English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through writing, pupils have a chance to communicate emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently have access to society in a way that others do not. We all write better when what we are doing has an important purpose. We aim to teach our children to write for different purposes that link to the theme that they are studying in class.
The programmes of study for writing in Key Stages 1 and 2 are constructed similarly to those for reading:
transcription (spelling and handwriting)
composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing)
It is essential that teaching develops pupils’ competence in these two dimensions. In addition, pupils will be taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. These aspects of writing have been incorporated into the programmes of study for composition.
Writing down ideas fluently depends on effective transcription: that is, on spelling quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics) and understanding the morphology (word structure) and orthography (spelling structure) of words. Effective composition involves forming, articulating and communicating ideas, and then organising them coherently for a reader. This requires clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. Writing also depends on fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy handwriting.
Opportunities for teachers to enhance pupils’ vocabulary arise naturally from their reading and writing. As vocabulary increases, teachers should 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 should also teach pupils how to work out and clarify the meanings of unknown words and words with more than one meaning. References to developing pupils’ vocabulary are also included within the appendices.
Pupils should be taught to control their speaking and writing consciously and to use Standard English. They should be taught to use the elements of spelling, grammar, punctuation and ‘language about language’ listed. This is not intended to constrain or restrict teachers’ creativity, but simply to provide the structure on which they can construct exciting lessons. A non-statutory Glossary is provided for teachers.
Throughout the programmes of study, teachers should teach pupils the vocabulary they need to discuss their reading, writing and spoken language. It is important that pupils learn the correct grammatical terms in English and that these terms are integrated within teaching.
At St Augustine's Primary School we celebrate good progress and attainment in writing by choosing a 'Writer of the Week' from each class. 'Writers of the Week' are recognised in our Celebration Assemblies.
We also have a 'Handwriting Spy' who identifies and rewards excellent handwriting. Nobody knows who the Handwriting Spy is! We encourage the children to be 'Vocabulary Magpies' by rewarding those who use words they find in books they have read.