Handwriting in the Twenty First Century
Thoughts from Katy Pinchess, Headteacher of Bentley C of E Primary

I have chosen this article and subject as it seems to me that handwriting is often discussed in our staff room. From pencil grip to spelling patterns, from the tool chosen to write with and the joins and when and how these are taught, to the actual quality of the writing – there is so much to be thought of as a teacher. The current assessment frameworks in our schools from Year R to Year 6 are still demanding high expectations of children in their handwriting whilst at the same time their parents and carers are less likely to model and display these skills in  ‘real’ life situations with texting, typing and emojis far more likely to feature.  

As a teacher I am more interested in what a child wants to say than in having pages of beautifully neat copied work but there is certainly a tipping point when you cannot read or decode their thoughts. Learning to form letters and moving on to join in a cursive style has always been part of our staple work as primary educators. We know that many children can struggle with the physicality of writing and will help pupils to get their ideas down in many different ways until they have matured in their skills, from drawing picture to scribing their ideas or using a computer to type.

I wonder whether it is time that we focus more on teaching our pupils to touch type and less on using a pencil to write. However, having legible handwriting is a life skill which our children still require in secondary and university. Without forming letters our pupils cannot reach the ‘Age Related Expectations’ expected for pupils at each assessment point.

For most children writing is a core part of their week and the way in which they express their ideas. Children take pride in developing their own thoughts and writing them down. Forming letters is often linked to developing spelling as children learn the ‘feel’ of a spelling as they form the word by hand. We encourage children to enjoy their written work and support those who find this skill more difficult.   

Read the article from the Guardian:  Does being able to write by hand still matter in 2018?