Writing at Nutfield Church Primary School

English Environment:  

Every classroom has an English ‘Working Wall’ which is linked to the current text and built upon over a sequence of lessons within a unit. This display is expected to be bright and stimulating and in place at the start of each new text-based teaching sequence.  Grammar splats are displayed in the classroom, thus enabling the children and class teacher to add key vocabulary that can be ‘magpied’ during writing. Teachers include details of their proposed display in their planning for each unit of work. All classes are timetabled to teach an explicit English lesson daily.  There are additional shorter timetabled lessons for explicit Guided Reading in Key Stages One and Two and explicit Phonics lessons in Years R and One.  Reading and writing naturally occurs discretely in all other curriculum subjects.

The teaching and learning of writing at Nutfield Church is very much cross-curricular and is not just confined to English lessons. We aim to develop an enthusiasm for writing amongst our learners and give children opportunities to write for real life purposes. Throughout their time at Nutfield Church your child will learn to use a range of sentence structures, punctuation and vocabulary.

Through use of The ‘Literary Curriculum’ (formerly Literacy Tree), we cover the entire English Programme of Study for KS1 and KS2 for Writing and Reading Comprehension, and meet the needs of the statutory 2021 Early Years Framework. This approach supports children to think deeply and develop skills with depth. Where needed, planning sequences are adapted, personalised and differentiated by the teacher to ensure all pupils can be supported and flourish in their lessons.

The planning progression is broken down into three main Stages:

  1. Immersion and Engagement- This is known as the ‘hook’ and it provides an engaging starting point.
  2. Gathering Ideas
  3. Extended Written Outcome

The class teacher modelling and demonstrating strategies for learning are an important and integral part of the teaching process.  Teacher guided activities enable pupils to experience success in their learning and give them confidence to progress independently. Collaborative learning is encouraged through work in pairs, small and large groups. Independent learning is encouraged through differentiated tasks including independent writing and reading tasks and collaborative talk to support individual writing. All children are encouraged to try the Challenge set at the beginning of each lesson.

We plan to make the teaching and activities as relevant and enjoyable to the children as possible. Pupils have opportunities to write for a range of given purposes and in a variety of formats. They also have opportunities to consolidate and apply their writing skills in cross-curricular work.

In KS1, Children’s writing generally develops at a slower pace than their reading. Writing will be taught through the Literary Curriculum with a focus on the children being able to:

  • know what they want to say
  • know how to identify sounds in words
  • know at least one way to spell each of the sounds of English
  • know how to form letters.

These points are essential before they can write independently in a way that can be read by others. With plenty of practice in writing from dictation, children will find it easier to write independently. Then they can begin to write down their ideas.

In KS2, Children will be taught through a range of genres and cross-curricular writing. They will be given opportunities to write different genres of text which include:

  • Poetry
  • Persuasive texts
  • Narrative (Stories etc)
  • Recounts
  • Reports
  • Explanations
  • Instructions


It is important for pupils to be able to write clearly and develop a fluent and legible handwriting style.  Presentation should be neat in all learning. The correct formation of letters and joining are modelled by the class teacher and dedicated handwriting sessions are taught every day for 10 minutes from Year One to Year Six. Children are expected to perfect the formation of each letter before they are allowed to use joined, cursive handwriting. Children will begin to practise some of the joins in the Summer Term of Year One and this continues on into Year Two. All children are expected to be using the correct formation and joining letters by Year 3, providing they have mastered the letter formation (see handwriting policy).

Spelling, vocabulary, grammar, punctuation

Opportunities for teachers to enhance pupils’ vocabulary arise naturally from their reading and writing. As vocabulary increases, teachers show pupils how to understand the relationships between words, how to understand nuances in meaning, and how to develop their understanding of, and ability to use, figurative language. They also teach pupils how to work out and clarify the meanings of unknown words and words with more than one meaning. Pupils are taught to control their speaking and writing consciously and to use Standard English.

By the end of year 1, pupils should be able to read a large number of different words containing the GPCs that they have learnt, whether or not they have seen these words before. Spelling, however, is a very different matter. Once pupils have learnt more than one way of spelling particular sounds, choosing the right letter or letters depends on their either having made a conscious effort to learn the words or having absorbed them less consciously through their reading. Younger pupils have not had enough time to learn or absorb the accurate spelling of all the words that they may want to write.

Many of the words children learn to spell in Years 1 and 2, including almost all those listed as ‘exception words’, are used frequently in pupils’ writing, and therefore it is worth pupils learning the correct spelling.

The word-lists for years 3 and 4 and years 5 and 6 are statutory. The lists are a mixture of words pupils frequently use in their writing and those which they often misspell.

At Nutfield Church Primary School, pupils are encouraged to use a range of spelling strategies and given opportunities to practise and apply them in English. Many of these spelling rules are embedded in the Literacy Tree units of work. Years One to Six follow the Spelling Appendix within the National Curriculum framework in planning the teaching of spelling rules and strategies. These spelling rules are taught in class and the spelling sound or rule is explained to the children and they will have an opportunity to think about words they already know which fit that sound or rule. Children will start to look for exceptions and gain an under-standing of how/where that sound or rule might be used.

  • Weekly spellings on Purple Mash which follow a spelling rule or phonic pattern in the early years
  • Children have an opportunity to learn these words in class
  • They also learn them at home and strategies are given to help children remember them
  • From the latter part of Year One, children are tested in class

At Nutfield Church Primary School we believe that learning grammar is essential as it enables children to make more sophisticated choices in their writing thus ensuring that they can effectively communicate their ideas to an audience accurately, precisely and, perhaps most importantly, creatively.  We also believe that grammar must be firmly embedded within an exciting teaching sequence that gives children a purposeful writing context. Within their English lessons, children are taught the elements of grammar and punctuation. Pupils learn the correct grammatical terms in English and that these terms are integrated within teaching. Please see Appendix 2 for a yearly breakdown on the grammatical terms that children learn at our school.

Marking and Assessment

Marking and book expectations:
All learning in books is headed by a Learning Objective label.  This indicates the learning objective, the challenge set, the possible EGPS focus and whether the child has been learning independently or with an adult.  All labels are highlighted to indicate successes.  In the Autumn Term these are highlighted in green, in the Spring Term these are highlighted in yellow and in the Summer Term these are highlighted in blue.  This enables the class teacher to use written work in books for assessment purposes.

Pupils use Steps to success to self-assess and all learning is marked carefully:

  • Represents the successes of the learner
  • Represents the next steps in learning

Teachers identify evidence of a target being met by writing  in the margin next to the evidence. They also date and initial the target (in the child’s book.)  It is expected that evidence a child has achieved each objective will be recorded three times before the teacher considers the target to be securely met.

In KS1, a V can be written by the teacher beside the challenge on the sticker to identify that the challenge was discussed and answered by the child.

Assessment is an integral part of teaching and learning in English.

Early Years:
On entry into Reception each child participates in the Reception Baseline Assessment which is a national age-appropriate assessment of literacy and is clearly linked to the learning and development requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Literacy assessment tasks focus on early vocabulary, phonological awareness and early comprehension. The response formats for the tasks include: oral response, pointing and ordering picture cards.

During the course of the year, the EYFS team monitor the children’s progression in Literacy in line with Development Matters (a non-statutory curriculum guidance for EYFS). As we witness children developing these skills through child initiated play and/or focussed group learning sessions an observation is noted on our on-line learning journal ‘Tapestry’; each child has an account for the team to use as a live document of the child’s progress and to which the parents/carers have access.

As the children move into the summer term of Reception the team begin to focus on the Early learning Goals (ELG) with the aim of ensuring these have been met by the end of the academic year.  The ELGs are used to support us to make a holistic, best-fit judgement about a child’s development, and their readiness for Year 1. When forming a judgement about whether an individual child is at the expected level of development, the team draw on their knowledge of the child and their own expert professional judgement. Alongside this method of assessment we also use an evidence based approach from the collection of relevant observations made on Tapestry during the course of the academic year.

Key Stage 1 and 2:
Assessment week happens 3 times a year – at the end of each term. At the beginning of the year in 2021, we conducted a baseline for each class which was based on how well they performed in the Summer term assessments and this was used as a basis for teaching in the Autumn term. In Years 1 to 6, teachers wrote an SSA (Special Support Arrangement) tailored to each child who was considered as working below the expected level in English. These targets were put in their books and included in planning to help these children ‘bridge the gap’.

Monitoring and Evaluating English:

Monitoring of English is carried out by the English Middle Leader.  This is achieved by:

  • Sampling work and talking to teachers about on-going work.
  • Pupil Voice-talking to children about their work.
  • Reading records are checked on a half termly basis
  • There is a handwriting policy and children are taught handwriting for 10 minutes per day with extra sessions for children who require it.

In addition to this there are statutory assessments in Years One, Two and Six. In all other years, children will sit a reading comprehension test every term which will form part of an end of term overall assessment. Writing will be teacher assessed every term.

Year One phonics screening check: The check takes place in June.  The children read 40 words out loud to their class teacher.  This will help to inform whether additional support needs to be put in place in Year Two.

Key Stage One SATs assessment: The new curriculum, introduced in 2014, places emphasis on grammatical subject knowledge. The children in Year Two will sit statutory SATs tests in English in May.  These comprise of formal English Grammar and Punctuation papers, a Spelling paper and Reading papers.  The class teacher will also use teacher assessments to build up a picture of all children’s learning and achievements.

Key Stage Two SATs assessment: At the beginning of May all Year Six children will sit statutory SATs papers in English Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling and Reading.  The class teacher will also use teacher assessments to build up a picture of all children’s learning and achievements.