Be a reader Be a writer Be a communicator
At St Mary’s Roman Catholic Primary School, our English Curriculum enables children to develop skills in reading, writing and speaking and listening in a robust, engaging and responsive way. We endeavour to instil a love of reading, writing and language which will last our children a lifetime, allow them to progress in their learning journey and empower them to become confident learners, encourage independence, build self-esteem and acquire a love of learning. The Writing Curriculum we offer our children will allow them to obtain skills and confidence that will enable them to continue to reach their potential once they leave us.
At St. Mary’s, we believe in the connectedness of vocabulary instruction, reading, transcriptional fluency and subject specific knowledge to writing. If pupils are able to draw upon a bank of words, knowledge and writing conventions, cognitive space is left for pupils to focus on the content of their writing.
The National Curriculum states, ‘Pupils should develop the stamina and skills to write at length, with accurate spelling and punctuation… They should build on what they have been taught to expand the range of their writing and the variety of the grammar they use. The writing they do should include narratives, explanations, descriptions, comparisons, summaries and evaluations: such writing supports them in rehearsing, understanding and consolidating what they have heard or read.’
Within our school we teach the National Curriculum through a targeted and pedagogy informed curriculum, that is taught using our ambitious and sequenced curriculum. The programmes of study for writing at St Mary’s are constructed similarly to those for reading: transcription (spelling and handwriting) composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).
Our writing often uses our wider curriculum sequences of learning as a stimulus for writing, meaning new vocabulary and knowledge is recycled and reused in writing sessions, meaning sessions can have an explicit grammar or text convention focus.
Each writing cycle takes place over a series of weeks, which follows this process:
Our writing modules are progressive and sequential with clear end points, thus giving children a deeper experience of vocabulary, modelled published writing and grammatical features and components. At St Mary’s we plan to support children in their grammar application and sentence composition. This is taught at the start of the academic year to those children who require it, this is taught to build strong foundations for great writing opportunities.
At St Mary’s we teach our children a systematic and progressive approach to spelling. The principles of the teaching of spellings is based on the spelling concept, pattern seeking, explicit teaching, systematic revisiting and application to writing. The lesson structure is as follows: Depth word study, sentence level dictation and reasoning and self-correction within writing. We want our children to be confident, accurate and ambitious spellers.
It is paramount that children are rigorously taught correct letter formation from the very beginning of their time in school. During the foundation stage at St Mary’s, the children are taught to sit properly in order to have the correct posture for writing, hold a pencil in the correct position and develop a legible handwriting style. In KS1, we use a handwriting approach which takes a holistic view of teaching handwriting, developing both a child’s Key Strengths (Gross & Fine Motor Skills) and Key Abilities (Knowledge). It is a systematic, differentiated and progressive approach which supports children of all ability levels. Teachers are expected to role model the school’s handwriting style when marking children’s work, writing on the board and on displays around the school.
At St. Mary’s, our children will be skilled, confident and enthusiastic writers. The impact on our children is that they have the knowledge and skills to be able to write successfully for a purpose and audience. With the implementation of the writing sequence being established and taught in both key stages, children are becoming more confident writers and have the ability to plan, draft and edit their own work. By the end of key stage 2, children have developed a writer’s craft, they enjoy sustained writing and can manipulate language, grammar and punctuation to create effect. As all aspects of English are an integral part of the curriculum, cross curricular writing standards have also improved and skills taught in the English lesson are transferred into other subjects; this shows consolidation of skills and a deeper understanding of how and when to use specific language, grammar and punctuation. At St Mary’s, the children are skilled at transcription and composition. They are confident and ambitious spellers and can use dictionaries to spell ambitious words. Children can use thesaurus to enhance vocabulary choice for effect. Our learners go into the world able to communicate effectively, are confident and take their writing onto the next stage of their education and into their adult lives.