Writing Guidance for Key Stage 1

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1 Writing Guidance for Key Stage 1 A Guidance Document for Primary Schools

2 2 Writing Guidance for Key Stage 1 Written language differs from oral language in that the purpose for writing is generally to communicate over time and/ or distance and the genre and forms vary according to that purpose and the intended audience. As a result we make different grammatical choices according to whether we are talking or writing. Children need to develop an understanding of these differences in order to learn to write successfully. Often this complex process is fragmented into a series of separate skills. However teachers need to ensure that real writing is modelled and shared with the children before individual elements are taught. Children s writing develops best when they are engaged in authentic written language tasks for a variety of purposes that are clear to them. (Foundation Stage Booklet Introduction Page 1) In KS1 teachers and children are moving from What shall I write about? towards Why am I writing? (purpose) Who am I writing for? (audience). Children should be encouraged to share their writing with others. In this way children will come to see writing as a rewarding activity. Children need to see the value of writing. They should learn to communicate meaning through enjoyable writing activities. They should be given opportunities to express themselves in writing, both creatively and factually, using both traditional and digital resources. They should be encouraged to develop as independent writers, learning over time to use conventional spelling, punctuation, grammatical organisation and handwriting that is legible. (Northern Ireland Curriculum Primary Page 51) 2

3 3 Developing an environment for writing The classroom should provide a print-rich environment which reflects the needs and interests of the children. Time needs to be given to the different stages of the writing process to enable children to take risks, share their writing and talk about any problems they have encountered. In KS1 children are still coming to terms with the complex task of writing. Therefore, they may fail to pay attention to previous learning while focussing on a specific aspect of writing, e.g. using repetitive sentence starters, such as then, while concentrating on adjectives. Through careful scaffolding the teacher will lead the children to assimilate their increasing range of skills. The teacher should consider how to: foster children s self-esteem and self-image as a writer plan for a breadth of experiences that support children at their current stage of development plan for developing progress in writing make explicit links between talking, listening, reading and writing provide a balance between teacher-led and child-initiated activities create a have-a-go culture where children are willing to experiment and take risks organise the classroom so that the layout and resources are conducive to learning provide opportunities for children to cooperate and work collaboratively ensure that children understand what they are learning, why they are learning and how they are learning provide time for children to think about, talk about and demonstrate their new learning observe and assess children s progress provide immediate and appropriate feedback Planning for writing Learning, teaching and assessment should be planned together as complementary aspects. The information obtained from assessment should be used to inform planning. Teachers should think and talk about what and how children learn in order to have a clear idea of the most appropriate teaching strategies and learning experiences to enable children to progress. Long-term planning Long-term plans provide a coherent overview from Years 1-7, enabling teachers to plan for breadth, continuity and progression throughout the school. They set out, in broad terms, the learning for a whole group of children, usually over a period of a year. 3

4 4 Medium/short-term planning Medium-term plans bridge the gap between the broad outline of the long-term plan and the day-today detail of the short-term plan and generally refer to monthly or half-termly periods. Short-term plans should take account of the children s individual needs and have enough detail to inform teachers on a daily basis. They should include the learning intentions, differentiation, assessment opportunities, make connections across and between areas of learning and an evaluation. Depending on the level of detail medium and short-term planning may be combined where appropriate. When planning for writing teachers must consider: both compositional and secretarial aspects of writing whether knowledge and skills are being introduced, assimilated or maintained the teaching strategy most appropriate to the needs of the children as they work through the writing process sufficient exposure to a wide range of texts to familiarise children with the structure and features of genre/forms which they will be writing this year or in the future the integration of talking and listening, reading and writing how, what and when to assess Planning documents should be regarded as flexible and amended as a result of on-going assessment. Children need to be able to: talk about what they are going to write orally structure their ideas, sometimes recording their plans express thoughts and ideas coherently in their writing, demonstrating increasing structure and sequence use punctuation, word order and word choice to create meaningful sentences use a range of extended vocabulary to convey their ideas use conventional spellings with increasing confidence produce handwriting which is legible, accurately formed and consistent in size recognise the importance of presentation when sharing their writing with an audience understand the relationship between audience and purpose use the structure and features of specific genre/forms demonstrate an evolving awareness of the use of paragraphs make improvements to their writing based on agreed criteria 4

