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Ripley St. John’s CofE

Primary School & Nursery

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Writing at St. John’s is valued as a fundamental skill which all children utilise many times every school day. This underpins their learning journeys throughout school, both in English lessons and the rest of the curriculum as a whole, whilst allowing them to produce work to look back on with pride.

Subject Information:



We aim to develop pupils’ abilities by applying an integrated scheme of Spoken Language, Reading and Writing, including English, Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling (EGPaS).  Pupils will be given opportunities to engage with and utilise the requirements of the English Programme of Study; a broad and balanced approach to the teaching of English throughout the curriculum further supports this intention.

In Writing, we want all of our pupils, by the end of Year Six, to be able to:

  • write with confidence, fluency and understanding;
  • orchestrate a full range of writing skills rooted in their use of reading cues (phonic, graphic, syntactic and contextual) to monitor their work and correct their mistakes;
  • understand the sound and spelling system, and use this to spell accurately;
  • have fluent and legible handwriting using cursive script;
  • have an interest in the etymologies and morphologies of words alongside a growing vocabulary;
  • know, understand and be able to write across a range of genres in fiction and poetry, and understand and be familiar with some ideas of setting, character and plot;
  • understand, use and be able to write a range of non-fiction texts using specific literary devices;
  • plan, draft, revise, edit and publish their own and others’ writing;
  • have suitable technical and subject-specific vocabularies through which they understand and enhance their writing.



Within EYFS

The Educational Programmes set out in the Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage are followed, and children work towards the Early Learning Goals, aiming to meet the statement of the goals by the end of their Reception year. In Nursery and Reception, the daily routine will involve planned and ‘in the moment’ opportunities which include:

  • a wealth of activities to develop and experience speaking and listening, and understanding;
  • experiences that develop gross and fine motor skills through play and handwriting activities;
  • sharing and enjoying a range of rhymes, songs, stories and texts;
  • immersion in a language-rich environment with opportunities for oral language and written communication, e.g. phonic activities, opportunities through continuous provision, and interactions with each other and skilled adults;
  • focus activities that teach children early communication language and literacy skills;
  • ‘Big Book’ or online text activities with a shared writing focus;
  • engaging Read Write Inc. sessions in Reception to introduce and embed phonic sounds, and early writing and spelling skills (see Phonics policy).

Within Key Stages 1 and 2

The teaching that our infant and junior pupils at St. John’s can expect to experience will include:

  • ‘Read Write Inc.’ sessions throughout Year 1, with those progressing more rapidly moving towards ‘off the program’ lessons (see Phonics policy);
  • explicitly taught and planned sessions following the guidance and objectives of National Curriculum 2014;
  • writing and transcription, with the explicit teaching of phonics and spelling including Key Stage 1 Common Exception Words from Appendix 1 of the National Curriculum 2014;
  • discrete handwriting lessons whereby pre-cursive letter formation, terminologies (e.g. ascenders, descenders etc.) and early handwriting joins are taught (see Handwriting Policy);
  • written composition based on oral rehearsal, planning for writing, sequencing of ideas, re-reading and discussing work, and checking for sense through the editing of their own writing, achieved by means of introduction to (KS1) and embedding of (KS2) the process of ‘Imitation, Innovation and Invention’ (the 3 Is [III]);
  • vocabulary, punctuation and grammar progression to develop grammatical awareness and punctuation skills based on English Appendix 2 from the National Curriculum 2014, applying key terms from the National Curriculum Glossary;
  • immersion within a print rich environment that promotes and develops a culture of children’s written communication.



Teachers at St. John’s assess the children’s work in Writing in a number of ways, including:

Short-term assessments that teachers make as part of every lesson, helping them to adjust their daily plans. Teachers match these short-term assessments closely to the teaching and learning objectives. These are based around teacher observations, marking and pupil AFL comments from the previous day, usually within day-to-day English exercise books or RWI booklets;


Medium-term and Long-term assessments which are used to measure pupils’ progress against the key objectives, and to help teachers plan for the next unit of work, or their subsequent year group’s learning. These occur each half-term (using a combination of teacher assessment and formal summative assessment), and are used as indicators to assess progress against school and national targets. With the help of these mid-term assessments, teachers are able to set targets for the next half-term and beyond. These assessments combine work completed within day-to-day English exercise books or RWI booklets with independently written pieces to which teachers have decided to set and mark against assessment criteria. Written work completed during wider curriculum, non-core lessons can also be used to provide a broader, all-encompassing picture of pupils’ abilities.

Writing assessments from Year 1 to Year 6 are based upon a pre- and post-write assessment approach (First and Final), with pieces of written work from the beginning and end of each year assessed in line with age-related expectations and displayed within pupils’ individual folders to produce a portfolio of their whole learning journey in Writing whilst at St. John’s.

The pre-write takes place without support so that teachers can identify each child’s starting capabilities. These develop into teaching points, such as misunderstandings of genre coverage or misconceptions with literary devices and features, targeting the areas of need and guiding the learning for that term’s overall teaching, with individual children showing a need for additional support signposted for intervention(s).

