Rhayader Church in Wales Primary School

Handwriting Policy


Ysgol Eglwys Gynradd yng Nghymru Rhaeadr Gwy 
Polisi Llawysgrifen


Handwriting is a skill which, like reading and spelling, affects written communication across the curriculum. Children must be able to write with ease, speed and legibility. Cursive handwriting teaches children to join letters and words as a series of flowing movements and patterns.

Handwriting skills should be taught regularly and systematically through the use of the ‘Penpals’ script which is identical in formation to the scripts in Read Write inc.


  • Children understand the importance of clear, neat presentation in order to communicate meaning effectively.
  • Children take pride in the presentation of their work.
  • Children develop a fluent joined handwriting style by the end of Year Three.
  • Children can transfer their handwriting skills to real life situations.
  • Children’s handwriting practice supports a multi-sensory approach to learning to spell.
  • Children experience a resources and teaching with clear continuity and progression.

Teaching and Learning

Handwriting is to be taught discretely across the Foundation Phase and Key Stage Two and should be referred to in all work. Letter forms are to be taught in Foundation stage as new grapheme phoneme correspondences are introduced using Tric a Chlic and Read Write Inc.

Foundation Phase

Children begin to develop a comfortable pencil grip. They learn the formation of letters as they learn new grapheme phoneme correspondences as part of their Read Write Inc sessions. Children have the opportunity to develop their fine motor skills and letter formation in a variety of choosing areas (e.g. laminated letter and number formation sheets for tracing in the writing area, writing up on the large white boards, forming letters in the sand-writing tray).

Children develop and secure a comfortable and efficient pencil grip.

Children learn to correctly form and orientate all upper and lowercase letters in line with the formation specified in the ‘Hand for Spelling” documents.

Through this they will learn the 4 main handwriting shapes:

  1. Long ladder letters (l j i t u)
  2. One armed robot letters (b h k m n p r)
  3. Curly caterpillar letters (c a e o g q f s )
  4. Zigzag letters (x z v w y)

Once the formation of all letters is correct, children can then begin to learn to join letters in line with the ‘PenPals’ booklets. This will focus on the four handwriting joins:

  1. Diagonal joins (no ascenders) e.g. ai
  2. Horizontal joins (no ascenders) e.g. oa
  3. Diagonal joins to ascenders e.g. ab
  4. Horizontal joins to ascenders e.g. ol

Children learn to write with spaces between words.

Key Stage Two

Once the class teacher assesses a child’s handwriting is neat and correctly formed they can issue a ‘pen licence’ which allows the child to write in pen in all lessons except maths which will be completed in pencil.  Children should use blue ink pen.

Left handed children

Teachers need to be vigilant and quickly become aware of any left handed children in their class. This information should be shared when handing over to the next teacher.

Possible adaptions:

  • Paper may be slanted to the left.
  • Hold the pencil slightly further from the point so that their vision of the letters is not blocked as they are writing.
  • Left handed children should be positioned on the left of a right handed child so that they are not competing for space.
  • Time may need to be factored in for teaching some left to right exercises (see letter formation for left-handed children in the ‘Hand for Spelling’ books).

Staff handwriting

The handwriting of all teaching staff acts as a model for the children. Writing on the whiteboard and in marking should match the style taught in line with the ‘PenPals’ program.

Capital letters

Capital letters must not be joined to the next letter. This skill should be modelled by teaching staff during literacy and phonics sessions and in all writing.


Handwriting should be formally assessed every half term as part of the writing assessments. Teachers should assess by observation in each handwriting session to ensure children are producing quality work.


Children identified as not making expected progress in their handwriting should be given targeted support. This should be recorded in an IEP. This may be with the discrete teaching of some individual letters causing difficulty. For those needing support with developing the fine motor skills necessary for good letter formation, please liaise with the SENCO to develop an individual program.

Foundation Phase classrooms

  • Handwriting books (wide lines).
  • Pencils of various shapes and sizes and the appropriate sharpeners (wider, triangular pencils should be available for those working to develop a good pencil grip).
  • Rubber pencil gripper for those finding pencil gripping difficult.
  • Shallow trays of sand for learning to form letters correctly.
  • Laminated handwriting guide boards for tracing over.

Key stage two classrooms

  • Handwriting books
  • Pencils and sharpeners, pens
  • Examples of good handwriting (joined) on display.