Maidwell Primary School is a rural village primary located in Northamptonshire, some 11 miles north of Northampton. We are a smaller than average school with 70 pupils on roll, in three mixed aged classes of Reception/Year 1/Year 2 children, Year 3/4 children and a Year 5/6 class.
We embraced Talk for Writing fully in 2012 and we are now in our fourth year of being immersed in the process. We are also a Storytelling School and this approach, together with that of Talk for Writing, enables our children to build vocabulary, sentence patterns and an understanding of how language works. The process of learning a text or story followed by innovation through shared writing has revolutionised our teaching and has transformed writing throughout the school.
A Pie Corbett Talk for Writing conference in Summer 2012 became a ‘lightbulb’ moment when the realisation dawned that we needed to develop a whole school approach which would cover all aspects of writing.
During the academic year 2012-13 we dedicated the majority of Inset Days and Staff Meetings to its development and involved all staff due to the importance of ensuring a consistency of approach as well as a shared understanding of the process.
Maidwell was judged outstanding in December 2009 and again in May 2014 with the teaching of writing being judged as being “particularly strong”.
We decided early on to have generic policies in places for aspects such as:
• kinaesthetic punctuation
• signs for conjunctions
• specific colours for word types
This has enabled ease of transition between classes, and planning for progression using differentiated model texts has ensured appropriate differentiation.
We also decided to have a generic story and non-fiction text type per term (six per year). This approach was adopted initially due to the challenges which mixed aged classes bring. However, by the end of our first cycle we realised that there were many advantages to be had. Continuity and progression is clear to identify, children have a common understanding of the story/text type enabling writing to be shared across the school and staff can share ideas and plan effectively for the needs of their children.
We also plan opportunities to practise text types in other curriculum areas and recently Class 1 created a text map of instructions for creating a fruit salad – a link with Science.
Current training offered
• a tour of the school
• the opportunity to hear about our journey so far
• visits to each class of the three classes (Class :1 R/Y1/2, Class 2: Y3/4, Class 3: Y5/6) to witness: a. shared writing; b. text mapping; c. boxed up planning
• a time to talk to children and look at their writing
Rosemarie James, Headteacher
“Children were very enthusiastic to share their work. Impact on self-esteem and enjoyment of subject was clear to see”Training delegate
“You can clearly see the journey throughout”Training delegate
“High expectations were obvious”Training delegate
“Really useful to be able to see the TFW classrooms and how the environment promotes this way of teaching”Training delegate