‘A word after a word after a word is power.’ Margaret Atwood
‘If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.’ Toni Morrison
Writing is vital for all of a child’s schooling and to their life beyond. It is at the heart of Darell’s whole school curriculum.
It is our intent that a child at Darell - no matter what their starting point - is immersed in a language rich environment that demonstrates the written word in all of its forms and shares how writing can be used for thinking, for communication and as a means of expression. Through purposeful opportunities and reasons to write, a child at Darell is given a voice, supporting them to communicate, and is equipped with the skills to write clearly, accurately and expressively - they will become an author!
Link to our values:
Every child will have equal access to high quality teaching so that they can write with fluency and confidence - equality
Teaching children to take pride in their written work - responsibility
Exposing children to the power of the written word - aspiration
Developing an attitude to writing that excites, enthuses and inspires - enjoyment
To achieve our statement of intent, writing is modelled everywhere, across the school, linked to all areas of learning and throughout provision. All teachers demonstrate the act of writing, writing alongside children, talking through their thought process, articulating their ideas and ways to overcome difficulties faced.
Children at Darell learn how to write through a rich diet of valuable experiences and quality texts across a range of genres. Texts are carefully selected to provide rich language models and structures from which children can learn how writing works and the effect it can have on a reader. Teachers choose books that enable children to comprehend beyond their own reading fluency level.
The teaching of writing begins with talk, for talk is how children make meaning. Spoken language is the first and most important resource that young writers have. At Darell, each conversation about a book, alongside each question and conversational turn, develops children’s listening comprehension and their language. These form the foundations of a child’s later understanding of written language systems.
In the Early Years, the teaching of writing is guided by Development Matters and Letters and Sounds. Children engage in writing or mark-making activities for their own satisfaction, generally without an intended audience. As writing develops, children may write purely for themselves, before becoming more confident to write for others. We provide well-stocked writing areas with a range of materials and media for writing. Children are given time and space to use writing as a tool for thinking, for taking ownership over their ideas and for sharing them with others.
Key Stage One and Key Stage Two
For both Key Stage One and Key Stage Two, in line with the national curriculum, our teaching focuses on developing children’s competence in both transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).
Because children can compose long before they can transcribe, our teaching in Key Stage One focuses on supporting children with transcription, enabling them to compose more freely. This support can be gradually withdrawn as transcription becomes easier and children increase in independence, finding their voices as writers.
As children become more experienced, our teaching in Key Stage Two focuses on developing children’s independence as writers. They explore form, voice, awareness of their audience and the needs of the reader. They are given time to plan, draft and edit their writing, thus increasing their ability and stamina to manage extended texts. Teachers continue to model and demonstrate how to craft texts with the reader in mind and how to reflect critically on their own writing.
Spelling and grammar, linked to language and form, is taught, modelled and explored as an integral part of the writing curriculum.
When a child leaves Darell, they are able to write fluently, with confidence and for enjoyment. They are able to communicate their ideas and emotions and have the foundations to access the academic curriculum in their forthcoming secondary education and in their life beyond.