5 5 Teaching Approaches Teachers need to use a range of teaching approaches, selecting the most appropriate at any given time. The Writing Process Familiarisation (exposure to many samples of a writing genre) Problem-solving (exploring text genre) Modelled writing (writing for children) Shared writing (writing with children) Guided writing (writing with/by children) Independent writing (writing by children) 5

6 6 Familiarisation This fundamental stage provides the opportunity to introduce the children to a specific genre or form. Key features: planned time to read with and to the children so that they become familiar with the language and structure of the texts opportunities for purposeful browsing and independent reading access to a range of examples of a particular genre/form both in the class library and in topic areas Problem solving Problem-solving is the next step in the process and is an effective way of developing children s understanding of the purpose, structure and language features of a specific genre or form. Key features: discussion about the texts read during the familiarisation stage: comparing, identifying and making decisions about the specific features and language of the genre time and opportunity for children to investigate examples of the specific genre/form, e.g. reconstructing cut-up text, labelling sections, highlighting language features joint construction of a simple framework/chart, the headings of which will provide a scaffold for the children s writing 6

7 7 Modelled Modelled writing is used to demonstrate the process of writing. The teacher thinks aloud and shows how writers make decisions about what and how to write. The concepts, skills and strategies that have been modelled should be extended through shared writing, practised through guided writing and consolidated through independent writing. It is through modelled writing that children develop a clearer understanding about how writing is adapted for different audiences and purposes. This process shows how reading and writing are related. Key features: each session has a planned focus and the learning intention is shared with the children sessions are short, sharp and focussed sessions may be whole class or group teacher adopts the role of writer, thinking aloud and making decisions about what to write and how to organise it (planning stage) teacher verbalises thoughts and demonstrates how to put them into written words after modelling it is important to reread the text aloud and review the main teaching points with the children children see the writing process in action When introducing new knowledge or skills, teachers need to model many times before moving on to shared writing. 7

8 8 Shared The interactive nature of Shared Writing provides the opportunity for children s understandings to be discussed in context. They begin to take ownership of the writing and realise their contributions are valued. It helps children to understand that the writer is in control and ideas and words can be changed or moved around. The role of the teacher is that of scribe and motivator rather than the expert at work. In this way developing writers are freed from the demands of recording their writing as they experiment with new ideas. Key features: the same learning intention(s) as the modelled sessions will be consolidated sessions are short, sharp and focused sessions may be whole class or group teachers and children work together to produce a piece of writing the teacher acts as scribe while prompting and encouraging the children to engage in the process children are encouraged to take risks in a supportive environment both teacher and children review the shared text, checking it with the agreed success criteria. This is the beginning of self-assessment. Teachers need to make careful observations of the extent of pupil participation and understanding in order to plan for the next session. 8

9 9 Guided Writing Guided writing provides a bridge for children as they move from the secure environment of shared writing towards the demands of independence. It provides the opportunity for children to demonstrate their understanding of the genre/form which has been developed through modelled and shared sessions. Guided sessions allow children to have-a-go and put into practice what they have learned about texts, sentences and words. It is important not to over-emphasise secretarial skills, e.g. spelling, handwriting while children are trying to master the demands of the genre/form. Even when children compose a simple sentence they are being asked to use a complex range of skills. When children are presented with a new challenge they may appear to slip back, exhibiting behaviour which is characteristic of an earlier stage. Key features: children are grouped according to their stage of development each session has clear learning intentions which are shared with the children differentiated success criteria are agreed with the children children use the agreed success criteria as a reference to guide their writing (jointly constructed frameworks or charts may be used to provide structured guidance ) the teacher clarifies the task, reviews where children are and what they need to do next each child produces his/her own piece of writing children check if their writing sounds right and makes sense, perhaps reading aloud part of their work to themselves or others the teacher is available to support the group or pairs/individuals within the group support takes the form of questioning, prompting, making suggestions and should be appropriate to each child s stage of development and understanding children are active participants: discussing, sharing ideas with the teacher and others children re-read and discuss their writing with the teacher and others, reflecting on how well it met the success criteria (self and peer assessment) children are given opportunities to make improvements to selected aspects of their writing appropriate resources and materials are made available 9

