Handwriting is an integral component of the English programmes of study for Key Stages 1 and 2. The programmes describe two dimensions of writing:
- Transcription (spelling and handwriting)
- Composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing)
The curriculum demands that teaching should develop competence in both dimensions, as writing down ideas fluently depends on effective transcription. This relationship defines the role of handwriting as a functional tool in the writing process.
The National Curriculum programmes of study outline the statutory handwriting outcomes for each year of the curriculum and also provide additional non-statutory guidance.
The National Curriculum for English places high importance on handwriting but does not provide guidance on how it should be taught. It also does not specify a particular font style. A casual cursive style is implied i.e. understand which letters, when adjacent to one another, are best left un-joined, but this guidance has been ignored by the many schools teaching a continuous cursive style.
Handwriting requirements are part of the statutory assessments for Writing at the end of Key Stages 1 (Year 2) and Key Stage 2 (Year 6)
The following criteria apply for the 2018 – 2019 academic year. In awarding a level, teachers should be confident that pupils have met the standards preceding the one at which they judge them to be working.
Teacher Assessment frameworks at the end of Key Stage 1.
Teacher Assessment frameworks at the end of Key Stage 2.
Exemptions for handwriting difficulties
Teachers can use their discretion to ensure that, on occasion, a particular weakness does not prevent an accurate judgement being made of a pupil’s attainment overall. This can be implemented for children with a handwriting difficulty who are secure in all other aspects of writing.