Writing Strategy 

Writing is a key aspect of the curriculum and, along with Reading, Oracy, and Speaking and Listening, it makes a significant contribution to the development of children as thinkers and learners. It is a significant part of the

academy’s development plan that all children are challenged to develop their writing ability and develop a love for Writing. At Simpson’s Lane Academy we strive to provide children with exciting, purposeful and inspiring contexts in which to become writers with the audience and purpose of the writing being paramount. This strategy aims to ensure that there is coherence, continuity and progression within our teaching throughout the school.


We aim to: 

  • Encourage children to become enthusiastic, confident and reflective writers
  • Nurture the children’s sense of themselves as writers
  • Create an ethos of achievement in writing
  • Provide purposeful writing opportunities where children write for a variety of audiences
  • Enable children to independently produce high quality writing across all curriculum areas
  • Immerse the children in a variety of experiences to support and stimulate imaginative writing
  • Encourage children to play with language and write for pleasure
  • Ensure children can write using a legible, joined handwriting 

In particular our teaching of writing will increase children’s abilities to: 

  • Write imaginative, interesting and thoughtful texts
  • Produce texts which are appropriate to task, audience and purpose
  • Organise and present whole texts effectively, sequencing and structuring information, ideas and events
  • Construct paragraphs and use cohesion within and between paragraphs
  • Vary sentences for clarity, purpose and effect
  • Write with grammatical accuracy
  • Experiment with adventurous and effective vocabulary which are appropriate
  • Apply their understanding of phonics and spelling rules to all forms of writing aided by discrete spelling/phonics lessons

Strategy to develop writing:


Writing down ideas fluently depends on effective transcription: that is, spelling quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between letters and sounds (phonics) and understanding the morphology (word structure) and orthography (spelling structure) of words. This understanding begins in EYFS through daily, high quality phonics lessons. In Nursery, children are introduced to phonics through Phase 1 of Letters and Sounds. The activities in Phase 1 are adult-led with the intention of teaching young children important basic elements such as: oral segmenting and blending of familiar words and sound discrimination, with well-planned opportunities for children to apply what they have learnt throughout provision. The aim is to embed the adult-led activities in a language rich provision that best serves interests of the children. Where appropriate children will be introduced to letter sounds and high frequency/tricky words during the final term on Nursery.

In Reception, the Bug Club phonics scheme of work will be used daily to teach all Phase 2 and 3 letter sounds and move children on from oral blending and segmentation to blending and segmenting with letters. Children will also have the opportunity to apply their learning in continuous and enhanced provision activities as well as regular guided reading and writing opportunities.

In the Foundation Stage, children are encouraged to attempt their own emergent writing and their efforts are valued and celebrated. As their phonic knowledge increases, so does their ability to write independently. At the same time, their knowledge of key words is supported through reading and writing activities, including shared reading and writing. Legible letter formation is explicitly taught and modelled on a daily basis, using Penpals for handwriting F1 and F2 including development of gross motor skills, fine motor skills, developing patterns and forming letters. A wide variety of opportunities are provided for children to engage in writing activities and independently apply their phonic skills through role play, creative activities, computing and the outdoor area. Children are continually challenged to plan, write and share longer sentences or short narratives in preparation from transition in Key Stage 1. 

The EYFS environment should be carefully planned to support the teaching and independent application of writing including, but not exclusively:

  • Alphabet and phonic charts
  • Name cards
  • Tricky/high frequency words
  • Alphabet cards/tiles
  • Magnetic letters
  • A variety of mark-making tools e.g. whiteboard pens, pencils, chalk, paintbrushes etc
  • Sensory opportunities e.g finger paints, flour, sand etc
  • Examples of handwriting as well as printed writing 

Other strategies such as Motoron, Write Dance, Funky Fingers etc can be used to engage and motivate children to support them in their journey as writers, as well as allowing opportunities of challenging activities for more all pupil regardless of their ability.

Talk 4 Writing strategies as outlined for Key Stage 1 and 2 should also be used as an approach for the teaching of writing in Nursery and Reception.

KS1 and KS2

At Simpson’s Lane Academy, we believe that effective writing is developed through eight key elements.

Each of the elements outlined must be evident throughout the writing journey. Teachers will outline this journey through high quality and well-resourced lesson slides which may change to address the needs of the children as their writing journey moves forward. SLT/Middle Leaders will monitor and support this process. 

