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Handwriting Policy

Moorhouse Primary School- Handwriting Policy



Handwriting is a skill which needs to be taught explicitly. Handwriting is deemed to be a complex movement skill which requires consistent ongoing practice in order that children can write both fluently and legibly. We aim for good handwriting skills to be evident in all writing activities and not just in handwriting lessons.

Purposes of the policy

  • To establish an entitlement for all pupils
  • To embed continuity and coherence across the school thus establishing a systematic and consistent approach in style of writing
  • To highlight the schools approach to this subject through a systematic teaching programme to be strongly adhered to and valued by all
  • To establish expectations for all teachers
  • To endeavour that all children have an attractive style of writing which will make them feel pride and pleasure in the standard and appearance of their work


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 a correct and comfortable grip
  • to form letters properly, knowing where to start and where to finish
  • to form letters of regular size and shape
  • to use the correct terminology of ascenders, descenders and flick
  • to form upper and lower case letters
  • to write from left to right and top to bottom of the page
  • to put regular space between letters and words
  • 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
  • to use different forms of handwriting for different purposes

Foundation stage- Reception

Pre- writing skills

  • Develop and strengthen gross motor skills especially muscles in the shoulder, arm, wrist and hand. This is to be done through indoor and outdoor activities.
  • Develop and strengthen fine motor control incorporating a range of multi-sensory activities including:


-constructional apparatus


-sewing and weaving





-scissor skills

-Experiment with a range of implements e.g. pens, pencils, crayons, chalk, felt tips, sticks, paints

-Use a selection of materials e.g shaving foam, mud, wet/dry sand, water

-Use malleable materials

-Play with ‘roll and write’ letters

-Use finger and counting rhymes

-Implement ‘write dance’ and ‘scrimbling’ activities


Formal Writing in Reception


This is started when practitioners feel that the children have a specific amount of pencil control and have established a hand preference.

  • Writing is taught as part of the Letters and Sounds programme
  • All children receive 3 sessions of Guided Reading per week
  • Children are explicitly taught formation and orientation from the outset
  • Recording is done on photocopiable sheets including the Jolly Phonics and Cripps schemes

All children take part in early morning writing activities. Parents are encouraged to support their children where possible. Parents are given a copy of the correct letter formation sheets for left and right handed children at the New Parents Intake Meeting.

Year 1

  • Children in Year 1 with developing fine motor control are encouraged to continue with the pre-writing skills that the children in Reception encounter
  • Formal handwriting is taught each day, concentrating on a minimum of 2 letters per week
  • Sharp, thin pencils are to be used
  • They will continue to follow Cripps and Letters and Sounds
  • They will do their handwriting in a designated handwriting book

Year 2

  • Children have 10 minutes of formal handwriting every day
  • They use sharp pencils
  • The Cripps scheme is followed
  • By the end of Year 2, children will have been taught all the connections

Key Stage 2

Children in Key Stage 2 will be provided with the opportunity of writing letter patterns and then looking at words containing the same letter pattern irrespective of their sound. All words used in the programme are a selection based on the words used by 5-11 year old children in their writing.

In Key Stage 2 the children will require different levels of writing for different purposes, namely a very fast hand for personal notes, a clear but quick hand for general use and a formal hand for special occasions. The second priority after legibility is speed, because speed of writing has been shown to influence spelling. The simple cursive style modelled in Cripps is ideal for the purpose of writing quickly.

From the beginning of Key Stage 2, the children will be taught to develop legible handwriting joined up.

As the children move towards the end of the primary phases, it is intended that they will be encouraged, on the basis of a secure foundation, to begin to break away from the taught model and develop a more personal style. This should happen naturally where the children have mastered skills taught, as an indication of the writer’s confidence and maturity.

Children will be assessed at the beginning of Key stage 2 and gradually move on to using a pen.

Guidelines for good handwriting

Modelling handwriting

All teachers, teaching assistants and trainee teachers should be familiar with the contents of this policy, thereby ensuring that the handwriting modelled to the children is in line with the style adopted throughout the school.

The learning environment

The learning environment should be conductive to good writing by:

  • Ensuring the tables and chairs are the correct size
  • Allowing  adequate space
  • Providing good lighting
  • Creating an atmosphere which is calm and purposeful
  • Ensuring materials are accessible, suitable, varied and of good quality

When displaying work or during shared writing with the children, Cripps style handwriting should be used and Sassoon Primary Infant font used on the computer.

Position of the writer

Children should sit comfortably with their feet flat on the floor and their body upright, leaning forward slightly. The non-writing hand should rest on the paper, supporting the upper body, facing slightly to the dominant side. The eyes should be approximately 30-40 centimetres away from the paper. If copying from the whiteboard the children should be facing it. The whiteboard should have guidelines on it to demonstrate the position of the letters.


When teaching the children to grip, care should be taken that the children do not grip the pencil too tightly as they will tire easily and not develop a free flowing movement. They should hold the pencil between the thumb and the forefinger with the pencil resting on the third finger. The thumb and the forefinger should be able to move slightly so that the fine motor movements required for writing are possible.


When children are engaged in handwriting activities, teachers and teaching assistants should constantly observe the children and offer ongoing support and identify, intervene and address any misconceptions.

Left handed children

These children are noted and given guidance to ease the process of writing, by implementing these strategies:

  • They are seated on the left of a right handed child, so their arms do not clash
  • Their paper needs to be to the left side of the mid-point of their body and tilted to about 30 degrees clockwise so they can see what they have written
  • To avoid smudging their work they are encouraged to position their fingers about 1.5 cm from the end of the writing implement

Policy updated February 2019 (Nicola Smith)

To be reviewed February 2021