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Penn Wood Primary

and Nursery School

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English at Penn Wood School


Reading, Writing and Communication are central to the curriculum offered at Penn Wood.  Reading, writing and communication are taught in both a subject specific and cross-curricular way.




To provide a language rich environment that promotes a culture of reading and writing;
To develop in pupils an interest in and a love of books and literature that will not only support their learning across the curriculum but also enrich their lives;
To value and use books as a basis for learning, pleasure, talk and play;
To teach children the craft of writing in order to develop in children the confidence and skills to write well for a range of purposes and audience;
Teach the basics – grammar, spelling,  handwriting and punctuation - to liberate creativity;
To foster in pupils the confidence, desire and ability to express their views and opinions both orally and in writing;
To value and celebrate diversity in culture and language.



Spoken Language

Speaking and Listening permeates the whole curriculum. Interactive teaching strategies are used to engage all pupils in order to raise reading and writing standards. Children are encouraged to develop effective communication skills for the ‘here and now’ and   in readiness for later life.   


The majority of children have English as an Additional Language and Penn Wood encourages fluency in English and home language.  It is recognised that many children enter school with a paucity of both home language and English.  In addition, many children have speech and language difficulties. 


The school’s staffing structure, resources and CPD programme all take account of the above.  The  School uses ‘ I Talk’  in Early Years and Year 1 , including the use of  ‘Language groups’, prioritises ELKLAN training for practitioners, employs its own speech and language assistant and commits to whole school staff training.



It is morally imperative for Penn Wood School to teach every child to read, regardless of social and economic circumstances, the ethnicity of pupils, the language spoken at home and most SEN or disabilities. We are sharply accountable for the progress and success of our children.  Unless children have learnt to read, the rest of the curriculum remains a secret garden to which they will never have access. 
We believe that good readers make good writers and so we actively teach using Pie Corbett’s ‘Talk for Writing’ approach.  'Reading as a Reader' and 'Reading as a Writer' are both necessary pre-requisites to independent writing.

Please see the separate section on reading for more detail on our approach.





At Penn Wood, children are immersed in Talk for Writing from Nursery to Year 6. Its three phases (Imitation, Innovation and Independent Application) mean that children are explicitly taught how to write specific story types (e.g. warning tales) and how to create certain effects (e.g. suspense) in their writing. Teachers act as expert models of the writing process in daily shared writing sessions and there are regular opportunities for children’s writing and ideas to be shared, displayed, published and celebrated.


The end goal of the teaching of any writing should be to develop children into successful independent writers, and so at the end of each 'unit' - once all of the teaching, modelling and internalisation of knowledge has taken place - there is an opportunity for children to produce a final, independent piece of work.


Grammar is taught explicitly through Talk for Writing units, as research shows that knowledge is best internalised when taught within a familiar context.


Writing is a primary means of expression, both for personal cognitive purposes and for communicating meaning with others.  Pupils learn how to write with confidence, fluency, imagination and accuracy by orchestrating their knowledge of context and composition (text level), grammatical knowledge (sentence level) and knowledge of phonics, word recognition and graphic knowledge (word level).


We provide a wide variety of reasons and purposes for writing and in the early years provide many opportunities for child initiated and role-play writing.


As soon as children are able to form most letters correctly and have a good pencil grip, we teach a fluent and legible handwriting style that empowers children to write with confidence and creativity in line with Penn Wood Primary and Nursery School ‘Handwriting Policy’. We encourage children to ‘have a go’ at writing as soon as possible and to use their phonic skills and knowledge to spell.

Please read our Talk for Writing Parents' Guide for more information about the stages of the writing process.

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