At Piddle Valley we aim to promote a consistently high standard of presentation and handwriting. We aim to fulfill the requirements of the EYFS Framework and National Curriculum by ensuring that children have good sitting posture for writing when at a desk and a dynamic tripod grasp. We aim to have a school-wide consistent approach to handwriting which ensures that skills for writing transcription in the National Curriculum and associated Early Learning Goals are covered progressively and standards are high. 

In the EYFS and Year 1, we aim to develop gross-motor skills and fine-motor skills as a precursor to effective handwriting. In EYFS, we implement early handwriting readiness through gross-motor activities, fine-motor activities and as a ‘movement skill’ through activities, such as ‘Squiggle Whilst You Wiggle’ and ‘Dough Disco’. In Pre-School and Reception, children are introduced to pre-writing patterns and letter shapes through art activities, tracing, pincer activities and formation using their index finger in shaving foam/sand etc as well as vertical surfaces and a variety of tools. Reception children are specifically taught how to form each letter through a multi-sensory approach using a mnemonic to ensure that the correct formation is quite automatic and bad habits are not learned. The sub-skills needed for letter formation (straight lines, clockwise and anti-clockwise circles etc) are specifically taught and practised through a variety of media and gross-motor opportunities. Children in Reception are first introduced to ascenders and descenders when writing their name on specifically designed paper with ‘sky, grass and ground’. From Reception upwards children are taught the correct vocabulary which includes: ascenders and descenders. Reception and Year 1 use large, triangular pencils. Year 2 upwards use triangular pencil grips when needed.

We aim to ensure that, by the end of Reception, all children can write clearly identifiable letters and words in legible printed handwriting showing clear ascenders and descenders (with the majority of letters correctly formed). During Year 1, we aim to develop a neater printed style where each letter is written unjoined and individual, focussing upon correct size relative to each other. In Reception, we aim to introduce number formation rhymes to support correct formation of numerals as well as directly teaching how to form the capital letter in their name, as well as the personal pronoun ‘I’ as a capital letter. This is extended in Year 1 to the correct formation of all capital letters. 

In Year 2, we aim to introduce the children to pre-cursive, unjoined letters during handwriting lessons and do not rush the children into joining. At Piddle Valley, it is a requirement that teaching the correct formation of the letters be given highest priority, and that this should be achieved by all children before any attempt is made at joining. In Year 2, we implement pre-cursive handwriting as the transition between printing (unjoined) letters and joining all letters in cursive handwriting. In pre-cursive handwriting lessons, we aim for the children to practise adding lead-ins and lead-outs to letters, which then ensures the letters start and finish in the correct place for writing to be joined. In Year 2 Term 2, children are then introduced to joining. 

In Year 3, we aim for all children to increase their legibility, consistency and quality of their handwriting. By Year 4, our intention is that all children have a neat, legible, joined and fluent handwriting style consistent with the school’s policy. Our aim is that Year 4 children develop flow and speed and automatically use clearly formed and joined handwriting in all of their writing.


Sitting Posture
- Children should sit with their bottom in the back of their chair with two feet flat on the floor.
- They can use their fist next to their tummy to measure the distance from their table and adjust their chair if needed.
- Both arms should be positioned on the table with forearms flat. The non-writing hand should hold the book/page.
- Children should lean slightly forward but not hunched.
- Heads should never be on arms or hands holding the head.
Pencil Grip
- Children should place their pencil with the pencil nib facing their tummy.
- They should then make a ‘drill’ with the index finger and thumb of their writing hand, tucking all their other fingers in and practise pinching their thumb and index finger together.
- They should then say ‘nip, flip, grip’ as they pick up their pencil. They should rest their pencil on their middle finger. Their ring and little finger should be slightly tucked in and resting on the table.
- All children should have a dynamic tripod pencil grip.