Writing at Chew Stoke Church School
At Chew Stoke Church School, we aim for all children to become confident, fluent, independent writers. Throughout their time in our school, children are taught to write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style to suit a range of different contexts, purposes and audiences.
The development of writing skills is explicit in English lessons but is also carried across to other curriculum areas. This is essential in ensuring that children are able to express their ideas and write confidently in any given genre or subject. It also gives further opportunity to enhance, explore and expand children’s vocabulary and ideas, all of which can then be used in their written work.
At Chew Stoke Church School, we aim to provide exciting, engaging and purposeful opportunities for children to develop their writing skills both in English lessons and across the curriculum.
We use carefully chosen texts, which often link with wider curriculum areas, to inspire our lessons, giving plentiful opportunities to develop new language and ideas and to model high-quality writing. These texts include examples of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Punctuation and grammar are taught both discretely and through the development of a piece of writing, following the progression outlined in the National Curriculum.
From Year 1, pupils are taught to plan their writing by first saying out loud what they are going to write about, composing sentences orally, sequencing sentences and re-reading what they have written to check that it makes sense. This approach is developed as they move through the school, with children planning their ideas, composing a piece of writing and then adding to, revising and correcting their work. By Years 5 and 6, children are increasingly skilled in identifying an audience for a piece of work and adapting the style and vocabulary that they use accordingly. They will use a wide variety of techniques to enhance meaning and add description and are increasingly confident in proof-reading and suggesting improvements to their own and others’ writing.
The teaching of handwriting is built into Unlocking Letters and Sounds and letter formation is taught as part of each phonics session. This means that as the children learn each new letter, they learn how to write it. Short ‘patters’ are used to support the children with letter formation, to help them visualise the letter before they write it down. These are based on the handwriting families. Children practise handwriting under the guidance of a teacher, so that they do not develop habits which are then difficult to undo later on.
From the spring term of Year 2 through to the end of Year 6, children continue to develop the fluency of their handwriting though discreet lessons and class activities. Teachers emphasise correct letter formation and pencil grip, as well as good posture and positioning of paper. We use the cursive handwriting resources from Twinkl as the basis of this teaching and as the children move up through the school they are encouraged to think carefully about the presentation of their work and to develop clear, legible and fluent hand-writing.
Handwriting is celebrated throughout the school on our classroom and school display boards and children show real pride in the presentation of their published work.
Following the completion of the Unlocking Letters and Sounds programme, at the end of the autumn term in Year 2, children follow the National Curriculum 2014 statutory requirements and word lists for spelling.
Teachers use the termly spelling overviews developed by Twinkl to set weekly spellings for their classes, which are linked by one spelling rule. These spelling are practised in class time but also given as part of weekly homework. The Twinkl scheme provides children with the opportunity to recap on the previous year’s spelling patterns, and then introduces new conventions, statutory spellings and common exception words and may be adapted by teachers to accommodate and support the needs of individual children.
As they move through Chew Stoke Church School, our children become more confident writers and develop their abilities in planning, drafting and editing their own work. They enjoy writing and can use it to express their thoughts, ideas and emotions as well as to communicate effectively with others. They are confident in discussing and sharing their ideas and keen to try out new vocabulary. When they move on to secondary school, we want all of our pupils to take with them the skills and knowledge that they need to be able to use writing as a valuable and effective tool in their educational and working lives.
Texts and Writing Outcomes