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Abbotswood Primary School

Together We Aim High, Believe and Achieve

Being an Author

Abbotswood Writing DNA



At Abbotswood we believe that learning to write is one of the most important things that a child at primary school will learn; they will use their writing to communicate learning in all other subjects of the curriculum. We want to prepare children with the essential writing skills they will need for later life by providing an enriched and engaging English curriculum, where they write with a clear purpose across all subjects. By the end of Year 6 we aim for our children to have developed a love of writing and to be able to express their thoughts and ideas clearly and creatively through the written word. We also intend to create writers who can re-read, edit and improve their own writing, and enable children to confidently use the essential skills of grammar, punctuation and spelling. These skills are essential to support them in successfully moving to secondary school and to giving them as many future opportunities as possible so that they may achieve their future aspirations.   


How do we do this? 

Early Years (Reception)

At Abbotswood, children learn to write in the EYFS through a combination of adult-led activities and child-initiated play. Alongside play, and lots of writing opportunities, teachers will encourage children to begin to write through more formal activities.


Children in Reception are invited to write by attending Drawing Club. Drawing Club is an early writing initiative created by Early Years practitioner, Greg Bottrill. The children are immersed in a book, comic strip or video clip and are exposed to vocabulary which links to the ‘text’. They learn actions to help them remember the vocabulary and are then encouraged to use that vocabulary whilst speaking on the carpet, during provision around the environment or writing in their books. The teacher will then read the story to the children and initially focus on character and setting. The children then move to ‘Drawing Club’ where they draw the character, or the setting and write some secret codes (mathematics and mark making). As they progress through the unit, the children are then encouraged to think a little outside of the box, as they make adaptions to the story. For example, instead of The Big Bad Wolf capturing Little Red Riding Hood, we ask the children if they might be able to draw a trap to capture the wolf before he can get to her. As we progress through the year, the expectations are scaled up and we begin to look at capital letters, full stops, descriptive language and connectives.


We believe that talking and a good understanding of vocabulary is the basis for all writing in the EYFS as you can’t write a sentence unless you can say it. There is therefore a lot of emphasis put on speaking and listening in all activities and it is essential that the use of language and new vocabulary is modelled correctly by all adults.
Learning to write is a gradual process. Before starting school, at home or at pre-school, children’s writing is just mark-making, but as time passes and they begin to learn some sounds of the alphabet, they’ll begin to make familiar letter shapes, often starting with the letters in their name.


Through RWI phonics, their writing enters a new phase where they start to write letters. At first, they tend to just write down the dominant sounds in a word – so, for instance, ‘cat’ might be ‘c t’ – but as their phonics learning progresses, they will write with more accuracy and write all the sounds they hear. Through adult-led activities, they will also be taught the tripod grip to correctly hold a pencil, to move their hand and write from left to right across the page, and from top to bottom.

It is hoped that by the end of Reception, most children will be writing independently, and writing clearly enough that we can read what they have written. 


For more information about Phonics, please visit our Phonics & Spelling page:


Helping your child learn to write 


At Abbotswood we teach letter formation with the flick or join at the end, which leads into joining when digraphs and trigraphs are introduced, following the RWI phonics program. Handwriting is taught through phonics and spelling until children can form all of the letters correctly and join them appropriately. Intervention groups are run for children who need further explicit teaching and we encourage parents and carers to support with this at home.

Year 1

Year 1 is a transition between the way that writing is taught in Reception and the clear writing journeys followed through each unit throughout the rest of the school.  


Year 1 follow a 2 week cycle for each unit. Each unit is based around a book and there is a focus on 3 writing skills (Try its). There are opportunities to practise each of these skills in short pieces of writing (Use its) before attempting to include all of the skills in increasingly longer pieces at the end of the units as the year progresses. 


Each day, the children are taught as a whole class before 2 groups move to the 'tutor tables' to complete their writing. The other groups will then engage with the continuous provision in the class, where there is always an 'author challenge' that they are expected to complete throughout the week. The following day, the groups switch activities so all children have plenty of opportunity to write throughout the unit. 


