In St Benedict’s Catholic Primary School we believe that being able to use joined, neat, legible handwriting is an important skill. A consistently high standard of writing is expected in order to foster a sense of pride and respect in work across the curriculum. Handwriting needs to become an automatic process, allowing children to record their thinking fluently and legibly. This gives children a means to communicate their thoughts and ideas efficiently. Cursive handwriting also helps children to learn and remember spelling patterns.
At St Benedict’s we strive:
- To have a consistent approach to the teaching of handwriting, leading to fully cursive writing for most pupils by Y4.
- To enable pupils to achieve a neat, legible style with correctly formed letters in cursive handwriting.
- To enable pupils to develop fluency and speed whilst writing, so that pupils are able to write with confidence in their independent writing.
- To embed high standards in handwriting across all subjects.
There are clear expectations for each year group – see progression of skills in handwriting.
In St Benedict’s, we have a clear handwriting policy which is followed in all classes.
Handwriting is taught through short, focused sessions and may be linked with other areas of the curriculum, e.g. spelling, grammar and phonics.
High standards of handwriting are expected across the curriculum.
Worksheets and writing on interactive whiteboards are made in the school handwriting font so that children are continually exposed to and reminded of the expectations.
In EYFS: Children have daily activities to practise fine motor skills and pencil grip, including dough gym, dough disco, write dance and finger gym. They also practise writing their name daily and practise letter formation linked to phonics teaching.
In KS1: Children have a 15-20 minute letter formation lesson daily as well as practising handwriting in all written work.
In Year 3: Children have one handwriting lesson per week and handwriting practice twice a week as well as practising their handwriting in all written work.
In Years 4,5 and 6: Children have weekly handwriting practice as well as practising their handwriting in all written work. In year 5, children move to using a pen when they are able to write legibly and fluently.
Intervention: Children who need support are given intervention including: practice of fine motor skills; extra letter formation tuition; use of a pencil grip; use of a sloping board.
Staff are aware of the specific needs of left-handed pupils and make appropriate provision:
- Paper should be positioned to the left for right-handed pupils and to the right for left handed pupils and slanted to suit the individual in either case.
- Pencils should not be held too close to the point as this can interrupt pupils’ line of vision.
- Pupils should be positioned so that they can place their paper to their left side.
- Left-handed pupils should sit to the left of a right-handed child so that they are not competing for space – avoiding elbows knocking.
- Left-handed pupils should be encouraged to bring their hands down and round so a hooked, claw-like style doesn’t develop.
- Extra practise with left-to-right exercises may well be necessary before pupils write left-to-right automatically.
As a result of our consistent approach, handwriting should become an automatic process that does not interfere with children’s creative thinking.
Monitoring of children’s handwriting is continually undertaken by the class teacher and interventions put in place where necessary. The English Team, senior leaders and subject co-ordinators carry out regular work scrutinises. During this process, they monitor all subjects for neat presentation and adherence to the handwriting policy.
This ensures high standards and consistency across year groups and subjects.