10 10 Independent While children learn an immense amount from modelled, shared and guided sessions, it is important that they should be given as many opportunities as possible to practise their new skills independently in a range of meaningful contexts. Through independent writing the teacher assesses children s skills, knowledge and understanding, identifying what has been embedded, what needs further development or new skill/skills that need to be introduced. The teacher observes how the child behaves as a writer: attitude, enthusiasm, decision making before and during writing, how they respond to their own writing and that of others. Key features: children are aware of the learning intentions and agreed success criteria children are writing without teacher guidance, individually, in pairs or in small groups children use the relevant success criteria as a reference to guide their writing there is a supportive environment in which children are confident and willing to take risks children check if their writing sounds right and makes sense, perhaps reading aloud part of their work to themselves or others appropriate resources and materials are made available on-going assessment of children s progress and evaluation of the teaching and learning process informs future planning children are encouraged to set and review personal goals taking increasing responsibility for their writing development By providing ample opportunities for knowledge and skills to be assimilated through independent writing, children s confidence and competence will grow. 10

11 11 An Overview of Writing Strategies Whenever we write, we are thinking of messages or texts that we craft into strings of words, all arranged according to the rules of our language. Then there is also the mechanical task - that of actually putting the words down on paper. (Word Matters, Pinnell, G. and Fountas, I, Heinnemann 1998) Teaching writing strategies: the teacher draws attention to aspects of writing during shared reading and modelled writing experiences, e.g. layout, choice of words, sentence structure, punctuation, etc. (familiarisation) the teacher facilitates the exploration of texts, e.g. structure and language features (problem-solving) the teacher models specific skills (modelled) the teacher provides opportunities for collaborative use of the skills in context (shared/guided) children are engaged in activities which involve independent application of the skills (independent) As children move through Key Stage One they will experience a range of genre while exploring the features of specific genres and forms in more depth. Through engagement in rich and varied experiences of reading and writing children develop their sense of audience and purpose. Once children know who they are writing for and why, they can then begin to think about the form the writing may take. They need to be taught different written forms, processes and conventions in context, across the curriculum. 11

12 12 Processes Through all their writing experiences children need support to develop their understanding of processes as they apply their increasing knowledge and skills in context. context/respond to stimulus (purpose and audience) review and refine processes select form and plan writing compose text 12

13 13 Overview of genre Throughout Key Stage One, children should be exposed to a range of genre and forms in a variety of meaningful contexts. By the end of Key Stage One, it is expected that most children will be able to write a simple recount, report and basic procedures independently and some will be able to write a simple narrative. Others will begin to include elements in their writing, such as descriptions of characters and settings. Genre and Form Purpose Recount -retelling, personal experiences, story or events To tell what happened for information or entertainment. This may involve the author s personal interpretation of events. begin with an orientation that includes background information, e.g. who, what, where, when, why. important events are then elaborated and arranged in chronological order. a concluding statement or reorientation. specific participants, e.g. my family written in simple past tense use of dynamic or action verbs, e.g. went, saw, did, etc. use of linking words to do with time, e.g. yesterday, when, after, before, during use of first person pronouns (I/We) details are selected to add interest To organise and record factual information on a topic an opening which is a generalisation or classification a description of various aspects of the topic with key ideas grouped in logical clusters, often indicated by paragraphs often concludes with a comment on the topic generic participants: a whole class of things some action verbs especially when describing behaviour usually in present tense descriptive, factual language which may contain some subject specific vocabulary a heading stating what is to be done a list of items needed e.g. ingredients, utensils instructions set out in a series of steps may include illustrations use of imperative verbs (e.g. put, hold, twist, take) maintains simple present tense ( cut, stir, mix) linking words to do with time (first, then, when) Forms, e.g. letters, postcards, diaries Non chronological report e.g. animals homes, life during World War 2 Procedures: writing instructions Forms, e.g. rules, recipes, often including diagrams, illustrations To provide a sequence of actions or steps which sets out the way to do something. Text organisation Language features 13

