Our vision for writing
We want every child to leave Barnes with the ability to write with fluency, confidence and joy. Our aim is to equip the children with skills they can take with them into the next stage of their education, allowing them to thrive and embrace the challenges that await them.
The teaching of writing at Barnes has been a strength of the school for a number of years. Whether in our role as a knowledge centre for writing, or our consistently outstanding results in end of key stage statutory assessments, writing has always been prioritised as a key part of our curriculum offer.
Our successful approach to writing, provides opportunities to develop children’s skills in speaking and listening, reading, grammar and punctuation and of course, writing. Our units of learning, each one based around a high quality text, aim to inspire children to become writers by placing high quality literature at the heart of the learning. Click here to see which books each year group use as a basis for their English units.
Our writing model, cultivated over a number of years, is based upon a number of key principles. They are:
- Units of learning should be based around high quality texts. Writing activities should be directly linked to these texts.
- Children get better at writing by being shown how to write, not simply by writing more frequently. Less tends to result in more!
- Before asking children to write, teachers should ensure that they have participated in a range of high quality preparatory activities. Many of these activities will involve talk. Talk should be viewed as ‘writing rehearsal’.
- Teachers should write exemplar, model texts for children and these should be deconstructed in class, with the teacher offering guidance about the quality features within the exemplar.
- There should be a strong focus on enabling children to compose quality sentences. This ‘sentence level work’ should offer them the chance to try out different sentence constructions and use specific phrases, or techniques.
- Teachers should create word mats which must be ‘activated’ in the classroom through exemplification.
- Teachers should make use of the three-part shared writing model. This involves teacher modelling, shared writing and independent writing.
- During the composition stage, teachers should break up the time children write into chunks. Writing can take place over more than one lesson in order to avoid writing fatigue and provide opportunity for review and reflection.
- Teachers should always look to introduce new, more sophisticated vocabulary to the children. Higher quality vocabulary should be written down when it is introduced, so children can see it as well as hear it.
- Whenever teaching writing, the class teacher will share high quality examples of children’s work (especially quality sentences) and ask pupils to discuss what the strengths of this writing are.
- Frequent, short, focused handwriting sessions will ensure that no child is unable to achieve success as a writer as a result of experiencing significant difficulties with handwriting.
- Teachers should ensure that there is a mix of heavily scaffolded, ‘lightly scaffolded’ and independent writing which meets the DfE requirements to be considered independent.