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Frequently Asked Questions about Penpals for Handwriting


If you have any questions about how Penpals for Handwriting works as a scheme, please feel free to browse through this list of frequently asked questions. If your query has not been answered below please do get in touch with us via your local sales representative who will be able to address any specific questions you have.

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  • 1. My school already has pen pals what's different in the new edition?

    The teaching philosophy and structure are unchanged, but we’ve updated the scheme to fully comply with all statutory requirements and non-statutory guidelines for National Curriculum ’14. In addition, based on feedback from customers, we’ve extended Practice books to cover Years 1-6 (previously 1-4), and added disposable write-in Workbooks for Foundation 2 to Year 6. Year 5 and 6 content is now separated and we’ve added more support for GPS teaching (via the Workbooks).

  • 10. Can Penpals be installed using an MSI?

    Yes, an MSI is included on every Penpals DVD-ROM.

  • 11. I have lost a Penpals disc, what should I do?

    Please call our Customer Services team at educs@cambridge.org and they will be happy to supply this to you for £25.

  • 12. Who can I talk to for help?

    If you have a technical query which our FAQs haven’t answered, please email us at ptsupport@cambridge.org for advice. To help us assist you, please include the product ISBNs in your query.

  • 13. What is the minimum technical specification for Penpals?

    Windows 7, 8, 10. Apple OS X 10.8, 10.9, 10.10

  • 14. How can I install Penpals Interactive on my RM CC4 network?

    Note: These instructions assume you are installing Penpals Interactive Foundation 1 - the same model will work for other Penpals Interactive DVD-ROMs:

    1.Create a folder in the P drive (RMPublic) for the installation e.g P:\Penpals\Penpals Foundation 1...

    2. Copy the MSI folder from the DVD-ROM to the P:\Penpals folder created above...

    3. Import the package into the RM management console, selecting the Community Connect 3 Package option and then select browse...

    4. Navigate to the P:\Penpals\Penpals Foundation 1\MSI\ folder and select the file Penpals Foundation 1.ini...

    5.Once imported assign the package to the required stations and add the shortcuts to the appropriate user program sets

  • 2. Do the DVD ROMs still come with a perpetual site licence?

    Yes, the licence still covers the whole school.

  • 3. Can we get the digital content online?

    At the moment the digital content is only available on the DVD ROMs but we are exploring how we can make it available online as well.

  • 4. I’m new to Penpals, can you explain the scheme to me?

    Penpals is the UK’s only handwriting scheme which covers Foundation 1 to Year 6 (ages 3 – 11) and comprises: DVD ROMs for whole-class teaching, including warm-up exercises for fine and gross motor skill development. Teachers Books to provide clear unit-by-unit guidance on how to teach the scheme, ensuring consistency across the school. Pupil Practice Books for use in small groups once the learning outcomes have been modelled. Practice Books support independent study, allowing children to build confidence in pattern and letter formation, and later joins. Write-in Workbooks – two colour disposable Workbooks are ideal for practise at home and provide additional GPS support.

  • 5. Do we have to purchase the whole scheme?

    We recommend that schools adopt a handwriting policy across the board to give children consistency of approach, however, you can buy individual elements should you wish.

  • 6. Will Penpals work on Apple Macs?

    Yes, the Penpals Second Edition DVD ROMs will work on Apple OS X 10.8, 10.9 and 10.10. The old edition DVD ROMs aren’t Mac compatible.

  • 7. Is Penpals fully cursive?

    No, Penpals is not a fully cursive scheme, we do not use entry strokes and, in line the updated National Curriculum recommendations, we incorporate break letters.

  • 8. I have installed the Penpals Font CD but I cannot get it to join as I type.

    The ligatures for the Joined and the Joined Line versions of the font will only work with Microsoft® Office® 2010 and 2011, on Windows® and Mac® respectively. To enable the joined versions of the Penpals font to join together in Word make sure that ‘Use Contextual Alternates’ is enabled in the OpenType features section. Within Word:

    1. Right click on the page and select ‘Font’ (or Ctrl +D).

    2. Click the ‘Advanced’ tab.

    3. Check ‘Use Contextual Alternatives’.

    4. Click ‘Ok’. Note: ‘Use Contextual Alternatives’ will not be available for earlier versions of Word doc, such as Word 97-2003. If you are working with such a document in Word® 2010, save a new version of the document (Save as > Save as type: Word document (*.docx).) Stylistic sets can also be chosen from the Font menu. Stylistic sets allow you to choose alternative font styles such as the two-stroke ‘k’, a ‘t’ which joins from the cross-bar, and capital ‘I’ and ‘J’ without serifs: Set 1 (Alternative k); Set 2 (Cross-bar t); Set 3 (Mixed t joins); and Set 4 (I J without serifs). Refer to the User Guide for more information on joins and stylistic sets.

  • 9. Do I need to buy any additional licences to use Penpals for Handwriting?

    No. Every disc includes a perpetual site and network licence for your school.