"Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic."
- J. K. Rowling
At Horbury St Peter’s and Clifton Primary School, we intend to instil the “St Peter’s and Clifton School Spirit” in all our children. The teaching of writing encourages our children to particularly value the importance of being:
"Inspirational, Inquisitive and having Perseverance"
The high-quality texts which units of work are based upon have been chosen to inspire our children to become themselves inspirational writers. Across the curriculum, children use their writing skills to ‘bring history to life’, for example by writing a diary of a World War Two evacuee or by calling the school community to change their habits and reduce plastic usage by writing a persuasive article for the school newsletter. The inquisitive element is fostered through our vocabulary development, where children are encouraged to explore origins of words, explore the meaning of unfamiliar words and challenge themselves to use these newly acquired words in the correct context. Perseverance is developed through the editing skills which children use across school. From verbally improving sentences in Early Years, to structured editing following the SURPRISES acronym in Year Six, children learn that the first draft is a starting point and their perseverance helps them to grow as a writer.
At Horbury St Peters and Clifton Primary School, we encourage every child to have ‘Pride in Our School-Pride in Ourselves-Pride in Each Other’. In order to fulfil this ‘mission’ we strive to build foundations to enable every child to become literate, preparing them with the skills for adult life. The English teaching we provide should allow all children to fulfil their potential while giving them the skills to understand and use language in all its aspects. We aim to include and engage all children in high quality learning experiences in order to foster passions for life long reading; while providing the confidence to communicate effectively in both speech and writing. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. We will strive to ensure every child develops the confidence and competence to embrace literature in its many forms. This policy statement outlines all that is important to our school in the teaching and learning of our English Curriculum. Our aim is to ensure that all staff teach English in the most effective way possible through the implementation of the English Programmes of Study in the National Curriculum and daily synthetic phonics programme to allow all our children to develop confidence and competence with regards to English skills regardless of gender, ethnicity or social/economic background.
At St Peter’s Horbury and Clifton C of E school, we intend to deliver a progressive English curriculum that is, where possible, tailored to the interests of our pupils. We believe strongly in the importance of language development and acquisition therefore providing children with opportunities to practise, rehearse and use a broad and varied vocabulary are included in lessons wherever possible. A high-quality education in English will teach our pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. We acknowledge that the development of writing skills is closely linked to the teaching of reading, which is why high-quality texts are used across school for both modelling and reading for pleasure purposes. Full details of our reading rationale can be seen in the reading policy. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of our school community and the wider society.
We believe that a strong writing provision allows children plenty of opportunities for writing, from Early Years through to Year Six. Children are exposed to high quality teacher modelling including and encouraging use of Standard English in the classroom. This is underpinned by many speaking and listening opportunities, using the ‘think it, speak it, write it, check it’ philosophy in Key Stage One. Vocabulary development is a key area in which we are developing as a school this year, with an emphasis on teaching children specific words throughout a writing topic, which they can learn the meanings of and add to their repertoire for future use. Our belief is that, by giving children a rich and varied vocabulary spectrum from which to draw upon, they are able to: adapt their writing to suit the tone and audience of a text, clearly present and justify their ideas in a discussion and elaborate on their ideas to convince others of their point of view. The texts which are used throughout school also model examples of the grammar and punctuation appropriate for that particular year group, so that children can appreciate the effectiveness of such conventions at work.
Teaching and learning of writing
Teachers use the objectives from the 2014 National Curriculum and, from there, plan units of work to develop our children’s writing skills. Raising the standards of children’s writing to ensure that all children are progressing and achieving at least in line with national expectations remains a priority at St Peter’s. The curriculum will be monitored by the English Leaders to ensure that it is being used effectively to provide challenge, stimulation and excitement to improve the standards of writing from year 1 to year 6. In EYFS, the SLT Link for EYFS will monitor the standards in writing.
