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What's happening in universities re. SP training?

Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 4:09 pm
by Susan Godsland
What happens in universities re. training teachers to teach reading using synthetic phonics is vitally important and should be very much in the spotlight now.
New. UK. UCET advice on systematic synthetic phonics and ITT. 2011.

I've set up this thread in the hope that RRF'ers will highlight good practice and bad from university ITE depts. all around the UK.

Please provide any examples you can find of book lists for the next academic year, website resources, descriptions of teacher training for reading....anything that would give a prospective student teacher, or an interested member of the tax-paying public, a reasonable idea whether a particular institution is going to provide students with a good (or bad) training for teaching reading through systematic synthetic phonics when they take up their first teaching post.

Re: What's happening in universities re. SP training?

Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:24 pm
by Debbie Hepplewhite ... oid=506164

The University of Cumbria is a good example of setting the bar high.

We were all blown away by Ruth Harrison-Palmer's talk at the 2011 RRF conference. What a pity that we were not allowed to film it as it would have done a great deal of good I'm sure.

One thing that may indicate a university's commitment to providing high quality SSP training is how easy it is, or impossible it is, to find out any information on the university's website regarding the approach taken towards training student-teachers in SSP.

I have provided a link above to illustrate that it is very easy to find information about SSP and the issues surrounding the field via the University of Cumbria website.

What does an exploration of other university websites reveal?

Re: What's happening in universities re. SP training?

Posted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 10:46 am
by Susan Godsland
Again and again I go onto university websites and can get no information about the nitty-gritty of their courses unless I'm a signed-up student or member of staff.

I think it's really bad that ordinary British taxpayers do not have free and easy access to basic and non-commercial information on university websites - Tom Burkard had to use FOI to get booklists from the ITTs and even then some ignored the request. What have they got to hide? ... c-research
Under the scheme, research papers that describe work paid for by the British taxpayer will be free online for universities, companies and individuals to use for any purpose, wherever they are in the world.

Re: What's happening in universities re. SP training?

Posted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:54 am
by Susan Godsland
Two stars for Exeter university for providing some basic info - for academic year 2012-13
PGCE Secondary English
and you can download a copy of the Rose Report -but this is for Secondary English :???:
Secondary English students also have to do a PRELIMINARY EXPERIENCE ASSIGNMENT: HOW CHILDREN ARE TAUGHT TO READ ... se2012-13/ ... Report.pdf
Pre-reading for Primary PGCE
 Fisher, R. and Williams, M. (Eds.) (2006) Unlocking Literacy (2nd Edition), London: David Fulton.
 Gamble, N. and Yates, S. (2008) Exploring Children’s Literature (2nd Edition)London: Paul Chapman Publishing.
 Goodwin, P. (2005) The Literate Classroom, (2nd Edition) London: David Fulton.
 Grainger, T. (2004) (Ed.) The RoutledgeFalmer Reader in Language and Literacy. London: RoutledgeFalmer.
 Riley, J. (2006) Language and Literacy 3-7: Creative Approaches to Teaching. London: Sage.
 Medwell, J., Moore, G., Wray, D. and Griffiths, V. (2011), Primary English Knowledge and Understanding (5th Edition). Exeter: Learning Matters.

Evans, J. (2004) Literacy Moves On: Popular Culture, new technologies and critical literacy in the primary classroom. London: David Fulton.
Grainger, T. (2003) (Ed.) The RoutledgeFalmer Reader in Language and Literacy. London: Routledge/Falmer.
Gregory, E., Long, S. & Volk, D. (2004) Many Pathways to Literacy: Young children learning with siblings, grandparents, peers and communities. London: Routledge/Falmer.
Larson, J. & Marsh, J. (2005) Making Literacy Real: theories and practices for learning and teaching London: Sage.
Pahl, K. & Rowsell J. (2005) Literacy and Education: Understanding the new literacy studies in the classroom. London: Paul Chapman Publishing.
Wyse, D. and Jones, R. (2007), Teaching English, Language and Literacy: Second Edition. London: RoutledgeFalmer.

You may also want to look at the following websites: ... um/primary ... ode/255003
I've found something on 'phonics'
In literacy focus on the following:
• Read the recommendations of the Rose Review at : ... Review.pdf and Ofsted’s commentary on these at: ... of-phonics
• Identify the amount of time spent on teaching phonics in the class. Describe what teaching and learning strategies are being used. Discuss how these activities relate to children’s progress in reading with your teacher.
• Write a description of how books and other reading and writing materials are presented in the classroom.
• Describe the different opportunities children are given for speaking and listening within the classroom.
• Observe the emphasis given to different aspects of literacy teaching: word level, sentence level and text level work.

Re: What's happening in universities re. SP training?

Posted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:32 pm
by Debbie Hepplewhite

I followed one of the links that Susan flagged up above and it lead to this paper by Colin Harrison.

This was an interesting 'coincidence' as Colin Harrison's name cropped up with reference to a book that volunteer flagged up only a couple of days ago.

