Two of the aims stated in our English Policy are for children to be able to write effectively for a range of audiences and purposes (with increasing grammatical accuracy) and to develop a consistent legible handwriting style. It is essential that our approach to teaching writing and handwriting skills is accessible to all learners, regardless of their background.
At Horley Infant School, we recognise that writing is a complex craft. We believe that handwriting is an important part of the writing process but we understand legible handwriting is one ingredient to being a successful writer. We are committed to supporting children in their development of becoming fluent, confident and independent writers.
Whole class English inputs (EYFS) or lessons (KS1) cover a range of writing skills. For EYFS, the Development Matters document is used to guide a progressive framework of learning. For KS1, the statutory requirements detailed within the 2014 National Curriculum Year Group’s programme of study as well as the detailed content identified within Appendix 1 and 2 are used.
We have always placed a strong emphasis on the significance of phonics knowledge for the teaching and learning of both reading and writing. Phonics teaching begins in Reception and continues throughout school in daily sessions. To support teaching, we use a wide range of resources including phonic cards, games and classroom displays.
The teaching of writing is supported through:
- Word recognition and spelling games and activities.
- A respect and encouragement of early writing.
- Providing opportunities for independent, individual, collaborative and extended writing.
- Word, sentence and text level activities as well as sentence structure, vocabulary, punctuation and grammar teaching.
- “Talk for Writing” strategies and resources (devised by Pie Corbett and Julia Strong).
- Creating, shaping and presenting work, spoken or written, both on screen and paper.
- Planning for a wide range of purposes for writing and contexts in which to write, e.g., diaries, lists, stories, reporting and recording.
Spelling & Handwriting
Spelling is developed through:
- The development of skills to segment using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds revised scheme and English Appendix 1 document (National Curriculum 2014).
- Teaching a wide range of spelling strategies.
- Focussing on common exception words and word patterns.
- Learning weekly spellings.
- Respecting encouraging developmental spellings.
- Encouraging the use of dictionaries.
We teach handwriting as a specific skill rather than an independent task. Handwriting is developed through a variety of regular sessions. Starting in EYFS, carefully planned resources and activities are used for children to develop and refine their gross and fine motor skills. This prerequisite in developing early writing supports the acquisition of a secure and accurate pencil grip and good writing posture.
Our aims in teaching handwriting are that pupils will:
- Experience consistency and continuity in learning to write in print in EYFS & Year 1
- Experience consistency and continuity in learning fully cursive handwriting in Year 2
- Experience a range of opportunities to practise and develop a comfortable written style
- Learn and understand the importance of clear and neat presentation in order to communicate meaning clearly
- Take pride in the presentation of their work across the curriculum
- Develop a love of writing and gain a sense of enjoyment and achievement
- Be supported in the development of a range of additional English skills, e.g., spelling, reading and composition
- Develop a fully joined writing style by the end of Year 2 and move to junior school with the correct skills set for future writing
Each classroom has a number of resources aimed at supporting the development of letter formation, practical equipment to promote fine and gross motor skills and appropriate adaptations are made to best support children experiencing difficulties.
Children’s handwriting development is regularly assessed. Teacher assessment forms a crucial part of evaluation progress and subsequent target setting. Assessments of progress are made during handwriting and phonics sessions as well as written work completed across the curriculum. Observations are made of transcriptional skills, such as:
- Writing posture
- Correct pencil grip
- Formation of letters
- Accuracy of joins
- Word spacing
We have handwriting practice sets available to use in school and these are grouped it into letter families. You are welcome to download them here and print and practice at home or you can speak to a member of our office team who will be able to print a copy for you.
The first set are using print. These are for our Reception and Year 1 children.
Long Ladder (Print)
Curly Caterpillar (Print)
One Armed Robot (Print)
Zig Zag Monster (Print)
The next set are using cursive. These are for our Year 2 children.