Our curriculum is ambitious, diverse and research driven
At Hunsbury Park Primary School, we strive to provide an ambitious curriculum that generates a genuine love for writing and the written word in our children, encouraging them to see writing as an interesting and enjoyable process. It is our intention that children learn to speak, read and write fluently.
We recognise the need to focus on vocabulary in order to develop writing – if a child can’t say it then they can’t write it. In order for children to reach their full potential we know they must develop strength and stamina for extended writing; being able to use fluent and legible handwriting.
We aim to provide opportunities for children to write for a range of purposes across the curriculum as children write at their best when they have a sense of purpose – seeing themselves as real writers and developing ownership for their outcomes. We strive for children to acquire the ability to plan, revise and evaluate their written work.
The skills that children develop in English are linked to, and applied in, every subject of our curriculum. The children’s skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening enable them to communicate and express themselves in all areas of their work at school.
The direct teaching of Writing
Quality writing and extended writing opportunities are expected across a range of curriculum areas.
Talk 4 Writing Lessons
Writing lessons are taught using Talk for Writing. The three stages of the process are followed through a unit of work. Fiction and non-fiction units are taught every half term. The overview for genres to be taught and texts to be used are on Writing Curriculum Maps. Each term a poem should be learnt to develop a bank of poems that the children can recite.
The Talk 4 Writing Process – the 3 ‘I’s
All Talk 4 Writing lesson planning should carefully consider the following aspects.
The COLD Task
The children must be asked to write a piece of independent writing based on the genre of the unit. This should be clearly labelled as COLD TASK in their English books. It must be used to find out key teaching points and planning must be adapted accordingly.
Start with a hook to capture the children’s imagination (e.g. a drama 4 writing activity, a WOW moment etc.). Learn and internalise a model text using text mapping and HPPS common actions.
Explore the text type through reading.
Box up the model text to understand the structure. Co-construct toolkits as the text type is explored.
HPPS grammar colour code used to identify grammar in the model text.
Shared writing to model how to innovate on the model text based on ‘boxing up’.
Write own example – use ‘boxing up’ to plan.
Self/peer/teacher assess with developmental feedback marking and opportunities to edit and improve.
Guided writing tasks as necessary.
INDEPENDENT APPLICATION – HOT TASK
Children independently write own example.
They edit and improve their own work independently.
Consider audience – publish and share work.
HOT TASK to be clearly labelled in English books.
All Talk 4 Writing lesson planning should carefully consider the following aspects.
High expectations set
Pupils are made to feel they can achieve – they want to learn and enjoy learning English.
The teacher is enthusiastic and positive about English and the current learning. Specific praise focuses on effort, engagement and success throughout the lesson.
o Carefully thought out partners or trios which enable optimum talk
o One hundred percent participation is expected
o Eye contact and clear standard spoken English must be used at all times by children and adults
o A confident voice is encouraged from all children when they speak to the class
o All model texts must be proof read to ensure there are no errors
o They must demonstrate a high standard of written English modelling the grammar focus for that unit
o Shared writing is used as an opportunity for teachers to model their thought processes out loud
o Explicit teaching of grammar, vocabulary and spelling
o Content of shared writing (including intentional mistakes to discuss) has been well thought out before the lesson
o Shared writing must be grammatically accurate with correct spellings
o Sessions are clear, simple, engaging and delivered at a good pace
o Children’s ideas are regularly drawn upon and used (although the teacher doesn’t just accept the first answer offered)
o The craft of writing is clear and words are chosen for effect.
The Writing Process
o Every child knows what to write when they begin
o Children are engaged and enjoy their writing
o Children are encouraged to regularly check their work by reading it carefully out loud
o When children are unsure of a spelling they are encouraged to only ask for the part of the spelling they are finding difficult.
o All children use their writing toolkits to assess their work.
o All children’s writing must be marked using the HPPS marking code and the children must be given a chance to respond to this marking to improve their work.
o Short burst writing tasks are used to enable children to practice the grammar and writing skills they have learnt, before they apply them to their T4W pieces of work.
o These toolkits set out a clear expectation for each genre of writing being taught.
o The ‘Toolkit for all my Writing’ indicates a writing expectation that should be set for writing in all subjects across the curriculum.
