English: Writing

Intent: “Know the Way”

At Thurlbear, we believe that developing a love for writing and a life-long engagement with books and wider literature, is fundamental we aim to provide children with key, transferrable writing skills that build on year on year. Writing is a key life skill and the ability to communicate thoughts, feelings and ideas is fundamental and that is why it features across all the subjects in our Thurlbear curriculum.

At Thurlbear, we understand the intrinsic link between reading and writing and this is why reading is at the heart of our full English curriculum.  Quality texts, rich in vocabulary, have been carefully chosen to offer exposure to a broad range of literature, helping us to explore the global elements of our curriculum, whilst also instilling a love for reading in our children and enhancing the quality of their writing outcomes.

By placing these books at the heart of our learning experiences, teachers use these texts as the context for covering the skills and knowledge outlined in the National Curriculum through broad, challenging and inspiring themes.


Our Thurlbear writing curriculum will give children the opportunity to develop:

·         A love for writing.

·         An extensive and rich vocabulary, for reading, writing and spoken language.

·         Fluency and accuracy in expressing their thoughts and emotions, orally and in writing.

·         The ability to write fluently, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences throughout the curriculum.

·         The ability to use discussion in order to learn, elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas

·         Competency in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.

·         Excellent transcription skills that ensure their writing is accurately punctuated, spelled correctly, well presented with an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions.

·         An excellent knowledge of writing techniques to write detailed and interesting texts on a range of topics.

·         Well-organised and structured writing, which includes a variety of sentence structures.

·         A vibrant imagination which makes readers engage with and enjoy their writing.

Implementation: “Show the Way”

At Thurlbear Primary school we have created an exciting writing curriculum, based on a range of high quality texts, that meet the aims of the national curriculum, engage Thurlbear pupils, and supports their learning experiences across the curriculum. Teachers individualise each planning unit to meet the specific needs of their class. Progression in writing has been mapped out to ensure a rigorous, high quality writing curriculum is provided to children that enables progression.

We follow the Educational Programmes set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework and National curriculum. The programmes of study for writing at Key stages 1 and 2 are constructed similarly to those for reading as defined in the National Curriculum.

Transcription (spelling and handwriting)

Composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing)

At Thurlbear, we have ensured teaching develops pupils’ competence in these two dimensions. In addition, pupils are taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. Our lesson sequences are planned to include elements of each of these dimensions within a creative framework that aim to inspire and foster a love of literature.

Our writing units follow the following sequence:

·         Hook (Where appropriate)

·         Exploring the text, explicit teaching of vocabulary and immersion in the features of the genre.

·         Explicit teaching and practice of writing skills.

·         Shared/independent planning.

·         Write independently applying new learning, assessment of new learning.

·         Editing

·         Re-drafting (where appropriate)

·         Publish/perform/share

In English, the writing process is constantly modelled, embedded and deepened throughout the children’s learning journey through the school: We follow the National Curriculum and daily whole class English lessons are taught so that all children have access to age-related skills and knowledge. We understand the importance of developing and broadening vocabulary, so each text is chosen to meet National Curriculum objectives, broaden vocabulary and sentence construction and to meet the needs of the audience and purpose.

 Oracy is prioritised in our writing curriculum in order to build an extensive vocabulary for our pupils, to support their understanding, comprehension and ability to communicate articulately. Discussion, questioning and immersing in a range of texts all increase our children’s understanding and prepare them with the knowledge and skills that they need in order to be successful in their writing.

Teachers strive to ensure that writing opportunities are meaningful for the children and that audience and purpose is clear. We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base in writing, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the Thurlbear curriculum. Our writing curriculum has been carefully sequenced, so that each learning experience builds on the knowledge and skills the children learnt previously. The model texts provide increasing levels of challenge, complexity and view points. Teachers use progression documents and ‘Writing for a purpose’ progression notes to support their planning and to ensure that relevant text features and grammatical skills are explored and taught within a unit of work. This ensures progression in genres across the school.

At Thurlbear, our pupils participate in a wide variety of writing experiences across the curriculum to support their writing development. They draw from first hand experiences, cross curricular enrichment opportunities and factual or creative pieces inspired by high quality books or events. We provide children with opportunities to write for a range of different purposes and for enjoyment. We do this by planning a range of writing stimuli that will model and motivate children to write and capture their imagination.

We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. We want to inspire children to be confident writers who take pleasure in the writing process.  Teachers expect the highest standards of writing every time a child writes in any subject.

Teachers and teaching assistants support children as necessary to enable them to achieve age related expectations. This may involve a greater level of scaffolding, toolkits, word banks or a greater level of modelling.  More-able children are given opportunities to extend their writing in a variety of ways, through showing greater control and by using a higher level of vocabulary and grammar features. Through close observation and monitoring, any children who are at risk of falling behind are provided with timely support and interventions tailored to their specific needs.

