Writing Systems

The teaching of writing

The Pie Corbett approach is used across the school when appropriate, beginning towards the end of EYFS.

When used, this follows the ‘imitate’ – ‘innovate’ – ‘invent’ cycle and can include these defined steps: 

  • Set an independent ‘cold’ writing task to identify what the children can already do and what they need to develop – minimal teacher input
  • Create a plan to address the gaps and areas to develop identified following marking of the cold task
  • Create or find a model text, which includes language features and grammar that needs to be learnt (WAGOLL modelling)
  • Learn the model text off by heart, including actions to help fully internalise the text and a story map to prompt pupils (particularly for emerging writers and unfamiliar language)
  • Teach children specific writing skills/text elements, through modelling, working walls and shared writing
  • Pupils write a new text based on the model text making targeted changes to practise using key features and skills
  • Complete an independent ‘hot’ task following all input into a particular style /genre of writing to capture progress and potentially identify new areas for learning

The full cycle will not always be used and text types will be revisited at a later date to provide pupils with opportunities to apply their knowledge fully independently.

We use an app called ‘Pocket Punctuation’ that contains clear and consistent explanations of key punctuation terms, teaching activities and progressive examples in a defined teaching sequence. This is used to ensure that children receive consistent explanations regarding grammar and that progress expectations are clear.   KS2 pupils all also have individual grammar workbooks that are used throughout the year for focused grammar homework tasks to practise key skills. 

Writing is high profile across the school and is celebrated in display. In every class there is a writing wall with an individual space for each child. This is updated termly to represent their progress. If pupils have not made progress then their space is not updated and it is clear who needs additional focus. There is a set colour for each term. The work builds up over the years giving pupils the chance to see how they have progressed. Looking back at their work is something they enjoy sharing with parents during our termly open classroom sessions.

We use the PENPALS handwriting scheme to support pupils to develop a fluid joined style. This scheme gives some flexibility regarding which letter to join and when children start joining so that each child can develop their handwriting at an appropriate pace alongside their physical development.

Across the school you will also see

  • Dynamic grouping to ensure that teaching responds to previous learning/errors
  • Lessons with a spelling, grammar, and punctuation focus to pick up on gaps identified from marking and other assessments e.g. termly writing assessments. In KS2, this is recorded in English books and applied in a Curriculum book within cross-curricular writing
  • Working walls or display work representing the current learning of the class with a good writing model and aspirational vocabulary available for reference
  • For extended pieces of writing, checklists are given as success criteria: KS1 focus more on the basic writing skills (e.g. capital letters and full stops) whereas KS2 include features related to purpose and audience
  • Editing is an important part of writing across the school which is evident in books (See below)

 Some elements of the teaching of writing are phase-specific:


Opportunities for emergent writing and mark making in all areas of the provision e.g. role play area, chalking outside, whiteboards.


  • Daily writing and the application of phonics as part of the RWI session and encouraged during other writing activities
  • Alternatives to writing planning (e.g. use of flashcards and storyboards) are in place to support emergent / lower writers
  • Purple Polishing Pencils are used by children to self-assess and edit their work


  • Writing targets are given to individuals on post-its where needed and are displayed on the classroom writing wall to remind pupils
  • At times cumulative writing activities are used where a longer piece is worked on over several days with feedback provided after each session this process focusses on editing and improving
  • Children edit their work within a lesson using pen or pencil, however they respond to marking prompts using their Purple Polishing Pens


Writing is currently assessed termly using an internally agreed assessment criteria. Pupils are assessed against age-appropriate expectations in line with the new curriculum- ranging from Stage 1 to Stage 6 (each divided into Beginning, Within and Secure). Each stage contains a short list of non-negotiable standards at the top which must be demonstrated consistently by pupils in their writing before they can be assessed against that stage. Please click on the links below to see the various criteria for each year group:

Year 1 expectations  Year 2 expectations  Year 3 expectations   Year 4 expectations   Year 5 expectations

pocket punctuation

Writing interventions / additional help and support for individuals

 There is a reason why writing attainment is consistently high at our school. We value it and our curriculum gives children exciting things to write about.

Writing doesn’t come naturally to everyone and if children need a little extra help, there are lots of ways that we help them to be successful.


Pupils who have difficulty with fine motor control have individual activities planned to support their development in this area. Write dance is also a very popular activity for all the pupils!


  • Write from the start
  • Sounds write
  • Handwriting Rescue Scheme
  • Writing boosters (specific skills focus) and fizzy (fine motor control) clubs are run by class teachers targeting specific children when necessary


  • Phonics Precision Teaching focussing on specific phoneme-grapheme relationships (identified individually) have been successfully used to target and improve spelling
  • Precision teaching is also being used to address individual spelling errors for identified children
  • Identified SEN children may use supporting equipment such as Neo-writers/laptops, Talk Time boards, L&S Sound mats


  • TAs are directed to work with small focus groups outside literacy /writing lessons, either before or after a teaching sequence, on key skills that are required
  • Longer independent pieces of writing may be completed following group planning, drafting activities with adult support

 Higher ability writers

Higher ability writers are challenged in the following ways:

  • Contributing to and use of vocabulary on display in classrooms
  • High expectation shown through planning, target setting and marking feedback
  • Developing writing targets with the teacher, practice independently and demonstrate that they are striving for their personal best
  • Alongside the 5Bs, pupils can provide a buddy service whereby they support and advise other pupils in developing their next steps