Thornton Dale C of E Primary School

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Our Intent

  • Our approach to teaching Writing is grounded in the three elements of our school vision: relationships, an innovative approach to teaching and having the highest expectations.
  • Our aim is to inspire and challenge our children, through a safe and happy learning environment, to achieve excellent standards in writing, including all aspects of the National Curriculum objectives for writing.
  • Our innovative approach to teaching writing is aimed at ensuring that all children, regardless of background, need or circumstance, are inspired, engaged and develop a love of writing.
  • We do this by through using a clear teaching sequence, which builds on children’s prior knowledge and skills, and makes meaningful connections in their writing. This is to ensure that all children, particularly those who are disadvantaged and have gaps due to COVID-19, are able to access the learning and have opportunities to write frequently, with purpose.
  • To equip our children with knowledge and skills they need in order to write in a range of styles and genres
  • To inspire a love for writing so that children have a sense of pride when publishing their work
  • To enable our children to articulate their learning confidently and to remember knowledge and vocabulary
  • To provide a consistent whole school approach to teaching spellings
  • To prepare and inspire our children for further learning in writing in secondary school and beyond
  • To ensure that staff are confident in their subject knowledge and the sequence of the curriculum

Our Implementation

In EYFS writing is taught through discrete phonics teaching and a play-based curriculum.

Little Wandle is used to teach children to write phonetically plausible words. It is also used to support with letter formation and the spelling of 'tricky words'. Children are then provided with a wide range of writing opportunities within their play, where they can apply these taught writing skills and further embed their learning. Staff are skilled at modelling, scaffolding and promoting these opportunities. Writing opportunities can be found in all areas of provision; both indoors and outdoors.

In Years 1 to Years 6, the 3 C's approach is followed- Collect, Connect and Create. These writing cycles are driven by high quality texts which inspire and motivate our pupils. These texts are carefully chosen by staff, linking to the current subject driver and therefore embed further subject learning. Staff also aim for these texts to promote equality, diversity and inclusion.

Our 3 C's cycle incorporates oracy opportunities; including vocabulary retrieval and points for discussion and debate.

  • Within the ‘Collect’ stage, children explore and learn the skills of writing through 'writing as a reader'. Children are exposed to a high quality WAGOLL (What A Good One Looks Like), setting the expectation of the final writing outcome and allowing children to identify key features of different genres, exploring the purpose behind why they have been used for an intended audience and purpose. Children also collect and generate high quality tier 2 and 3 vocabulary, as they 'magpie' expert words and phrases used in quality texts. 
  • In the ‘Connect’ stage of our learning, teachers explicitly model and support the composition of writing, manipulating the collected content (during the collect stage) into sentences using grammar skills from the national curriculum. Through guided and shared practice, children connect their ideas by constructing sentences and develop their skill.
  • Children are encouraged to be resilient learners and we aim for all pupils to have the highest expectations of themselves. This can be seen in the 'Create' stage of our cycle, as pupils implement their learning from the collect and connect stage to draft, edit and publish their final pieces of work.  Within the 'Create' stage, children see their writing come to life. Pupils send letters, perform playscripts to an audience and have class debates. All of these examples showcase our intent for pupils to understand the purpose of writing in later life. 


  • Keep Up Not Catch Up – progress sweeps ensure that teachers are clear on who is making progress and allows for immediate feedback. Corrective teaching and 5 minute boxes are used to ensure that all children have equal opportunities to meet at least ARE.
  • Children who are targeted to reach Greater Depth are supported through immediate and ongoing feedback throughout writing lessons. Where appropriate, corrective teaching or 5 minute boxes may be used to provide additional opportunities to use greater depth features in their writing.
  • The writing curriculum is ambitious for children with SEND and those who are disadvantaged. Teachers and support staff provide additional adult support, scaffolds and resources to ensure that children can access the task set. In addition, 5 minute boxes and corrective teaching are used to ensure progress is made.
  • Our opportunities pledge means that children are provided with a wide range of experiences, which will have a positive impact on their understanding of the wider world and imagination.
  • There is a priority on CPD for teachers, including PDMs, subject leader networks and Trust moderation


Handwriting is taught daily as discrete sessions. 

In EYFS and Key Stage One, fine motor activities are part of the daily timetable. Dough disco, Squiggle while you Wiggle and other 'Funky Finger' activities are used both as adult-led lessons, and within provision.

Alongside these, Little Wandle is also to support with letter formation. Pre-cursive handwriting is modelled from Year 1 and then taught once children have secured letter formation. Children from KS1 learn letter joins.

Whole school interventions are in place to support gross and fine motor development. 

You can view our handwriting policy here

Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation

SPaG is taught daily. In EYFS and KS1, children are encouraged to write phonetically plausible words and use Grow the Code to support. Correct spelling is modelled to the children. Spelling of tricky words is embedded through Little Wandle. Year 2 use Little Wandle spelling scheme.

Teachers plan for the SPaG coverage using the National Curriculum. Spellings are taught through the No Nonsense spelling scheme which has a clear progression of teaching units from Years 2-6. Grammarsaurus is also used to support with SPaG sessions from Year 1 to Year 6.  The children are taught a range of spelling strategies throughout the year which they can apply and build on as they progress throughout the school.

As part of our feedback and marking policy, spellings are 'green-dotted' and pupils are encouraged to self-correct these as part of their editing within the 'Create' stage of writing. Key vocabulary is displayed on our working walls, which pupils use with their spelling.

Our Impact 

  • Children are passionate about writing
  • Pupils can access and follow an ambitious writing curriculum that has our vision for exceptionally high expectations as a driver
  • Standards in books are very strong
  • End of key stage data is in line with or above national
  • Regular monitoring is undertaken by the English Subject Lead (Becky Humphreys) 

English Progression Document 

Please see below for our English Progression document. From Year 1 - Year 6, this document includes the progression and long term plan for: punctuation, grammar, handwriting and the planning, drafting and editing stages. (Also know as the collect, connect and create stages). 

Genre Overview Year 1 - Year 6 

Once teachers have carefully selected the high quality core text which links with the current subject driver, a genre will also be carefully selected using the genre overview (see below). Our aim is that by the end of Year 6, all children can confidently and enthusiastically write for a range of audiences and purposes using the correct grammatical features.