At St. Dunstan’s, we strive to help our children develop into articulate and imaginative communicators equipped with the basic skills they need to become life-long learners; we believe that English is key to this. We aim to develop writers with a genuine love of language and the written word who can express ideas and emotions for a wide range of purposes and audiences.
Through high-quality texts and engaging experiences, children are inspired to write, for varying purposes, imaginative, informative or persuasive texts of varying lengths. Children develop the basic phonic and spelling skills to write with increasingly complex confidence words. Their handwriting is fluent, joined and legible. Rooted in literature, our curriculum ensures that children develop a rich vocabulary and an appreciation of the etymology and nuances of language. They can apply this knowledge in subjects across the curriculum. Careful links are made across our curriculum to ensure children’s learning is relevant and meaningful.
At the cornerstone of our curriculum, we share a vision that aims to enable all children, regardless of background, ability and additional needs, to flourish and become the best version of themselves. At St Dunstan's Catholic School, supported by clear skills and knowledge progression, our approach to writing is based on "The Write Stuff" programme by Jane Considine. Our teaching helps to bring clarity to writing mechanics and is sequenced progressively to build on knowledge and skills, year-on-year.
"The Write Stuff" follows the "Sentence Stacking" method, which refers to the notion that sentences are stacked together chronologically and cohesively. Teachers model writing skills and document the learning through consistent working walls. Embedding principles of cognitive science within each lesson, children are engaged in short, intensive moments of learning that they can then immediately apply to their own writing.
An individual lesson is based on a sentence model, broken into three learning chunks. Each learning chunk has three sections:
- Initiate – a stimulus to capture the children’s imagination and an opportunity to gather a bank of vocabulary and phrases, both shared and individual
- Model – the teacher closely models a sentence that outlines clear writing features and techniques.
- Enable – the children write their sentences, following the model.
At all stages, children are challenged to ‘Deepen the Moment’, which requires them to independently draw upon previously learnt skills and apply them to their writing during that chunk.
"The Write Stuff" uses three essential components to support children in becoming great writers.
The three zones of writing:
- IDEAS - The FANTASTICs uses a child-friendly acronym to represent the nine idea lenses through which children can craft their ideas.
- TOOLS - The GRAMMARISTICS. The grammar rules of our language system and an accessible way to target weaknesses in pupils' grammatical and linguistic structures.
- TECHNIQUES - The BOOMTASTICs help children capture ten ways of adding drama and poetic devices to writing in a vivid visual.
Writing is assessed through various verbal and written feedback methods, with clear targets or next steps set. Success criteria, usually generated by the children, support children’s writing alongside self-assessment and peer assessment. More general and progressively more challenging checklists are used by each year group more formally assess pieces. As a school, we moderate writing internally half-termly but also moderate our judgements at regular moderation events with cluster schools, all of which are used to ensure sound judgements. In Years R, 2 and 6, government assessment frameworks are used to assess writing.
Writing standards are monitored in various ways in addition to the above.
Assessment data is used to look at standards in each year group and to assess the attainment and progress of whole classes and key groups such as girls and boys, children in receipt of PP, SEND and Prior Attainment groups. Work and planning scrutinies and pupil voice consultations also allow us to gauge attainment and progress in each class and for individual children.
By the time children leave our school, they will:
- Make good progress from EYFS through to Y6.
- Have a love for writing and write for enjoyment.
- To produce written work in all curriculum areas to a high standard.
- Be confident to write for a range of different purposes.