Writing at St Matthias
In the Early Years, in order to meet the Early Learning Goals for writing, we focus on developing a combination of phonological knowledge and fine and gross motor skills. We do this through teaching phonics alongside mark making and letter formation as the basis of transcription skills and use the method of Talk for Writing to support with early composition skills. Alongside high-quality books (and subsequent training with the CLPE), the method of Talk for Writing is designed to develop language through storytelling and through meaningful repetition via multi-sensory activities, such as actions, songs and story maps. It is through this repetition that children develop their oracy and comprehension, learning new vocabulary and anticipating events, at the same time as writing recognisable letters, phrases and sentences. This, combined with interventions and targeted activities within the continuous provision, allows children to internalise, imitate and create their own stories. All of the learning that takes place around these Early Learning Goals is built upon in KS1 and KS2, to develop skills around oracy, transcription and composition.
The foundations for the teaching of oracy is explored in the Early Years, as this is where our pupils start to develop their speaking and listening skills. This is embedded throughout the Early Years curriculum through high expectations around learning behaviours, carefully planned questioning and meaningful interactions.
Years 1 to 6
At St Matthias, we use the Primary Advantage Being A Writer document to structure our writing curriculum and inform progression, underpinned by a wide range of high-quality, language-rich texts in which pupils can see themselves. By aligning writing with these books as ‘hooks’, pupils are motivated to write about themes and ideas that engage and inspire them. This helps to reduce cognitive load, allowing pupils to focus more on the writing process. The explicit teaching of grammar, punctuation and spelling ensures that pupils have the tools to write these ideas cohesively.
You can find the spelling outlines for Years 1 and 2, Years 3 and 4, and Years 5 and 6 here.
At St Matthias, we want all pupils to be ambitious writers, who can effectively write for different purposes. In doing this, our aim is for pupils to understand how to use their voice in a variety of ways, whether this is through telling stories, or using their voice for social activism. We want all pupils to understand the power their writing can carry.
Oracy is a large part of the teaching of writing and is embedded through high-quality questioning, partner talk, clear modelling and immersive activities, such as drama and debate. Regular chances to peer and self-assess orally and to publish with a purpose further support this.
Hackney Pirates is an afterschool provision that is offered to selected members of Year 6, to support with their oracy, reading and writing. We have been lucky enough to work with Hackney Pirates for the past few years and have seen a remarkable improvement in the literacy and confidence of the children who take part. You can see some of this amazing work on our Writing Blog here.
“The Education Team here at The Literacy Pirates would like to commend the pupils at St Matthias, Stoke Newington, for the wonderful work they have produced during their first term on our Literacy development programme. Not only have they produced wonderful work, but they have also boarded our Virtual Ship to join weekly sessions with their teacher and volunteers. We are very proud of you St Matthias and are excited to see you take on new and exciting challenges next term! A salute from us all at The Literacy Pirates!” – Wendy, Director of Learning
To find out more about the work our children do with Hackney Pirates, please visit their website here.
Writing across the Curriculum
Writing is a priority across all subjects and teachers have high expectations around oracy, composition, spelling and handwriting in each one. Writing can be celebrated in any subject or lesson. One of the main aims that we would like to achieve is to close the vocabulary gap and this is more likely to be done if there is a high level of vocabulary and oracy across the curriculum. In addition to this, alongside the books that underpin our writing lessons, through celebrating writing across the curriculum, we are engaging boys more in the writing process, with hopes to reduce the gender gap in writing too.
Click here for our writing curriculum map.
The RWI Spelling programme follows the same structure for each unit. Units are designed to expose children to the National Curriculum word lists for their year and to teach these through having the children practise spelling patterns using their phonic knowledge. They do this through identifying graphemes, contextualising words and drawing upon resources for support, such as dictionaries and thesauruses. This is all done through continuous practice and reviews of learning.
Click here for the RWI Spelling breakdown; the curriculum overview can be found in the writing curriculum document above.
Nelson Handwriting is a whole-school programme designed to help all children develop a confident, legible and personal handwriting style and meet higher curriculum expectations. The programme includes activities to develop motor skills through pattern practice, as well as teaching pupils how to form letters, numbers and joins. Learning progresses from practising pencil control to writing using different styles for a range of purposes. The programme focuses on formation, legibility, speed and purpose. This is all done through continuous practice through lessons, scaffolding, explicit modelling and writing opportunities.
Click here for the Nelson Handwriting breakdown; the curriculum overview can be found in the writing curriculum document above.
We have a writing blog!
Click here to read all the amazing work written by the children of St Matthias.