I read through the article above which is dated 1998 - and surely it is SO out of date that it has limited usefulness.

Harrison states from the outset that he writes it from his own perspective, but I wonder to what use such an article is put within the student-teachers' course when it is missing developments in reading instruction and events in the UK over the past 14 years!

Of course I am doing all this additional reading in great haste as I have other things I am compelled to do with my time, so I may not have understood the context well enough - in fact I do not understand the context at all.

But how very misleading articles which are outdated could be to student-teachers. That is the basis of my comment.

Re: What's happening in universities re. SP training?

Posted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:44 pm
by Debbie Hepplewhite
It will be very interesting to discover which, if any, universities link to the Reading Reform Foundation!

Re: What's happening in universities re. SP training?

Posted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:04 pm
by Susan Godsland
Winchester University:

PGCE FT pre-programme handbook 2012-13.
English Key Texts:
Cremin, T. (2009) Teaching English Creatively, London: Routledge
Wyse, D & Jones. (2007, 2nd edition) Teaching English, Language and Literacy London: Routledge Falmer
Other useful:
Medwell, J., Moore, G., Wray, D. and Griffiths, V. (2011) Primary English: Knowledge and Understanding (6th Edition). Exeter: Learning Matters.
Rose, A. (2007) Collins Grammar Rules Collins Educational

Observing the Teaching of Early Reading
The teaching of early reading is, rightly, high on the government’s agenda as a focus for both initial teacher training and in school. By the end of your training you will be expected to show explicit understanding of various aspects of the teaching of reading and will have been observed teaching phonics. We introduce students to all facets of the reading process for children, but there is much to know, and your training is short, so you will be well-served by engaging with the following tasks before you start your programme.:
1) Try and observe at least one phonics teaching session in either YR or Y1.
2) If you are in KS 1, talk to a teacher about the phonics programme that they use in school and how they organise the teaching of phonics
3) If you are in KS 2, talk to a teacher about how they teach spelling and how they support children who are still ‘early readers’.
4) Observe how teachers teach children to read for meaning (comprehension) and with enjoyment

Re: What's happening in universities re. SP training?

Posted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:08 pm
by Susan Godsland
Canterbury Christ Church University

Detailed info. about faculty of education courses is behind a password wall, but it does have a page of 'Phonics' resources:
Communication, Language and Literacy Development: audit tool to support improvements in learning and teaching of Communication, Language and Literacy
This document has been developed to align with the findings of the Independent review of the teaching of early reading (the Rose Report) and reflects the principles of effective learning and teaching. Document Download - Communication, Language and Literacy Development: audit tool to support improvements in learning and teaching of Communication, Language and Literacy

Best Practice in the Teaching of Early Reading
The Rose Review of Best Practice in the Teaching of Early Reading took place in 2006. Here is UKLA's submission to this review. Document Download - Best Practice in the Teaching of Early Reading

A Personal Response to the Rose Review
Kathy Goouch, Thursday, 04 May 2006 Document Download - A Personal Response to the Rose Review
Teaching of Phonics

A paper by HMI ~ Phonics teaching has increased significantly since the implementation of the National Literacy Strategy. The debate is no longer about whether phonic knowledge and skills should be taught, but how best to teach them. Document Download - Teaching of Phonics

Media Files
Early Years in Action - Literacy Skills - Phonics
This programme focuses on the techniques used by Newington Green Primary School to deliver phonics in the foundation stage. Media File Download - Early Years in Action - Literacy Skills - Phonics

Online Resources & Support
Ruth Kelly Press Report
Education Secretary Ruth Kelly today welcomed the final report of the Rose Review of the Teaching of Early Reading, which sets out clearly how children should be taught to read. ~ 20th March 2006 External Link - Ruth Kelly Press Report

United Kingdom Literacy Association
Formerly the United Kingdom Reading Association (UKRA), UKLA is a registered charity, which has as its sole object the advancement of education in literacy. External Link - United Kingdom Literacy Association

The Guardian Unlimited
The government has backed a report that recommends a bigger role for synthetic phonics in teaching children to read in primary schools. Jessica Aldred explains what phonics is and how it can help. ~ 20th March 2006 External Link - The Guardian Unlimited

GHOUKNOX is fun! :shock:
The independent review of Early Reading by Jim Rose. External Link - GHOUKNOX is fun!

Phonics - the debate
A selection of links on the topic of Phonics in Primary education. External Link - Phonics - the debate

Phonics - the Government approach
A selection of links from the summer of 2000 to the Rose report charting the Governments approach to phonics.

Re: What's happening in universities re. SP training?

Posted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:19 pm
by Debbie Hepplewhite
Can't see any references to the UK RRF - although the UKLA seems to be recommended routinely. :???:

I attended a recent UCET conference where the message was clear about universities getting on board with SSP teacher-training.

