Gifts Today magazine

Britain urged to support national handwriting campaign

The good old days of children sitting in classrooms crafting beautifully handwritten letters are slowly fading – only to be replaced by a new generation of text abbreviations and emoticons.

But the skill of handwriting remains a vital one – and a campaign is now being launched to make sure it is here to stay for generations to come.

The US removed cursive handwriting as a compulsory skill in 2013 and Finland is also taking it off the curriculum in 2016 in favour of teaching typing skills.

But MPs, celebrities, teachers and parents alike are now joining forces to make sure the UK does not go down the same route.

Whether it’s jotting down a shopping list, writing a birthday card, taking down a phone message or filling in an application form, handwriting is part of our daily lives and while modern technology has transformed the way we communicate, the skill of handwriting remains important in education, employment and everyday life.

Angela Webb, the chairman of the National Handwriting Association, said: “Time devoted to the teaching and learning of letter formation in the early years will pay off.
“Legible writing that can be produced comfortably, at speed and with little conscious effort allows a child to attend to the higher-level aspects of writing – composition and content. This is important when assessments are based on written work, particularly in time-limited written examinations, which remain as a major form of assessment for many formal qualifications. Without fast and legible handwriting, pupils may miss out on learning opportunities and under-achieve academically.
“Beyond formal education, most employment situations will involve at least some handwriting and any require the communication of critical information. Thus, handwriting with pen and paper still has an important role from early childhood through our adult lives.

“More and more, people are shifting from paper only to electronic modes of communication but we are keen to ensure that handwriting continues to be taught in schools up and down the country. It is firmly still on the curriculum in the UK and that’s exactly how we want it to stay. We do not want to follow in the footsteps of the US and Finland.”

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch is an advocate for the importance of keeping the skill of handwriting alive among younger generations.

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