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St Mary's Church of England Primary School

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St Mary's Church of England Primary School, Yew Tree Road, Slough, England, SL1 2AR

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Why do we teach what we teach? (Our intent)

Writing is an essential aspect of education and future life. We believe that all children at St Mary's should have the ability to express themselves confidently, both in spoken and written communication. At St Mary's, we want our pupils to be able to write for real-life purposes and to understand how and when different writing styles should be used. In order to become competent writers, children must first be competent speakers. We work hard to ensure the children's spoken English is of a high standard so that it creates a strong foundation for their writing. 


How do we teach it? (Our implementation)

  • The children's writing journey begins with mark making, which teaches them the fundamental skills that they will need to become good writers. There is a focus on pencil grip and letter formation from the early stages of writing to prepare children for writing with fluent, legible and speedy handwriting. Handwriting is taught across the school, both as whole class lessons and as small intervention groups. 
  • We teach stand-alone spelling sessions, where the children learn key rules and spelling techniques. There is a particular focus on homophones, prefixes and suffixes, and commonly misspelled words. 
  • Punctuation and grammar skills are taught as both stand-alone lessons and within the context of a unit of work. This learning is then applied to all written work. 
  • Oral rehearsal plays a significant role in children's writing across the school. We encourage pupils to verbalise their ideas and compose sentences aloud before writing them down. 
  • Pupils also learn to edit and proofread their work. From Year 1, the children begin to re-read their work to check that it makes sense. From Year 2, we explicitly teach proofreading and editing skills as part of our English lessons. The children are expected to re-read their work, recognise and correct errors (within the limits of their English knowledge). This will often take place with a partner as we find the children are more able to identify errors in others' work than their own.


What is the difference that this makes? (Our impact)

At St Mary's, pupils are able to write across a range of genres and subjects, applying taught skills independently in their work. They can write for different audiences and purposes, adapting their writing style appropriately. They are able to find and correct errors in their own and others' writing, as well as offering suggestions as to how it could be improved. By Year 6, the children are prepared for writing at length and at pace, in a legible style, which they will need for future learning and into adulthood.