Downe Manor Primary School

Downe Manor, where everybody has the opportunity to be inspired to reach their full potential through memorable learning experiences

Writing

At Downe Manor Primary School we believe that a quality writing curriculum should develop children’s love for language and enable all pupils to become confident, creative, and articulate writers. The curriculum is designed to ensure that pupils develop a strong command of the written word and are equipped with the skills to express themselves effectively in a variety of genres and purposes. Building a strong foundation in writing skills will empower pupils to communicate effectively in a variety of forms and contexts, laying the groundwork for future success in education and beyond.

At Downe Manor, we aim to provide all children with the knowledge and tools needed to succeed in all genres of writing, in order to allow pupils to be well-rounded authors. We foster a culture of creativity, critical thinking, and independence in writing, encouraging pupils to take risks, explore diverse genres, and develop their voice as writers. We intend to create writers who can re-read, edit and improve their own writing, and enable pupils to be able to confidently use the essential skills of grammar, punctuation and spelling. Through the use of deconstruction of texts, grammar, effective planning and shared writing, we demonstrate the writing process so pupils learn the journey from gathering ideas, planning, drafting, editing and publishing.

We have a well organised English curriculum that provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. Our curriculum closely follows the aims of the National Curriculum for English 2014 to enable all children to:

  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • gain a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of language conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • 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

Implementation

The writing curriculum at Downe Manor Primary School is carefully structured and sequenced to provide a coherent progression of skills and knowledge. It is designed to offer many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion.

We believe reading and writing are closely connected. Reading plays a vital role in developing excellent writing skills by enhancing children's vocabulary and illustrating diverse word usage. We recognise this as a driver for writing motivation and use a wide variety of quality texts and resources to inspire our children.

With a balance of explicit teaching, guided practice, and independent application, writing tasks are purposeful, authentic, and meaningful, allowing pupils to engage with real-world contexts and develop a deeper understanding of the writing process.

When planning English lessons, teachers make links to other areas of the curriculum to ensure that cross curricular links provide further context for learning. Teaching blocks focus on fiction, non-fiction or poetry, in line with the 2014 National Curriculum and comprehension, grammar and writing are embedded in lessons. Lessons are sequenced to build progressively towards an extended piece of writing.

High-quality teaching is at the heart of our writing provision. Teachers utilise a range of effective instructional strategies to engage and support pupils of all abilities. They provide constructive feedback, model exemplary writing, and facilitate opportunities for pupils to collaborate and peer-assess. Differentiated activities and interventions are incorporated to ensure that every child is challenged and supported in their writing journey.

Impact

At Downe Manor Primary School, pupils demonstrate a genuine enthusiasm for writing. They are eager to explore new genres, experiment with language features, and express their thoughts and ideas creatively. Writing is celebrated and valued throughout the school community, nurturing a positive ethos where pupils feel confident to take risks and express themselves authentically through their writing.

Assessment for Learning is embedded in English lessons and children are active in reviewing their work and identifying target areas for development. Children are supported to improve their work through using an individualised approach with a combination of conferencing and peer assessment.

Our writing provision celebrates diversity and promotes inclusivity. Pupils from all backgrounds and abilities are supported to flourish as writers. Tailored interventions and additional support are provided for those who require extra assistance, ensuring that every child makes progress and achieves their full potential. The progression in writing skills is evident as pupils move through the school, culminating in a strong foundation for future academic and personal success.

Our commitment to nurturing confident and proficient writers, coupled with innovative teaching practices and a supportive environment, ensures that pupils leave our school equipped with the essential skills to thrive in the ever-evolving landscape of communication and literacy.

Summary of writing at Downe Manor:

  • During the Early Years, pupils are placed into groups following reading assessments. Every morning, they participate in sessions focused on reading and writing sounds. The children are encouraged to mark-make and apply their phonic knowledge through emergent and independent writing opportunities within the continuous provision and with stimulating activities orchestrated by their teachers during play and learn sessions.
  • In KS1, the children have phonics lessons 5 times a week. These phonics lessons include teaching on handwriting, grammar, punctuation and spelling. They practise writing words and sentences on whiteboards using our Bug Club scheme. KS1 also undertake an extended writing process twice each half term.
  • In KS2, the children are taught in their own classes for all English lessons. They undertake an extended writing process twice each term.

Supporting your child's writing

There are lots of ways you can help your child with writing. Here are some ideas:

 

Improving writing through reading

The best activity to improve writing is reading. Through reading, students see a variety of authors’ techniques that they can use in their own writing. Regular reading is a stepping stone to better writing and helps children strengthen their writing skills. It helps expand children’s vocabulary and shows them different ways of using words. This also makes it easier for them to use these words in their own writing.

 

While your child will have some favourite books and types of book that they’ll want to listen to again and again, try to make sure they get to hear a range of different types of books, including fiction and non-fiction. This is useful for their writing because it models lots of language styles.

 

Talking to children

Make sure to chat regularly with your child and ask them plenty of questions. Having chats can help them get better at picking words, sharing thoughts, and thinking back on what they've done. Instead of asking questions that can be answered with just 'yes' or 'no' (for example, "Was school good today?"), try asking questions where your child can explain more (like "What was the coolest thing you found out at school today?"). Also, chat with your child about the places you go, the things you do for work, the stories you read, or the TV shows you enjoy watching together.

 

Making writing meaningful in everyday life

It's important to write for real reasons. For example, writing a card, making a shopping list, or sending letters/emails to family can be really useful and motivating. By doing this, children can see how important it is to write well. By showing children the link between writing and everyday life, they will start to enjoy writing more.

Setting up a writing area

Make a special place in your home just for writing. Find a quiet spot with good light. This area should only be for writing, helping your child concentrate on their writing skills. Fill this "writing corner" with things like paper, pencils, crayons, and pens.

Recognising your child's writing

Show that you value your child's writing by displaying it where everyone can see. This will encourage them to write more. Let your child know that their writing is important and deserves to be shared. This will inspire them to write even more. Focus on what your child does well, not just on mistakes. Instead of only looking at spelling and punctuation errors, highlight their successes. By making a special writing space and celebrating your child's writing efforts, you can help them build confidence and become better writers.

For more tips on writing with children at home, click here

 Click here for the Writing Overview 23/24

Click here for Writing Overview 24/25