Blog

Preparing for Battle: This is my Fight Song

Next week (Thursday 9th November) I will be giving evidence at a hearing in the Scottish Parliament on the petition that I submitted over the summer. Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to i) provide national guidance, support, and professional learning for teachers in research-informed reading instruction, specifically systematic synthetic phonics; […]

Read More

A Journey to the Dark Side: from Phonics Phobic to Phonics Fanatic

A Journey to the Dark Side: from Phonics Phobic to Phonics Fanatic I am delighted to have a feature article published in the summer edition of the NATE Primary Matters magazine. It's quite a personal one, but it will hopefully provide some background for those who think I've always been a phonics fanatic… Indeed, it's […]

Read More

The Library That Blew My Mind

During the Easter break, as part of my other day job, I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. I had a fantastic two days at the fair, met lots of wonderful people, saw loads of fantastic children’s books, and ate the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted. I […]

Read More

The Winner Takes It All

As 2016 drew to a close, Strictly Come Dancing, X Factor and The Apprentice all crowned new champions, as the losers clapped to hide their misery in the side-lines. In PISA, the biggest education tournament of them all, Scotland recorded its ‘worst scores ever’ in reading, maths and science. The news seemed to shock many, […]

Read More

Why Upstart is a Nonstarter

Upstart Scotland is actively campaigning to introduce a Nordic-style kindergarten system between the ages of three and seven, with learning being undertaken through ‘creative play’ rather than ‘formal’ learning. As a campaign that sits outwith Scottish education, I was shocked to see very full and positive coverage in the current issue of Teaching Scotland magazine. […]

Read More

TESS article: When it comes to literacy, let’s start at page 1

Today Nicola Sturgeon officially launched the 'First Minister's Reading Challenge'. Here is an article that I wrote for TESS about the challenge. It was published in TESS on 1st April 2016. TESS article: When it comes to literacy, let's start at page 1 First Minister Nicola Sturgeon recently launched a competition aimed at nurturing a lifelong love […]

Read More

Education Scotland and the Mystery of the Shifty Document Swap

KIA Briefing 2: Early Reading Back in February, Education Scotland published this: A Knowledge Into Action resource for practitioners and education staff Briefing 2: Early Reading. I blogged about the document and how it was a small step in the right direction. And although the document was flawed in places, the importance of phonics in […]

Read More