At Billinge St. Aidan’s CE Primary School, we aim for ALL of our children to become confident, fluent writers who are able to use the wide range of writing tools they have accessed and developed whilst on their writing journey with us. Children will be able to write for different purposes and for different audiences, using a range of key writing features which progress across key stages and year groups. We want our children to enjoy and be enthusiastic about writing, to achieve highly and leave us with the key skills needed to set them up for success at secondary school and far beyond.
At Billinge St. Aidan’s CE Primary School, we ensure that all children see themselves as writers. We follow a system of writing called The Write Stuff, with results that we are enormously proud of. The Write Stuff is the creation of the education consultant Jane Considine.
The Write Stuff brings clarity and structure to the mechanics of writing, through sentence stacking lessons which are broken into bite-sized chunks. These lessons allow for teachers to prepare children for writing by repetitively modelling ideas, ambitious vocabulary, grammar and techniques of writing. Teachers follow a repeated pattern of Initiate, Model and Enable, providing a consistent, whole-school, systematic approach to writing carefully constructed sentences. Pupils are given the opportunity to write in different genres and for different purposes, to entertain, discuss, persuade and inform, for example. Ambitious vocabulary is developed and celebrated across school through the frequent use of word banks, thesauruses and dictionaries.
The Write Stuff system builds pupils’ confidence with sentence structure, strengthening the organisation of their ideas and the cohesion between them. The approach widens the repertoire of writing options for pupils and gives pupils an understanding of the ‘whole’ piece that they are writing. Teachers can also reference the Three Zones of Writing, which can help pupils know how to start a piece of writing. These Three Zones of Writing comprise of The FANTASTICs (with a focus on ideas, thoughts and vocabulary), The GRAMMARISTICs (with a focus on grammar and knowing how to turn words into sentences) and The BOOMTASTICs (with a focus on techniques, choices and literary devices, helping pupils to develop their own unique writing choices).
Each writing unit starts with a new concept map stuck into each pupils’ book. This document, which pupils can refer back to throughout a unit of writing, sets out the genre of the piece, specific writing objectives for the piece, written outcomes, grammar that should be taught or revisited by their teacher, plus links to other learning and key vocabulary. Teachers have high expectations of pupils and carefully monitor their work, giving live feedback and also whole-class feedback related to common misconceptions or spelling errors at the start of each lesson. Pupils work is scaffolded so that pupils feel like staff are holding their hands, helping pupils to look at the mathematics of sentences so that pupils feel ready to write independently using the range of writing tools they have been trained to use.
Whilst teachers must deliver a set number of pieces of writing using The Write Stuff system, staff are also able to deliver additional writing units or lessons depending upon the needs or interests of a class. Furthermore, each class moves away from sentence stacking in the last half term of the year (apart from in Years 2 and 6, who do this in the last full term of a year), focussing instead on more independent writing of specific genres; pupils can refer back to previously completed pieces of that genre but are expected to be able to structure a piece more independently after all they have learned in the year.
Pieces of work are assessed using school’s writing assessment grids, which can be found below. These grids contain the key objectives we expect pupils to achieve and demonstrate progression between year groups.
Our pupils are respected as independent and individual writers. They are provided with regular opportunities to make individual, personalised choices and encouraged to develop creativity and their own writing voices. Regular, repeated opportunities to practise and revise key skills provides children with the confidence to apply them to a range of genres and even subjects across school. Our children have opportunities to show off what they have learned and apply them to different situations. Pupils at Billinge St. Aidan’s CE Primary School speak enthusiastically about their written pieces, of how they have made progress and developed their skills. Children understand why it is important to be able to write in a range of styles for different audiences inside as well as outside of the classroom. Children are positive and resilient and achieve highly, at or above the expected norms.