Writing and SPaG

Writing • Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar


Who can I speak to about English? Your child’s class teacher will be able to answer any questions about your child’s Writing and SPaG. You can also speak to our English Leaders; Mrs Page or Mrs Hawthorne.

Curriculum Intent for English: Our primary intention is to instil within our pupils a lifelong appreciation of the written and spoken word. Within our classrooms, we strive for each pupil to consider themselves an author, undaunted by the prospect of a blank page. With guidance and encouragement, we aim to nurture our pupils’ ability to express themselves clearly and articulately so that they can formulate opinions with confidence and conviction. Finally, we desire for our pupils to be independent and curious readers who relish the opportunity to read for pleasure.

For this reason, three main objectives form the core of our English curriculum:

  •     To develop pupils’ understanding of the English language (including spelling, punctuation and grammar) through high-quality learning experiences which expand vocabulary and develop cultural capital
  •     To promote an enjoyment of reading and expose pupils to a range of high-quality texts through the ‘Power of Reading’ scheme (from which excerpts are utilised as prompts for our coherent Writing curriculum)
  •     To instil a lifelong love of literacy through activities that lead to a sustained mastery for all in every aspect of the English curriculum

LHPSN Approach to the Teaching of English: English is at the heart of the curriculum, and we ensure that all subjects ascribe great importance to promoting high-standards of accuracy when it comes to spoken and written word. We capitalise on the opportunity to expand pupils’ vocabulary and their exposure to different text types. Our English curriculum has been designed to accommodate the 2014 ‘National Curriculum Programme of Study’ objectives. To bolster this, we use texts from the ‘Power of Reading’ scheme to inform our planning for every aspect of literacy. 

In Key Stages One and Two, the ‘Power of Reading’ scheme allows for an integrated approach to the teaching of English. Writing is taught on a daily basis, and each sequence of learning begins with an opportunity for pupils to acquaint themselves with one of our selected core texts. Our coherent Writing curriculum centres around exposing pupils to outstanding extracts of prose, poetry and non-fiction, which are subsequently critiqued so that the distinguishing features of the genre can be modelled and explicitly taught. Precedence is given to the drafting process, in which pupils are taught how to edit and improve their own work. In addition, Grammar is taught concurrently as part of the Writing sequence and is consolidated during daily ‘SPaG Starters’, which are designed to help pupils retrieve prior knowledge, correct errors and apply specific skills. Statutory spellings are also addressed during the ‘SPaG Starter’ and the ‘No Nonsense Spelling’ scheme is utilised three times a week to teach age-appropriate spelling rules. Accurate application of grammatical constructs and spelling rules are promoted in each subject as Writing is used across the curriculum as a de facto way of expressing knowledge and communicating thinking. 

Purposes for Writing  

At Lickey Hills Primary School we have a ‘Purpose for Writing’ approach and use Michael Tidd’s Writing for a Purpose Framework. Rather than trying to teach children ten or more different genres or text types (which can actually be used for a variety of purposes), our approach focuses on what those different types have in common: the purpose for writing. 

The four purposes to write being taught across KS1 and KS2 are: 

  • To entertain
  •  To inform 
  •  To persuade
  •  To discuss 

KS1 Focus: to Entertain and to Inform 

LKS2 Focus: to Inform, Entertain and Persuade 

UKS2 Focus: to Inform, Entertain, Persuade and Discuss 

Below is an overview of the different genres that can be taught with each purpose. It is set out in phases to show progression throughout the school. Although coverage of the four purposes of writing is prescriptive, the order in which teachers complete them is up to teacher discretion, their knowledge of the curriculum approach and progress of children in their particular year group. This approach enables children to begin to recognise the features of each purpose for writing, rather than each genre. Recently taught knowledge can be applied to help build on different text types and therefore retain the different aspects of the purpose for writing.

The Writing process 

In KS1 and KS2, within the whole writing planning sequence for each genre, writing will be drafted, edited, critiqued and improved through the following five steps;

Step 1 Critiquing a WAGOLL (what a good one looks like) and identifying features of a genre. The content of WAGOLLs should be pitched above the level that most children are currently working so that they are constantly engaged with progress.

Step 2 The pupil writes a first draft and will self-assess using the VCOPS success criteria.

