We want all pupils at William Torbitt to become fluent and effective writers; we believe accurate spelling is a means to that end. Competent spellers spend less time and energy on thinking about spelling. They are therefore able to channel their time and energy into the skills of composition, sentence structure and precise word choice.

At William Torbitt we offer a balanced spelling programme which includes five essential components:

  • Understanding the principles underpinning word construction (phonemic, morphemic, and etymological);
  • Recognising how (and how far) these principles apply to each word, in order to learn to spell words;
  • Practising and assessing spelling;
  • Applying spelling strategies and proofreading;
  • Building pupils’ self–images as spellers

What and how we teach spelling gradually builds pupils’ spelling vocabulary by introducing patterns or conventions, and continually practising those already introduced. Experience has confirmed that short, lively, focused sessions are more enjoyable and effective than an occasional skills session.

We teach spelling strategies during shared and guided writing sessions and links are made to the teaching of handwriting.

Documents such as ‘Support for Spelling’ and ‘Jumpstart’ are used as reference documents, but it is the National Curriculum 2014 Spelling Appendix 1, which is used for coverage.

This is the structure that we use to teach spelling across KS1 and 2. We’ve given examples of what sorts of activities would take place in each section:


HeadlineWork Process
Review Previous Spellings and PatternsCheck knowledge and understanding of previous teaching. Activities are aimed to be snappy, engaging, interactive and timed.

E.g “You have 30 seconds to find as many to spell the … sound?” Then share with a partner.

Show children a word with chosen pattern e.g. ‘ight’. Find other words with same pattern. How many words can you find?

Exceptions to the rule – How many exceptions can you find?

How many different ways can you do …………?
(prefix, suffix, plural, particular sounds, eg. How many ways can you make the ‘ae’ sound?)

Show sentence that is incorrect, identify why it is wrong.
Matching games
Introducing New Spelling Rules and PatternsChildren are shown clear examples and the teacher models how to apply the rule or pattern.

Discuss why or why it may not work?

‘Here is another word. How will I apply the rule to this?’ Children try this on mini whiteboards, and show the teacher for instant assessment
Practising SpellingThe children are provided with engaging and fun activities to help them apply or practise the rules and patterns.

They get instant feedback when they hold up their whiteboards, and teachers challenge individuals through instant assessment.

Activities should be snappy and interactive. Not formal spelling tests that children go away to learn. However, spelling quizzes, quick-fire ‘How do you spell…? On whiteboards to check how well they have understood the application of a rule/pattern/convention is more valuable.

NB. We do have an expectation that children learn and practise the spelling of everyday words they use often within their writing. This should always be done in written form (preferably joined), rather than just spelling the word aloud.

Strategies for Spelling Unfamiliar WordsChildren are encouraged to attempt to spell words correctly using the following strategies rather than relying on an adult spelling out the word for them. They are taught these strategies before using them independently.

1. Listen to the word carefully. Say it back to yourself.
2. Split it up into syllables and phonemes.
3. Think of different spellings / patterns for the sounds heard. eg. - tion - sion
4. Does it belong to a particular word family? eg. audience, audio, audiology (think about the meaning).
5. Check that the word looks right – try different versions.
6. Can you hear words within your word?

What can I do to help outside of school?

A guide for parents – helping your child with spelling Click on the link for more ideas from us.

Click here for the National Curriculum Spelling Y1 – 6

See below for websites you may also find useful: