• West Park Primary School

    Handwriting Policy



    • To develop a consistent style of handwriting throughout the school
    • To ensure teaching, marking and expectations of handwriting are consistent throughout the school
    • That children develop a legible, fluent and fast handwriting style


    Scheme of Work

    Foundation Stage

    • Development of gross and fine motor control
    • A recognition of pattern, including those that move across the body from left to right
    • A language to talk about shapes and movement
    • The main handwriting movements involved in the three basic letter shapes, as exemplified by: l, the long ladder, c, the curly caterpillar, r, the one-armed robot
    • Letter shapes should be introduced alongside the letter sounds when the children move to Step 2 of Progression in Phonics (hearing consonant phonemes in initial position). Large-scale activities making use of the kinaesthetic channel are still most appropriate
    • Begin to write letters using plain or lined paper as appropriate
    • Development of good posture
    • Development of good pencil grip
    • Use correct terminology such as capital letter, lower case letter and bold print
    • Nelson Handwriting workbooks are to be used when children are ready


    Key Stage 1

    Year 1

    • Continue to develop a comfortable and efficient pencil grip
    • To form lower case letters correctly in a script that will be easy to join later (finishing letters with an up-turn)
    • To practise handwriting in conjunction with spelling ensuring correct letter orientation, formation and proportion


    Year 2 

    • To practise handwriting patterns from Year 1
    • To begin in Term 1, to practise the four basic joins using Nelson Handwriting Red, then Yellow books

    Diagonal joins to letters without ascender

    Horizontal joins to letters without ascenders

    Diagonal joins to letters with ascenders

    Horizontal joins to letters with ascenders

    • To practise handwriting in conjunction with the phonic and spelling patterns
    • To begin to use the basic joins within their writing


    Key Stage 2

    Where appropriate, teachers in Key Stage 2 should write in the agreed joined handwriting script.  This will provide a model for the children as well as providing opportunities for children to read writing written in a joined style.

    Year 3

    • To practise throughout the year, the four basic joins from Year 2
    • Use Nelson Handwriting Book 1
    • To ensure consistency in size and the spacing between letters and words
    • To build up handwriting speed, fluency and legibility through practise
    • To use the four basic joins in handwriting

    Year 4

    • To use joined writing except where other forms are required
    • Use Nelson Handwriting Book 2
    • To build up speed particularly for note-taking and draft
    • To use a range of presentational skills

    Print script for captions, sub-headings and labels.

    Capital letters for posters, titles, headings.

    A range of computer generated fonts and point sizes.

    Years 5 and 6

    Once a fluent, joined style has been developed, children in Years 5 and 6 are encouraged to develop their own style of handwriting.  Nelson Handwriting Books 4 and 5 are to be used.

    For those children who have not achieved a fluent, joined style, the range of Nelson Handwriting books are used to allow children to cover the skills and gain the practice required.



    Paper – As children enter the Foundation Stage, plain paper is used for mark making.  However, as children begin to write letters, lined paper is important ‘because so much about handwriting is to do with the letters’ orientation to the line’ (DEW p158).  A single line drawn on a sheet of paper will encourage correct orientation from an early stage.  As children develop their pencil control, the use of wide lined paper (12 – 10 mm) is introduced.  During Year 3, 8mm lines are introduced in work books and this is continued throughout Key Stage 2.  For work written on plain paper, line guides can be used in both Key Stage 1 and 2.

    Rubbers – In general, the use of rubbers is discouraged.  However, if a child is writing a piece of work for publication and makes a mistake, then the use of a rubber may be permitted.

    Computer Fonts – As part of the ICT teaching in school, there are programs available with a variety of fonts.  As such, the children can experience their work in a range of styles, sizes and colours.  Use of word processing can significantly improve the presentation of the work of those children whose handwriting needs further development.

    Pencils and Pens – As the children enter the Foundation Stage they use a wide variety of writing implements in order to develop fine motor control.  As they progress through the Foundation Stage and towards Year 1, they use thick pencils, and pencil grips are available if needed.  As skills progress, they begin to use thin pencils.  During Year 3 the children are introduced to using pens.  By Year 4, all children should be using pens.

    Left-handed children

    At least 10 per cent of the population is left-handed – a slightly higher proportion of males.

    Make sure that left-handed children sit on the left of right-handed children otherwise writing arms will clash.  Further advice on teaching handwriting to left-handed children is given in DEW p161.

    Special Educational Needs

    Children with statements or IEPs, where handwriting is an issue, are monitored by the class teacher and Special Needs Co-ordinator.


    Governors are free to determine the renewal of this policy at any time, in line with changes in school systems or statutory guidance.