At Ogbourne CofE Primary we provide a stimulating range of books and texts to inspire the children. Every English unit is based around a high quality text which the pupils will become immersed in as it is revealed over the series of lessons. During the course of a writing unit we will provide experience sessions to help the children feel motivated and ready to write. The purpose of these sessions above all, is to inspire our young writers but they also provide excellent opportunities to deepen background knowledge and pre-teach vocabulary.
We expose all pupils from Acorns to Poplars to a range of fiction and non-fiction writing genres. These include narratives, persuasive texts, non-chronological reports, explanation texts, biographies, diary entries, newspaper articles and poetry.
We provide opportunities in foundation subjects for children to use some of these text types, for example writing up an explanation text in Science or a report in Geography. This gives more opportunities for children to independently recall features of the text types they have been studying in English lessons.
We firmly believe that ensuring children have a wide vocabulary has real impact on the quality of their writing. We encourage children to use ambitious vocabulary and record this in word banks during writing sessions, on Wow Word walls and with our shared texts. This is also reflected in our spelling sessions.
In order for children to learn the key features of different text types, each class spends a number of weeks on each text and follow the small steps structure. This gives time for children to explore grammatical structures, builds confidence with sentence structure and widens the repertoire of writing techniques available to them as writers.
At the end of every unit of work, all children will apply the knowledge they have learnt over the course of the unit in an independent piece based on the text. Children will independently plan, write and edit their own work.
Every term the children in Oaks, Willows and Poplars will do an additional piece of independent writing which will follow a whole school stimulus. The children are asked draw on the skills they have built up over the year.
At Ogbourne we are SCODE spellers! We believe that being able to spell well helps cement the connections between letters and their sounds. In Years 2-6, children will continue to build on the phonetic code learnt in Acorns and Oaks using this systematic phonics based approach to spelling. The scheme focuses on etymology which engages children in the origins of language. Children will be immersed in the history of words and why words are spelt the way they are, providing them with the knowledge on which to build their spelling skill. It aims to make spelling stick through continuous practise, frequent recall -embracing current scientific research on memory. Children will have spelling lessons three times a week.
The new English grammar, punctuation and spelling test (also known as the SPaG test) (or GaPS) was introduced in May 2013 as part of the KS2 SATs programme for Year 6 pupils. The government is aiming for all children to leave primary school with a sound grasp of essential English skills. The SPaG test includes questions that assess the following elements of the English curriculum:
- Sentence grammar through both identifying and writing sentences that are grammatically correct,
- Punctuation through identifying and writing sentences that are correctly punctuated,
- Spelling through identifying and writing correctly spelt words.
- SPaG will be taught across the whole school and year will develop pupil’s knowledge and build on previous years learning.
In order for children to achieve this, in KS2 one English lesson a week will be devoted to grammar and punctuation skills. As well as being able to spell words correctly, use a wide range of vocabulary and punctuate well, they need to grasp the meaning of grammatical terms such as noun, verb, adjective, prefix, pronoun and adverb, know what phrases and clauses are and how to use them, understand what connectives are and how they work, know how to turn a question into a command, and so on. This terminology can be a stumbling block even for children who are otherwise good at reading and writing, and make the questions hard to understand.
In Acorns Class, children are taught correct pinch pencil grip and comfortable writing position. Children will be taught the ELS mnemonics to form each letter. From Year 1 children will begin to learn the continuous cursive hand. This means that all letters will start from the line with lead ins. We aim for children to be joining most letters correctly by the end of KS1. In Oaks Class, handwriting is taught as part of daily phonics lessons. In KS2 handwriting will be taught twice a week.
Children who demonstrate excellent handwriting may earn their pen licence from as soon as Year 2. To earn this, their presentation must be consistently impressive with all letters fully cursive. Any child who has not earned their pen licence by Year 4 will be given a handwriting pen as at Ogbourne, we believe this boosts their confidence and often provides another stimulus for great presentation. By Year 5 and 6 all written work will be in black pen. There will be termly opportunities for children to demonstrate excellent handwriting by writing up work for display.