At Girnhill Infant School, we provide all children with exciting and purposeful reasons to write and the vast majority of children leave our school as confident writers. For the past two years the number of children writing at the expected standard has been above the national average and we have an increasing number of children who are also working at the highest standard in this key area.
All areas of the curriculum are used as a stimulus for writing and to provide our children with a real and purposeful reason to write. Teachers plan for children’s writing around a topic theme every term and provide children with hands-on experiences and visits to engage them with writing. We provide a parent booklet for each year group with ideas and information on how parents can best support children’s writing at home and parent support is greatly appreciated.
At Girnhill we see children’s spoken language as key in improving their writing and we provide role-play areas and small-world opportunities in every classroom to develop children’s vocabulary and story-telling skills. Throughout school we use “Talk for Writing” which encourages children from as early as Nursery and Reception to engage in learning simple and familiar “Memory stories” such as Little Red Hen and Jasper’s Beanstalk. This is then developed in KS1 where children use their knowledge of story to imitate, innovate and eventually invent stories of their own. Teachers use talking partners and circle time activities to generate ideas for writing and to give children time to talk about their ideas before they begin to write.
Early mark making skills are encouraged in our youngest children through high quality nursery provision to develop the core strength and fine motor skills required to begin writing. Throughout the Early Years provision, children are given the opportunity to develop their letter formation through multi-sensory mark making opportunities and focused letter formation work with an adult. Cursive script (joined writing) is used throughout our school and we celebrate the neat presentation of work through our ‘Handwriting Hero’ award every Friday.
Writing walls are used in every classroom to display examples of children’s writing and to remind them of the key features of different forms of writing. We also use the ‘Magic Five’ symbol across our school to remind children of the key skills of sentence writing (capital letters, finger spaces, neat writing, punctuation, does it make sense?) and children are encouraged to use ‘Magic Five’ to assess their use of these key skills and improve every piece of writing they produce.