'There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you'.
At Princes Risborough Primary School, it is our intent to inspire all children to write by delivering an engaging and exciting curriculum. We endeavour to prepare all pupils for a successful transition to secondary school as confident, creative writers with high standards of spoken and written English. Additionally, we aim to help all children develop into articulate and imaginative communicators, who are well-equipped with the skills they need to become life-long learners. Through our teachers’ enthusiasm and passion, we model high expectations, providing all children with the tools and knowledge necessary to become successful writers. Across the school, we prepare each child by supporting them throughout the entire writing process from gathering their initial ideas and planning the structure, to drafting, editing and publishing. By modelling high standards of literacy and through shared writing, we aim for each child to grow as a confident and independent writer, who is able to analyse their own work to ensure it is effective and appropriate for the audience and purpose. We strive to ensure that English is enjoyed by all pupils and that it challenges them to be creative and produce high-quality pieces of writing.
At Princes Risborough Primary School, we have adapted ‘Talk 4 Writing’ to suit our children, and will continue to review and make changes as required to maximise learning opportunities. From Year 1 to Year 6, each class has a daily Talk 4 Writing lesson with each group focusing on the same genre at the same time to allow for whole school consistency. We have a whole school overview and progression document which ensures that a sufficient progression of skills is taught as the children move through the school. Spelling, punctuation and grammar is embedded into our Talk 4 Writing lessons, through teacher modelling, isolated lesson starters, shared writing and short burst writing. Children are given daily feedback: we believe that ‘in the moment’ feedback is the most effective way to allow children to make immediate progress. We differentiate and support each child to ensure that they are challenged to make excellent progress. We endeavour to give our pupils a wide range of writing opportunities across the curriculum. Generally, fiction is taught
over a 4-week period and non-fiction over 3 weeks. The progression within one Talk 4 Writing unit is summarised below.
After a Cold Write (baseline assessment), the teaching begins with a creative ‘hook’ to engage the pupils. Children then learn by heart the model text which is pitched well above the pupils’ level to challenge their understanding of transferable structures and language patterns. This is learned using a ‘text map’ and actions to strengthen memory and support the children to internalise the text. Activities such as drama are used to deepen children’s understanding.
Once children have internalised the text, they analyse the patterns, writing techniques, vocabulary choices and ‘box-up’ the structure. Short-burst writing is used to practise key areas such as description, persuasion or explanation.
Once the children are confident with the model text, the teacher supports the children to create their own version of the genre. For younger pupils, this is based on changing the text map and retelling new versions. Older students use boxed-up plans and shared/guided writing is used to stage writing over a number of days so that students are writing texts bit by bit, concentrating on bringing all aspects of a genre together, writing effectively and accurately. Feedback is given during the lessons.
The final stage is the independent application stage where the children use all the skills they have learnt to write an independent piece. There is the freedom to draw upon their own ideas and experiences, or they can ‘hug closely’ to the shared text should they need to.
Our children are creative and enthusiastic writers. They are engaged and thoughtful in lessons, producing high-quality writing which incorporates ambitious vocabulary and literary devices. Through their time at the school, their communication skills are strengthened and children make good progress. A high
percentage of pupils successfully achieve age-related objectives throughout each year group. Through establishing strong writing skills, children are more equipped to access the entire curriculum and transition to secondary school with confidence in their own ability.
Since adopting our Talk for Writing English curriculum in 2020, we have seen significant improvements in our children’s writing and vocabulary development. In our end of year writing assessments in July 2021, 67% of the whole school cohort achieved Expected standard in their writing and 13% achieved Greater Depth standard. In the Year 6 cohort at the end of the 2020 – 2021 academic year, 68% of pupils met Expected standard in their writing and 15% met Greater Depth standard. In the Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling (GPS) end of year PiXL assessments, 79% of our Year 6 pupils achieved Expected standard and 32% achieved Greater Depth standard.
Our pupils speak very positively about Talk for Writing and thoroughly enjoy their English lessons. Staff speak positively about their own continuing professional development in using Talk for Writing and the impact that this has had on writing standards across the school.
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