Gleadless Primary School

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Hollinsend Road, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S12 2EJ

enquiries@gleadless.sheffield.sch.uk

0114 239 6130

Gleadless Primary School

We are Determined, We are a Team, We are Respectful, We have Self Belief, We Care, We Have a Voice.

Our English Curriculum

At Gleadless, our English curriculum is fundamental to children's learning across the wider curriculum. We believe that equipping our pupils with the ability to communicate effectively - whether in written or spoken language - and to engage both critically and respectfully with the views of others, helps them to become active and engaged members of society. Through our English curriculum we aim to develop children’s skills, knowledge and understanding so that they feel they have a voice, that it is valued and that they are confident to share this with others.

Writing

Voice is one of the Gleadless Primary School’s core values and writing is recognised and celebrated as a means to explore and express ideas. By the end of Key Stage 2, children will be able to communicate effectively through written texts, using language to express and explore ideas, and composing coherent meaningful texts for a range of purposes. Children will be able to write independently and recognise writing as a tool for self-expression.  We intend for all children to acquire appropriate subject knowledge, skills and understanding as set out in the English National Curriculum

At Gleadless, we give children a writing curriculum that is bespoke to their needs.  Fluency in transcription and grammar are prioritised as means to this end. They are explicitly taught in every year group. In Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, they are taught discretely so as to build skills whilst reducing cognitive load. As the children move towards the end of KS1, and into KS2, there will be a greater emphasis on composition and coherence, bringing the different facets of the subject together.  

Our intent is achieved through adhering to these principles:

  • Writing centres around high-quality texts so children are exposed to a wide range of authors and genres. Some of these texts are models for children to analyse, others will act as stimuli for their own writing. 
  • Transcription skills (handwriting and spelling) are mastered early to reduce cognitive load in later stages. These skills are explicitly taught in every year group with particular emphasis in FS and KS1.
  • Understanding of syntax and sentence structure is essential and therefore is explicitly taught. Grammar is introduced in context and children are given ample opportunity to practise their skills discretely before applying them in longer pieces of work.
  • Oracy is an integral part of the writing curriculum, both as a curriculum outcome in itself and a vehicle for developing vocabulary, sentence structure, composition and syntax.  All children are supported through deliberate practice to express their thoughts and ideas fluently and encouraged to speak in full sentences.
  • Composition is explicitly taught, with teachers modelling how to choose vocabulary and language structures and apply transcriptional/ grammatical skills. Editing and evaluating are explicitly taught throughout the learning sequence. Oral composition is vital, particularly in FS and KS1. 
  • Stamina must be built over time. In early stages, there is greater emphasis on accuracy, with children writing less but producing work that has accurate spelling and punctuation, neat handwriting and purposeful grammar and vocabulary.

 

 

Teaching and Learning Sequence (Y1 - 6): Immersion; Skills Development; Crafting a Text

There are many aspects to the craft of writing. To reduce strain on cognitive load, the process is broken down into three sections; immersion, skills development and crafting a text. This model is used throughout the school, excluding EYFS. Whilst the emphasis in Y1 is largely on sentence structure and transcription, as the children move through the school it shifts to composition. 

1. Immersion

Children are introduced to the core text(s) as a stimulus. The purpose of this part of the learning process is to promote the creativity that is required for composing, to have the opportunity to explore the language, themes and ideas of the text and to develop their knowledge and understanding of new or existing concepts. High quality texts stimulate and inspire the children’s own writing and provide models for them to draw on.  This section of the teaching and learning sequence is largely aligned with the reading curriculum and often involves explicit teaching of reading objectives, such as prediction, summarising and inference. Activities might include; P4C enquiries, visualisation and drama. New vocabulary is explicitly taught with ample opportunities for children to practise using and applying it in different contexts. 

2. Skills Development

Skills that are required in the final writing outcome are broken into steps and taught discretely to reduce cognitive load. Teachers may need to devote several lessons to each ‘step’, so that children have time to internalise new structures through deliberate practice. 

 

  • Transcription skills are taught outside of the learning sequence but are continuously referenced and threaded through the curriculum.
  • Grammar, including punctuation, should be taught in context, often using the core texts as a model. Children should be taught not only how to use different sentence structures but also why we might choose to use them, and when. They should be taught to analyse the impact of grammatical features. 
  • Composition includes analysis, examining how to use language (word and grammar) and learning how to organise and sequence information. Children are taught to consider the impact of their choices and how they are experienced by the reader. Editing and evaluating are taught as an integral part of the composition process.

Activities might include: dictation, oral rehearsal, extending and building sentences (orally and written), restructuring sentences and paragraphs.

3. Crafting a Text

To compose independently, children need to be taught how to express the ideas and creativity developed in the immersion lessons with the skills they have developed in the second part of the teaching and learning sequence. This is a complex, challenging process and must be explicitly taught and modelled by the teacher. Dialogue between teacher and pupils should continue throughout the writing process, with teachers giving verbal feedback and encouraging children to read their work back and reflect on their composition. 

Handwriting 

The Martin Harvey Scheme is used to teach letter formation and joins. Daily handwriting practice is built into the timetable. Cursive writing is introduced in the second term of Y2 and is required to meet the expected standard by the end of Year 4. 

As children move into UKS2, the expectation is that they use pen in writing lessons. 

Spelling 

Encoding is taught as an integral part of the daily Little Wandle phonics lessons in Early Years and Key Stage 1. In Y1 and 2, they are also taught the common exception words prescribed by the National Curriculum. When children complete the phonics scheme, they are taught spelling in a discrete session at least three times a week, following the national curriculum. Rules and common exception words are explicitly taught, with opportunities for regular review and practise. Weekly test scores are recorded on Markbook. 

Spelling strategies and the spelling of specific vocabulary are built into the Teaching and Learning Sequence where appropriate. 

Oracy

Oracy is a fundamental part of teaching and learning at Gleadless. It is the ability to express oneself fluently and grammatically in speech. Providing pupils with lots of opportunity for talk enables them to develop into clear and confident communicators, able to use their voice to articulate their thoughts and feelings. At Gleadless, oracy is interwoven into all aspects of the curriculum through the application of the oracy skills framework. We develop pupils' cognitive, social, linguistic and physical oracy skills by deliberate practice and careful scaffolding. Pupils are given talk structures to enable them to communicate in a range of ways; these talk structures become progressively more challenging as pupils move through each key stage. Children are encouraged to talk in full sentences at all times in school, and to apply their oracy skills across the curriculum. In writing lessons, we recongnise that composition begins with speaking. Children rehearse sentences and experiment with meaning making by talking to their teachers and peers. 

Scaffolding

At Gleadless, we believe that writing is an important means of communicating and expressing voice for all children.  All children participate fully when learning syntax and composition but might do so with varying levels of scaffolding. Teachers will consider the best ways in which to support and scaffold learning, when to alter these or when to remove the scaffolding completely. Scaffolding may take the form of word banks, sentence STEMS, phonics mats, shape coding, verbal rehearsal or small group work with the Teacher or TA. Additionally,  extra support is put in place to develop and hone handwriting, phonics and spelling in isolation before expecting children to apply them in extended pieces of writing. Children with SEND may require extra scaffolds and teachers may use the Birmingham Toolkit to support these children to make progress.   

 

Reading

For information about Reading at Gleadless, see both our 'Reading' page and our 'Early Reading and Phonics' page.