At Pensilva Primary School we value writing as a key life skill, and alongside reading, place it at the heart of our curriculum. We believe that writing is an essential skill for the children to be able to fully achieve our school motto To Live, To Love and To Learn. We believe that the skills needed to write effectively are integral to all aspects of life and, with this in mind; we endeavour to ensure that children develop a healthy and enthusiastic attitude towards writing that will stay with them.
We recognise that mastery in phonics is fundamental to support the process of learning to write and aim to teach pupils the phonic understanding needed to write effectively through the Read, Write Inc (RWI) phonics approach. The key understanding and skills taught in RWI sessions are explicitly reinforced and developed across the wider curriculum where written outcomes are closely matched to a range of genre; with skills developed progressively across the year groups within our 2-year rolling curriculum.
Our curriculum is structured with the use of high-quality core texts. These text types are carefully selected, across all year groups, so that children are systematically exposed to a variety of genres, different settings and cultures and rich vocabulary. This is particularly important in closing the vocabulary gap. Furthermore, within this approach, timely opportunities are seized to develop opportunities for writing across the curriculum.
Through our approach, we aim for children to become inquisitive about language and its structure and to be able to write fluently and competently for a range of purposes, generating the skills for life ahead. They also develop widening knowledge and use this to make connections between subjects and aspects of learning. As a result of this, we strive for our children to become happy, confident writers.
We use the highly successful RWI phonics programme to teach our children to read. Application of phonic skills and strategies taught also support early writing and spelling. Alongside the RWI programme in (KS1) and as the children progress beyond the RWI Phonics programme (KS1/KS2), we use the ‘Spelling Shed’ programme which teaches the fundamentals of spelling built upon the phonic knowledge already learnt to ensure the children build their understanding of the spelling rules and patterns required in each year group.
We recognise that learning to form letters and spell words requires considerable effort and focus; therefore, the early skills of letter formation are taught using the RWI letter formation rhymes in a non-joined style. As the children progress in the accuracy of letter formation they are taught to develop a ‘lead in’ line to develop a pre-cursive style as they move through Year 1. As pupils secure this pre-cursive script, they are then taught how to join in a progressive manner both in RWI lessons and whole class teaching. A key element of the RWI approach and our handwriting approach is that practice across the school is completely consistent.