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Writing and Spelling

At St James we believe that writing is a fundamental cornerstone of learning.  Writing is an essential life skill and the ability to write allows children to communicate effectively.  We feel strongly that given appropriate opportunities and experiences our pupils will become confident, competent and enthusiastic writers.  We have the highest expectations of their ability to achieve their potential in writing.

We aim to develop a love for and enjoyment of writing creatively and, from children’s earliest attempts, all writing is valued and encouraged. We promote a writing curriculum that centres on quality literature, drama and grammar. When planning opportunities for writing, teachers use the Literacy Curriculum approach. 

These ensure that high quality texts are chosen and a range of writing is planned for. This book based approach engages the children in writing that is meaningful and in an authentic context for learning.  We make sure children write with increasing skill, accuracy and understanding in both fiction and non-fiction genres. The teaching of writing focuses on the understanding that meaning is communicated through writing and that writing is produced for a purpose and audience. Children therefore organise their writing with increasing precision using an appropriate form, tone and style.  Key objectives and skills will be revisited within different texts and contexts across the year; this will build the children’s understanding and will give them frequent opportunities to apply their learning.

Assessment for learning underpins our practice and so teachers’ planning is informed by the learning needs of the children. As such, teachers use modelling, shared writing and guided writing to target and improve children’s skills. Writing is based on allowing the children time to rehearse their ideas orally before writing, using drama and role play and effective stimuli including quality texts and first hand experiences.

The teaching of punctuation, spelling and grammar is a key focus. Lesson time is regularly devoted to activities which improve the crafting of individual sentences, the selection of words and the accuracy and variety of punctuation. Children will understand the grammatical language associated with writing and demonstrate an increasingly varied and accurate use of grammar and structures as they progress. 

Explicit spelling skills are explored and linked vocabulary acquisition is part of the writing lesson sequence. Children are equipped with a range of strategies for spelling familiar and unfamiliar words. In EYFS and Year 1, Little Wandle is used to teach the different graphemes and tricky words.  Each session has a clear spelling focus, allowing the children to apply the knowledge they have gained. Spelling is explicitly taught in all year groups and reinforced regularly throughout the week and in all subjects using a range of teaching strategies. 

Children also have opportunities for writing across all areas of the curriculum.  We have high expectations of all our children.  We teach cursive handwriting from Year 1 onwards and in EYFS we teach children how to correctly form letters ready to join at the end of Year 1.

The curriculum for writing has been planned across the following six domains:

Transcription - Spelling using phonemes and common exception words, including prefix’s and suffixes.

Handwriting - to be able to form letters accurately including joins 

Composition and effect - choosing the correct vocabulary, planning ideas

Text structure and organisation - sequencing ideas and linking related sentences

Sentence structure - composing and using sentences with different forms.

Vocabulary, grammar and punctuation - use and understand the grammatical terminology in English.