Step 3 The teacher will then critique the draft in red pen and the pupil corrects their own work in green pen. The pupil will edit and improve their first draft.

Step 4 The pupils write by publishing their final draft, making all of the improvements using the teacher and self critique.

Step 5 The pupils’ peers critique each other’s work following the success criteria. Pupils grant two stars and a wish.  

Writing  in  the  Early  Years  Foundation  Stage

In  the  Early  Years,  children  are  encouraged  to  attempt  their  own  emergent writing  and  their  efforts  are  valued  and  praised.  As  their  phonic  knowledge increases,  this  will  be  reflected  in  their  writing. A  wide  variety  of  opportunities  are  provided  for  children  to  engage  in  writing activities. Amongst these are:

  • Tiger tasks (Independent activity leading to an expectation of writing)
  • Shared  writing
  • Writing area
  • In areas of play including construction area, role play, sand/messy play area, painting
  • Book nook
  • Labels
  • Recipes
  • Lists
  • Making  books
  • Writing  letters
  • Menus

Through  engaging  in  these  activities,  children  become  aware  that  writing  is  used for  a  range of purposes. They  distinguish  it  from  drawing,  and  learn  the  left  to right convention  of writing in English. A  variety  of  resources  are  used  to  encourage  the  development  of  the  fine  motor control  which  is  essential  for  good  handwriting. These  include  playdough,  cutting, threading  and  tracing.

Writing  in  Key  Stage  1

  1. a)  Shared  Writing

Through  shared  writing  the  teacher  demonstrates  specific  writing  skills, sometimes  acting  as  scribe.  The  basics  of  how  to  form  a  letter,  spell  a  word, leave  a  space  or  put  in  a  full  stop  are  demonstrated,  followed  later  by more sophisticated  strategies  of  modelling  the  planning,  drafting  or  proof-reading  of writing.  The  teacher  may  also  demonstrate  writing  in  a  particular  genre.  Shared writing  will  teach  children  how  to:

  • Generate  imaginative  and  informative  ideas  through  discussion  and questioning, and record these ideas in notes/plans/drafts. 
  • Structure  ideas  in  writing  through  the  use  of  appropriate  language, sentence  structure,  punctuation, sequencing  and  lay-out
  • Develop  specific  word  level  skills  of  spelling,  handwriting  and  punctuation
  • Refine  writing  to  make  it  clearer  and  better  suited  to  its  audience  and purpose
  • Develop  technical  terms  and  vocabulary  for  understanding  and  discussing writing
  • Publish  and  present  written  texts  for  others  to  read  and  use

b)  Guided  Writing

Guided  writing  sessions  are  used  flexibly  to  provide  a  bridge  between  shared  and independent  work.  During  these  sessions  the  teacher  or  TA  may  scribe  for specific  children or support children  writing  independently  or  in  pairs.  They  may focus  on:

  • Planning  a  piece  of  writing
  • Supporting  work  in  progress
  • Evaluating  and  improving  writing
  1. c)  Independent  Writing

Children  will  be  given  frequent  opportunities  to  write  independently  so  that  the skills  demonstrated  during  shared  writing  and  supported  during  guided  writing  will be transferred into their own writing.  Since  accurate,  fluent  and  independent  writing  is  dependent  on  a  secure  grasp  of phonics, a high priority is placed throughout EYFS and KS1 on daily systematic phonics teaching.  This  gives children  the  strong  and  essential  foundation  upon  which  all  their  future development  as  writers  will  be  built.

Writing  in  Key  Stage  2

  1. a)  Shared  Writing

Through  shared  writing  the  teacher  will  model  the  writing  process  with  the children.  This  may include:

  • Demonstrating  planning  strategies  (e.g. mind mapping,  concept  maps, writing  frames)
  • Using  a  familiar  text  as  a  starting  point  for  writing, taken from the POR scheme.
  • Teaching  the  structural  characteristics  of  a  particular  text  type
  • Teaching  the  purpose  and  use  of  punctuation
  • Playing  with  language  and  exploring  different  language  choices
  • Modelling  higher  level  sentence  constructions  (e.g.  conjunctions,  complex sentences)
  • Drafting-Demonstrating  revision  strategies  (e.g. checking  for  meaning)reordering to improve structure, rewriting to improve clarity or  to  enrich  language)
  • Demonstrating  editing  strategies  (e.g.  checking  punctuation  and  spelling, using  writing  targets).

At  times,  there  may  be  extended  shared  writing  sessions,  exploring  the composition  process together in some detail.  However,  it  will  often  be  most effective  if  shared  writing  is  broken  up  into  chunks  and  interspersed  with opportunities  for  the  children  to  apply  the  lessons  immediately  in  their  own   writing.  Sometimes  modelling  just  a  sentence  or  two  will  be  sufficient.  This  approach  can maximise  learning  opportunities,  allow  teachers  to  respond  to  children’s misconceptions  or  difficulties and  avoid  the  risk  of  overloading  the  children.

  1. b)  Guided  Writing

  During  guided  writing  the  teacher  as  ‘expert’  guides  learners  at  an  appropriate level  by:

  • Giving  feedback  on  previously  composed  independent  writing (Using a visualiser to compare against VCOPS)
  • Modelling  how  to  use  individual  writing  targets  or  comment  constructively on  another  writer’s  work (Critique of a WAGOLL)
  • Demonstrating  a  specific  stage  in  the  writing  process
  • Developing  or  reinforcing  skills  taught  in  shared  writing

Teachers  will  plan  guided  writing  sessions  flexibly,  where  they  feel  they  will  best meet  the  needs  of  their  class.  At  other  times,  teachers  may  instead  support children  individually  during  their  independent  writing.

  1. c)  Independent  Writing

During  independent  writing  the  children  compose  without  direct  teacher  support. As  children  move through KS2,  they  will  be  expected  to  write  regularly  and  at increasingly  greater  length,  developing  crucial  writing  stamina  alongside  other skills.  Independent  writing,  both  within  English  lessons  and  across  the  curriculum will  involve:

  • Using  the  imagination  and  expressing  ideas
  • Applying  skills  learned  in  shared  writing  and  guided  writing
  • Focusing  on  individual  writing  targets
  • Revising  work  in  the  light  of  feedback  from  teachers  or  peers
  • Commenting  constructively  on  other  children’s  writing
  • Editing  and  proof-reading  to  improve  transcriptional  features
  • Preparing  work  for  presentation


At LHPSN, it is our priority to ensure that all pupils have the ability to spell words efficiently and accurately whilst drawing on knowledge of phonics and spelling patterns. In the early stages, the emphasis is on phonics, moving onto the whole school framework of spellings for support and structure. In Years 2 – 6, the ‘No-Nonsense Spelling Scheme’ is used in accordance with the National Curriculum (2014). Spelling rules are taught explicitly whilst subsequent sessions focus on applying acquired knowledge. This serves to support pupils in reinforcing and extending spelling patterns. All pupils from Year 1 upwards take home weekly spellings to learn with a focus on a specific sound/word pattern. In KS2, pupils will also be taught the words from the Year 3/4 and Year 5/6 National Curriculum statutory lists and assessed to address whether pupils are progressing. Weekly testing will ensure that gaps in learning are identified and appropriate follow up sessions can be planned. During lessons, pupils are encouraged to use their ‘Have a Go’ sheets, which are glued in the back of their English and Theme books. This encourages pupils to draw on prior knowledge when determining how to spell a word. Finally, further consolidation of the statutory word lists are enabled by the ‘spelling’ section of the SPaG starters at the start of each English lesson. 

Here you can access the different strategies that we use in school to learn the spellings of new words. 

No Nonsense spelling strategies 




Click on the following links to see what is expected at each standard throughout the school.

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6

Parent Partnership 

We know LHPSN parents are always keen to support their children, so we hold workshops throughout the year . We particularly recommend that parents of pupils in Year 2 and 6 attend, as the children take statutory tests in these subjects in May. 

Click on the links below to access the Powerpoint presentations that were used at the writing and SPAG Parent Workshop. 

Writing – Parent Workshop Presentation

Spelling – Parent Workshop Presentation

Feed back from a parent Governor about the writing workshop. 

”I am aware that parental engagement in a child’s education is crucial for helping them to do well at school. The workshops have taught me how to do this and I’m already seeing the benefits! There’s a lot of parenting classes when you have a new baby, but nothing for when they start school.  These workshops have definitely helped me to navigate the next part of my child’s journey”

Dr Claire Ferguson