At Gravel Hill, we endeavor to create a love for literacy. We want every child to leave the school with the skills of a confident writer who:
- Has the ability to write clearly, accurately and coherently
- Has effective transcription skills in that they can write accurately (spelling), fluently, legibly and with speed
- Thinks carefully about their language, structure and style choices to suit a range of contexts, purposes and audiences (composition)
- Are competent at speaking and listening, being able to elaborate and explain their understanding and ideas clearly
- Has a wide vocabulary and a firm understanding of grammar for reading, writing and oracy.
Re-reads, edits and improves their writing to ensure each written piece is the best of their ability
Teaching approach: Throughout their time at Gravel Hill, children develop their skills by exploring a whole range of different genres and a variety of Power of Reading texts. Teaching focusses on exploring a range of model texts and using these to guide them through the Talk for Writing process (Imitation, Innovation, Invention).
Planning process: The starting point for most units will be a model text in which pupils can identify the key structures, vocabulary and grammatical features that may be used within a particular piece. Key writing techniques are then explored to ensure pupils develop a strong understanding of these in isolation before creating an extended piece of writing that aims to include these features. Wherever possible, teachers aim to link their extended writing pieces with other subjects in the curriculum for that half term, giving the writing additional purpose. Teachers aim to provide real life contexts for writing, ensuring children write with purpose and meaning, promoting writing for pleasure and enjoyment.
- Overviews and progression: Unit overviews stating the main text, purpose, genre and national curriculum learning intentions have been created for teachers to plan from, ensuring year on year progression and coverage of the skills and genres needed in each year group. Each unit comes with at least one quality power of reading text which is used as a stimulus for writing. Children explore texts in terms of their content, theme, vocabulary, grammar and author’s choices and style. These hand-picked texts help to ensure children are exposed to age-appropriate spiritual, moral, social and cultural issues which are discussed and built upon throughout the units.
- SPaG: Spelling patterns are taught discretely for the first 5 – 10 minutes of each English lessons. Teachers use Collins spelling books aswell as Skills Builders as resources. Those spelling rules are built upon throughout the week through reinforcement in lessons where relevant, ensuring spelling rules are embedded before moving on. Children with SEN which relates to poor spelling will receive spelling intervention with a TA using Toe by Toe. Key vocabulary is also shared and discussed at the beginning of each lesson across the curriculum. Grammar is also initially taught discretely and then applied to the context of the genre the children are learning to write. We use a variety of resources to support grammar teaching such as No-nonsense grammar and Skills Builders books.
- Handwriting: Gravel Hill follow a fully cursive handwriting style by Debbie Hepplewhite. (looking to purchase a whole school scheme Sept 2020) Handwriting is initially taught daily for ten minutes in year 1 and 2, dropping to three times a week in the later terms. KS2 teach handwriting for fifteen minutes twice a week. EYFS teach handwriting as part of their focus group activities. EYFS also use Doh-disco and other fine and gross motor activities to improve early handwriting. Interventions are set up across the school for children who struggle.
- Parental involvement: We recognise the importance of parental support in improving children’s literacy skills. Parent workshops are run throughout the year with a focus on GPS and phonics. Family golden time and other events are held throughout the year that involve families.
- Literacy Week: Gravel Hill celebrate and promote Literacy with a cross curricular week every year, usually around world book day. Children participate in many events which enrich their literary experiences throughout the week, such as working with authors, competitions, book swaps etc.
- Feedback and Assessment: Children receive daily verbal feedback from their teacher or adult working with them. They are then expected to act upon this feedback in green pen in line with the marking and feedback policy. Writing is assessed in a variety of ways. Firstly, teachers use pre and post assessments (extended writing) to assess the impact of teaching for each unit of work and each particular genre. Consequently, teachers assess against non-negotiables with Key Performance Indicators (KPI) being compulsory by the end of the year. Teachers are asked to make judgements on children’s writing and submit data termly. Pupil progress reviews take place three times a year with SLT. SEND, EAL and pupil premium children are reviewed against their peers and interventions are planned and adjusted by INCO and class teachers accordingly, with support from English leaders where necessary. Pixl is used to identify specific gaps with writing and therapies are used as interventions to address these gaps.
- Within the EYFS, key milestones have been identified across the year and these are used to assess the children’s progress towards meeting the ELG for writing; this enables the more timely identification of any gaps that need addressing.
- Termly whole school moderation is also completed with inter-school moderation taking place at least one a year to ensure the validity of our judgements.