Our handwriting books follow DFE and Ofsted guidelines and are good for all left-handed children!
On 1st April 2021 the DFE made an announcement concerning the Validation of Systematic Synthetic Phonics programmes as follows:
Note 3 states: “At first, children should not be taught to join letters [footnote 3] or to start every letter ‘on the line’ with a ‘lead-in’, because these practices cause unnecessary difficulty for beginners. Children may be taught to join the letters in digraphs, but this is optional. (All resources designed for children to read should be in print).”
We are delighted to state, therefore, that our Left Hand Writing Skills books have suitable letter formation for all children as they do not include the “lead-in” cursive stroke.
Enquiry: Hi there
I’m currently 26 years old, and I’ve recently transitioned into copywriting.
I’ve been left-handed all my life, but I wasn’t aware that the way I used to write would effect negatively my posture.
I thought that the smudging was something I couldn’t fix.
I’d love to find out the techniques to fix this problem as my current work does require clear writing.
Can I ask, do you offer any help to adults?
Good morning George
Thank you for your email and your story. I would be more than happy to help you and am confident that we can get this “Smudging” issue sorted for you. 20 minutes on Zoom should get it sorted
Thank you so much Mark, I appreciate how you pointed out the correct way I have to get used to writing now, and the right “tools” I need to make it easier on myself.
I thought I should reach out to you again, to explain how much of a difference to my writing you made with the guides and with just a few minutes of correcting my hand positioning.
From Viv Smith
“I’m left handed, the daughter of a left hander. I was recently reminded of my experience in primary school aged 8 when a very annoying teacher placed me next to a right hander. I was on his right therefore we battled elbows everyday. When I complained she refused to let us swap sides and cure the problem. I wrote this poem about the event”
Little Laura could only write
With her pen in her left hand, never her right.
Armed like this her words could flow,
Her stories were rich, her ideas would grow.
Her problem was being sat next to Ricky,
Everyone knew he was tough and quite tricky.
Just like his fists, Ricky wrote with his right,
Sprawled over the desk his left hand clenched tight.
He put pen to paper to reveal to his peers
His astonishing wealth of stupid ideas.
Laura sat hunched in a small bit of table
That Ricky had spared her, until she felt able
To move her left arm and free up her mind
From staring at Ricky’s humongous behind.
Laura spoke to the teacher, but poor Mrs Hyde
Was just grateful that Ricky remained occupied.
One day Little Laura sat down on the left.
Then Ricky arrived and looked vaguely bereft.
To have to shift over to the opposite side
Was confusing for Ricky and a matter of pride.
“Just try it” said Laura, “and I think you will see
It’ll work just as well for you as for me”.
Ricky said nothing sitting down with a groan
He took the new seat, fists flexed for a moan.
But when writing began he started to see
The girl had a point, his right arm felt free.
Laura sat upright, her left arm could move
And Ricky, for once, had nothing to prove.
Copyright Viv Smith
A great poem! Any thoughts or comments?
Delighted to be able to make our presentation (along with Sue Smits of Morrells Handwriting, Worcester) at the Department of Education on Wednesday 12th February, with Robin Walker MP for Worcester in attendance.
It was positively received and we look forward to some progress in the near future!
The parents of the child with the pencil grip as shown drives over 150 miles to get help! The mother writes:
“My daughter attends primary school in Wanstead, London, and I sadly understand that her case is not untypical. She has never had any support with writing at school, and has now, in year 6, developed a problem with her grip. We spoke to the school and her class teacher said that she knew nothing about left handedness, and that my daughter had neat handwriting and she should expect that it hurts to write as they write more in year 6. The teacher said it hurt her hand after marking books.
After a dismissal from the teacher after two minutes, we took matters into our own hand and visited a specialist in Worcestershire. He corrected Alice’s grip in 15 minutes.”
