As we celebrate National Handwriting Day in 2024, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the significant strides Morrells Handwriting has made in reshaping the way children learn the skill of writing. In an era where technological advancements are reshaping education, Morrells Handwriting stands out for its commitment to fostering legibility and speed in children’s writing skills.
One notable achievement that sets us apart is the phased elimination of the entry/lead-in stroke in cursive writing, a move that has been embraced across schools worldwide.
We have been championing the discontinuation of teaching cursive (joined-up handwriting) with the entry/lead-in stroke from the very beginning in Reception and Key Stage 1 for a number of years – we are now finally seeing positive change.
Recognising the challenges that young learners face in mastering the intricacies of cursive writing at an early age, we advocate delaying the teaching of joined-up handwriting until Key Stage 2. We were delighted when the Department for Education (DfE) agreed. This ensures that all children set a solid foundation, focusing on letter formation for as long as required for their future writing as they progress through school and higher education.
In the evolving landscape of handwriting education, Morrells Handwriting emphasises the importance of teaching joining strokes during Year 3 to Year 4. However, the expectation for children to fully join up their handwriting is deferred, with a policy in place that specifically states children should be knowledgeable about which letters are left unjoined. This approach ensures that children progress at a pace that suits their individual learning needs.
The emphasis on correct pencil grip and maintaining a good sitting position is imperative for children when learning to write. Understanding that these fundamentals are crucial to developing efficient and comfortable handwriting skills, we ensure that children receive the necessary guidance to adopt these practices early on.
Despite the commendable progress made, there is an acknowledgment that there’s still a long way to go in standardising handwriting education across all schools and teachers. Morrells Handwriting remains steadfast in its commitment to challenging the mindset that insists that cursive is best and every child must join their handwriting from the very beginning.
The campaign extends beyond the general population to address the specific needs of left-handed children, to provide tailored training to ensure that left-handed students receive the support they need to master handwriting with ease.
Our 2024 campaign will endeavour to switch the focus on to legibility and dispel the misconception that children need to write in cursive handwriting for the Year 6 SATs tests. Likewise, we will educate the moderators and examiners who incorrectly insist all children must write in cursive in the primary years.
We will also question the teaching of phonics and handwriting together, delving into the research regarding why they should be taught in separate lessons.
There are many challenges ahead as we guide our policy makers and educators, including private tutors, to implement a comprehensive and nationwide evidence-based approach for the correct teaching of handwriting in our schools.
In conclusion, as we celebrate National Handwriting Day in 2024, we wanted to reflect on the how the teaching of handwriting has evolved over recent months but also highlight there is still work to do.