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Pen License

What is a pen license?

A pen license gives the owner permission to use a pen instead of a pencil when undertaking writing tasks in class.

When is a child awarded a pen license?

A pen license is a non-compulsory recognition of achievement, given at the teacher's discretion, when they assess the child's handwriting to be of a certain standard. Children generally transition from using pencil to pen at the end of KS1, or the beginning of KS2.

Factors influencing the decision of when to award a pen license may include:

  • holding the pencil correctly
  • writing on a line
  • the correct size of letters
  • the correction formation of letters
  • the correct joining of letters
  • legibility

Teachers are likely to assess this over a number of weeks, rather than in a one-off handwriting test.

Why handwriting is important

The National Curriculum states that children should have: fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy handwriting'.

Children who can write legibly and with some speed are better able to record their thoughts and ideas - the more automatic and effortless handwriting is, the better.

The disadvantages of pen licenses

Being awarded a pen license can be a proud moment for many children. However, those who struggle with presentation may become both demotivated and demoralised if they do not achieve their license at a similar time to the rest of their classmates. It should be made clear to them that, whilst presentation is important, the content of their writing is even more important.

You may find these FREE Letter Formation Worksheets and this FREE Ground, Grass and Sky Handwriting Guide useful.


FREE Pen License Certificate

FREE Letter Formation Worksheets

FREE Ground, Grass and Sky Handwriting Guide

LESSON PACK The Alphabet | Year 1 English