The elements of strategies explained


  • In order to enthuse and capture children’s imaginations to want to write purposeful pieces for a wide variety of audiences, all writing units will start with hook/Immersion. This element of the sequence will give children the necessary desire and knowledge of content to be able to write high quality pieces of
  • Children’s prior experiences, knowledge and interests should all be taken into account when planning and ensure that children are not disadvantaged through a lack of the above outside of
  • There is no expectation as to what the hook/immersion should be presented as, however, opportunities for speaking and listening, drama/role play, knowledge organisers, research, ICT, debate, Talk for Writing etc. are all ideal vehicles in which should be used to immerse children into their
  • The Immersive Environment should be used wherever possible as a hook for their writing
  • Good speaking and listening skills are crucial to the development of writing. Drama and role play opportunities are provided prior to writing. Teachers also plan for talking opportunities through drama, talk partners and group discussion to enable children to verbally rehearse their ideas before
  • Oracy strategies should be embedded in lessons to ensure children are developing high quality talk and communication skills 

Modelled Writing/Planning

  • Modelling is an important part of the writing process where children get to observe and learn from how expert writers think about the writing
  • During modelled writing, the teacher thinks aloud while writing and models strategies in front of the children, communicating the strategies being
  • Teachers may model writing skills such as punctuating, rehearsing, proof reading, editing, word selection, sentence construction and

Shared Writing (SW)

  • This strategy can also be used in guided writing groups and should be used more frequently than modelled writing when working with a focus
  • In shared writing, the teacher skilfully invites contributions from the children and teaches writing skills such as rehearsal, proof reading and editing, and production of a final
  • Shared writing should be focused around smaller pieces of text (sections) in order to ensure that the focus is on the quality of the writing and deeper learning can take place around more focused
  • The teacher and children should have a clear aim at the start of the shared writing process: the purpose of the sentence or paragraph and its effect should be made clear. There should be a clear discussion on audience and purpose
  • Kagan and Oracy strategies should be used throughout Shared Writing to ensure there are no passive learners/equal participation
  • When a Shared Write has been completed children are not expected to copy this into their books but evidence of Shared Write should be kept either in hard copy or electronically on whiteboard slides. Where children are continuing to write independently following the Shared Write children will write SW for ‘Shared Write’ in the margin, leave a line and then write the letter ‘I’ for Independently. This can be done by the children.

Guided Writing (GW)

  • This strategy is to be used in focussed groups of children and should be used frequently throughout lessons guided by an adult
  • In Guided Writing, the children are scaffolded by the adult as they write independently as the adult offers suggestions for improvement
  • The teacher and the child should have a clear aim of what is being focussed on in the writing (informed by teacher assessments and Feedforward Journal)
  • When a Guided Write is taking place in book a capital GW should be written in the margin. This can be done by the

Understanding and applying genre specific grammar.

  • Wherever possible, discrete grammar lessons should be focused around the grammar specific features of the genre.
  • These tasks should link to the current unit of writing and be implemented alongside other elements of the writing such as shared writing/ guided writing or
  • If the genre does not lend itself to the grammar objectives that are being taught, every effort will be made to apply the grammar activities to the content and theme of the current writing
  • Throughout all lessons it is an expectation that teachers and children should be using age-related terminology at all times

Understanding and applying genre specific features

  • Each unit will incorporate a focus around the features of the genre specific
  • Children will be presented with a variety of opportunities to engage with, analyse, and discuss the genre specific features that make up the
  • Children should see these features used across a variety of texts within the genre and be able to evaluate their effect and purpose, so that they can make informed decisions when creating their own piece of
  • A WAGOLL may be used but this should be used carefully, avoiding over
  • Comparing two OR more opening WAGOLL paragraphs is an effective way to show a range of writing structures that will enable children to develop their own authorial
  • In Year 1, children will be immersed in narrative stories (fairy tales, traditional tales and familiar stories) in order to understand the writing process (See Year 1 genre medium term overview)
  • In Year 2, children will be immersed in narratives for the first term and will then begin exploring other genres (See Year 2 genre medium term overview)
  • In Key Stage 2, children will be exposed to a range of different genres throughout the year with a specific focus on audience and purpose of the genre (See KS2 genre medium term overview)

Editing / Re-drafting

  • Editing and Re-drafting are considered essential elements of the writing
  • Editing will often have a focus on syntax, spelling and basic punctuation; whereas, re-drafting will have a more prominent focus around the vocabulary, composition and cohesion of the
  • Both of these elements need to be modelled to children frequently in order for children to observe expert writers improving their own
  • In shared writing sessions, children will discuss and debate the editing process and its effect and have it modelled to them using purple
  • Children can be given the opportunity to work with an adult or peer to edit and improve a section of writing with the audience and purpose in mind. (See example of editing in Appendix 2)

