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The Rowans AP Academy

Inspiring change for a brighter future

Writing across the curriculum

Our 2015 Ofsted Report feedback said: What does the school need to do to improve further?

To raise standards in writing to match fully the standards in reading, the school should: extend the range of opportunities for students to write for a wider variety of purposes in subjects other than English.

Literacy across the curriculum became a whole school focus, with it being a strategic priority for 3 years, on the school improvement plan, with a drive on ‘writing for a wide variety of purposes’, led by the Leadership Team.  It continues to be a priority, embedded within literacy across the curriculum.

What we did…..

  • Year 1 (2015-16) – Big Write framework used to provide opportunities for extended writing in all subject lessons every other term.  KS3 pupils entered a National writing competition.
  • Year 2 (2016-17) – SPAG starters introduced and used in lessons to embed basic skills and develop confidence in the fundamentals for writing.  Key subject terminology visible in every classroom and signposted in lessons.
  • Year 3 (2017-18) – Opportunities to apply those SPAG skills and develop stamina, motivation and enjoyment of writing for various audiences through extended writing.  Each subject aimed to produce one piece of extended writing per term.  Some KS3 pupils entered a poetry writing competition and had their work published in a book.

Example of types of writing in DT

Type of writing Context / ‘Hook’
News report Write a news article for the end of term ‘GOAL’ magazine to celebrate the great work in DT this term.
Formal Report Writing Imagine you are a Health & Safety inspector, write a report about the safety standards in the workshop (could include ‘role-play’ / dress up).
Poetry Write a poem about the 6Rs of sustainability to motivate young children to do more to help the environment.
Presentation Choose two different products to test out. Write a detailed analysis to compare them, then feedback to the group on which was best and why.
Diary / On-line blog Keep a diary of your practical work in DT week-by-week to share with family / online fans.
Instructions Write a set of instructions to teach an alien to use the laser cutter.
Persuasive writing Produce an argument to persuade Miss Johnson to let us buy / go to ….
Advertising Produce a leaflet / flyer to advertise your finished product to your target audience.
Creative writing Imagine there has been a terrible accident in the workshop, write a story which starts with the sentence… { It had started out like any other ordinary DT lesson in the workshop, when suddenly… }
Interview Write questions and conduct an interview with …. (relevant subject related visitor) or pretend you are to interview … (famous figure linked to subject area)
  • Year 4 (2018-2019) – Staff began to use ‘working walls’ to showcase examples of independent writing alongside annotations showing why the work has been displayed/achieved certain criteria.  Monitoring of teaching and learning continued to look for opportunities for extended and independent writing as well as marking for literacy across subjects.

NOW...

  • Year 5 (2019-2020) – The curriculum intent for writing is that pupils have the skills needed for their next steps, and that could include: having intervention to close gaps in writing identified from baseline assessments, being delivered a programme of phonics to allow pupils to access the writing curriculum, moving from KS3 to KS4 to begin GCSE/BTEC studies or achieving a functional skills qualification in English and supporting them to achieve a standard of writing that will enable them to complete application forms for future education and/or employment.

IMPACT

Year 1 2015-2016

The ‘Big Write’, based on the primary curriculum was overwhelmingly successful in introducing pupils to extended writing using writing frames, scaffolding and VCOP support.  Each ‘Big Write’ done had a genre and specific literacy focus as seen below:

Week Teacher Subject Genre Focus
14th September LG DT Instructional text Imperative verbs
21st September LR Food Letter writing (formal) Adjectives
28th September FR Art Narrative Speech
5th October VW/LK IT Newspaper article Formal language
12th October KM/IW Science Poetry Vocabulary
19th October JN/LO/LT English Narrative Openers / connectives

 

Week Teacher Subject Genre Focus
2nd November TA/LK/LT Sport Report (non-fiction) Openers / Connectives
9th November JG Music Radio broadcast (persuasive) Language
16th November LT, BK, LO and FR Maths Eye-witness account Emotive / descriptive language
23rd November LG DT Creative writing Description
7th December LR Food Newspaper article Adjectives
2nd November FR Art Diary entry Emotive language

It was noted in monitoring of teaching and learning and lesson drop ins that the ‘Big Write’ had enthused many pupils to consider writing outside of English lessons.  There had been some fantastic letters written in food lessons and a detailed and well-structured newspaper article written in IT.  All subjects had engaged in this strategy and pupils were proud to share their work and have it displayed on the ‘Big Write’ noticeboard in the school corridor.

Year 2 2016-2017

Monitoring of teaching and learning specifically focused on writing for terms 2 and 5 and there is clear evidence of individual progression as well as teacher marking explaining next steps for further progress.

SPAG starters and literacy across the curriculum was the focus for learning walks in term 1. The evidence shows that the SPAG starters were helping to improve pupils basic spelling of key terminology as well as making basic grammar and punctuation ‘fun’ and engaging. Staff had made clear and explicit links between the SPAG starters and the learning intent of the lesson.

Year 3 2017-2018

The staff were given more ownership of how the extended writing would fit into medium term plans. There was evidence that staff included both opportunities for extended writing as well as SPAG starters. The evidence from monitoring showed that marking for literacy was happening across the curriculum and that some subjects had introduced a specific literacy target alongside the subject specific target.

Year 4  2018-2019

Training for staff on the 7 principles of effective teaching meant that staff could begin to explore in more detail the ‘building blocks’ that would support pupils in extended writing tasks, this included; explanations, questioning and responding, modelling and meta-memory. Some subjects deliberately built these into their curriculum intent and implementation whilst others chose a particular focus. There were many examples of extended writing from across the curriculum in the ‘WOW’ folder, with strong examples from media, history, science, DT and art.

Year 5 2019-2020

English teachers have commented on the standard of creative writing being produced by Year 10 already, having had KS3 writing input lower down the school for many.  Alongside vocabulary acquired through reading, creative writing techniques were taught explicitly in English and this has enabled pupils to make rapid and sustained progress in this area of writing.  Pupils have written for different purposes as part of KS3 schemes of work and also for BTEC and GCSE qualifications.

Where gaps are identified in pupils’ writing, interventions are given which specifically target SPAG to support writing.