Writing & Spelling

English Curriculum Leader: Mrs C Ball

Intent:

At Hindsford CE Primary, we strive for our pupils to enjoy the writing process and to be proud of their written skills, possessing a deep appreciation of the written word.

We want every child to leave Hindsford with the skills of an excellent writer, including:

• the ability to write with fluency and style.

• the ability to think about the impact that they want their writing to have on the reader and the knowledge of how they will achieve this.

• the development of a wide range of vocabulary and knowledge of writing techniques to extend details or description.

• the ability to structure and organise their writing to suit the genre they are writing and include a variety of sentence structures.

• the skill to display excellent transcription skills that ensure their writing is well presented, punctuated, spelled correctly and neat.

• the capability to re-read, edit and improve their writing so that every piece of writing they produce is to the best of their ability.

Whilst at Hindsford CE Primary School, children develop their writing skills by exploring a whole range of different genres.

We emphasise the importance of high-quality writing not only in English lessons but also in subjects across the curriculum.

We expect the highest standards of writing every time a child writes in any subject.

Implementation:

At Hindsford CE Primary School, we recognise that to be a competent, fluent and engaging writer the children must develop a complex, interlinked range of skills which they will need time and repeated application in order for them to be secure. For this reason, writing skills are taught both within and outside of English lessons as follows:

Handwriting

From the earliest days in Reception, children are provided with plentiful opportunities to refine their gross then fine motor skills, in preparation for writing.

Once pupils begin to write, correct letter formation is modelled, practised and encouraged.

Children in Key Stage 1 continue to have targeted handwriting sessions so that the majority of children have started to join by the end of Year 2.

Discrete handwriting sessions continue in Lower Key Stage 2 until the pupils are joining fluently.

Any children still working towards the required level receive extra targeted intervention in this area.

Teachers deliver handwriting sessions by following the Pen Pals Handwriting Programme, designed to ensure a consistent of approach and use of terminology across the school.

Teachers also use their daily assessment for learning to identify particular letter formations/joins that children have difficulty with and make these a focus for handwriting sessions. In addition, incorrect letter formation will be identified in the teacher’s marking of ‘Pink Makes you Think’.

Below is an overview of the Pen Pals Handwriting Scheme of Work:

Spelling

From the earliest Phonics lessons in Reception, children are taught to make informed choices about spellings. They are encouraged to make phonetically plausible attempts when writing words, using the Phonics they have been taught so far.

From Year 1 onwards, teachers deliver four spelling sessions per week, following the Rising Stars Spelling Programme. This enables children to master the spelling rules, patterns and conventions required for their year group, taken from the National Curriculum. They also target the teaching of spelling to the needs of the class, addressing specific areas of spelling weakness as they arise.

Teachers put particular focus on spelling strategies to develop the children’s ability to make informed spelling choices in their independent work.

Children are encouraged to make use of Working Walls in the classroom to aid them with their spelling rather than relying on adult intervention.

Children also learn the 100 Statutory words for Years 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Children are given the opportunity to consolidate their knowledge of the spellings taught in school by focusing on them as part of their weekly homework.

Once children have been taught a particular grapheme or rule, teachers expect that these will be used accurately in children’s work and any errors are highlighted accordingly in exercise books.

Below is an overview for each year group as provided by the Spelling Rising Stars Scheme of Work :

All of the objectives in the long-term planning above includes the statutory content as set out in the English Appendix below:

Marking of Writing

Regardless the subject, the following writing non-negotiables will be highlighted in pink within the teacher’s marking if these are not correct. This is to ensure consistency in the quality of writing across all subjects.

Grammatical Knowledge and Crafting Texts

At Hindsford CE Primary, we believe that children’s grammatical learning is more profound if it is taught within the context of a genre, rather than in isolation.

For this reason, teachers plan and deliver English lessons through a phased quality book-based approach, designed to allow pupils to be fully immersed in a genre.

Texts are chosen to link, where possible, to the wider curriculum, allowing learning in these areas to be revisited, deepened and become embedded.

With this approach, subject-specific vocabulary and terminology can be explored and used across lessons, aiding comprehension.

