GOODYERS END PRIMARY SCHOOL HANDWRITING POLICY

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1 GOODYERS END PRIMARY SCHOOL HANDWRITING POLICY This document is to enable the Governing Body of the school to fulfil its statutory responsibilities under Section 175 and that the school complies with legal requirements regarding the safeguarding of children of the Education Act Adopted by the Governing Body: Signed:.. Chair of Governors. Headteacher Date: Spring 2012 Date of next review: Spring 2015 The review of this code of practice will be as and when required in response to national and local requirements and in light of continuous school-based monitoring and evaluation data. s:\head\policies - classroom-based\handwriting policy.doc Page 1 of 7

2 RATIONALE Handwriting is one of the most demanding movement skills which a child is expected to master. It needs to be systematically taught. Handwriting is a complex skill involving a combination of different abilities including understanding of language, visual tracking, visual discrimination and motor co-ordination. It is a complex task which needs to be an automatic process. Creativity will suffer if the child has to focus on the mechanics of writing and writing skills will improve rapidly if pupils write more as they become more proficient 1.0 AIMS 1. To develop within all pupils a legible style of handwriting. 2. To develop a consistency in the size, shape of letters. 3. To develop fluent and smooth flow and movement. 4. To raise children s self motivation and esteem through the establishment of best handwriting practice. 5. To establish and maintain a high profile of handwriting and presentation skills by displaying and rewarding work that meets the standard. 2.0 OBJECTIVES All children should be given the opportunity to develop an effective, cursive style of writing. In order to do this they should be taught: how to hold a pencil/pen using the correct and comfortable grip to form letters properly, that is, where to start and where to finish to form letters of regular size and shape to form upper and lower case letters to write from left to right and top to bottom of the page to put regular spaces between letters and words use the correct terminology of ascenders and descenders and flick how to join letters to be fully aware of the importance of neat and clear presentation in order to communicate meaning effectively to write legibly in both joined and printed style with increasing fluency and speed use different forms of handwriting for different purposes s:\head\policies - classroom-based\handwriting policy.doc Page 2 of 7

3 3. 0 GUIDELINES FOR HANDWRITING POLICY AND SCHEME 3.1 Style To achieve these objectives we have decided to adopt the Ruth Miskin version of a cursive script in Key Stage 1 and Penpals scheme in Key Stage 2. The Ruth Miskin approach to handwriting ultimately will be used across the school (see Appendix 1). 3.2 Pencil and Pens Use a good quality HB handwriting pencil. Ensure it is always sharp and is not too short. Pens can be introduced as the handwriting improves as a motivation to earn the privilege. Competent writers can use pens for best writing tasks. 3.3 Grip In order to develop a fast and fluent style, children need to learn to hold a pencil with the correct grip. The tripod grip of the writing tool is recommended. This should be relaxed but allow good control over the pencil. If they grip too tightly they will tire quickly and will not achieve a free-flowing movement. The correct grip will be between the thumb and forefinger with the pencil resting on the third finger. Children are taught the correct grip and children who find this difficult may be given a special pencil grip to attach to their pencil to help correct an incorrect grip and reinforce the correct grip. NB: Only modify/correct a really inefficient unorthodox grip. 3.4 Posture Staff ensure that children have a good sitting posture when writing. Children are taught to hold the paper with their non-writing hand to steady the paper. Children are taught to slant their page appropriately and according to handedness. Insist on a correct, balanced seating position. Two hands to be used at all times. Six feet on the floor, the chair s and your s! s:\head\policies - classroom-based\handwriting policy.doc Page 3 of 7