14 14 Genre and Form Purpose Text organisation Narrative: story telling To entertain and engage the reader in an imaginative story Forms, e.g. fairy tales, fables, adventure stories, playscripts Poetry: expression through verse Forms, e.g. alliterative, shape, string, acrostic, list, free verse Explanation: explaining a process a series of events which lead to a complication and resolution To explore thoughts, feelings and emotions through playing with language May include: rhyming/non-rhyming free verse or structured format To explain how or why something works or happens Forms, e.g. diagrams, flowcharts Exposition persuasion Forms, e.g. lists of reasons /opinions, advertisements, posters an introduction which sets the scene and introduces characters To develop ideas in order to present particular points of view May include: diagrams or labelled illustrations sequence of steps, e.g. oral explanation statement to open the topic gives point of view with some supporting detail, e.g. We eat apples because they are good for us. Language features use of descriptive language for setting, characters and events mainly action verbs connectives, many to do with time usually past tense often includes dialogue layout appropriate to form creative use of language experimenting with word order and phrasing use of simple present tense (happens, turns, makes) time relationships (first, then, next,) cause and effect relationships (if/then, because) mainly action verbs Language associated with persuasion and argument : connectives e.g. because, so adjectives e.g. delicious, exciting verbs e.g. must, should Exposition argument for and against Forms, e.g. conversations, lists, grids 14

15 15 Writing Conventions Secretarial skills If children are to communicate effectively they need to develop an understanding of how language works and how meaning is achieved. This will be developed as they explore the sense and structure of texts: how sentences are constructed; the function of words; the impact of punctuation. As they talk about texts they acquire a vocabulary that enables them to communicate their understanding of how texts work (meta-language). Grammar and punctuation As children move through Key Stage 1 they need to develop their understanding of: the concept of a sentence the functions of a sentence: statement, question, exclamation As children progress from Foundation Stage to Key Stage 1 their understanding is demonstrated as they: begin to demarcate sentences begin to use capital letters for the pronoun I, for names and at the start of a sentence write in complete sentences, using basic punctuation with increasing consistency i.e. capital letters, fullstops or exclamation marks use capitalisation for a range of purposes e.g. proper nouns and titles compose and punctuate questions appropriately use apostrophe for regular contractions, e.g. can t, isn t and commas to separate items in a list use apostrophe for an increasing number of contractions, e.g. won t, wouldn t, doesn t begin to use speech marks 15

16 16 show increased consistency in the use of tense maintain tense consistently show awareness of grammatical agreement in their writing, e.g. e.g. I am; the children are use a wider range of vocabulary in their writing use some adjectives use some adjectives, adverbs and synonyms for frequently used words, e.g. said begin to use the conjunction and appropriately use some conjunctions and connectives, e.g. because, but, and, then, after that re-read own work for sense and punctuation begin to use specific criteria when checking their writing choose to use a range of adverbs, adjectives and powerful verbs to enhance writing re-read own work and check for sense and accuracy in relation to specific criteria 16

17 17 Learning Experiences As children read and talk about sentences during modelled, shared and guided sessions they investigate the function of sentences, words within sentences and the use of punctuation. Children need time to problem-solve the features of sentences and to verbalise their understanding. They need opportunities to experiment as they compose sentences of increasing complexity. Learning will be more effective when children engage in multi-sensory, interactive activities. Children need time to think aloud, listen to others and verbalise their thinking in a range of contexts and groupings. Active learning strategies, such as manipulating cards, human sentences, whiteboards, talking partners, highlighting and text re-construction, will help children to internalise difficult concepts. Knowledge and Skill Learning Intentions Suggested Learning Activities Extend knowledge of sentence structure and awareness of grammatical agreement Children will: be able to recognise sentences read texts aloud and identify sentences sort phrases and sentences discuss and select the correct tense during shared and guided sessions sort and match words to categorise words according to tense complete simple oral and written cloze to ensure grammatical agreement, e.g. he is/ we are modify sentences to ensure grammatical agreement, orally or in written form track back in text to identify what or to whom pronouns refer Children will: know when to use statements, questions and exclamations. talk about the function of sentences and how they are punctuated write sentences with different functions for a range of purposes Children will: construct sentences for specific purposes, e.g. to describe a character, to set the scene for a recount orally rehearse sentences use simple grammatical agreement, e.g. - Recognise the functions of a sentence: statement, question, exclamation Know how to compose and enrich sentences past, present, simple future tense noun/ verb agreement pronoun agreement be able to communicate in writing, using simple or compound sentences 17