When the particular cohort is ready (usually terms 5 & 6), they will move to whole class teaching and writing in order develop more independence in readiness for Year 2.


RWI Phonics continues in Year 1 through daily lessons where children continue to learn new sounds and regularly use these to read and spell new and known words. Their phonic skills are practised and reinforced through all lessons.


Years 2-6

In Key Stages 1 & 2, children are given regular opportunities to write to informpersuade and entertain through daily lessons. Each term there is a range of Fiction, Non-fiction and Poetry units. These are based around a key text, which can, where appropriate, be linked to the term’s Enquiry. In each of the units, children will be introduced to a 'Model of Excellence' to show the expectation for the end of the unit. Within the unit, up to 3 grammar and/or punctuation objectives will be introduced.  We follow a Try it, Use it, Prove it approach – the objective is taught (try it) and practised through short burst writing opportunities (use it) before being included in the end of unit piece of writing (prove it). As part of each unit, new vocabulary is also introduced through the Model of Excellence. The meanings are investigated and the children are expected to use them in their writing. Each classroom has a uniform Writing Working Wall where learning and expectations are displayed as a learning tool for the children to use. All types of writing taught are practised at appropriate opportunities in other areas of the curriculum.



As well as being taught through the writing teaching sequence and the new vocabulary, spelling is taught through explicit daily lessons in Years 2-6 through ReadWriteInc Spelling, which builds on the knowledge and skills learnt through RWI Phonics.


RWI Spelling is a robust, fast-paced, systematic spelling programme for children in Years 2-6. The programme supports the aims of the National Curriculum to ensure that children:


  • spell new words correctly and have plenty of practise in spelling them… including exception words and homophones.
  • spell words as accurately as possible using their phonic knowledge of spelling, such as morphology (the study of the form of words) and etymology (the study of the origins and development of words).
  • are supported in understanding and applying the concepts of word structure.
  • spell words that they have not yet been taught by using what they have learnt about how spelling works in English.


There is a 20 minute spelling lesson each day and children are informally tested throughout the week. There is no weekly spelling test but there is a termly assessment to track progress and highlight gaps in knowledge and learning.



Grammar is taught in years 1-6 through the writing teaching sequence and practiced and used within the writing produced. Years 5 and 6 also teach grammar explicitly each morning to help prepare the children for their SpaG SAT in Year 6. is used to support grammar teaching across KS2.



The planning sequence follows the same pattern each unit. The non-fiction unit that follows the fiction can be reduced to 2 weeks if needed and using the same text. Poetry is usually just 1 week and at the end of a term.









Week 1

Introduce text


Model of excellence

Write to understand text

SPaG 1 – try, use, prove

Write to apply

(+ intervention for those who couldn’t use)

Edit & redraft

(+ intervention for those who need more support)

Week 2

SPaG 2

Write to apply

(+ intervention for those who couldn’t use)

SPaG 3

Write to apply

(+ intervention for those who couldn’t use)

Edit & redraft

(+ intervention for those who need more support)

Week 3

Plan end of unit piece of writing

Write/ edit

Write/ edit

Write/ edit

Edit & redraft.




Working Walls

Each class has a writing working wall. All are Green and have the same 5 sections – Our Quality Text is…, Model of Excellence, SPaG focus, Vocabulary and Non-negotiables.


We assess writing throughout each lesson and mark the work completed according to our marking policy. When we find that children have not achieved the expected outcome for a lesson, they are given extra support, either during assembly time, the next lesson or during an afternoon.


Writing is also assessed using the school’s ‘Age Related Expectations’ (AREs) 5 times a year. From this, we can see any gaps in progress and we can prioritise support for individuals and/or groups for the following term.


Children are assessed at the end of Years 2 and 6 for the end of Key Stage Statutory Assessments (SATs).