At St. Teresa's RC Primary School, we believe that English is a crucial part of the curriculum: a subject that stands alone, whilst being an essential part of learning all aspects of the curriculum. Therefore it is given the highest priority in our school.
We strive to deliver an engaging and exciting curriculum that inspires children to want to write, develops a love of writing and supports them to take pride in their own writing. We encourage children to be imaginative in their use of language and to bring this to their writing. We aim to provide children with the necessary skills in grammar, spelling, punctuation and composition that will enable them to become lifelong writers. We support children to express their thoughts and ideas clearly and creatively through the written word. Our aim is to develop children into writers with an understanding of the writing process, including proofreading and editing to enhance their work. Our children become articulate and confident communicators who express themselves clearly and enhance their learning when engaging in discussions. Our use of a range of high quality texts throughout the school ensures children have access to stimuli which spark imagination and inspire ideas for writing. Texts are also used to explore layout and language features of specific genres.
At St. Teresa's, our writing lessons are taught using the lesson structure and planning from The Write Stuff - a teaching approach developed by Jane Considine. This systematic approach allows children to develop oracy skills and widen their vocabulary choices, whilst deepening their understanding of the writer's choices.
All children are familiar with the:
➔ FANTASTICs (ideas)
➔ GRAMMARISTICs (tools)
➔ BOOMTASTICs (techniques)
Across the whole school, high-quality modelling forms part of writing lessons.
The combination of fiction and non-fiction units we have carefully selected for each year group to follow provide children with the experience of a wide range of high quality texts and authors. These are also aligned with the range of text types and genres identified within the National Curriculum for English. In our lessons teachers follow a repeated pattern of ‘Initiate’, ‘Model’ and ‘Enable’ whereby they use the three zones of writing to provide a consistent whole school systematic approach to writing carefully constructed sentences which build up to create paragraphs. During lessons, children are extended through the use of Deepen the Moment challenges. The planning structure in place for children gives them a clear process to follow when drafting their own extended writing and builds in time for proofreading and editing. Children in KS1 write for a range of purposes and audiences and this is developed and strengthened in Key Stage 2 (KS2), with children enhancing their understanding of a writer’s craft and seeing themselves as authors.
Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage experience a range of quality texts, linked to their learning themes, whcih promote and support their rich language developemnt, oral story telling and performance through the use of the Helicopter Stories approach. As the Reception year progresses, children begin their Write Stuff journey through the use of the Grandma Fantastic and the Write Stuff approach to writing sentences.
The children's writing is developed from good ideas and is imaginative in use of ambitious vocabulary and figurative language. Children’s understanding of the writing process helps them make good progress from their starting points. Communication skills are strengthened and children can articulate themselves well, both when explaining their choices in their writing and when performing and retelling stories. Children take pride in their work, by making choices to appeal to the reader, and when sharing their writing with their peers and teachers. Children have strong writing skills that allow them to access the whole curriculum and transition to secondary with confidence.
The teaching of writing is a complex area in which our highly-skilled teachers employ a variety of strategies concurrently. One is the teaching of discrete styles of sentence and a progressive range of 'conjunctions' (e.g. and, but or so, all the way through to words like 'nevertheless'. See the document above for more information about how this progresses during a child's time at St. Teresa's.