At the Annunciation Catholic Schools, our aim is to equip our pupils with the necessary skills, knowledge and understanding to become well- rounded, lifelong linguists with a real enthusiasm for reading and writing. Our school intent places a large focus on vocabulary and therefore we have developed our English curriculum with a focus on creating meaningful links with other subjects where possible with rich experiences, exposing pupils to a wide range of high-quality texts and developing pupils’ vocabulary, grammar and punctuation skills in context.
It is also for this reason that every lesson has a focus on vocabulary and new words are taught and clarified at the beginning of every lesson as well as revisited regularly. Each week, in EYFS and KS1, pupils are introduced to a word of the week which is differentiated for each year group. This is to broaden vocabulary and therefore help with reading and writing.
Units of work begin with a hook to engage the children, giving our pupils an immersive and meaningful experience before embarking on the learning journey.
English lessons at our school act as building blocks leading up to final pieces of writing in which pupils demonstrate the wide range of skills they have learnt. Our lessons take pupils through a learning journey which equips them with the knowledge they require to become skilled writers, by covering a range of skills: speaking and listening through drama and role play; analysis of exemplar texts; developing grammar and punctuation in context; and vocabulary activities, all working together to develop a sufficient stamina for writing. The work in pupils’ books illustrates a build-up of skills through word and sentence-level work, paragraph-level application where appropriate, final writing pieces, and editing/up-levelling. We ensure that children develop an understanding of how widely writing is used in life and therefore the importance of the skills they are learning.
Our intentions in writing are for children to:
- Write for a purpose.
- View themselves and feel valued as writers
- Inspire imaginations, a love for literacy and create the writers of the future.
- Take ownership of their writing
- Appreciate the writing of others
- See writing as an interesting and enjoyable process
- Acquire the ability to organise and plan their written work
As children progress through the writing curriculum, links are made to support the children as they continually build on skills and knowledge that they have accumulated in previous year groups. In the EYFS period of a child’s learning, the children explore mark making and their learning of synthetic phonics enables them to assign meanings to their marks. This moves on to Key Stage 1, where these skills are nurtured and developed further with the introduction of grammar, focused texts and genres to inspire writing and the increase of writing across the curriculum.
Handwriting is a basic skill that influences the quality of work. In the Early Years, print handwriting is taught to ensure correct letter formation is developed. This enables children in Key Stages 1 and 2 to have a secure basis for writing in a neat legible cursive script with our intention being that handwriting is an automatic process that does not interfere with creative and mental thinking.
Spelling is also taught as this is a key element to being a successful writer; pupils are able to spell the relevant year group spellings which in Key Stage 1 is closely linked to the phonic learning. Initially, pupils are taught to segment spoken words into graphemes before moving on to learning more spelling rules and different word families.