English Within Our School

Talk for Writing
In the Southernway Federation, our current approach to writing is based on Talk for Writing, developed by Pie Corbett. This supports the National Curriculum programmes of study for writing at Key Stages 1 and 2. This composes of 2 main strands: Transcription (spelling and handwriting). Composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing). The Talk for Writing approach is effective because it is based on the principles of how children learn. It is powerful because it enables children to imitate the language they need for a particular topic orally before reading and analysing it and then writing their own version. If you would like to find out more please click on the link below.
Pen Licence
What is a Pen Licence?
Children can work towards earning a Pen Licence when they can write in a fluent and cursive joined handwriting style. (The school uses the Nelson handwriting scheme.) The Pen Licence is awarded by the Head of School in a celebration assembly. He or she also receives a special handwriting pen to use in school instead of a pencil.
Children must be able to:
  • Use the four joins correctly using the Nelson cursive style.
  • Keep letters a consistent size.
  • Ensure that all ascenders and descenders are correct.
  • Remember to join handwriting consistently over a period of time and not just in one piece of work.
Once a child meets the criteria above, the class teacher will ask the child to show a selection of work from his or her books to the Head of School. Sometimes there might be an element to work on before the licence is approved.
Common aspects for improvement include:
  • Consistent letter size.
  • Correct formation of the lower case letters f and k.
  • Ensuring that the letter s is the same height as lower case letters.
  • Not looping the descenders for the letters y and g.
  • Joining consistently.
Supporting your child with any of the above will help your child to develop a fluent cursive style of handwriting. The New National Curriculum 2014 for English states that: “Joined handwriting should be the norm; pupils should be able to use it fast enough to keep pace with what they want to say.”
Please see the Handwriting Expectations from the National Curriculum in the policy section on our school website for further information and guidance. If you have any questions about handwriting please don’t hesitate to talk with your child’s class teacher.