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Writing at oakwood Avenue

Teaching and assessing writing – The Oaky Way

Planning and teaching a unit of work

  • English will be planned using a text based approach and a unit of work will be devised from a high quality children’s book. Literacy Company planning may be annotated and used as it is, if teachers are planning a bespoke unit, the school medium term planning should be used.
  • Each unit will begin with a ‘hook’ lesson to generate curiosity and enthusiasm. It will engage the learner with the context for learning provided by a stimulus (a prop, a concrete experience, use of art, drama, role play) to provide the ‘why’ of learning.
  • The structure of planning for a unit of work and the process towards mastery will be as follows;
  • Engagement with text –Familiarisation with and immersion in the text. The reciprocal reading structures of prediction, clarifying, questioning and summarising will be taught to the whole class. Shared reading is the main focus of this stage; the skills of reading must be modelled and taught. New vocabulary will be introduced from the text or associated with the text (Wow up your words).
  • Teaching the Skills – Teach the ‘procedural’ elements of the curriculum by unpicking the skills a learner needs to be successful in writing. The learning outcomes show connections between the content of the curriculum and using them in context. Analysis of vocabulary, comprehension and gathering ideas will form the basis of teaching and learning, including working out the meanings of words linked to words they already know (for example, navigation – do you know any words that sound like this…sat nav) and the word within context (use a dictionary as a last resource). Examples of work and ideas gathered will be added to the ‘Writers’ Working Wall’ (See Working Wall guidance for more ideas) to build up a bank of resources to support children’s writing. This stage builds general knowledge as well as comprehension. It will follow a teach, practise and use cycle; the teacher will teach a skill, then there will be the opportunity to practise the skill at sentence level followed by a planned incidental piece of writing to use and extend the new skill taught. During this stage only 2-3 specific writing skills will be taught and practised towards mastery in writing (these would not form evidence for assessment until independently applied outside of the teach, practise, use cycle). Although, there is an expectation that other skills taught in previous year groups and units will be applied and therefore demonstrated independently and these can be assessed.
  • Independent Writing – Teachers provide learners with the opportunity to apply all of the taught skills within an extended context. The learners have an opportunity to evaluate and reflect on their learning. Modelled/shared and guided writing is planned leading to the skills taught being applied into children’s independent work. This stage should include lessons on planning a piece, writing independently and be followed by editing, re-drafting and evaluating writing.
  • The 3 stages above could be worked through a few times in each unit.
  • The teaching of skills should be evidenced in books and the aim is for children to be writing almost every day and for longer periods of time to improve stamina. These activities will illustrate engagement with the text and the teaching and practising of skills. This could take the form of a number of activities, for example:  summaries, thought bubbles, lists, sequencing, questions, postcards, applying a skill through sentence writing, glossaries or collecting vocabulary.
  • During a writing unit, there should be at least one incidental piece planned per week which gives children a context to use the writing skills they have been taught. These skills should then become embedded as the unit progresses. The writing should include a variety of genres: diaries, letters newspaper reports, posters, adverts, interviews, descriptions, comparisons, summaries and evaluations. Please see ‘Writing Opportunities for the application of Grammar and Punctuation’ from the Literacy Company. To support the teaching of mastery, please refer to the following documents from The Literacy Company; Bloom’s Taxonomy for Greater Depth Writing and Writing types and Greater Depth ideas for writing non-fiction.
  • One of the incidental pieces of writing should inform or be the basis for an editing and redrafting lesson at least every two to three weeks. This is about teaching editing and redrafting skills so that children can later show they can use these skills independently on final pieces.
    • Children complete an incidental piece of writing
    • This is not marked in children’s books using green pen by the teacher but assessment notes will be made on individuals and whole class common misconceptions in the class/set writing AFL book
    • This informs the planning of an editing/redrafting learning opportunity which could take the form of editing stations or other scaffolded activities.
    • Children then use purple pen in this lesson to improve their work.
  • As defined in FFT Write Away Together file;

Editing is about putting right something in the text which is not correct, where the inaccuracy is likely to impact on whether the text communicates effectively with its readers. It is most likely to focus on transcriptional errors like spelling and handwriting, but might include missing punctuation and obvious grammatical errors.

