(Writing, Handwriting and Spelling)
The overarching aims of the Writing Curriculum at Bourn Primary Academy are to develop fluent, imaginative writers who can apply their writing skills to a wealth of genres and subjects. At Bourn, we provide our pupils with many opportunities to develop and employ their writing skills across the curriculum so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions effectively to others.
Our aim is that pupils leave this school able to plan, revise, edit and evaluate their writing to produce quality pieces of work across the curriculum. To do this effectively, pupils will focus on developing effective transcription (spelling and handwriting) and effective composition (articulating and structuring ideas into speech and writing). They will also develop an awareness of the audience, purpose and context as well as an increasingly wide knowledge of grammar and ambitious vocabulary. We know and promote the value of an excellent, wide vocabulary and this is developed and practised across our curriculum. Opportunities to enhance pupils’ vocabulary arise naturally from their reading and writing. As vocabulary increases, pupils are taught how to understand the relationships between words, how to understand nuances in meaning, and how to develop their understanding of, and ability to use, figurative language. Pupils are taught how to work out and clarify the meanings of unknown words and words with more than one meaning. Our pupils acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language.
The curriculum coverage ensures that pupils develop their writing skills and their ability to write comprehensively using Michael Tidd’s Writing Purposes. Throughout Key Stage 1, pupils focus on Writing to Entertain and Writing to Inform. In Key Stage 2, these purposes continue with the added areas of Writing to Persuade and Discuss. This approach enables teachers to focus on the commonality of features of ‘text types’ instead of seeing each genre in isolation. We develop writing skills so that our pupils have the stamina and ability to produce quality compositions. To support children with independent writing, we provide a wide range of activities including the use of film, imagery, music, ICT, modelled, shared and guided writing as well as peer assessment and discussion to explain and clarify their ideas. We provide varied and exciting opportunities for writing for purpose using and appreciating our rich and varied literary heritage and encourage pupils to see themselves as authors and poets, adapting their language and style in for different contexts and audiences.
Teaching should focus on the development of transcription and comprehension. Pupils are taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing and to be able to critique their work and make improvements. We are mindful that effective composition involves forming, articulating and communicating ideas and then organising them coherently for a reader. This requires clarity, awareness of audience, purpose and context and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. Effective composition also depends on pupils being able to articulate their ideas verbally prior to writing. We teach our pupils to speak clearly, to express their ideas fluently and confidently and to substantiate their ideas by asking probing questions to develop critical thinking. This ensures that they are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate as well as having a well-rounded understanding on which to base their writing. Writing also depends on fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy handwriting. Spelling, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation are key parts of the writing process and are taught in each year group to ensure that pupils have all the necessary skills in Standard English to control their speaking and writing consciously to be successful writers.
Progression of writing skills is mapped across the school so that pupils develop key spelling and grammatical skills as well as expanding their range of reading material and knowledge of writing purposes over their time at Bourn. The curriculum development team ensures that the teaching and provision of writing is monitored through half-termly subject scrutiny, observations and personal development training, where appropriate.
At Bourn, we promote the importance of written work by providing a writing purpose and opportunities for pupils to publish or celebrate their writing. We have developed a range of extra activities, which are used to promote English within the school including our Big Write weeks, World Book Day, author visits and Young Writers competitions to inspire and engage pupils.