At Bookwell Primary School our primary intent of the English curriculum is to create avid readers which we believe is the foundation for any greater depth writer. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing and write clearly and accurately whilst selecting and adapting their language and style to suit a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. We plan engaging units of work in order to enthuse, inspire and motivate our children, which are underpinned by core texts from our carefully developed reading spine. It is our intention that by the time our pupils leave Bookwell in year 6 they are ready for the next stage of their education and will be able to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas effectively and with a developed awareness for purpose and audience.
Our curriculum closely follows the aims of the National Curriculum to enable all children to:
- Appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
- use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
- are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
We deliver our English writing curriculum using Pie Corbett’s 'Talk for Writing' approach. By focussing on the oral retelling of various text types, familiar structures become fully embedded in the long-term memory so that the children can later apply these structures to their own writing whilst developing the language techniques taught for the particular area of focus. For example, children may be writing using the structure of a portal story whilst developing their understanding of what makes an effective setting description
Core quality texts, from our well-developed reading spine, stand at the core of our English planning where we strive to intrinsically integrate the teaching of reading and writing. Children engage deeply with carefully selected texts as we foster their ability to: read as readers, read as writers and finally write as readers. The primary aim of the reading spine is that we expose the children to a range of high quality literature over the course of their primary school life. In this way, we are able to assist the children in their development of a rich vocabulary and of texts which are written with careful precision to captivate their audience. Teachers create and use model texts for specific writing units which aim to demonstrate to the children the language techniques which are to be taught and developed.
Typically, in a unit of work, the focus will be developed through internalisation and contextualisation of the model text where children deepen their understanding of a particular text type, exploring other examples through wider whole-class reading and later creating a ‘tool-kit’ for purposeful writing. Following sessions of deliberate practise, where children use ‘short-burst writing’ to develop the writerly tools and receive timely feedback in order to improve, children then write independently in to fulfil their planned purpose. The writing process is always modelled by the teacher during shared writing sessions.
Transcription skills of handwriting and spelling are taught discretely and reinforced across all areas of the curriculum. Opportunities are then given across the curriculum to allow children to revisit and embed writing skills taught discretely.
Because talk plays a central role in our curriculum, both English and beyond, children quickly develop in confidence whilst embedding their core communication skills and subsequently develop as articulate citizens.
We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base in literacy which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. Teachers therefore plan ensuring a model of progression is sustained throughout school. In this way, children progressively develop their writing of different genres year on year, building on and deepening their writing skills.
Our long-term plans ensure a range of fiction and non-fiction genres year on year which may be influenced by the core text and/or other curriculum learning. When planning particular units of work, teachers will use their subject knowledge about the end of year expectations for the year group they teach and their knowledge of the particular cohort of pupils, alongside our ‘Progression in Writing Document’ and ‘Pie Corbett’s Toolkits’ to ensure pitch is high. Model texts should always be aspirational; they should demonstrate the level of writing expected from the children whilst exposing them to the higher
standard and a range of writerly tools which are specific to the writing focus.
Writing & EYFS
Communication is vital for learning throughout the curriculum, so at Bookwell, we want to ensure that all children are confident and enthusiastic writers. Each day, children access a range of activities to develop and apply their speaking, listening and writing skills. This includes drama activities (helicopter stories, talk for writing) and writing for a variety of audiences and purposes. In addition to this, children focus on pre-writing skills to build their muscle strength and coordination using programs such as “Dough Disco”.
At Bookwell our successful English curriculum is high quality, inspiring and well-planned allowing children to make good or better progress from their starting point. This allows them to leave Bookwell being able to articulate and communicate their ideas fluently and legibly for a range of purposes.
The impact of our English curriculum is measured through the monitoring cycle in school:
- Lesson observations, book monitoring and learning walks
- Photographs and videos of practical work
- Gathering pupil voice – to check understanding, understanding of key skills and knowledge, progression, confidence in discussing English
- Discussions with teaching staff
- Moderating pupils work in school and in cluster meetings with other schools to ensure accurate assessments are made
- Tracking pupils’ progress each half term through a writing assessment
Importantly, monitoring is also used to identify gaps in the curriculum that may need to be addressed across the school, or within individual year groups. Monitoring is an ongoing cycle, which is used productively to provide the best possible English curriculum for our children and to ensure it is inclusive to all.
Enrichment and Cultural Capital
- Author visits
- Poetry Workshop
- Handwriting Competition
- World Book Day
- Library visits