Rationale for English Writing


During Reception, the children will firstly learn to hold a pencil correctly and comfortably so they can apply enough pressure to mark make which will then lead on to letter formation. At Whirley the children are taught to form letters using the precursive looped style with each lower case letter starting on the line. Although writing progress may be slower for some of our children during the Autumn term, as they get to grips with the formation, it pays great dividends as they naturally learn to join their letters with greater ease and consequently, we see beautiful handwriting from our Whirley children.

As the children begin to hear and recognise initial sounds in words, a broad and varied approach to writing is initially used. Using their fingers the children primarily begin to write in shallow sand trays, on the carpet, in the air and on parts of their body such as the palm of their hand or their leg, by using their fingers so they can feel the shape of the letter which particularly helps children for whom fine motor control is more challenging. Alongside this sensory approach, children are required and provided with the opportunity to write daily with pens and pencils.

Writing is differentiated depending on each child’s ability. A careful balance between encouraging a child to write words with letters formed correctly, and ensuring they do not become reluctant or inhibited due to letter formation, is critical in Reception. As each child is so unique it is the teacher’s responsibility to ensure copying on top of, or under an adult’s writing, or allowing the child to write independently is appropriate for each child. Once again, a balance between writing only the sounds they can hear and spelling the word correctly, is exclusive to each child’s ability and behaviour towards their writing experience.

As the children progress and begin to write short sentences they may be given key words that they must spell correctly within their writing, for example ‘the’ ‘and’. Other topic based key words may be displayed on the table for the children to copy, for example ‘policeman’ ‘nurse’. Their phonics knowledge and skills are consistently referred to and used for other words, which will be spelt in a phonetically plausible way. Displays around the classroom are also referred to and utilized as the children begin to become more independent writers.

The class environment will always allow for independent and child led writing opportunities, there are different pens and pencils and colours available, as well as different paper and cards. At times the children will be required to complete an independent writing task as a ‘challenge’ for example, ‘write your name and post it through the letter box,’ or write labels for a construction model they have built. Reasons to write are openly and constantly suggested and encouraged by all staff in Reception, during their exploration of continuous provision.

Teacher led writing activities will take place at a table where the teacher will sit with a group of about four to seven children, depending on their needs and ability. The teacher will ensure that, time spent and the level of focus and concentration on written tasks, will develop and consistently progress as the year evolves. There is a broad range of stimuli used to engage the children in their writing. Primarily books both fiction and non-fiction will be used, alongside these other uses of media are used to captivate the children’s imagination and interest.


Year 1

During Year One, children will be expected to start their sentences with capital letters and end them with full stops. Within these sentences children will also need to separate words with clear finger spaces. Moving on from this, children will be taught to use capital letters for proper nouns and when using the word I. Children are taught to form their letters in a cursive style, with all letters starting from the line.

Throughout Year One, children will be exposed to a range of high-quality texts taken from Pie Corbett’s reading spine. These books will be used to enable the children to write simple sentences using patterned language, words and phrases taken from familiar stories such as the Gruffalo. As children will spend a lot of time learning different novels using Talk4Writing. This will enable them to use the familiar language to sequence their own stories, in order to create new story descriptions. Moving on from this, children will be able write their own version of a short story, using simple sentences based on the novel learnt within class. Within this short story, children will make it their own by changing the main character or the setting.

Children in Year One are given different opportunities to write non-fiction. Children start off their non-fiction writing by reading Emily Gravett’s ‘Meerkat Mail’, which will be used alongside a ‘hook’ of Sunny the Meerkat arriving in the Year One classroom. Children will then write their own first-person postcard, through retelling a familiar experience. Children will then be given a real-life experience where they can go and post this postcard in the local postbox.

Further to our work on Meerkats, children will begin by creating a non-chronological report based on Meerkats, using labels and short sentences. This will then progress to the children using their understanding of what a non-chronological report is, to them writing their own about a pet


Year 2

Building on the writing skills developed in Year 1, the children will be expected to demarcate most sentences accurately using full stops and capital letters. As the year progresses, a wider range of punctuation will be used appropriately including question marks, exclamation marks and commas in a list. Those children working towards greater depth will be encouraged to use apostrophes for both contraction and possession

To help engage the reader, children in Year 2 will use appropriate noun phrases, strengthen their use of verbs and think carefully about their sentence structure, including sentence openings.

To help engage the children in rich writing experiences, we use a range of high-quality texts written by significant authors such as Roald Dahl, Margaret Mahy and Jill Tomlinson, many of whom are listed in Pie Corbett’s reading Spine. Studying these texts in detail and using Talk4Writing enables the children to feel confident writing a range of stories, including stories set in a familiar setting, traditional tales, myths and circle stories. During these writing experiences, the children develop the ability to apply the grammar skills they have been explicitly taught. For example, there is a clear focus on writing in the correct tense.

