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Our Curriculum - Writing

We are Writers!


How we get our children to be confident, effective writers, who understand writing for a purpose across a range of genres.


Writing Statement of Intent


At Thomas Barnes Primary School, the teaching of writing is of paramount importance within a broad and balanced curriculum. Our aim is to ensure that every child within our school, regardless of background and potential difficulty, leaves our school as a competent writer who has an understanding of the conventions of Standard English and when to use it effectively. This ability to write with confidence for a range of purposes and audiences ensures that children leave us fully prepared for their secondary education, ready to achieve their aspirations and thrive in their adult life. The writing curriculum at Thomas Barnes encourages children to immerse themselves in language rich texts, understand the features and impact of these different genres and realise the importance of them beyond education.

Implementation of our Writing Curriculum


We use a ‘listen, read, analyse, plan, write, revise and edit’ approach to our English units so that children have considerable exposure to the text type as well as having opportunities to magpie words and phrases.  The National Curriculum and EYFS Framework is used to inform the planning and delivery of the writing curriculum which underpins our Essential Knowledge document. Writing is taught explicitly in daily literacy lessons and skills learnt are regularly reinforced within lessons across the curriculum.


We have recently reviewed our Reading Journeys (a set of language rich and diverse texts) so that pupils can immerse themselves in the language and structure of these to create their own toolkit – an aid to writing. This ensures that language patterns, punctuation and key phrases are internalised by the children so that they become confident and competent writers. Repeated practice of writing genres (our Big Write) ensures that pupils leave our school capable of writing for different audiences and purposes.


Spelling is taught outside of literacy lessons and children understand the importance of learning spellings in a memorable and interesting way using our Non-Nonsense Spelling scheme. A range of strategies are used to ensure personable learning which supports pupils in becoming competent lifelong spellers. Accurate spelling is expected in all writing across the curriculum and children are taught and given time to edit their spellings and recognise their own errors.


The teaching of grammar and standard English is an integral part of every writing lesson and across the whole curriculum. Using the National Curriculum, key grammar and Standard English skills are taught progressively and systematically throughout the school. To enhance the children's use of grammatical knowledge and effective sentence structure, we incorporate the teaching of Alan peat sentences into the writing process.


Teachers follow the writing process: establishing audience and purpose, reading and analysing good examples of finished pieces, modelling planning, live modeling, shared writing, independent writing, uplevelling and editing. Teachers model the process of writing within every English unit so that children understand the thought process behind writing. During this process, teachers think out loud, edit and demonstrate how and why they have structured their writing in the way that they have. Children are then given the opportunity to participate in a shared write, where everybody contributes to the writing outcome. This is scaffolded further into paired, supported and finally independent writing.

Tommy B's Writing Key 1 - Handwriting 


It is essential that teaching develops pupils' competence in handwriting. Outstanding writing depends on fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy handwriting. At Thomas Barnes we use Kinetic Letters.


Kinetic Letters is a handwriting programme for use in primary and secondary schools. It enables children to develop legible handwriting that is produced quickly and automatically and becomes a valuable tool and not a hindrance to learning.


Each week, every class in the school takes part in Kinetic Letters lessons which focus on letter formation  and pencil grip. These are continuously reinforced throughout the school day in every lesson.


Every child learns to hold a pencil by using 'The 3 Friends Hold' and by remembering the story of Curly the Caterpillar who lives between our holding fingers. We ask parents to encourage their children to use this grip at home.


Every child learns to hold a pencil by using 'The 3 Friends Hold' and by remembering the story of Curly the Caterpillar who lives between our holding fingers. We ask parents to encourage their children to use this grip at home.



"You get your holding fingers and you pick your pencil up, you tip it back to lay across your hand, you put pillow finger under to keep poor Curly safe, that's your 3 Friends Hold!"


This is how we expect the children to form each individual letter:


Please see the Kinetic Letter website for more information:


Tommy B's Writing Key 2 - Spelling

We use No Nonsense Spelling as our effective teaching programme from Year 2 to Year 6. In regular lessons, the programme provides pupils with a range of spelling patterns and strategies, enabling them to effectively apply across the curriculum as they become more independent. It includes teaching pupils to proofread and edit with purpose. We expect all children to be able to spell the following words by the end of Year 1, Year 2, Year 4 and Year 6:

Tommy B's Writing Key 3 - Exciting Sentences!


Throughout the school, we are using a system for teaching writing developed by the educational specialist Alan Peat. We teach children how to use particular types of sentences, all which have a handy nickname, so that all teachers are using the same terminology throughout the school. The sentence types also link to the grammar national curriculum and is a fun way to teach the essentials such as expanded noun phrases, adverbials and complex sentences. The sentences progress in difficulty throughout the years and children are encouraged to use them in their writing. 

The sentence types are designed to help children to write exciting, sophisticated pieces of writing that use the right tone for their purpose. Some sentence types are more appropriate to non-fiction, and others, to fiction writing.

Tommy B's Writing Key 4 - Vocabulary 

Tommy B's Writing Key 5 - The Big Write


The Big Write, an independent period of extended writing, is possibly one of the most well known techniques in the UK to encourage pupils to produce a standard of writing that the teacher can accurately assess from.

The length of time a class spends on their Big Write depends on their age but all follow the same routine when preparing for it. The children write individually, in silence, with an atmosphere that supports both concentration and creativity. 


The Writing Process

In order for the Big Write to be successful, teachers must give the children the opportunity to explore the writing process.


1.Establish audience and purpose.

When planning a unit of writing, and when children are planning their own writing, a purpose for the writing should be identified. Start with the end point in mind. 


2. Reading

Use WAGOLLS (What a Good One Looks Like) to analyse a finished piece of writing – composition and effect, sentence structure, word choice.


3.Live model

The best way to teach writing is to model it. During the planning process, once the audience and purpose has been identified, teachers should decide what the finished piece of writing should look like The writing can serve as an example (or a WAGOLL) which children can refer to and the process of writing it is a great insight into the potential difficulties children might have when writing – it’s not easy!


3. Model planning stage

Show the children how to plan? Has this come from deconstructing an existing text (WAGOLL)? Have you established success criteria?


4 Uplevel

Uplevelling is defined as 'making changes to the content of writing in light of feedback and self evaluation. Peer evaluation can work effectively here.  

Children should be shown how to read their work, and the work of others, critically, asking themselves such as questions as: Is there enough detail? It the purpose of the writing clear? Can the sentence structure or vocabulary ne improved? 


6.Edit the final piece (editing is defined as proofreading; at this stage, spelling and grammar assume greater importance and pupils need to recognise that their work will need to be accurate if readers are to engage with it and extract the intended information from it. 

Impact of our Writing Curriculum


From the regular monitoring of plans, books and pupil interviews, it is clear that writing is taught in a systematic and progressive way, that prior teaching and learning is considered, and that learning is memorable. Children enjoy talking about their writing – about its construction, purpose and effect on the reader. They are confident to share their writing with staff, children and parents alike. 


As a result of the explicit teaching of writing skills, cross-curricular writing is of the same standard as writing completed in literacy units. All writing is planned with a clear intention and audience and editing ensures that writing is presented at its best. Children achieve well at the end of Key Stage 2 and leave Thomas Barnes with a secure understanding of writing and are well prepared to meet the needs of a challenging secondary curriculum and the expectations of writing across all subjects. Teachers use the Writing Bands alongside a range of the child’s writing to monitor progress and assess them at key points throughout the school year. 


Our aim is for all children to leave Thomas Barnes with a genuine love of writing which had been enhanced through their love of reading. We want them to be fully prepared for the next stage of their education and theor future careers.