Being an Author (Writing)
Writing is hugely valued and cherished at Barrs Court Primary School and it is an integral part of our children’s learning, across the curriculum. Therefore, we endeavour to inspire our children to become confident and skilled authors. Whilst developing accurate grammar skills, our aim for our children is to be able to successfully write for the four main purposes: to entertain, inform, explain and to argue a point. These are skills that the children will take forwards with them for the rest of their lives. At Barrs Court Primary School we help our children to develop into articulate, inventive and imaginative authors who really enjoy the process of writing and where their individual flair is celebrated and encouraged.
Through our long term plans we ensure that there is a balance of fiction, non-fiction and poetry taught throughout the year. Writing opportunities are enriched by being linked to our enquiry curriculum. Children become immersed in carefully chosen key texts that are, where appropriate, connected to their enquiry learning. This ensures our children are engaged and their writing is meaningful and has a purpose. Within each writing unit we practise and use our Oracy skills to articulate ideas, share opinions, develop understanding and orally plan our writing. We follow a ‘try it’, ‘use it’ and ‘prove it’ approach, where grammar skills are explicitly taught (try it), practised through short burst writing opportunities (use it) and then included in an end of unit piece of writing (prove it) where the children can showcase all that they have learnt within that unit and beyond. After writing, our children are given time to critically evaluate their writing by rereading, editing and redrafting it.
Our classrooms are language-rich environments where a love of words is very much promoted and encouraged. At Barrs Court we recognise the importance of children having a broad vocabulary to communicate effectively for a range of purposes. Our vocabulary teaching is robust with each phase explicitly teaching five ‘Vocabulary Words of the Week’. The meanings of these words are investigated and we practise using them in sentences. These words are regularly revisited and the children are encouraged to use them in both their short burst, end of unit pieces of writing and cross-curricular writing, where possible. Throughout our school, working walls are used to collect vocabulary as it is discussed in the classroom in addition to the words taught in our vocabulary sessions. All these words are also logged in the children’s vocabulary books which move up the school with them and are used extensively when writing independently.
Spelling is taught in discrete lessons several times a week. In years 2-6, the ‘No Nonsense Spelling’ scheme is used and children are taught a variety of spelling strategies that will enable them to apply their spelling skills within their writing and ‘have a go’ at the point of writing.
We provide regular opportunities for children to enter local and national writing and handwriting competitions; our children’s work has recently been published in a poetry anthology and we have celebrated successful shortlisted writers for the BBC Radio Two 500 words competition.
We assess writing throughout each lesson and mark the work completed according to our marking policy. When we find that children have not achieved the expected outcome for a lesson, they are given extra support later that day or the following day. Children’s writing is assessed against ‘Age Related Expectations’ (AREs) three times a year. By tracking each child’s progress closely, teachers understand how to carefully meet the needs of the children as they work towards the end of year expectations.