Innovative technique being used to help children with handwriting in Rayleigh school

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10-year-old girl is helping teach her peers

A primary school in Rayleigh is using an innovative new technique to help pupils struggling with their handwriting.

After using the technology to deliver lessons, Down Hall Primary School’s early years and Key stage 1 pupils have now been assessed by Ofsted as ‘Exceeding Expectations in Handwriting.’

The Start Bee handwriting programme was the brain child of Melanie Harwood, who wanted to help her daughter Hannah-Jane to master the basics of handwriting when she was in reception. Hannah-Jane now teaches and fronts the programme online.

Melanie said: “Our children need consistency when being taught handwriting and the one person I knew that would deliver the step-by-step instructions clearly was Hannah-Jane.

“She was only five years old when she jumped in front of the camera when I was filming a trial lesson. She told me that she knew how to teach the children to write, because of her love of writing.

“When I asked a primary school to try a few of her earlier lessons, they told me the children loved learning to write with Hannah-Jane. She worked her way through all the exercises with the pupils I had created for her to learn how to write.”

At 10 years old Hannah-Jane’s lessons have proved to be so successful that she now teaches thousands of children to write in primary schools.

Mrs Lou Nelson, Headteacher of Down Hall Primary School in Brooklyn Drive, said: “Even in a digital age of iPads, whilst children have to handwrite their SATs tests it is so important for every child to master a clear, fluid, legible style of handwriting.

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“I wanted the Start-Bee Handwriting Preparedness Programme to be delivered to our Early Years Reception Group and the children reacted well to being taught by an age appropriate peer-to-peer teacher who was streamed into their classroom three times per week.”

“This ensures that children who are struggling with pencil grip, poor handwriting posture and the fine and gross motor skills that are so important for being able to write legibly and fluently are fully supported.

“We are so pleased with the results our pupils are achieving and the raising of attainment that handwriting delivers is key to their future academic and personal success.”

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