Approaches to Writing
To encourage the emergence of competent writers, a range of opportunities and provisions for phonics, spelling and writing are made.
At the Grove, we use an approach to write based on Babcock’s Sequences of Learning. This helps to build upon the developmental building blocks of writing: vocabulary, grammar, sentence structure and paragraphing. Grammar is taught within lessons to help children build up knowledge and apply within lessons. This is then strengthened through the process of pupils revisiting and reapplying their skills. Applying a ‘mastery approach’ to writing also allows for the greater development of vocabulary, with all the above carried out in line with the writing objectives laid out in the national curriculum.
The sequences of learning approach has many other advantages including breaking the writing process down into manageable, explicitly taught chunks and provides pupils with opportunities to practise skills repeatedly – but in different contexts. There are also opportunities presented for extended writing pieces. The approach places emphasis on pupils’ understanding of the writing process, with planning and revision being key aspects that are explicitly taught, in order for pupils to use them independently. This helps to develop the children’s metacognition and will place pupils in a strong position in regard to their future schooling. It is expected that children make simple edits to their work throughout their schooling, from making simple letter corrections in EYFS to editing longer pieces of work to improve in KS2.
Every year group will experience some form of writing daily. From Year 1 onwards, the children will have a daily writing lesson which should include the grammar the children will be focusing on for their unit of work. It is imperative that sentence-level activities are covered in lessons to develop precision, understanding and application which will help pupils to develop and understanding of sentence boundaries and punctuation for use in both reading and writing.
In some lessons, children will learn how to develop their sentence structure (including writer’s craft and authorial choice). In others, they will learn how to organise and structure their writing, in particular, paragraphs, which can be used across a range of writing. They will also have the opportunities to visit exemplar texts to explore effective pieces of writing and explore and enrich vocabulary. Children should always have the opportunity to revisit and edit their work to refine word- and sentence-level skills, and to develop coherence within and across paragraphs.
Specific skills are developed in relation to fiction and non-fiction pieces of work. It is expected that each year group completes a fiction and non-fiction piece of writing each half term, with a piece of poetry termly. Children will work towards longer pieces of writing as they moved throughout the school, with the emphasis being on quality of skill application, rather than quantity.
We will measure the impact through learning walks, book looks, formative and summative assessment (through the use of assessed pieces of writing), and pupil/parent/teacher voice. Senior Leaders will evaluate the impact and assess pupils’ learning termly.
Babcock’s Sequences of Learning:
Each year, the school will start their English learning with a whole school writing approach with a set theme across the school, which will be based on a stimulus such as a text, image or poem. The outcomes of the writing task will be carefully planned to meet the expectations of each year group, therefore each year group will produce a different independent piece of writing. This independent piece of writing will then be assessed to identify the next steps in the learning process and teachers will use this assessment to select the next sequence to be used in their class. This will be tracked on a whole school overview so it is clear what each year group is working on and why. Teachers will follow the provided sequences of learning planning but will annotate the planning to fit their cohort, e.g. with groupings and this will be readily available in the classrooms for monitoring. Each half term, the year groups will start with a set task which will then inform the next sequence to ensure a diverse range of writerly skills and genres are taught and embedded in the English curriculum. There are planned sequences available for KS1, LKS2 and UKS2. Teachers will follow 5 steps when using Babcock’s Sequences of Learning:
Step 1: Engage deeply with the text before teaching begins. It is advised that teachers complete a ‘Writerly knowledge chart’ to fully understand the text they are teaching so they are clear about what the expectations will be for the final outcome. These should be saved into the Shared Area as part of your sequence.
Step 2: Find out what your class already know with an elicitation task. This should be written in the children’s pink Independent Writing book.
Step 3: Once the elicitation task has been complete, the children will start learning about the text which will enable them to retell the story. This links heavily with reading and it is encouraged that you make use of the 10 Expert Tips within your lesson when immersing and analysing the text.
Step 4: Practice writing and enable the children to adapt the text. Modelled writing is a key aspect of this step and should be clearly displayed as a step on your classroom display so children can refer to it.
Step 5: Independent writing which enable the children to create their own piece of writing. This is to be written in the children’s pink Independent Writing book. This will then be assessed against the criteria for their year group to identify gaps. Examples of assessment are provided for each year group to see the expected standard and to allow teachers to accurately assess the writing. This assessment will inform your next sequence.