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Our English writing curriculum is centred around high-quality children’s literature.

The English national curriculum (2014) states that:

‘The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.’ 

We believe the exposure of children’s literature within the primary school setting is vital as a rich context for learning; not only within English as a subject but to support building a reading culture throughout the school.  

When approaching writing in the Early Years, it is important to look beyond what is written down. At Horncastle, we provide meaningful experiences, alongside opportunities to develop fine and gross motor skills and these are also recognised for their importance. 

By placing books at the core, we are allowing teachers to use the text as the context for the requirements of the national curriculum.  We will always aim for our writing opportunities to be meaningful; whether short or long and that the audience is clear. Our final aim would be that that children have real reasons to write, whether to explain, persuade, inform or instruct and that where possible, this can be embedded within text or linked to a curriculum area.  From Year One, we follow the Power of Reading approach when teaching fiction writing.

Writing in role using a range of genres is key to our approach as is writing a critique of the text and making comparisons – all writing skills that will support children in preparation for their time in secondary school. 

We teach daily grammar (using the Active English approach) and regular spelling and handwriting sessions to ensure that our children have the skills needed to produce coherent pieces of writing and are confident writers.

 Active English

Active English is a fun and engaging approach to teaching grammar which uses images as visual clues for children to remember various grammatical terminology and use. It is a daily programme of 15 minutes which runs at the beginning of the English lesson. Active English supports children in relation to the National Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPaG) assessments, but importantly, this approach supports our children in their writing.


Why is it right for the children at Horncastle?

Our town is situated in rural Lincolnshire. As a result our community is predominantly White British with less diversity than most places in the UK. Through the Power of Reading approach, children are exposed to a wide range of genres.  Each term, a focus book is chosen for the children to respond to in their writing: a poetry book, a picture book, a book that celebrates a different culture from around the world and other high-quality stories with characters that are both mirrors and windows to the world. 

We focus on non-fiction for the first two weeks of every term. Every class focuses on the same non-fiction genre at the same point in the year. From Year One to Six, we can see a clear progression of skills. We believe it is important for children to revisit the skills they learn when writing a specific genre.

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