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20 Daws Lane, Mill Hill, London, NW7 4SL

020 8906 2983 | Contact: Mrs Fraser, School Administrator |

Etz Chaim Jewish Primary School

"The best thing about my school is the pencil license." Year 4


Children write as a means of communication, and as a way of clarifying their own thoughts.  It also allows them to record their individual opinions and ideas.  Our pupils are introduced to a range of genres which enable them to write appropriately and imaginatively for any task they undertake during guided groups or through continuous provision. 

Pupils are taught correct letter formation in regular handwriting sessions.  This enables them to form legible handwriting and progress to a fluent cursive style.


Please click here to view our Writing Framework

Please click here to view our Handwriting Progression Document

Please click here to see the new National Curriculum end of year expectations for Writing

Please click here to see our events from Book Week 2017


We aim to instil that all our children know the importance of clear and neat presentation in order to communicate meaning effectively. Handwriting is a skill, which needs to be taught explicitly.  The children need to be able to write legibly in both joined and printed styles with increasing fluency and speed.
Top Tips for teaching Handwriting
  • Be consistent with the teaching of letter formation.
  • At first, focus on learning the motor pattern rather than perfect legibility or size.
  • Teach similarly formed letters together.
  • Separate the teaching of reversible letters such as b and d.
  • In Foundation Stage and (Reception) KS1, integrate handwriting practice with letter sounds using the RWI letter formation
  • In teaching cursive, explicitly teach connections between letters as well as formation of single letters using the Nelson scheme.
  • Aim for speed as well as legibility.

Teaching Handwriting in the Foundation Stage
In the Foundation Stage we prepare the children for the fine motor skills required for good handwriting in practical and appropriate ways. We believe that children who have experienced the multi-sensory approach to learning letter shapes are less likely to develop bad writing habits.
During physical development activities, which enhance gross motor control, we consolidate the vocabulary of movement by describing the children’s actions, and we explore shape and direction using the whole body. We specifically aim to develop letter shapes through sky writing, and by making patterns in the air and on children’s backs.
In Reception we follow the RWI letter formation.  We give the children plenty of opportunities to practise letter shapes by drawing in the sand and by using large brushes for painting with paint on paper, and with water on the playground.
Click here to view the letter formation rhymes.
Key Stage One (Year 1 and Year 2)
Many of the physical activities from the Foundation Stage are continued in Year One. Children write on lined paper, and are beginning to execute the size and spacing of their writing more precisely. When they are developmentally ready, they begin to join up letters in their own writing.  From Year 2 upwards the school follows the Nelson Handwriting Scheme which teaches the children to first print and then join up the letters. Click here to view the Nelson Handwriting Scheme.
Key Stage Two (Year 3, Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6)
In Key Stage Two the children continue to use the Nelson Thornes Handwriting scheme.  Once pupils have demonstrated that they can write consistently in a clear and legible way, they will be awarded a ‘Pen Licence’. This is an achievement to be celebrated and one which pupils will be encouraged to work towards, as it is an important and relevant life-skill. For some pupils, this will happen very quickly; for others persistence, patience and lots of practice will be required.


Pencil and Pen Licences
In Year 4 the children have to work towards receiving their Pencil Licence.  They have to work hard with their presentation and handwriting.  When the children feel they have three pieces of work which represent a high standard they take it to Mrs Baron where she checks their selected work.  If she agrees, she will reward them with a special pencil and their Pencil Licence.  If Mrs Baron doesn't agree with the child they need to continue to work on this to have three pieces of evidence to try again to be rewarded with their Pencil Licence
Please click here to view an example Pencil Licence
In Year 5 and 6 the children work towards receiving their Pen Licence.  They have to work hard with their presentation and handwriting.  When the children feel they have three pieces of work which represent high quality work they take it to Mrs Baron where she will check and reward the child with their Pen Licence and a pen.  If Mrs Baron doesn't agree with the child, they need to continue to work hard to collect three pieces of evidence to try again.
Please click here to view an example Pen Licence