St John Bosco Catholic Primary School

Writing and SPaG


We believe the teaching and learning of English is fundamental to ensure every pupils’ success as a life-long learner, and citizen of the world.

Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening skills are explicitly taught at every phase of pupils’ education and it is paramount that children make a positive start. Developing reading, writing, speaking and listening skills discreetly, in English lessons, as well as embedding these within all curriculum subjects is vital.

St. john Bosco recognises this and provides opportunities for this through our curriculum model, incorporating carefully chosen high quality texts through which to teach reading and inspire writing outcomes, that help our children cultivate a love of English language and literature. Our reading spine ensures curriculum coverage, as well as genre coverage, and a love of learning – across the curriculum – through story and information texts.


It is our intent that writing across the curriculum will inspire, engage and challenge all pupils, enabling them to develop the skills to effectively communicate their thoughts, ideas and emotions to others. We aim to build the pupils’ stamina for writing, vocabulary knowledge and understanding of grammar, by creating a positive approach to an increasingly wide range of high-quality text types (including areas of fiction, non-fiction and poetry),

We recognise the importance of fostering a culture where pupils take pride in their writing; write clearly and accurately; and modify their structure and language choices to suit a variety of audiences, purposes and contexts.

To support pupils in moving towards independent writing at the age-related standard, we provide a wide range of writing stimuli, including the use of film and imagery; modelled, shared and guided writing; peer-to-peer and group discussion. These rich and varied set of learning opportunities support pupils in becoming confident and enthusiastic learners across all areas of the curriculum. At St. John Bosco, we want writing to equip our pupils with the necessary tools to communicate effectively and to provide them with the skills to become lifelong creative writers. It is important that pupils write with a purpose and for an audience.

Each year group has progression of writing skills that must be taught and learnt. These skills are taken from the National Curriculum for each year group and cover the Grammar and Writing skills that must be taught in KS1 and KS2. In Early Years teaching follows ‘Development Matters’ where physical development and writing skills have carefully been sequenced to ensure a progression of skills across nursery and reception and preparing children for KS1.


As we believe consistency and well-taught English is the solid foundation of a valuable education, at St. John Bosco, we ensure that the teaching of writing is purposeful, robust and shows clear progression for all children.  In line with the new National Curriculum, we ensure that each year group is teaching the grammar, punctuation and spelling objectives required for that age groups.

In Year Reception and Year 1, children learn the spellings related to the RWI sounds that they are learning. Spelling is taught daily through this scheme and embedded in the teaching of reading and writing. Children are also taught red words, which are high frequency words and these are embedded in the rich and varied texts that the children are learning.

From Year 2 onwards, children continue their spelling journey through the teaching of the set words for each year group. The children have regular opportunities to practise these words in the week and have a weekly spelling test. Spelling patterns are assessed at the start and end of every half term to measure the children’s progress.

All lessons begin with a brief ‘Flashback’ activity, where prior knowledge is tested and assessed as a basis to ensuring that connections are made between prior learning and the new content. Whilst children possess the appropriate prior knowledge, they must reassemble the new information to make it meaningful (Howard-Jone et al., 2018). Children may answer prior knowledge questions verbally or write the answers in their books noting the ‘flash’ icon. Teachers use this information to assess groupings and the starting point for individual pupils.

The teaching of SPaG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) is incorporated across the genre and teaching unit. For each genre, teachers will teach vocabulary development, show samples of high-level examples of the text, grammar and writing foci – specifically linked to the text type. Pupils will at the end of each unit have a SPAG reflective piece of work where any gaps highlighted will be retaught before moving onto the next unit. If necessary, further planned interventions to support pupils with skills development will be implemented to address gaps in learning.

As well as teaching the objectives, teachers are able to embed the skills throughout the year in cross-curricular writing opportunities and ensure that most children are achieving the objectives at the expected level and that some children can achieve at a greater depth standard. In this sense, assessment of writing is also more fluid as teachers can assess against a set framework.  All year groups use the same format for assessing writing which have been produced in line with the end of Key Stage assessment frameworks as published by the Department for Education.

In order to expose children to a variety of genres, which help to utilise and embed the writing skills, teachers use a novel study approach based upon the Doug Lemov’s 5 Plagues of Reading. This journey is designed to show progress, teach the pertinent year group objectives, apply and consolidate these skills and develop vocabulary.  Writing is taught through the use of a quality text, which exposes the children to inference, high-level grammar and vocabulary, a range of punctuation and characterisation. The expectation is for at least three novels to be taught across each year group. In Early years our topics are base around books and these will be a starting point for literacy related activities.

Each text is purposefully selected in order to promote a love of reading, engagement and high-quality writing from each child. We use our topic subjects as part of this novel study process to embed this subject knowledge and give children a complete vocabulary for writing. The expectation is for at least three novels to be taught across each year group. All pupils will be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction, including a range of poetry, in order to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world they live in.

