Spelling in schools: a recipe for success

“English is both a subject in its own right and the medium for teaching; for pupils, understanding the language provides access to the whole curriculum. Fluency in the English language is an essential foundation for success in all subjects.” – National Curriculum, 2014

With the overhaul of the national curriculum in 2014, a much greater emphasis was placed on spelling and grammar. As part of the curriculum, schools are furnished with word lists which prescribe the spelling patterns and common exception words that children must learn throughout their education.

At the end of primary school, children must take a spelling test as part of their SATs. Not only will their spelling test account for a decent chunk of their results, but children must also demonstrate throughout the year that they can spell accurately.

Why is spelling so important in the primary curriculum?


Imagine you are in a completely empty kitchen and have to follow a difficult recipe. You have one hour to complete this dish. Now imagine the recipe does not list the ingredients and you are only given the next step once you have completed the first.

Every time you came across a new ingredient, you would have to run out to the nearest shop to buy that item. That one hour would go pretty quickly with all the to-ing and fro-ing and you probably wouldn’t get to the end of the recipe.

How much easier would it be if you had the ingredients in front of you in the first place? 

Spelling and the basics of grammar are the building blocks of all written work. In almost all subjects, children are expected to produce writing which demonstrates what they can do. If a child is required to write a diary entry as a survivor of Mount Vesuvius’ eruption in 79 AD, not only do they have to ensure the facts they use are historically accurate and they are able to portray how their character felt, but they also have to make sure their spelling is accurate.

Once they’ve finished, they then have to proofread their work and make sure they have done their best work.  It is incredibly frustrating to have to keep stopping to check how to spell a word, or to pause to sound it out. It prevents you from getting into the swing of things and means you lose focus.

For children who are more creative with their spellings, reading their own work back can mean they’re not entirely sure what they’ve written and this can be a huge demotivator. Children who are more confident in spelling have one less thing to worry about and can focus on the material they are producing. They are also more likely to have a go at using more adventurous vocabulary and complex grammar structures.

By ensuring our children have a good grasp of spelling patterns found in the English language, we are making it much easier for them to experience success in school.


DoodleSpell is now available to download!

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