At Windmill Hill Academy, our intent is to help children develop fluency in, and a love for, the English language, through the written word.
As a result, we aim for our children by the age of 11 to be able to:
- write at length with confidence, with accurate spelling, punctuation, and correct use of grammar for a range of purposes and audiences.
- acquire and use a wide range of vocabulary for effect o develop an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for writing
- be familiar with, by understanding the structure and language features of, a range of non-narrative text types and narrative genres
- be able to model their own writing on these familiar styles and forms according to the context, purpose of, and audience for their writing
- draw upon increasing powers of imagination, inventiveness, initiative and critical thinking, including being reflective writers (writing with a reader’s eye and reading with a writer’s eye).
- meet and aim to exceed age related expectations in writing.
Staff work together to plan the overall English programme for the school, using the 'Development Matters' and National Curriculum objectives to drive it, while developing the opportunities for written work within the other curriculum areas.
The overview of work ensures balance and progression throughout and across the Key Stages. The requirements of the Foundation stage are used as 'building blocks' that lead into the National Curriculum. Planning for English is carried out year by year, term by term in units and is reviewed regularly to ensure the curriculum is engaging, challenging and provides good coverage of all objectives, with a range of audiences, forms and purposes.
Cross-curricular links are identified in the medium term planning and unit plans where appropriate. All class teachers are responsible for unit planning, based on their agreed medium term overviews.
- identify the appropriate teaching and learning strategies required
- provide a balance and variety of English experiences and opportunities within the classroom, both in terms of content presented and organisational learning opportunities employed
- ensure there is a clear, planned objective for each lesson with clear success criteria where appropriate.
- assess and plan for the specific needs of the class as a whole, plus groups and individuals within the class whilst adhering to the progression laid down within the unit and overview.
The National Curriculum require pupils to write frequently, independently and relevantly in the course of their work in all subject areas. This means that our classrooms must provide many different contexts for writing across the whole curriculum. The children are taught writing skills and given writing opportunities as specified in the National Curriculum. The word level, sentence level and text level components, along with appropriate grammar, punctuation and spelling objectives, are taught progressively to enable the children to improve as writers. We need to provide opportunities so that children can grow as composers of many kinds, in a range of contexts and for different audiences, giving varied and frequent opportunities to produce meaningful and purposeful texts, both independently and collaboratively. The processes taught in English lessons during the course of a unit are as follows:
Independent and supported writing
- Shared reading – Identifying features Modelling - Teacher verbalising thoughts and making processes involved in the writing process explicit (e.g. reasons behind choices of vocabulary, structure etc)
- Scribing – Children input ideas and teacher scribes them.
- Supporting composition – children have a go and come back for almost immediate feedback (e.g. using whiteboards)
Within each unit, we ensure opportunities are planned for the following skills to enable the children to write for the purpose and audience effectively at the end.
- Transcription, - Spelling
- Handwriting and presentation
- Grammar and punctuation
In addition, spelling and handwriting skills are also taught discretely (see below).
Talk for writing
At Windmill Hill Academy, we use Talk for Writing regularly as the structure for our units of work.
Within each unit, children are provided with opportunities to:
- read a model text and discuss collective responses to a text as readers;
- read the text as a writer, with the articulation of the thinking and creative processes involved in all stages of the act of writing;
- imitate model texts, using text maps and actions to support the internalisation of the structures used.
This involves the learning and repeating of oral stories, building children’s confidence to develop them through telling and then into writing;
- role play and drama to support understanding and develop creative responses;
- specific teaching of the skills (word and sentence level) required for the writing outcome and providing the children with a 'toolkit' to use independently;
- innovate model texts with alternative purposes and audiences provided, creating their own compositions;
- invent their own compositions for a specific audience and purpose;
- edit, proof read and publish their writing.
Within lessons, children are taught different grammar and punctuation conventions to help them develop more conscious control and choice in our language.
Building this knowledge is best achieved through a focus on grammar within the teaching of reading, writing and speaking. Once pupils are familiar with a grammatical concept (for example ‘modal verb’), they are encouraged to apply and explore this concept in the grammar of their own speech and writing and to note where it is used by others.
Please see below for glossary of the terms the children will learn during their time at Windmill Hill Academy.
At Windmill Hill Acadedmy, we want the children to develop effective spelling strategies. Each day, the children will have specific lessons which teach the children phonemes, spelling rules and spelling patterns and these are then referred to throughout the week in other lessons where appropriate to enable the children to secure this knowledge. Please find below a progression map which gives an overview for each year group. For Years 2 and above, we use the Babcock No Nonsense Spelling Programme.
Handwriting is a basic skill that influences the quality of work throughout the curriculum. By the end of Key Stage 2, all pupils should have the ability to produce fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy joined-up handwriting, and to understand the different forms of handwriting used for different purposes.
Our intention is to make handwriting an automatic process that does not interfere with creative and mental thinking.
- To develop a neat, legible, speedy handwriting style using continuous cursive letters, which leads to producing letters and words automatically in independent writing.
- To establish and maintain high expectations for the presentation of written work.
- For pupils to understand, by the end of Year 6, the importance of neat presentation and the need for different letterforms (cursive, printed or capital letters) to help communicate meaning clearly.
At Windmill Hill Academy, we are very proud of our pupil’s handwriting and take particular care in developing handwriting into the cursive style.
We use Letter-join’s on-line handwriting resource and Lesson Planners as the basis of our handwriting policy as it covers all the requirements of the National Curriculum.