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Writing Principles

Writing Principles


At The Duston School, we know that reading is the key to success for all children and so we use high quality literature as a stimulus for writing units. When a child writes fluently, they are able to focus on the content of their writing and have freedom to develop their imagination and their style of writing. We aim to teach children to write fluently and to promote a love of writing.

The school aims to:

  • Provide children with the skills and strategies necessary to develop into competent and fluent writers
  • Develop writing for purpose so that children can apply their skills across the curriculum
  • Develop children’s confidence so that they see themselves as writers who can write for purpose and pleasure
  • Develop a critical appreciation of the work of authors, poets and illustrators in order to emulate these skills in their own writing



Phonics is taught systematically using the Read, Write, Inc Programme which is a DfE-validated systematic synthetic phonics programme as a whole-school approach to teaching early reading and writing.

Children learn the routines and behaviours necessary for each activity, and practise these until they use them automatically. This allows them to focus on what matters most – learning to read and write.

The Oxford Owl Spelling Programme is then used to teach spelling when children have grasped phonics learning. This programme follows on from the Read, Write, Inc phonics programme and is taught in a similar systematic way.


The key principles from The Handwriting Association’s ‘Good Practice for Handwriting Toolkit’ underpin our practice. The ‘P checks’ are used to support the process of handwriting and cover Posture, Pencil grasp, Paper position and Pressure and fluency.

The order and groupings if the phonemes taught is in line with the Read, Write, Inc Handwriting Guidance so that it links to children’s phonics teaching.

Presentation expectations are taught explicitly, at the beginning of each year, and then referred to regularly whenever children are writing. Children and teachers take pride in the children’s work and they are keen to share their work with others.

Teachers have the same high expectation for handwriting and presentation across the curriculum.

Writing Units

Writing is taught in units which cover a range of genres as children’s writing develops and, depending on the genre, units can last from one week to three weeks. High quality books are used as a stimulus for writing and model texts are produced so that children can analyse the model and then have a guide to base their writing upon. New vocabulary introduced is taught explicitly and teachers ensure that children fully understand new language and how to use it in the correct context.

Teachers break down the models into small chunks and then model these while talking through the writing process. Small steps are practiced together and feedback given to ensure that children succeed. Children then plan together before applying their knowledge in their own piece of writing. Opportunities are planned to ensure that children develop proofreading skills and can make improvements to their writing before producing a final draft.

Grammar is taught, where appropriate, within writing units as part of the writing process or in explicit lessons when this is deemed to be more effective.

Effective feedback is used throughout lessons to highlight improvements and address misconceptions. Moderation within teams is planned throughout the year to ensure that the teaching of writing is consistent and that all children are challenged appropriately. Information from these meetings is used to plan next steps for the children and for effective interventions.

Year 2 and 6 teachers attend regular cluster moderation sessions with our local primary schools and the Local Authority moderation training. 


The teaching of writing is consistent across the school, with handwriting and spelling being taught systematically. Children enjoy writing, can use spelling strategies confidently and handwriting is fluent enabling children to concentrate on the content of their writing. Children will reach, at least, the expectations for their year group or phase of the National Curriculum and this will be evident across the curriculum. Children and teachers will show pride in the writing produced and writing displayed will be of a high quality across the school.