English Subject Leader - Miss Curnock
English Curriculum Intent
At Seaton Primary we aspire for all pupils to develop the necessary skills needed in order to communicate effectively in their spoken and written language. We aim to teach these skills by providing experiences and writing opportunities which engage and excite our children to communicate in written form, whilst also allowing them to experience and value different genres and cultures, and ignite their curiosity in the world around them.
By delivering writing sequences, we endeavour to provide our pupils with a consistent and systematic approach which empowers each child to achieve a range of progressive skills by the end of their primary education.
Careful links are made across the curriculum to ensure that children’s writing is relevant and meaningful: where possible linking some aspects of our wider curriculum. We ensure that children develop an understanding of how vastly writing is used in everyday life and, therefore, how important and useful the skills are that they are learning.
Our intentions in writing are for children to:
- Write for a purpose
- See themselves as real writers
- Take ownership of their writing
- See writing as an interesting and enjoyable process
- Acquire the ability to organise, plan and edit their written words
English Curriculum Implementation
Our writing curriculum is shaped by our school vision which aims to enable all children, regardless of background, ability and additional needs to flourish to become the very best version of themselves they can possibly be. We teach the National Curriculum, supported by a clear skills and knowledge progression. This ensures that skills and knowledge are built on year by year and sequenced appropriately to maximise learning for all children.
At Seaton Primary, we teach writing sequences in dedicated daily English lessons. Our writing process always begins with a high-quality model text that provides strong models of rich language and replicable structures. Many of our chosen sequences are from No Nonsense Literacy and are based on a three-part structure which consists of learning about the text, practising writing and independent writing. Our writing sequences take inspiration from the Talk for Writing approach (immerse, imitate and innovate).
Our pupils in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 are exposed to many opportunities that enable them to write effectively for a purpose. Every writing unit starts with an elicitation task which is used to support and guide the planning for the unit. Elicitation tasks are undertaken before the sequence starts so that there is adequate time for teachers to look through the writing and acknowledge what the pupils can already do and which aspects need to be focused on by the whole class and by groups of pupils in the sequence. Once this has been completed, teachers can tailor and adapt their writing sequences by taking out things that are not relevant for the class and adding in any other activities required to meet the pupils’ needs. After an elicitation task, teachers introduce their newest model text to the pupils by creating a hook to engage and excite them. Following on from this, teachers lead the children through a Shared Write in the Practising Writing phase where the teacher can model writing a high-quality version of the text. The final phase is where the children are able to apply their new skills through an application task which is done independently and forms part of the child’s ongoing assessment in writing.
Our writing curriculum features a healthy balance of fiction, non-fiction and poetry throughout each term. In Key Stage 2, we provide opportunities for pupils to learn and perform a piece of classic/famous poetry that provides and enhances the cultural capital of our pupils during their time at Seaton Primary and encourages pupils to express creativeness in multiple ways.
Grammar and punctuation
Grammar and punctuation are both taught in context through our writing sequence lessons and are based around features found within model texts. Teachers plan specific grammar and punctuation lessons following the No Nonsense writing sequence planning and their own writing tasks which adhere to the curriculum requirements for each year group as well as revising and revisiting previous learning and addressing misconceptions that may arise.
As well as high quality text models, we value the importance of other writing prompts and stimuli. The first week of every school term (autumn, spring and summer) is a one-week creative unit. Teachers plan and deliver a short sequence using an engaging piece of media such as imagery or a Literacy Shed video to inspire pupils writing that captures the interests of each class. During this one-week unit we have a whole focus on developing vocabulary and descriptive writing. During these planned shorter units, we still follow our whole school approach, whereby skills are explicitly modelled by the teacher, followed by paired practise and then independent work.
In our classrooms you will spot a writing working wall which shows how we are progressing with our current unit of work. It is clear what our current model text is and will follow our writing process – starting with the key texts we are studying, and ending with examples of the independent writing process and final published pieces. Beyond our writing sequence there is a range of ambitious vocabulary displayed and supportive writing tools for the pupils to access.
In classrooms and shared areas of the school, we display examples of high-quality writing from pupils, including our published writing walls displaying a progression of writing skills from reception to year 6.
At Seaton Primary, from year 2, we teach discrete spelling lessons three times a week. Our teaching of spelling is also embedded in our everyday teaching practise within reading and writing lessons. Spelling strategies are explicitly modelled by teachers during shared writing opportunities. In Key Stage 1 our teaching of spelling is embedded in our Read, Write Inc phonics sessions. We teach spelling patterns and rules – instead of simply giving lists of words for children to memorise at home. When we mark work, we check for children correctly using the patterns or other strategies that they have been taught. In writing lessons, children are encouraged to find their spelling mistakes independently (or with a peer) and to independently correct them (using the classroom environment and dictionaries). Common exception words and statutory spelling lists are practised within these sessions and are revisited throughout the year.
Our children are taught handwriting through the use of the Letter-join Handwriting programme. The aim of the programme is to develop a neat, legible, speedy handwriting style using continuous cursive letters, which leads to producing letters and words automatically in independent writing. The children are encouraged to write neatly and present their work to a high standard in all curriculum areas. Early attempts at writing are always encouraged and praised. Children that have learnt the Letter-join handwriting style and have developed their own consistently neat style of writing are awarded a pen license. These children are then given a pen to use for all of their writing. All teaching staff are encouraged to model the cursive style in all their handwriting, whether on whiteboards, displays or in pupils’ books.