St Francis de Sales Catholic

Church Road, Tottenham, London, N17 8AZ

0208 808 2923

St Francis de Sales Catholic

Infant and Junior School

  1. Curriculum
  2. Handwriting


At St Francis de Sales we have adopted a cursive, or ‘joined-up’ style for handwriting throughout the school. We believe this raises standards in writing across the whole school, developing confidence, accuracy and fluency and improved presentation.


The cursive handwriting style helps:

• To minimise confusion for the child as every letter starts on the line with an entry stroke and leads out with an exit stroke

• As letters naturally flow into each other, this helps children to join their handwriting

• Form spacing between words as the child develops whole word awareness

• To develop a child's visual memory

• All children's writing skills regardless of academic ability

• To develop skills of punctuation and grammar.


Handwriting Development

Young children develop the skills needed to write through both gross and fine motor movements. It is therefore important that our very youngest children continue to get opportunities to climb and scramble as well as having access to a range of chunky and fine mark making equipment. If you are able to take your child to a play area with climbing equipment this will be just as beneficial to their writing development as sitting down with pens and paper!


Our children in the infants are introduced to actual letter formation through the Collins Handwriting programme as well as focused classroom and practical activities. In particular, children are encouraged to write their first names correctly, using capital letter for the first letter only.


Children learn to write with a pencil. The most appropriate grip is the ‘tripod grip’ which allows both control and fluid movement. If your child finds it difficult to hold a thin pencil it may be worth investing in something chunkier or pencil grips which are designed to encourage a tripod grip. We encourage our children to take care with presentation. When children enter Key Stage 2, they have the chance to earn a pen license. 


Important Points To Remember


  • Always start forming the letters on the line
  • “Tall letters,” will touch the line above (b d h k l t )
  • “Middle letters,” are all the same height and stop at the midpoint of the line ( a c e I m n o r s u v w x y z )
  •  Some letters stretch down below the line. The top of these letters touch the midpoint (f g j p q y )
  • Capital letters never join to the rest of a word.


In Reception and at the beginning of Year 1 the children learn to form each letter separately. Their writing will look something like this. As the children are introduced to digraphs and trigraphs they begin to join certain letter combinations.  


For example: ch sh th ee ea igh


Towards the end of Year 1 and moving onto Year 2 the children begin to join whole words and their writing will begin to look more like this.  


Letter shape groups

When formal handwriting teaching begins the letters are taught in groups as follows: 

curly caterpillar:     a c o d g q e s f 

one-armed robot:  r b n h m k p 

long ladder:            l i t u j y 

 zigzag:                    v w x z

Letter - join

We are now part of the Letter-join handwriting scheme and any of our pupils wishing to practise their handwriting at home from September will be able to log in to the Letter-join website on iPads and tablets as well as desktop and laptop computers. There you will find the same, easy-to-use handwriting resources as we use at school.


Once the children have their log-in, You will be able to choose your child’s classroom and you will be able to watch how to form all the letters of the alphabet using the same style that we use at school. You can then trace over the letters and words on your tablet and print out the worksheets from your PC for real handwriting practice.


Simply go to and log in, using the Desktop log-in boxes