When visiting my local Tesco, this advert stopped me in my tracks.
It wasn’t the delicious hot cross buns grabbing my attention, but the beautiful letter formation beaming at me from the buns… and yet this image saddened me!
Due to the demands of Primary Assessments and SAT’s causing the rush to join up handwriting by the age of 7 years old, children are no longer taught to print letters seen here on the hot cross buns. Instead they are taught letters with a lead in/entry stroke with ticks and flicks on each letter and then straight into a continuous cursive model of joined up handwriting from Reception.
As a handwriting expert with over a decade of teaching children to write, I see children at secondary schools with the most appalling and illegible handwriting due to this. Not only this, the lack of learning to print and using the correct letter formation has reduced reading ability.
A number of years ago, I was told that if I wanted to sell more resources to schools, then I should switch to using the continuous cursive in my handwriting resources. I declined. I am proud that my handwriting resources teach the correct method for teaching handwriting, not the latest educational trend.
I spend 95% of my teaching time unpicking the damage that the lead in/entry stroke and continuous cursive causes. In years to come we will see many more consequences from this rush to join and the cutting of corners.
When I contacted Nick Gibb, MP and Minister of State at the Department for Education, he stated that “The English programmes of study also sets out that pupils should revise and practise correct letter formation frequently and that they should be taught to write with a joined style as soon as they can form letters securely with the correct orientation.”
Mr Gibb, I would like to show you my evidence that this is not the case due entirely down to the pressure on primary schools to reach the higher than expected standards in handwriting.
What’s more important for our children and their CV later in life; reaching a higher than expected standard in their primary school SAT’s or having legible handwriting in their secondary school GCSE’s? The writing is on the wall Mr Gibb!