At Hillbrook, we believe that writing is both an essential skill for success in the wider world and an art form. We therefore make our teaching of writing as creative and purposeful as possible, as well as rigorously teaching the rules of spelling, punctuation, grammar and handwriting.
We understand that speaking and listening, reading and writing, go hand in hand; children need to be capable and fluent speakers, listeners and readers in order to become capable and fluent writers.
In line with the ‘Power of Reading’ approach, a lead text is used each half term to inspire a range of writing opportunities - both fiction and non-fiction - that link with the topic. Each text is carefully selected to ensure it is of the highest quality and pitched at the correct level to ensure challenge and engagement as well as progression from Nursery to Year 6. Texts for each year group can be found on our school reading spine.
In addition to the daily English lesson, regular opportunities to write across all subjects are given. Spelling and handwriting are taught as separate lessons throughout the week as well as within the context of writing.
Each week teachers choose a ‘Writer of the Week’ whose writing is showcased on our ‘WoW’ walls around the school.
The Writing Process
We recognise that writing is a complicated process and therefore, in order for all children to succeed, purposefully planned steps and scaffolds to writing are given.
- Speaking and listening activities
- Text analysis
- Technical challenges (spelling, punctuation and grammar focus)
- Shared writing
- Vocabulary rich environments and displays
- Exploration of quality model texts
- Drama and role play
- Use of visual literacy such as film
- Time to plan and share ideas
- Opportunities to reflect, edit and redraft
- Independent ‘Showstopper’ writing
Opportunities for children to self and peer assess writing are built into lessons and personal writing targets are set.
Feedback is given to children verbally as well as visually using the ‘glow’ and ‘grow’ approach whereby strengths are highlighted yellow and development points are highlighted green. Time is built into lessons for children to discuss, reflect and react to their feedback and to make improvements.
At Hillbrook, our aim is for all children to develop a joined, fluent and confident handwriting style in order to communicate meaning clearly. We aim to make handwriting an automatic process that does not interfere with creative and mental thinking.
We believe that as a key literacy component, handwriting should be actively and consistently taught in developmental stages from Nursery to Year 6. To ensure consistency and progression with this, we follow ‘Pen-Pals’ handwriting scheme. As a school, we expect children, staff and parents to use ‘Pen-Pals’ clear, joined script in their everyday writing. We encourage children to take pride in their presentation at all times and work towards achieving their pen license.
A Handwriting Hero trophy is awarded each half term to one person in each class who has made the most effort and improvement with their handwriting.
Please click here to view PenPals Joins Information
Please click here to view Hillbrook Handwriting Policy
Please click here to view PenPals Progression from Nursery to Y6
Spelling is taught daily in the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 as part of the phonics lesson. At Hillbrook we follow Little Wandle Letters & Sounds Revised programme which uses a rigorous system of synthetic phonics to teach the technical aspects of using letter/sound knowledge to read and write words including common ‘exception words’.
Click here to see Little Wandle progression.
Spelling continues to be taught progressively in Key Stage 2 in accordance with the ‘No Nonsense Spelling’ scheme. Spelling rules and patterns are investigated, taught and practiced alongside ‘exception words’ in short 15-minute lessons three times a week and then applied within reading and writing.
Word lists are shared on a half termly basis as part of home learning and twice termly Spellathons are used to motivate children to learn to spell these words. All children have access to the fantastic ‘Sir Linkalot’ spelling app which they can use at home to support them in memorising and visualising words.
Statutory word lists for each year group can be found by following the links below.