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Pen and think

Recently, I found myself staying in Crosby, Merseyside. From the hotel window I could see the beach and in the gathering gloom I could just make out hundreds of people standing still, staring out to sea as the tide crept in. It took me a while to realise that I was staring at Antony Gormley's sculptures.

The next morning I was in Forefield Infant School, Crosby, for an inset day. For a long time I have been wondering about handwriting (yes, my children do tell me that I am sad). We know how to get children going with early phonics but often writing founders because very young children find pencil control so hard - especially boys. But, joy of joys, the art at Forefield flies in the face of this. Ofsted deemed the school outstanding and it is right.

Every room is covered in displays with finely drawn patterns and observations. Pupils use brushes, crayons and pencils rather than the ubiquitous chubby chalks and brushes like broomsticks. The patterning, drawing and art work is always modelled by the teacher.

There is an emphasis on taking care. This concentration on beautifully-controlled patterning influences the handwriting. It bodes well for the children's future as writers - and their chances of becoming the next Gormley

Pie Corbett is a literacy consultant

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