At St John’s we endeavour to create a love of writing. We want every child to leave school with the skills of an excellent writer who:
• Has the ability to write with fluency and has an author’s voice.
• Can think about the impact they want their writing to have on the reader.
• Have the skills to know how to achieve this.
Our writing curriculum encourages children to immerse themselves in different text types, understand the features and impact of these, and realise the importance of them beyond education. A secure knowledge of spelling and grammar and an understanding of how to edit writing is taught throughout the school in a systematic and progressive way.
The content of writing lessons is planned to build on children’s previous knowledge as well as introduce new learning in a fun and memorable way. Children leave St John’s with a deep understanding of different text types and how to construct them effectively with a clear purpose.
At St John’s we follow the Herts For Learning English plans. This resource tracks each writing skill mentioned in the National Curriculum and plots the development of learning through the year groups.
Teacher’s plan around the learning focus having a clear linguistic purpose for each unit ensuring that we are:
linking the aim of the unit to develop writing
have an interesting topic that will deliver the aim
a model text that will provide linguistic patterns that the class will be shown how to reproduce
together with a range of additional model texts illustrating these features in more depth and variety to provide extension work and challenge for pupils
Writing is taught explicitly in daily English lessons and skills learnt are regularly reinforced within lessons across the curriculum. Using a combination of novels, film, poetry and relevant real life events, learning is fun, meaningful and memorable.
Having studied different texts, pupils immerse themselves in the language and structure of these to create their own toolkit – an aid to writing. This ensures that language patterns, punctuation and key phrases are internalised by the children so that they become confident and competent writers. Repeated practice of writing genres ensures that pupils leave our school capable of writing for different audiences and purposes.
Spelling is taught outside of English lessons using the Herts Essential spelling programme. Children understand the importance of learning spellings in a memorable and interesting way. A range of strategies are used to ensure personable learning which supports pupils in becoming competent lifelong spellers.
In Early Years and Key Stage 1, daily phonics is taught using the ‘Letters and Sounds’ document four part approach “review, teach, practise and apply”.
The teaching of grammar and standard English is an integral part of every writing lesson and across the whole curriculum. Using the National Curriculum, key grammar and Standard English skills are taught progressively and systematically throughout the school. Teachers model the process of writing within every English unit so that children understand the thought process behind writing. During this process, teachers think out loud, edit and demonstrate how and why they have structured their writing in the way that they have. Children are then given the opportunity to participate in a shared write, where everybody contributes to the writing outcome. This is often scaffolded further into paired, supported and finally independent writing.
At St John’s we strive for our children to be enthusiastic and confident writers. We want them to make progress and to have transferrable skills to be lifelong learners. Children will be exposed to different cultures, our literary heritage and have a wealth of knowledge of different genres. They will have stamina for writing and be confident applying grammar and punctuation.
All aspects of English are an integral part of the curriculum and skills taught in English are identifiable in other subjects: this shows consolidation of skills and a deeper understanding of when to apply specific grammar, punctuation and spelling.
This ability to write with confidence for a range of purposes and audiences ensures that children leave St John’s fully prepared for their secondary education, ready to achieve their aspirations and thrive in their adult life.