At Putnoe Primary School we believe English skills are vital to the development of pupils, so they are best prepared for their future. We are passionate about our writing curriculum; at Putnoe Primary, we create a culture where pupils are proud of their writing, can write clearly and can adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. We provide our pupils with a broad and balanced writing curriculum, using objectives from the National Curriculum 2014 which determines the skills that each year group and Key Stage must cover.
Through an engaging writing curriculum, Putnoe Primary School want to develop pupils who:
- experience high levels of achievement and exhibit very positive attitudes towards writing
- use and understand language as speakers, readers and writers
- have a greater awareness of different genres of writing, adapting their language, style and presentation in and for a range of purposes and audiences
- apply their grammatical knowledge accurately in their writing
- apply their phonetical and spelling knowledge in their writing
- enjoy all processes involved in writing from planning ideas, drafting, editing, performing and publishing their final written work
- can organise and plan their ideas, adapting and editing where necessary to further improve their pieces
- can make links with what they have read, acquiring a wide vocabulary and understanding of grammar and linguistic conventions for writing
By the end of Year 6, we intend our pupils to have an extremely positive attitude towards writing. We believe that a secure basis in the English skills will give pupils the tools they need to communicate their thoughts and emotions clearly and confidently, enabling them to participate fully as a member of society.
We have developed a whole school writing curriculum map which shows the skill progression from year to year so the spelling, punctuation and grammar skills are embedded and transferred across different genres of writing. Our writing curriculum map identifies when pupils will write for a range of purposes with opportunities for pupils to revisit certain styles of writing, so skills taught, promote continual learning and retention of knowledge.
Writing is taught every day from Year 1 to Year 6. Lessons are carefully planned, ensuring writing is purposeful. Writing lessons follow a clear teaching sequence of read-analyse-write; the sequence of lessons includes the familiarisation of text types, developing and planning ideas, teacher demonstration, learning and practising of writing skills, modelled writing, supported writing and independent writing.
We ensure challenging texts are read and studied, strengthening the link between reading and writing. Texts are chosen for their rich vocabulary which pupils may not have been exposed to before. For example: in Year 2 Pupils study ‘James and the Giant Peach’ and in Year 6 pupils’ study ‘Holes’ to support the writing of a recount from a character’s perspective. Teachers also base units of work on a text that demonstrates the keys skills for that unit of work; pupils read, engage with and analyse this in depth to develop their understanding of quality writing texts written for different audiences and purposes
Pupils are taught through a language rich curriculum; they are shown how to use interesting and adventurous vocabulary effectively in their writing through the use of ‘Shades of Meaning’ (a vocabulary significance activity) and by the teacher. Language acquisition is also taught as discrete ‘Word of the Week’ lessons, pre- learning opportunities, topic word lists, reading lessons, weekly spellings and dictations.
At Putnoe Primary, we understand the importance of developing pupil’s independence for writing and their ability to generate ideas. To ensure pupil’s make the expected progress across each Key Stage, at Putnoe Primary, we have adopted elements of the teaching scheme ‘The Write Stuff’ by Jane Considine. ‘The Write Stuff’ is a method that focuses on ‘sentence stacking’ where there is an emphasis on vocabulary, generating ideas and sentence composition
The Write Stuff uses 3 essential areas that help pupils to become brilliant writers.
The Three Zones of writing are:
The FANTASTICs- which represent the nine ideas for writing. The nine lenses, consisting of the five senses and other areas, teach pupils about emotions and feelings of characters and people in non-fiction texts. As writers, the FANTASTICs lenses support pupils to concentrate on how characters are experiencing the world in different situations.
The GRAMMARISTICs- are 9 lenses linked to the grammar elements of the National Curriculum and are the tools to help pupils with the precision and effectiveness of their writing.
The BOOMTASTICs- are a set of creative writing techniques and literary devices to add drama, style and poetic strategies to writing. They enable pupils to develop and showcase their personal voice and authorial style.
Pupils also use visual planning formats, including plot point maps/ graphs, non-fiction maps and story boards, to plan and structure their ideas for a range of writing purposes.
Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1
EYFS / Yr1/ Yr 2 – Spelling teaching is delivered through phonics lessons, following the Monster Phonics Scheme and through additional spelling, punctuation, and grammar (SPaG) lessons where appropriate.
Key Stage 2
In years 3-6, spelling is taught as discrete lessons following the Spelling Shed scheme. Spelling Shed ‘s approach to spelling involves the relationship between sounds and written symbols as well as using morphology to help spell through meaning in line with objectives from the National Curriculum.
Handwriting is taught following the Kinetic Letters handwriting scheme. The Kinetic Letters scheme teaches handwriting through 4 strands of learning:
- Making bodies stronger- physical strengthening of the body and motor and spatial awareness.