Each pupil will have the opportunity to plan a text type and they are encouraged to plan their writing to develop the structure and planning skills needed to complete a piece of work successfully. The planning lesson will enable pupils to develop their confidence with planning their writing and edit work as necessary.

At the end of each unit a ‘Get Writing’ piece of work is expected which will showcase each pupil’s learning throughout the unit. This will showcase the progress they have made during the specific unit and series of lessons. The ‘Get Writing’ is completed independently so that pupils are able to demonstrate their skill allowing the teacher to assess their learning over the course of the unit.

At St. John Bosco, we ensure that pupils have ownership over their own learning and so, throughout the writing process, pupils are constantly given verbal and written feedback and opportunities to mark and assess their own learning and on occasions, the learning of their peers. Next steps are answered in red pen so that teachers can assess that pupils understand how to move their learning on. In Early years stampers are used to support children in knowing what their next step in learning is e.g. full stop, finger spaces.

In Get Writing, two ticks’ emphasis a particular skill, high-level vocabulary or excellent use of grammar and a pupil will be given a target and/or a next step in their learning. A full detailed mark consists of double ticks to recognise and praise the pupils’ progress and a next step and/or target so that pupils are aware of the next stage in their learning.

All children are given a chance to respond to feedback that has been given and children are encouraged to do this in purple pen during ‘Edit time’. ‘Edit Time’ is an integral part of the school day and allows children to reflect back on the successes and next steps of their learning. Children are encouraged to look at improving their work and are given a challenge to further develop their understanding.

Writing is something that is celebrated across school and children produce their published work which is displayed beautifully on display class boards to celebrate the writing process. Presentation should always be of the highest quality in all writing tasks across the curriculum. The display will showcase pupils’ fantastic work in all areas, knowledge, skills, handwriting and presentation.

Termly, the class teacher will choose a child who has worked hard to improve their work and present a piece of their writing on the school writing display board, showing other pupils the expectations of the class write.


In English writing, we use a number of evidence-based strategies to support children with SEN. Strategies include:

  • Support for SEN children with learning vocabulary; this may include flash cards.
  • Games/songs to support vocabulary learning.
  • Support in writing sentences eg, missing words rather than writing the whole sentence. All scaffolding follows a ‘My turn, your turn’ approach.
  • Pupils may be supported in their thought process, e.g. to read aloud and think, does it make sense?
  • Pupils will be given specific opportunities by adults to practise specific skills that are barriers to learning.
  • Visual aids and concrete examples will be used to support learning.
  • Tasks may be ‘chunked’ into smaller steps.
  • Vocabulary prompts may be used to support sentence work.
  • Depending on ability, children with SEN may be asked to evaluate their own progress and discuss what they can do to move their learning forward.
  • Small groups may be used to support learning a particular concept.
  • Pre-teaching and support with new vocabulary may be used.



After our writing structure has been embedded across the school, the impact on our children will be clear: progress, sustained learning and transferable skills.  With the implementation of the novel study being well established and taught thoroughly in both key stages, children will become more confident writers and, by the time they are in upper Key Stage 2, most genres of writing will be familiar to them and the teaching will focus on creativity, sustained writing and manipulation of grammar and punctuation skills.

Children’s writing is conferenced throughout the writing process. This involves the teacher discussing the writing with the child, highlighting (orange and green in accordance with school marking policy) what the child does well and supporting them to achieve their next steps. This form of feedback helps to refocus and redirect the learner and is recommended by the Education Endowment Fund.

As all aspects of English are an integral part of the curriculum, cross curricular writing standards will also improve and skills taught in the English lesson will be transferred into other subjects; this shows consolidation of skills and a deeper understanding of how and when to use specific punctuation and grammar objectives. We set the highest standard and expectations with writing, and by encouraging their creativity and passion for English through having high aspirations, we hope this learning will travel with them and continue to grow and develop as they do, long into secondary school life.


We measure the effectiveness and impact of our English writing, grammar and spelling curriculum in a variety of different ways. We use National and testing to assess pupils’ outcomes for grammar, punctuation and spelling as part of the Statutory Assessment Tests (SATs) and through termly summative and formative assessments across school which enable pupils’ progress and attainment in the subject matter to be evaluated. Prior to embarking on a particular writing genre, at the start of each lesson, the pupils will complete a brief ‘Flashback’ activity. This allows the teacher to assess their knowledge of a particular writing genre and the associated grammar and punctuation. This follows our school policies and procedures for helping children to know more and remember more.

Following the teaching of this unit of work, the children will complete a SPaG reflective task. This enables the teacher to assess the knowledge gained throughout the writing unit. Where there are gaps, the teacher will ensure that a further lesson is taught to address the gaps before moving onto a different genre. Assessment in early years is ongoing, at the end of each term teacher judgements are made to determine if children are on track to be at the expected level. In the summer term of reception, the statutory EYFS profile is completed.

The impact of the curriculum will be seen through pupils’ national assessment results, end of term standardised tests and teacher assessed writing units.