Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar Policy
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COUNTESS ANNE SCHOOL
A CHURCH OF ENGLAND ACADEMY
SPELLING, PUNCTUATION AND GRAMMAR POLICY
At Countess Anne Primary School, we aim for all our children to become proficient writers, who are able to use Standard English. This includes learning spelling patterns to spell words correctly and using a wide range of punctuation and grammar for different purposes. We therefore aim for everyone in our school community to understand that Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPAG) is both important and useful in daily life.
Planning and Differentiation:
Spelling at Countess Anne follows the National Curriculum which requires pupils to:
In Early Years and at Key Stage 1
- Know all letters of the alphabet and the sounds which they most commonly represent;
- Know consonant digraphs which have been taught and the sounds which they represent;
- Know vowel digraphs which have been taught and the sounds which they represent;
- Use the process of segmenting spoken words into sounds before choosing graphemes to represent the sounds;
- Know words with adjacent consonants;
- Apply guidance and rules which have been taught.
At Key Stage 2
- Have a phonic knowledge should continue to underpin spelling after key stage 1;
- Understand the role of morphology and etymology (teachers can help pupils to understand relationships between meaning and spelling where these are relevant);
- Be helped to spell words with prefixes and suffixes correctly if they understand some general principles for adding them. Teachers should be familiar with what pupils have been taught about spelling in earlier years, such as which rules pupils have been taught for adding prefixes and suffixes.
Spelling is to be taught regularly (daily if possible) and, wherever possible, words taught need to follow a spelling rule. Alongside this, the key words for each year group (see Appendix 1) need to be taught. All spellings should be applied. In Early Years and Year 1 our spellings will link with our phonics work which follows letter patterns. In Year 2 and Year 3 as needed children will continue to learn phonics, and then will follow spelling rules recommended in the National Curriculum, that supports children to learn and apply spelling patterns required for their age.
Spelling homework will be set and will be linked to the spelling rule and key words that have been taught that week. Children will be tested weekly. Spelling homework should be differentiated and this can be done as follows:
- By number of words, up to a maximum of 10 words.
- By length of word (e.g. past tense –ed ending is the rule, give higher ability child the word ‘exclaimed’ and a lower ability child the word ‘asked’).
- By task set (eg give higher ability children a dictation to fill in the blanks or they could practice using a dictionary or a thesaurus to find other words, whereas lower ability children just give the spelling list).
Once a spelling pattern or spelling rule has been taught, teachers will use the marking key outlined in the Marking Policy to ensure that previously taught skills and knowledge are applied in writing across all subjects.
If there are children working below age-related expectations and they are unable to read the words being taught, then assessment of these children should take place and the objectives tracked back to previous year groups. If children are found to be particularly struggling with spelling, then intervention needs to be planned, for example, by using programmes such as Toe by Toe and Alpha and Omega.
Dictionaries are available in all classrooms for the children to use as well as high-frequency word lists for children with greater need. Key vocabulary is available either on working walls, learning lines, on interactive whiteboard charts or handouts. Children are always reminded to write these words correctly. Mis-spelt words will be written by the teacher and then copied three times by the child as indicated below:
By the end of Y6, children are expected to correct any words they are unsure of independently.
From Year 4 to Year 6 children will regularly use vocabulary books that move up with encouraging children to broaden their vocabulary by using more ambitious words discussed in class in spoken and written work.
Grammar and Punctuation
Grammar is the body of rules that describes the structure of words and their derivations, phrases, clauses and sentences and thus underpins all activities based on language. Therefore, upholding correct grammatical use and punctuation applies to all subjects and with regard to grammar both to speaking and writing. There is an absolute expectation that all staff will model correct grammar to children in their speech and writing.
Grammar and punctuation will be taught discretely in English lessons with an explicit grammar or punctuation focus. In addition to these lessons, all other teaching and learning linked to English will provide an opportunity to embed punctuation and grammar skills. SPAG starters should happen daily or a SPAG-related activity is provided during a different part of the day.
Lessons whose integral part is either grammar or punctuation should be embedded within the context of the English unit whenever possible. The content with which grammatical structures or punctuation are practised is based on the topic of the unit. (For example, the layout of direct speech is practised by reproducing a dialogue based on characterisation inferred from the text. Alternatively, practising the layout of direct speech prepares dialogue between the main characters for the final writing task.)
During Guided Reading sessions in Phase 2, children will be asked to identify techniques that an author has used to convey meanings. Those techniques can be directly linked to punctuation, clauses and other grammatical structures. Furthermore, children will also be expected to read text passages aloud with correct pace and intonation based on both context and punctuation.
Speaking and listening activities in all subjects enable pupils to practise correct grammar in the form of recounting stories and information and constructing sentences based on useful phrases and vocabulary taken from the stimulus materials. This in turn will impact on children’s ability to write using correct punctuation and grammar and is intended to develop the ‘writing voice’ of all children throughout school. In Phase 2, homework that is related to class work will reinforce what is being learnt using the CGP scheme.
Grammar will be a key focus in conversational English, with teachers picking up on errors and politely correcting pupils when needed. In addition to class-based activities, there will be opportunities for children to practise their speaking and listening skill to an audience (the Nativity play in EYFS, The Easter Play in Years 2 and 3 and Christmas production in Phase 2 – Years 4, 5 and 6), whilst grammar will also be a focus in writing tasks.
The marking policy will be applied to ensure that correct punctuation and grammar are applied in all writing tasks across all subjects (see English Appendix 2).
Additional Provision and SEN:
Some children will need extra support for particular spelling difficulties and these can be addressed through smaller focussed intervention groups with a Learning Support Assistant or teacher, or by using extra programmes such as Word Shark to practise specific words. In addition to this, extra sessions to assist children in their understanding and use of SPAG may be given before SATs in smaller school groups after school. In order to challenge more-able writers, opportunities for writing are available through being given more challenging topic-related spellings and homework projects.
From Year 1 onwards, spelling tests, with age-related spellings will be taken at the start of the academic year in September and subsequently at the end of each term using the NFER Single Word Spelling test. From Year 4 onwards, Spelling and Grammar Tests will be taken half-termly using the Rising Stars scheme. Both of these are to inform teachers planning and delivery of lessons so that children reach expected standards.
All teachers can use Rising Stars, Grammar Ninja, Espresso, Twinkl and SPAG.com for Y6 homework and National Curriculum guidance - Support for Spelling in Appendix 5, Supporting Spelling (Appendix 3) and Letters and Sounds.
Parents and carers can support their children in their learning through the use of the Tapestry Platform in Reception and by attending Spelling and Grammar workshops at the start of each academic year (Phase 1 - Years 2 and 3 and Phase 2 – Years 4-6, which shall also show exemplifications of end of KS1 and KS2 writing, respectively). Parents and carers will also be expected to assist their children with any homework set.
Staff development and CPD:
Class teachers are responsible for every day teaching of Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar as both discrete lessons and as a focus that relates to a particular genre of written English. The Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar subject leader supports all staff in their delivery of the subject, including writing.
Priorities for staff development will be identified by the Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar subject leader from observations and staff discussions. The school expects to develop staff subject knowledge and confidence in teaching of Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar through staff meetings, plus use of Rising Stars resources.
Monitoring and Review:
The Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar subject leader is responsible for monitoring the standard of teaching and learning in this curriculum area through observation, team teaching, planning and assessment procedures.