Writing Curriculum

Writing Intent:

At St Mary’s, we strive to help our children develop into articulate and imaginative communicators, who are well-equipped with the basic skills they need to become life-long learners.  We believe that English learning is key to this. We aim to ensure that all of our children develop a genuine love of language and the written word, through a text-based, values rich approach. 

We want our children to feel that their writing has a real purpose in the context our values based learning projects and to use their written work as an expression of their responses to challenging questions. 

We aim for all children to develop an understanding of how widely writing is used in everyday life and, therefore, how important and useful the skills are that they are learning.
Our intentions in writing are for children to:

  • Write for a purpose
  • See themselves as real writers
  • Take ownership of their writing 
  • See writing as an interesting and enjoyable process
  • Acquire the ability to organise and plan their written work

Through exploring project questions, which challenge our pupils and develop their moral compass’, we want our children to learn to write for a range of purposes within the context of their learning.  Ultimately, we aim for our pupils to see writing as an important form of communication, which they can use to connect with others. 

Writing Implementation:

What we do:

At St Mary’s, writing is taught in a progressive and systematic way, beginning in Reception and Year One with the ‘Little Wandle’ phonics programme and then later through meeting the aims of the National Curriculum.

Our writing approach is based on developing our children’s fluency as writers and engaging them through exciting learning sequences where children develop: spelling, vocabulary, grammar and their own authorial voice.

In English lessons we study the work of great writers, from speech makers and novelists to historical letters and information books.

Early Writing:

In Reception, Year 1 and the first half term of Year 2, children are taught to write and spell through our Systematic, Synthetic Phonics programme (Little Wandle) and they write on a daily basis in their phonic lessons.  In Reception, teachers plan for writing skill development outside of direct teaching time via the continuous provision.  Stimuli for writing are planned into the provision and enhancements to the provision are planned for.  Practitioners take writing objectives into the provision by using an ‘Objective Led’ teaching approach. For example: a teacher might engage with children in the small world role play and then introduce a map for the journey the characters are going on, to encourage mark making and fine motor development and then might suggest labels for the places they visit and support transcription using a phonics mat.  As children become more proficient in segmenting for spelling, wider opportunities and more enhancements are planned into the provision.

Years 1 – 6:

English lessons are taught daily across the school.  A common short-term sequence has been developed by Senior Leaders over several years based on our own research into what works best for our pupils. The sequence allows us to develop the context of a text: we read and appreciate its content, learn and engage with the related vocabulary, revise grammar already taught (in context), teach new grammar (in context), practice grammar (sometimes in pairs and groups), plan our writing, write (sometimes in pairs and groups), edit with others or in response to feedback from adults and sometimes publish work.

Medium Term Planning and the sequence of units is crucial to the projects that our children study and how we explore both our Project Values and our Project Questions. Links between English and other subjects are actively used to embed language and the development of authorial voice.  Sometimes the sequence of English and Project lessons are manipulated when this makes sense to the context of project learning and development of knowledge.

Priority Objectives: 

Our response to catch-up, after the lockdowns, during the pandemic, was to prioritise the objectives that we taught.  We focussed on word and sentence level objectives and limited our feedback to pupils on these.  The results of this practice have been excellent and we have embedded this practice into how we now organise learning in English.  Priority Objectives are focussed upon during the Autumn and early Spring terms; after this, all objectives are covered. The organisation of our English curriculum in this way has resulted in accelerated rates of progress.

Key Documents: