Blog

P1 testing: from catastrophe to conspiracy?

As the P1 testing debacle rumbles on, John Swinney is stumbling head-first into another education fiasco – although perhaps even he is unaware of the harmful scenario he is presiding over. Last year, I observed a very able child complete the P1 reading test and I have to admit I was horrified; the test is […]

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World Book Day Reflective Reading Lesson Download!

As most of you will be busy planning exciting reading activities, extreme reading photo competitions, and dazzling fiction-related fancy dress costumes for World Book Day tomorrow, I thought I’d share a reading lesson to help alleviate the workload… This Reflective Reading lesson is all about World Book Day and analyses facts and opinions, ultimately asking […]

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TESS Article: Do I have to spell it out? Synthetic phonics works

The following article appears in this week’s copy of TES Scotland (8th December)   Do I have to spell it out? Synthetic phonics works Last month I gave evidence at the Scottish Parliament on my petition to improve literacy standards in schools through research-informed reading instruction. It calls for national guidance, support, and professional learning […]

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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; […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

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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. […]

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