The texts that make up the English curriculum at Hindsford CE Primary have been carefully chosen to ensure progression and links to prior learning cross all areas. These include texts that:

-display an increasing reading difficulty and text structure

-make overt authorial links within and across year groups to develop and deepen prior learning and knowledge of authors

-make genre links across year groups to build on prior learning

-include diversity of text types, including fiction, non-fiction and poetry

-include diversity of author, including male/female, authors from different races and backgrounds, classic and contemporary authors

-include diversity of character and view point: girls, boys, adults, characters from different backgrounds

Below is an overview of the selection of texts and poetry that our children  engage with during their time at Hindsford:

English lessons are planned in units which broadly last 3 weeks but teachers are given the flexibility to spend more time if needed in order to ensure children gain a deep understanding and mastery of the required skills.

Across the half term, children will engage in a non-fiction unit, followed by a fiction unit, both of which will be linked to the same element of their non-core learning.

English learning for a half term will start with the non-fiction unit, allowing pupils to explore ideas, concepts and vocabulary around the overarching theme for the term.

During their Class Reader Sessions outside the English lesson, pupils will read and enjoy the novel which will form the basis of their upcoming fiction unit. In this way, pupils are able to read and explore whole texts rather than extracts.

Each unit consists of 3 phases:

In Phase 1, children are exposed to high quality examples of fiction, non-fiction and poetry through a range of reading activities.

During Phase 2, they identify, practise and apply the grammatical skills needs in order to produce their own example of the particular genre in question.

Finally, Phase 3 allows pupils to plan, draft, edit and publish their work, applying the skills acquired across the whole unit. Once children have edited and checked their work, children are given time to publish their work in a range of ways, creating a sense of pride in their work.

Throughout the phases, Working Walls are used to scaffold and support children’s learning.

In response to our pupils’ views and preferences, all phase 3 pieces of work in English are written in a Draft Book where children are expected to write legibly, but have the freedom to purely focus on their spelling, grammatical and composition skills rather than overly concerning themselves with presentation.

This reflects the process of drafting in real-life and makes composing longer pieces a more pleasurable experience.

In addition to this, teachers strive to create a calm, relaxing writing environment through the use of carefully selected lighting and music.

The English curriculum at Hindsford CE Primary is based on the National Curriculum, ensuring an accurate and relevant progression in skills. Where year groups have the same objectives (Years 3 & 4 and Years 5 & 6), skills are introduced in the lower of the two years but consolidated and refined in the higher years.

Below is a copy of the end of year objectives for each year group:

Below is an overview of the English curriculum for each year group:

Below is a copy of our Writing Progression in Skills:

Impact:

By the time our pupils leave Hindsford CE Primary, we want all our pupils to be competent, confident writers who are equipped with the skills needed to be fully prepared for their secondary education. If children are keeping up with the curriculum, they are deemed to be making good or better progress. We measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:

A reflection on standards achieved against the planned outcomes.

Regular book scrutiny which focuses on the progression of skills, knowledge and understanding throughout the curriculum.

Cross-school moderation which allows for comparison of standards.

Pupil discussions about their learning.

Internal and External moderation of writing level judgements at Year 2 and Year 6.

Writing Gallery:

Pupil Voice:

Every half term, a pupil voice session is carried out by the Subject Leader. Below are some comments made by the children within the most recent Pupil Voice.

“I know I am good at reading and writing because I just use sound it out my phonemes.” (Reception Pupil)

“We know we have got better because we can write anything we want!” (Reception Pupil)

“I love English because I can write lots!” (Year 1 Pupil)

“I like writing because that’s when I get to be an author!” (Year 1 Pupil)

“If I get stuck, I can look at the Working Wall to help me.” (Year 2 Pupil)

“Teachers don’t give us too much help so that we can do it ourselves- this makes us better!” Year 2 Pupil)

“I know I have improved my writing this year because I can write lots more and use different types of sentences.” (Year 3 Pupil)

“I like using our draft books because there is room to be creative and think freely without worrying about what my writing looks like.” (Year 4 Pupil)

“All our Spelling work has made me a better speller but it has also helped me with my reading because now I recognise those suffixes in books and it helps me work out unknown words.” (Year 4 Pupil)

“Reading and Writing are important skills because you need them in everyday life. Also, they help you relax and de-stress because you can imagine you are in a different world or even create a new one yourself!” (Year 5 Pupil)

