spelling image 1but not as we know it!

Dear Parents and Carers,

The way we teach spelling at Priors Wood is changing.

For children in Years 2-6, the emphasis will be on regular spelling lessons at school to look at rules, conventions and strategies for spelling instead of the traditional system in which weekly standalone spelling lists are given out and tested the following week,

spelling image 2 

Under the National Curriculum, the ability to spell and use grammar accurately are essential skills required to meet the expected level of achievement for each year group.  However, studies have shown that sending home a standalone list of words to learn in preparation for a weekly test is not the most effective way for most children to grasp spelling rules. The Friday spelling test may be great for those who can already spell but for others, who find remembering spellings a challenge, it makes for a disappointing if not frustrating Friday morning.  Additionally, many children (although they may have performed well in the test) will have forgotten these words a few days later and will not be able to use them in their work.  For these reasons, it is necessary to have an approach which meets the needs of all children and allows them to develop their skills at an appropriate rate.

Our new spelling programme has a more investigational and personal approach. Following the structure and expectations of the National Curriculum, each year group has a set of spelling rules and conventions to master and also a statutory list of words to learn. Each rule/convention will be taught within a series of multi-sensory lessons with an emphasis on active learning and through a strong link with handwriting.  At the end of each series of lessons, the children’s understanding of the rule and/or their ability to spell words from the statutory list will be assessed. If a child has not grasped a particular rule or misspells a word, this will need to be practised at home.

In addition, the children will devise and follow their own personal spelling plan in which they make a note of any high frequency/topic words they have spelled incorrectly in their work and then practise these at school and at home. These will also be assessed by testing and through correct spelling of them in their work.

The structure of the lessons and the timings of spelling tests may be different for each year group and the number of spellings will depend on each child’s ability. Your child’s class teacher will inform you of the expectations for your child.

There are many different strategies the children can use to learn spellings. Copies of the booklet explaining some of the strategies we use in school is available from the office. Please encourage your child to choose the strategies which are age appropriate, fit their learning style and suit the words they are working on. It is a good idea also to help them devise their own way to remember the spellings which they find particularly challenging eg is it their or there?

Support from home is a vital element of our spelling programme and we recognise and value the help parents provide. If you have any further questions please speak to your child’s teacher.


Ann MacLachlan

Deputy Headteacher,

English Subject Leader