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English Sticky Skills and Knowledge

Basic Punctuation (Capital letters, full stops, commas and paragraphs) –Proper punctuation is a necessity in written English. It gives the reader an understanding of the meaning of the text and the idea revealed by an author. Proper punctuation is also important tool to make written text logical and readable. It is an imperative skill for our pupils to have when going into the wider world. 

Capital letters - Capitalisation helps convey information. The first word of every sentence is capitalised, signalling that a new sentence has begun. They are also used for proper nouns – the name of a particular person, place, or thing – are capitalised to indicate uniqueness. It is important our pupils know how and why capital letters are used so they convey the information they are presenting clearly and accurately. 

Full stops - The full stop is the most commonly used punctuation mark in English and thus should be used correctly by all pupils at all times. Its main function, as we know, is to mark the end of a sentence which isn't an exclamation or a question. As well as this knowledge we also want pupils to understand how full stops can be used to give writing its rhythm, to build tension and to punctuate abbreviated words. It should be taught as both a necessity and a manipulative. 

Commas – Commas are, arguably, the most important grammatical tool the English language has to offer. They splice a sentence, providing cohesion and unity. Commas also allow the reader to understand the proper connotation of a writer's words. They are used to separate items in a list, the separate parts of a sentence and they can link simple sentences. A misplaced comma can greatly change a sentences meaning and as a result we want all of our pupils to use them correctly so their ideas and information are delivered correctly.

Phonetic awareness - Phonics involves the relationship between sounds and their spellings. The goal of phonics is to teach pupils the most common sound-spelling relationships so that they can decode, or sound out, words. This decoding ability is a crucial element in reading success.

Formal writing – With the recent and dramatic changes in writing that have resulted since the advent of the internet and mobile devices, the lines between formal writing and casual writing have blurred. However, we want pupils to be aware of their audience when writing and understand when formal writing is imperative, especially for things like formal letters and job applications during the latter stages of life at Fern House. We want pupils to be aware about using proper punctuation, correct spelling, no contracted words, no colloquial words and the importance of proofreading the work on completion.