We set high expectations and develop ‘Cultural Capital’ by:

•             Using high quality literature and texts across the curriculum.

•             Valuing ‘oracy’ and explicitly teaching higher vocabulary.

•             Using ‘authentic’ high quality resources.

•             Making links which inspire children and showing that what they are learning at school can lead to interesting, exciting future jobs and careers.

Impact: “Grow the Way”

We want children to feel excited and inspired by our curriculum so that they develop a love of English.  We want Thurlbear children to see themselves as authors, storytellers and lifelong readers.

The successful approach to the teaching of writing at Thurlbear Primary School will result in an engaging, knowledge, skill and vocabulary rich writing curriculum, which will equip the children with excellent literacy skills, and nurture their imagination and creativity enabling them to feel empowered to achieve their ambitions now and in the future. Children will be equipped with skills and knowledge that will enable them to be ready for the curriculum at Key Stage 3.

A Thurlbear Child should:

•             Have developed a love for writing.

•             Achieve age related expectations in writing at the end of their cohort year.

•             Have extensive and rich vocabulary, for reading, writing and spoken language.

•             Be fluent and accurate in expressing their thoughts and emotions, orally and in writing.

•             Have mastered the ability to write fluently, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences throughout the curriculum.

•             Be able to use discuss, elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas

•             Be competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.

•             Have developed excellent transcription skills that ensure their writing is accurately punctuated, spelled correctly, well presented with an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions.

•             Have an excellent knowledge of writing techniques to write detailed and interesting texts on a range of topics.

•             Be able to organise and structure their writing, which includes a variety of sentence structures.

•             Have a vibrant imagination which makes readers engage with and enjoy their writing.

We hope that as children move on in their learning journey to further their education and learning, that their creativity, passion for English and high aspirations travel with them and continue to grow and develop as they do.

English – Reading

At Thurlbear, we strive to provide an engaging and ambitious curriculum that enables every child to become literate, preparing them with the knowledge and skills to lead happy and successful lives, both now and in the future. As part of this overarching vision, we provide a Reading curriculum, rich in knowledge and skills, that develop children’s ability to listen, speak, read and write for a wide range of purposes and audiences. Our curriculum is built around high quality texts and high expectations to inspire our children and enabling them to achieve high levels of success in English.

The English teaching we provide should allow all children to fulfill their potential whilst giving them the skills to understand and use language in all its aspects. We aim to engage all children in high quality learning experiences, with reading at the heart of the curriculum, in order to nurture passions for life long reading; whilst providing the confidence to communicate both orally and in writing.

Intent: “Know the Way”

It is our intention that reading is at heart of the Thurlbear curriculum, and we strongly believe that becoming a confident reader, is vital to a child’s understanding and appreciation of the world.  Believing literacy has the power to enrich lives, we will endeavour to ensure every child develops the confidence and competence to embrace literature in its many forms. We have high aspirations for all our children and it is essential that, by the end of their time at Thurlbear, all pupils are able to read fluently with good understanding in any subject to support their journey into secondary education and beyond.

At Thurlbear, we believe that English, communication and languages are fundamental to our ability to think, to see beyond what we know, imagine and create. The children’s developing use of language underpins their achievement across the curriculum and lays the foundations for active involvement in cultural life, society, work and lifelong learning. We believe that reading is a platform for sharing in cultural experiences and through studying literature, children at Thurlbear will explore the power and beauty of language, developing an extensive vocabulary to effectively express themselves.  

It is our intent that all children will leave Thurlbear as competent, lifelong readers. Our carefully planned and sequenced reading curriculum, strives to foster a lifelong love of reading, whilst also equipping children with the knowledge and skills to ready fluently and accurately with good understanding.

At Thurlbear we:

·         Believe that being a capable and enthusiastic reader is a key life skill for every child.

·         Believe that with the right support all children can learn to read and will enjoy reading. 

·         Place reading, and books, at the heart of our Thurlbear curriculum.

·         Build time within our school day for all children to be read to and to read independently for pleasure.

·         Invest in our staff training, so that they are able to deliver outstanding provision.

·         Invest in quality literature and resources so that Thurlbear children can be inspired and enthused by their reading.

·         Recognise the importance of involving parents to encourage our school reading culture.

·         Have developed a clear and progressive whole school strategy for teaching the skills of reading and promoting reading for pleasure.

Our Reading curriculum will give children the opportunity to develop:

·         A love of reading and an appreciation of our rich and varied literary heritage.

·         Excellent phonic knowledge and skills.

·         The ability to read confidently with fluency, accuracy and understanding in a range of contexts across the Thurlbear curriculum.  

·         An extensive and rich vocabulary, for reading, writing and spoken language.

·         Excellent comprehension of a range of texts.

·         The motivation and desire to read widely and often, for both pleasure and information.

·         An extensive knowledge, through reading a varied range of texts.

Implementation: “Show the Way”

It is our intention to provide a high quality, engaging Reading curriculum that inspires our pupils and in which knowledge, understanding and skills are progressively built. Our English curriculum has been shaped by the principles outlined in the English National Curriculum and high quality texts, from a range of authors and poets, have been carefully chosen to deliver content. Links are made to other curriculum area and this helps to enhance communication, language and literacy across the curriculum by fostering a deeper understanding of vocabulary and allowing our children to transfer knowledge and language across curriculum areas.

At Thurlbear Primary School, our bespoke Reading curriculum focuses and consists of four key dimensions:

• Word reading

• Comprehension (Both listening and reading)

• Reading for Pleasure

• Oracy and vocabulary acquisition

It is our intention that all Thurlbear pupils will read easily, fluently and with good understanding: To foster a lifelong love of reading, our children are supported to acquire the skills to be able to access text automatically and fluently. In the crucial early stages of reading in Foundation Stage, year one and the beginning of year two, our curriculum is delivered through a rigorous, synthetic phonics programme ‘Unlocking Letters and Sounds.’ (See overview documents). Decoding and word recognition skills are taught from the moment a child starts their reading journey at Thurlbear in Foundation stage. When children are able to decode effectively, we focus on fluency and prosody, supporting children to read with appropriate pace, intonation and few errors. Fluency is a gateway to comprehension and frees cognitive resources to process the meaning of what is read. We aim for all of our pupils to become fluent, confident readers and encourage children to re-read texts multiples times, both at home and school, to support their confidence in word reading and fluency. Alongside daily phonics lessons, we explicitly teach children to become fluent readers and practice their reading skills through daily reading practice and group reading sessions using fully decodable reading books matched to the sounds they are learning. Carefully planned reading sessions teach and practice decoding, fluency and prosody, with every child having at least one guided reading session a week.

At Thurlbear we understand that reading is a really complex skill to teach children as it’s comprised of many different skills. (See Scarborough Reading Rope.) In order for children to become confident, fluent and enthusiastic readers, it is essential that we teach and give them opportunities to develop all of these skills.

For our early readers, this will mean that we use different books in different ways to support their reading journey as outlined below:

We have invested in high quality, fully decodable reading books to support our children to practice independent reading, at home and school. Teachers ensure the books children read are matched to their secure phonic knowledge. This enables them to use the GPCs they know to decode the words and, with practice, develop fluency when reading. Once Thurlbear children progress beyond the phonics programme and decodable texts, they move onto our age appropriate texts that have been carefully chosen, so that they can continue to progress in their decoding, fluency and comprehension skills to become avid, expert readers. Teachers regularly monitor a child’s reading fluency progress through reading sessions. Every child, who is not working at the expected standard will receive timely intervention and their progress will be closely monitored by class teachers, reading leads, SLT and the SENDCo.

To ensure no child is left behind at any point in the progression of reading, children are regularly assessed using an agreed school format aligned to our phonics programme and are supported to keep up through timey, bespoke 1-1 interventions targeted to meet their specific need at that time. These include GPC recognition and blending and segmenting interventions. The lowest attaining 20% of pupils are closely monitored to ensure these interventions have impact. In Ks2, where a child is still using phonics as a prime approach to reading their progress will be closely monitored and a child will receive specific phonics/word recognition provision to develop fluency.

It is our intent that pupils develop a love of reading. Through our ambitious curriculum, we aim to create a culture where books are cherished. We endeavour to create an environment where reading for pleasure is prioritised to inspire children who have the independence, stamina and desire to read widely and be excited about literature. To encourage this, we use a wide variety of quality texts and resources to motivate and inspire our children across the curriculum. Teacher’s read to children regularly, as we know that reading widely and sharing books feeds pupils’ imagination, vocabulary and knowledge of the world. Teachers encourage a love of reading, and a reading ethos through their classroom through daily story times, well organised book corners and displays. We have designed a reading for pleasure spine, so that each year group has a selection of core texts that a child will encounter during their time at Thurlbear. These high quality texts have been carefully selected to ensure a breadth of experiences, authors, and themes across the primary years. As well as providing joyful literary experiences, these texts include diverse representation, relevant social issues, big ethical questions and moral dilemmas.

We celebrate and promote reading every day, as well as providing enrichment days, trips and events linked to reading throughout the school year that aim to inspire and enthuse our children. Some of these include: weekly reading buddies across the school, World Book Day, National Poetry Day, visiting storytellers and theatre companies telling well known stories, and visits from authors, poets and illustrators. We have invested in a well-stocked library and a range of age appropriate books to create appealing book corners in every classroom. All children, visit our book corners or school library for pleasure and to support class learning. Each classroom also has a selection of books which link with the class topics and we subscribe to Resources for Learning to enhance this. This offers opportunities for the children to apply their reading skills across the curriculum and supports the acquisition of vocabulary.  At Thurlbear, we nurture the attitudes and behaviours our children will need to become passionate, confident readers, who read frequently and widely for pleasure and information. We empower our children to exercise freedoms of choice and independence when selecting books for themselves.