18 18 Know how to punctuate a sentence modify sentences to extend or simplify change the meaning of sentences by choosing alternative vocabulary or reordering the words choose specific vocabulary such as expressive verbs ( ran - sprinted), sentence starters (After that, the next day) use conjunctions to join simple sentences adjectives (nice fantastic) to improve the quality highlight specific sentences in text, e.g. sentences that contain powerful verbs identify and talk about connectives and experiment with their use highlight specific sentences in text, e.g. sentences to show demarcation use punctuation to read expressively matching words with contractions, e.g. can/can t, will/won t change words to contracted form and vice-versa identify speech bubbles and speech marks in texts write words spoken in speech bubbles highlight the words that are spoken and discuss how they are demarcated in text use a variety of conjunctions in their writing Children will: Recognise and begin to use conventions to record speech use an increasing vocabulary to make sentences interesting for the reader recognise and use basic punctuation, including capital letters, full-stops, question marks and exclamation marks. Children will: recognise speech in text 18

19 19 Handwriting The main purpose of writing is to communicate meaning. It is important that the meaning is clear and the handwriting is well-formed, swift and legible. Children need to: be able to form letters correctly use consistent spacing control letter size position letters on lines begin to join letters (in accordance with school policy) Learning experiences When writing in the classroom, e.g. writing labels, writing comments on children s work, the teacher acts as a role model using handwriting which is consistent with the style adopted by the school. During modelled, shared and guided writing sessions the teacher should draw attention to letter formation, spacing and size. Through observations teachers should identify specific aspects of handwriting which are causing difficulty and provide focussed teaching to address these. This teaching may be with individuals, small groups or whole class and the learning experiences should always be meaningful and relevant. As children move towards independence, they will need different levels of scaffolding. Teacher observation is crucial in order to identify the stage of development and the level of support needed. Children should have time to reflect on their writing and talk about why presentation is important. Working with individuals, small groups or whole class identify and share what the children need to learn, e.g. letter/letters, spacing, size within the context of a word or sentence demonstrate and talk about the correct formation, spacing or size give time for children to practise the skill, e.g. writing a letter or word on whiteboards observe children as they write provide opportunities for the children to have-a-go using the skills in context, scaffolding them as appropriate, e.g. alliterative sentences, jokes, tongue twisters or short rhymes encourage children to re-read what they have written or share it with others talk about what they have learned 19

20 20 Observations will indicate when children will benefit from writing on lines. Some children will find it easier to keep their handwriting straight and/or develop an awareness of letter size when lines are introduced. Consideration should be given to feint (space between lines) when children are introduced to lines. Children need to be taught how to position letters on line with a particular emphasis on ascenders and descenders in order to write proficiently on lines. If children are having difficulties with handwriting, especially the formation of letters they may need further experiences to develop their fine motor control. Guidance is available in Language and Literacy in the Foundation Stage -Writing - Pages Teachers should note those children who start letters from the wrong point as this may cause difficulties later with joined script. They should also identify children who have not yet developed an efficient pencil grip as it may affect the flow of their writing. Some children s finished writing may appear to be proficient so their difficulties will only be identified through observation. Children need time and opportunities to transfer the skills they have acquired into their independent writing. However it is important to remember that when focussing on a specific aspect of writing, e.g. the features of genre, handwriting may take second place. Children learn, over time, to integrate different elements of writing, balancing content and presentation. Children also need to consider how their work is presented in different formats including the use of digital technology. This will involve developing word processing skills, awareness of font style and size. 20

21 21 Spelling Children progress through developmental stages in spelling using their knowledge of the alphabetic code and the structure of words. Within Key Stage 1 the majority of children will move from phonetic to more conventional spelling. Children should be able to use a range of strategies to spell correctly a range of familiar, important and regularly occurring words. It is expected that other words can still be read and understood because they are phonetically plausible. As knowledge of the alphabetic code develops children will understand that. Children need to: sounds are represented by letters longer words are made up of syllable a sound may be presented by one or more letter the same sound can be represented in more than one way the same spelling may represent more than one sound Effective spellers use a number of problem-solving, interactive strategies. Children need to: learn to attend to print note the composition of words use their increasing code-knowledge recall words that have been internalised develop strategies to help them to memorise the tricky parts of words practise their spelling in meaningful contexts talk about spellings and the strategies they have used know how to use resources to check spellings, if necessary 21

