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Writing - Subject Leader: Helen Warrender

Being able to write is an essential life skill. Therefore, whatever their starting point, we aim for children at St Mark’s to develop the stamina and skills to write at length, using correct grammar and accurate spelling and punctuation. By doing so, they will have the ability to express in writing the depth and breadth of knowledge they are building through the rich, varied and engaging experiences we have built into our overall curriculum.

Through our units of work for writing, we aim for children to develop skills of

  • Transcription – building on early phonics and handwriting skills
  • Composition – building on oracy and reading skills and including editing skills

We aim for our children to be able to use their skills of oracy to articulate ideas so that they can subsequently organise them coherently for a reader. They will also use their developing reading skills to recognise when the written word has been used to best effect so that they can begin to use this as a model for their own writing and start to ‘write like a reader’, showing awareness of their audience. We aim for our teaching to allow children to see and use grammar and punctuation in context, rather than as ‘standalone’ skills.

Our staff plan purposeful, engaging and carefully sequenced learning activities and seek to build confidence in all of our pupils. We aim for our pupils to show perseverance when learning to use their writing skills and to show resilience should they find something tricky.

We know that not all children acquire writing skills at the same rate, but we are confident that all children at St Mark’s can make progress from individual starting points. We definitely want children to feel proud of the written work that they produce and to recognise the progress that they are making so that they leave St Mark’s equipped with the ability to use the power of the written word with confidence for the rest of their education and for their adult lives.

Curriculum Overview

Early Years:

Alongside the systematic teaching of early phonics skills, we provide a range of mark making and writing materials throughout the year and encourage and celebrate the children’s attempts to communicate in this way. We teach the formation of lower case and capital letters and the skills needed to write simple sentences. We also teach children to read and check what they have written.

Key Stage 1 and 2 Units of Work:

Planning follows the progression within the programmes of study from the 2014 National Curriculum. Careful links are made across the curriculum to ensure that children’s English learning is relevant and meaningful and, where possible, writing opportunities are built into units of work that link to high quality texts and/or to topics we are covering in subjects like History and Geography.

We plan topics to allow children to write for a range of purposes and audiences, using both fiction and non-fiction text types. The overall plan for units of work is subject to some small variation year-on-year to allow for meeting the needs and interests of differing cohorts, but typically looks like this:

Grammar and Punctuation

Grammar and Punctuation skills are taught both discretely and as part of Units of Work.  The teaching of discrete skills allows children to practice new skills at a sentence level, whereas teaching as part of units of work allows skills to be used in context so that writing contains a variety of sentence structures fit for the purpose of the style that the writing requires.


For more information about how we teach handwriting, please click here.

Progression of Skills

Our Units of work are planned to fit around a progression of skills which aligns with the expectations of the 2014 National Curriculum, to incorporate Composition and Editing, Transcription, Grammar and Punctuation and Handwriting:


If children are confident in their ability to spell, they are more likely to use more ambitious language in their writing. Foundations for the teaching of spelling are laid through systematic teaching of synthetic phonics in KS1. As part of this teaching, children are familiarised with, and begin to learn the spelling of, common exception words.

As the children progress through the school, they learn common spelling rules and patterns so that they grow increasingly confident to tackle a wider variety of unfamiliar words. We follow the Spelling Shed Programme of study which aligns with the English National Curriculum. The game aspect of Spelling Shed ensures children are engaged and eager to practise their spellings regularly. The low-stakes games, quizzes and reward systems ensure that children find spelling fun. The games can be played in class or assigned for home learning.

Children are encouraged to learn their spellings in a variety of ways, for example through ‘rainbow writing’ or ‘pyramid words’. In this way, we cater for a range of learning styles. In order to assess spelling, we are able to refer to the data collected through Spelling Shed. We also check spelling accuracy through regular dictation exercises.

Children are taught to use dictionaries independently, using the first two or three letters of a word. They are also taught to use dictionaries to check the meaning.

Children are taught skills of proof-reading so that they are able to find and fix spelling errors independently.

The Impact of our Writing Curriculum

At an age appropriate level, children at St Mark’s:

  • Speak with confidence, using a wide vocabulary and showing a good command of the English language. They have the skills required to turn this spoken language into the written word.
  • Have a secure phonic knowledge that they can apply to spelling
  • Are proud of their ability to write coherently and accurately and, as they progress through the school, for a variety of purposes and audiences
  • Find pleasure in writing
  • Present their work well, forming letters correctly
  • Make good and sustained progress from individual starting points
  • Have the skills and knowledge they will need for the next stage of their education.
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