English- Writing

'The true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.'

William H. Gass  


We believe that a good English curriculum should develop a child’s love of discussion, reading and writing and equip them with the tools they need to access our broad curriculum. 



Our focus is to inspire children to write and to teach them that writing allows for ‘a powerful exchange of thinking between writer and reader which can capture, sharpen and accelerate our thinking’. We do this by providing interesting, purposeful writing opportunities which are stimulated by books, films, objects, lessons in other subjects, visits, visitors  and poetry.  


At Connor Downs, we teach writing using a variety of strategies to inspire children’s work. We take principles from Talk for Writing, as laid out by Pie Corbett, and combine these with other techniques and ideas. Children use drama and text-interrogation techniques, as well as spend time unpicking the technical features of the text type and investigating language and structure. This empowers children to write coherently, accurately and creatively. High quality text are used to inspire high quality writing.  By editing and refining, children develop lifelong skills of resilience, stamina and pride in their presentation. 


Assessment is both formative and summative, with children being given a combination of written and verbal feedback to inform their improvements and next steps. Teachers will assess children's writing against the objectives of the National Curriculum and use these to inform their planning for each written topic. 



Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling 

We teach grammar in a variety of ways.  Children experience whole-class grammar sessions in-line with the National Curriculum. Furthermore, some English lessons will have a grammar focus when teaching writing skills, particularly when looking at advanced punctuation, which has an impact on the meaning of sentences. 


To ensure all children are provided with the skills they need to become competent spellers, whose knowledge builds year on year. Being a competent speller means being alert to spelling and drawing on phonics skills as well as exploring spelling patterns and word meanings to spell successfully.  At Connor Downs Academy we understand that for many children, spelling needs to be ‘taught not caught’. Children should be able to apply these skills in their independent writing, for this is their ultimate purpose. 


We teach spelling discretely throughout school, which is reinforced in all subjects.  In Reception Class and Key Stage One, the children’s spelling lists follow their phonic knowledge to reinforce and embed this. Moving on from phonics, children have lists based on spelling patterns following statutory word lists and patterns.  We use a scheme called ‘Spelling Shed’ which offers comprehensive, attractive resources to use in the classroom as well as games children can play online.  




Children in school enjoy lots of opportunities to develop their core strength , which supports their gross, then fine motor skills. In Reception class, children first learn to write using a printed script.  At the end of Year 1, children are introduced to forming their letters in a manner that will make writing cursively in Year 2 easier.  As children move through Key Stage 2, children receive discrete lessons to develop their skills. Children learn handwriting best through demonstration, explanation and rehearsal. The principal aim is that handwriting becomes an automatic process, which frees pupils to focus on the content of their writing.  




High-quality classroom talk is essential to pupils’ thinking and learning. It is also linked to improvements in reading and writing, and overall attainment. At Connor Downs, we want children to be curious and aspirational; to have the confidence to communicate their ideas, emotions and knowledge. Oracy is a powerful tool for learning; by teaching our children to become more effective speakers and listeners, we empower them to better understand themselves, each other and the world around them. 

This is when they develop and deepen their subject knowledge and understanding through talk in the classroom.  These oracy opportunities are planned, designed, modelled, scaffolded and structured to enable our children to learn the skills needed to talk and listen effectively. 

Connor Downs Academy
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