Our curriculum ensures that all children have plenty of opportunities to write for different purposes. We encourage writing through all curriculum areas and use quality reading texts to model examples of good writing. We believe that children need lots of rich speaking and drama activities to give them the imagination and the experiences that will equip them to become good writers.
As a school, we have adopted “The Write Stuff” by Jane Constantine to bring clarity to the mechanics of writing. “The Write Stuff” follows a method called “Sentence Stacking” which refers to the fact that sentences are stacked together and organised to engage children with short, intensive moments of learning that they can then immediately apply to their own writing. An individual lesson is based on a sentence model, broken in to three chunks:
- Initiate section – a stimulus to capture the children’s imagination and set up a sentence.
- Model section – the teacher close models a sentence that outlines clear writing features and techniques.
- Enable section – the children write their sentence, following the model.
In Reception, children are encouraged to develop their emergent writing through mark making. Letter formation is practised on a regular basis. Children are taught how to form a comfortable pencil grip. Opportunities to practise their writing are provided within a rich environment through play-based activities and our newly introduced ‘Drawing Club’.
In Key Stage One, children are taught to develop printed letter formation, leading into cursive writing. The spelling of high frequency words is learnt in school, and tested on a regular basis. Children are encouraged to use these correctly in their written work. Children start by orally rehearsing sentences, writing them and reading them back. Children are also taught basic punctuation and grammatical structures. At the end of a unit, children will produce a best piece of writing.
In Key stage Two, children are expected to join their handwriting. A range of genres are modelled through Write Stuff and other approaches. Children are given opportunities to write for a range of purposes. Grammar and punctuation are specifically taught and expected to be demonstrated in their writing. At the end of each unit of work, children will produce a best piece of writing, which they have edited independently. They may also produce a piece of writing linked to their topic work.
In EYFS and Year 1, the children are taught spellings and spelling patterns through our Little Wandle phonic scheme. Everyday, the children practise spelling words using the new phoneme learnt or reviewed that day. This also includes tricky words that do not always follow a pattern or rule, but need to be learnt as a whole word. As the children progress through EYFS and Year 1, the children practise applying the spellings within dictated sentences and within their English learning.
When children reach Year 2, they move from the Little Wandle phonic programme to a spelling programme called Essential Spellings.
This spelling scheme was chosen for Year 2 as it is presented in a very similar format as the phonics, with a daily 20 minute input, following the same review, teach, practise and apply sequence that children are very familiar with.
The spelling resource focuses on the teaching of spelling so that children can build on prior learning, make connections with existing learning and understand how to apply patterns, strategies and knowledge to other words and not just a list of words given for that week. The children are given opportunities to discuss their learning and spelling words in the context of a short sentence. Using dictation will show whether the learning has stuck and can be applied.
In Key Stage 2, spelling is taught using the Twinkl Spelling word lists on a rolling programme, where odd year groups and even year groups rotate in each annual learning cycle. Twinkl spelling provides 10 words which all follow a same – or similar- spelling rule and some ‘red words’ which are part of the statutory curriculum spelling wordlist.
Using Quick 10 (minute) activities, which were the brainchild of Jane Considine, children then spend time in the week, alongside learning the spelling rule, to practice other key elements of spelling, morphology, phonics and grammar. E.g. adding prefixes un- or dis- to a list of root words, matching vowels with their phoneme sound, or looking at words in their contracted form.
The weekly timetable, which can be completed by the teacher in any order, will contain:
- Introduction to, and learning of, the spelling rule for the week. This could be a spelling game, investigation or a taught lesson.
- A dictation, handwriting or transcription activity relating to the weekly rule.
- A Quick 10 activity x 2.
- A retrieval quiz or test which may also include words from previous weeks.
What will your child learn in writing?