Harpur Hill Primary School & Nursery

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Writing at Harpur Hill Primary School and Nursery


At Harpur Hill Primary School and Nursery, we believe that learning to write well for a range of purposes and audiences is fundamental to the wider success of children. We use ‘The Literary Curriculum’ from the Literacy Tree scheme to support our teaching of writing.

The Literary Curriculum from the Literacy Tree is a complete book-based, thematic approach to the teaching of primary English that places children’s literature at its core. As a whole school approach, it provides complete coverage of all National Curriculum expectations for writing composition, grammar, punctuation and vocabulary, as well as coverage of spelling, phonics and reading comprehension. Through immersion in high quality texts, children become aware of the language skills of a writer and use this as a model for their writing.

Award-winning texts and authors: many of the texts and authors studied, have won awards such as The Carnegie Medal Award and Waterstones Children's Book Awards. 

Authors include children's laureates (past and present) Michael Rosen, Lauren Child, Malorie Blackman, Joseph Coelho and Julia Donaldson; modern classics such as Roald Dahl and Michael Morpurgo and more historical classics such as Oscar Wilde, C.S. Lewis and Shakespeare. 

Diversity: this scheme is so diverse and has such a rich text choice! It also links with one of our school aims - ‘celebrate diversity’. From the authors' and characters' backgrounds, to the content being a celebration of diversity in ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender and economic background, the texts studied will really broaden our children's awareness of our world.

The diverse range of themes also includes environmental matters, acceptance and tolerance & bravery and difference.


The curriculum is led and overseen by the English curriculum leader, who will regularly monitor, evaluate and review English teaching and learning, celebrating and sharing good practice.

In Nursery, the children take part in daily Squiggle Whilst You Wiggle sessions and they engage in high quality provision, with continuous access to gross motor and fine motor opportunities. They also have continuous mark marking opportunities and staff model reading and writing for a purpose.

Our Reception class follows the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum whilst KS1 and 2 follow the 2014 National Curriculum knowledge and skills for writing: transcription; composition; and vocabulary, grammar and punctuation.

In Reception, early writing and phonics are taught following the Little Wandle phonics programme. They have open ended opportunities for writing in provision and staff model writing for a purpose and encourage independent writing in provision. Sentence structure is taught during Literacy sessions and the children use a sentence toolkit to support their sentence writing.

From Year 1 to 6, the teaching of writing is delivered using the Literacy Tree long term planning sequences, which are aligned with the National Curriculum for English and provide a progression of writers’ skills and grammatical knowledge. Each planning sequence starts with immersion and ‘WOW’ events to introduce the new text. These are designed to hook children in and create memorable moments. 

The way the scheme is planned, using a spiral curriculum pedagogy, objectives are revisited within and across year groups, meaning that children have the opportunity to practise and consolidate learning. The planning is progressive and sequential with the objectives becoming more challenging as the children move through year groups and the sequence allowing for a gradual build-up of skills.

Literacy Tree Writing Roots, mean that children are being introduced to a wider vocabulary and are also writing regularly, both shorter and longer pieces, to embed their skills.

Each English lesson starts with a handwriting and grammar activity, which ensure the daily practise of letter formation and sentence structure practise and grammatical skills. We teach English as whole class lessons and differentiate so that all children have access to the age-related skills and knowledge contained in the National Curriculum. Within lessons, teachers and teaching assistants target support where needed. This may involve a greater level of scaffolding, access to additional support materials such as word banks, a greater level of modelling, or the use of ICT. Throughout a learning sequence, teachers provide opportunities for the children to plan, draft, edit and redraft their writing. Children are encouraged to take an increased responsibility for proof-reading for mistakes and editing their work, with the reader in mind, as they progress through the school.

