"You can make anything by writing"
C S Lewis
At St Mary’s, our aim is to foster competent, confident writers. We recognise that writing is an area that should not be confined to English lessons alone, so opportunities are planned for children to write across the curriculum. Children write in the style of a whole range of genres and teachers plan opportunities for children to be able to vary the purpose, audience and form of their writing. We cater for a range of learning styles through a multitude of resources used to inspire our children’s creative minds: video clips, auditory recordings, trips, visitors, images, drama, talk for writing and high quality texts. Meaningful, real-life purposes for writing are encouraged wherever possible. Children are taught to discuss, plan, draft and edit their writing through teacher modeling and peer support.
As it is a core subject, English is taught daily in each class. Lessons are planned so that they build on each other in small, sequential steps, ensuring that children fully understand and develop the skills they are being taught.
We use a ‘book based’ approach to teaching English. We have carefully chosen a range of high quality and engaging texts for each year group and these are used as a basis for teaching the skills outlined in the National Curriculum. Teachers also use these books to give the children plenty of opportunities to write stories, reviews, reports, letters, diary entries and many other writing genres.
A variety of models for teaching writing are used; teacher modeling, shared writing, supported composition, guided and independent writing. At the immersion stage of learning a key text, the children are taught a particular skill. These skills are taken from our progression of skills documents. During this stage of learning, children are given the opportunity to apply their newly taught skill in a short piece of writing (short burst writing). These activities range in purpose and length, depending on the year group and context of the short write. Finally, children combine and apply the skills they have learned in an extended piece of writing by planning, drafting, editing and publishing.
Grammar and Punctuation skills are taught in English lessons and follow the objectives in the National Curriculum.
Children will learn about word types, tenses, punctuation and sentence construction. When pupils are familiar with a concept, they are given opportunities to apply this in short burst writes.
Spelling in Reception and Year 1 is taught mostly through their daily phonics lessons, but also insome English lessons. They will also begin learning how to spell some Common Exception Words. (These are High Frequency Words which cannot be spelt using phonics).
In Years 2-6 Key Stage 2, spelling is taught in discrete spelling lessons. Different spelling rules are taught each week and children are given opportunities throughout the week to practise this. The spelling of Common Exception Words continues to be taught in Year 2 and, as they move into Key Stage 2, children are expected to spell all High Frequency Words correctly. Words specified in the National Curriculum for Years 3/4 and Years 5/6 are also learnt.
We expect all children to take pride in their handwriting and general presentation of their work. Handwriting is taught throughout the school and we teach all children to join their handwriting. In Early Years, children learn to hold a pencil correctly, make marks and follow patterns. In Reception they will also begin to learn correct letter formation. In Key Stage 1, letter formation is developed further. Year 1 continue to focus on forming letters and numbers correctly and in Year 2 they are introduced to a cursive style of writing. By the end of Key Stage 1, we expect children to have begun joining their writing. In Key Stage 2, specific joins are taught and pupils are expected to increase the speed, accuracy and legibility of their writing.