Subject Leaders: Kat Nash & Amy Burnett
Our Curriculum Intent
At St. John’s we strongly believe that children should enjoy their learning in order to become enthusiastic and independent readers and writers. We aim to inspire an appreciation of, and a habit of, reading widely and often. We recognise the importance of creating a school where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts and audiences. We want to inspire children to be confident in the arts of speaking, listening and drama and who can use discussion and acting to develop their
learning. These aims are embedded across our English lessons and the wider curriculum.
We want every pupil in our care to communicate their knowledge, ideas and emotions through writing confidently. As is outlined in the aims of National Curriculum 2014, we want our learners to ‘write clearly, accurately and coherently,
adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences’.
We have high expectations of our pupils and expect them to spell new words by effectively applying patterns and rules they learn. We also aim for learners to understand and then effectively apply grammar skills into their writing.
We feel that refining and editing writing over time is an instrumental part of the writing process and teach pupils to do this independently in their growth as writers.
We teach English as whole class lessons, so that all children have access to the age related skills and knowledge as stipulated in the National Curriculum. Teachers and teaching assistants target support wherever it is needed. This may involve a greater level of scaffolding, extra modelling or access to additional support materials such as word banks, writing frames etc. We ask those who need a challenge to deeper the moment in their writing and widen the use of vocabulary.
Our curriculum maps have been devised to show the variety of genres encountered by each cohort and the progression of skills from year to year. Writing units tend to take between two and four weeks to complete with the outcome of each unit being an independent piece of writing. These units are designed to motivate and inspire children, combining structured provision with exciting memorable experiences that elicit awe and wonder. Such related experiences include drama opportunities, viewing historical items, visits out, visitors to school etc.
The approach we adopt to teach writing is based upon Jane Considine’s book ‘The Write Stuff’. High quality demonstration writing is the basis of this model whereby children are explicitly taught and shown how to craft the ideas, grammar and techniques of writing. This leads on to children writing independently in the unit, applying their skills and showcasing what they have learnt. Throughout the learning process, children’s writing is celebrated and displayed in classrooms.
Spellings are taught according to the rules and words contained in Appendix 1 of the English National Curriculum.
Grammar and punctuation knowledge and skills are taught in context during English writing lessons, at the point of writing, as much as possible. Occasionally, teachers will deliver a standalone lesson if they feel that the class need to consolidate their skills further.
Feedback and marking is completed, where possible, within the lesson or as a close to the lesson as is feasible. All marking and feedback is given in line with our marking and feedback policy.
Assessment is an ongoing element of the teaching and learning of writing and takes place constantly: through the verbal feedback children receive during lessons; the written feedback following lessons and the questioning used to ascertain children’s understanding.
Systematic synthetic phonics are taught using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme. Children are introduced to synthetic phonics at the start of their Reception year and children progress through the scheme to the end of Year One. We strive to ensure that children “keep up” rather than “catch up” and we offer early intervention when a pupil is making slower progress than expected. We follow the Little Wandle scheme for reading and ensure that each child is given a reading book with the relevant sounds that they are learning at that time. The books are varied in their genres which encourages a love of different texts. Children read in a group three times a week, using the same text, following a process of decoding, prosody and comprehension. Following the comprehension session, children will take the book home. At this point, it is expected that they will be reading the book at 90% accuracy and with a high level of fluency.
By the time they leave St. John’s Primary School, we want learners to be skilled at writing for different audiences and purposes. We envisage that our pupils will write well-presented, accurate and fluent pieces, including varied vocabulary, accurate spellings and grammatically correct structures.