Writing is an integral part of our curriculum. At OLMC, our writing, grammar, punctuation and spelling curriculum is based upon the National Curriculum programmes of study. Teachers use the National Curriculum and progression grids to derive long term plans in the subject; careful consideration is given to the sequence of the curriculum and ways in which the lessons build towards a piece of writing which showcases pupils’ acquired knowledge, skills and understanding. We want our children to acquire a wide vocabulary, a solid understanding of grammar and be able to spell new words by effectively applying the spelling patterns and rules they learn throughout their time in primary school. We want them to write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. We believe that all children should be encouraged to take pride in the presentation of their writing, in part by developing a good, joined, handwriting style by the time they move to secondary school. We believe that all good writers refine and edit their writing over time, so we want children to develop independence in being able to identify their own areas for improvement in all pieces of writing, editing their work effectively during and after the writing process. At OLMC, we do not put ceilings on what pupils can achieve in writing and we do not hold pre-conceptions about any pupils’ ability to make progress. We understand the importance of parents and carers in supporting their children to develop both grammar, spelling and composition skills, and so we want to encourage a home-school partnership which enables parents and carers to understand how to enhance the skills being taught in school.
At OLMC, we believe that all children should have the opportunity to be fluent, confident readers who are able to successfully comprehend and understand a wide range of texts. Reading is at the core of most curriculum areas within school. Throughout school, children are presented with many opportunities to read during the school day. Reading is a high priority in our book-led English curriculum, where teachers plan 2 weekly comprehension lessons to match the reading domains in years 2-6. Through teachers’ choice of high-quality texts, we intend to develop a love of reading and allow children to recognise the pleasure they can get from reading. With this, we aim to provide children with the understanding that reading provides opportunities to discover new knowledge, revisit prior knowledge and understand more about what they learn. Children are exposed to high quality texts across the curriculum and reading skills are taught explicitly in all year groups. Alongside the skills of decoding and comprehension, book talk encourages children to think as a reader and discuss their preferences, likes and dislikes. The systematic teaching of phonics, through ‘Little Wandle letters and sounds revised’ is a high priority through EYFS and Year 1. We bring phonics to life with a fresh, lively and hands on approach where consistency, mantras and high expectations allow the children to learn all the phonemes to read and write English successfully. Children are given carefully selected reading books which match their stage of phonic knowledge. Reading for pleasure is a cornerstone of our approach, with a well-stocked and well-organised school/class reading areas, which children access both within the timetable and in their own time. We understand the importance of parents and carers in supporting their children to develop both word reading and comprehension skills, and so we want to encourage a home-school partnership which enables parents and carers to understand how to enhance the skills being taught in school through good quality texts.
Our English curriculum is derived around a sequence of high-quality age-appropriate texts. We use each book to create opportunities to develop reading fluency and comprehension with a focus on key reading strategies and skills; develop grammar and punctuation knowledge and understanding to use and apply across the wider curriculum; explore the writing structure and features of different genres, identify the purpose and audience; plan and write an initial piece of writing with a clear context and purpose before evaluating the effectiveness of writing by editing and redrafting.
Book-led curriculum approach to writing
At OLMC, we believe that writing is strengthened by instilling a love for reading within our pupils. We value the importance of reading to supplement writing, providing a purpose and a context to writing. We believe that children who are provided a reason for writing demonstrate flair and effective writing composition, leading to high quality outcomes. Every term, the English curriculum is taught by studying a high-quality text where writing opportunities are derived from this. Each week, the children are taught to develop an understanding of the texts through reading comprehension – exploring the key themes, events, and plot of the texts being studied. From this element of the curriculum, children are taught the grammar from the National Curriculum which is taught to correspond to the genres being written as part of the writing process. Children are then supported in how to apply the grammatical content taught in identifying features of a high-quality modelled text, before progressing to plan, write and re-draft a written piece which is fit for purpose and audience. Children receive regular feedback from both teachers and their peers in the writing process; class teachers endeavour to provide guidance and feedback during lesson times in order to ensure this has maximum impact on pupils’ outcomes.
We use ‘The Spelling book’ from Year 2 to Y6 for the learning and application of new spelling patterns to the children’s writing. This is then embedded in their writing as an expectation.
