INTENT – to what do we aspire for our children?

English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others, and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.

Source: National Curriculum (updated Jan 2021)

At St Werburgh’s Primary, we work together towards excellence, underpinned by the following values:



  • Children collaborate with each other, sharing, listening and responding to each other’s ideas, being respectful.


  • Children use their imagination and enjoy being creative.
  • Children’s writing is reflective of their awareness and understanding of the world.
  • Children’s writing demonstrates empathy with characters and issues outside their own immediate, personal experiences. 
  • Children are exposed to a broad, diverse and inclusive curriculum that celebrates authors of both sexes from all cultures from all around the world.


  • Children understand that learning to write requires practice and perseverance.
  • Children are responsible and ambitious authors who embrace the challenges of the curriculum and work hard in lessons. 
  • Children are keen to improve and develop as writers, and are receptive to feedback.

Aims of the Writing Curriculum

It is our vision that every child will learn to become creative and competent writers through engaging, inspirational and aspirational materials and through support and challenge.

To achieve this vision, we aim:

  •  to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping children with a strong command of the spoken and written language 
  • to ensure that all children
  • acquire a wide vocabulary 
  • acquire an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language 
  • write clearly, accurately and coherently 
  • adapt their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences 
  • use discussion in order to learn 
  • elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas 
  • are competent in the arts of speaking and listening

Long Term Sequence

It is our intention that pupils become more expert as they progress through the curriculum. Our curriculum follows the principles of instruction, is guided by understanding how the memory works and cognitive load theory.

Y1 – Y6

CUSP Writing

CUSP writing is an evidence-informed, carefully sequenced English curriculum, which maps core content in writing across the primary year groups. Through each unit, children are exposed to a high quality model text, which helps them understand how to write the type of text expected of them.

Chosen programmes


In Reception the foundations for writing are supported and developed through the use of quality texts, developing strong oracy skills, imagination, storytelling and drawing from children’s interests. 

Children are actively encouraged to mark make from Nursery into Reception. Alongside this, there is continuous opportunity to develop fine motor skills  in order to support them in developing the physical skills needed to hold a pencil correctly and effectively to write.  They are taught to read and write using the Unlocking Letters and Sounds phonics programme which builds up their phonic knowledge and skill of segmenting to spell.  The programme is daily and in each session, the children experience modelled and independent writing. They begin writing initial sounds in words, CVC words and build up to sentence writing by the end of the year with an emphasis on supporting children to form most letters correctly.  The continuous provision environment allows children to have independent mark making and writing opportunities as part of their play. They are taught to write for a range of purposes such as – shopping lists, labelling pictures, writing instructions, letters making their own books. 

Long term overview:

  • The long term overview includes a reduced number of text types studied to ensure a focus on securing the grammatical structures that children need to be able to become great writers. 
  • Text types are revisited over the year with each unit revisited twice across the year in different contexts. 
  • This gives children the opportunity to revisit the text conventions and give children the chance to master the execution of the text types. 
  • There is deliberate proportionality in terms of narrative, non-narrative and poetry. 
  • Poetry is front loaded in Year 1 as a brilliant vehicle to teach vocabulary. 
  • Academic text types (explanatory texts, discursive) are deliberately front loaded as we aspire to prepare children for the demands of academic study. 
  • The purple arrows in the unsequenced overview show where texts are introduced and where they will be studied last so that teachers are able to pick up on any gaps in children

Writing across the curriculum

Links are made to wider curriculum areas where they are meaningful and purposeful to form the context in which children are writing. This ensures children have the depth of context knowledge to apply to their writing. 

IMPLEMENTATION – how will we deliver the curriculum?

Delivery of the Curriculum at St Werburgh’s

Linking curriculum and pedagogy: 


Initially spelling is taught through the Unlocking Letters and Sounds phonics progression from Reception to Year 2. Within these lessons, children learn to form their letters using ULS patterns and to write simple captions and sentences.

From Year 2 to Year 6 spelling is taught using the CUSP spelling scheme. 


In Reception and Year 1,  children will learn to form letters using the Letter Join programme. From Year 2, children will learn cursive formation and begin to join their handwriting.   Teacher’s use cursive handwriting.

Writing lesson design at St Werburgh’s?

Each lesson follows the model above. 

  • CONNECT to prior knowledge 
  • EXPLAIN new content, element of working scientifically and scientific vocabulary 
  • give and EXAMPLE of new learning 
  • children ATTEMPT new learning with scaffolding 
  • APPLY new learning independently 
  • children are CHALLENGED to integrate learning with prior knowledge

Children use knowledge organisers that explain the key knowledge and show examples in each unit. These are referred to in each lesson to ensure children understand the learning journey they are on, and act as a scaffold for all learners.

