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Our Approach

#389 Improving Writing Outcomes – The Federation of Fairfeld Infant and Colneis Junior

Keith Rimmer

What did we do?

Internal school assessment data showed that following the COVID related interruptions to face to face education, the largest gaps between pupil estimates and attainment were in writing, especially at GDS level. A programme of activities were devised, to be implemented over the year, with the aims of supporting teachers and children to narrow or close this gap.

These activities included development of vocabulary ladders for all subjects, regular writing moderation, development of the whole school approach to pedagogy for writing and effective feedback, implementation of termly SPAG testing and high quality, teacher led interventions.

“Writing is fun as you get to use your imagination. I like writing because you can be imaginative when writing stories.”

Feedback from one of our children.

Summary of impact

Compared to FFT estimates for writing, 4 out of 6 years group narrowed the writing gap at EXS+, with one year group staying the same and one widening. This was replicated at GDS. The most significant improvements compared to estimates at KS1 were in Year 2 were EXS+ improved by 22% and GDS 15%. At KS2, the greatest improvement was in Year 6 for GDS writing which improved against the estimate by 8%.

Steps taken

The initial work on the Securing Achievement Plan and Evaluation Milestones was key to mapping out the various activities over the year. This enabled the project to be incorporated very early on in the school development plan and CPD programme for the year.

What would we do differently

The project incorporated 6 key implementation activities along with monitoring and evaluation. This was ambitious to manage in the timescales alongside the other work of the school and with the impact of COVID related absences, resulting in only partial completion of 2 of the activities. With hindsight, either a more limited range of activities or an extended timescale would have been more achievable.

Resources required

The implementation lead’s time was protected every Thursday morning to attend network meetings, CPD and to drive the project. Online GAPS SPAG tests cost £1944 for the year. 9 staff meetings were also allocated to the project over the year.

Feedback from Participants

Katrina Livingstone – English Lead:

As a school, we completed writing moderation each term. We met either with the year group above or below and moderated writing using the writing moderation grids. We now have a bank of moderated writing for each year group that was annotated and agreed by at least six members of staff. It can be used and accessed when we are assessing writing or making teacher assessments, by showing what a typical working towards, expected and greater depth piece of writing looks like in each year group. This is hugely beneficial.

Using our schools Literacy Progression Map we are able plan, teach spelling and grammar lessons, and make formative assessments. The SPAG testing gives us summative assessments and provides data and intervention points for each individual child. The results allow us to focus teach individuals by providing information for intervention teaching, planning next steps in class and creating success criteria for writing in class. This has been very helpful.

We are developing vocabulary lists for each subject. This is still a work in progress but has been useful for year groups to know what the most important language is that they are using with their classes. It reminds teachers to specifically teach vocabulary, use it often for it to be effective and helps children to remember and use the vocabulary. It has also helped subject leaders have a more detailed view of their subject and the way that they are being taught in year groups.”

Pupil Perceptions:

What do you like about writing?

“Writing is fun as you get to use your imagination. I like writing because you can be imaginative when writing stories.”

What is the best piece of writing you have completed?

“I enjoyed making posters about Food and Farming. I liked putting the research and pictures and bubble writing together.”

How do you know when your writing is good?

“When my handwriting is joined and neat. So when you read it back and it has punctuation, adverbs and adjectives in it.”

What is your favourite piece of writing?

“I like writing for homework and when we have big projects. I prefer a big piece of writing that you have to come back to and improve.”


See how others have implemented this Big Idea

Implementing Learning by Questions to improve KS2 outcomes - Springfield Juniors

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Developing Times Table Knowledge in Lower KS2 - Sidegate Primary School

Securing Number in EYFS/KS1 Through Mastering Number Sessions - Castle Hill Infant and Junior Schools

Improving Reading Through Oxford Reading Buddy - Dale Hall CP School

Go Get EM - Suffolk New College

Reading and Maths Development and Interventions - Northgate High School

Poor Attendance/Behaviour of SEN (Specific) Students, Including Truancy From Lessons - Harwich & Dovercourt High School

Improving the Standard of Writing in non-English Subjects - Cliff Lane Primary

Supporting the Understanding of the Number System and Developing Fluency with Number Facts -The Oaks Primary School

Pupil Book Study - Handford Hall Primary School

Creating a Culture of Reading (KS3) - Ipswich Academy

Building Confidence and a Joy of Mathematics (KS3) - Ipswich Academy

Impact of Catch-Up Programme - Morland Primary School

Addressing the Gender Gap at School Copleston High School

Developing Phonics with Twinkl - Trimley St Martin Primary

Using whole class arithmetic interventions - The Beeches Primary School


The Federation of Fairfeld Infant and Colneis Junior

Keith Rimmer

Deputy Headteacher