At Ashmead Combined School, we believe that the ability to write with confidence and accuracy is an essential life skill. Writing is a complex process that draws upon more than handwriting and spelling. It is the ability to effectively communicate ideas, information and opinions in a wide range of contexts. Successful writers use different text types appropriately, matching it to audience and purpose. We aim to equip children with the skills necessary to achieve this throughout the curriculum.
Our aim is for all children at Ashmead Combined School to:
Writing at Ashmead School is taught and celebrated in a range of ways, and is taught daily across the school, across a range of subjects. We aim, wherever possible, to create cross- curricular writing opportunities, as we believe that in order for children to see themselves as successful writers they need to be involved in writing for a range of different purpose and audiences.
We follow the National Curriculum (2014), which ensures that a range of purposes and audiences are covered, through a variety of text types such as:
Children are taught the structure and writing features of each particular text type. They are taught elements of composition and effect within writing and how to apply these independently, as well as also being taught effective use of spelling, grammar and punctuation applicable to each text type.
Writing is taught in a range of ways:
The teacher talks aloud the thought processes as a writer with the children. They model strategies in front of the children, communicating the strategies being used. Teachers may model writing skills such as punctuation, proof reading, editing, word selection, sentence construction and paragraphing. This can also be used as a collaborative approach in which the pupils contribute their ideas and thoughts for the teacher to write. The teacher models and teaches specific writing skills and there is the opportunity for discussion to choose the most effective or suitable ideas.
The children work in pairs or in groups to provide the next sentence or next paragraph of the text. This may follow from the modelled or the shared writing process.
Pupil groups are needs-led and are identified through ongoing assessments. The teacher or teaching assistant works with the group on a carefully selected task appropriate to that group’s needs and targets. This may focus on a particular aspect of the writing process rather than writing a complete piece. Misconceptions, gaps in learning and common errors will be addressed through targeted group work.
Children are given opportunities to apply their understanding of the text type in their own writing. They are encouraged to plan, draft, write, edit and assess their work, applying the skills they have learnt throughout the unit of work on that particular text type. Each independent write is then assessed and contributes towards their progress and attainment.
As children progress throughout the school, they are given many opportunities to write independently at length, and to apply the skills they have learnt and practiced in shared and guided writing. Wherever possible, writing is made meaningful by being planned for a specific purpose or in response to a particular first-hand experience.
Ashmead’s writing curriculum is structured to give children a ‘reason to write’. Throughout the school, writing lessons are linked to stimulating first-hand experiences that both capture the children’s imagination and give them a rich understanding of each topic. The impact of this is that children are motivated to write, to describe their experiences and communicate them with their reader.
As they progress through the school, children’s writing covers a wide range of genres. Pupils learn to recognise the features of each genre, and to understand how and why a writer creates a particular style for a particular purpose. Grammar, punctuation and stylistic techniques taught to children are then applied in context, and children are encouraged to make links across genres, creating transferrable skills and sustained learning. As they approach the end of their writing journey, in Upper Key Stage 2, our students are skilled at adapting their writing to the purpose in hand, consciously choosing appropriate language, grammar and structural features appropriate to the task in order to express their own creativity and engage their reader.
Feedback is an integral part of the writing curriculum. Whole class feedback identifies misconceptions, celebrates successful examples and draws on the class as a whole to edit and improve. Paired work and adult feedback encourages children to check and perfect their work. Written feedback clearly identifies next steps that children can take to further improve their work. This emphasis on writing as an iterative process builds resilience and creativity in children of all abilities.
At Ashmead, witing is celebrated in many ways – not least in the displays in all common areas of the school, which showcase children’s work. These displays demonstrate to all students the high expectations that we set, encourage children to show the same level of pride and care in their work, and are a source of inspiration for all.