Writing is valued as a fundamental skill developed from early years through to year 6 and beyond. Our staff team have all undergone writing training that understands and explores writing from first principles within Development Matters and Birth to 5 in Early Years. Our experienced staff ensure that mark making and physical development are planned for, resourced and developed throughout the Early Years Foundation Stage of learning in Class 1. Reception year children learn how to write letters (digraphs) to represent sounds, words and sentences as they progress through our systematic Read, Write, Inc. get writing scheme that provides firm, positive foundations for writing.
At Shankhill, we have adopted the CUSP writing curriculum from Year 1 to Year 6. Children are taught to develop enjoyment, vocabulary, knowledge and skills in writing as they progress through the school. They are taught to write at length with a heavy emphasis on vocabulary, grammar, punctuation and imagination. Rich knowledge and tier 2 and 3 vocabulary are woven into many different genres (such as narratives, different reports, autobiographies, balanced arguments, poetry) which we then revisit later in the year to make sure the substantive and disciplinary knowledge is embedded and enhanced. Our writing curriculum is carefully sequenced to ensure that the NC is covered and explored in depth and with enjoyment and inspiration.
Our children tell us that they really enjoy writing; some children even go home to write some more! One year 3 boy brought in an ‘Ode to’ poem that he was inspired to write at home following lessons in school. Writing is improving and developing well across school, with children taking pride and being ambitious in their attitudes and work.
Our teachers also enjoy teaching writing using CUSP and have a wealth of regular CPD to dip into via CUSP online.
Spelling is initially taught within Read, Write, Inc. until the summer term of Year 1. Then we teach using the CUSP Spelling scheme.
CUSP Spelling is sequenced carefully to provide progression and challenge. Each year group has a clearly mapped sequence of learning:
As with CUSP reading and writing, children are enthused by the depth of learning and engaging teaching tasks found within CUSP Spelling that follow a two week routines, including a weekly homework sheet to share learning with home and provide additional practice and applications. CUSP follows a routine of teaching, including revisiting learning, dictation, explaining and exploring the etymology of words.
Handwriting is initially taught through Read Write Inc. lessons and is then taught and developed through regular class work. See handout for further guidance.