What is the new Ofsted guidance on handwriting?

Ofsted review handwritingOfsted review handwriting

On 23rd May, Ofsted published a Research Review Series on English with a specific section concentrating on handwriting, providing advice on pupils learning to write fluently before focusing on teaching joined-up handwriting.

It is refreshing to see common sense prevail with the guidance now being in line with what Morrells Handwriting have been saying and campaigning for many years.

Our fundamentals of learning to write and develop the skills at the right pace are now being seen in Ofsted guidance and the National Curriculum, including –

  1. Mastering letter formation – correct size and orientation
  2. Providing time and opportunity to practise, helping children to progress from accuracy to fluency
  3. Delaying the requirement for joined-up handwriting
  4. Developing fine motor skills and grip is fundamental to future development

When delivering teacher training or working with children and parents, we concentrate on embedding the key building blocks and progressing at a sensible pace to enable children to master the individual skills required to develop legible joined handwriting.

The rush to join doesn’t provide teachers and students with the opportunity to repeatedly practice handwriting, focusing on the short term, leading to poor handwriting.

The Ofsted review references research that has found that letter formation ‘may be important for supporting children’s early reading development’. It also goes on to reference evidence suggesting practice is linked to the success in higher-level writing tasks, including children spending more time planning, being more creative and constructing sentences.

All of this research comes back to the long-term outcomes of taking ample time during the early development stages. Taking the time will reap the rewards at a stage when pupils are required to write at a pace in all subjects.

Handwriting is now firmly on the Ofsted agenda with policy declaring a clear dislike for the lead-in stroke and cursive from the start, backed up by the new government directives from the Department for Education.

This announcement should provide teachers with much needed breathing space in the classroom to teach the correct pencil grip, form letters correctly and focus attention on progressing towards fluency.

If you would like help in understanding the detail of the review and implement the changes, we are on hand to support your teacher training and handwriting lessons in your school.

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