Cumberland Infant School & Little Cumberland Pre-School

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Writing at Cumberland Infant School

Effective writing skills are vital for children to be successful, both in education and in their future lives. We aim for our
children to develop a love of writing; to be confident, enthusiastic and able writers who are able to organise and
express their thoughts and ideas effectively through written language.

 

                     
 

Aims
 Provide stimulating and enjoyable first hand experiences (e.g visits, trips, films, pictures, drama) to make
writing ‘fun’.
 Provide a range of ‘talk and thought’ activities including ‘talk for writing’ to develop children’s oral skills, enrich
their language and help them internalise the language structures of different text types.
 Link writing to topics to promote engagement.
 Teach a high quality systematic synthetic phonics programme to enable children to become confident and
competent spellers.
 Teach conventions of grammar and correct use of punctuation through discrete, carefully sequenced lessons.
 Teach children to develop clear, legible script with letters that are correctly formed, sized and orientated.
 Develop and sustain writing skills by providing engaging opportunities for children to write in a variety of styles
and for a range of purposes and audiences.
 Teach children to compose, amend and revise their writing through shared and guided writing sessions.
 Provide immediate, personalised and helpful feedback either verbally or through marking in lessons when
possible.
 Ensure progression in complexity of writing tasks and expectations year on year.
 Provide children with suitable tools to aid them in their writing (e.g Common Exception word spelling mats,
sound mats, topic word banks, talking tins and letter formation cards)
 Celebrate children’s writing in classroom displays.

Teaching and Learning approaches

Cumberland teaching strategies include topic-based whole-class shared writing sessions, guided group work, Talk for
Writing, phonics, handwriting sessions and independent writing. Teaching and learning in the Foundation Stage is
based on the area of learning Communication, Language and Literacy from The Early Years and Foundation Stage
(EYFS) statutory framework and children are assessed against the Early Literacy Goals. Children experience writing
in a range of settings and opportunities for mark-making and developmental writing are available through all areas of
learning and throughout the learning environment. In Key Stage 1, teaching and learning of writing is based on the
2014 National Curriculum for Writing and teaching is assessed against national age-related expectations. Writing is
topic based and explicitly modelled in shared writing sessions. Teachers also work intensively in small group guided
sessions. Talk for Writing is introduced in EYFS and used in some topics to teach writing throughout the school.
Through talk for Writing, children are introduced to quality topic-based texts and use a range of techniques, including
drama and art, to ‘learn’ versions of the text. This enables them to develop a rounded understanding of the language
and structure of engaging writing. They then carry out comprehension and text-analysis activities to give them a full

appreciation of the meaning and language used to write this type of text. Each Year Group adheres to a Medium Term
Plan for their teaching of writing outlining the steps of progression, genres and grammar to be taught within each topic.
We ensure that there is a broad balance between fiction, non-fiction and poetry with an emphasis on texts rather than
worksheets. Pupil provision is personalised to the needs of the child through differentiated planning and task variation.
Year 1 and 2 also follow the school’s own programme of ‘Teaching English in a unit’ to ensure mastery and fluency in
grammar concepts. Children are given ample opportunities to apply English skills learned in writing across the
curriculum in a range of contexts. Children in need of further support are identified through ongoing assessment and
these children receive targeted writing support.

Spelling

The application of phonics is taught as the primary strategy in the teaching of spelling. We broadly follow ‘Letters and
Sounds’ on a daily basis from Reception through to Year 2 with ‘in school’ specially developed resources that also
include the 2014 National Curriculum programmes of study for Year 1 and Year 2. Our children become competent
spellers through allotting graphemes to represent letter sounds. Children also learn spelling of tricky words and
common exception words and apply these skills in daily dictated sentences during phonics lessons. Word banks,
displays, common exception word and sound mats are used in class as visuals scaffolds for children to aid spelling
when writing. Spelling corrections are identified by adults during writing sessions and children practise these in
response to marked learning. Assessment of spelling is ongoing and recorded at least half termly on the school
phonics tracker. This assessment informs future planning and identifies children that may require further support to
become confident and competent spellers. These children receive targeted spelling support.

Handwriting

We support children to develop clear, legible script with letters that are correctly formed, sized and orientated.
Children will be taught to write in cursive script, with letter exits only. Children will be taught and reminded to hold their
pencil correctly; this may include the use of pencil grips. The teaching of handwriting will begin with planned
opportunities to develop gross and fine motor skills in Early Years before learning to develop letter patterns and
forming individual letters. This is taught and modelled using a range of resources. When children are secure with the
correct letter formation, they will begin to join their handwriting in Year 2. Handwriting sessions are taught at least 3 x
a week for short 10-15 minute sessions. Extra fine motor, gross motor and handwriting interventions occur
throughout the school for children who require additional support.
English Across the Curriculum

We have high expectations that children will take pride and care in their writing in all areas of the curriculum, not just in
English lessons. Children are given opportunities to develop and apply their English skills in all subjects across the
curriculum.

Marking and Assessment

Where possible, marking is either carried out in class or children are given verbal feedback during the lesson to
improve their writing. If this is not possible, teachers mark using a green and pink pen where the pink pen is used to
highlight areas for improvement in grammar, punctuation or spelling. Children respond to this marking either
independently or with support. Several times during the term, (up to 3 per Half Term), children are required to
complete independent /unaided pieces of writing which are kept in their independent writing folders. These pieces of
writing are assessed against the Early Literacy Goals for children in Year R and against the national age-related
expectations for children in Year 1 and 2. Children in Year 2 are assessed against the English writing framework to
establish whether they have met age related expectations. Pre-key stage standards are used to assess those children
who are working below the standard of the national curriculum assessments.


Equal Opportunities

All children are provided with equal access to the English curriculum. We aim to provide suitable learning opportunities
regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability or home background.


Monitoring
The English Leader monitors planning, children’s work and the effectiveness of teaching and assessment across the
school.