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Writing at Clapgate Primary School


Structure of lessons


The programmes of study for writing at key stages 1 and 2 are constructed similarly to those for reading:


·         transcription (spelling and handwriting) 

·         composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).


Effective composition involves forming, articulating and communicating ideas, and then organising them coherently for a reader. This requires clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar.


From Year 1 upwards there will be four writing lessons a week.  Grammar and punctuation will be part of every lesson. In Year 6 there will be a grammar and punctuation lesson in addition to the writing lesson.  Handwriting will be taught separately to the writing lesson. 


Writing lessons should always be set within a creative and engaging context. An audience should be identified and there should always be a purpose for writing. It is an expectation that all children will be taught the same objective in the lesson unless a child has specific SEN needs which means they are unable to access that particular objective. The teacher and teaching assistant will have a guided writing group within writing lessons. Within writing lessons children should be given the opportunity to engage in activities such as:


·         text analysis

·         reading and research

·         spoken language

·         drama techniques

·         real life experiences such as visits, cooking, art work etc.


It is not an expectation that children will be writing in every writing lesson as children need to develop their knowledge and understanding of the context as well as time to form and articulate their ideas.

In writing lessons there should be a balance between teaching and learning about different genres and their features, and the technical aspects of writing (sentence construction, grammatical structures, vocabulary, punctuation).  All teachers are provided with a list of genres which must be covered and assessed throughout the year.


Children are expected to write an objective or title at the beginning of each piece of work.


Assessment and feedback


In all years except Y2 and Y6, we use the Oxford writing criteria to level writing.  In Year 2 and Year 6, we use the statutory exemplification criteria.  Three pieces of independent writing will be assessed every half term.  When writing independently, children are provided with a checklist to help them self-assess and improve their work as they are writing and when they finish.  This check list will be dependent on what the children have already been taught.


When children have completed their independent writing in big writing, teachers will highlight where children have met previous targets, or where they have included some particularly good features or elements.  The criteria from the Oxford writing criteria (or the Year 2 and Year 6 exemplification criteria) will be ticked off so that children can see which elements of different levels they are achieving and where the gaps are.  From each piece of independent writing, the children will be given a clear target which they should work on over the next two weeks.   


In children’s writing books, the teacher will continue to highlight as in the big writing.  Basic errors or weaknesses must be picked up on (for example spelling errors, incorrect letter formation, missing punctuation, overuse of ‘and’, repetitive sentence construction).  The teacher will indicate that this is a target and there is a clear expectation that children either correct this, practice it at the end of the piece of work or address the error in subsequent work.  It is not appropriate to give more than two targets from a piece of writing and the target should be appropriate to the age related expectations.




The spellings for each year group are taken from the spelling patterns and from the list of common exception words (as listed in the curriculum).  These are split up so they can be taught in blocks of two weeks over the year.  All children in the class will be working on the same spellings and these will be taught regularly throughout the week in short bursts.  Children will have a weekly test on the spellings.  The same test will be repeated the following week to give the children an opportunity to improve on their score.  Children will have an opportunity to practise the spellings independently every Friday.




Children in Reception and Year 1 must focus on accurate letter formation on the line. Children will be taught cursive script from the start of Year 2 and will be expected to have fluent, cursive, legible and speedy handwriting. There will be daily teaching of handwriting and an opportunity for the children to practise their handwriting independently on a Friday.