Cowley Hill English Writing Curriculum Statement
At Cowley Hill, we believe that all pupils should be able to confidently communicate their knowledge, ideas and emotions through their writing. We want pupils to acquire a wide vocabulary, a solid understanding of grammar and be able to spell new words by effectively applying the spelling patterns and rules they learn. We want them to write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. We believe that all pupils should be encouraged to take pride in the presentation of their writing, in part by developing a good, joined, handwriting style by the time they move to secondary school. We believe that all good writers refine and edit their writing over time, so we want children to develop independence in being able to identify their own areas for improvement in all pieces of writing, editing their work effectively during and after the writing process.
We teach writing as whole class lessons, so that all children have access to the age-related skills and knowledge contained in the National Curriculum. We follow a clear teaching sequence for writing throughout the school. We teach children a range of strategies to organise their writing, which involves the use of text/story maps, scaffolding, boxing up, success criteria and word banks. We believe it is extremely important for our children to acquire a large and varied vocabulary to support their communication of ideas and employ a range of strategies to develop this such as word maps, spider-grams and vocabulary pyramids. The writing process is modelled through carefully selected units of work and engaging high quality texts or stimuli.
Spellings: Spellings are taught according to the rules and words contained in Appendix 1 of the English National Curriculum. In KS1, children learn to apply their phonics to their spelling and high frequency words/ common exception words are reinforced daily. Teachers use a Spell to Excel Scheme in KS2 to support their teaching and to provide activities that link to the weekly spellings. Children are given spellings to learn each week and are given a spelling test the following week. In the lower school, spelling is taught in groups according to ability and the differing needs of the children, which will also include the teaching of phonics.
In both KS1 and KS2 we have organised the recommended spelling lists into a ‘Rainbow Spelling’ scheme which children learn and practise at home. These spellings are tested fortnightly, with the aim for all children to have reached Violet spellings by the end of the Summer Term.
Grammar and Punctuation: Grammar and punctuation knowledge and skills are taught through and within English lessons as much as possible. Teachers plan to teach the required skills through the genres of writing that they are teaching, linking it to the genre to make it more connected with the intended writing outcome. Teachers sometimes focus on particular grammar and punctuation skills as stand-alone lessons, if they feel that the class need additional lessons to embed and develop their understanding or to consolidate skills.
Handwriting: Handwriting is not only taught discretely, it is an integral part to any lesson and is reinforced daily. Children learn to form letters in letter families, and following on from this begin to join letters in groups or letter joins. Children are expected to use joined, legible handwriting and work towards achieving their pen licence, where they can then write in black pen in all lessons.
All children will enjoy writing across a range of genres, make links and apply their skills in cross-curricular topics. Children of all abilities will be able to succeed in all English lessons because work will be appropriately scaffolded. They will have developed a wide vocabulary that they are able to use within their writing and will have a good knowledge of how to adapt their writing based on the context and audience. Children will leave school being able to effectively apply the spelling rules and patterns they have been taught.
Progression of Skills - Work in progress