Spelling is taught using Sounds-Write or the No-Nonsense spelling programme.
Phonics is taught every day in EYFS and 4/5 times a week in Phase 1. This becomes a spelling lesson in Phase 2, or extended phonics learning for those who are still working on the Extended Code.
Spellings lessons include the teaching of the Common Exception Words relevant to the year group or ability. There is also an expectation that children learn the Common Exception Words at home.
Handwriting is taught throughout the school using the Kinetic Letters scheme.
Lessons are based on 4 main strands:
Making bodies stronger
- Physical strengthening of the body
- Motor and spatial preparation
Learning the letters
- Dynamic movements for learning letter shapes
- Sensory experiences for memory and recall
- Brave Monkey and Scared Monkey help to retell the story of each letter formation
- Teachers and teaching assistants must use the correct language to describe the formation of each letter.
- All teachers and teaching assistants must model the correct handwriting expectation in all their written communication with children.
Holding the pencil
- Optimal pencil hold for speed and legibility
- Diagnostic photos for addressing issues
- All teachers and teaching assistants must ensure the children complete their pencil checks in order to hold their pencils correctly
- Good pencil grip must be modelled by all teachers and teaching assistants
Flow and fluency
- Speed and stamina developed
- Economy of movement and use of rhythm for speed
- Joining letters in a 12-week programme
- All joins must be modelled correctly by all teachers and teaching assistants in all written communication with children
Each class in EYFS, Year 1 and Year 2 must have a Kinetic Letters display which includes a tree for Brave Monkey and Scared Monkey. Handwriting is taught at least 2 times a week.
By the time children leave Hunsbury Park Primary School and move to Secondary School, they will have a good understanding of a range of plot patterns in narratives, as well as text types in non-narrative writing. They will competently be able to apply this knowledge and understanding to their own written pieces of fiction and non-fiction work, engaging the audience through the writerly tools they have developed. They will also have a good command of the English language and a wide vocabulary that they can apply to their reading and writing, preparing them for tackling more complex and challenging texts at KS3.
SEND AND DISADVANTAGED PUPILS
Our ambition is for all pupils to access the full Writing curriculum. These pupils will be supported and scaffolded throughout lessons to achieve this, using resources such as word banks, text maps, images, video prompts and Colourful Semantics, as well as adult support where needed.
How Does English Promote British Values?
As a school, we value and celebrate living in, and being part of, Britain. Our reading and writing texts celebrate classic British texts, as well as exploring a range from other cultures in order to promote acceptance and tolerance of other cultures.
Children have many opportunities to have their voices heard and share their opinions during English lessons at Hunsbury Park. They take turns and listen to others’ answers and views when discussing books or texts. They respect the right of every individual to have their own thoughts and voices heard, using sentence stems to support this.
Rules and Laws
Through English, the importance of rules and laws are reinforced in different ways. There are clear rules for Book Talk sessions in use across the school. There are non-negotiable expectations for written work, such as Everyday Writing Toolkits. Children at Hunsbury Park are rewarded for academic achievements in English, as well as other subjects in weekly Celebration assemblies. Rewards are also given in the form of prizes for children completing their Readathon bookmarks.
We promote freedom of choice in English lessons and the right to respectfully express views and beliefs. Through the provision of a safe, supportive environment, we provide boundaries for our pupils to make choices safely. For example, choices about how they will innovate when planning and writing their own texts and choices about which writing aids they will use to help scaffold and support their work. As our children become more proficient and fluent readers, they are encouraged to independently choose their own reading book to take home, suited to the level they are at. They also understand that with rights come responsibilities and they must take a pride in their English work and look after their exercise books, reading books and reading records.
Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
As an inclusive school, we are proud to promote and celebrate different backgrounds and beliefs. We provide pupils with the opportunity to learn how to debate and defend points of view in English. Our diverse literature spine incorporates stories from different faiths and cultures, such as The Firework Maker’s Daughter, Lulu’s First Day, Nimesh the Adventurer, The Boy at the Back of the Class and Look Up.