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Mendell Primary School

Aspire, Challenge, Achieve

House Points

House Points

  • Mcgregor 12,160
  • Beckham 14,370
  • Deeley 16,000
  • Bunton 20,100


  • Foundation 1 96.2%
  • Foundation 2 100%
  • Year 1 95.8%
  • Year 2 98.3%
  • Year 3 97.2%
  • Year 4 96.4%
  • Year 5 96.2%
  • Year 6 100%


At Mendell  Primary School we teach the cursive handwriting style from the Foundation Stage. Cursive handwriting teaches pupils to join letters and words as a series of flowing movements and patterns. After detailed research we believe that teaching cursive handwriting from the EYFS upwards is the right option for our children because :


  • The cursive style prepares children for joined up writing at the earliest possibility.
  • Confusions are minimised because every letter starts on the line with an entry ‘sweep’ and leads out with an exit ‘flick.’
  • The curls and curves of cursive script are easier for younger children (whose fine motor skills are not yet fully developed) to produce and opposed to a ‘ball and stick’ method of printing.
  • Cursive supports reading and children with dyslexic tendencies. One of the biggest problems children have when learning to read primary-school print and write in ball-and- stick is that so many letters look alike - such as b’s and d’s; f’s and t‘s; g’s, q’s, and p’s - that children become confused and make many unnecessary reading errors. In cursive, however, there is a big difference between a b and a d. In cursive writing, a b starts like an l while a d begins like writing the letter a. In other words, in cursive, children do not confuse b’s and d’s, because the movements of the hand make it impossible to confuse the two letters. And this knowledge acquired by the hand is transferred to the reading process. Thus, learning to write cursive helps learning to read print.
  • Cursive supports spelling. Another important benefit of cursive is that it helps the child learn to spell correctly since the hand acquires knowledge of spelling patterns through hand movements that are used again, and again in spelling. This is the same phenomenon that occurs when pianists or typists learn patterns of hand movements through continued repetition.
  • Because cursive script always starts and ends from the same point, this aids accurate letter formation and makes joining letters easier. Letters naturally flow into each other.
  • Cursive style helps to develop concepts around words, letters and spacing as the child develops whole word awareness.
  • At Key Stage 1, cursive script reinforces phonic knowledge through the joining of digraphs and trigraphs (when 2 and 3 letters make one complete sound, like oo, ee, igh).


The New 2014 National Curriculum says that children should learn to form all their lower case and capital letters plus digits 0 to 9 by the end of Year 1. They then need to start joining their letters in Year 2. In Year 3, they need to concentrate on increasing the legibility, consistency and quality of their joined handwriting. Throughout Key Stage 2, children need to keep up the quality of their handwriting, and concentrate on increasing their speed.

Teaching Handwriting


Foundation Stage:


Children receive daily handwriting input. They are taught all letters in a cursive script, unjoined. However, when teachers are modelling writing in shared writing tasks, they model this in the joined cursive style to ensure children are exposed to both joined and unjoined texts. As soon as the children are ready to learn about digraphs and trigraphs during phonics (for example ‘sh’ or ‘ng’) they learn to join the letters together. Whilst children are encouraged to practise their handwriting during child-initiated activities, a high value is still placed on children’s emergent writing.


Letter formation practise should never inhibit children’s natural impulse for experimental mark making and writing. Explicit teaching of letter formation is taught alongside a large range of activities which encourage the development of both gross and fine motor skills and teach handwriting movements in a fun, multisensory way. There are ‘Fiddly Finger’ sessions taught each day to strengthen the muscles in the hand and wrist to prepare the children for writing. Activities to develop gross motor control, for example rolling hoops and running with a hoop, ribbon movement, chalking, painting on a large scale and using the Interactive White Board are planned during free choice time. In addition to this are activities to develop fine motor control: e.g. tracing, colouring within guide lines and pictures, pattern work, using glue spreaders in small pots, painting with the tips of the fingers, cotton buds, plasticine, threading and using activities on the ipads.


Year One:


Children receive daily handwriting sessions. Ensuring poor formation is corrected is imperative during this year. Teachers address confusions straight away so that misconceptions do not become embedded. Children who are displaying poor gross or fine motor skills at this stage should be targeted during booster sessions for more intensive support. It is extremely important that teachers note how well children are applying the skills taught during explicit handwriting sessions into their writing in other areas of the curriculum, and insist upon correct formation in every written task, providing extra practise or support where needed. Spellings are closely linked with handwriting activities assisting the children with phonic skills required for successful reading. Children practise their handwriting initially on worksheets, then progressing to handwriting books.


Year Two:


Children continue handwriting sessions, where the cursive style continues to develop. It is imperative that children master correct formation of unjoined letters before they attempt to join.


Children in Key Stage 2 practise handwriting at least 3 times per week. Children are taught cursive letters unjoined initially, and then joins are introduced.


Years 3 and 4:


Handwriting practise is taught at least 3 times per week.


Years 5 and 6:


Handwriting is taught at least once a week. Where individual pupils need additional support this is organised by the class teacher and monitored closely.

General Principles of High Quality Handwriting Teaching:


  • Staff model a neat, cursive script at all times: for example on displays, writing on the board, marking books etc.


  • The modelling by the teacher and practising of the children of handwriting always takes place on a lined page.


  • When writing, children will be sitting at a desk with both feet flat on the floor. Right- handed children slant their page down to the left, left-handed children slant their page down to the right. Children are supported to hold their pencil or pen in a relaxed tripod grip, using the thumb, index and middle finger.


  • Particular attention is paid to the size and proportion of letters and any misconceptions addressed.


  • Children are not encouraged write long words with a continuous join. They are instructed to take a natural break when needed.


  • Children are encouraged to adopt a slight slant to their writing.


  • Handwriting sessions should begin with a brief warm up to develop fine and gross motor skills and ready the hands for writing. This is followed by modelling of the teacher on a large, lined board, of the letter or join that they wish to focus on. Children then have the opportunity to practise the letters in their handwriting books. During this time the teacher moves around the room, immediately addressing any confusions or misconceptions.


  • It is extremely important that teachers note how well children apply the skills taught during explicit handwriting sessions into their writing in other areas of the curriculum, and insist upon correct formation in every written task, providing extra practise or support where needed.


  • When observing lessons, handwriting will be monitored across the curriculum along with the other basic skills of reading, writing, computing and Maths.