Big Write

  • We believe that writing should be purposeful and children should have a final product in their writing that they take pride
  • At the beginning of the unit, an example of the purpose of their writing will be shared with the class and placed on display for children to refer to throughout the unit (could be a WAGOLL)
  • Children will have the opportunity to write their final draft in their Big Write book drawing on all elements that have been taught in the unit of work as well as using their writing plan to aid them
  • There is an expectation that a Big Write is completed (in purple books) every two weeks at the end of the unit of work unless the unit doesn’t need as long to complete. For example you may not need two weeks for a poetry unit a Big Write would be completed at the end of that week. In contrast, an extended narrative may need three weeks therefore the Big Write would be completed at the end of the third week. If you feel you need longer for a unit than three weeks, liaise with English


(WAGOLL - What A Good One Looks Like; WABOLL – What a Bad One Looks Like)

  • For children to be able to explore what a good piece of writing looks like they should be exposed to WAGOLLS during each writing journey. These WAGOLLS need to be of a high quality and written at year group ARE. This can also be examples of children’s work that have met the key objectives
  • For Key Stage 1 it may be beneficial to only share one WAGOLL during a unit of work, for LKS2 there could be two different versions and in UKS2 there may be three different versions to allow for variation
  • Text maps must be used in Key Stage 1 and if necessary KS2 to help children
  • When exploring the WAGOLLS, discuss and annotate the WAGOLL with key objectives you wish to teach from in mind. Also bear in mind ARE grammar, punctuation , vocabulary and spellings
  • A WABOLL may also be shown to the children to allow discussion work on why it hasn’t been successful in meeting the key objective. This can also be children’s work that hasn’t met the objective
  • When exploring the WAGOLL/WABOLL children may write written responses of why the writing was successful or not successful in meeting the key objective (See Appendix 3)

Independent Writing/Just Write

  • Children should be given regular opportunities at all points throughout the unit to write
  • There is an expectation that in each unit children will write at length, and the amount of this is at the discretion of the teacher dependent on the type of text and
  • Independent work can still take into account feedback from peers and adults as long as children are making decisions for themselves about the content and structure of their
  • Just Write lesson– this involves the child being given freedom to write in the style they wish to meet a specific purpose (for example to persuade). Children can be given knowledge organisers to help support them in their writing and this strategy will allow teachers to assess and identify misconceptions which can then be addressed (examples of Knowledge Organisers can be found on the Staff Drive – in the Writing Resources Folder)

Story mapping/text mapping

  • Story/text mapping is used to help children understand the structure and story or text type. Children should be encouraged to draw pictures and write key words to explain the
  • The idea is that the children are aware of the main events in a story and can remember the sequence
  • You may want to encourage children to include speech or key words – this will help them think clearly about their plot and structure of their writing and how they can divide it into sections/paragraphs
  • It is necessary that teachers model the story mapping alongside the teaching of the story/text type
  • There is an expectation that teachers in KS1 will use story mapping during every writing journey to support the children’s writing. Teachers in KS2 may also choose to do this as it has been found to support children in the planning and sequencing stages of the writing process – this is particularly true with SEND and children who have difficulty in writing (See Appendix 4 for example of story mapping)
  • To challenge the children further and ensure variation in children’s writing the children should then be given the opportunity to innovate their story maps through changing vocabulary choices. This could be done by adding post-it notes over pictures and key words to change them or using a purple pen to edit and adapt
  • Story mapping can be used to help aid the Big Write as a plan however there should also be some sort of written plan especially in Key Stage

Use of planning templates/Boxing up

  • From Year 2 onwards children must be given access to planning sessions, with modelling from the teacher, to allow them opportunities to sequence their ideas and have ownership of their
  • Teacher can select which method of planning they want to use but can be done in ways such as ‘Boxing Up’ which enables children to sequence their writing and spilt it into sections/paragraphs
  • Teachers must ensure they have checked through the children’s planning prior to the Big Write and offered feedback to improve or correct anything that does not make sense. Some children will need to be supported and guided by an adult through the planning stages
  • Examples of planning formats/templates can be found on the Staff Shared Drive

Sequencing of lessons

The sequencing of these elements will vary dependent on the year group, genre and ongoing assessment and there is no preferred sequence, leaving this to the discretion of the class teacher. There is, however, an expectation that all units will start with a hook and immersion and will end with a Big Write

Feedforward assessment

The academy adopts a feedforward approach to feedback in writing. Research has found that marking consumes too much time and productivity and focuses on past work which cannot be changed. Instead, teachers will read through every book on a daily basis and make notes in their feedforward journal on:

  • Work to be celebrated and
  • Students who may need more support and
  • Common misconceptions/errors
  • Spellings (including specific patterns) and other details such as
  • Concepts to reteach or
  • Areas of work to celebrate if audience and purpose has been successfully met

Teachers will the use this information to ‘feedforward’ into planning of next writing lessons. The effectiveness of the lessons planning and feedforward assessment is monitored by the leadership team. Examples of feedforward planning can be found in Appendix 1. As well as an outline of the purpose and what is expected in the Feedforward Journal.

