Writing at Red Hall
When we designed our Writing curriculum, we were determined to ensure it enhanced the National Curriculum and that it was bespoke for our children. We did this, to ensure that children are given the best opportunities to build resilience and to make progress when completing pieces of writing.
Our children and their needs are at the centre of this curriculum, and it has been driven by them. It is our intention that children develop a love of writing, through being given high quality model texts which embrace their own fascinations and interests, making learning more relevant and exciting.
Our intent is simple and clear:
- To improve our writing attainment to be in line with national average,
- To ensure children make at least good progress from their starting points with us,
- Offer an interesting and engaging English curriculum, which follows the curiosity and wonders of the child and which is guided by the knowledge and expertise of our passionate
- To foster and develop deep curiosity, potential and the ability to recognise that they are already capable of so much more than they realise.
- To create warm, trusting relationships and partnerships which are built on mutual respect, in every Writing lesson. Consequently, giving children the confidence to ask questions and succeed.
- To learn more and remember more, through mini reflection activities and pre-genre checks**
- And, most importantly, to ensure children are proud of their efforts and achievements.
**pre-genre checks – please see, ‘How we teaching Writing at Red Hall’, for more information.
Why Writing at Red Hall is so important
Writing at Red Hall has always been a priority. Our data does not reflect the effort which is put in from our staff and children. We understand that writing can be tough for many our children. This is why we go above and beyond to ensure our children have access to a tailor-made curriculum, perfect for the children at Red Hall.
As our children are only 11 years old, by the time they leave us in Year 6, many have not had the real-life experiences needed to be able to produce an engaging piece of writing, using precise language and feelings. However, who would be able to write a setting description about (for example) the beach, including your 5 senses (touch, smell, taste, see and hear), if you haven’t even been to the beach, smelt the fish and chips, heard the waves crashing and felt the sand tickle your toes? Exactly! That’s why we do not only teach children to write, we also teach them about places, through visiting these places / experiencing these things, or through photos, videos and our experiences, if we are unable to take them there to experience this for themselves.
Opportunities and experiences to enhance writing, at Red Hall
We ensure that all children will receive opportunities and experiences at Red Hall Primary School, which other primary schools may not offer.
As a pupil at Red Hall, your child will have access to the following experiences:
- A school setting where emotional health, well-being and happiness is our priority for pupils, staff, parents and the wider community.
- High quality teaching from teachers and TAs.
- Real life experiences, e.g. trips to the beach, trips to Roseberry Topping, events in school.
- Hooks into writing e.g. parents coming into school for a ‘surprise’ event.
- Whole school writing events e.g. book reviews, short story competitions.
- Class competitions where effort is rewarded, instead of just the finished product.
- English ‘Star of the Week’ certificates given out on Fridays in our ‘Celebration Assembly’.
- Opportunities to have efforts celebrated on social media.
- A “what you need to succeed” booklet (Year 2 – 6).
- And most importantly, staff who are continually upskilled, to ensure ways of teaching are forever being developed.
How we teach writing at Red Hall
At Red Hall, we have tailored the Talk for Writing Approach (by Pie Corbett), to our school. This means that we follow the same process, but it is adapted to meet the needs of our children a lot more clearly.
We follow a Whole School Genre Overview, meaning all year groups cover the same genre at the same time. This allows all staff to support one another and to see the level of challenge they are offering their own class. See, our staff are learning, just like your children! Below is a link to the Whole School Genre Overview and an outline of how children are taught our approach to Talk for Writing.
Please click here, to access the English Genre Overview.
How Writing is taught in EYFS
Our Two-Year-Old, Nursery and Reception children are given many opportunities to share stories and to develop a love of reading, writing, role play and drama. In our EYFS setting, many weeks throughout the academic year, are focused around stories, which interest and fascinate the children. This allows them to be challenged to think about the story in a much deeper way, meaning curiosities are sparked and the children want to investigate and explore more books independently and with others. The love of writing is also reflected in many areas within our EYFS. The children love to tell each other stories, they love to act out a story they have been read and they look the play invitations, provocations and hooks which the staff plan for them, to excite them more.
By the end of Reception, children begin to follow the Talk for Writing structure, of learning a model text, through acting it out, they then innovate this text to write their own sentences and stories.
How Writing is taught from Year 1 – Year 6
From Year 1 – Year 6, we follow the Talk for Writing Process, however, we have made this our own, for our children. We feel this approach allows our children the opportunity to see many different ways of how their writing should look, before they complete their own assessed piece of writing – see key steps of the process below.
|Talk for Writing||What this means / how Red Hall ‘do it’|
|Pre-genre check / Cold write||· Quick recap of what genre they are studying. Children do this independently, with their peers, as a class. This refreshes their memory of the genre, before they begin to write.
· The cold write heading, is backed onto a blue piece of card. This makes it stand out, as their first piece of writing.
· This allows staff to see the children’s ‘starting points’.
· This is quality marked and children are given key targets to work towards during that particular unit.
|Model text||· This is an amazing example of the type of text the children are learning about.
· The children learn this text through active learning and actions.
· Key features are included in this, so they can be discussed with children.
· Little challenges appear in model texts, e.g. commas / brackets, in a KS1 texts, to stretch and challenge children.
· Language the children will not have come across is also included in the model text. This ensures plenty of dictionary work / discussion around what the vocabulary means, consequently enabling children to be exposed to new language and vocabulary.
· Children internalise this text – understanding its structure, its language, as well as the audience and purpose.
· Children read the text as a reader.
|Exposure to different texts||· Exposure to lots of different examples, of the genre the children are studying – good ones, bad ones.
· The children analyse these and see which they would use.
|Boxing up||· This allows the children to see what needs to be in each paragraph, meaning they have a clear understanding of the structure of their writing
· The children the box up the next 2-3 pieces of writing either together, with support or independently
|· Shared writing is completed paragraph by paragraph, either with the teacher, in groups, or as a whole class
· This offers the children another opportunity to see how to structure their writing
|· This is where children complete a piece of writing, with support from the teacher, this can be independent support and group support, for key parts of their writing, not the whole thing.
· This piece of work is quality marked and targets are given to each child, as they move into their hot write
|Hot write||· Children are given the time to write their hot write, which should be an improved piece of work, from their cold write.
· The first draft will be completed in the children’s English books, this will then be edited by the children using their purple ‘polishing’ pen, as a result of self-reflection and peer-reflection.
· A final hot write, will be written in the children’s ‘Showcase Book’ (introduced September 2021).
· The final hot write, will then be marked in depth, using the school’s marking policy.
· Further editing will then take place, as a result of this marking, in green pen.
How we plan Writing lessons
- Each Talk for Writing unit, is planned once the cold writes have been marked. Teachers then look at what the children need to learn and then plan lessons around this.
- As you can see, there are lots of writing opportunities, to ensure children are writing as often as possible.
- Planning and drafting writing is a focus for all of us in September. We are going to strengthen the children’s ability to plan, draft and re-draft, and allow them to see that this is a reflection skill, not because their writing was not good enough.
- Planning is edited daily, depending on the success of the children, meaning no child in left behind.
How Parents / Carers can help at home
- Encourage your child(ren) to write whenever possible: whether this is birthday cards, thank you letters, text messages!
- Play games with your child(ren), e.g. you write a sentence and see if your child can improve
- Plenty of praise.
- Listen to your child. Encourage them to tell you more about their writing and what they’ve written at school. Foster their enthusiasm.