High quality children’s literature, reading for pleasure and proven creative teaching approaches are at the heart of our curriculum. We strongly believe in the power of reading to inspire, and our writing curriculum is intricately link to the teaching of reading at Cotham Gardens.
We want our children to develop their vocabulary, skills and knowledge so that they leave our school as fluent and confident writers. They will be able to communicate clearly and effectively to a range of audiences. Children will have fluent and automatic handwriting to enable them to fully focus on the complex task of composition.
Writing is a complex process, requiring the interleaving of a range of different skills, knowledge and techniques. We believe that the writing journey begins with early language acquisition, oracy, vocabulary development alongside physical fine and gross motor skills. These strong foundations are nurtured throughout primary school in order to produce expert writers.
The National Curriculum emphasises two distinct strands in the writing curriculum: transcription (handwriting and spelling) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in writing).
Teachers use a range of teaching techniques inspired by ‘The Power of Reading’ to encourage all our children to be active speakers and listeners and give them opportunities to prepare their ideas before they write. Our creative practice encourages children to take part in drama, role play and performance within the classroom. Discrete skills are taught explicitly and also woven into lessons in which teachers:
- Focus on talk and vocabulary development (creative Power of Reading teaching strategies)
- Explicitly teach and model the stages of the writing process (using scaffolding and support to reduce cognitive load)
- Explicitly teach grammar and spelling
- Explicitly teach handwriting
- Focus on crafting great sentences.
- Plan for focused feedback and assessment (with revising and editing an essential part of the writing process).
We have developed comprehensive skills and knowledge maps in order to sequence the acquisition and application of spelling punctuation and grammar from Reception through to Year 6.
Accurate letter formation is an integral part of our systematic synthetic phonics scheme (Little Wandle) in Reception and Year 1. We then follow the Nelson handwriting scheme which introduces children to joining their letters once correct and automatic letter formation has been established. This may be during Year 2 for some children but not until KS2 for the majority. Pens are introduced, when appropriate, from Year 3 onwards.
Through our creative, text-based approach to writing, our aspiration for all children for all children is that they will:
- Enjoy writing across a range of genres and for a range of audiences and purposes
- Succeed in all English lessons because work is appropriately scaffolded
- Have a good knowledge of how to adapt their writing based on the context and audience
- Are able to effectively apply spelling rules and patterns they have been taught
- Have fluent, automatic handwriting that is neat and legible
- Make measurable progress from their individual starting point in writing to achieve at age related expectations
- Leave our school with deeply embedded love of reading and writing.