At St Mark’s CE Primary School, our integrated curriculum sets out to develop resilient, inquisitive and independent learners. Our aim is to ensure that the children are supported to leave our school being able to read, write and able to communicate their ideas.
We believe in an integrated approach where learning is purposeful and cross curricular. The writing within each year groups’ projects is recursive and has been carefully sequenced to enable children the time to revisit and then build upon prior writing skills. English is at the heart of each of our projects, allowing the children to regularly experience a wide, ambitious and exciting variety of reading and writing opportunities.
We believe that all children should have the opportunity to become confident readers. We want our children to have a varied reading diet, with exposure to a range of authors, allowing them to make sense of the world around them. We want to work alongside our school’s parents and carers as we understand that together with consistent commitment, we can enable each child to become a lifelong reader.
We understand the importance of talk in our English lessons; it allows children to develop their vocabulary in a sociable, yet focused way. We want to provide regular opportunities for the children to be able to communicate with their peers and in turn become a great listener.
Our English curriculum has been designed to be inclusive for all our children. Staff at our school are reflective to ensure that each child’s literacy journey will be personal and ambitious. We care that all children feel a sense of achievement and therefore feel motivated to learn.
The day-to-day delivery of English in our school is through well-sequenced, practical and creative tasks. The teaching of writing in our school is made meaningful through our unique integrated English curriculum. This approach allows the children to become fully immersed in their learning through strong, cross curricular links.
Our exciting projects start with a hook and then end with an outcome, which uses the English element of the project to communicate learning. Therefore, the children are motivated to acquire new skills and vocabulary. High quality, engaging texts are an integral part of our school’s English curriculum. This allows the children learn grammar, vocabulary and punctuation in context, appreciate how author’s craft their work and provides enjoyment that regular reading time can bring.
Our English lessons are carefully sequenced to cover relevant skills and to enable our learners to revisit prior learning frequently. Quality time is dedicated to talk, vocabulary and oracy skills at the beginning of each writing journey. In the classrooms, you will see these skills being practised through games, talk partner time, character hot seating, drama and role play. During the next stage, children will be taught grammar and punctuation in the context of their writing journey, as well as unpicking how to engage their audience. This is followed by a planning, writing and editing sequence.
Overall, our English curriculum plays a lead part within all our projects. Our projects are shaped around the children’s life experiences, deepening their knowledge of the local and wider world around them. This provides a foundation and ample opportunities for children to be expressive, resilient, individual and inquisitive, and as a result, better prepared for their next step in their learning.
In the EYFS and Year 1, children are taught letter formation and begin writing as part of the Bug Club phonics programme. Cursive handwriting is taught from Year 2 (after phonics has been completed). Children follow the school letter formation policy that is displayed in all classrooms.
Marking and Feedback
All marking in writing books follows the school’s marking and feedback policy. Teachers provide next steps during the writing process and this feedback may be delivered verbally or as written feedback. In Key Stage 2, teachers record verbal feedback and next steps in their Teacher Reflection notes ensuring that teaching is adaptive and fluid with the constant use of AfL informing planning and next steps.
In the EYFS and Year 1, children focus on spelling through the Bug Club phonics programme. From Year 2 (after completing phonics) to Year 6, in addition to their project based writing journey, children have a discrete a spelling lesson each week that focus on the spelling rules, as well as the age-expected spellings using the scheme Spelling Shed. Subject specific spellings are also given a focus in all subjects except Maths (whether the focus is vocabulary rather than spelling).
At St Mark’s CE Primary School, our intent is to develop a high standard of handwriting skills in our pupils, to allow them to communicate effectively through legible, confident, and fluent writing. We believe that acquiring proficient handwriting skills is a fundamental aspect of a well-rounded education, enabling pupils to express their thoughts and ideas with clarity and precision.
We aim to foster a positive attitude towards handwriting, creating an environment where pupils feel motivated, engaged, and proud of their progress. Through explicit teaching and consistent practice, we ensure that our pupils develop automaticity and accuracy in their handwriting, setting a solid foundation for lifelong learning.
We have clearly defined the expectations and aims for handwriting across all year groups. These expectations are shared with both pupils and parents through our school website, curriculum documents, and regular communication. By setting clear goals, we enable pupils to work towards achieving defined handwriting standards, ensuring a consistent and progressive approach throughout their primary education.
Our handwriting curriculum integrates the following key components:
Children are encouraged to take ownership of their handwriting and presentation by working towards a pen licence and gold pen licence in Key Stage 2.
We recognise that every child is unique and progresses at their own pace. By employing a range of strategies for differentiation and personalisation, we ensure that all pupils can access and make progress in handwriting. This includes:
Accurate spelling is a life skill and forms part of the cultural capital we wish to help our children acquire. As a result, spelling is actively taught across the school and, alongside handwriting and punctuation, is regarded as a key transcriptional skill.
We are committed to giving children the tools they need to succeed in spelling. Once their phonemic knowledge is secure, we use Spelling Shed from years 2 – 6 to teach spelling.
Spelling Shed maps out the spellings taught in each year group and offers a common approach for each unit and across year groups. It includes the high frequency words and the statutory words for Years 3-6.
Through spelling lessons, the children continue to build on the firm foundations built whilst studying phonics in Reception and Key Stage 1. They continue to break spellings down into the smallest units of sound and cluster them into syllables to read and write words efficiently (orthography). Children also study words; word parts; their meanings and how this affects spelling (morphology). Their knowledge of common morphemes such as root formations, prefixes and suffixes are consolidated across the programme. This is in line with recent EEF research and the National Curriculum.
Most lessons include an etymology element, allowing children to learn about the origin of words. For example, the latinate verbs: -act (do), -pute (think) or -opt (choose).
As well the ‘Spelling Shed’ spelling programme, teachers use their formative assessment of pupils to revise previously years spelling patterns, learn technical vocabulary appropriate to class topics and practise high frequency words.
Each lesson has a main objective from the National Curriculum appendix for spelling. Each lesson is then split up to revise, main teaching input and independent practice with the sessions being split over the week. Online games are then made available to be practiced at home throughout the week.