Parent outraged over St Leonards primary school pen policy

Robsack Wood Primary Academy, St Leonards. SUS-151011-153833001
Robsack Wood Primary Academy, St Leonards. SUS-151011-153833001

A parent is outraged over a St Leonards primary school’s new policy only allowing children with a high-enough handwriting standard to use a pen.

Dave Hendron, of Old Church Road, St Leonards, believes Robsack Wood Primary Academy’s pen licence scheme will encourage bullying and discrimination of children forced to use a pencil.

Robsack Wood Primary Academy's Handwriting and Presentation Policy SUS-170228-142117001

Robsack Wood Primary Academy's Handwriting and Presentation Policy SUS-170228-142117001

The policy aims to encourage pupils to improve their handwriting and the school said there is no evidence it has led to bullying.

Mr Hendron said other parents are angered by the scheme and he would take his son out of the school if the policy is maintained.

“This isn’t affecting my son as he’s hitting the ‘targets’ but there are others in the school who may be bullied or humiliated by the rest of the class,” he said.

“It’s ridiculous – I’ve never heard of anything like it.”

He added: “I will be removing my son from the school if they keep the policy as it shows how they approach the education of my child.

“They are clearly not interested and this sends a very clear message of there’s intentions.

All parents received a letter yesterday (Monday, February 28) outlining the updated Handwriting and Presentation Policy from Robsack Wood.

The policy says: “[In English lessons} pupils will write in pencil until they demonstrate sufficient ability to write fluently and legibly, thus earning a ‘pen licence’.

“Pen licences will be renewed each academic year, in order to reinforce and maintain high standards of presentation.”

‘Pen licences’ will be awarded only if children stick to a list of requirements including having the right grip, forming letters in a consistent size and using cases appropriately.

Teachers will identify students worthy of the licence but the senior leadership team must agree with examples of pupils’ work examined before a presentation is made in assembly.

“Robsack Wood Primary Academy has recently made some adjustments to its existing Handwriting and Presentation Policy,” a Hastings Academies Trust spokesman said, of which the school is a part of.

“In common with many schools, the policy continues to includes strategies such as a pen licence to encourage pupils to produce a fluent and legible style of handwriting.

“The academy’s teaching and learning strategies are adjusted to meet the needs of pupils with additional learning needs.

“There is no evidence this policy has led to incidents of bullying.

“That said we have a robust policy to deter and deal with all forms of bullying should they arise.”

What do you think of the policy? Will it encourage good handwriting or bullying? Comment below or email hastings.observer@jpress.co.uk with your thoughts.

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