Our reading curriculum ensures that all pupils are able to comprehend texts: In order to be fluent readers, who can truly access and enjoy texts, children must be explicitly taught to comprehend their reading. Through class texts, and daily story time texts, teachers will develop comprehension skills through book talk and expert questioning. Children listen to stories, non-fiction or poems daily from Foundation Stage to year six. In the early stages of their reading journey children read one to one with adults and take part in carefully planned group reading sessions which focus on both word reading and comprehension. Carefully planned questions support the development of children’s vocabulary and understanding of texts. From year two, children are taught the skills of reading through whole class reading sessions. Within these sessions, children are taught the skills and strategies needed to become competent readers through the use of VIPERS which were created by Rob Smith (The Literacy Shed). VIPERS is an acronym for several key reading skills which are outlined in the National Curriculum and the KS1 and KS2 content domains.

Key Stage One

Key Stage Two

Our curriculum map has been designed to build on children’s previous reading skills and knowledge and vocabulary is integral and progressive within our curriculum. We teach comprehension skills through a progression of skills, so that children can access texts for both pleasure and information. Children will also have opportunities, in English lessons, to develop written responses to texts and characters and take part in vocabulary enrichment activities as they progress through the school. Alongside this, teachers plan structured reading sessions where the children will be taught explicit comprehension skills at an increasingly challenging level.

The comprehension in these sessions may be based around a whole book or using short extracts. As children progress through the school, they will be taught to record responses to comprehension questions more formally.

Comprehension is assessed through:

Oral questioning and responses, either in whole class reading sessions, guided groups or one to one reading. It is also assessed through more formal written responses to questions in comprehension sessions or written responses during English lessons.  

NFER testing will be used to support teacher judgement when assessing attainment and progress over the year.

Oracy and Vocabulary Acquisition

The teaching of vocabulary and the acquisition of language is a school priority as we recognise that pupil’s acquisition and command of vocabulary are key to their learning and progress, across the curriculum. Vocabulary forms a key part of all planning, teaching and learning. High quality texts are read aloud to children daily across the school and are chosen to expose children to a rich and varied vocabulary.  Teaches plan explicit time in lessons to explore words and develop vocabulary as well as being a focus in all curriculum areas. At the start of a topic, key and new vocabulary, is shared with the children and are also included in knowledge organisers shared in school and at home. The recall, understanding and application of prior vocabulary acquisition, as well as new vocabulary learnt, is frequently revisited to embed this language.  The learning environment is used to ensure vocabulary is celebrated and accessible, with visual cues to support children with any language, communication or interaction difficulties. 

We recognise the importance of ensuring the continual development of pupils’ confidence and competence in spoken language and listening skills Our philosophy and intent for our children’s oracy and communication align with the view from Voice 21: “In school, oracy is a powerful tool for learning; by teaching students to become more effective speakers and listeners we empower them to better understand themselves, each other and the world around them. It is also a route to social mobility, empowering all students, not just some, to find their voice to succeed in school and life.’ 

Communication and language development is at the heart of our EYFS curriculum and we prioritise high quality interactions help to develop children’s communication and language. Listening skills are explicitly taught and modelled. We use the Oracy framework to support our delivery of oracy education and strategies such as learning partners, modelling, drama, discussion and debate are used across the school to promote the use of spoken language.

For children to become life-long readers, they need to be secure in all of the elements above. Teachers at Thurlbear have a clear understanding of the National Curriculum and a clear understanding of what children of different ages should achieve.

Impact: “Grow the Way”

Teachers assess the children against the EYFS profile, the end of KS1 and end of KS2 frameworks and carefully written end of year expectations in other year groups throughout the school. Teachers have good understanding of what the expected and depth standards looks like at the end of each year of a child’s primary education.

Children will:

•     Reach their own potential

•     Make good or better progress and attain in-line, or above, age-related national expectations.

•     Be competent readers who can recommend books to their peers, have a thirst for reading a range of genres including poetry and participate in discussions about books.

•     Progress to their next step of education with age-appropriate standards (or better) in reading.

•     Are competent readers, who can access life-long learning.

•     Parents and carers will have a good understanding of how they can support reading at home, and contribute regularly to home-school record.

The impact of our English curriculum is reviewed and monitored regularly through:

·         Learning walks and lesson observations       

·         Book  monitoring              

·         Discussions with class teachers, teaching assistants and pupils.

·         Formative and summative assessment data analysis

·         Monitoring interventions