In English lessons, we use a wide range of high-quality, age-appropriate texts to engender in our pupils a love of reading and writing. The teaching of writing is done through quality texts, which are chosen to meet the needs of the children, and to engage, inspire and motivate them. We also provide vocabulary-rich environments and emphasise the value of varied language choices to ensure our pupils continually improve their personal vocabulary. Tasks are chosen carefully so that the pupils understand the purpose, context and audience of their writing.
We teach our children that all good writers refine and edit their writing over time, and we want pupils to develop independence in being able to identify their own area for improvement in all pieces of writing, editing their work effectively during, and after, the writing process.
We believe that all pupils should be encouraged to take pride in the presentation of their writing, by developing a good, joined handwriting style by the time they move to secondary school.
When teaching spelling, teachers will show pupils how to understand the relationships between words, how to understand nuances in meaning and how to develop their understanding of, and ability to use, figurative language. They will also teach pupils how to work out and clarify the meanings of unknown words and words with more than one meaning. Pupils will be taught to control and adapt their speaking and writing and to use Standard English.
English lessons take place for one hour a day in Key Stage 2 and for 45 minutes in Key Stage 1. Teachers in each year group use a writing journey to plan and teach their English lessons. This journey may take between two and four weeks, depending on the genre, to complete and planning begins with the intended outcome for the unit of work. Each unit comes from our long-term plan for writing, which ensures that our children are exposed to a variety of genres and the appropriate year-group objectives. Carefully mapped progression ensures that pupils are able to apply and develop their writing skills as well as developing their vocabulary. At Carr Green, we feel that children should write for a purpose, so each unit has a hook or event to ignite the children’s curiosity and interest.
An English journey is planned for each genre taught and is divided into four sections usually over a 2 to 4-week period:
- Immersion into texts to identify & define features, and develop oracy (fluent expression and grammar in speech)
- Word and Sentence Level work (contextual, integrated SPaG work)
- Modelled and Shared Writing
- Planning, Drafting, Editing and Publishing a written piece of writing
At Carr Green, there is an emphasis on building skills and vocabulary, and developing stamina to produce high-quality writing. Throughout a unit of work, key vocabulary, writing features and quality modelled writing are displayed within the classroom via Working Walls. Teachers ensure that pupils’ work is clearly displayed for all to see in the classroom and around school. This further helps with language acquisition, raises confidence and helps secure an understanding of the writing process. Within the wider curriculum, school displays of pupil’s written work further broaden the range of academic vocabulary and increase writing examples that can be seen by other pupils. We also acknowledge the role that discussion and oral rehearsal have in the development of quality writing.
Children move on to learn the main rules and conventions of written English at word and sentence level, as well as how the English language can be used to express meaning in different ways. Powerful teaching techniques such as modelled, shared and guided writing mean children are exposed to high quality demonstration and exploration of language. Children then go onto plan, draft and edit their work. In lessons, teachers provide children who need extra support with additional modelling or scaffolding resources such as Word Banks. More confident writers are challenged to extend their writing or develop their use of language.
In Nursery and Reception, pupils follow the Revised Early Years Curriculum. As well as learning phonics daily children develop their language and communication and literacy skills in a stimulating, text and vocabulary-rich environment. Children are given a wide range of opportunities to experience rich language through the use of storytelling, songs and rhymes, educational websites, class discussion and within the continuous provision areas. They are encouraged to develop confidence in expressing themselves and to speak and listen in a wide range of situations. Writing skills are encouraged through listening and responding to stories and the development of imitation and story-telling techniques. Pupils write their own names, practise correct letter formation in multi-sensory ways, and show their independence by linking sounds and letters to write simple words, writing captions and then the development of sentences and story ideas. Opportunities to write are provided through Reception’s provision.
In KS1 and KS2, teachers follow the School’s Marking Policy to provide oral and written feedback to children individually, allowing them to further improve their writing. Pupils are taught how to edit their work using purple pen and respond to teacher comments or actions. Where possible, teachers also use lesson time to provide feedback on the ways the pupils can develop their writing as a whole. Teachers ensure that children complete at least one piece of assessed work per half term. Assessed writing is analysed and the data used to inform future planning and target support so that writing skills are consolidated.
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPaG) is taught via a mixture of discrete short lessons and also within each English unit, so that pupils are able to apply the skills learnt in their writing. In KS2, children’s spelling is taught using the Oxford Owl Read, Write Inc. Spelling Scheme, and assessment for learning ensures that pupils are able to focus on spelling work at the appropriate level. Children are provided with spellings to learn at home each week, practise them daily and are tested weekly. Handwriting is taught via discreet sessions and children follow a cursive programme from Year 2 upwards.