Here at the Downley School we teach an enriching and diverse reading-based curriculum. We use a wide range of high-quality texts to engage and inspire reading and writing. At The Downley School we aim to teach the skills needed together with fostering a love and appreciation of reading and writing. We aim to create an environment where all children, no matter their background and starting point, read and write for enjoyment and understand that it is an essential skill for different purposes and audiences.
An integral aim for our teaching is to develop high standards of literacy in all children, essential for them to access the wider world and communicate freely. Pupils will be given opportunities to use their progressing English skills within a broad and balanced curriculum. This will provide opportunities to consolidate and practise literacy skills across a broad range of curriculum topics to embed lifelong learning and skills. English skills do not stand alone but are an integral part of all learning and wider life.
In our writing lessons, teachers deliver well-planned sequences of learning based on a high-quality text. Schemes are used to provide structure, but they are adapted to suit the needs of each individual cohort of children. This ensures that all pupils are taught the complete writing process: learning grammar skills, planning, writing and editing. These skills are explicitly taught through skilled and precise teacher modelling through guided and shared writing, supported writing and independent writing. Through their sequence of learning across the terms and school year, pupils write for a variety of purposes and audiences.
At The Downley School, we are working to ensure quality and consistency in the teaching of reading / writing across the whole school. Every child will encounter high quality teaching and lessons that are inspiring, engaging and carefully planned and delivered for them to achieve. To do this, we ensure that all staff at The Downley School have expert knowledge and feel confident in teaching high quality writing lessons. We do this by monitoring the quality teaching through regular learning walks and book looks. We aim to deliver a range of purposeful and specific CPD opportunities based on areas for improvement. This CPD is meaning that increasing consistency is been gained across the school. Where staff have less subject knowledge or confidence, they are supported through guided planning sessions with the English Leader and Assistant Head Teacher.
Writing lessons take place daily, following the schemes of work based on high-quality texts adapted to suit the needs of the class and individual learners. The clearly structured sequence of lessons is focused on a text and is sequenced towards an extended writing piece at the end of the unit. This creates clarity, awareness of the audience and a range of purposes while guiding the children towards an increasingly broad knowledge of vocabulary, spelling and grammar that is taught throughout the sequence. There are lots of opportunities for children to discover and immerse themselves in their focus text, looking at vocabulary choices, characters and wider context surrounding the book. This creates engaged and inspired writers who enjoy sharing their work. Grammar and punctuation skills are taught throughout the units of work and progression is built across the year and subsequently through year groups in line with the national curriculum. An appropriate progression of skills is seen overall through a whole school curriculum overview.
Daily marking takes place to provide the children with feedback on any errors or misconceptions that have occurred whilst showing the teachers how to progress the children’s learning.
Lessons in KS1 are taught to allow children to discuss and dictate their ideas for writing before writing down if appropriate for the task. Children are taught spelling through the Little Wandle scheme up to Year 2.
In KS2, teachers guide children through a clearly modelled and explained writing process where children can generate ideas, plan, draft, edit and publish their writing.
At The Downley School, children are engaged in lessons. As they progress through school, children build their skills and writing stamina which (with scaffolding, if necessary) allow them to succeed, whatever their starting point. Writing produced by children is high quality and well presented in a range of ways. Children visibly take pride in their work by making choices in language and presentation.
Writing is regularly assessed by the class teachers and writing moderation meetings take place lead by senior leaders to keep consistency with the levels of assessment across the whole school. To ensure high quality teaching and learning is taking place consistently across the school, regular learning walks and book looks are conducted by the English Leader and other senior leaders.
Senior leaders and Governors review this information, and this informs discussions and decisions around provision for all learners in English.
They understand that when we learn together, we grow together and succeed together.