Special Educational Needs Disability (SEND) / Pupil Premium / Higher Attainers
All children will have quality first teaching. Any children with identified SEND or in receipt of pupil premium funding may have work additional to and different from their peers in order to access the curriculum dependent upon their needs. As well as this, our school offers a demanding and varied curriculum, providing children with a range of opportunities in order for them to reach their full potential and consistently achieve highly from their starting points. This may involve a greater level of scaffolding and access to additional support materials such as adult intervention, word banks or a greater level of modelling. Higher attainers are given opportunities to extend their writing in a variety of ways, including through showing greater control in their writing, a deeper understanding of the impact that their writing has on the reader and by using a higher level of vocabulary and grammar features.
Language Acquisition & Vocabulary Development
We endeavour to ensure we provide our pupils with a ‘language rich’ environment; we do this with our links to the School Library Service, which ensures we have a wide range of texts displayed around our school, to correlate with our wider curriculum. We work closely with a range of book fairs in raising the profile of reading to ensure we share the importance of reading with our parents, carers and wider community. Within our classrooms, we explore ambitious vocabulary across the wider curriculum to ensure we acquire an understanding of tricky language. Working walls are regularly updated to ensure learning is documented within a unit of work. Class teachers ensure that the writing process is clearly evident on working walls, with modelled examples being available to all children as the sequence of lessons develops.
At OLMC, we are following a clear, progressive scheme alongside the National Curriculum to teach early reading up to the end of Year 1 which progresses to increasing fluency, accuracy and understanding of age and level appropriate books to Year 6. The teaching of reading is progressive throughout school and reading is at the core of our curriculum. Children are provided with a variety of ways to acquire knowledge in order to know more and remember more.
Reading comprehension is taught twice weekly, and sessions are structured using the content domains for each Key Stage. Typically, there are three whole class texts per year, and they are selected to be ambitious so that they can offer challenge and take learning to a greater depth. Children are not restricted to uninspiring, simple reading books but are encouraged to develop a love of reading through immersion in a high-quality class text. Reading comprehension skills are taught in context with class texts being chosen to match the attainment of the most competent readers in the class.
Whole school reading schemes
We have whole school reading schemes (Oxford Reading Tree, Little Wandle letters and sounds revised books and Collins Big Cat) that ensures progression in both word reading skills and comprehension. These are carefully matched to their phonic level while in EYFS and Year 1. The scheme is structured to ensure that children have access to a wide range of texts and allows for pupils to develop their skills within a level before moving to the next level. All pupils have a home-reading record which they are encouraged to take home daily. Parents and carers are asked to add comments to the home-reading records to indicate how much pupils have read.
We use the NFER assessments to as a tool to assess.
We measure the effectiveness and impact of our English Writing, Grammar and Spelling curriculum in a variety of different ways. We use national and summative testing to assess pupils’ outcomes for Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling as part of the Statutory Assessment Tests (SATs for Year 6 pupils) and through termly summative assessments across school which enables pupils’ progress and attainment in the subject matter to be evaluated. Additionally, teachers will assess children’s writing on a half termly basis, where written work is assessed to inform teachers of pupils’ next steps and successes. The impact of the curriculum can be seen through pupils’ national assessment results. We aim to have at least 69% of our children at or above the 2019 national average in Key Stage 1 and 78% at or above the 2019 national average in Key Stage 2. Through lesson and pupils’ book monitoring, it is evident that children are being well supported to acquire the necessary skills and subject knowledge in order to become established and confident writers and work monitored in books demonstrates that the curriculum is taught at an age-appropriate standard across each year group, with additional opportunities planned for children to demonstrate their ability to work at a higher standard.
We aim for our children to have a love of reading and make at least good progress in reading from their last point of statutory assessment or from their starting point in Reception. Using ongoing formative assessments and termly summative assessments, teachers use this data to set ambitious targets for children in their classes. We aim to have at least 75% of our children at or above the 2019 national average in key stage 1 and 73% at or above the 2019 national average in Key Stage 2. Children will use their reading skills as a key tool in helping them to learn, and as a result, know more, remember more and understand more.
Please click on the link below which will take you straight to the Little Wandle website where you can learn more about our phonics and early reading here at OLMC. (Please note we are in our transitional period for Little Wandle and for our spelling implementation, we will keep you up dated with progress).