Blog

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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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 […]

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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 […]

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My Verdict: Education Scotland’s ‘Early Reading Briefing’

Well, it has been just over a year since I started writing angry letters to the Scottish Government and campaigning about the need for proper phonics teaching in the classroom and in teacher training in Scotland. So today gave me cause for a little, tiny celebration, when Education Scotland published some new guidance on the […]

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