Basic skills/Proof It

Alongside the Feedforward approach, the academy marks children’s work for basic skills; this ensures children have the opportunity to continually improve on their own areas of development and thus move forward individually.

There is an expectation that this marking should be done within the lesson, where children are actively involved in the discussion of how they can move their writing forward. Children to act on this using a purple pen. (See Marking and Feedback Policy.)

In addition to the Proof It there is an expectation that teachers will highlight any evidence where children are meeting the key objectives in green highlighter. As well as this they will also highlight any ARE punctuation or spellings (See Marking and Feedback Policy.)

Summative assessments

Teachers will complete summative assessments of writing half termly and submit them to the English Leads. These will be in the form of paper tick sheets where teachers will assess against the relevant age related statements for each specific child and judge whether each child is working towards, at or at Greater Depth. For those children orking below age related expectations they will need to be assessed against a lower year’s age related statements. These will be submitted on every last Wednesday of each half term and will be returned back to teachers on the first Friday of the next half term.


Teachers will model high expectations within all lessons to ensure fluent and legible handwriting is clear and have high expectations of children at all times. Children will work towards obtaining a pen licence which is given at the Head of Academy’s discretion and the appropriateness monitored, to celebrate fluent and legible handwriting during assembly time. We use the Penpals scheme of work from Nursery to Year 6 to deliver handwriting sessions and ensure there is a consistent approach throughout the academy. There will be a handwriting lesson delivered each Monday, which will then be revisited and embedded in all other written work that week. Each teacher will have the relevant year group Penpals software on their laptop as well as a teacher guide to follow.

Celebration and Recognition

The academy takes every opportunity to ensure that writing is celebrated inside the classroom and within the academy. Within the classroom and throughout the writing process teachers will celebrate a range of elements from children either to show good practice or to discuss ways to improve. Finding many opportunities to celebrate will help to develop the confidence of children within the process. (See Appendix 5)

Working Wall/ Alan Peat

The Working Wall should be updated regularly with appropriate vocabulary and phrases for the specific genre which children can then access as support for their independent writing. As an academy, we have introduced Alan Peat sentences to help support our children in their writing. Each year group has specific Alan Peat sentences to teach through daily sentence builder activity (See sentence builder explanation). Each year groups sentence types are outlined in the Alan Peat Year coverage document (Appendix 6)

Examples of Alan Peat sentences that have been covered so far should be evident in the classroom (displayed on washing line and on Weekly Focus Display) 

Sentence builder activity

  • At the start of every English lesson (excluding Big Write session), children will complete a 5 minute sentence building activity (training will be provided to all teachers and modelled example lessons are on the Staff Shared Drive)
  • The activity is to focus on sentence structures outlined by Alan
  • There is an expectation that all teacher will use the correct ARE terminology throughout out the
  • For clarification on Year Group sentence expectations see Alan Peat coverage document on Shared Drive

Example of possible writing journeys/sequence of lessons

Key Stage 1:

  • Use VERY exciting hooks that are often objects, dressed up teachers, visitors, experiences, books etc
  • Text mapping using actions (Talking and oral rehearsal) has a huge impact on writing and should be used every day. This should be done through a Talk 4 Writing approach
  • Children can draw the text map and use it every day – text map can be photocopied and altered using post its or similar so they can begin to innovate
  • They can box up their new versions to help them understand the structure of their story
  • Lots of shared and modelled writing should be used but also the children need to experience some of their own writing most days which is purposeful and exciting
  • Children need to see shared writing that improves upon the text map so the children are seeing high standards of writing as well as the editing process
  • Shared/modelled writing must embed phonics patterns and demonstrate the application of strategies to spell and blend and segment as well as teaching grammar elements from the curriculum

Year 2

  • Can start the year immersed in narratives, but should move to a wider variety of genres as the year progresses.
  • Year 2 children must make sure they start the innovate and independent stages of writing to encourage variation and to move away from the text map and experience editing and making improvements in their writing
  • Writing should be purposeful and not over scaffolded
  • Across Key Stage 1, the use of finger spaces, full stops and capital letters must be embedded. In Year 2, ARE punctuation must also be
  • Children must be given the opportunity to read their own work aloud to ensure it makes sense and be encouraged to speak and write in full

