Subject Lead: Miss Lucy Clarke [email protected]
The curriculum for Writing at All Souls builds upon the programme of study outlined in the National Curriculum for England which can be found here.
What is our vision for English Writing at All Souls?
How do we achieve this vision?
The purpose of our English policy is to promote a consistency of approach and to ensure that continuity and progression are embedded in our practice.
In Key Stages 1 and 2, all classes have a daily English lesson, which develops key phonics, reading comprehension and writing skills in line with The National Curriculum 2014 for English. Planning aims to develop these skills in a fun and meaningful way, writing for a range of purposes and audiences. Children are taught to plan, draft, edit, improve and evaluate their own writing and others; this process is underpinned by fun and purposeful grammar activities which explore children’s understanding of the English language and teach them to up-level, and play with new vocabulary. The link between reading and writing within English lessons is made explicit: planning follows the reading to writing process, giving pupils plenty of opportunities to become emerged in rich, quality texts and to read critically as both a reader and writer.
In addition to their daily English lessons, children have basic skills sessions, focussing on the teaching of spelling rules and handwriting. Upon completing the phonics programme, children then begin the spelling programme. Through their lessons, they learn new spelling patterns, which they then take home as part of their weekly homework to practise. There is also a big emphasis on children learning to read and spell high frequency words accurately.
As stated in the National Curriculum 2014; the writing process, which the children will be taught is;
- evaluate/ edit
We aim to develop children’s ability to produce well-structured, detailed writing in which the meaning is made. To engross children in the writing process, children are given opportunities to write for a range of purposes; they are encouraged to think about and engage the intended reader. Particular attention is paid throughout the school to the formal structures of English; grammatical detail, punctuation and spelling.
Throughout Early Years, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, writing is based on the interests of each class. Each unit of work covers a specific text type and can last for any number of weeks. A unit outcome will be completed by the end of each unit, allowing the children to put all of the skills they have learned in to practice. Stimuli is found from a range of sources such as videos, images, cross curricular learning and book extracts. Our curriculum allows children to have the opportunity to explore rich, high-quality texts in depth, enhancing reading comprehension and providing meaningful contexts and purposes for writing. The teaching of this is flexible and class teachers are then, in turn, able to apply their own creativity to cover the objectives set out in the National Curriculum.
Click the link below to find more information about the content covered from Years 1-6 as stated in the National Curriculum.
The school follows its own Routeway through Spelling and uses the ‘No Nonense Spelling’ programme. This programme targets Years 2 to 6 in line with the 2014 National Curriculum. It builds on high quality phonics teaching and into the wider knowledge that children need in spelling. It has a clear progression through blocks of teaching units across the year. Children who are in the Year 2 Spelling Group have daily thirty minute lessons and children in Years 3 to 6 have five spelling sessions across each two-week period. For children in Key Stage 2, spelling is part of the English allocated time but it sits outside of the usual English lesson. It is expected that spelling rules are drip-fed throughout the week and that opportunities for the children to practise spellings are given. Lessons follow the RTPA teaching sequence – Revisit, Teach, Practise, Apply.
Pupils’ learning is assessed throughout the programme. These include testing by the teacher, explaining and independent application in writing.
Learning needs to happen in school and at home. Children in Key Stages 1 and 2 are given a list of words to learn at home each week which they will be tested on in school the following week. These words will come from statutory word lists. Children will also be tested on the rule they have been learning that week in school to check their application skills in addition to learning by rote.
Children are introduced to a range of strategies to help them to learn spellings. This enables pupils to choose the strategies that they find the most effective for learning words. Some of these strategies include the ‘Look, Cover, Write, Check’ method and the Quick Write Challenge.
The school’s chosen core Handwriting programme is the Collins Primary Focus. This is supplemented by resources from other handwriting schemes as appropriate, in line with the 2014 National Curriculum.
At All Souls, children within the Early Years Foundation Stage are taught to develop their gross motor skills through interactive learning experiences. For example, children will form letter shapes on each other’s backs, in damp sand trays, in the sky and so on. When ready, the children are taught to hold a pencil effectively and use it to form recognisable letters, most of which should be correctly formed.
Handwriting requires frequent and discrete, direct teaching. In Key Stage 1, handwriting is taught for one hour per week. This time is typically divided in to three twenty minute sessions per week. In Key Stage 2, it is taught for forty minutes per week. This time is typically divided in to two twenty minute sessions per week. Handwriting sessions do not form part of the English allocated time.
At All Souls’, we encourage cursive writing right from the start. Although it looks complicated, it is actually much easier because all the lower case letters start with a dot on the line. This will later help the children to join their letters (a Year 2 expectation) with ease and without learning different letter movements. We encourage all writing to be in lower case form to begin with, not capital letters.
Children in Key Stage 2 are taught to write using a joined, cursive script and with increasing fluency and speed. Handwriting should be of the same standard across subjects. At the discretion of a member of the SLT, children are awarded a ‘pen licence’ or a ‘pen licence plus’ (use of a fountain pen). Children are eligible for a ‘pen licence’ if their writing is joined, consistent in sizing, spacing and shape, relatively smooth and on the line. In order to achieve a ‘pen licence plus’, children must already have a ‘pen licence’ and be consistently producing a neat fluid style that is mature and well sized and spaced. Children who have a pen licence or a pen licence plus follow a different programme of work to extend their skills.
Resources to support cursive handwriting
Speaking and Listening
Children across the school are encouraged to speak clearly and confidently using Standard English. Children are taught to develop and apply speaking and listening skills to suit a variety of audiences and for different purposes. Opportunities are given for children to tell stories, to listen to stories and to explore, develop and justify ideas and opinions in both formal and informal contexts. Children can also express themselves creatively in role play, poetry recitations and play productions. In Early Years, a programme called Word Aware is used to support children with the introduction of new vocabulary.