About

My child was one of the 1 in 3 leaving school unable to write properly, so I decided to do something about it. In the process, I invented a method that teaches children the life-long skill of handwriting.

In just seven weeks my Start-Bee handwriting method can get a child writing their names in a legible and neat script.  Now, they are well on their way to writing legibly and confidently too!

melMelanie Harwood, CEO and Founder Start-Bee 

Start-Bee’s ambition is to make the teaching and learning of handwriting effortless, enjoyable and exceed expectations.  Our Handwriting Scheme for Schools helps teachers enable pupils to master the key skill of handwriting and is based on a proven method for teaching handwriting that delivers outstanding results, quickly.  Within seven lessons the Start-Bee method can take a complete handwriting beginner from making marks to writing their name.

Designed in conjunction with primary and infant school teachers, Start-Bee’s ‘plug and play’ approach combines the right handwriting tools with the right method. Developed by Melanie Harwood, the company has spent five years examining and evaluating methods of handwriting instruction that have been used over the past hundred years, as well as working with the very top educators and handwriting experts in the world.  Experts like Dr Rosemary Sassoon who was the very first Doctor of Handwriting and Letterforms and whose ‘Sassoon script’ is the only letterform that has been proven to aid reading and Denise Meissner Occupational Therapist for 25 years and creator of the QCharm Portable Visual and Cue System (that helps improve communication between parent and autistic child). Taken as a whole, this has enabled Melanie to develop a very informed understanding of what works and what doesn’t when teaching children how to write and to create a method that has been subsequently refined and finessed through primary school trials.

The end result is a handwriting scheme that works within a child’s limited attention span, incorporates a font which has been scientifically proven to aid reading and writing and uses a back-to-basics approach which focuses on developing the correct pencil grip and strong writing muscles, to make writing a pleasure and not a pain. Start-Bee’s Method ensures that a positive association with handwriting is enmeshed within the step-by-step process of delivery and that each and every pupil enjoys handwriting.  You can learn more about our handwriting scheme here.

Before using Start-Bee’s method, every pupil undergoes Start-Bee’s Handwriting Match Fit Assessment TM, which enables teachers to assess an individual pupil’s current handwriting ability and needs.  By establishing the starting point and outline for each and every pupil, schools are better placed to create a Handwriting Strategy for their pupils, as well as the means to document a pupil’s attainment as required by DfE.

How we started:

In 2011, former TV producer, Melanie Harwood was devastated when her four-year-old daughter, Hannah-Jane, was refused entry into a local primary school because she was unable to write her own name and struggling with basic mark making.   In response, Harwood developed her very own writing method to fast-track her daughter’s handwriting.  Within a matter of days, Hannah-Jane was writing her own name and she was accepted into the local primary school.  Within a few weeks at her new school and completing the handwriting exercises Harwood had created for her, Hannah-Jane overtook the entire first year of her primary school group.  To the surprise of her teachers, Hannah-Jane’s reading age jumped to an ORT reading level 11 within a year and her Math’s skills improved to such an extent that she was raised to the upper skill set of her age group.  In response, the school asked Harwood if they could use her method to help pupils struggling with handwriting and Start-Bee was born.  Here’s Melanie on Sky News talking about why children still need to write in a digital age.

Here’s Hannah-Jane’s progress:

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Here are some of the people and organisations Start-Bee is working with and who’ve helped the company along the way.
Start-Bee Careholders