In schools today, handwriting is more important than ever before. Why? because the Department of Education (DfE), through the Standards & Testing Agency’s 2016 teaching assessment exemplification: end of Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 English Writing and Ofsted, is insisting every child masters fluent and legible handwriting before they leave primary school.
For schools, this means a child’s ability to write or not can make the difference between a school being awarded: ‘Good’, ‘Outstanding’, or even, ‘Requires Improvement’, by OFSTED,
For children, who are unable to write to the required standard for Year 6 (that’s writing in a legible, neat, joined up script), this means that they will not be assessed any higher than Key Stage 2. So, for the one in three children (according to Government figures) leaving primary school unable to write to the required standard, their academic careers will be effectively halted at primary school level because they do not meet the Department of Education’s standards. In my experience that one in three figure is optimistic.
Handwriting is a learned skill that is most effectively taught directly by demonstration, explanation and practice. Until recently, the subject had fallen to the bottom of the curriculum priority list resulting in a generation of teachers required to teach handwriting but who haven’t themselves been taught how to teach it. It’s these teachers, like The Leys Primary & Nursery School’s Assistant Head Teacher Davinder Khangura and Bec Wakefield who is the English Subject Leader at Down Hall Primary who are also struggling to teach handwriting effectively within a packed curriculum that doesn’t allow enough time for handwriting to be taught effectively from Year 1 through to Year 6. Add to that the lack of a standardized method to teach handwriting, plus a font some pupils find hard to write with and it’s easy to understand why handwriting is such a problem subject in schools today.
If you want to hear how the trials got on, come and say hello to me and the teachers involved at the Birmingham NEC’s Education Show. We’ll be at BIC’s stand F28 (opposite the entrance) on 17th, 18th and 19th March. In the meantime you can find out more about Start-Bee at www.start-bee.com or by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org