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Our Approach

#931 Improving Handwriting – Clacton Coastal Academy

Emma Cambridge

What did we do?

The problem I was trying to solve was to improve handwriting. We were keen to look at the impact of improving handwriting on behaviour.

I looked into interventions that I could possibly deliver like phonics, reading, Lexia, SNIP, caterpillar letters, basic letter formation and pencil control. Lexia worksheets can be printed off and tailored to the students individual needs. I organised and arranged training for other staff members in my setting.

I wanted to improve staff knowledge on how to deliver an enhanced handwriting improvement strategy. I collated packs of basic letter formation and pencil control for the students. I spoke with staff weekly as part of the ongoing agenda for student well being.

It was fun and I understood it would help me in the future

I can see a difference in my handwriting, it is starting to look neater and people can read it

My writing is starting to look a lot better now


Summary of impact

Reflecting on the impact of the role of LBL on myself, I feel that my confidence in my ability to deliver literacy based programmes has improved greatly. I feel that my voice is heard and listened to. I know that the knowledge and understanding I have gained will make my job easier to carry out. This will therefore lead to a more satisfying work space for my students. As I gain confidence, so will they.

Through training with my colleagues we have allĀ improved the way we engage students. This has led to improved learning outcomes. The behaviour of the students has improved accordingly.

I have used WRAT tests to track data. As this is a standardised test it was simple and easy to measure any improvement.

I have also encouraged 100% attendance because improved attendance has shown to enhance learning outcomes. The students that have willingly improved their attendance have shown an increase in their observable data.

As a department we have seen a marked improvement in behaviour. This has been achieved because every member of staff is using the same approach. I have used student questionnaires throughout. This has made it possible to track data and head off any problems before they became a major issue.

Steps taken

I identified a need within the cohort of students I work with. Many students struggle with handwriting and the ability to decode the written word. I work with a particularly difficult group of students. They have varying levels of poor behaviour. The more they struggle the worse the behaviour becomes. The group is small, only 7 students, but the need is great. The diversity within the group was enough to satisfy this case study.

I undertook a process of problem solving and using a range of evidence, I worked with my line manager in my school to identify which pillars of the learning behaviour framework are most suitable to develop in school to meet the needs of this group of students.

I planned how I would measure success by setting short/medium and long term implementation outcomes:

Short term

  • Pupils engagement with intervention and applying skills in session.
  • Pupils able to identify links between behaviour and engagement in session

Medium term

  • Pupils applying skills in session with support and beginning to show in other sessions.
  • Pupils talk about their difficulty and become more regulated.

Long term

  • Pupils applying skills independently.
  • Handwriting not identified as a trigger for behavioural outbursts or non-engagement.

I have developed an action plan that sets out how staff members will support the engagement of this group of students and by addressing their barriers to learning. I have also redrafted my plan and acted on the feedback from my line manager. At the end of the project I completed a further WRAT test to show the improvement achieved by each student. All students improve but to varying degrees.

What would we do differently

What I would do differently in future case studies is to ensure additional time is available, so that it can be spent observing the students and working with staff more. This would mean that tailored and more detailed plans would be available.

Also, which is very important, is having that time to focus on parental support. I feel that with additional parental support the programme could be rolled out to cover outside school time. A holistic approach involving students, teachers and parents would mean we are all working together to achieve the same goals. This would be a benefit to all involved.

Finally by working with a larger group of students in the mainstream we would be working towards a whole school approach. The long term benefit to this would be a reduction in poor behaviour across the whole school and an increase in grades.


The cost to release a TA for half a day per week and for one year to attend training, write an action plan, undertake relevant duties and monitor progress.

I have had access to a laptop and internet connections to be able to attend all the virtual training and meetings.

See how others have implemented this Big Idea

Sensory Circuits - St Marys Catholic Primary Ipswich

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Ready to Learn - The Beeches Primary

Philosophy Sessions - Harwich Community Primary School & Nursery

Supporting anxiety in children and parents - Spring Meadow Primary School

Securing Engagement Through SEL - Clifford Road Primary

Securing Engagement - Spring Meadow Primary

The Learning Behaviour Lead role - Ravenswood Primary School

Putting EEF "Learning Behaviours" guidance into action - Halifax Primary School

Securing Engagement - Alton Park Junior School

Removing the literacy barrier to learning - Clacton County High School

Wellbeing Workshops - Westbourne Academy

1-1 Support to Improve Engagement and Grades - One Sixth Form

Improving Behaviour with Projection Education - Trimley St Martin Primary School

Establishing a nurture space - The DEN at Trimley St Martin Primary School

The Inclusivity of EAL families within our School Community. - St Margaret's Primary School Ipswich

EAL Parental engagement at Northgate High School

Being a Learning Behaviour Lead - Ipswich Academy

Reading and Phonics at Dale Hall

"Club Aspirations" improving self esteem and confidence at Rushmere Hall Primary

Improving learner confidence in handwriting and spelling - Clacton Coastal Academy

Improving behaviour and engagement in a nurture group - Alton Park Junior School

Tackling lunchtime dysregulation and classroom focus - Castle Hill Primary School

Finding the right intervention to support engagement - Murrayfield Primary Academy