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More than a school

Literacy Curriculum (Handwriting)

Purpose of the Curriculum

(What will a high quality Handwriting education do for our children?)

English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.

Aim of the Curriculum

(What does the Handwriting curriculum aim to ensure all pupils know or can do?)

  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
  • Writing also depends on fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy handwriting. Note that the speed at which pupils write will vary as they learn to join their handwriting.

Key Stage 1
Curriculum Overview

Year 1:

Pupils’ writing during year 1 will generally develop at a slower pace than their reading. This is because they need to encode the sounds they hear in words (spelling skills), develop the physical skill needed for handwriting, and learn how to organise their ideas in writing.

Year 2:

They should be able to form individual letters correctly, so establishing good handwriting habits from the beginning.

Key Stage 2
Curriculum Overview

Year 3/4:

Joined handwriting should be the norm; pupils should be able to use it fast enough to keep pace with what they want to say.

Year 5/6:

Pupils should be able to write down their ideas quickly.

By the end of year 6, pupils’ reading and writing should be sufficiently fluent and effortless for them to manage the general demands of the curriculum in year 7, across all subjects and not just in English.

Key Stage 1

Year 1

Pupils should be taught to:

  • sit correctly at a table, holding a pencil comfortably and correctly
  • begin to form lower-case letters in the correct direction, starting and finishing in the right place
  • form capital letters
  • form digits 0-9
  •  understand which letters belong to which handwriting ‘families’ (i.e. letters that are formed in similar ways) and to practise these.

Year  2

  • form lower-case letters of the correct size relative to one another
  • start using some of the diagonal and horizontal strokes needed to join letters and understand which letters, when adjacent to one another, are best left unjoined
  • write capital letters and digits of the correct size, orientation and relationship to one another and to lower case letters
  • use spacing between words that reflects the size of the letters. 

Key Stage 2

Year 3/4

Pupils should be taught to:

  • use the diagonal and horizontal strokes that are needed to join letters and understand which letters, when adjacent to one another, are best left unjoined
  • increase the legibility, consistency and quality of their handwriting [for example, by ensuring that the downstrokes of letters are parallel and equidistant; that lines of writing are spaced sufficiently so that the ascenders and descenders of letters do not touch].

Year  5/6

  • write legibly, fluently and with increasing speed by:
  • choosing which shape of a letter to use when given choices and deciding whether or not to join specific letters
  • choose the writing implement that is best suited for a task. 

Knowledge or Skills relevant to our school

Key Stage 1

  • All pupils to receive 2 x 15 minutes discrete handwriting lessons.
  • Pupils to write in pen at teacher’s discretion when appropriate 

Knowledge or Skills relevant to our school

Key Stage 2

  • All pupils to receive 2 x 15 minutes discrete handwriting lessons.
  • From Year 3, all pupils to write in pen. When this is not suitable, pupils to work with TA in intervention group to practise using a pen. 


Literacy Skills and Knowledge Progression Document