Intent of our English Curriculum
English has an important place in education and society. A high-quality education in English will teach children 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. Through reading in particular, pupils have the chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils to both acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know.
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.
At Abbots Ripton CofE Primary School, we believe that all pupils should be able to confidently communicate their knowledge, ideas and emotions through their writing.
We want pupils to acquire a wide vocabulary, a solid understanding of grammar and be able to spell new words by effectively applying the spelling patterns and rules they learn throughout their time in primary school. We want them to write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
We believe that all pupils should be encouraged to take pride in the presentation of their writing, in part by developing a secure, joined, handwriting style by the time they move to secondary school.
We believe that all good writers refine and edit their writing over time, so we want children to develop independence in being able to identify their own areas for improvement in their writing, editing their work effectively during and after the writing process.
We do not put ceilings on what pupils can achieve in writing and we do not hold pre-conceptions about any pupils’ ability to make progress.
Our writing curriculum is shaped by our school vision which aims to enable all children, regardless of background, ability and additional needs, to achieve their best.
Early writing is taught through early mark making, then when the children begin to learn the grapheme phoneme correspondence (in phonic lessons) they are taught the letter formations. This begins with writing (whether with a writing tool or in the air) CVC words, moving onto short sentences using the phonemes they have been taught; this process continues into Year 1. Storytime Phonics includes elements of spelling and has a specific writing focus linked to taught phonemes. We have a separate Phonic overview which sets out our approach to teaching phonics.
We teach the National Curriculum, supported by a clear skills and knowledge progression document which is linked to the range of writing genre that we teach. This ensures that skills and knowledge are built on year by year and sequenced appropriately to maximise learning for all children.
In Years 1 to 6, we have adopted "The Write Stuff" by Jane Considine which is an evidence based approach that brings clarity to the mechanics of writing through clear teacher modelling and opportunities for supported practice. Our writing lessons utilise a method called "Sentence Stacking" which enables children to engage in short, intensive moments of learning that they can then immediately apply to their own writing. This writing is then stacked together to produce a cohesive piece of writing. An individual lesson is based on a sentence model, broken in to 3 learning chunks. Each learning chunk has three sections:
Initiate section – a stimulus to capture the children’s imagination and set up a sentence.
Model section – the teacher models a sentence that outlines clear writing features and techniques.
Enable section – the children write their sentence, following the model.
Children are challenged to ‘Deepen the Moment’ which requires them to independently draw upon previously learnt skills and apply them to their writing during that chunk.
This approach enables children to produce well-structured, detailed writing in which the meaning is made clear, engaging the interest of the audience/ reader. Children have opportunities to write at length towards the end of a unit, applying their taught skills to an unsupported piece of writing.
Pupils are taught punctuation and grammar skills, appropriate to their age and stage, either as separate standalone lessons or most often within our writing lessons, allowing opportunities to identify, practise and consolidate grammatical understanding, whilst also being immersed in their writing.
Children are given opportunities to write at length in a range of curriculum subjects and these opportunities are mapped out throughout the year. For example, children may apply their learnt skills in English by writing an explanation text in History. Cross-curricular writing is planned in an age-appropriate way, with opportunities becoming more frequent and of a longer length across Key Stage Two.
Teachers are careful to create opportunities for pupils to write in styles that they have previously experienced in English. Therefore, this demonstrates a more independent application of learning and therefore, also supports the assessment of writing.
We have a separate handwriting policy which sets out how we teach handwriting.
In Years 1-6, 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 National Curriculum objectives.
We believe that spelling has a direct effect in all areas of the curriculum and is crucial to developing a child’s confidence, motivation and self-esteem.
Priority of spelling has been significantly raised as we identified many children in KS2 who were good writers yet they made consistent spelling errors. Our aim is for children to be curious about words and to develop a love of the English language.
Spellings are taught according to the rules and words contained in Appendix 1 of the English National Curriculum.
Early spelling is taught through phonics work in Reception and Key Stage 1 using Storytime Phonics as a resource to deliver the content of Letters and Sounds (see separate phonics overview). As children move into Year 2 and Key Stage 2, we directly teach a wide range of spelling strategies whilst continuing to use phonic knowledge, using The Spelling Book by Jane Considine as our key resource. We also provide phonic support and intervention for children in Years 2 to 6 should they need it.
Using The Spelling Book structured approach, we teach through daily and weekly spelling activities that are built on the principles of strong phonic foundations.
Spelling is delivered across a two-week cycle. We teach through investigations, which allow structured inquiry in a collaborative class or large group environment. These focus on phonics, syllables, patterns, rules and exceptions, families and roots, navigating a dictionary and etymology. In the second week, there are shorter daily opportunities for independent practise, application and challenge.
Children use separate Spelling Books to record their learning in spelling lessons.
At the start of each academic year, children complete a baseline assessment which is a resource within The Spelling Book. These words have been carefully selected to reflect the expectation of the English National Curriculum. This baseline is repeated termly to evaluate progress and to inform planning.
See separate tab on phonics at Abbots Ripton CofE Primary School.
See separate tab on reading at Abbots Ripton CofE Primary School.