Finding the plot: revisiting a text based approach to primary writing

This is the opportunity to revisit and embed some of the principles of the effective teaching of writing. Following the pandemic, the EEF have identified that writing is one of the major areas in which children may have lost ground. This is particularly true of disadvantaged children and especially those disadvantaged children in Key Stage One.

The CPD will also take account of the latest Ofsted research report published on 23 May 2022 on English.

This is a modular CPD approach based upon three stages of writing:

  • Before writing
  • During writing
  • After writing

…and supported by teacher writing workshops and making it happen leadership implementation planning support

The input can be targeted at Key Stage One, Key Stage Two for a whole school approach including foundation stage.

The modules chosen by schools depend upon their individual needs and the areas of the school and writing that need to be targeted. The areas that might need to be targeted could be:

  • Spelling
  • Punctuation
  • Sentence structure and grammar
  • Vocabulary
  • Text structure and organisation
  • Ideas for writing

Handwriting is not a part of the offer, except during the after writing phase during evaluating and editing.

Before writing 

This is particularly open to customisation as many schools will already be familiar with my five phase approach to English units or something similar. Within my own five phase approach, particularly during the comprehension phase.

I have been emphasising the opportunities for shorter and longer pieces of writing. Shorter pieces of writing that can take place within a lesson and longer pieces of writing that can take place within a series of lessons. These are separate to extended writing which would come at the end of the unit.

The Writing Pyramid

I can offer an introduction to the five phase approach, or over the past year I have worked with schools in updating ideas and refreshing the five phase approach for them.

Within the comprehension phase, a key element is oracy leading up to writing but also drama activities can be built into this phase. My central idea is that children will be immersed in the text and this can therefore give them a voice so that they have something worthwhile to say.

During writing

Here I am proposing to work on the quality of children sentences, vocabulary and applying examples of good writing from the main text. This will involve crafting better sentences and identifying the standout sentences from model texts and their own writing or the writing of their peers.

After writing

After writing actually refers to the planning, drafting editing and especially evaluating phase. This will look at techniques to maximise the quality of the final piece of extended writing using focused feedback.

Central to all of the above, will be an opportunity to revisit research based best practice in the teaching of writing. This involves motivations to write; effective talk and teaching modelling using the I – we – you approach as recommended by the EEF.

Other modules that can be arranged to support the above our teacher writing workshops and leadership follow-on meetings.

The former will be the opportunity for teachers to experience the writing process themselves. This will be based on the structure of my greater depth writing workshops for year six and will allow teachers to experience for themselves some of the issues and rewards in producing the final piece of work.

The leadership follow-up meetings, will focus on plans to ensure the impact of the modules of CPD chosen by schools. This will be based upon the principles outlined recently by the EEF for making CPD in the short, medium and longer term.

Some suggested modules for schools to select from:

  • An introduction to 5 phase English units – a quality text based approach
  • Revisiting 5 phase English units – a new presentation including new ideas and a quick recall of previous input
  • Planning meetings with teachers to plan their own units
  • Short bust and longer burst writing within the comprehension phase
  • During and after writing – improving text structure and sentence level work using model texts and ARE grammar

Below are stand alone modules for schools who have identified specific problems in these areas :

  • Spelling – an in depth and practical examination
  • Vocabulary – an in depth and practical examination

Teacher writing workshops – what is it like being a writer in school?

Making it happen – a chance plan the implementation and assess the impact over the medium and longer term based upon the EEF guidance report and as a follow up to CPD

Reading for Writing

During and after Writing

Addtional Offers

Each module can be customised to fit in with school timetables. Schools/organisations can mix and match according to their needs and construct their own series of CPD sessions.