- Learning letters- dynamic movements for learning letters and sensory experiences for memory and recall.
- Holding the pencil- optimal pencil hold for speed and legibility and diagnostics for addressing issues.
- Flow and fluency- speed and control, economy of movement and use of rhythm for speed, and joining letters in a 12-week programme.
By following this handwriting scheme, we want the formation, orientation, and placement of letters to become automatic for our pupils which will free up space in the working memory so the brain can concentrate on the content of writing. Legible handwriting will mean pupils can read and correct their own spellings in their writing across the curriculum.
In order to measure the impact of our writing, we use a range of formative and summative assessments in all lessons such as:
- Pupil voice
- Observations/ learning walks/ drop ins
- Book looks
Assessment information is updated and collected frequently and analysed as part of our ongoing monitoring of pupil progress. This process provides an accurate and comprehensive understanding of the quality of education in writing as well as indicating areas for development.
Having set out our intentions for the writing curriculum at Putnoe Primary and how these will be implemented, Putnoe Primary will ensure pupils:
- develop detailed knowledge and awareness of a range of writing genres.
- develop detailed knowledge of the structural features for a range of nonfiction genres.
- be confident at generating their own ideas for writing linked to their reading.
- be able to visualise their writing clearly to assist with the planning and drafting phases of writing.
- be able to speak with confidence and be able to communicate effectively both in writing and with spoken words.
- understand the importance of selecting the most appropriate vocabulary for purpose.
- develop detailed knowledge of core spelling, punctuation and grammar rules and be able to apply these independently to their writing and in conversation.
- develop a wide vocabulary library, developing their understanding of the importance of selecting the most appropriate vocabulary for specific purposes.
Writing for children with Special Educational Needs
We believe all children should be entitled to a diverse, balanced and differentiated curriculum that will help them to achieve their potential and build skills to become confident individuals. Therefore, we ensure teachers set high expectations for all children and teach each child according to their needs. We ensure clear and achievable targets are set, which are regularly monitored by the teacher. We provide clear directions for setting work out and encourage a variety of ways for representing information and recording of ideas. Word lists are provided to encourage discussion and independent writing. Extra time is also offered to those who work at a slower rate and ICT is used where fine motor skills are preventing a child from reaching their potential when writing.
Ways you can support your child with writing at home
Writing is a complex skill, involving imagination, understanding of sentences as well as the physical act of writing; some children will happily choose to write for pleasure whilst others need more encouragement to write. So how can you help make writing seem more attractive?
- Follow your child’s interests: tap into what your child is interested in, whether it be cooking, films, sport, making things; whatever their interests are, there will be many good writing opportunities.
- Talking is a must: writing is not just how neat their handwriting is or how well they can spell. Children must also be able to express their ideas clearly. Encourage talking to help them express their ideas, feelings and reactions to experiences. Discuss new and unfamiliar vocabulary with them often to broaden their vocabulary libraries.
Early Years and Reception
- Encourage children to write their names and family members’ names, letter sounds and key words
- Explore writing using chalk, paint, sand or on a misty window
- Speak with your child and encourage them to express their ideas verbally and offer lots of praise
- Model speaking in full sentences
- Make labels for objects in the house
Key Stage 1
- Encourage writing through play e.g writing shopping lists, registers, posters, signs, recording results for sport
- Make up stories and represent as a story/ picture board or act out as a drama
- Encourage your child to say when a sentence begins and ends
- Provide different pens or pencils to make it exciting
- Use post cards or post-it notes and encourage them to write messages or words to describe their toys
Key Stage 2
- Encourage keeping a diary or a journal to document their hobbies or experiences
- Have discussions with your child and encourage them to talk about their ideas or experiences
- Read through their writing and encourage them to reflect on their writing Does it flow? Are there any missing words? Did you get across the message you wanted?
- Encourage them to write to family members – letters or emails
- Create signs or posters for play e.g café signs, menus, posters
- Write a fun review of their favourite television show or film
- Try creating a comic strip of a day out and help them to add speech or captions to describe each part
- Write a match report after their weekend football match
- Make up stories with them and act them out
KS1 Years 1-2 and KS2 Year 3-6
- Pupils have a log in for Spelling Shed to practice their weekly spellings in a fun games-based way. Follow this link to the website: https://play.edshed.com/en-gb/login
- ICT Games- https://ictgames.com/mobilePage/literacy.html
- BBC Bitesize KS1 English- https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/subjects/zgkw2hv
- BBC Bitesize KS2 English- https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/subjects/zv48q6f
- Top Marks spelling and grammar games 7–11-year-olds: https://www.topmarks.co.uk/english-games/7-11-years/spelling-and-grammar