A constant problem for both primary and secondary school staff has been the number of pupils unable to reach a satisfactory standard in reading before leaving junior school for the start of their secondary education.
The knock on effect means that a significant number of students, leaving to take up placement in the workforce, transfer this low standard and are unable to work effectively. A study carried out by the Programme for International Student Assessment in 2009 showed that after seven years of primary education, one in six 11 year olds still struggles to read. The 2011 tests for children leaving primary school also reveal that one in 10 boys aged 11 read no better than a seven year old.
In recent years evidence has suggested that teaching reading by use of phonics has been much more successful in allowing pupils to reach the level of reading demanded for their key stage year. To this effect the government has promised a funding match for primary schools buying materials for the teaching of phonics to the value of £3000.
Phonics aims to teach the letter sounds and then builds up to blending these sounds together to achieve full pronunciation of whole words. Convinced that the synthetic phonics system of teaching children to read is the way in which greater numbers could attain higher standards, Debbie Hepplewhite put her broad primary teaching and teacher-training experience to very good use when designing the Phonics International programme.
Debbie told Flying Start that Phonics International (PI) is a highly-organised, systematic and yet flexible synthetic phonics programme (program) especially designed for all ages and needs and suitable for anyone who wants to learn to read and spell – perfect for schools, tutoring and homeschooling and that teachers, teaching assistants, tutors, learners and learners’ parents will all find the resources very supportive and effective. Student-teachers and teacher-trainers will also find great benefit from using the Phonics International programme for training purposes.
Phonics International is not just for primary school staff and pupils however. There appears to have been a belief that secondary school teachers would not be required to teach reading per se as this was the primary school’s responsibility. In recent times this myth has been dispelled and secondary education plays a large part in remedial work in many subjects. However, relatively few secondary schools may be using systematic synthetic phonics teaching as part of their teaching of reading.
This is borne out by the 2011 Ofsted Report Removing Barriers to Literacy which states,
‘Inspectors saw few instances of systematic phonics teaching in the secondary schools, colleges and other providers of adult education and training, despite the fact that for learners without a grasp of the link between sounds and letters, this knowledge is necessary to develop their literacy’
Debbie has designed Phonics International to be just as easy to use in secondary education and has had glowing feedback on it’s success (http://www.phonicsinternational.com/Secondary_Phonics_write_up.pdf ). With the backing for the phonics system in primary schools, more and more secondary schools will be encouraged to take up the system in their remedial work and Debbie’s passion will be acknowledged to an even higher level than it has been so far. Debbie’s expertise and her impressive Phonics International body of work has seen her invited to be the phonics consultant for the ‘Oxford Reading Tree Floppy’s Phonics Sounds and Letters programme’ (Oxford University Press). Both phonics programmes and the training provision have been recognised by the British government as fulfilling the official ‘Core Criteria’ for ‘Systematic Synthetic Phonics’. They are therefore listed in the national ESPO catalogue (government match funding for schools in England only).
In 2012, Debbie was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List for services to education.
Debbie has recently launched a new course for the teaching of handwriting which can be seen online at http://www.debbiehepplewhitehandwriting.com/
You can contact Debbie at
Phonics International Limited By phone on 01635 800033
Floreat Gardens By email on email@example.com
Berkshire Skype – debbiehepp
Or through the Phonics International web site click here