At Abbots Ripton Primary School, we:
- Create a shared love and passion for English;
- Enable every child to achieve their full potential;
- Establish and share high expectations of staff and pupils;
- Promote continuity and coherence across the school.
English has an important place in education and society. A high-quality education in English will teach 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.
Here at Abbots Ripton, we firmly support the core national curriculum aims to ensure that all pupils:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding;
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for pleasure and information;
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language;
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage;
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences;
- use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas;
- are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
A writer at our school will:
- take pride in their writing and presentation;
- reflect on the use of language to write for purpose and effect;
- consider author voice and intent through shared, quality texts;
- articulate and talk about their writing confidently;
- select vocabulary deliberately;
- adjust writing appropriately to a range of genres across the curriculum;
- apply spelling, punctuation and grammar conventions accurately;
- respond effectively to feedback;
- take risks to write creatively.
Our curriculum encompasses all National Curriculum expectations in a text-centered manner, exposing children to high-quality literature at all stages of their journey through the school. Our writing culture supports children to see themselves as writers, become inspired by high quality texts and authors, apply rich and varied vocabulary discerningly and develop both stamina and resilience for writing.
We utilise two key resources to support us in planning our writing curriculum; Herts For Learning PA+ resources and Jane Considine: The Write Stuff scheme of learning.
All sequences of learning are planned using four distinct phases; these phases may be taught in order, at different times, or they may even be taught alongside each other. For example, if utilising a Jane Considine Scheme of Learning, phases one and two will be taught alongside each other. Phase four will also be taught at all stages of the writing process – not just at the end of a unit.
These phases are also adapted across the school to suit both the ages and experiences of the children.
Phase One: Immersion
This is the exploration into a new genre or stimulus. Exciting and engaging opportunities are provided for the children, including real-life contexts/scenarios and role pay; the children engage in a variety of discussion, drama and debate. They will actively engage with a new genre of writing, exploring WAGOLL texts (‘what a good one looks like’); key features of each genre are identified.
Phase Two: Rehearsal
Children are to rehearse relevant text-type features which may have been identified in the first phase of writing. This may include the rehearsal of expanded noun phrases if the children are writing a story in phase three.
Phase Three: Planning, Writing
Following the rehearsal of features, children now plan and write their own version of the text type.
Phase Four: Editing/Redrafting
It is imperative that editing/redrafting is taught regularly throughout the writing process and also in an age-appropriate way. For example, the teacher modelling aloud, guided editing, peer editing and self-editing. Editing should occur at all stages of the writing process; not just at the end of an extended write.
Children’s command of vocabulary is fundamental to learning and progress across the school. Vocabulary is developed actively, building systematically on pupil’s current knowledge and deepening their understanding of etymology and morphology (word origins and structures) to increase their store of words. Simultaneously, pupils make links between known and new vocabulary, and discuss and apply shades of meaning. In this way, children expand the vocabulary choices that are available to them. It is essential to introduce technical vocabulary which define each curriculum subject. Vocabulary development is underpinned by an oracy culture. At Abbots Ripton, we place high value on the conscious and purposeful selection of well-chosen vocabulary and appropriate sentence structure to enrich access to learning and feed into written work across the curriculum.
Phonics (please see the phonics tab for further details)
We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised scheme to teach phonics in Reception and Year 1, and spelling in Year 2 to teach phonics with a systematic, synthetic progression. Children in KS1 have a daily lesson and children in Reception and Year 1, a reading practice session three times a week, where they can apply the phonemes learnt in lessons. The three sessions focus on decoding, prosody (fluency) and comprehension of the text. This book is then sent home to share with parents through an eBook system after the third read to ensure progressive fluency.
We move the children on at the same pace and have a mastery approach, where all children have the opportunity to learn the new phonemes and graphemes. We review learning every 6 weeks and support those falling behind with daily keep up sessions. Those children who have fallen behind in Year 2,3 and 4, have Rapid Catch Up in addition to their spelling lessons, to embed their phonics learning.
In Year 2, we use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised scheme. To begin the school year, pupils complete a Phase 5 review (5 weeks), moving into a ‘Bridge to Spelling’ (5 weeks) to then move on to a formal spelling programme (20 weeks). This creates a seamless link from the core Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised and ensures that learning maintains a systematic and synthetic progression.
In Years 3-6 spelling is taught using the Babcock: No Nonsense scheme of learning. We teach spellings through an investigatory approach, where children are encouraged to explore rules and patterns, including etymology.
Children frequently use dictionaries across the curriculum, which will support their understanding of spelling and word meaning.
In Reception, we teach handwriting as a specific skill rather than as an independent task (which can often reinforce poor formation having a reverse effect than the intended outcome). Once gross and fine motor skills are developed, children will be introduced to triangular pencils to support them to attain the appropriate pencil grip. When they are ready, children in Reception will receive at least 5 minutes daily, with additional, follow-up practice.
The basic structure of a handwriting lesson is:
- warm-up to ensure children are ready to write eg using playdough (dough-disco) or physical exercises.
- posture check, feet flat on the floor, back touching the chair
- patterns linked to the early development of letter formation which then progresses to the teacher modelling the correct letter formation using the Little Wandle mantras, and then children practising independently with teacher model, from memory.
In Key Stage 1, children will continue to develop fine and gross motor-skills with a range of multi-sensory activities. Children in KS1 and KS2, will have discreet handwriting lessons.
In each year group, the children’s writing is assessed with examples across the curriculum, not just in English. Teachers assess pupils’ understanding against the criteria for their year group, using specific curriculum objectives.
For Years 1-6, each half term, teachers moderate each pupil’s work using the relevant banded assessment criteria. Special attention is paid to whether or not the pupils work is guided or independent; marking codes should be used to assist this.
Across the school, assessment will also include the children’s written work and observations made by the class teacher.
For spelling, teachers will look for evidence of children applying spelling rules in their written work; this will form a large part of spelling assessment. However, teachers may also use observations and information from discrete spelling lessons alongside this.