Writing at St Silas School

Team Meeting 02.11.2016

November 2, 2016 - No Responses

SDP: Writing – Team Meeting (02.11.2016)


  • The need for clearly defined strategies that can be monitored and evaluated
  • Overview of what has been done/needs doing
  • Discussion of ideas to fit with ‘actions’ in terms of being appropriate for evaluation
  • Sub-teams to discuss specific ideas and feedback to team

SL began by explaining the need for strategies/activities that can be implemented, monitored and evaluated successfully. He went on to explain what has already been achieved and what things the team needed to move onto.


  • RM and SL have created a new yearly plan that encompasses coverage of a range of genres and enables coverage of curriculum objectives.
  • Dedicated time is allocated within the timetable for the teaching of spelling and handwriting (inc. yearly word lists).
  • Spelling is also given as weekly homework, with spelling lists being published on the blog.
  • For the benefit of handwriting, BB has created a booklet of activities to promote fine motor skills. This was discussed at INSET, and disseminated to staff.
  • As a benefit for handwriting (among other things), Year 1 is currently undertaking the NDD programme that was started in last year’s Reception class. The programme will then run over a one and a half year cycle that will begin in the 2nd half of Reception year and finish at the end of Year 1.
  • Hit Squad has been extended to include support for sentence-level work in English.
  • SL delivered INSET to provide guidance on the use of Hit Squad; included in this was guidance on Working Walls.
  • RM and SL have begun weekly after-school sessions as CPD for Hit Squad members
  • SL has asked RM to trial a daily ‘speech choir’ approach to use with WAGOLLs, with this aimed at pupils gaining a better understanding of punctuation, word meaning and the ‘writer’s voice’.
  • To showcase pupils’ best work, writing files have been distributed and Golden Envelopes have been put into all books.
  • SL has contacted Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Rob Smith re. author’s visit and CPD respectively.


The ‘sub-teams’ then split off to think of ways to implement the activities/strategies that they are responsible for.

  • BB/MW will ensure that Pre-Nursery, Nursery, Reception and Year1/Reception all have a ‘fine motor skills station’ set up and resourced so that they are ready for daily use. They will be responsible for ensuring that this becomes a routine for all, with specific pupils being targeted for extra input. They will also ensure that the activities are shown through the school blog.
  • AB/SN devised a plan for running a half-termly Spelling Bee, with prizes to promote effort in the learning of spelling.
  • AB/SN are to set up a blog page to showcase specific examples of pupils’ writing. This will be done through the use of SeeSaw and the Praise Pod, with AB offering to demonstrate the process at a forthcoming staff meeting.
  • PW is going to set up a Slack channel to promote the use of Working Walls in English. She will be responsible for checking their usage and providing reminders of good practice.
  • FS is compiling a list of books that teachers have found inspirational or that have worked well as a stimulus for good writing; the list will include some basic information about the books and what they will be good for teaching
  • PW/FS/PC are to organise writing trips for KS1 and KS2.
  • SL will update the school’s Writing Policy.
  • SL will meet with RM to discuss any improvements that can be made to the school’s overall ‘approach to writing’.
  • SL to try to arrange a visit from a local author and some writing workshops (possibly as CPD).
  • SL to discuss the use of WAGOLLs, including their use as displays that show technical terminology.
  • SL linking with RM re. creation of Reading/Writing sheds – reading sheds made from smooth wood painted with blackboard paint.

Beginning to GROW

October 11, 2016 - No Responses

In case you’re wondering what the acronym GROW stands for, it’s Goals to Refine, Refresh, Revamp, Recharge and Reinvigorate Our Writing.  I know that’s a lot of Rs, but being such a friendly team, we didn’t want it to sound like a GRRRRROW(L)!

We’re glad to say that our plan is up and running.

Mr Lawley led staff INSET on the use of ‘Hit Squad’ to support pupils’ writing, with this work aimed at sentence development through varied construction and punctuation, use of correct grammar and sentence/text cohesion.  To link with this, Mr Morris led a session on the use of Kagan structures for collaborative learning.  Mr Burton also shared ideas for improving fine motor skills as a means of supporting the improvement of handwriting.  We discussed how some of these activities could be incorporated into our ‘mindfulness’ sessions (such as intricate weaving or colouring) or linked to pupils’ learning of spellings (e.g. using household pegs in spelling sessions).

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The new English Curriculum – A guide for parents

October 7, 2016 - No Responses

Here is a year-by-year breakdown of what your child will be learning.