The Alchemy of Writing at Delabole Primary School
'A certain fear of the empty page has stayed with me since my school days. For me it still seems perfectly to mirror an empty mind bereft of ideas. It saps my confidence, my will and any hope that I can cover the page with words at all.'
Michael Morpurgo from 'Singing for Mrs Pettigrew'
As passionate educators, we acknowledge that synthesizing the skills of writing can often be a daunting prospect for children, but it is also fundamental and integral to the school curriculum - as well as for a life as an articulate communicator. We know that the ability to write with clarity and conviction is an enabling tool which can be a catalyst for change. At Delabole Primary School, writing is the vehicle by which all aspects of language work permeate and influence the spectrum of skills across the curriculum. Through their daily writing, our learners are taught to shape their thoughts and clarify meaning for their intended audience, and in so doing consolidate their own understanding.
Although writing is a serious business at our school, it is also an invitation for playfulness, creativity and innovation. We encourage a passion for words and have made an active commitment to harness them, experiment with them - and ultimately own them. To be a child in our school is to be an 'apprentice wordsmith' so that every day we write in the pursuit of the beauty of words - and there are so many. For this reason, we also learn to distil them down and manipulate them so that they are crafted into phrases, sentences and paragraphs with intent. At Delabole School we know that every word counts, so it is not the first word that comes into our head, but the best word that is chosen.
Through a process of ˜living real experiences' in learning, harvesting vocabulary and then distilling it onto the page, it is our aim for children to become confident, proficient, enthusiastic writers. Children are encouraged to see themselves as responsible authors as soon as they enter our school, and each piece of writing is valued by teachers and peers alike. We aim to give children control over their written language and develop the children's writing skills through the provision of authentic writing opportunities for a variety of real purposes in a variety of styles and for a variety of audiences. This sets the writing in context and enables the children to take ownership of the choices they make as an author, empowering them as they communicate their thoughts to others and interact effectively.
˜Imagine what you are writing about. See it and live it. Do not think it up laboriously. Just look at it, touch it, smell it, listen to it, turn yourself into it. When you do this, the words look after themselves, like magic.
Ted Hughes from ˜Poetry in the Making'
It is our steadfast aim, that no matter what their starting point on entering our school, children will leave with an appreciation of and dexterity with the written word. They will understand what it is to craft their writing - using all the technical tools outlined in the National Curriculum - and they will be empowered to write with conviction for a range of purposes. This comes from our fundamental belief that it is the personal conviction behind any piece of writing which gives it integrity and meaning.
˜The last, most important element in the alchemy...is the sheer love of doing it, of seeing that you can make magic from an empty page and a pen. The truth is that it is not a trick. It is an art, and a craft and a marvelous magic.'
Michael Morpurgo from ˜Singing for Mrs Pettigrew'
At Delabole Primary School we introduce cursive writing at Key Stage 1 and follow this all the way through to the end of Key Stage 2 using the Letter-join programme.
We pave the way for transition to cursive script by introducing pre-cursive writing in Year 1. In order to familiarise children with this expectation, we ensure that pre-cursive and cursive script are modelled throughout the school environment. As children begin to demonstrate accuracy and fluency with their letter formation, we begin to invite them to explore the cursive joins. This fluency aids the momentum and flow of their writing and is also linked to dexterity with the application of spelling patterns and rules. Crucially, handwriting fluency and presentation contribute to how a child see themselves as a writer and so are integral to a child's self-esteem when it comes to recording ideas and publishing their learning outcomes.
It is the aim of our school that every child should be enabled to develop a fluent, legible style of handwriting. Capital and lower case letters should be used appropriately and letter size should be consistent.
We will provide opportunities for children to develop, practise and perfect skills, and provide targeted support to any child experiencing difficulty