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Our Approach to Spelling


At Murdishaw West Community Primary School, we believe that good spelling is an essential skill, which allows children to communicate their understanding in all curriculum subjects. We are often asked by parents to explain how we teach spelling and why we no longer routinely send spelling lists home for children to learn. Research has found that the practice, of sending lists home, does not impact much beyond a test, as children seldom applied these ‘learnt’ spellings in their writing, nor does it prepare them for when they encountered words, which had not appeared on their spelling lists. As a school, we focus our dedicated weekly spelling lessons on exploring spelling patterns and strategies. If a child is able to work out a rule, through such exploration, they are much more likely to understand it and, therefore, apply it consistently and in the correct context. Once they have explored the spelling rule, they have the opportunity to apply it within the same lesson. If they require further support or practice of a particular rule, staff are able to follow this up within focused interventions.

Pathways to Spell is an innovative and engaging programme to fascinate pupils about words. It is a research-based series of lessons following a Review, Explain, Practise, Apply and Reflect model. Through this programme, we aim to develop a school of spellers who use a series of strategies in lessons and in their independent writing. Unlike other spelling programmes, there is a cycle of review objectives covering the whole curriculum to ensure gaps in learning are constantly revisited. 

To see the overview for each year group, click on the table below

Year Group Overviews

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