St Mary's Catholic Primary School

Learning to live out our calling with compassion and love.


Writing at St. Mary's

The Door

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Mysteriously, a door has appeared in the playground today. Nobody appears to know where it has come from, how it arrived, or where it leads to. The children will be discussing this all week through English to create some fantastic, imaginative writing!

At St. Mary’s, we have adopted the sentence stacking approach to writing. Core to this approach is quality teacher modelling to demonstrate the key skills and composition of writing expected of the pupils in each year group and across all genres. Within writing lessons, less confident pupils are given the support and tools to enable them to achieve at an age-related standard, wherever possible. More confident writers are given ample opportunities throughout the writing process to demonstrate a greater depth of understanding through carefully planned stretch and challenge elements. In addition, they are given opportunities to write in genres of their choice. To ensure that all pupils are appropriately challenged throughout each writing lesson, teachers and learning support assistants use targeted questioning and effective in-the-moment feedback.


Across the school, we use high quality, language-rich texts which enthuse and challenge pupils, in addition to embarking on their real life experiences, where possible. This approach gives pupils opportunities to write for a range of purposes and audiences, which inspires them to write. Every year group focuses on a limited number of skills per half term, which are progressive and revisited in all areas of the curriculum; the ability to transfer written skills to all areas of the curriculum is paramount in facilitating mastery. The use of Alan Peat sentence types is embedded from Year 2 to Year 6 to develop sentence structure and text composition. These sentence types are progressive.


Each unit of work begins with an experience lesson to ‘hook’ the pupils into learning. Further experience lessons may be included throughout the unit to sustain engagement. Throughout a unit, key skills are taught and practised in context. Pupils are encouraged to ‘talk’ through their ideas, share their ideas and magpie the ideas of others. Pupils are given plenty of opportunities to self-edit within each lesson as demonstrated in the editing progression document.


As a Voice 21 school, we model a high standard of talk and writing to secure high expectations. Pupils are given ample opportunities throughout the curriculum to develop their speaking and listening skills, which in turn has a positive impact on extended writing. Writing is assessed using the Staffordshire Writing grids used within the county.


 The importance of cursive handwriting, as outlined in the ‘Magic Link’ handwriting scheme is enforced in all subject areas to promote legibility, neat presentation and self-pride.


Spelling is taught progressively across the school as per our spelling overview during discrete spelling lessons, which are supplemented by sessions focusing on the Statutory Spelling Lists for each year group.