Children across the UK and Ireland are being encouraged to get writing as part of the very first Handwriting Olympiad, with over £14,000 worth of prizes available for participating schools.

In recognition of vital role handwriting plays in children’s literacy, world leading stationery brand BIC has launched its inaugural Handwriting Olympiad inn partnership with Start-Bee, a programme which aims to help children to write effortlessly and enjoyably.

Primary schools may enter the competition by asking their pupils to complete the sentence, “I love being able to write because…”

Hosted on the Teachers’ Corner section of the recently developed BIC® Kids website, children across the UK and Ireland have the chance to win an array of prizes for more than 20 primary schools, including expert handwriting support for fellow pupils and teachers and writing tools worth over £14,000.

Mishka Smith, Stationery Trade Marketing Manager at BIC UK, said: “The ability to creatively express one’s thoughts and feelings by putting pen to paper is perhaps the most important stage in a child’s development, and we can’t wait to see pupils’ interpretations of why writing is so important to them.”

Making handwriting easier

Melanie Harwood, Founder of the handwriting method Start-Bee’s, said: “Start-Bee is excited to be part of BIC’s campaign to inspire children to love handwriting. Right now, one in three children in the UK is struggling to write properly – an alarming statistic when you consider that handwriting, not typing, is a skill that is fundamental to unlocking a child’s potential in life.”

Harwood devised the Start-Bee method after her then four-year-old daughter, Hannah-Jane, was refused entry into her chosen primary school because she was unable to write her own name. Harwood developed her own writing method in response, and soon her daughter’s handwriting skills had overtaken those of her peers.

Start-Bees now aims to help all children who struggle with handwriting, and the company is currently seeking crowd-funding support at www.indiegogo.com.

Harwood adds: “Alongside reading and maths, writing is one of the three key skills everyone needs to master if they are to cope in the adult world.

“Not only does the ability to write legibly make the school curriculum accessible to a child, it also unlocks a career path and the potential for people to choose their own futures. Nobody should be written off and Start-Bee is on a mission to change all that, which is why we are delighted to be involved in the BIC Handwriting Olympiad.”

The BIC Handwriting Olympiad closes on 31st July. The first 20 schools to enter will receive a BIC® Kids Gift Box and winners are due to be announced on 31st August 2015. For more information, please visit http://teachers.bickids.com/uk.