The children are expected to develop their writing stamina in Year 2, ensuring their writing is sequenced correctly and coherent to the reader.

Elements of poetry are taught each term to develop the children’s vocabulary and imagination. Through the year the children experience shape poetry, riddles and classic poetry which they learn to recite.

Non-fiction writing is also a prominent part of the Year 2 curriculum. As well as writing first-hand recounts about real events through diary writing, the children create posters using persuasive vocabulary and write reports and explanations to support their work in Science.


Year 3

Moving forward from Year 2, children continue to develop an enthusiastic attitude towards writing that will stay with them throughout the rest of their journey in the juniors. Following the Whirley English Curriculum map, we teach the children to have a positive attitude towards writing and to write with confidence, clarity and imagination. We do this by writing in a range of genres (including fiction, non-fiction and poetry). The children are taught how to plan, draft, revise and edit their own work, and learn how to self and peer assess against the success criteria. The organisation of teaching and learning writing is taught daily and through a structured way throughout the whole school using the 'Talk4Writing' lesson cycle: Imitate, Innovate, Independent Application. We begin to move away from the 'story mapping' element of this, to allow children to develop their individual writing style. Teaching follows a sequence of learning and this is centred around a quality model text. Children then use a book-centred approach to explore writing styles following the same theme. 

During the Autumn, Spring and Summer term, children are introduced to poetry and a range of fiction and non-fiction genres. These include: Recounts, Persuasive letters, Discussions and Debates, Playscripts as well as lots of Narrative opportunities. In each unit, children are introduced to a high-quality text; they collect good vocabulary examples and learn the text through a fun and creative stimulus. Once they have a secure understanding of the ‘WAGOLL’ text (what a good one looks like), the children are taught the new grammar that links in with the National Curriculum. Finally, through shared writes and short burst writing activities, the children are given lots of opportunities to practise writing in that style with the idea that they can then use the skills they have learnt and apply them in their own piece of writing. The aim of this sequence of learning, is to provide children with a high-quality example and to give them the skills to produce something of the same quality with an emphasis on vocabulary choices.

As well as using ‘Talk for Writing’, we also use the Whirley ‘SPAG’ map (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar). This links in with the National Curriculum to make sure the children in Year 3 are covering all the skills they need to learn to progress into Year 4. For spelling, we also use a scheme called ‘Read Write Inc’. This scheme embeds impressive skills in just 15 minutes a day, quickly and effectively filling the gaps in children’s knowledge. To keep children engaged, aliens introduce spelling rules on an exciting online spelling planet and children complete quick-fire activities in their spelling logs.


Year 4

During year 4, the children will be taught a range of grammatical skills that will ultimately stretch and broaden the variety of their writing. These include the application of all variations of fronted adverbials, expanded noun phrases, drop in ‘-ed’ clauses and commas in a list. All grammar focused lessons are embedded within writing practise, so the children understand how to incorporate these features into writing. In year 4, the children’s vocabulary is broadened as they are taught the correct root words to apply the following new prefixes to: ‘im-, in-, ir-, il-‘. Additionally, the children are also taught how to use inverted commas for speech and the possessive apostrophe for singular and plural nouns.

Poetry is taught prior to a unit of fiction to expose the children to figurative language and encourage them to take risks within their writing.  In year 4, the children’s vocabulary is enhanced through the studying and writing of non-sense, kennings and figurative poetry.

Throughout year 4, the children are given many opportunities to write a range of fiction pieces. We use high quality texts that use for writing inspiration. The children will write dilemma stories, fantasy writing pieces, myths and fairy tales - all with exciting twists! During the writing process of these genres, the children will understand how to create and/or change the atmosphere through using varying sentence types, techniques such as ‘show don’t tell’ and focusing on vivid, descriptive writing.

The children will also get the opportunity to write a range of non-fiction pieces. These are sometimes linked to foundation topics being studied at the time, however, inspiration can be guided by the interests of the children to gain optimum enthusiasm for the writing.  These pieces include non-chronological reports, adverts for persuasion, for and against letters, explanations and recounts. Through studying and learning to write such a wide range of non-fiction texts, the children will become experts in knowing who they are writing for and therefore, how they should write.


