At The Orchards School, English and the teaching of English is the foundation of our curriculum. Our main aim is to ensure every single child becomes primary literate and progresses in the areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening.
Writing is embedded within all our lessons and we will strive for a high level of English for all. The Orchards have created a literacy spine for each year group – therefore, through using high-quality texts, immersing children in vocabulary rich learning environments and ensuring new curriculum expectations and the progression of skills are met. The children at The Orchards School will be exposed to a language heavy, creative and continuous English curriculum which will not only enable them to become primary literate but will also develop a love of reading, creative writing and purposeful speaking and listening skills. Teachers will seek to take advantage of opportunities to make valid cross-curricular links so that writing genres taught are meaningful. Their planning provides links with the theme they are teaching. They will also plan for pupils to practise and apply the skills, knowledge and understanding acquired through literacy lessons to other areas of the curriculum.
At The Orchards School, we use the process of Pie Corbetts’s Talk for Writing. This allows developing writers at The Orchards to explore the creative and thinking processes in writing through talk. The talk allows the children to begin to think and talk like a writer.
Talk for Writing will expose all pupils to oral storytelling. The benefits of the Talk for Writing approach are that the pupils will build a bank of quality vocabulary, text type, genre and narrative patterning. It will also help build confidence so that children can build their own text type including narrative, reports and instructions. The story telling approach should include imitation which involves repeating the text type, innovation where we change and develop the text type and finally independent application where we create a new text type applying the skills taught throughout the sequence. Grammatical skills are taught and woven through the writing units to ensure that the children understand the purpose behind the skills being taught.
Children will be given the opportunity to demonstrate, clarify and consolidate their learning through asking and answering questions and completing a set activity. Modelled, shared and guided writing are also used as a tool for learning throughout the Talk for Writing sequence.
We want children to be inspired to be novelists, journalists, book editors and speech writers.
As we believe consistency and well-taught English is the foundation of a valuable education, at The Orchards we ensure that the teaching of writing is purposeful, robust and shows clear progression for all children. In line with the new national curriculum, we ensure that each year group is teaching the explicit grammar, punctuation and spelling objectives required for that age group. As well as teaching the objectives, teachers are able to embed the skills throughout the year in cross-curricular writing opportunities and ensure that most children are achieving the objectives at the expected level and that some children can achieve at a greater depth standard. Throughout a writing unit, we ensure writing skills are taught explicitly and opportunities are planned for the pupils to apply them within different contexts. Therefore, writing skills are then transferable in order to underpin the progress in science and foundation subjects.
In order to expose children to a variety of genres, which helps to utilise and embed the writing skills, teachers use the Talk for Writing process to structure and teach their English lessons. To ensure grammar and punctuation skills are layered and embedded throughout the year, these skills are taught explicitly in Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar lessons and also planned throughout a writing sequence – appropriate to the purpose and text type focus. This journey is designed to show progress, teach the pertinent year group objectives, apply and consolidate these skills and develop vocabulary. Writing is taught through the use of a quality text (either from the key text or adapted by a teacher, using the skills being taught), which exposes the children to inference, high-level vocabulary, a range of punctuation and characterisation. Each text is purposefully selected in order to promote a love of reading, engagement and high-quality writing from each child.
At The Orchards School, we teach spelling through the use of the RWI spelling programme. Children who have completed the RWI phonics programme will progress on to the RWI spelling programme at their current level. The spelling programme runs in daily sessions of 40 minutes, which comprise of teacher-led activities, paired work and independent activities. All units follow the same format of fun activities, together with tips explaining when each spelling pattern is likely to be used.