This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Writing in Pen/ Pen licences(11 Posts)
Hi, Im curious about understanding other junior schools’ policies with regards to writing in pen (both from parents and teachers). My daughter is in year 5 and when she joined in year 3, she had to earn her ‘pen license’ in order to be able to write in pen. Handwriting has always been a struggle for her but she was desperate to earn it and it took most of the academic year but she got there.
Following some ofsted comments (I believe) on improving handwriting, the license was revoked the following academic year (year 4) and the children had to earn it all over again with new stricter criteria for earning it. My daughter didn’t earn it all year. This year they have revoked them again (for those who had it) and are earning them all over again with yet another set of rules.
I get the importance of neat handwriting and the focus on it, but for my daughter, it could be she goes through her entire junior school years not writing in pen and the first time she does it is in secondary and it just seems odd to me (obviously she writes in pen at home but not regularly) that she is not getting regular writing practice in pen at school.. Should I be concerned by this at all or is this standard practise and not an issue if secondary is the first time she gets used to writing in pen?
DS1 now 15 didn't get his pen licence until the end of year six and then I think it was out of pity. He wasn't bothered at all and managed fine with the transition to using pen all the time at secondary. His handwriting is really nice now.
Same happens at my sons school. Every year they have to start over and earn their pen licence, in year 3 (new school for ds) ds took most of the year before he got his. Hes now year 6 and got it first week, as i told him its not about quantity of writing but quality and he needed to practice as his writing was scruffy. Pen licences are very common in all primary schools around here.
In our school it’s the same - gets revoked each year and then given to those who can demonstrate fluent cursive joining.
In NI it has always traditionally been something done in P5 (Yr4 equivalent). I very much doubt it is as highly pressured or stressful as what you are suggesting though. My DD is P5 now and isn’t allowed to write in pen at all yet, but neither is anyone. It’ll be interesting to see what happens later in the year. (We just moved here)
In Scotland (or at least, where we lived in Scotland) there is no such thing. My elder DC all wrote in pencil to the end of primary school and in fact they both had teachers who told them off for writing in pen for homework - even spelling lists weren’t to be done in pen. It drove me mad because a) they need to learn to write in pen, b) they never made any mistakes so there was no problem with it, and c) DS’s writing was so much neater in pen than in pencil so it was actually better for him but they still wouldn’t let him do it.
My eldest did some of high school in Scotland and said most kids still wrote in pencil. I also have a good friend who teaches English at a high school and said that they all come in in S1 writing in pencil and she still has some pupils in S4 who would choose to write in pencil if they could - she has to force them to use pen because they obviously have to for their Nat5s!
'Revoking' it yearly seems reasonable, and ensuring that they are at a standard required seems fair - she's not the only one who will be using pencil- and really it's easier- I prefer it!!!!!
Well revoking it every year is obviously silly. They do seem to be making a massive meal out of it. I would encourage your daughter to try to write neatly on pencil but not overly worry about her handwriting. As long as it's easy enough to read no one is ever going to care once she leaves primary.
In Scotland (or at least, where we lived in Scotland) there is no such thing. My elder DC all wrote in pencil to the end of primary school and in fact they both had teachers who told them off for writing in pen for homework - even spelling lists weren’t to be done in pen.
Same in my Scottish primary school in the 00s.
Never heard of a pen licence. We wrote in pencil the whole of primary school then onto pen at secondary. What a farce!
Funny how they get to high school and are keen to use pencil again. Dd's (high) school council campaigned for pencil to be allowed for eco reasons and can now use it except for in assessments.
Seems unfair to revoke licences if that wasnt the expectation when they were awarded.
Ok, all seems fairly standard then - thanks all!