Within the Rainbow Education Multi-Academy Trust, the handwriting programme we use and teach is called Nelson Handwriting.
Nelson Handwriting is a whole-school programme designed to help all children develop a confident, legible and personal handwriting style and meet higher curriculum expectations.
In EYFS, children are supported from the earliest stages of learning to write. Children are taught letter formation in conjunction with their daily RWI Phonics programme. Children are taught phrases (as set out by RWI) to aid retention and skill when forming each letter. Handwriting is taught daily within RWI sessions. A clear focus on posture, pencil grip, fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination is planned for and provided within these lessons and the wider curriculum. The formation of numbers 0 - 9 are also taught.
In Year 1, conditions are clearly set and created for good writing: atmosphere, seating and posture, and pencil grip, as well as continuing to develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Each pupil has a workbook that has a flap on the front cover which reminds children how to prepare for writing. Videos show how children should sit, how they should hold their pencil and how they should position their paper on the desk. All of the lower-case and capital letters are covered with clear and consistent instructions about how to start and finish letters. The digits 0-9 are clearly taught and the letters are grouped into sets based on how they are formed, and children practise these in a cumulative manner.
In Year 2, children revise the previously-learned joins with an emphasis on relative height. Children recap their learning of lower-case and capital letters and practise forming them with consistency. Children are also given the opportunity to continue to practise using print letters, and are reminded that some letters are best left unjoined when next to other letters.
In Years 3 and 4, children continue to practise and develop their handwriting skills. The idea of writing with a slant is introduced for the first time. Pupils are provided with practice in joining using diagonal and horizontal strokes as well as the ‘break letters’ that are best left unjoined. There is an emphasis on spacing letters consistently and on keeping ascenders and descenders in proportion.
At Years 5-6, Nelson Handwriting continues to provide structured practice for the skills that have been developed so far. Children continue to practise the joins and the break letters, looking at consistency of sizing and spacing. We empower children to develop their own style of handwriting from a secure base, choosing their writing implement and style as appropriate to the occasion.
Pupils are formatively and summatively assessed in their writing (and handwriting) at specific points throughout the year. Impact of this data also dictates whether intervention groups are required for specific pupils in handwriting. Consolidation sessions are also planned for, and provided, for common misconceptions.
Click here to see handwriting examples under the Nelson Writing Scheme.
Click below to view the handwriting overview document for each year.
Letter Formation (RWI)