Key Stage 2:

Part 1:

  • Introduce hook, lots of discussion, paired talk with strategic questioning by teacher
  • Discuss atmosphere, audience and purpose, and formality and so the text type to be written
  • Share WAGOLL in the form of a text map, this should include grammatical features based on pupil needs and National curriculum for year group (this doesn’t need to be written by children or placed in books)
  • Orally rehearse (may need of use of actions alongside dependent on children)
  • Discuss and share some synonyms and some alternatives to those given in order to widen children’s vocabulary and create more independent writing
  • (Following sessions should include an ‘imitate’ text focus from the WAGOLL, immersed in discussion and paired work)
  • Sessions need to be bespoke to children’s needs developed from Feedforward. Start each session with a purple pen edit from previous day’s writing (a teacher focus group may also be appropriate here).
  • Teacher teaches purposeful grammar focus (at pace – a discreet session of a curriculum area of GPS will be needed throughout the week)
  • This is then applied within the shared writing. Children can use and discuss in (mixed) pairs and teams alternatives to the WAGOLL that they can offer as the teacher writes – ensuring all children are engaged. Banks of words and phrases can be developed in these sessions so the children are developing their vocabulary and understanding all the time and added to the Working Wall
  • Shared writing can be writing a few paragraphs (a ‘section’) of writing that is the model for the children to work with in their writing that
  • They can use it, along with classroom resources to begin their own version – working in pairs. This process is crucial – so that the children can discuss ideas and possibilities but also get used to writing most days in fewer, but higher quality sections. Use whiteboards to draft sentences and phrases so the children can play around with the order of words before committing them to their
  • The next day, the process continues: edit with purple pen (teacher focus group if needed), quickly orally rehearse WAGOLL (when needed/necessary), quick grammar teach and application into shared/modelled writing section with discussions, children write next section of writing on their own or in pairs or supported by an adult.
  • At the end of 5/7 days, the children should have developed a piece of writing that follows a similar genre and content, and the same audience and purpose that has been edited as they go

Part 2:

  • This is usually an ‘innovation’ of the WAGOLL (or it can be an ‘independent’ piece, depending on the children’s needs)
  • This should be the same audience and purpose and genre, but perhaps from a different viewpoint, a different character, an alternative setting,
  • The teacher would start this part of learning by modelling how to plan (whether ‘boxing up’, mind map, spider diagram, list, etc) and this would be the shared writing at this stage. This could take a couple of sessions and then be reduced to one as the children become more
  • The lessons than can take a similar approach to those in ‘part 1’, but also modelling how to use planning to begin writing
  • They will end the journey using their planning templates to write their final innovated version as a Big Write in their purple Big Write books

Appendix 1 Feedforward

The academy adopts a feedforward approach to feedback. Research has found that marking consumes too much

time and productivity and focuses on past work which cannot be changed. Instead, teachers will read through every book on a daily basis and make notes in their feedforward journal on

  • Children producing excellent work and
  • Students who may need more
  • Common misconceptions/errors
  • Spellings and other details such as
  • Concepts to reteach or

Teachers will the use this information to continue to plan and deliver effective writing lessons. The effectiveness of the lessons planning and feedforward assessment is monitored by the leadership team. Examples of feedforward planning can be found in Appendix A.

Feedforward journals will evidence the assessment of learning in writing, and Consolidation/Challenge tasks may be given in particular relation to the objective covered to give extra challenge, or they may be the most appropriate method as deemed by the teacher to quickly address misconceptions.

Evidence of feedforward assessment in lessons will be demonstrated by the following:

  • Teachers should (when appropriate) use a 'Lets Celebrate’ slide at the start of a lesson to celebrate and discuss the children's
  • Teachers should ensure ways forward for children are up on a slide at the start of a lesson and give children opportunities to address these at some point in the
  • Basic skills needs to be addressed through live marking. Any children who have not had live marking feedback should be picked up at the end of the day or the next day. This must be clearly monitored in
  • Feedforward must be used on a daily basis. The presentation of these is down to the preference of the teacher; however, teachers must be mindful that discussions around their journals will be had on a regular basis, so they must be able to articulate what is in their
  • Dates must be included in feedforward journals so that they can be cross referenced against
  • Teachers will regularly address basic skills using the relevant Proof It Strategy dependent on Key Stage. In order to reduce teacher workload, the majority of marking should be done within the lesson with the exception of Big Write that may be done outside of the lesson, within 48 hours; however, assessment should still give children the regular opportunity to reflect on previous work and edit using independent choice in relation to basic skill

Related Documents