English ~ Writing & Oracy

'After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world' – Phillip Pullman

English ~ Writing

At Mount Hawke Academy our aim is that every child, by the time they leave us, can write in a manner which is clear, grammatically correct and engaging. As writing is a key life skill, we promote daily writing opportunities so that children can successfully write for a range of audiences and purposes.

The children’s enjoyment of writing will shine in their bold vocabulary choices, careful presentation and clear understanding of what they are writing about. Additionally, they will use precise grammatical terminology to discuss and learn from the works of notable authors and to explain their own writing choices. Their resulting skills, knowledge and passion for writing will lead to success in further education, employment and personal life endeavours.    


How we Teach Writing

At Mount Hawke Academy, we teach writing using a variety of strategies to inspire our children's work. We take many principles from the Talk for Writing philosophy, as laid out by Pie Corbett, and combine these with other techniques and ideas.  Children use drama and text-interrogation techniques, as well as spending time unpicking the technical features of the text type and investigating language and structure, using excellent written models. With all of these tools and techniques at their disposal, children are able to use high-level, quality literacy texts to inspire high quality writing.

Our children are provided with opportunities to craft a piece of writing over a number of days; this helps children build their writing stamina, implement the aspects of the writing journey and this gives them sufficient time to create a quality piece.

Our children are encouraged to edit and redraft their work, using a range of tools to support them in their work. We use a range of peer, teacher and self-marking where children use structured marking ladders and success criteria to assess their work. 

Assessment is both formative and summative, with children being given a combination of written and verbal feedback to inform their improvements and next steps. Teachers will assess children's writing against the objectives of the National Curriculum and use these to inform their planning for each written topic.

All aspects of English are an integral part of the curriculum at Mount Hawke Academy, and we expect knowledge and skills taught explicitly in English lessons to transfer into other subjects, so improving cross curricular writing standards and consolidating and deepening skills.    


Spelling is taught discretely throughout the whole school, and is reinforced in all subjects too.  In Foundation Stage and Key Stage One, the children’s spelling lists follow their phonic knowledge to reinforce and embed this. Moving on from phonics, children have lists based on spelling patterns following statutory word lists and patterns.  The children make use of Spelling Shed to practise in class and at home.


We teach Grammar in a variety of ways.  Children experience whole-class Grammar sessions in-line with the National Curriculum. Furthermore, some English lessons will have a grammar focus when teaching writing skills, particularly when looking at advanced punctuation, which has an impact on the meaning of sentences.

Please click on the links below to find out what we cover in our English curriculum in the different year groups.  These are taken from the English Programmes of Study from The National Curriculum 2014.


Handwriting is part of our daily lives.  Time devoted to the teaching and learning of letter formation in the early years pays off as legible writing that can be produced comfortably, at speed and with little conscious effort allows children to attend to the higher-level aspects of writing composition and content.   It is also a movement skill and one which is best taught directly by demonstration, explanation and rehearsal.  We make sure that our children have lots of opportunities to develop their core strength, so supporting the development of gross, then fine, motor skills.  The principal aim is that handwriting becomes an automatic process, which frees pupils to focus on the content of their writing.

Our handwriting scheme is called ‘Penpals’ and we follow this to teach handwriting in a structured way.


English - Oracy

High-quality classroom talk is essential to pupils’ thinking and learning. It is also linked to improvements in reading and writing, and overall attainment (National Literacy Trust).

At Mount Hawke Academy we aim to provide our children with the ability to articulate ideas, develop understanding and engage with others through spoken language. In school, oracy is a powerful tool for learning; by teaching our children to become more effective speakers and listeners we empower them to better understand themselves, each other and the world around them. Through a high-quality oracy education, pupils learn through talk and to talk. This is when they develop and deepen their subject knowledge and understanding through talk in the classroom.  These oracy opportunities are planned, designed, modelled, scaffolded and structured to enable our children to learn the skills needed to talk and listen effectively.

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