Mastering the art of the written word is an essential life skill. At Holne Chase, right from the beginning in Reception, children develop early writing skills in a rich language-based environment. As they advance through school our ambition for our children continue to progress as writers, developing a wide vocabulary, sound understanding of grammar and, from their appreciation of our rich literary heritage, knowledge of linguistic conventions.
We aim for children will gain a love of language, grammar, storytelling and fact telling to become the most successful and equipped writers; developing a love of writing. Using reading as the foundation for all our writing provides children with the opportunity to hear, see and read high quality texts from a variety of genres which will inspire, stimulate and engage their imagination. Writing teaching and learning will enhance their transcription and composition skills in order to develop their competence in these two essential dimensions.
Our progressively sequenced curriculum enables children to build imaginative and increasingly sophisticated writing pieces in a range of genres, exploring both formal and non-formal tones for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. We build in opportunities for speaking and listening, such as formal presentations and participating in debate, which provide children with confident verbal communication skills. Through these varying experiences, we seek to provide children with the necessary tools to articulate and communicate fluently and confidently in their next stage of education and beyond.
We know reading is fundamental to the writing process. From blending phonics to build words and sentences, to using a text as an inspiration for structure, theme and atmosphere, reading is recognised as the essential starting point of any writing journey here at Preston Hedges School.
Once children have the building blocks for the piece of writing they are aiming for, teaching staff actively encourage them to develop their own style of writing, guided by stimulating experiences. Throughout the school, visual stimulus, exciting contexts and drama are used to inspire children’s imaginations to write. Through interactive and collaborative learning opportunities we support children to build rich language banks, draft and shape strong and engaging writing. Teachers share examples of effective writing with their class, demonstrating how to use language, punctuation and sentence structures to create impact and build textual pieces that are fit for purpose and appropriate for the audience.
Through individual and peer evaluation, children develop capacity to critically assess and improve their own writing and techniques, so they can become highly skilled writers. Children are also encouraged to read elements of their writing aloud, or create a piece to present, such as in debate, to support them in their verbal communication skill development.
Punctuation and Grammar
A clear understanding of the mechanics of sentence structure and grammar is an important feature of writing. We teach punctuation and grammar discretely in dedicated 15 minute fast paced and interactive sessions. These skills are then embedded into English sessions, to give children further opportunities to refine and enhance their ability in this critical area.
Weekly spellings are a consistent feature of school life and focus initially on securing common year group spellings, before moving on to understanding core spelling rules and patterns that are required to enable pupils to work out more adventurous spellings.
Neat presentation is also an important skill and we embrace a whole school approach to handwriting at Holne Chase, which is the cursive script. Learning this style of handwriting begins as soon as children start in Reception when they begin to form and shape letters, and the children build on this learning progressively until their writing is joined and fluent at pace. Support is provided for parents, so they can actively encourage their child with this at home.
We are proud of our highly creative writers and communicators here at Holne Chase. At the end of all statutory assessments in 2023, our pupils across school were well above national averages in writing outcomes.
Children see writing as an interesting and enjoyable process and take ownership of their writing by seeing themselves as real writers, writing for a purpose. Children confidently write in all areas of the curriculum, considering their purpose and audience, in order to excite and enthuse the reader. Children leave our school with a wealth of writing skills and knowledge in order to be successful global citizens, understanding how using writing will contribute to their everyday lives and their impact on the wider community.