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Our Lady, Star of the Sea

Catholic Primary School

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At Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School are aim is to develop a love for writing ensuring that every child can write imaginatively for a variety of purposes.  The tools used to teach this are ‘RWI Get Writing,’ ‘Steps to Read’, and Pie Corbett’s ‘Talk for Writing’. It is a skill which requires perseverance and resilience from the earliest stages when they are learning to use phonics through to an expert writer who is able to reflect, evaluate and edit their work. It is important that writing across the curriculum is taught and expected to be achieved at a high standard of execution with continual improvement in spelling, punctuation and grammar as the necessary skills are taught each year. The development of strategies and techniques will be taught alongside the need for interesting and vibrant vocabulary. We aim to encourage an enjoyment of writing for a purpose based on real life situations and texts.



In Reception to Year 2 as part of their phonics lessons, children take part in Get Writing and have writing books linked to their phonics level.  The writing activities are closely linked to the story books and selected non-fiction books.  The children’s writing is supported at every step from writing simple sentences to extended texts, including invitations, letters, descriptive texts and non-fiction texts.  Longer comprehension activities contain lots of oral rehearsal and role play, so children are full of ideas before they write.  We show children how we build an idea into a sentence first.  We then help them develop their ideas and vocabulary into their own sentences.  Partners rehearse their sentence together until they can both say it.  The children write these sentences.  The writing activities build upon the children’s own experiences or develop ideas from the story they have just read.  Check boxes throughout the books prompt children to proofread and review their writing, helping them to make sustained progress.


From Years 2 to 6, and to develop their oracy and storytelling, children develop their composition using Pie Corbet’s Talk for Writing. The aim of Talk for Writing is to develop imaginative, creative and effective writers. The Talk for Writing approach enables children to read and write independently for a variety of audiences and purposes within different subjects. A key feature is that children internalise the language structures needed to write through ‘talking the text’, as well as close reading. The approach moves from dependence towards independence, with the teacher using shared and guided teaching to develop the ability in children to write creatively and powerfully.  The key phases of the Talk for Writing three ‘I’ process: Imitate, Innovate, Invent, enable children to imitate orally the language they need for a particular topic, before reading and analysing it, and then writing their own version. 


The Imitation Stage

The teaching begins with some sort of creative ‘hook’ which engages the pupils, often with a sense of enjoyment, audience, and purpose. The model text is pitched well above the pupils’ level and has built into it the underlying, transferable structures and language patterns that students will need when they are writing. This is learned using a ‘text map’ and actions to strengthen memory and help students internalise the text. Activities such as drama are used to deepen understanding of the text.

Once students can ‘talk like the text’, the model, and other examples, are then read for vocabulary and comprehension, before being analysed for the basic text (boxing up) and language patterns, as well as writing techniques or toolkits. All this first phase is underpinned by rehearsing key spellings and grammatical patterns. Short-burst writing is used to practise key focuses such as description, persuasion, or scientific explanation. 


The Innovation Stage

Once students are familiar with the model text, the teacher leads them into creating their own versions.  A new subject is presented, and the teacher leads students through their planning.  With younger pupils, this is based on changing the basic map and retelling new versions.  Older students use boxed-up planners, and the teacher demonstrates how to create simple plans and orally develop ideas prior to writing.  Shared and guided writing is then used to start writing over a number of days so that students are writing texts bit by bit, concentrating on bringing all the elements together, writing effectively and accurately.  During the innovation stage a small change is made to the text.  This could include substitution, addition, or alteration.  Feedback is given during lessons as well as looking closely at someone’s work together as a class. This is so students can be taught how to improve their writing, making it more accurate until they can increasingly edit in pairs or on their own. 


The Invention Stage

Eventually, students move onto the third phase, which is when they apply independently what has been taught and practised.  Students are guided through planning, drafting, and revising their work independently. It is essential to provide a rich starting point that taps into what students know and what matters so that their writing is purposeful. Writing may be staged over a number of days. With non-fiction, students should apply what they have been taught across the curriculum.

It is important that at the innovation and independent application stages, the writing becomes increasingly independent of the original model rather than a pale copy. Whilst younger children may only make a few simple changes, older students should be adding, embellishing, altering, and manipulating the original structure. From Key Stage 2 onwards, almost all children will be using the text structure and writing tools to write, drawing on the model, their wider reading and experience so that they are writing independently at a high level. This must be modelled in shared writing.



Evidence of impact on the children include:

  • Children enjoy writing and find the process creative, enriching and fulfilling,

  • Children are exposed to a wide variety of texts and are able to recognise good writing, and understand what makes it good,

  • Children are aware of the key features of different genres and text types,

  • Children learn about the skills of writing from their reading and draw (consciously or unconsciously) upon its models in their own work,

  • Children have ‘something to say’(a purpose and audience),

  • Children know how to develop their ideas,

  • Children know how to plan and prepare for writing,

  • Children make informed choices about what they are writing, as they write (for example, about vocabulary, grammar, text structure, etc.),

  • Children understand how to reflect upon, refine and improve their own work,

  • Children can respond to the constructive criticism of others,

  • Teachers are confident in their teaching and assessment of writing skills.



Attainment in writing is measured using statutory assessments at the end of EYFS and KS2. Additionally, we track our own writing attainment through termly writing moderations, and ongoing teacher assessment.

Creative Writing Displays


At Our Lady, Star of the Sea we take pride in our children's writing. We plan opportunities to develop creative writing through a rich and varied diet of literature. We also give our children real life experiences, through curriculum enhancements, trips and visitors. Our school hall showcases our children's writing. In addition to this, each child has their own published work writing journal which they take with them to each year group.

Parents' Spelling Workshop!