Writing skills are a key priority within the school. We emphasise presentation and handwriting skills. Children are taught cursive script from the outset, first using a pencil and progressing to pen. All classes undertake extended writing sessions and provide opportunities to use writing skills across other subjects, such as science and topic. In order to develop writing for pleasure and enjoyment, with the ownership of skills this brings, each child has their own personal writing journal. In these, they are free to choose the topic of their writing and how this is presented, as well as writing alongside their peers. Opportunities to use writing journals are provided on a weekly basis.
To develop this integral, writing for pleasure approach, the school is pleased to be taking part in two research projects this academic year. Year 5 and 6 have been selected to take part in the CLPE's, 'Power of Pictures' research, which has involved a trip to Stratford. Year 3 and 4 were selected to take part in a, 'Writing for Pleasure' research project funded by The Goldsmith's Company. As only three schools were successful in their application to take part in this, we were very proud to be selected.
A key part of early language learning is the teaching of phonics, which is done using a range of methods including both written and practical kinaesthetic activities. This is taught using a systematic programme, ensuring that all phonemes (sounds) are covered, rehearsed and embedded.
Older children are also taught spelling rules, patterns and word origins. Spellings are set, and assessed on a weekly basis. As well as a weekly spelling test we also focus on children’s spelling in their daily writing to ensure that skills are transferred. Whilst grammar skills can be taught discretely, we also focus on the embedding of these within children's writing.
Reading is a fundamental skill which forms the basis of learning. In class, a wide range of high quality texts are used. The school uses the CLPE’s (Centre for Literacy in Primary Education) ‘Power of Reading’ approach, where challenging and stimulating texts are engaged with through speaking, listening, drama, discussion and research. We do not use a single reading scheme, but rather match children to books that will best develop their skills and interest. Every class has their own book corner and regular story times are used to foster reading for enjoyment and pleasure.
Some useful websites:
First News Live. An online version of the children's newspaper:
Lots of fun (and really useful) English games for 4-14 year olds:
A range of English games for KS2:
A range of English games for YR, KS1 (and KS2):
BBC games and activities:
Sight word games: