At St Barnabas CE Primary School, we believe that English and communication are key life skills. Through the English curriculum, we help children develop the skills and knowledge that will enable them to communicate effectively and creatively through spoken and written language and equip them with the skills to become lifelong learners. We want children to enjoy and appreciate literature and its rich variety.

We follow the National Curriculum for English. Each year, the children cover a range of text types and wherever possible, opportunities for application of these skills to be applied across the curriculum are carefully planned.


How do we teach ‘writing’ at St Barnabas CE Primary School?

We adopt a ‘mastery’ approach to teaching writing: this means that we teach a specific skill or set of skills, then give pupils opportunities consolidate, embed these skills, then opportunities to practice and edit/up-level it before doing an independent piece of writing where children are expected to apply their learning. Children will compose a full text from a series of ‘parts’ instead of being expected to write a complete text within one session. This means that paragraphs/sections should be developed with detail and written to show aspects of cohesion. This approach will require children to draft and re-draft their work; this is a process which is continually modelled and revisited as part of every teaching sequence so that it is successfully embedded throughout the school.

Throughout all key stages, we follow the ‘Talk for Writing’ approach for teaching English. High quality texts are chosen to inspire and motivate our children, exciting and inspiring ‘hooks’ into the text are created by our teachers and clear and purposeful outcomes are planned for each unit.


We use a wide range of teaching methods during English lessons, but the most important element of all of them is ‘oral rehearsal’ – this means giving children the opportunity to practise what they want to write by saying it out loud before they commit it to paper in their book. Children need to be given the opportunity to organise their thoughts into coherent sentences, and talking through their ideas is the best way for them to do this. Lessons are structured to ensure that children are given opportunities to verbalise what they want to write before being expected to actually write it down. We believe that children should follow a 4-step guide when composing a sentence: THINK it, SAY it, WRITE it, CHECK it.


Handwriting is a limiting factor when it comes to assessing children’s writing. To achieve the expected standard at the end of Year 2, children must show evidence of joined handwriting in some of their work; they must also make sure that their letters are formed correctly and are the correct size. If a child cannot produce legible joined handwriting at the end of Year 6, they do not meet the criteria for ‘working towards’. To achieve the expected standard, they must ‘maintain legibility, fluency and speed in handwriting through choosing whether or not to join specific letters’.


At St Barnabas we have developed our own handwriting script. Our approach to handwriting aims to empower children to develop their own style of handwriting from a secure base (correct posture, positioning of paper, pencil grip, letter formation, start and finish points). At the developmental stage, children’s handwriting should be observed closely to ensure the above. It should be neat, legible and fluent with increased evidence of joining; however, it may not ‘mirror’ the school style exactly or consistently, as children should adapt their handwriting to suit the purpose (eg. note-taking compared to final draft).


Assessment of Writing

Teachers will continually monitor and assess children’s progress against a set of ‘Standards’ that have been produced by the Department for Education. These assessment judgements will be reported to the Senior Leadership Team once per term.


To support the teacher’s assessment of children’s progress and attainment, children will complete an assessed piece of ‘cold-writing’ several times in the academic year. The genre of this piece of ‘cold writing’ will be one that has previously been taught; however, the assessed piece of writing will involve a new context and will be completed at distance from the teaching sequence. This piece of writing will be used to support and inform the final teacher assessment.

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St Barnabas CE Primary School

Collin Street, Warrington,

Cheshire WA5 1TG

01925 633606