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Handwriting at WHCPS

At Whitehouse Common Primary School the children learn to form and join their letters through the Nelson Handwriting scheme. This approach links phonics, spelling and handwriting together. It starts in Reception and is continued throughout Key stage Two. Each class has a weekly handwriting session where the teacher demonstrates the formation of patterns, letters and joins.


Handwriting is a huge part of the new National Curriculum and is always a priority. By the end of Key Stage Two children need to be able to write using a joined up font with efficiency, fluency and speed. It is important that children develop good habits from an early age!


Key terms used in school

  • Clockwise / Anticlockwise
  • Vertical / Horizontal
  • Diagonal
  • Ascender (letters that reach the top of the line b,d,f,h,k,l,t)
  • Descender (letters that fall below the line f,g,j,p,y)
  • Break Letters (letters that do not join (b,g,j,p,q,x,y,z)
  • Parallel
  • Slopped



The children will be taught four main joins. These are:

1. To letters without ascenders (um ig)
2. To letters with ascenders (for example ch ol)
3. Horizontal joins (for example od ve)
4. Horizontal joins to letters with ascenders (wl of)


Pen Licences

Children in Year 4, 5 and 6 can earn their pen licences. When children are able to
produce neat, fluent and joined handwriting in a range of subjects (English, Science and
Topic) they will take a sample of their books to the headteacher. They will then receive
their pen and a pen licence certificate.

To see the pen licence information sheet for children, click on the file below:

Position and Posture

Children need to be sitting up straight with their feet flat on the floor however, it is
important they need to feel comfortable and relaxed. Children should be encouraged to
have their paper positioned straight in front of them or with a slight slant.


Pencil Grip

Right Handers – Tripod grip, pencil should be held between the thumb and forefinger,
roughly about 2/3cm from the tip and the middle finger should provide extra support.
The pencil/pen should rest on the end joint of the middle and the other fingers should
rest lightly on the paper. The pencil should be held lightly and in a relaxed manner.

Left Handers – The method is very similar apart from the grip of the pencil being
slight higher so the child is able to see what has been written. This will also mean their
writing is not smudged by their hand.


How can you help?

Most importantly, you can show your child that you value and admire the skill.
Have a small selection of handwriting materials readily available at home. This could
include: soft pencils (B Grade), fibre-tip pens and some sheets of A4 typing paper are
enough for a start.

Let handwriting play a part in your family’s daily life, for example…..

  • making lists and labels
  • keeping a family diary
  • leaving notes for each other in busy households
  • keeping in touch with distant friends and relatives
  • designing and making home-made notelets, greetings cards and menus.

These websites also offer some ideas and guidance: