English: Writing

At The Bromley Pensnett Primary School, we believe that writing is a fundamental life skill for all pupils.

We recognise the importance of our pupils developing a sound understanding of interlinking strands of spoken language, reading and writing.

We acknowledge that for pupils to be successful in both reading and writing, they must have a secure grasp of the key components of spoken language, including grammar, composition and articulation. Throughout the writing curriculum, purposefully planned opportunities to develop spoken language form the bedrock of the effective oral and written communication that we aspire for all pupils to achieve.

We use the English National Curriculum as the programme of study for pupils in Years 1 – 6. In Early Years (EYFS), there is a bespoke, progressive curriculum that ensures that pupils have the core skills to be ready for Year 1. The curriculum is designed to ensure that pupils are taught the fundamental oracy and writing skills that support successful later lives, rich in purposeful and creative communication. Using carefully developed progression ladders, we ensure that pupils are introduced to new learning in manageable steps, whilst prior learning is continually revisited and embedded. Using high-quality texts that have been selected to deliver the curriculum, teachers can contextualise the writing for pupils. Doing this, in this way, facilitates the development of a broad vocabulary base and an understanding of culture and diversity.

The writing element of the English curriculum is designed to develop competence in two areas: transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing). At The Bromley Pensnett Primary School, we understand the importance of developing pupils’ fluency in writing and provide regular opportunities for children to rehearse transcription skills and secure their understanding of sentence structures. Clear and consistent pedagogies are in place throughout our school to support this fluency development.

The writing offer at The Bromley Pensnett Primary School is inclusive of all pupils. Teachers are supported to identify needs, as well as to prepare and implement suitable adaptations, including differentiation (where appropriate), scaffolds and access arrangements. We understand that good SEND practice, is good practice for all pupils. Clear targets are identified using the Birmingham Continuum, which is also used to track the progress of individuals. Where it is the case that individual pupils require enhanced adaptations, parents are consulted and regularly provided with updates on their child’s progress.

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

We recognise the importance that Early Years plays in developing the essential foundations to becoming a good writer. Through the guidance of expert practitioners, pupils are encouraged to use writing as a form of communication. Carefully considered progression documents, for both Nursery and Reception, tailor the curriculum in our Early Years setting to ensure that pupils are introduced to new content in a manageable way.

Our EYFS setting is rich in spoken and written language, supporting pupils to understand that writing has purpose. Our systematic synthetic phonics programme, Little Wandle Letters and Sounds, enables pupils to develop the understanding of grapheme-phoneme correspondence required to begin expressing their ideas in writing. Continuous provision is carefully planned to allow opportunities for pupils to apply their learning independently. These activities also nurture other fundamental aspects that contribute towards becoming a good writer, including fine motor development, gross motor development, hand-eye coordination and the development of spoken language.

High-quality texts are used to expose pupils to new language, grammar and sentence structures. Pupils are encouraged to recite, join in with and create stories, using increasingly familiar organisational and language structures, such as repeated phrases, to support their understanding of narrative writing. Pupils are also provided with regular opportunities to use writing as a form of communication in all areas of the curriculum.

Our Early Years environments are fully inclusive of all pupils. Suitable adaptations are made to the environment, teaching and provision to ensure that all pupils are able to make good progress. Strategies, including the use of the Wellcomm programme, are used to identify gaps in language development and provide targeted interventions. Adaptations may be used to enable pupils to overcome barriers in their learning (e.g. using a pencil grip or a larger pencil for a child with dyspraxia).

Writing Sequence

The teaching of writing is delivered using a rigorously applied and developmental teaching sequence, which provides pupils with the support they need to fully comprehend the high-quality stimuli, whilst exploring genre features and grammatical structures in context. A high-quality stimulus may refer to the use of poetry, play scripts, visual literacy and extracts from larger novels. Teachers use the texts outlined in our long-term plans to expose pupils to new and ambitious vocabulary. As pupils move through the journey of learning, teachers explicitly teach the grammar, spelling, punctuation and genre features relating to the text-type being studied. Throughout this journey, pupils are repeatedly provided with time to apply the taught content. Opportunities are also provided to revisit prior learning, so that pupils can make links between units of work. By rehearsing regularly, we aim to build pupil stamina and proficiency when writing at length.

Throughout our writing curriculum, pupils are exposed to a range of scenarios, providing variation in the purpose for writing from one unit to the next. As such, pupils are continually forced to consider the audience for whom they are writing. Teachers use a range of pedagogical teaching tools to deliver subject content, including modelled, shared and collaborative writing.

Each of the five stages in the sequence allows pupils to develop key skills from the National Curriculum and prepare to write extended pieces. Pupils are supported throughout the journey of learning with direct teaching and targeted feedback. Teachers select the National Curriculum outcomes for their lessons based on the implemented progression ladders and school medium and long-term plans.