4 3.5 Environment The learning environment should be conducive to good writing by ensuring: the tables and chairs are the correct size there is adequate space there is good lighting the atmosphere is calm and purposeful the materials are accessible, suitable, varied and of good quality. 4.0 INCLUSION 4.1 Left-handed children At least 10% of the population is left-handed a slightly higher proportion are male. Teachers should be 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 children are placed so that they are next to each other or on a corner of a table to avoid knocking elbows with right-handed children. Extra practice with left-to-right exercises may well be necessary before pupils write left-toright automatically. Letters which have a cross-stroke such as T, t and f will be formed slightly differently by left handers, where the cross is formed right to left rather than left to right. Teachers should be alert to the fact that it is very difficult for left-handed pupils to follow handwriting movements when a right-handed teacher models them. Teachers may demonstrate to left-handers on an individual or group basis, even if the resulting writing is not neat. All of the activities for developing letter formation are modelled specifically for left-handed children. They are taught to slant their work appropriately and to hold the pencil with the correct grip. This avoids the danger of smudging their work. 4.2 Dyspraxia/Poor Motor Control Children with persistent fine motor control problems can be referred to the SENCO for a dyspraxia screen and if appropriate, the provision of a fine motor programme can be made. s:\head\policies - classroom-based\handwriting policy.doc Page 4 of 7

5 5.0 AGREED KEY INDICATORS OF GOOD PRACTICE IN HANDWRITING LESSONS Short, regular practice in order to establish, develop and maintain good writing habits. Good examples of handwriting, pupil and adult, on display around the classroom. Correct vocabulary used in KS2 (ascenders, descenders, formation, cursive, spacing, size, join). Correct formation of all letters, adherence to the agreed school policy for handwriting. Correct sitting position all pupils comfortable and facing the teacher when modelling good practice. Correct pencil/pen grip to be encouraged held between thumb and first finger, resting against middle finger. Pencil grips can be used to support pupils with difficulties. Paper position comfortable for pupil adjusted for left or right hander, spare hand used to steady paper. Where appropriate, the teacher is seen by pupils to model the school handwriting style. Suitable and well maintained writing implements available to pupils HB pencils/rollerball pens or cartridge pens. Teacher to carefully analyse pupils work for errors in joins/formation. Evidence of differentiation special consideration for left-handers. Teacher to check that pupils who need to wear spectacles are doing so. Learning objectives are made clear to pupils at the start of handwriting sessions and are revisited at the end. When children are writing with pencil, make sure it is always sharp. Ensure that paper or book is correctly positioned. While children are writing, teacher to constantly re-enforce teaching points and good practice. Teacher constantly on the move while the children are writing, praising and assessing where individual help is needed. (see Appendix 1 and 2). 6.0 ASSESSMENT It is an essential part of this policy to assess handwriting at several levels: 1. whole school assessment 2. class assessment 3. individual assessment 4. self assessment 5. peer assessment s:\head\policies - classroom-based\handwriting policy.doc Page 5 of 7

6 6.1 Whole school assessment and class assessment 1. Is the writing generally legible? 2. Are the letters correctly shaped and proportioned? 3. Are the joins made correctly? 4. Are the spaces between letters, words and lines appropriate? 5. Is the writing properly aligned? 6. Evidence of transfer seen in pupils other exercise books. s:\head\policies - classroom-based\handwriting policy.doc Page 6 of 7

7 APPENDIX 1 KEY STAGE ONE YEARS 1 AND 2 %Letter formation is developed from the Foundation Stage as part of the Ruth Miskin Scheme of Work, separately from the Literacy lesson. Ruth Miskin HW taught discreetly for 10 minutes a minimum of 4x per week Not as part of literacy or phonics There is a set routine / order 1. Demonstrate teacher thinks aloud as demonstrating letter formation, pupils use whiteboard or books. My turn Your turn used. 2. Practice pupils have a good sitting position, reminded of this and other essentials for good writing. Teacher rubs the demonstration off the board and pupils practise the letters/joins. Teacher (and TA) move around room marking, praising and correcting. 3. Review Teacher revisits the letter/join making errors for pupils tocorrect. Pupils practise again. A new letter/join is taught every session and there is a brief review of previous letters. The letters taught are specified by the programme. Order of teaching is: correct letter formation relative size, including ascenders, descenders (only when letter formation is cracked) letter formation with flicks joins. KEY STAGE TWO %Once the pupils start Key Stage 2 they will be taught to join all letters correctly when they are ready to do so. The terminology from the Ruth Miskin scheme will be used to describe the joins. The frequency of handwriting sessions in KS2 will be needs-led. s:\head\policies - classroom-based\handwriting policy.doc Page 7 of 7

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