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Subject Overviews – English Writing

At East Dene, we use the, ‘Martin Harvey SHA’ handwriting scheme. Handwriting is taught explicitly in lessons and in context, when the teacher models correct letter formation. In EYFS and Year 1, children are taught to sit properly in order to have the correct posture for writing, hold a pencil in the correct position and use a printed letter formation which is a wonderful starting point for them as they move to a cursive style during KS1. All books, across the curriculum – with the exception of sketchbooks – have handwriting lines in them, beginning at size 1 and progressing to size 4 as children refine their skills. Children have the opportunity to write on plain paper, with the use of the corresponding line guides, to ensure that high expectations remain in place for handwriting, in every lesson.

Please find below information from OFSTED’s research review of English (23rd May 2022), which relates directly to the best practice teaching of handwriting in school and aligns completely with the approach and decisions made about how handwriting is taught at East Dene.

The national curriculum specifies that children should be taught to correctly form letters of the correct size and orientation. This requires effort and attention, as well as suitable motor skills. There is evidence that repeated practice in handwriting is necessary to go beyond accuracy to fluency in letter formation. There is no need to start the formal teaching of handwriting before Reception, but children at the end of the EYFS should be able to ‘hold a pencil effectively in preparation for fluent writing – using the tripod grip in almost all cases’. The national curriculum requires children to learn unjoined handwriting before they ‘start using some of the diagonal and horizontal strokes that are needed to join letters’. Delaying teaching joined handwriting gives teachers and children time to focus on other aspects of the writing process, such as composition, spelling and forming letters correctly. Research supports the idea that writing letters may be important for supporting children’s early reading development, because it stimulates the areas of the brain known to underpin successful reading. A small study with 4- to 5-year-olds showed that practice in writing letters ‘stroke by stroke’ may be the ‘gateway’ through which beginning readers learn to recognise the features of each letter, as well as learning which features are not important.

There is also evidence that repeated practice in handwriting, going beyond accuracy to fluency, leads to success in higher-level writing tasks. Skilful handwriting has an impact on composition. According to 2 meta-analyses of research on handwriting instruction, teaching handwriting is closely associated with the quality, length and fluency of writing. As these meta-analyses showed, teaching handwriting can improve writing because the pupil can spend more time planning, thinking about content and constructing the sentences.


Y2 Spelling Long Term Curriculum Map 2023/24

As words with new GPCs are introduced, many previously-taught GPCs can be revised at the same time as these words will usually contain them. Spelling rules in purple are taken from the Y1 curriculum.



Y3/4 Spelling Long Term Curriculum Map 2022/23

Words shown in the blue boxes are example, non-statutory words


Y5/6 Spelling Long Term Curriculum Map 2022/23

Words shown in the blue boxes are example, non-statutory words



Overview of Texts 2023/24