Speaking, listening and vocabulary development
Teachers will develop pupils’ spoken language across the whole curriculum – cognitively, socially and linguistically. From Early Years to Year Six, spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing. This ties into the emphasis on broadening children’s vocabulary usage that is a focus this year. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak will be used for developing their vocabulary and grammar and their understanding for reading and writing. Teachers will plan for key vocabulary that they wish the children to learn as part of each unit of work. This applies for English lessons, but also for other curriculum areas such as geography and history.
On planning, teachers are encouraged to include the specific vocabulary they would like the children to acquire during that lesson/ unit of work. Vocabulary can be broken down into three tiers of words:
Given the nature of the words, it is expected that tier 2 and 3 words would be the focus on planning. The amount to be taught depends on the age and ability of pupils, but generally 1-2 words per lesson would be recommended.
Children will have the opportunity to develop their language skills by:
Drama is also used across the Key Stages to explore ideas or texts. Pupils should develop a capacity to explain their understanding of books and other reading, and to prepare their ideas before they write. They must be assisted in making their thinking clear to themselves as well as to others and teachers should ensure that pupils build secure foundations by using discussion to probe and remedy their misconceptions.
Particularly in Upper Key Stage Two, as part of these activities, children are encouraged to speak in full sentences, justify their thoughts and opinions clearly and be prepared to give further justification for their responses.
We believe that both transcription (technical aspects of writing) and composition (word choice, the manner in which ideas are conveyed according to audience and purpose of the writing) require effective planning and consideration across school in order for children to make the best progress and become the best writer they can be.
Across school, teachers use books, videos or other stimuli (for example WOW-themed days), to give children vivid experiences to inspire their writing. In Nursery and Reception, the learning of writing follows the Early Years Foundation Stages Framework. Children are given opportunities to extend their understanding of language learning through play and investigation, developing their characteristics of learning. The National Curriculum describes what must be taught in key stages 1 and 2. Teachers plan writing opportunities that help children to achieve this objectives, using real -life experiences wherever possible. Teachers plan the punctuation and grammar objectives which fit most appropriately with the genre/ writing outcome for a unit, ensuring that all objectives are covered throughout the year.
The documents attached below show the teaching sequences followed across KS1 and KS2.
Phonics is a key skill that supports the development of early reading. We follow the Letters and Sounds programme from Early Years through to the end of Key stage One. This is broken down into six phases. Phonics is taught daily and these sessions follow the same structure: Revisit, Teach, Practise, Apply, Assess. Children learn new phonemes, improve their ability to blend and segment sounds as well as improve their ability to apply their knowledge and skills to their reading and writing. Children read decodeable books, both at home and as part of Guided reading sessions, which match their phonic level.
The children are tracked and assessed at the end of each half term and at the end of each phase.
Full details can be obtained in our phonics policy.
In January 2021, the school purchased Spelling Shed programme, which is accessed by all pupils from Year 1 to Year 6. Teachers teach a discrete spelling session each week, which either focuses on a specific spelling rule or a particular genre of words. Alongside this, all children have access to the EdShed website, where they access Spelling Shed games, allowing them to practise the wordlist for that week. Teachers set weekly tasks for children to complete a set amount of games so that children can embed their learning of new words in a fun and engaging way. English leaders will monitor the effectiveness of this new scheme through teacher and pupil feedback and assessment data.
Children are provided with feedback appropriate with their level of understanding. Verbal feedback, stamps and written feedback is used appropriately to celebrate success and to offer next steps to make progress in their writing.
For Horbury St Peters and Clifton, English is one of the most important subjects taught in this school. All the skills of English are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, will learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently. We strive to ensure that our children’s attainment is in line with or exceeds their potential when we consider the varied starting points of all our children. We measure this using Statutory Moderation Tools and all teachers attend and take part in termly moderation exercises throughout the year to support them with their judgements. The analysis of this moderation is used to identify areas of development and any children who are not making expected progress.
Whilst always considering the age-related expectations for each year group, our intentions are that our English curriculum will ensure our pupils are academically prepared for life beyond primary school and throughout their educational journey.