At Hampton Vale Primary Academy, our aims for teaching handwriting are for children to be able to write fluently and legibly by correctly forming letters and sustaining good handwriting habits. We ensure that children have every opportunity to develop their physically through a variety of activities which will enhance their fine and gross-motor skills. The intention is to address and minimise the gaps in pupils' skills as soon as they arrive at Hampton Vale.
"'Unlocking the potential of Children and Young People' highlights that if gaps in skills are not addressed, inequalities can persist and giro throughout a child's life. It is widely recognised that early intervention is key".
(The royal College for Occupational Therapy)
Handwriting is an important part of the curriculum as it is the medium of which pupils can express and record their thoughts and ideas. Writing legibly enables those thoughts and ideas to be more easily communicated and in some circumstances, understood.
For young children, the memorisation of how to form letter shapes is key. The practise of making the letter shapes by hand is needed to help the brain remember how to form the letters and duplicate them later - this is a necessary aid in increasing memory. Being able to reproduce print that corresponds with the correct phonemes is another factor that supports pupils' orthographic mapping.
Because of this identified importance, handwriting is explicitly taught alongside the teaching of phonics. Children are supported to develop pre-cursive in Reception to Year 1 and behind developing a joined cursive style by the end of Year 2. When students become proficient at handwriting, we believe this should also aid their developing reading fluency.
Letters are grouped together according to how they are formed, so pupils are taught with five Handwriting families known as 'The Drop-Downs, The Rockin' Rounds', The Rollercoasters, The Tallee's' and The Up-Downs' to support the acquisition of correct letter formation. As the children develop, terms like 'ascenders' and 'descenders' will become the shared language.