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English - Writing

Talk for Writing

Here at Stapleford Abbotts Primary Academy we believe the pen is a powerful tool. We strive to:

  • Promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word.
  • Build a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language.
  • Ensure all children can write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
  • Cultivate discussion in order to learn; providing the skills for children to elaborate and explain their thoughts, opinions and understandings clearly.
  • Ensure all are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.

This is all enabled through our use of Talk for Writing which is an ‘engaging teaching framework developed by Pie Corbett, supported by Julia Strong. It is powerful because it is based on the principles of how children learn. It enables children to imitate the language they need for a particular topic orally, before reading and analysing it, and then writing their own version’. This is a comprehensive scheme of work and encourages children to take ownership of their writing, providing them with toolkits for genres of writing, fiction and non. Each year the group work towards the same genre with adaptations being made for each Key Stage and individual class. Writing is connected to a topic therefore a clear purpose for writing is established.

Talk for Writing Planning Structure
Each unit of work follows a clear structure of imitation and innovation as well as including ‘Cold Writes’ and ‘Hot Writes’.

Cold Write
A ‘Cold Write’ is completed at the beginning of each unit and informs planning depending on what the children need to work out. A prompt/Hook is given to the children to inspire their independent writing. 

The main focus of the imitation stage is storytelling focused on a model text, which enables the children to explore text features, sentence structure, language patterns and how a specific text-type is composed. Model texts are provided by the English leads for year groups to choose from before a unit of work is completed. If year groups wish to write their own model text, this will be agreed with the English lead beforehand and they will receive a copy before it is taught from.

The imitation stage will consist of the following activities:

  • Storytelling using a text map of the model text. Actions for keywords are agreed across the School 
  • Create their own text map.
  • Read as a reader activities are completed. This may include vocabulary work and comprehension activities
  • Read as a writer activities are completed. The structure of a model text is explored using the boxing up technique and a Writer’s Toolkit is completed as a task with a pre-agreed focus
  • Grammar and punctuation is taught through the model text where applicable

Children use their in-depth understanding of the model text to write their own version.

  • Planning is completed using the boxing up grid completed during the innovation stage
  • Writing is completed over a series of lessons.
  • Shared writing is completed during each of the lessons and is informed by previous learning
  • Writing completed by the children enables misconceptions to be addressed quickly
  • Children have frequent opportunities to revisit their writing and edit at the point of writing

Hot Write
The ‘Hot Write’ is completed at the end of each unit of writing. This provides a valuable assessment opportunity and shows the progress the children have made over the course of a unit.

English Working Wall/Washing Lines
Every classroom has an English Working Wall and a Washing Line (where space permits).

  • The T4W journey is clearly displayed to enable children to consistently refer to previous
  • learning including text maps, Writer’s Toolkits and shared writing
  • Agreed actions for key words and punctuation are displayed

Throughout their time at Stapleford Abbotts Primary, pupils will be given opportunities to:

  • See themselves as writers from the earliest stages and to build upon previous experiences.
  • Check spellings and meanings of new words. 
  • Write in a range of styles and for a variety of purposes.
  • Write with a cursive handwriting style 
  • Actively participate in writing tasks making valued contributions
  • Share ideas and experiences in collaborative group work and interaction with peers and adults.

Pupils will be taught to use dictionaries, thesaurus’ and word banks to improve their vocabulary choices. They will also be taught to link sentences together coherently and use correct punctuation. They will develop an awareness of writing for different audiences. 

Shared Writing 
A wide variety of texts are used to provide ideas and structures for writing. Fundamental writing skills are modelled through this including elements from the Writing Checklist. Shared writing will teach pupils how to generate imaginative and informative ideas through discussion and questioning. Children can use this writing to magpie ideas to put into their own work. 

Teachers assess pupil’s work in writing using Writing Checklists. Writing is formally assessed after the Hot Write.  End of year expectations are in the back of English books and teachers mark off the skills they can evidence.   Reception teachers assess writing against the Early Learning Goal and Year 1 and 2 collect evidence from a range of work over the period of a term and use the Writing Checklists for Year 1 and Year 2 to establish whether a pupil is Working towards, Working at or Working at Greater Depth within the expected end of year standards. 
The English subject leader and other members of the Senior Leadership team regularly monitor planning and moderate pupil’s books to ensure high standards of writing are maintained across school.  Class teachers work in teams within school and across the MAT to moderate on a termly basis using National Exemplification materials provided by the Dfe as well as the Interim Frameworks.