At Richard Lee, we believe that it is important to develop a strong command of the spoken and written word in order to be able to communicate ideas and emotions to others. Our ultimate aim is for all learners to become fluent and coherent writers, who are able to write imaginatively and for a range of audiences and purposes. To achieve this, we have constructed a clearly sequenced, ambitious curriculum with high-quality texts at the heart of our strategy – so that children have excellent models to learn from and to support a wide vocabulary development. These texts, chosen for their ranging complexity (including linguistic features, text structure, style or natator and cultural references) and for the different voices that they represent, ensure that all pupils follow a broad and balanced curriculum and have varied opportunities to develop their voice. We aim to build a strong foundation of grammar, punctuation, spelling and handwriting, with high expectations of written accuracy, upon which creativity can flourish.
To achieve this, our curriculum is implemented as follows:
- In Early Years, the development of children’s spoken language underpins all areas of learning. Through the Read, Write Inc. programme and focused writing sessions, pupils learn to form recognisable letters, spell words using their sounds and write simple phrases. As a result of story times and themes linked to stories, vocabulary is built in a language-rich environment, creating a solid foundation of key skills in preparation for Year 1.
- In Years 1–6, English is planned using Richard Lee’s long-term English Curriculum Overviews, with each sequence of learning being based on an appropriately-pitched, high-quality text, linked to the wider curriculum where appropriate.
- Pupils study a range of texts as writing prompts. In most cases, two texts – a longer text, which is also being studied in reading lessons, and a shorter picture book - are used per half term in each year group.
- The texts studied have been mapped out based on high-quality texts suggested by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) as well as The Literary Curriculum. To ensure coverage of different text types, with varying and increasing levels of complexity, all texts have been mapped across the school, as have children’s writing outcomes to ensure a variety of narrative and non-narrative opportunities - with corresponding punctuation and grammar skills. Where appropriate, texts link to the current topic for the year group, however, where a suitably high-quality text is not available, the quality of text takes precedence over links with topics. This curriculum coverage is also underpinned by clear progression documents in grammar, punctuation, spelling and handwriting to ensure that all pupils can apply their skills at a high level and that small steps are identified so that pupils know more and remember more in these areas over time.
- Pupils’ writing skills are developed through evidence-based approaches. This involves the exploration of the text, building vocabulary and practising grammar and punctuation skills before completing the ‘planning → drafting → revising → editing → publishing’ process to create their own texts. A high-quality WAGOLL is used as a basis for children’s writing. The length of a writing sequence will be dependent on pupils’ prior knowledge of a text type.
- Pupils in Key Stage Two draft their work leaving line spaces. Following feedback, pupils publish their revised and edited writing in a variety of imaginative ways and for a variety of purposes in their publishing books.
- A typical writing lesson follows the structure of: a starter activity, which focuses on spelling, punctuation or grammar; a shared learning objective linked to the stage of the writing process; the sharing of key vocabulary; modelled writing (‘I do’) or shared writing (‘we do’) using think-alouds; ‘you do’ independent pupil practice, with appropriate challenge (Take it Further activities) and scaffolds followed by reflection at the end of the lesson.
- Handwriting is taught through the Nelson Handwriting scheme. Clear progression in the teaching of joins is set out in the progression documents. The frequency of handwriting lessons is dependent on a child’s stage of learning and dedicated time for this is included in whole school timetables. Teachers are expected to model the correct joins in all writing and to use the specified font, in books and on display, which demonstrates consistent and accurate joins. Pupils in Key Stage Two, who demonstrate fluent, joined handwriting will be awarded a handwriting pen.
- Spelling is taught using resources from Spelling Shed. Spelling patterns are mapped out across the year groups, as are example words which match the pattern. In Year One, spelling is taught primarily through phonics lessons. In Key Stage One and Two, discrete spelling lessons take place three times a week. Pupils in all year groups are always encouraged to apply their phonics knowledge to their spelling, as well as their knowledge of spelling patterns. Pupils take home a half-termly list of spellings, detailing the spelling for each week. Spelling quizzes to identify gaps take place once a week in Years 2-6.
- Writing is assessed through continuous formative assessment within lessons, as well as termly summative assessment using the National Curriculum and end of Key Stage Assessment Frameworks to support judgements. Pupils written work across the curriculum is marked using the agreed marking codes so that transcriptional errors can be addressed. Regular moderation sessions between year groups and between local schools take place. Pupils’ gaps, particularly in transcriptional skills, are quickly identified so that misconceptions can be addressed.
At Richard Lee, our ultimate aim for writing is to create fluent, confident and accurate writers, who can communicate their ideas effectively.
How to help at home
There are many simple ways to help your child with their writing at home. Talking to develop vocabulary is one of the most important things that you can do.
Take a look at the links on the side of this page for more detailed ideas about how to help at home with specific aspects of English learning.
At the end of KS2, in Year 6, pupils will sit national SATs tests to measure their progress at primary school. One of these SATs tests will be in spelling, punctuation and grammar. You can find examples KS2 SATs papers here.
Helping your child with Handwriting
Practice makes perfect! You could write a shopping list, a postcard to a relative, name labels for your teddies or even a menu or recipe for your dinner. Regularly practising handwriting will help your child to form letters correctly and write more fluently.
Encourage your child to use the correct pencil grip when doing homework or writing at home.
Use these steps:
1) Point the pencil at my tummy.
2) Pick it up with my Holding Fingers.
3) Tip it back to lay across my hand and pop my Pillow Finger underneath.
Please be aware that although all of these links have been checked at the time of publishing, the internet is constantly changing. If you find any problems with the links, then please let the school know.
Vocabulary, Grammar and Punctuation