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Year 6 Model Text Resource Pack 16: ‘Letter from the Head Teacher’ (Formal letter; English - writing for a purpose)

image of Year 6 Model Text Resource Pack 16: ‘Letter from the Head Teacher’ (Formal letter; English - writing for a purpose)
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Real Writing Year 6 - Unit 16
Model text: Letter from the Head Teacher, by Jon Mayhew

Writing unit overview

This writing unit for Year 6 is built around an original model text by Jon Mayhew; a formal letter from the headteacher of Biggin Primary School. The example text is available as a PDF in three versions (plain, illustrated and annotated); annotated and non-annotated PowerPoint presentations are also included.

In this two-week unit, pupils will read the model text (formal letter KS2) from a headteacher outlining new rules for students at the school. Pupils will have the opportunity to read and write letters in a formal register using letter writing templates and plans to organise ideas before writing.

Key curriculum skills

Two fully-resourced lessons are included for the following Year 6 English objectives, which can form part of the unit or be taught discretely:

1. Vocabulary: to select appropriate vocabulary to create a formal tone

Pupils will: organise synonyms from most to least formal (and practise saying these out loud using appropriate registers); create pieces of writing on the same theme using different registers; collect and compare examples of writing that use different registers.

2. Grammar: To use the subjunctive form in very formal speech and writing

Pupils will: Identify sentences written in the subjunctive form KS2; rewrite sentences so they are written in the subjunctive form; write an invitation from the Queen to a party at Buckingham Palace, including the subjunctive form.

Additional objectives to teach or revisit

From previous year groups:

  • using modal verbs

Additional Year 6 teaching points

  • using the appropriate register in speech and writing
  • using brackets
  • colons to introduce a list
  • the use of semicolons to separate independent clauses

Year 6 vocabulary

Year 5/6 statutory spelling words: equipment, equip, accommodate, environment, appreciate
Tier 2 words: instil, ensure, tolerate, allegation, submit, ambassador, temporarily, forbidden, administer, request, specify, refrain, hazardous, adhere, deviation, insist

What is a formal letter?

A formal letter is a type of writing used in professional situations. Examples might include a job application, letter of complaint, a letter to a customer or to parents.
Formal letters should be written using a formal tone. The use of Standard English and formal vocabulary is needed.

What is subjunctive form?

The subjunctive form in KS2 is used in very formal speech and writing. It can be used to suggest or demand, or indicate something that is desired, especially something that is important or urgent.

  • It is important that he attend. (Rather than: It is important that he attends.)

  • The subjunctive form can also be used to show hypothetical situations or wishes.
  • If she were rich, she would buy a zoo.
  • I wish I were a bird so I could fly above the clouds.

Subjunctive form examples

  • I suggest you arrive on time in future.
  • I wish it was my birthday every day.
  • I wouldn’t do that If I were you.
  • I demand an answer!
  • Mrs Brown asks that you help out

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