Reaching high for the best for your child

School Blog English

School Blog


The blog for our English leadership team

The '4 Ps' Posture, Pencil Grip, Paper Position and Pressure

By Kim Ferguson, in English - Tuesday, 23 May 2023

The teachers at Fairlands are helping the children improve their presentation skills by getting them to think about the 4Ps of handwriting. Using research from the National Handwriting Association to promote good practice, we would like to share with you the importance of the posture, pencil grip, paper position and pressure when supporting your child with their letter formation and writing.

POSTURE - Poor posture can be a root cause of common handwriting difficulties, resulting in pain or fatigue. It will also present as a reluctance to write, poor presentation or legibility, slow writing speed and reduced output.

PENCIL GRIP - Children and adults use a wide range of different pencil grasps, often because they have not learnt differently or as compensation for postural instability. An inefficient pen/pencil grasp can cause discomfort, impact motivation, fluency and legibility and create difficulty in sustaining speed.

PAPER POSITION - Correct paper position is vitally important during the early years of handwriting development. Bad practice can lead to compensatory strategies, such as a hooked-wrist in left-handers. These behaviours are difficult to remedy in later years.

PRESSURE - When learning to write, pencil pressure is likely to vary depending on the demands of the task and stage of development. Most children will learn through experience how much pressure they should exert through the pencil onto paper. The shape of the writing tool and the way it is held, affects the amount of pressure exerted onto the paper. Trialling a range of pens, pencils and grips can be a good place to start.

Handwriting Heroes!

By The Literacy Team, in English - Tuesday, 23 May 2023

This term, the whole school focus is 'Handwriting Heroes'

Why is handwriting a focus at Fairlands?

Over the last two terms, the Literacy team have been working hard to implement the Little Wandle phonics programme. We are proud of the fantastic progress that the children have made. Next, we would like to think about how we can improve the fluency and consistency of handwriting, across the school. 

What is happening at Fairlands to support handwriting?

All members of staff have set goals and targets on how they strive to improve handwriting outcomes. Some examples include:

  • Reception and Year Five will be teaming up to share a piece of writing
  • Children will be asked to write to governors to request a new school resource
  • Staff will be identifying the 4 P's (posture, pencil grip, paper position and pressure) and implementing strategies to support the development of writing 
  • School will be investing in pens, pencils and writing aides to ensure children can select an effective writing tool
  • School council will be recording videos to share the letter formation rhymes with the children and parents 

How can parents and carers support their child to become a confident, fluent writer?

  • Continue to promote high expectations when your child is practising writing at home or writing for a purpose (e.g. writing a birthday card or writing to a family member)
  • School will be sharing handwriting videos with you, these will be accessed via the school website 
  • The Literacy Team will be sharing the amended handwriting policy with you, in Summer 2 

Reception - Tricky Words Bingo!

By Mrs Sembi & Miss Free, in English - Wednesday, 22 February 2023

Thank you to all of the parents who attended today's interactive phonics workshop. We were delighted to share with you that from tomorrow children in Reception will be bringing home a paper-based phonics book. We also hope that you found the tricky word activities useful. In the Spring term, we review and recap the phonics learning, so this is a great opportunity to practise, practise, practise! 

Finally, well done to all of the children for taking part in the tricky words bingo activity. 

World Book Day 2023!

By Literacy Team, in English - Tuesday, 21 February 2023

At Fairlands, we are constantly striving to learn more and gain a deeper understanding of the diversity of our community. As a Literacy team, we feel it is important that children are reflected in the books that they read. Reading a wide range of age-appropriate texts can help children to learn about different cultures, experiences and understand a character's point of view. Teachers have been asked to select a 'No Outsiders' text or poem for the week commencing 27th February.

On Thursday 2nd March, all children are invited to come to school dressed as their favourite book character, customise a t-shirt based on their favourite book character or book or bring along a copy of their favourite book for our 'Bookflix' interactive reading display!

As always, we strive to promote a love of reading through 'World Book Day', so teachers will be planning a range of activities throughout the week, that promote reading. We will also be hosting a special assembly, where your child's class teacher will be invited to share and recommend their favourite book. 

We look forward to sharing our World Book Day experiences with you as we blog throughout the week!


Year one Little Wandle parent workshop

By Mrs Sembi, in English - Thursday, 3 November 2022

Thank you to the Year One parents who came along to the Phonics workshop this afternoon. We really appreciate your help and support to promote a love of reading. Thank you for contributing your child's favourite book to the word cloud, we have shared your wonderful ideas! 

Some key messages from the workshop were:

- Continue to share your children's favourite stories, modelling how to read with expression and talking about the vocabualary you encounter

- Your child will read 3x times weekly, with a trained member of staff. Celebrate your child's reading on the 4th read of the week, at home or at the weekly reading breakfast 

- Reading has an impact on future success

- Comprehension skills and word reading skills combined result in a confident fluent reader 

- Your child will take part in daily phonics, 3x weekly reading practise sessions and keep up sessions, if required 

We are here to help... Please come and see your child's class teacher if you have any questions. 


Reception Little Wandle Workshop

By Mrs Sembi, in English - Thursday, 3 November 2022

Dear Parent/Carer,

A huge thank you to all of the parents who attended the Reception Phonics workshop, we hope you found the session useful. We would love to hear your feedback:

Please find the PowerPoint slides attached, along with some useful resources. On your Evidence Me account, you will find a link to a video demonstrating the correct pronunciation for the sounds that have been taught in Autumn 1.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to speak to your child's teacher.

Alternatively, we invite you to join us for the Reading Breakfast, every Thursday, in the Lower Hall from 8.30am or join your child in class for Shared Reading, from 8.40am!

Kindest Regards,

Little Wandle Parent Workshops!

By The Literacy Team, in English - Tuesday, 25 October 2022

In Autumn 2, we look forward to inviting parents and carers to join us for the Little Wandle parent workshops on the following dates:

Reception - Wednesday 2nd November at 2.30pm

Year One - Thursday 3rd November at 2.30pm

Year Two - Wednesday 9th November at 2.30pm

Reading Breakfast

By The Literacy Team, in English - Tuesday, 25 October 2022

Every Thursday, Mrs Sembi and Mrs Edwards will be hosting a reading breakfast, in the lower hall, from 8.30am. There are copies of the phonics, paper-based books and iPads to access the e-library. Mrs Sembi and Mrs Edwards will be available to support you to login to library. 

We ask that all children on the 'Little Wandle' phonics programme read with an adult, once weekly. The fourth reading session is to celebrate fluency and grow confident, rapid readers! 

Over the next half term, we will be working hard to increase the book stock available. This will enable us to send home a phonics, paper-based book. We have been using the Little Wandle matching tool to match other reading schemes to the Little Wandle programme, purchasing some new books and we have set up an Amazon wishlist: 


Shared Reading is back!

By The Literacy Team, in English - Tuesday, 25 October 2022

After half term, we will be reintroducing shared reading from Nursery - Year Three. You can join your child in their class to share a physical library book or practise reading a phonics, decodable books with your child. It would be lovely to see as many parents and carers as possible. 


We will sending out a letter, via the school communication system (Arbor) to confirm the day for your child's year group. To enable parents to attend Shared Reading for different year groups, we have assigned different days to each year group. 


Please note, if you arrive after 8.50am, you will need to report to the school office to record your child’s attendance on the register and select a school lunch. Unfortunately, we will not be able to invite you into class for shared reading, if you arrive late.

Year One Reading Practice

By Mrs Sembi, in English - Wednesday, 14 September 2022

On Monday, children in Year One started their 'Reading Practice' sessions. The children have now read their reading book to an adult, three times, at school. This book has been carefully matched to your child’s current reading level. If your child is reading it with little help, please don’t worry that it’s too easy – your child needs to develop fluency and confidence in reading. All adults have been impressed with the children's positive attitude and enthusiam for reading. We can't wait for you to listen to your child read at home, we are sure you are going to be impressed too! 

Tonight, they will bring home a reading record with login details for the new e-library. We ask that you practise the phonics e-book with your child, a minimum of once every week

As we start our Little Wandle journey, we are currently only able to provide you with a digital e-book. In the future, we are hoping to be able to increase our book stock to enable us to send home a physical copy of the book as well.


We appreciate that some parents have access to a smaller device (such as a mobile phone), or do not have access to technology at home. We will be offering a ‘Reading Breakfast’ weekly session from Thursday 22nd September at 8.25am. We will be limiting spaces to 20 per session, in the Lower School hall. Spaces will be on a first come, first served basis.