22 22 Teachers need to: analyse errors to inform teaching and learning provide opportunities for investigating words ensure a balance of auditory, visual and kinaesthetic strategies help children to make connections and see patterns in words support children in the identification of tricky parts in words and demonstrate strategies to memorise them encourage children to talk about and share the strategies they are using provide opportunities for children to use the words they are learning in a range of contexts model how to use resources in order to check spellings, e.g. environmental print or simple dictionaries 22

23 23 Assessment Assessment is an integral part of the learning process. Through ongoing integrated assessment, teachers build a comprehensive picture of the progress and learning needs of each child in order to plan future work and ultimately improve learning. (Northern Ireland Curriculum 2007 Page 11) Formative assessment Children s writing needs to be monitored carefully to determine progress and the appropriate teaching focus for future learning. This will involve observing them using a variety of genre and forms in a range of contexts. Samples of writing should be thoroughly analysed to determine children s current knowledge, skills and understanding and to identify next steps in learning. Responding to children s writing The response to children s writing should always reflect their stage of development. Throughout Key Stage 1, as children develop as writers, they move from writing in simple sentences to showing increasing proficiency in how they communicate their thoughts and ideas. The emphasis, when responding to the work of early writers, should be on developing motivation and confidence. Teachers should always respond to the message communicated in each child s writing before considering specific areas for improvement. Writing tasks should be set within a meaningful context in which the purpose and audience are evident to the children. Teachers should be clear about the specific learning intentions and the success criteria which will be used to assess progress. The learning intentions should be shared with the children so that they understand the focus of new learning and see the relevance of activities. Following teaching, children will be able to contribute to the joint construction of success criteria which will guide them in their writing. As children engage in writing they should be reminded of the learning intention and prompted to use the success criteria. At the early stages success criteria are likely to focus on the process, e.g. think it, say it, write it, read it aloud. As children develop confidence and competence as writers, additional success criteria relating to specific aspects of writing should be introduced, e.g. use of adjectives or sequencing in a recount. Children should see the teacher reflecting on her own writing, using success criteria as a guide, during modelled and shared writing. 23

24 24 The teacher s first response to children s writing should be as audience, responding to the content and encouraging the writer. Teachers help the children improve the quality of their writing by: giving feedback related to success criteria prompting to enhance, extend or clarify providing time for children to make improvements Feedback is likely to have most impact when it is immediate, although this is not always possible. It is important to plan when and how feedback will be given. If a prompt for improvement has been given teachers need to provide time for children to follow it up. Children should be encouraged to reflect on their own writing and begin to make improvements to their work. This is the beginning of self-assessment. Children need to be able to monitor and assess their work both during and after writing. During writing children need to read and re-read sentences and sections of the text aloud, thinking about the meaning and the language they are using. (e.g. Does this make sense? Could I use a better word? ) After writing children should be encouraged to reflect on the success criteria to determine how well they have met the learning intention. While the success criteria will generally relate to process or aspects of content, e.g. genre or form, attention should be drawn to secretarial errors so that children learn to edit their work. Teachers need to limit the number of errors that are addressed in any piece of work and identify errors that may be used as the focus for future teaching. Children should be encouraged to check the secretarial aspects of their own work (i.e. grammar, punctuation, spelling and presentation) appropriate to their stage of development. It may be helpful to provide children with prompts to help them edit their work. As children take increasing responsibility for their writing they develop the ability to self-check and reflect on their work. In order to build up a profile of each child s writing development, teachers need to consider the following elements: dispositions, e.g. eagerness to write; choosing to write for a range of purposes; ability to compose ideas, e.g. organising thoughts; generating sentences; structuring texts choice of vocabulary and sentence structure e.g. use of adjectives, questions developmentally appropriate spelling and punctuation ability to re-read and make some improvements 24

25 25 Teachers will use a range of methods to assess children s writing development. observations (planned and spontaneous) questioning/discussion analysis of samples of writing planning opportunities to enable children to demonstrate specific knowledge, skills or understanding There should be a focus throughout Key Stage 1 on developing children s skills in selfassessment, encouraging them to identify the strategies they are using and think about how these help their writing. Summative Assessment Using the information gathered over a period of time the teacher makes a summative assessment, referencing the key stage levels of progression in Year 3 and assigning a numerical level at the end of Year 4. The outcomes of the assessments made form the basis for future target setting at individual, group, class or whole school level. 25

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