At St Michael’s we believe that English skills are vital to the development of children so that they are prepared for future life. The teaching of English is the foundation of our curriculum. Our main aim is that all children make progress in speaking, listening and writing. The school aims to help every child discover and maintain a love of learning through cross-curricular opportunities, studying a range of genres and exploring varied writing opportunities. A culture of living and learning together is promoted using co-operative learning structures.
Writing for a purpose
In KS1 and KS2 the focus of all written outcomes is based on four key purposes – to entertain, to inform, to persuade and to discuss (and any appropriate combination) – which are addressed progressively across the school and focuses on making decisions as a writer based on the purpose and audience of the written outcome.
The teaching sequence will generally include:
- A stimulus for writing, e.g. a short film, a real-life experience, an extract from the class book, a poem;
- An analysis of the written genre to identify the structure and language features required for the purpose and audience of the writing and to create a marking ladder/tool kit for writing;
- Use of role-play, role on the wall, hot-seating, improvisation, discussion and vocabulary;
- Organising ideas using planning grids or story maps;
- The writing phase, step-by –step using modelled writing and shared writing leading to guided and independent writing.
- Opportunities to assess own writing against the ‘toolkit’ or success criteria proof-read, edit and improve written outcomes.
Written outcomes are linked to other areas of the curriculum to assist children with the writing content; children also have opportunities to write about a subject that interests them.
The transcription skills of handwriting are taught discretely. Letter formation is taught in the EYFS and year 1. A cursive script is taught from year 2 and this is modelled by teachers and used in the classroom environment; it is expected that children write using the cursive script from year 2. The expectation is that children spell words correctly in their written work, use a dictionary, the learning environment or a spelling buddy to find the correct spelling or to make corrections to spellings. Spelling is taught using the No-nonsense Spelling Scheme.
Drama activities such as hot seating, role play, provide children with opportunities to express themselves orally in preparation for written tasks and to explore the thoughts and feelings of people and events across the curriculum. Poetry and play performances and presentations across the curriculum to audiences give children the opportunity to practise speaking fluently, audibly, with intonation, expression and using the appropriate level of formality.
Children will become confident writers. They will be able to transfer their key skills and will be familiar with a range of genres for writing. Children will develop stamina in writing, experiment with creativity and will confidently apply grammar and punctuation skills within their independent writing. They will display a deeper understanding and consolidation of skills as they transfer their knowledge in all areas of the curriculum.