Redrafting is about improving the quality of the text by making changes to the first draft or first go because elements of it are dull, imprecise, repetitious or inappropriate. Such improvements are not about focussing on errors, but rather identifying – usually through re-reading – that something in the text doesn’t work well enough and making a change to something that works better. The most likely focus in re-drafting is on the compositional elements of word choice, sentence variation and text cohesion. 

  • Other incidentals and pieces of work are to be marked in green in accordance with the marking policy and children’s improvements made in purple pen. Please see separate marking policy and symbols.
  • Children will use purple pen for all editing and re-drafting completed after any writing lesson (quick improvement time following marking policy). Independent editing and re-drafting in response to re-reading during the writing lesson will be done in blue or pencil, dependent on stage.
  • Children must be taught how to plan and structure their writing. This must be developmental and influenced by NC age related expectations. The planning writing section (p82-103) of the ‘Write Away Together’ file has some good suggestions of structures to use for different genres of writing. ‘Constructing paragraphs and cohesion’ document from The Literacy Company will also support this.
  • In Key Stage 1, children should use oral rehearsal as their main tool to plan their writing and other scaffolds/organisational devices to structure writing as a class. Opportunities should be planned, however, to explore the structures of stories and other literature studied. This will develop an understanding of how writing is structured and will support the planning process in KS2.
  • In Key Stage 2, several ways of structuring different genres of writing should be taught (see file as above). Children should be given choices about how to structure their work including how many paragraphs they will write and the content of the paragraphs.
  • The extended piece at the end of the unit is an opportunity for children to apply all the skills taught in this unit and previous units to an independent piece of writing (please see guidance on independence in writing).

Independence in Writing

As stated in 2018 Teacher Assessment Guidance for KS1 and KS2;

Independent writing

Pupils’ writing upon which teachers base their judgements must be produced independently. The national curriculum is clear that writing should also be produced through discussion with the teacher and peers. (This is particularly true at KS1, where discussion and oral rehearsal with teachers will feature more. The KS1 teacher assessment frameworks state that pupils should demonstrate the ‘pupil can’ statements after discussion with the teacher.)

A piece of writing may provide evidence of a pupil demonstrating some ‘pupil can’ statements independently, but not others. For example, a pupil may produce an independent piece of writing which meets many of the statements relating to composition and the use of grammar, but they did not demonstrate independent spelling where the teacher has provided the pupil with domain specific words or corrected their spelling. This does not mean that the entire piece is not independent.

Teachers may choose to use success criteria in lessons to help pupils to understand what they have learnt and help them to judge whether a pupil has met the objectives for a piece of writing. Using success criteria does not mean that a pupil’s writing is not independent; they would simply need to avoid modelling or over-scaffolding the expected outcome. Furthermore, using detailed success criteria as a teaching tool for one aspect of writing could still provide independent evidence of other ‘pupil can’ statements which have not been mentioned.

Writing is likely to be independent if it:

• emerges from a text, topic, visit, or curriculum experience in which pupils have had opportunities to discuss and rehearse what is to be written about

• enables pupils to use their own ideas and provides them with an element of choice, for example writing from the perspective of a character they have chosen themselves

• has been edited, if required, by the pupil without the support of the teacher, although this may be in response to self, peer, or group evaluation

• is produced by pupils who have, if required, sought out classroom resources, such as dictionaries or thesauruses, without prompting to do so by the teacher

Writing is not independent if it has been:

• modelled or heavily scaffolded

• copied or paraphrased

• edited as a result of direct intervention by a teacher or other adult, for example when the pupil has been directed to change specific words for greater impact, where incorrect or omitted punctuation has been indicated, or when incorrectly spelt words have been identified by an adult for the pupil to correct

• produced with the support of electronic aids that automatically provide correct spelling, synonyms, punctuation, or predictive text

• supported by detailed success criteria that specifically direct pupils as to what to include, or where to include it, in their writing, such as directing them to include specific vocabulary, grammatical features, or punctuation.


