We are Authors.
At Amesbury, our writing vision is to develop our children into ambitious, creative and enthusiastic authors who have the skills and knowledge to be able to write for a range of purposes and audiences. By the time our children leave Amesbury CE Primary School, we want every child to feel confident with his or her writing capability and have the skills and knowledge to understand and write for different genres. Our children will have been taught how to edit and evaluate their writing and to appreciate this as a skill, ensuring that they are prepared for the next stage of their education. Our children are always encouraged to work hard and demonstrate our school values of kindness, dignity and endurance, thereby promoting our whole school ethos, ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart.’ (Colossians 3:23)
What is the point in being an Author?
English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and
to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.
The aims of being an Author are:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
- use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
- are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
At Amesbury, our writing curriculum is in line with the expectations of the National Curriculum. Children in EYFS are provided with structured learning opportunities to teach them how to form letters, write captions and write sentences before they begin key stage one. In Amesbury, we aspire for all children, who are capable, to achieve their early learning goal in writing, with a good level of development. Children in key stage one follow the RWI (read write inc) programme for writing, matched closely with their reading ability. Children complete their writing booklets during their RWI sessions daily and are also provided with a range of cross-curricular writing opportunities.
In key stage two, our children write for a purpose which is mapped out for the whole key stage, allowing the children to build upon writing progression, ensuring that they are ready for the next stage of their learning. We use a range of stimuli within our writing sessions from videos and images, to non-fiction texts to poetry; allowing them to develop enthusiasm and creativity. During our writing sessions, we ensure that children in key stage two are exposed to a variety of modelled texts both fictional and ‘real world’.
From Year 3 upwards, spelling is taught as a discrete lesson five times per week using the Shakespeare Spelling scheme. The first lesson focuses on teaching spelling rules, patterns and strategies and subsequent lessons allows children to learn how to spell words in a safe, secure environment through a range of engaging activities. The scheme also allows time for the children to learn and practise their year group spelling words.
The impact of our writing curriculum is evidenced largely through teacher assessment. Formative assessment happens regularly during the day as children are given opportunities to write in subjects from all across the curriculum; from this assessment, teachers adapt their planning accordingly to meet the needs of their class and ensure progress in skills is being made. We moderate writing several times a year, currently internally through book looks, with the aim to moderate with other local schools, to ensure that our assessments are accurate. Through successful coverage of the curriculum, our writing results at the end of KS2 will meet the national average, with many children exceeding and our progress scores will be positive.
Spelling and grammar assessments are done three times a year, using the Rising Stars assessment materials. Children are also tested weekly on the year group spelling words and progress over the year is recorded.
A further important way of measuring success is through discussions between teachers and senior leaders. Formal meetings are held at regular intervals in the year, during which the writing attainment and progress of all children is discussed; these meetings involve the class teacher, writing lead and SENCO.
The teaching of writing is also monitored through lesson observations and book scrutinies. This ensures that our curriculum is being delivered correctly; meaning children are being taught a wide range of genres and will leave our school being able to write ambitiously and creatively; thus fulfilling our schools vision.
At Amesbury CE Primary School, our children will leave us as ambitious readers. Our children will be able to read fluently, confidently and well. Each ‘reading teacher’ talks enthusiastically about reading and chooses high quality texts to inspire the love and pleasure for reading for all of our children. As the children progress through our school, they will be able to articulate their responses to a variety of texts they have read. They will also be taught to evaluate and appreciate the deeper meaning within these, ensuring that they are prepared for the next stage of their education. Our children are always encouraged to work hard and demonstrate our school values of kindness, dignity and endurance, thereby promoting our whole school ethos, ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart.’ (Colossians 3:23)
We start using the RWI (Read, Write, Inc) programme to teach our children in Reception. Daily lessons continue until children are ready to exit the programme. Children will practise their developing reading skills with books that are perfectly matched to their phonic and ‘tricky word’ knowledge. They begin to believe in themselves as successful readers. This boosts their confidence and ensures they want to continue learning. Once the children have exited the RWI programme, the children participate in daily guided reading sessions, using a variety of fiction and non-fiction books linked to the children’s topics. Each term has the objectives mapped out from the ‘National Curriculum’, ensuring an even coverage throughout the year, allowing the children to be taught, recap their knowledge and independently apply it.
Children who are struggling readers and who are at risk of not achieving the age related expectations (ARE) are quickly identified and assessed on the ‘Fresh Start’ intervention programme. These children will then have daily ‘catch up’ sessions to ensure they make rapid progress. Regular and consistent assessment ensures that children are grouped appropriately; they may move groups if they are making faster progress than others or they may receive one-to-one coaching if they need support to keep up. We will always keep parents informed of their child’s progress and of any concerns so that they know how to help at home.
Your child will bring a home a range of fiction and non-fiction books, carefully selected by the class teacher in the class book corner. At times, you may notice that your child has chosen a book that is more challenging to read. Throughout the year, the senior leadership team and class teachers will be reviewing the books accessible to the children, supporting them to read a diverse selection of texts. We know parents and carers are very busy people but becoming a fluent and confident reader is the most important thing your child will learn at Amesbury Primary School, and we will ensure every child learns to read as quickly as possible, thus enabling them to become confident readers, speakers and authors who are best-equipped to understand, explore and work creatively as citizens of God’s world.