Welcome to Dovecote Primary School and Nursery. Wishing you all a happy half term. We look forward to welcoming children back, dressed smartly in school uniform, and ready to learn, on Monday 19th Feb.
English Writing Curriculum
Writing Curriculum at Dovecote
Vision and Intent
At dovecote, we understand the importance of developing strong communication skills, fostering creativity, and building confidence in expressing ideas through writing. Thus, our specific aims and objectives for the writing curriculum are to improve the executive functioning, transcription and text generation skills set out in the simple view of writing model developed by Beringer (2002). This includes focus on spelling and grammar, encouraging creativity, enhancing critical thinking skills, and developing a love for writing.
At Dovecote our approach to writing has been carefully crafted to best suit the needs of the pupils at our school. This process allows for all aspects of the simple view of writing to be developed, alongside the emotional affective needs a writer requires to take pleasure from their writing. Our approach to writing is rich, engaging, and provides pupils with exciting first-hand learning experiences to make learning to write purposeful and fun for all. Pupils learn to write best when they are inspired, engaged and are enjoying what they are doing.
Our curriculum caters to the diverse needs of students. It addresses differentiation and adaptation through a range of strategies implemented by staff to ensure that all students, regardless of their starting point, can progress and succeed in writing.
We encourage children to envision how their writing will be performed, reviewed or displayed from the outset of their writing practice. This allows them to build a full picture of the purpose of writing. We focus on the purpose for writing significantly, whether they are writing to entertain, inform, discuss or persuade. We endeavour to build an understanding of the skills and knowledge needed for each purpose, and thus build a more critical eye of writing, which places children in a strong position for their future learning. This also allows children to develop their writing for pleasure muscles, and provides them with an insight into the benefits that can be gathered from their writing.
In nursery, children begin to communicate their thoughts verbally alongside developing gross and fine motor skills. These motor skills are then used to begin to understand transcription principles and knowledge of printed text and books at an appropriate pace. Continuous provision provides opportunities to practise mark-making skills in a variety of ways, increasing control over writing tools and promoting a passion for writing.
In reception and KS1, children also develop writing skills during their phonics sessions. Within this approach, they learn to form each letter, spell correctly and compose their own ideas systematically. Pupils are taught in small groups, and they are regularly assessed to ensure that teaching closely matches their current developing ability level. Progress is monitored and intervention is used to support where appropriate. Techniques from Read Write Inc, such as ‘Fred Fingers’ and ‘hold a sentence’ are incorporated into writing activities outside the phonics sessions to support pupils. The resources used in RWI sessions are also available to children within class to support their independent application of their developing skills.
At the outset of the writing process, through powerful, memorable and enjoyable ‘WOW moments’, we build strong emotional links within the children and get them engaged with the topic.
The process of writing throughout school follows the writing framework process of an initial phase of deconstructing a text so that a full understanding of the purpose and key features can be developed, followed by work practising these skills through a reconstruction phase. Vocabulary plays a key role at this phase of the writing process. Allowing children to explore rich vocabulary is integral to developing writers who can manipulate language in a variety of ways to communicate their thoughts. The deconstruction phase is where children can carefully analyse exemplar texts, build an understanding of the text, sentence and word level themes, and observe the syntax, grammar and language used within. During this deconstruction phase, children immerse themselves in the text, retelling, reimagining and reinventing them. The deconstruction phase also allows the children to develop their understanding of the purpose they are writing for, and the audience which will read their work.
Work then begins on the reconstruction of the text. Children are given opportunities to apply their understanding of the language and features of a text so that they can embed these. Writing takes a ‘less written, more often’ approach so that poor writing habits can be addressed through meaningful and timely feedback from their teacher. High quality modelling is used by teachers to provide children with a scaffold for applying their budding reading skills. Children also develop their writer’s skill of planning during this phase.
Following this, there is a slow writing phase where children have the opportunity to develop their reflective skills and review their own practice. Writing is chunked into sections so that children are not expected to write extended pieces of writing without feedback and support. This is where children can use peer and self-assessment tools to ultimately produce a ‘green sheet’ piece of writing which is reviewed and performed.
The final phase is the performance phase, which can look different depending on the purpose of the writing set out at the outset of the task. The performance phase allows children to perform their writing in a range of different ways, including green screen production, plays, news reports, and book creation. These various phases may take different amounts of time, depending on the area of the school and the needs of the children or the purpose of the unit of writing.
Alongside writing lessons, there are also individual spelling, punctuation, grammar and handwriting sessions weekly. These sessions, taught early in the week, allow children to develop the transcriptional and compositional skills needed to effectively communicate through writing. The sessions are designed to be multifaceted, incorporating a blend of interactive activities, collaborative exercises, and individualised practice.
To address spelling, we employ techniques that not only involve rote memorisation but also encourage contextual understanding, enabling students to apply spelling rules in real-life scenarios. Punctuation and grammar sessions are crafted to foster a deep comprehension of language rules through interactive discussions and practical examples. Our commitment to handwriting extends beyond motor skill development; it encompasses the cultivation of legible, efficient, and expressive handwriting styles.
Impact is measured through lesson visits, pupil/staff/family voice, work scrutiny, and formative and summative assessment data. There are leadership meetings weekly, where the impact and children’s progress is evaluated and reflected upon.