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Spa Academy Askern

Spa Academy Askern

Writing

Curriculum Intent
Spa Academy Children reading

In ensuring that ‘Better Never Stops’, our English curriculum aims to ensure that:

  • Our pupils grow to be individuals that habitually read widely, both for pleasure and for information, as a result of teaching practices that ensures ‘every child can’.
  • Pupils become confident, articulate speakers, enjoying the opportunity to, and are able to, speak, perform, present and debate confidently so that they are equipped with the skills for their future careers/employment.
  • Pupils appreciate our rich and varied literacy heritage.
  • Pupils are engaged, confident and able writers – writing clearly, accurately and coherently for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences – so that they are equipped with the writing skills for a range of situations they may encounter in their later lives.
  • Pupils are resilient writers, constantly editing and improving their work in aspiring to better themselves as learners so that they can build the skills of reflection, creativity and perseverance.
  • Pupils take pride in their handwriting as a result of perseverance and stamina.

Cultural Capital 

At Spa, our curriculum aims to equip pupils with the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. 

It is the essential knowledge that pupils need to be educated citizens, introducing them to the best that has been thought and said and helping to engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.

 

COVID-19

As a school, it is important our curriculum evolves to take account of how the pandemic may have led to gaps in pupils’ knowledge, learning delays and a wider range of starting points. In writing this includes:

Identified Barrier Action
Pupils' handwriting has been variably impacted by prolonged periods of remote education. The profile of handwriting has been raised considerably since pupils' return. Pupils in Year 3 & 4 are supported through enhanced handwriting provision in all writing sessions. 
There are some gaps in pupils' knowledge of punctuation and grammar Increased revisiting of the knowledge and skills that have been identified as most important as pupils return to school.

 

Curriculum Implementation

In designing our curriculum, it is Spa's aim that our curriculum is coherently planned and sequenced towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning. We regularly review our curriculum to enhance the way in which, over the course of study, teaching is designed to help pupils to remember long term the content they have been taught and to integrate new knowledge into larger ideas.

Curriculum Design

  • So that pupils begin a writing sequence with knowledge of the genre, our reading curriculum, in Years 4 - 6, is sequenced purposefully to familiarise pupils with the genre they will be writing next through reading lessons in the weeks prior to their writing unit on this.
  • Link texts in reading sessions, in the weeks prior to a writing unit, are sequenced and planned to introduce subject-specific content, knowledge and vocabulary that will be required for future writing units - building the confidence of pupils.
  • Across year groups, our Literature-Led Curriculum is sequenced so that vocabulary and language is built up over time. For example, in Autumn term, pupils in Year 5, writing a rainforest setting description based on 'The Explorer' will be able to draw on their background knowledge and vocabulary from studying The Boy Who Biked the World in Year 4 and 'The Great Kopoke Tree' in Year 3. Similarly, pupils in Year 6, when writing for The Arrival (an abstract exploration of refugees) will be able to draw on their prior knowledge of concepts and vocabulary previously covered in Year 5's study of The Boy at the Back of the Class and Year 4's study of The Journey.

 

Teaching Sequence

We have designed our teaching sequence to help pupils to remember long term the content they have been taught and to integrate new knowledge into larger ideas.

Below is the sequence that is followed when teaching writing:

Explore

Pupils are given a real purpose for their writing. The purpose and audience are made clear and are the cornerstones of each writing sequence. The EXPLORE stage of Spa's writing sequence gathers the key subject-specific knowledge that pupils require to be able to write with confidence. This stage of the sequence focuses on immersing pupils in a wide-range of vocabulary and language that can be applied to the text. 

Plan

With the purpose and audience constantly being revisited, the teacher models planning the text. This will focus on both structural features as well as the logical organisation of ideas, manipulating these based around the desired purpose and audience. Pupils will then construct their own plan.

For our younger pupils, those with SEND or those that struggle with sentence construction, this stage is focused on creating accurate single-clause sentences (for later manipulation in the 'write' stage. Older pupils, or those that are confident in their sentence construction, will use this stage to focus more on the content and sequencing of ideas.

Write

In this stage of the sequence, staff model-write as 'expert writers'. Focused on using and manipulating grammar and punctuation to achieve the purpose and with the audience constantly in mind. Punctuation and grammar is taught through the context of the genre being studied. Pupils apply this to their own independent writing in this stage. 

Revise & Edit

Modelled by staff, this stage of every writing sequence focuses on revising and editing based on teachers' assessments of pupils' writing. Revision and editing sessions are designed around the needs of the whole-class, groups and individual pupils.

Publish

Throughout Spa, we strive to achieve an "ethic of excellence". Pupils publish their writing, focused on any final revisions/edits to be made and to 'publish' their work to achieve their purpose. This aims to build confidence, reflectiveness and pride in our pupils.

 

Progression

We have clearly defined the progressive and cumulative end points for the end of each year group in writing:

 

How is writing assessed?

A range of formative and summative assessment strategies are used to assess writing and inform teaching and curriculum planning.

Formative Summative

Checking for understanding through a lesson and writing sequence takes the form of:

  • Observations of pupils
  • Me/We/You as a staggered approach allows the teacher to determine whether a pupil is ready to move from guided to independent practice. 
  • Questioning to gauge understanding
  • Live feedback
  • Individual/group/whole-class feedback based around common errors and areas for improvement.

Writing is assessed at the end of a unit to determine the degree to which key skills should be revisited with the class/groups. 

Writing is assessed summatively by identifying pupils' gaps against the progression framework (above). This allows for the content of teaching to be designed based around the needs of pupils.

   

How does writing support pupil's reading?

Spa's aim is that the teaching of writing contributes to supporting pupils' reading by:

  • Being an integral part of the Literature-Led Curriculum, providing exciting and engaging writing opportunities based around Spa's literature spine. 
  • Giving pupils the opportunity to apply the vocabulary and knowledge from their current and previous novels to a range of writing opportunities. 
  • Developing pupil's awareness of how authors create an impact on the reader, through deconstructing model texts. In turn, our writing curriculum gives pupils the opportunity to become authors themselves. 
  • Develop pupil's fluency through the reading of model texts. 

SEND

  • The writing curriculum is adapted for pupils with SEND. The writing progression provides staff with a framework to effectively scaffold and challenge pupils to secure the knowledge and skills. 
  • Additional interventions, such as Read Write Inc. Fresh Start (Writing), provide further support and practice of core skills, such as orally rehearsing sentences, proof-reading and spelling. 

 

Curriculum Impact

We are excited to soon share with you examples of pupils' portfolio pieces.

 

Curriculum Leadership

   
Strategic English Lead Jack Wardle (Assistant Headteacher)
Writing Leader Kathryn Parkin (Class Teacher)

If you would like to find out more about Writing at Spa, please contact us via the main office.