At Carleton Endowed C.E. Primary School we recognise the importance of handwriting in developing a pupil’s ability to communicate effectively through the written word.

The successful acquisition of handwriting skills is crucial to the learning that takes place in all areas of the curriculum and to a child’s involvement in the world outside education.



  • Understand the importance of writing fluently and accurately;
  • Understand that you will use different forms of handwriting for a wide range of purposes and audiences;
  • To present clear guidelines for the teaching of handwriting at Carleton Endowed C.E. Primary School;
  • To ensure that teaching expectations are consistent throughout the school;
  • To use handwriting as an aid to spelling success; and
  • To enable children to develop personalised, aesthetically pleasing writing style.


These aims are achieved through a range of teaching methods which take account of the variety of ways in which pupils learn.

The school’s use the Nelson writing style and bases its teaching structure around the Martin Harvey method. A copy of the curriculum and program of study, including the joining of letters, is available in each classroom. The core practises of the program are:

  • Gross and fine motor skills: activities to develop gross and fine motor skills are essential to the development of good handwriting. Pattern sheets are included in the Appendix; many other materials and suggestions for activities are available in school.
  • Posture (BBC – Bottom, Back in Chair): children should be taught the importance of sitting upright and correctly on their chair, with six feet (their feet and the chair’s feet) on the floor.
  • Pencil grip: children should use a tripod grip (method for teaching introduced early on), and be given constant reminders until this is established. Triangular section pencils and shaped pencil holders are available in school for children who find them helpful.
  • Position of paper: left handed children should be encouraged to tilt their paper slightly to the right to improve their view of what they are writing, and to reduce smudging later on when they write in ink. Right handed children may find it helpful to tilt paper slightly to the left. Paper should be steadied with the free hand.
  • Pen License: In Key Stage 2 classes all children must earn a pen license is they are able to write in pen during lessons. At the beginning of each new-year, pen licenses have to achieved again.

Handwriting Expectations

By end of Foundation stage children will be able to:

  • Hold a pencil effectively using a comfortable and efficient grip. • Produce a controlled line, which supports letter formation.
  • Write letters using the correct sequence of movements.
  • Form lower case letters correctly in the Nelson Handwriting style Letter shape and orientation expectations at the end of the foundation stage:

By the end of Year 1 children will be able to:

  • Develop their handwriting in conjunction with spelling and independent writing. • Use the correct movement sequences to write upper and lower case letters. • Write patterns that develop proportion and correct formation of letters. • Use line guides to write letters in correct proportion to each other. • Begin to join blends and digraphs as they are taught them.

    Letter shape and orientation expectations at the end of year 1:

By the end of Year 2 children will be able to:

  • Begin using the four basic handwriting joins.
  • Develop handwriting in conjunction with word level work following the spelling and phonics teachings. . • Write handwriting patterns that develop the use of a joined hand.

    By the end of Year 3 children will be able to:

  • Continue to develop the use of the four basic joins in conjunction with the work from KS2 Spelling Bank.
  • Write showing consistency of size and proportion of letters and spacing between letters and words.
  • Begin to develop handwriting speed, fluency and legibility.

By the end of Year 4 children will be able to:

  • Use a joined handwriting for all writing except where other special forms are required. • Write ensuring consistency of size and proportion of letters and with corrects spacing between letters and words.
  • Know when to use a clear neat hand for finished, presented work and informal writing for everyday informal work.

At Carleton Endowed C.E. Primary School we have high aspirations for our children and have formed expectations that children will have developed the four joins within their writing by the end of year 4. Therefore, following on from year 4 we expect that the children should be developing their stamina and consistency as a writer; creating a unique, personalised style of writing which can be adapted for a variety of situations. By the end of Year 5 and Year 6 children will be able to:

  • Write in a clear, fluent and legible joined hand; and
  • Use a range of presentational skills depending on the situation and requirements.


Presentation across the school:

  • All books are named with the school labels;
  • Names are typed on the front of books;
  • Every piece of work is dated (long date in all subjects except Maths);
  • All work has the objective as the title;
  • Children use guidelines if they are writing on plain paper (from Y2 onwards);
  • All drawings and diagrams are in pencil;
  • Pencil crayons, not felt pens, are used in exercise books;
  • If children are granted a pen license then they will use a felt-tipped handwriting pen provided by school; • Blue pens are used by the children to edit their work and red pens are used for peer marking; • One single line is used to cross out mistakes or edit writing;
  • Books are well kept with no writing or doodling on the outside or inside of covers; • Children are taught where to start a new piece of work;
  • Poor presentation is challenged through verbal feedback and marking; and
  • Excellent presentation is celebrated through verbal feedback and marking.


These expectations apply to the vast majority of children in our school. Occasionally a decision will be made to personalise expectations for a child who has such specific needs that these expectations could be a barrier to their progress (e.g. a child with physical difficulties writing). Difficulties are addressed through appropriate interventions or specific equipment.

Celebration and Motivation

All staff ensure that presentation and handwriting is promoted by:

  • Celebrating work of a high standard, including homework, in whole class situations; • Ensuring good presentation and handwriting is rewarded in line with the whole school behaviour policy • Sharing good work in whole school assemblies;
  • Choosing the ‘Writer of the Week’ and displaying their work in the frame in class and on the display board in the hallway;
  • Always modelling joined, legible and consistently formed handwriting on boards, in books, on flip charts and displays; and
  • Providing modelled examples and reviewing expectations with children.


To be reviewed