There is a significantly higher emphasis on standards of Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPAG) in the new National Curriculum (NC)

The bar for spelling has been raised very high and there is much more content, particularly in lower years.

However, there is little guidance in the NC documentation on how to structure the teaching and assessment of spelling.

We have created a logical, consistent and comprehensive structure for implementing an all-through spelling system incorporating both Letters and Sounds for EYFS and the entire PoS for the National Curriculum.

A2a. The Spelling Programme of Study

AIM: To ensure a consistent approach to the teaching, recording, reporting and tracking of pupil progress in spelling across the whole school.

The Spelling Programme offers comprehensive coverage which includes:

  • Objectives and word lists for all stages and year groups R –Y6
  • All spelling rules and conventions to up-skill children and staff
  • All records and recording formats
  • All related homework and more.

ALL cross referenced with both our Assertive Mentoring Writing Criteria and Grammar System.

The Spelling Overview (A2:1) shows the spelling programme overview for Reception and KS1. The overview for KS2 is set out in the same way. Stage 1 PoS refers to the spelling content required across Year 1, Stage 2 is Year2 and so on. All are taken from the National Curriculum PoS for spelling.

Stage 0 refers to Reception. Although not included in the National Curriculum, for clarity and consistency, it is included in the Spelling Programme and follows the content set out in Letters and Sounds.

Each stage comprises of 30 spelling units (20 at KS2). To ensure full coverage, teachers need to think of teaching approximately 10 units per term or 5 per half term.

For clarity and consistency, each unit is numbered throughout all documentation and records. 0:1 refers to Stage 0:Unit 1, 2:1 stands for Stage 2:Unit 1, 5:4 would therefore be Stage 5:Unit 4 and so on.

Each and every unit is broken down into a comprehensive Spelling Programme for the teacher. A sample is included for Y2 (A2:2). On one page is shown the spelling coverage for a half term (5 units).

Each and every unit consists of 3 related spelling ‘rules’, ‘tips’ or teaching points (A, B, C) exemplified by 5 words which ‘follow the rule’. Children should always be told that there are often others that do not! Whenever possible, examples have been chosen which also contain the short or long vowel sounds a,e,i,o,u , so they may play a part in as many lessons as possible.

For example Unit 2:5C looks at words ending ‘al’ and the sample words are ‘magical’, ‘central’, ‘signal’ ‘global’ and ‘survival’.

We do not advise teaching the spelling of 15 words in a one hour spelling lesson once a week. Instead, we recommend a ‘little and often’ approach of 3 sessions of 20 minutes each per week consisting of a quick recap to date and introducing 5 new words at a time.

Each Unit has an individual Homework Sheet (A2:3) so that children can consolidate by practicing them at home. Every homework sheet has a letter to parents explaining the spelling rules being covered and all the information they may need to understand the rule help their children with the homework. The homework uses a look, cover, write, check approach to encourage repetition and ‘muscle memory’.

We believe the ‘testing’ of spelling words to less important than the teaching and learning of spelling rules. You may wish to keep a record of coverage of the PoS or you may wish to give a traditional spelling ‘test’ each week. A class Spelling Record (A2:4) works equally well for either. The children can track their own scores and progress on their Weekly Record Sheet (A2:5) and SEE the progress they are making which can be highly motivational.

We recommend that after 5 Units (or half a term) the teacher assesses the learning to date. This is done quickly and efficiently using the Spell Checks (A2:6) provided. The tests are sentences for dictation. The teacher emphasises and repeats the words in bold which are examples of the rules the pupils have been learning.

Any remaining weeks can therefore be used to revisit any rules which may have been forgotten or appear to be weaknesses.


Peter Boddy

Phone number
07810 125 494

Eamonn Farrar

Phone number
07951 391 388

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