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For thirty-nine years, I've been teaching people to read and write, and to learn foreign languages. I was one of the worst rookie teachers in history, but by the end of my second year, I found I was able to think through what was preventing people from learning, and was finding ways of helping them to adjust their thinking so that they could succeed. The approach has enabled a significant number of people to put misery behind them and begin to achieve their goals in life, be they going to university, improving their job prospects, or simply being able to do their school work properly.

I am not going to get this experience again, so the approach is freely available on this weblog, in my books and in person, without charge to parents or individual adults and teachers. I am very pleased to have correspondence via email.

I'm pleased to say that this weblog has now received over 40,000 visits. Many thanks for your interest, and to Joe Dale who gave me the idea of starting it. If you think a topic needs more coverage, please get in touch. This site is at your service. If you or your child need help with a literacy problem, please let me know and I'll do my best to help.

Training and Consultancy. I have over 30 years' experience as a trainer, for organisations that include The Learning Trust, Policy Exchange, Essex Education Department, Comenius South-East, the French Embassy (London), the education departments of Strasbourg, Cambridge, Leeds and London Universities, the Department for Education (Teaching Assistants), Penzer Allen and Lighthouse. I have worked with all types of school, public and private, and can design training to meet your needs at competitive rates. Some schools defray costs by selling tickets to neighbours - one school that did this got its own training free and made enough profit to buy a laminator.

Here are some comments from course members and parents:

I have tried out a couple of your ideas so far this week and it was amazing the difference that bit of time (to review work before handing it in) made to what I then received. I have also stopped writing things on the board for them to copy, rather looking at words in French - or discussing English words with a very bright Y6 RE class before them writing the things down. Already the standard of their writing has gone up! Fantastic! Rebecca Kennedy

Above and beyond what I expected. I feel I now have the knowledge to teach my groups at school in a way that will benefit each individual... Lots of useful tips and strategies... specific to my role as a TA. Teaching assistants, University of London Institute of Education, July 09.

You gave us the confidence to move forward and we are so pleased we are now following this positive path. Thanks for your help. Parent, Kent, Feb 2911

Policy Exchange is a thinktank that is mounting a successful challenge to the far left's dominance of political thought. I have co-authored a report for it, on combating extremism in schools, and recommend its website for its insights into security issues as well as for innovative and sometimes uncomfortable work on a wide range of topics. Policy Exchange events are regularly posted on Youtube.

A Book of My Own is a charity that makes grants in the form of book tokens to enable children in care, and others who may have limited access to books, to visit bookshops and choose their own books. It currently operates in co-operation with the care services of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough local authorities, who allocate the grants via their support services for children in care, so that children have guidance and encouragement in choosing books. Enquiries from other care authorities and foster carers are most welcome.

Finally, noise pollution is a major concern of mine, and in particular the activities of Camgrain, a mega-company that is concentrating noise pollution from grain drying for much of the South of England into a small area, and bullying anyone who stands up to them. A separate weblog on this topic is here. Fans are a more general problem a curse of the Elfnsafety generation that set them up in every restaurant to no good purpose.

I enjoy working with teachers and assistants on training courses - this year, I have offered courses for the London Institute of Education (Using phonics to tackle literacy problems, and Using ICT to teach languages), Lighthouse (courses for assistants and for Manchester Catholic teachers), BETT and the Education Show (sentence-building and brain activity). I can tailor courses to your school's needs, at economic costs - sell places to neighbouring schools, and you may get your own training at a reduced cost or even free. (If you make a profit, it's yours.) I work with state and private sectors, and am leading on primary languages for The Learning Trust (Hackney).

I sometimes help primary and secondary schools appoint staff - this year, I've helped an academy appoint a very successful head of department, and a primary school a languages co-ordinator. My experience also includes appointing a specialist writer for the Science Museum and reviews of school and subject management. If you need independent advice, get in touch.

I've written two books, The Literacy File and Using Phonics to Teach Reading and Writing. I've also written a study on providing books for children who are in care. Click on My Books on the home page for details.


I'm learning the piano with the brilliant Patrick Hemmerle, first prize winner at Paris Conservatoire and a patient man. I enjoy art, literature and history. I've founded a modest charity to provide books for children looked after by local authorities.