“I wasn’t happy with my handwriting but now I am really proud of it because I kept trying to improve.” (Year 5 Pupil)

“Reading and Writing are important because we will need these skills as we get older and when we are adults. They also help boost our self-esteem because we have the confidence to show these skills in public.” (Year 6 Pupil)

“Drafting my work really helps me because nothing gets in the way of my ideas. I can get them down on paper and then have the chance to make sure it is correct without worrying it’s the only chance to show what I can do.” (Year 6 Pupil)

Response to COVID 19:

During the 2021 National Lockdown, we continued to teach daily English lessons remotely. This consisted of either a screen rec recording or video made by the class teacher or live lesson via zoom. Spellings were set each week with a live test at the end of each week.

This ensured that the provision provided was tailored to the needs of the cohorts rather than generic year-group learning provided by published Home Learning resources.

In order to maximise the effectiveness of our remote-learning package, teachers selected and delivered the objectives which provided the greatest opportunities to be taught successfully online.

The lessons therefore, may not have followed the long term plan but followed, where possible, the school’s phased approach of lessons with a reading focus, followed by targeted grammar and spelling work and then a writing focus which allows the pupils to apply their learning.

This reflected the school’s ‘normal’ approach to teaching Writing, providing familiarity and confidence to pupils.

The objectives taught were recorded by the teachers so that full coverage would be delivered by the end of the academic year.

Where children were performing significantly below or above their peers, teachers  provided either individual recorded lessons or alternative work to support or extend.

At the end of the lockdown, a parent/carer and pupil questionnaire was sent out in which the school received positive praise from both the parents and pupils:

Parent Voice: “The pre-recorded videos gave me flexibility during the day. They also provided all the help that my child needed.”

Year 6 Pupil Voice: “They (the pre-recorded videos) are better because we can rewind them if we need to listen to the information again.”

In week 2 of each block of work, remote lessons were delivered that allowed children to consolidate and build on their grammatical and spelling knowledge, with particular emphasis on those required to write in the particular style or text type that they were focusing on.

This led into the following week’s lessons, where children wrote independently, applying their newly acquired skills. Lessons were also delivered which made direct links to the cross-curricular learning taking place in classes. This not only provided meaningful opportunities for children to write but also strengthened and developed their knowledge in those areas.

Teachers were highly conscious of the need to provide support and motivation in their responses to work from home, in a desire to help maintain the children’s self-esteem and general mental wellbeing.

However, analysis of the impact on standards of the first lockdown showed that children’s basic skills and presentation were areas which seemed to have been affected. Therefore, teachers sensitively picked up on any such issues and were reflected in their comments to children. In this way, school strived to maintain an acceptable level of quality of work, which in turn, would ease children’s understanding of expectations upon their return to school.

Here are some examples of our Writing home learning (Please see individual class pages for more examples):

Staff Training:

2021 – 2022

September 2021: INSET Rising Stars Spelling (All Staff)

October 2021: Pen Pals Refresher Training (All Staff)

October 2021: English Writing Book Flick (All Staff)

November 2021: ATHOS English Subject Leader Network Meeting (Subject Leader)

December 2021: Writing Pupil Progress Meetings (Teachers)

February 2022: English Writing Book Flick (All Staff)

March 2022: ATHOS English Subject Leader Network Meeting (Subject Leader)

2020 – 2021

September 2020: Overview of revised planning and teaching sequence for English designed to include further writing opportunities and cross-curricular links.

October 2020: English Writing Book Flick (All Staff)

November 2020: ATHOS English Subject Leader Network Meeting (Subject Leader)

December 2020: Writing Pupil Progress Meetings (Teachers)

January 2021: Teaching English Remotely (All Staff – Zoom)

LOCKDOWN – JANUARY 2021 – MARCH 2021

March 2021: INSET Interactive English Lessons, Differentiation in English & Marking Writing

May 2021: English Writing Book Flick (All Staff)

June 2021: ATHOS English Subject Leader Network Meeting (Subject Leader)

June 2021: English Consultant – Shelly Pennington – School Improvement Liverpool –  Writing the New English Curriculum (Subject Leader)

June 2021: 1-1 Subject Leader / Class Teacher Planning the New English Curriculum Meetings

July 2021: Writing Pupil Progress Meetings (Teachers)

July 2021: INSET The New English Curriculum (All Staff)