It is unlikely that the new National Curriculum will embody any changes from the Programmes of Study published for consultation. Indeed, the Christopher Jarman materials, HANDWRITING SKILLS, are, and have always been, completely in line with the statutory requirements which are at the heart of all that happens in our primary schools and which we call the School Curriculum.
Here are the new Programmes of Study. These will become statutory requirements in 2014.
Year 1 Pupils should be taught to:
- Sit correctly at a table, holding a pencil comfortably and correctly
- begin to form lower-case letters in the correct direction, starting and finishing in the right place
- form capital letters
- form digits 0-9
- understand which letters belong to which handwriting ‘families’ (i.e. letters that are formed in similar ways) and to practise these.
Year 2 Pupils should be taught to:
- form lower-case letters of the correct size relative to one another
- start using some of the diagonal and horizontal strokes needed to join letters and understand which letters, when adjacent to one another, are best left unjoined
- write capital letters and digits of the correct size, orientation and relationship to one another and to lower case letters
- use spacing between words that reflects the size of the letters.
Years 3-4 Pupils should be taught to:
- use the diagonal and horizontal strokes that are needed to join letters and understand which letters, when adjacent to one another, are best left unjoined
- increase the legibility , consistency and quality of their handwriting, e.g. by ensuring that the downstrokes of letters are parallel and equidistant; that lines of writing are spaced sufficiently so that the ascenders and descenders of letters do not touch.
Years 5-6 Pupils should be taught to:
- write legibly, fluently, with increasing speed and personal style by:
- choosing which shape of a letter to use when given choices and deciding, as part of their personal style, whether or not to join specific letters
- choosing the writing implement that is best suited for a task (e.g. quick notes, letters).
It should be noted that breaks between adjacent letters which are left unjoined are part of cursive handwriting and this is indicated in the requirements for Years 2 -6. The rule for children is that when a letter is made which finishes with the pen facing “the wrong way” then the pen is lifted and writing begun again. Unjoined letters (e.g. ‘y’ followed by ‘a’) are placed as close to each other as possible.
J.C. June 2013