The teaching and learning of focus skills then takes place, allowing children opportunities to plan and draft work in preparation for the post-write. This is a chance for children to produce their best work and showcase their writing skills, applying things that they have learned during the writing process but with support from the written planning they have produced during it – much like an author drafts, redrafts and edits before writing their final version for publishing. The post-write is a culmination, allowing teachers to see what the children can achieve after the guided and structured processes of planning, drafting and editing throughout the III process have been delivered.

There should be notable progress from the pre-write (First) to the post-write (Final), showing an identifiable and embedded application of skills and progression throughout an academic year. Logging of this information is completed prior to and upon completion of the writing process on grids that combine Year Group English writing, grammar, punctuation and spelling/vocabulary expectations with genre coverages; these grids are displayed within individual portfolios to enable children the opportunity to own their own learning, progress and development with writing.

Grammar, punctuation and spelling assessments which take the form of weekly spelling tests, as well as the ongoing application of accurate use of grammar, punctuation and spelling in all aspects of children’s writing, and formalised EGPaS tests. Spelling is also assessed using the Single Word Spelling Test in order to establish a child’s ‘Spelling Age’ in comparison to the child’s chronological age. Spelling Bee events are also used to assess progress in spelling against the National Curriculum 2014 word lists for each year group, and to raise the profile and value of spelling development.

In Year 1, spelling tests follow a careful progression and spellings are matched to children’s phonic ability and the Read Write Inc. Scheme, enabling them to demonstrate an ability to apply their knowledge of grapheme/phoneme correspondences.

Grammar and Punctuation assessments are undertaken half-termly during assessment weeks. Assessments take the form of test-style papers and this enables teachers to identify gaps in learning and support planning for the following term’s teaching and learning foci.

What do Writing lessons look like in school?


In English lessons with a discrete focus on Writing, a guideline weekly structure is followed where possible and appropriate. The recommended structure is as follows:

Monday: Spelling, Vocabulary, Punctuation and Grammar development – children learn, practise and develop their knowledge and use of spelling rules and patterns through different methods of application, and are also provided with opportunities to research and build their subject-specific and technical vocabularies for use during the consequent writing unit(s). Children are also introduced to, or supported in their development of, a specific grammatical form or application of punctuation which will be relevant to the genre and content of the forthcoming unit(s) of writing.


Tuesday: Comprehension, Text Analysis, and Grammar and Punctuation development – children are provided with opportunities to engage with high-quality model texts known as WAGOLLs (What a good one looks like), and to apply their comprehension skills to draw out information and answer questions about them. Children continue their development of a specific grammatical form or application of punctuation which they have found present in the WAGOLL they have read.


Wednesday: Text Analysis and Planning – children are provided with further opportunities to engage with the same high-quality model texts, and to use them to identify key genre-specific features which they will ‘magpie’ and attempt to imitate and innovate within their own independent planning, drafting and publishing. Children will begin to plan out their ideas, through approaches including, but not limited to, spider diagrams, story maps, bullet pointed lists and box grids.


Thursday: Drafting, Editing and Re-Drafting – children begin to independently implement all of the planning and editing they have assembled to produce initial drafts of their written work, work which will be proof-read and edited during that lesson and immediately improved and developed.


Friday: Editing, Re-Drafting and Publishing – children continue with the writing process and, depending where in the process they are, either use their time to re-draft their work making use of additional editing and improvement opportunities, or will publish a complete final piece.


Each lesson begins with a very short introduction called a ‘Lit Hit’ which, more often than not, re-introduces the children to a literary element of relevance to their current unit of writing; during a unit writing a newspaper article, children could, for example, expect a weeklong ‘Lit Hit’ series to comprise chronology, past tense features, columns, direct speech and indirect speech. This regular, short and sharp repetition throughout their school careers aids the children in committing key features and devices to their working and long-term memories.


The lesson would then usually move into the teaching exposition which is delivered in many ways including through the use of: ICT (Interactive whiteboard, iPads or Notebook laptops), ‘Show-me’ whiteboard work, or short examples of work written into exercise books which is discussed and live-marked using mini-plenaries as part of the input.


During the remainder of the lesson, children are then given time to work independently on the lesson objective to show their understanding, being supported by members of staff and their peers where needed. They may also have access to dictionaries, thesauruses, word mats, an interactive working wall, iPads and Notebook laptops, alongside any other specifically prepared resources a teacher has prepared and shared as part of that lesson or unit of writing.


The lesson concludes in the plenary, an opportunity for pupils to demonstrate oral presentation skills, for teachers to address misconceptions, and to guide and inform future learning intentions.


What will the children be learning this year?
















What else is happening in Writing this year?


  • 27th November–1st December 2023 – ‘Big Write Week 1’: Memories and Making Them
  • 4th December 2023 – Spelling Bee 1
  • 4th–8th March 2024 – ‘Big Write Week 2’: The Easter Story
  • 18th March 2024 – Spelling Bee 2
  • 24th–28th June 2024 – ‘Big Write Week 3’: International Mud Month and Tough Runner
  • 1st July 2024 – Spelling Bee 3