A typical lesson is likely to include many of the following elements:

  • Opportunity to respond to feedback in books
  • Revisiting prior learning and making links in their learning
  • Reading comprehension skills; prior knowledge/previewing, predicting, identifying the main idea in a text, summarising, questioning, making inferences and visualising.
  • Reading as a writer to identify the features that make the text successful: vocabulary choice, sentence types, use of punctuation, layout and how cohesion is achieved.
  • Vocabulary, grammar and punctuation
  • Modelled and shared writing
  • Paired talk
  • Guided writing with children working on whiteboards
  • Orally rehearsing sentences
  • Independent writing including writing in role
  • Children ‘taking risks’ and recognising making mistakes as part of the learning process;
  • Editing - self and peer
  • Proofreading


Writing also depends on fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy handwriting. In Early Years and Year 1 we use print and follow the script advised by Little Wandle and we use the Sassoon infant font when using the computers. Once children are secure, we introduce joins using the cursive script.


Spellings are taught according to the rules and words contained in Appendix 1 of the English National Curriculum. Teachers use the Literacy Tree Spelling Seeds to support their teaching and to provide activities that link to the weekly spellings. Children in KS2 use the Spelling Shed programme to practise spellings as homework.

When marking work, teachers identify words that children have spelt incorrectly from within that child’s known ability and these are identified with an ‘sp’ in the margin. Children are then encouraged to identify these incorrect spellings in their own writing and correct them.


Children will take ownership of their progress. Our school ensures that children are aware of their strengths and areas for development in writing.

The impact of the writing curriculum is measured by in-depth assessment of children’s writing each half term. This is made up of a formally assessed narrative and children’s writing from day-to-day English lessons and writing across the curriculum. Teachers will identify the age-related outcomes and key performance indicators of the year group that have been achieved.

Progress in writing is closely monitored by the subject leaders and senior leadership team. Monitoring will include: regular book looks, lesson observations, gathering evidence of good practice, pupil voice interviews, looking at data and regular learning walks.

As our English curriculum becomes embedded, 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 readily and eagerly discuss books studied and their writing and its effectiveness with their teachers and peers. This develops children’s authorial intent; choosing language for effect for a range of purposes and audiences.

High quality writing from a variety of genres can be seen in English books. Children will leave for secondary school as confident, independent writers with the English knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the next stage of their education.

English long term plan

Click on the link for further information - Long Term English Plan

Literacy Tree Curriculum Plans

We use the 'Literacy Tree' published scheme to help plan and teach writing across the KS1 and KS2. Click below to see more detail for each year group -

Click on the link for further information - Literacy Tree curriculum maps 


Early Writing

Please see the leaflets attached below for how to support your child with writing at each stage of their early development. 

'Write with me' tips for Parents

For ages 6 - 12 months

For ages 1 - 2 years

For ages 2 - 3 years

For ages 3 - 4 years

For ages 4+ years


Writing in Reception and Year One

To ensure that children are getting the most from their writing tasks at home we would like to share a few tips about early writing with you:

  • Always ensure your child has their phonics grid when completing writing tasks.
  • Don’t worry about spelling mistakes – at this age we expect children to spell phonetically. So, let your child sound out the word and write it independently. (You could write the correct spelling above the word if you wanted to, after they have finished and only if they ask for help as we don’t want them to feel their writing isn’t good enough).

For example, if your child wanted to write 'The giant is wearing a hat to keep his head warm' and wrote it like this 'The jighant is wairing a hat to keep his hed worm' - this would be fine (even though some words are spelt incorrectly they are phonetically plausible and exactly what we expect at this stage).

  • When writing a word, encourage your child to listen to the sounds in the word- use your Fred Fingers to count the sounds.
  • If your child is unsure of how to write a sound, encourage them to have a look at their phonics grid to help them.
  • In Reception, some children will be able to write a simple sentence whilst some children will be at the stage of writing words and labels. This is ‘typical and usual’ development.

When your child is writing a word, encourage them to follow these steps;

  1. Say the word out loud 3 times.
  2. Count how many sounds are in your word using your Fred Fingers.
  3. Write your word, sounding out each word, using your Fred Fingers and phonics grid to help.

   When your child is writing a sentence encourage them to follow these steps;

  1. Say the sentence out loud 3 times.
  2. Count how many words are in your sentence.
  3. Write your sentence, sounding out each word, using your phonics grid to help.
  4. Read your sentence to check it makes sense.
  5. Check you have the perfect sentence. Do you have a capital letter to start? Finger spaces in between words? A full stop at the end of your sentence?