Subject leader for English
Our curriculum intent for Writing is to help our children develop a full range of basic writing skills so that they can communicate articulately and imaginatively and take these skills forward into their adult lives. We follow the programmes of study at Key Stages 1 and 2 which outline that children should compose texts by articulating ideas and structure them in writing and that they should use secure transcription skills (spelling and handwriting).
We aim to ensure that our children develop a genuine love of language and that they see themselves as real writers; understand how to write for a purpose and take ownership of the writing process from planning through to editing and improving.
Careful links are made across the curriculum to ensure that children’s English learning is relevant and meaningful: where possible linking our reading, writing and the topic that we are covering. Texts are chosen to meet the needs of the children that we are teaching as well as to engage, inspire and motivate. We also emphasise the value of varied language choices within texts to ensure our pupils continually improve their personal vocabulary. Tasks are also chosen carefully so that we offer children a reason and context for writing so that they understand purpose and audience.
We teach our children that all good writers refine and edit their writing over time so we want pupils to develop independence in being able to identify their own area for improvement in all pieces of writing, editing their work effectively during and after the writing process.
We believe that all pupils should be encouraged to take pride in the presentation of their writing, by developing a good, joined handwriting style by the time they move to secondary school.
With regards to Spelling, teachers will show pupils how to understand the relationships between words, how to understand nuances in meaning and how to develop their understanding of and ability to use figurative language. They will also teach pupils how to work out and clarify the meanings of unknown words and words with more than one meaning. Pupils will be taught to control their speaking and writing and to use Standard English.
In English, we use a wide range of high quality age appropriate texts to engender in our pupils a love of reading and to ensure that all pupils’ backgrounds and interests are considered.
English lessons take place for one hour each day and teachers in each year group use a writing journey to plan and teach their English lessons. This process ensures that are children are exposed to a variety of genres and also that children are taught the pertinent year group objectives and apply and develop these skills as well as developing their vocabulary. The English leader oversees this process to ensure that there is a range of coverage school-wide. At Christ Church, we feel that children should write for a purpose so each unit has a hook or event to ignite the children’s curiosity and interest.
An English journey is planned for each genre taught and is divided into four sections usually over a 3 or 4 week period:
- Immersion into texts and defining features, oracy development
- Word and Sentence Level work
- Modelled and Shared Writing
- Planning, Drafting, Editing and Publishing a written piece of writing
At Christ Church, there is a big emphasis on ‘Closing the Word Gap’ and Literacy is taught with the aim of accelerated acquisition of language. Throughout a unit of work, key vocabulary is investigated and displayed within the classroom via Working Walls. In addition, teachers, use a wide range of techniques to further develop language acquisition using The Oxford University Press ‘Closing the Word Gap’ resources where appropriate. Teachers ensure that pupils’ work is clearly displayed for all to see within the classroom and this further helps with language acquisition as well as an understanding of the writing process. Within the wider curriculum, school displays of pupil’s written work further broaden the range of academic vocabulary. We also acknowledge the role that discussion and oral rehearsal have in the development of ‘talk for writing’. Children then move onto learn the main rules and conventions of written English at word and sentence level and how the English language can be used to express meaning in different ways. Powerful teaching techniques such as modelled, shared and guided writing mean children are exposed to high quality demonstration and exploration of language. Children then go onto plan, draft and edit their work. In lessons, teachers provide children who need extra support with additional modelling or scaffolding resources such as Word Banks. More confident writers are challenged to extend their writing or develop their use of language.
In KS1 and KS2, teachers follow the School’s Marking Policy to provide feedback to children individually thus allowing them to further improve their writing techniques. Pupils are taught how to edit their work using purple pen and respond to teacher comments or actions. Where possible, teachers also use lesson time to feedback ways the class can develop their writing as a whole. Teachers also ensure that children complete at least one piece of assessed work per half term. The LEA format is used for the assessment of writing and this is analysed and the data used to inform future planning so that writing skills are consolidated.
SPaG is taught via a mixture of discrete short lessons and also within English at the beginning of each genre so that pupils are able to apply the skills learnt. In KS2, children’s ability at spelling is assessed individually and pupils are taught within groups across the Key Stage so that learning is matched to their ability. Spelling is taught as an additional lesson and the Oxford Owl Read, Write Inc Spelling Scheme is utilised. Children are provided with spellings to learn at home each week and are tested weekly. Handwriting is taught via discreet sessions and children follow a cursive programme in conjunction with the Letter Join Scheme.
Pupils in EYFS and KS1 benefit from daily phonics lessons and follow the Letters and Sounds Scheme of Work. Where required, some pupils in KS2 also follow a phonics programme designed to fill any gaps with their understanding of phonics.
In Reception, pupils follow the Early Years Curriculum. As well as learning phonics daily children develop their language and communication and literacy skills. Children are given a wide range of opportunities to experience rich language through the use of story-telling, educational web-sites, show and tell, class discussion and within the differing continuous provision areas. They are encouraged to develop confidence in expressing themselves and to speak and listen in a wide range of situations. Writing skills are encouraged through listening and responding to stories and the development of imitation and story-telling techniques. Later in the year, children show their independence by linking sounds and letters to write simple words; writing captions and then the development of sentences and story ideas
To see all of our policies concerning the curriculum click the link below:
Whole School Poetry Gallery
During the last half term we have been conducting a whole school poetry unit. We have been using different texts to support learning and exploration.
The Word Collector introduced Jerome, a boy who loves to collect words. This book focuses on oracy and a love of language.
The Lost Words, a stunningly illustrated text focuses on poetry, the environment and art.
Alongside these texts, each class has had a different poet or poem to explore:
- - YR - Nursery Rhymes
- - Y1 - Julia Donaldson collection
- - Y2 - Dr Seuss collection
- - Y3 - Spike Milligan (The Land of the Bumbley Boo)
- - Y4 - Edward Lear (The Owl and the Pussycat)
- - Y5 - Ted Hughes (The Seven Sorrows)
- - Y6 - Benjamin Zephaniah
During this unit, the children have explored vocabulary, poetry and art in lots of different and exciting ways and we created a gallery to really showcase their amazing work! Poems have been written, performed and portrayed through art work. Each piece of work is so different and unique and everyone has worked so hard. We hope you enjoyed sharing this work in our gallery. See some more below.