Each writing unit is structured in two parts, with each around a week in length depending on the unit and year group.

  • Part 1: Explicit skills teaching Explicit teaching of grammatical structures and text conventions that they will need to execute the extended piece the following week.
  • Part 2: The extended cycle A robust model of completing the extended cycle (see below).

At the end of the extended cycle children complete an extended piece of writing. The assessment of this piece of writing feeds forward into the next time they complete a unit of the same genre so that children can action the feedback from their teacher in their next piece. 

During an English cycle, you would expect to see: 

  • A clear sequence of learning 
  • A high profile of oracy
  • The CUSP knowledge note and model text used to scaffold the learning 
  • Explicit teaching and practice of specific conventions/features 
  • Regular opportunities to apply new knowledge and skills in the context of a sustained piece of writing (e.g. a paragraph/several paragraphs) 
  • What success looks like made clear through the use of examples and at the end of each cycle – CUSP’s ‘ingredients for success’ resource
  • The St Werburgh’s marking and feedback policy used to support the editing process 
  • Examples of text features on display on the writing learning wall

In KS2, children have a daily hour-long writing lesson. In KS1 children have a daily 45-minute writing lesson.

SEND and Scaffolding

We recognise some children need provision ‘additional to’ quality first teaching in order to reach their potential as readers.  This includes:

  • High expectations and aspirations for all learners
  • A carefully structured and sequenced curriculum, specifically designed around how children learn
  • Pre-planned and focused direct vocabulary instruction 
  • Modelling and demonstration 
  • Chunked instructions which are supported by visuals and gestures 
  • The use of manipulatives and multi-sensory approaches to enhance the curriculum
  • Review, recall, repetition and retrieval 
  • Frequent formative assessment as teachers check for understanding 
  • Accurate and regular feedback 

However, we recognise some children need provision ‘additional to’ quality first teaching in order to reach their potential as writers.  This includes:

  • Carefully considered scaffolding
  • Pre and post-teaching
  • Pre-planned management of cognitive load
  • Explicit instruction and modelling
  • Structured challenge, without ceilings
  • Alternative ways of recording
  • Additional targeted adult support

In some instances, specialist adaptations are made to support the specific barriers of individual children. 

We aim to enrich the curriculum with:

  • Regular opportunities to write across the wider curriculum 
  • Opportunities to write for a real purpose, e.g. Ablaze writing competitions, applications for the post of librarians
  • Termly ‘Superstar Writers’ celebration assemblies and displays
  • Trustwide spelling bees
  • The St Werburgh’s Passport of Experiences which includes a number of high profile writing opportunities to write for real audiences (e.g. Speeches to be delivered at the Town Hall).
  • Special days e.g. World Book Day, National Poetry Day

IMPACT – how do we know our curriculum is effective?

High quality outcomes: 

Children’s English books and child book studies will:

  • capture increasing understanding of knowledge and skills
  • demonstrate a clear sequence of learning
  • clearly show children’s progressing in their learning through both responding to teacher feedback and independently editing their own work
  • facilitate a quality opportunity for practising and developing oracy skills 


Child’s Voice 

In lessons and during book looks, pupils can:

  • recall and discuss the genres they have studied and the writing models they have used
  • define and use new vocabulary
  • talk confidently and knowledgeably about what they have written
  • articulate their understanding of a specific element of grammar, punctuation or spelling 
  • talk about their progress regardless of starting points 
  • articulate their understanding of the role of feedback 
  • demonstrate pride and effort


Formative assessment

Pupils will be assessed formatively as each lesson progresses. Pupils will be given tasks from which the teachers will draw conclusions. Adaptations will then be made as a result of that evidence. 

Strategies that might be used are: 

  • Making explicit the learning intention and success criteria 
  • Eliciting evidence of pupils’ prior knowledge 
  • Feeding back at the point of learning 
  • Inclusive questioning i.e. cold call, mini whiteboards
  • Retrieval practice i.e. cumulative quizzing


Summative assessment including statutory assessment

  • Early Learning Goals
  • Regular independent assessed Pixl diagnostic writes (Y1-Y6)
  • Moderation of teacher judgements both within the school (all year groups) and across the trust (Y2 and Y6)
  • Pixl/SATs assessment papers for spelling, punctuation and grammar in KS2 (Term 6 for Y3/4, Terms 2,4,6 for Y5/6)

Pixl assessments for spelling, punctuation and grammar in KS2 will show the proportion of children working at age related expectations and allow identification of children requiring further support. Question Level Analysis is used to identify strengths and weaknesses both for individuals and across cohorts and planning of whole class writing and writing interventions will be tailored accordingly.