this is supported by our focus on an integrated reading and writing approach. High quality texts are used as a basis for writing tasks and are studied in greater depth during reading lessons, which allows children to immerse themselves completely in a given writing style or genre.
Editing is a priority for improving writing across the school and we have developed a system of self and peer-editing, which allows children to support each other in their writing journey. In order for children to make these improvements in their writing, they need a thorough knowledge of their targets, which are set through ongoing teacher assessment and are shared with children through verbal feedback and meaningful academic guidance via marking. Children are actively involved in this process through regular conferencing with teachers and Teaching Assistants.
Impact is measured through daily formative assessment that informs weekly planning and summative half termly writing assessments. Teachers upload this assessment data onto Integris and monitor progress towards National curriculum objectives as well as the progress of targeted intervention groups. Termly moderation meetings are held in school and teachers also attend cluster moderations so that writing judgements can be aligned with other schools in the Local Authority and targets for improvement identified. Throughout the term, the Senior Leadership Team carry out learning walks, observations, book looks and pupil progress meetings in order to monitor the quality of teaching and learning across the school. The outcome of these reviews is reflected in actions set out in teachers’ appraisals, the English Action Plan and as whole school targets shared with staff. End of Key Stage 2 data shows that pupils leave English Martyrs’ having made good or better progress from their starting points. They are able to write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. They acquire a rich vocabulary and have a strong command of the written word. It is clear that children leave English Martyrs’ with a love of writing and high expectations of their own abilities