Subject Leader: Mrs K Brown
We believe that the knowledge taught in English is critical in unlocking a pupil’s academic potential. As a result, we work hard to develop our pupils’ understanding of the subject content taught within this curriculum area and their confidence to apply it to all other aspects of their learning.
We want our pupils to be confident writers by the time they reach the end of their primary education; this is why we place such emphasis on the teaching and learning of writing, handwriting, spelling and grammar. Considering the fundamental importance of writing in everyday life, we are driven by the need to develop each learner’s writing ability and we strive to prepare children for the future with the skills, flexibility, fluency and confidence to enjoy a lifelong love of writing.
Writing is a vital part of our curriculum as children use this skill in almost all areas of their learning; it gives them a voice to share their ideas with the world.
Our curriculum is designed to follow Jane Considine’s approach, The Write Stuff, for the teaching of writing in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.
‘The Write Stuff’ allows time for ‘Sentence Stacking’ prior to all independent writing. This emphasises the process of selecting vocabulary, considering sentence structure and developing ‘chunks of sense’. Each individual lesson is broken into three learning chunks and each learning chunk has three sections:
Children are also challenged to ‘Deepen the Moment’ during each ‘Enable’ chunk and this requires them to independently draw upon previously learnt skills and use them in their own writing.
As they work through these three stages, children develop their authorial craft, building vocabulary and phrases using a technique called ‘chotting’ (chatting and jotting). Children’s books are divided into two sections: the ‘chotting side’, where thoughts and ideas are recorded, and the ‘writing side’ where sentences are constructed.
An example of this can be accessed via the link below:
‘The Write Stuff’ uses three essential components to support children in becoming great writers - the FANTASTICS, the GRAMMARISTICs and the BOOMTASTICs.
The FANTASTICs represent the nine ideas for writing. These ‘lenses’ teach children about emotions and feelings, the internal workings of characters and people, and focus on their viewpoints. As writers, children use the FANTASTICs lenses to ZOOM into how characters are experiencing the world.
The GRAMMARISTICs are the grammar rules of writing. These are the tools which allow children to be in control of their grammar choices to improve the precision and the impact that their writing has on a reader.
The BOOMTASTICs are the techniques that can be used to add drama, style and poetic devices to writing. They enable children to showcase their personal voice and authorial style through the techniques they use.
The three zones of writing within the rainbow can be access below:
Throughout the writing process, children are inspired by experience lessons which immerse them in an aspect of their writing. They range from outdoor experiences in a relevant setting; drama activities to capture a character’s point of view and emotions; to documentaries or research activities.
At the end of a unit of learning, children apply the skills they have learned to their own independent writing. They enjoy using the writing rainbow to create their own piece of writing over a double page. This independent work is always driven by high-quality texts and experiences that engage the pupils and ignite their interest so that final outcomes are the best they can possibly be.
The teaching of grammar and spelling is in line with the requirements of The National Curriculum (2014). Grammar and spelling lessons are timetabled discreetly, but they are also embedded within English lessons, where children learn how to use their grammatical skills purposefully and effectively.
We follow the Spelling Shed scheme of learning to teach grammar, punctuation and spelling. This begins in Year 2 and continues through to Year 6. Spelling Shed ensures all National Curriculum spelling patterns and exceptions are taught to the relevant year groups.
Spellings are taught across the week in 15 minute sessions and a range of different strategies are used. Each week, the children then complete a spelling test based on the words they have learnt.
Handwriting is explicitly taught using the Letter-Join handwriting scheme. This scheme allows staff to model how letters are formed and joined through a variety of resources, such as pre-recorded models of handwriting in action, worksheets, games and more. The use of Letter-join also ensures a consistent approach to all letter formation across the school.
Children’s holistic writing subject knowledge and their ability to apply this is assessed by their class teacher using a range of formative assessment activities. These include the completion of spelling tests, short independent writing activities and class discussions. Teachers also make summative judgements relating to the children’s knowledge and understanding during extended writing activities at least twice per half term and in a range of different literary contexts.
In addition to the internal assessments detailed above, children also complete a national curriculum assessment (SAT) in grammar, punctuation and spelling in Year 2 and Year 6 to assess their reading abilities at the end of each Key Stage, and formal teacher assessed judgements of writing proficiency are also made at these points, the results of which are shared with parents and carers.