Year 5

Building on the SPAG features taught in year 4, in the Autumn term the children will learn to embellish simple sentences, secure their understanding of compound sentences, use ‘-ed’ sentence starters and use fronted prepositional adverbials for greater effect. They will also build their bank of figurative language, using personification and onomatopoeia. Speech marks for inverted commas and adverbials of time to link ideas will be consolidated from year 4 and the children will be introduced to parenthesis, initially using bracket to show this, adverbs of possibility, editing sentences by adding more or less for effect and converting nouns to adjectives using the suffixes ‘-ate’, ‘-ise’ or ‘-ify’.

Throughout the spring term, year 5 will learn a range of clauses to be used in their writing. The children will consolidate starting a complex sentence with a subordinate clause, be introduced to relative pronouns, which will then lead onto relative clauses, dropped ‘-ed’ embedded clauses and using dashes to indicate parenthesis. The children will also learn how to use a colon for lists and in a play script and the verb prefixes ‘dis-’, ‘de-’, ‘mis-’, ‘over-’ and ‘re-’.

In the summer term, children in year 5 should have a secure understanding of using brackets and dashes for parenthesis and will use commas to indicate this. They will learn to use metaphors, rhetorical questions and moving parts of a sentence round, to create different effects and atmospheres in their writing. Children will develop technical language to support their writing and will use conjunctions to build cohesion across paragraphs and modal verbs to indicate possibility. Finally, they will learn indefinite pronouns and future tense verbs.

During year 5, the children will explore both modern and classic poetry. Children will develop their use of figurative language, that will be used in their fiction writing through limericks, haikus and poems with figurative language. They will also interpret and discuss language choices and structures used, considering the effect it has on the reader. Finally, they will recite and learn a poem, in the form of a rap, to share with the rest of the class.

The children are provided with the opportunity to develop their narrative writing with both modern and classic fiction from the UK and from another culture. The children read and analyse high quality texts, where key features are identified, and the children are encouraged to ‘Magpie’ these ideas. Children will practise using these skills, or other areas identified from the cold write, with short bursts of writing. They will apply these to the different genres of narrative writing covered in year 5, rewriting a science fiction story building atmosphere, rewriting a known story in class changing a different element e.g. making a main character a villain or changing the setting of a story, writing a modern version of a classic story that has been studied in detail and retelling a legend from a different viewpoint or perspective. Children will be inspired to write across all genres through a ‘hook’ for the cold and hot writing tasks.

There are a number of opportunities for year 5 children to write non- fiction pieces. They will write for a range of different purposes and audiences, using persuasion in speeches or adverts, writing detailed sets of instructions, writing balanced arguments and formal reports. For every text type, the children will look at high quality models of these and analyse the key features through text marking and deconstructing texts to imagine what the author’s plans would look like. Like with fiction, they will Magpie ideas, practise skills for the text type in short writing bursts and use hooks to inspire their final piece of writing.


Year 6

During year 6, the children will acquire an in-depth knowledge of all grammatical words, structures and punctuation types taught across KS2. Consequently, they will apply these in their independent writing to reflect a variety of different writing styles. Emphasis is places on joined, legible handwriting, which must be maintained across longer pieces of writing.

At Whirley children will begin a unit of Fiction with an exploration of both modern and classical poetry. Year 6 children will use these poems as a stimulus for creating figurative language. Children will recite and perform poems with confidence and rhythm to an audience. They will use their creativity to analyse free verse poetry and even write their own. To celebrate the end of their time at school, children will rewrite lyrics to songs to create a leaver’s song with a goodbye message to their peers.

Throughout year 6, Children will be given many opportunities to create setting descriptions, characters and atmospheres. They read a range of high-quality texts to inspire their writing and encourage them to ‘magpie’ ideas. Following this, short bursts of writing will be completed regularly, allowing the children to practise using their own flare and imagination. The children will practise their fiction writing through creating: short stories, flashback stories, historical narrative, diary entries and creating alternative endings to known stories. Through this, they will learn to write in different voices, points of view and tenses, while maintaining this throughout longer pieces of writing. Writing skills will be further developed throughout our history topic of ‘The Vikings’, whereby the children will write a diary recount following a Viking invasion. Similarly, children will complete regular ‘focused write’ tasks linked to our class story from Pie Corbett’s Reading Spine. Children will write in the role of a character, create their own story endings or add a twist to a plot.

There will be many opportunities for the children to write non-fiction in year 6. The children will confidently write for a range of purposes through creating: persuasion, balanced arguments, scientific reports and autobiographies. The children will leave our school with the ability to speak, perform and debate confidently in front of an audience. Whirley children will enjoy writing for different audiences, be enthused by what they have read and actively seek inspiration for their independent work.




Files to Download


Are all at the heart of our



Whirley Primary School

Whirley RoadMacclesfield, Cheshire SK10 3JL

Rebecca Gregory | SEN Contact

01625 783815