  • In line with new end of key stage assessment and moderation guidance, assessment evidence will be gathered from a variety of pieces of work throughout a unit. This will evidence where a skill has been demonstrated independently. An assessment sheet will be stuck at the beginning of the unit after the new unit insert in English books and a date/title be recorded next to the skill which has been seen.
  • A skill would be deemed as being demonstrated independently when it is applied outside of the teach, practise, use cycle and is applied fluently and flexibly. There will be opportunities to see other skills taught in the previous year groups or units being demonstrated independently in all pieces of work and these can be assessed.
  • Other evidence such as GAPs tests, spelling tests and other assessments can support teacher judgements.
  • ‘A more flexible approach’ has been introduced to assessing writing this year.

The Teacher Assessment Guidance states;

The approach to teacher assessment of English writing differs from that adopted in other subjects. This difference recognises and reflects the nature of the subject and that a degree of subjectivity is needed to assess it. Teachers are therefore afforded more flexibility in reaching a rounded judgement about a pupil’s overall attainment in writing.

A teacher must still assess a pupil against all of the ‘pupil can’ statements within the standard at which they are judged to be working. While a pupil’s writing should meet all the statements within that standard (since these represent the key elements of English writing within the national curriculum), teachers can use their discretion to ensure that a particular weakness does not prevent an accurate judgement of a pupil’s overall attainment being made. A teacher’s professional judgement takes precedence, but teachers must be able to justify their decisions during moderation.

When a teacher deems that a pupil meets a standard despite a particular weakness, they must have good reason to judge that this is the most accurate standard to describe the pupil’s overall attainment. The reason for this is likely to vary from pupil to pupil but, in all instances, teachers must be confident that the weakness is an exception in terms of the pupil’s overall attainment.

A particular weakness can relate to a part or the whole of a statement (or statements); the only consideration is whether it prevents an accurate judgement from being made overall. A particular weakness may well relate to a specific learning difficulty, but it is not limited to this. In addition, a specific learning difficulty does not automatically constitute a particular weakness which would prevent an accurate judgement. The same overall standard must be applied equally to all pupils.  

SEN writing and progress

Oakwood SEND expectations as shared with the staff on 31.01.18 are;

  • Planning should show differentiation (outcome, resources, task)
  • B squared targets should be stuck into books (maths, English and GR folders) – highlight the ones that the child is working on. Cross or tick on completion and update the electronic version half termly
  • Graphs should be in place and updated termly in line with our assessment cycle.
  • Upload updated graphs to the child’s individual chronology so that we can monitor them
  • Share the graphs at parents’ evening
  • SEN children and progress will be discussed at data reviews
  • Add names of children to the ‘Whole School Intervention Provision’ termly along with the name of the staff member delivering the intervention and the start date
  • Add the intervention to the child’s chronology in green
  • Complete the relevant paperwork – ECAR, SALT, WAVE 3
  • SALT reviews – school need to contact SALT when the programme has been completed.
  • All staff should know the SALT targets as these can be delivered through the curriculum.

 Other strategies for developing writing with SEND children are;

  • Pre-teach vocabulary so that during the lesson children already have an understanding of new words
  • Record oral sentences to play back to children to then write
  • Provide key words, visual clues and sentences that can be re-ordered to support writing
  • Use over-learning and working memory techniques
  • Plan multi-sensory learning activities
  • Give specific praise
  • Differentiate questioning
  • Provide coloured paper for children with visual stress
  • Give one instruction at a time and reduce memory load
  • Keep language simple
  • Make text reader friendly (comic sans recommended for dyslexia)
  • Allow think time
  • Encourage alternatives to handwriting/assistive technology
  • Support gross/fine motor skills
  • Have high expectations



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