Mastering the written word is an essential life skill. Here at Preston Hedge’s, from the very start in Reception, our children build their early writing skills within a rich language-based environment. As our children progress through school, they continue to develop as writers, enabling them to develop a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and, from building on an understanding of our rich literary heritage, a knowledge of linguistic conventions.
Our curriculum enables our children to build increasingly sophisticated and imaginative writing pieces across genres, in both formal and non-formal tones for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. We build in opportunities for speaking and listening – such as formal presentations
and participating in debate – which provides our children with confident verbal communication skills. Through the wide experiences on offer within our writing curriculum, we seek to provide our children with the strong knowledge and skills essential for them to articulate and communicate fluently and confidently in their next stage of education and beyond.
As a school we recognise that reading is fundamental to the writing process. From blending phonics to build words and sentences, to using a text as an inspiration for structure, theme and atmosphere, reading forms the essential starting point of any writing journey here at Preston Hedge’s.
Once our children have the building blocks for the piece of writing that they are aiming for, children are actively encouraged to develop their own style of writing, driven by exciting contexts and stimulating experiences. Throughout the school, visual stimulus and drama are used to inspire children’s imaginations to write. We support the children – through interactive and collaborative learning opportunities – to build rich language banks, and draft and shape strong and engaging writing. Teachers model and create shared examples of effective writing with their class, demonstrating how to use language, punctuation and sentence structures to have impact and build textual pieces that are fit for purpose and appropriate for the audience. Through individual and peer evaluation, children develop their ability to critically assess and improve their writing, so children can develop the techniques that will enable them to become highly skilled writers. Children are encouraged periodically to read elements of their writing aloud, or create a piece to present, such as in debate, to support them in their verbal communication skills.
Punctuation and Grammar
An understanding of the mechanics of sentence structure and grammar is an important feature of writing. In recognition of this, punctuation and grammar is taught discretely in a separate 15 minute fast paced and interactive session. These skills are then embedded into their English sessions, so that children have every opportunity to refine and enhance their ability in this area.
Weekly spellings are progressive throughout the school and focus on firstly securing common year group spellings, before moving on to understanding the core spelling rules that are required to enable pupils to work out adventurous spellings.
Below are the common exception spellings that children are expected to know by the end of that year at school, and use correctly in their writing:
Y3-6 Common Exception Spellings
We strive to ensure that all our pupil’s books reflect the highest of outcomes and we recognise that neat presentation is an important skill. Therefore, we have a whole school approach to handwriting, which is the cursive script. Learning this style of handwriting begins as soon as children start in Reception when they begin to form and shape letters, and the children build on this learning progressively until their writing is joined and fluent at pace. Support is provided for parents, so that they can actively encourage their child with this at home.
We are proud of our highly creative writers and communicators here at Preston Hedge’s. At the end of all statutory assessments in 2019, our pupils across school were well above national averages in writing outcomes and in line with the top quintile of schools with 92% of our children meeting age expectations. In the Y6 Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar assessment, 70% of our pupils went well beyond age expectations to meet the higher standard, which was 12% above the top quintile of schools nationally.
Beyond this though, our pupils are confident, articulate young people, who are able to communicate effectively in a range of situations – skills that will serve them well far beyond primary education.