During repeated correspondence with ministers at The Department of Education, the following fallback has been used “The Teachers’ Standards require teachers to adapt their teaching to address the needs of all their pupils, whatever those needs may be”. If teachers are unable to identify the specific needs of the child, they are not going to take any action..
Hardly surprising that this teacher did nothing as “she knew nothing about left-handedness”. The teacher is not to blame – there is nothing in Initial Teacher Training on left-handedness nor in the Teacher Assessment Framework.
Is this fair on the child? Absolutley NOT! (And potentially over 1,000,000 left-handed children but the Dof E hasn’t got any idea how many left-handed children there are!)
Can this situation be easily sorted? It absolutely CAN! Simple training as part of ITT and CPD.
And it’s WIN for the child, WIN for the school and WIN for the country!
So, apathetic or discriminatory? Or both?
Mum says ”
This is a sentiment I entirely agree with; it goes without saying doesn’t it? This came via an email which linked to the Conservatives web site “Building a Britain fit for the future,” which states
“Schools & Skills
We want every child to have the best possible start in life.”
Now what would your understanding of the word “every” be? Does it mean a few, some, a lot or all? My understanding is that “every” means “all“.
But if the Dept of Education has no figures on a specific group of children, whether the specific needs of those children within that group has any impact on their academic achievement, where teachers are not trained in those specific needs as part of their initial teacher training, where their particular handwriting needs are NON -statutory (for everyone else it is a Statutory requirement!), you might reasonably come to the conclusion that the word “every” has a different meaning! Maybe it should read “the majority”?
In case you are wondering, it is the group of left-handed children in our Education system I am talking about.
The attached letter from Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP Secretary of State states that “The Teachers Standards require teachers to adapt their teaching to address the needs of all their pupils, whatever those needs might be”. Again a fine sentiment but, in my opinion, it makes a huge and completely unfounded assumption; that is that teachers have been trained to help left-handed children, that they are aware of what to look out for and trained to act appropriately.
If that were the case, why were we encouraged by Nick Gibb MP to have input into the new Teacher Training Curriculum and why do schools ask me to run training courses for their staff? If all was fine and dandy in the classrooms for left-handed children, I wouldn’t need to be writing this!
“I visited this amazing shop with 2 of my children today. My daughter is left handed and has always struggled with her handwriting. 10 minutes in the store with the amazing owner and a few techniques later and she has improved immensely! I am over the moon and completely gob smacked by the kindness and generosity of the gent in this store! We bought a few left handed bits and pieces and she has been writing since we got home this afternoon! Plus the lovely lady in the shop played with my 2 year old so I could spend some time with Phoebe!!
Absolutely amazing service and incredible toys and left handed stock!!!
Thank you so much to all that helped us today! I hope you know how much confidence you gave my daughter!”
Such kind words but it shows how a small amount of appropriate help can make such a positive difference! This is why helping left-handed children should be part of Initial Teacher Training and CPD in all our Primary Schools.
This is a hypothetical question: “Would you be happy with this?”
I would like to think that no one who has any understanding of handwriting, be they parent, Early Years practitioner, teacher, SENCO, Head teacher, School Governor, education advisor, Teacher trainer, Education Minister and even Secretary of State for Education, would consider such a grip to be “good”!
It is blatantly obvious that such a grip would mean that the child’s hand would cover their writing as they go along and would smudge, making messy writing, messy hands, difficulty reading what they have written as well as lower marks than the content would necessarily merit.
If the child was trying to get their pen license, what are the chances of getting it?
I could go on! What I find frustrating is that it appears that no one in authority has the inclination to say “Let’s do something about this”. It’s not rocket science, time consuming or expensive to sort, and yet left-handed children are NOT being given appropriate help.
When the new Initial Teacher Training curriculum was being put together, we had some input into that. However, when published, there was not a word on left-handed children. Potentially over, 1,000,000 children and their needs are not being adequately met. If they were, children wouldn’t be coming into our shop for handwriting help!
Appropriate teacher training and guidance for the children will improve the educational outcomes. Win/Win all round; I reckon so.