A former teacher, special needs teacher and headteacher, Debbie has campaigned extensively over many years to achieve national, research-informed, systematic synthetic phonics teaching in primary schools. As a representative of the UK Reading Reform Foundation (former editor of the RRF newsletter, founder of the RRF website and Committee Member), she advised the British Government for the parliamentary inquiry ‘Teaching Children to Read’ (March 2005) and she helped to inform Sir Jim Rose’s ‘Independent review of the teaching of early reading’ (Final Report, Jim Rose, March 2006).
In 2012, Debbie was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Years Honours List for services to education.
Debbie is known to be a controversial and inspirational speaker and has spoken alongside Sir Jim Rose at literacy conferences.
She currently provides phonics consultancy services internationally including training in schools and universities. Debbie has written many challenging and informative articles for educational magazines and parents’ magazines, and for many years she has provided highly practical advice for parents, teachers, teacher-trainers, politicians, publishers, manufacturers and television programme producers.
Debbie is currently a member of the Developmental Disorders of Language and Literacy (DDOLL) Network Group and a founding member of the International Foundation for Effective Reading Instruction (IFERI) as she strongly recognizes the value of international connections and the need for further campaigning to raise awareness of the ‘disastrous disconnect’ between research findings and actual teaching and provision for learners. Various researchers, politicians and governments have already played their part to formally and legally embed and promote research-informed teaching practices – but much more is required to guarantee high-quality, evidence-informed teacher-training and continuing professional development, and to promote delivery of effective literacy instruction for every child in every classroom – regardless of any learning difficulties or challenges arising from learning English as an additional language.
Debbie is the author/consultant of FOUR ‘systematic synthetic phonics’ (SSP) programmes validated by the Department for Education (DfE) in England:
1. Floppy’s Phonics (published by Oxford University Press) – designed for infants as hard copy resources and digital, interactive content which can be made accessible in the home by the purchasing school
2. FREE Phonics International programme (published by Phonics International Ltd – designed for all ages and provided online as printable/projectable resources in the school and at home)
3. No Nonsense Phonics (published by Phonics International Ltd as a hard-copy programme originally as the ‘No Nonsense Phonics Skills’ series)
4. Wand Phonics (published by Wand Education – digital, interactive programme purchased by annual licence – a complementary resource to use with either Phonics International and/or No Nonsense Phonics when used in schools – the Wand Phonics digital content can be made accessible in the home by the school)
Phonics International, No Nonsense Phonics and Wand Phonics can be used in complementary ways. Some schools use Floppy’s Phonics or No Nonsense Phonics in the infants and then continue with Phonics International for their older learners.
Phonics International Ltd provides further outstanding free resources used internationally:
• FREE early years (nursery and pre-kindergarten) phonics content provided online as printable/projectable resources – ‘Teeny Reading Seeds’ resources and ‘Phonics and Talk Time’ books
• A wide range of FREE overview Alphabetic Code Charts for different users and uses
• FREE alphabet and handwriting material including an approach to teach fully joined handwriting rapidly – includes video guidance
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