I met some very keen and pleasant tutors - some of whom have since been in touch with me with regard to using the Alphabetic Code Chart that I designed specifically for student-teachers in their literature for students. This is a direct consequence of Ruth Harrison-Palmer, one of the keynote speakers, showing tutors the literature designed for the students' reading course which has an alphabetic code chart in the back. :smile:

I 've subsequently been invited to provide a keynote speech to introduce an Early Years/Phonics conference in one university and to provide a workshop at the next UCET conference.

Plus, I have been invited to inform the UCET of any useful free resources, information or links which might be useful for student-teachers and universities which will then be circulated to all the universities. I've sent links, for example, to Susan's site . I wonder if this will appear on any of the universities' websites? Or do they tend to promote only 'establishment' names and bodies?

I am getting the impression that there are university personnel, such as Ruth Harrison-Palmer at the University of Cumbria and her colleagues, who are exceptionally pro-active to hone their own SSP knowledge and skills to impart them to student-teachers - and they are working hard to liaise with local schools to provide good training.

On the other hand, there may well be university personnel who are still rooted in the WL and mixed methods 'understanding' and who are exceedingly unhappy at Government and Ofsted emphasis (pressure) on the need for SSP training for student-teachers. Certainly if such personnel don't actually understand enough about modern SSP and its effectiveness first hand, and don't believe in the specific promotion of SSP or the research base, then they will not be so pro-active at providing the best spread of information and training possible - or will be working to subvert the message by the selected texts for students.

Like any other field, there will be a great variety of provision and responses. I think it is important to see which universities are transparent and working hard to update their provision (and we know there are examples of this state of affairs) - and which universities are looking like, in reality, they might remain entrenched in WL ideas and establishment practices and only pay lipservice to SSP provision.

UCET = Universities' Council for the Education of Teachers

Re: What's happening in universities re. SP training?

Posted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:47 pm
by Debbie Hepplewhite ... review.pdf

So, what would a student-teacher new to the field make of this review provided prominently on a university website?

It is easy to read and well-reasoned to all intents and purposes - but, yet again, it presupposes that SSP means children are not steeped in a rich literature culture and not enthused to read by all those wonderful activities that adults share with little children (read the concluding paragraph).

In the review, it is pointed out that the work taking place in the Early Years' domain was focused on individual and small group experiences and not whole class teaching (associated with early SP provision). But, why do people consider that the only experiences of any quality and appropriate to little children are individual and small group experiences? This is simply not what I, and others, have found in our Early Years experience! On the contrary, I have found little children love collective practices - for some of the time!

Why do people continuously fail to hear us when we tell them that we do not deprive children of a language and literature-rich environment - indeed this was said within the Rose Report itself! :roll:

Re: What's happening in universities re. SP training?

Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 3:15 pm
by Elizabeth
The University of Cumbria links about teaching reading are impressive!

I met two students at the “Reading for Pleasure” conference who were like a breath of fresh air, because they spoke intelligently and knowledgeably about the relationship between learning to read with synthetic phonics and reading for pleasure. Most delegates at that conference did not understand. These students told me that they were taught by Lesley Clarke at Brunel University. It was clear that she inspired them. However, when I looked at Brunel University website, I couldn’t find anything relevant.

Re: What's happening in universities re. SP training?

Posted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 2:36 pm
by Susan Godsland
Oxford Brookes Primary Education module: English, Communication and Languages (Terms 1, 2 and 3) reading list

Hmmm.. a questionable set of texts in this list, until you get to its tail ;-) ... D448100CAA

Re: What's happening in universities re. SP training?

Posted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 6:01 pm
by Elizabeth
Wow, Susan! I like the tail end of that list of texts from Oxford Brookes Primary Education. "Teaching Synthetic Phonics" by Rhona Johnston and Joyce Watson is there too, earlier on.

Re: What's happening in universities re. SP training?

Posted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 6:35 pm
by Susan Godsland
I think we can have some idea about what will be happening about teacher training for the teaching of reading at Liverpool Hope University as a result of this appointment: ... en-reading

Thank you John Bald for the link: ... w-low.html

Re: What's happening in universities re. SP training?

Posted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:46 pm
by Elizabeth
There is some debate about whether we should get rid of university education for teacher training altogether, because some of it is so bad, and Liverpool University looks as though it could get even worse, with this appointment.

It's a bit like local authorities. In principle I am strongly in favour. In practice, most of them have not been promoting the best for children’s education.

I enjoyed my three years of teacher training in Edinburgh a long, long time ago. For pedagogy, it was not good and skewed my thinking for decades – it was all about the Plowden Report and discovery learning. I was young and impressionable and not as good at thinking for myself as some RRF members. However, I also studied psychology, history of education, English literature, maths and art at adult level, and wrote essays that helped me learn to express myself better.

I hope the examples of good and improving practice at universities, as described in some of these messages, become more common. I wouldn’t want concerns about the quality of teacher training courses to result in only school-based training. I wouldn't want teachers to miss out on the skills and knowledge that can be gained by university-level education. Also, non-university teacher training would probably lower the status of teachers.