During the immerse stage, the pupils are introduced to the new text. Through the in-depth exploration of themes, characters and plot in fictional stories, or the content of non-fiction writing, pupils develop a deeper understanding of the text. Pupils have the opportunity to use speaking and listening skills, for example when hot-seating characters, role playing and debating. They will also be introduced to the genre, audience and purpose for writing through the use of a variety of quality WAGOLLs (What A Good One Looks Like). By learning to identify organisational and language features of the genre in these WAGOLLs, as well as relevant ambitious vocabulary, they develop sufficient understanding of the text-type to begin creating their own successful writing.


During the rehearse stage, pupils have an opportunity to write at length within the genre explored in the immerse stage. Teachers lead a guided planning session, modelling the thought processes behind preparing writing.  Based on the abilities and experience of the pupils, teachers may scaffold the rehearse write with shared writing, paragraph or sentence stems and visual cues such as story boards.  Assessment of this piece of writing will inform individual pupil targets and the elements of the National Curriculum that will be explicitly taught in the Instruct stage.


During the instruct stage, pupils are taught specific National Curriculum elements relating to vocabulary, grammar and punctuation. These elements may relate to word-, sentence- or text-level understanding (as detailed in Appendix 2 of the National Curriculum). New learning at this stage is predetermined and detailed in progression documents that stipulate which elements are to be taught at various points throughout the academic year. Teachers use assessment for learning (AfL) strategies (paying close attention to the writing produced in the rehearse stage) to determine any recapping of previously learned knowledge and skills, or reinforcement of pupils’ understanding of the genre that may be necessary in this stage. During this stage, teachers may teach new concepts discretely before offering pupils the opportunity to apply their learning in context.


During the create stage, pupils embed key vocabulary and build upon prior knowledge in a range of different writing opportunities. This allows them to independently apply skills taught during the previous stages. Pupils will draw upon what they have heard or read to inform their own compositions. Pupils are guided through the planning process from the rich starting points of the earlier stages and are explicitly taught which skills should be applied in order to be successful.  Pupils complete this stage of the cycle by composing their own version of the text-type.


During the refine stage, pupils will evaluate and edit their own and other’s writing. Editing will target errors reflecting gaps in prior knowledge, as well as the honing of recently taught knowledge and skills. Cohesion, grammar, punctuation and spelling are most commonly the focus of this process. Consideration is given to what is being edited (whole or part text) depending on the evaluation of the effectiveness of what has been drafted. Teachers model the process of checking and editing using ‘thinking out loud strategies’, success criteria and dictionaries/thesauruses. Pupils again consider the audience and purpose for their writing and ensure that they have met the intended outcomes. Where appropriate, pupils are given the opportunity to publish and/or perform their writing.


Spellings are taught weekly at The Bromley Pensnett Primary School. These spellings are sent home with pupils after they have received direct teaching relating to the set of words in question. Pupils are taught to segment words using their phonological awareness, as well as to use the spelling rules that are outlined in The National Curriculum. The teaching of spelling enables pupils to develop a sound understanding of morphology and etymology. Pupils are regularly assessed on their understanding of the spellings and this information is used by teaching staff to identify next steps and gaps in knowledge. Where appropriate, spelling rules are identified in texts being used so that pupils are able to see them in context.


Handwriting is explicitly taught in our school to ensure that pupils’ written communication is legible. Our programme of handwriting provision encourages high expectations of presentation in all areas of work. At The Bromley Pensnett Primary School, we follow the Nelson handwriting programme to ensure a consistent and progressive framework for the teaching of handwriting. This framework provides support for teachers to accurately demonstrate the correct letter formations and joins.

Beginning in Early Years, pupils develop pre-writing skills, such as forming different types of lines, that foster good hand-eye coordination and purposeful mark making. Pupils move on by learning to form individual letters and identify where they start and end. To manage cognitive load, pupils learn letters in letter families, which are further grouped into sets. At this stage, pupils are also taught to form upper and lower-case letters. As pupils progress through the school and become confident in forming all of the letters of the alphabetic code, they are introduced to letter joins. Four distinct joins are taught and letters are placed into joining groups accordingly. Pupils are taught that no joins are made from eight ‘break letters’. By upper Key Stage 2, pupils are encouraged to develop their own fluent, legible writing style. They are provided with writing implements and are encouraged to select the most appropriate implement for the task.

Handwriting sessions are designed carefully to ensure that all pupils, no matter what their ability, background or disposition, can fully engage with the learning. Teaching staff carefully consider pupils’ individual needs and provide suitable adaptations where appropriate. Adaptations may include strategies such as pencil grips, reduced friction surfaces and larger pencils. Further and more significant adaptations may be made for pupils with significant barriers, such as visual impairment or dyspraxia. Where concerns are identified over a pupil’s progress, this is referred to specialist members of staff, including the Special Education Needs Coordinator.

Related information

English National Curriculum


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