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 Cromwell, 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.
Teaching and Learning
In all classes, children will have the opportunity to write for a range of real purposes and audiences. We firmly believe that this supports a love of writing, which is a central to our approach. Children will have the opportunity to write a range of genres - both fiction and non-fiction - such as narratives, explanations and descriptions. If you have any real life writing links that you feel our school would benefit from, please do let us know. We would be delighted to hear from you.
Reading and writing for pleasure are integral in our curriculum; writing opportunities are inspired by high quality literature and film. Through close links with Guided Reading, we develop the pupils’ ability to ‘read as a writer’. Children draw knowledge from the wide range of texts and stories that they have been exposed to.
Writing will be planned and taught in three distinct phases. These phases are then adapted across the school to suit both the ages and experiences of the children.
Phase One: Immersion
This is the exploration into a new genre or stimulus. Exciting and engaging opportunities are provided for the children, including real-life contexts/scenarios and role pay; the children engage in a variety of discussion, drama and debate. They actively engage with a new genre of writing, exploring excellent examples; key features of each genre are identified and a writer’s toolkit is often generated by the class.
Phase Two: Rehearsal
Children rehearse relevant text-type features which have been identified in the first phase of writing. This is through a range of application activities, where children explore both language and layout features, which are age-appropriate, within the context of the text type. This may include the rehearsal of expanded noun phrases if the children are writing a story in phase three.
Phase Three: Planning, Writing and Editing/Redrafting
Following the rehearsal of features, children now plan, write and edit/redraft their own version of the text type. Editing/ redrafting is taught regularly throughout the writing process and also in an age-appropriate way. For example, the teacher modelling aloud, guided editing, peer editing and self-editing.
At least once a half term, children will have the opportunity to publish their written work. Examples could be in the form of a double-page spread, an online blog, a written piece for a display in the classroom or sending and receiving real letters.
Cross Curricular Writing
Writing opportunities are firmly fixed across all curriculum areas, not just in English. 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.
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar
Punctuation and grammar is taught explicitly through all three phases of writing. Grammatical elements are carefully selected by teachers and are taught in the context of the relevant genre of writing. (For example, using brackets and dashes in an instructional piece). Children have the opportunity to identify, practise and use a range of age-appropriate grammatical elements and punctuation.
In Early Years and Year 1, Story Time Phonics is used to teach phonics. StoryTime Phonics is a holistic, whole class approach to learning to read. Its joyful, yet systematic approach uses real story books to contextualise the phonemes which are further consolidated with a 'caption action' to support children's recall of the phoneme.
In Years 2-6, spelling is taught using the Babcock: No Nonsense scheme of work. We teach spellings through an investigatory approach, where children are encouraged to explore rules and patterns, including etymology. Teachers plan in opportunities for children to participate in different sessions, including a guided spelling activity (to learn and investigate a rule) and a follow up activity (to apply the spelling rule taught).
Learnt spelling rules are also applied to writing. Children frequently use dictionaries across the curriculum to support their understanding of spelling and word meaning.
In each year group, the children’s writing will be assessed with examples across the curriculum, not just in English. Teachers will assess pupils’ understanding against the criteria for their year group, using specific curriculum objectives.
Assessment will include the children’s written work and observations made by the class teacher.
For spelling, teachers will look for evidence of children applying spelling rules in their written work; this will form a large part of spelling assessment. However, teachers may also use observations and information from discrete spelling lessons alongside this.