At St Petroc’s C of E Primary School, we aim to deliver an exciting, innovative English curriculum which enables and empowers children's written and oral communication and creativity. We want our children to develop a love of English and the opportunities that our language provides. Children will be immersed in text and language rich environments and develop a love of story, poetry and information. The children at St Petroc’s will see themselves as writers and experiment with, and explore language within their own work whilst developing a secure understanding of the technical components of spelling, handwriting, punctuation and grammar.
In the early stages of writing, children learn how to hold a pencil properly and begin to form letters, words and sentences, focusing on the use of finger spaces and simple punctuation to allow the sentence to make sense. Children are supported to transfer their phonic knowledge from RWI sessions to writing for a purpose. Adults model the use of sound mats to support with formation of letters to represent sounds.
The ‘Get Writing’ scheme is used to support children’s understanding of the link between reading and writing and to practise the application of the spelling, grammar, punctuation, composition and proof-reading elements from the National Curriculum Programme of Study. The children write every day at a level which is appropriate for their individual needs. The writing sessions are closely linked to reading and are centred around a phonically decodable book. Procedures, systems and terminology are familiar to everyone and consistent with Read, Write Inc. Children rehearse out loud what they want to say (hold the sentence), before spelling the words using the graphemes and ‘tricky’ words they know which are linked to the RWI phonics sessions they have daily.
The children practise handwriting. We work with children on their fine motor skills, ensuring that appropriate hand exercises and targeted activities are a key component of the day. Children’s composition (ideas, vocabulary and grammar) is developed by drawing on their own experiences and talking about the stories they read. All children have the opportunity to apply the skills they have learnt during Get Writing sessions in cross- curricular writing.
From Y2, teachers use the Talk for Writing approach to explore different types of stories and non-fiction writing. This will give the children the opportunity to apply and consolidate the foundations they have learnt in Get writing, into more extended pieces.
Spelling, Punctuation, Grammar and Handwriting is taught within English lessons across a range of fiction and non-fiction genres. Throughout St.Petroc's, writing is primarily taught using the Talk4Writing programme developed by the author Pie Corbett and adapted to meet the needs of our children. It is a fun, creative yet also rigorous approach to develop writers; employing the stages of imitation, exploration, innovation and invention to a range of non-fiction and fiction genres.
During the initial 'imitation' stage of Talk4Writing, children learn to tell a story off by heart. They retell a text with expression and actions and make use of a story map to support their retelling; this enables children to gain a deep understanding of the text and embed language features and writing styles. The children use different methods to understand and pull apart the different parts of the story and explore the story type. Once the story is learnt, children are encouraged to adapt it. At the 'innovation' stage, children make the story their own, for example, by changing the character or setting. Finally, at the 'invention’ stage, children write their own text independently. This gives the children the chance to learn stories, become story tellers themselves and grow into inspired story writers.
Non-fiction writing is where teachers provide real life reasons for children’s writing to enthuse them with purpose. Teachers spark imagination by giving pupils a genuine purpose for their writing.
Let’s Think In English is a teaching programme which helps primary pupils develop their higher-order skills needed for success in English. These include inference, deduction and analysis together with confidence and resilience when responding to unfamiliar texts. The lessons are based on structured challenge and include the development of understanding through discussion (social construction), problem-solving (cognitive challenge) and structured reflection (metacognition) which makes pupils more aware of their thinking processes and how they think most effectively. These lessons are planned and used alongside the Talk for Writing units and are used to enhance and embed previously learnt units.
The impact on our children is that they have the knowledge and skills to be able to write successfully for a purpose and audience. With the implementation of the writing sequence being established and taught in both key stages, children are becoming more confident writers and have the ability to plan, draft and edit their own work. By the end of key stage 2 children have developed a writer’s craft, they enjoy sustained writing and can manipulate language, grammar and punctuation to create effect.