Feedback and reports

Click a section to reveal feedback in that category. If you have any questions or would like to book an SRS training course, please contact us.

2018

The last four days were very hard work, deeply affecting and fantastic: my simple evaluation! I believe this SRS training is absolutely necessary for those working with students with learning difficulties and receiving the training from the author was particularly helpful in being able to understand the method, practice and reasoning behind the whole. I do not know why I did not investigate this a long time ago. We now have a team to make a difference for our students.
AF, Teacher in a secondary special school, Hereford

This course was intensive, enlightening and thought provoking. SRS provides a strong structure for teaching reading and spelling –taught together, which makes sense. There is no random teaching. The system encourages us as teachers, that we can make a difference- and your own passion and commitment inspires. I sincerely hope that ‘management’ and money-holders will be convinced to free us to really teach (not simply paying lip service) and make a difference. Thank you so much.
AC

SRS teaches the skills and knowledge to teach reading and spelling within a structure. The activities are designed to take the overwhelming task of reading and turn it into something un- threatening, that the teacher and pupil can achieve collaboratively, with the teacher only withdrawing support when the learner can do it themselves. I have found the SRS training fascinating. As a former P1 teacher I can see how phonic programmes I have used have caused confusion with graphics and actions and developed bad habits that need to be untaught. Now teaching Additional Support I have realised the importance of word building activities to establish the skills and give prominence to spelling. I have particularly enjoyed the SRS 2 ideas concerning text and spelling. I feel much more confident planning lessons now.
C MacD, Training in Scotland

I now have a clear understanding of why SRS techniques are used. I know that letter names and sight words and guessing do not help children to read I found the examples and practical sessions very helpful. The videos were particularly supportive. The handbook, worksheets and disk are of a brilliant quality, precise and easy to follow. Thank you for re-inspiring me to teach reading and spelling again with renewed clarity and confidence.
JD

In the SRS programme, the teaching is organised from simple to complex, allowing the learner to build up information. The learners learn only the necessary information in the most logical fashion. Each lesson is built upon the previous lesson, and the reading and writing activities follow the same sequence. This allows the learner to concentrate on assimilating the information and creates a secure learning environment. The course was very informative and I really appreciate your passion for making this work for our children. I have a group of children in mind who would benefit from this programme and I think it highlighted to me the need to build strong relationships with parents as we do not have the teaching assistant hours to complete the follow up.
JB

• It teachers the knowledge of the code with sound to symbol correspondence
• Children understand the concept (words are made up of sounds, represented by symbols)
• It organises it from simple to complex, building up information.
• It only provides necessary information in a logical fashion.
• Focuses on the skills of segmenting, breaking down words into individual sounds for spelling, and blending individual sounds together for reading.
DL

The course was really good and really helped me change my thinking in regards to teaching spelling and reading. I have a pupil aged 8 with complex needs and I now have an idea of how to help him, as he is way behind where we would expect for P3.The resources will be invaluable to me within my daily practice and I look forward to working within the SRS implementation team at D&G.
HS

I enjoyed the course. You are very passionate about supporting the struggling reader and this was apparent throughout the course. It was very in depth but the activities are quite easy to follow on once they have been explained. I did find that once you understand the layout and why sounds are taught in the way that they are, it is easy to crack the code (hopefully just as easy to implement) and this is supported well with the worksheets as a follow up. I look forward to implementing it within the classroom and being able to support the struggling learners that cross my path as an ASL teacher.
JR

The four days of training were intense, tiring but extremely useful for my current ASLT role. I can now match individual learners to the various approaches used within the SRS programme. The course has extended my knowledge and understanding of teaching and reading and Fiona has given me the confidence to use SRS with learners and to explain how it works with to colleagues and parents. The training highlighted the complexity of our spelling system and has given me an accessible approach for both myself and colleagues, learners and parents. Many thanks for the knowledge I have acquired from the SRS training.
KC

I have begun working with pupils using SRS who have previously worked through spelling programmes. I have been able to see their understanding of spelling/reading improve and they feel more ownership over their own learning as they have better strategies. I found the training really valuable. I think SRS will be a valuable resource to implement with the children I am working with. I found the training days informative and having looked over the resources before I went I feel that the training is an essential part of understanding how to implement SRS correctly.
LC

As an intervention SRS is both logical and manageable. It covers the madness we call the English spelling system very well and approaches the learning in incremental steps. It can be used and adapted for a range of ages. It has the added bonus that there is a clear path to engaging parents or carers. Any intervention that raises the profile of an area of learning within a family can be seen to have greater impact.
LG

This course has been challenging but the fact that it will make teaching easier for me with children who are struggling is refreshing. I like the ease of the course materials within a busy teaching schedule, this will be very helpful.
SB

Thank you very much Fiona, I thoroughly enjoyed my SRS training and a week later my mind is still buzzing. Your passion and enthusiasm made learning so enjoyable –and really helped. SRS provides both the teacher and learner with a clear progression. It has a clear guidance which provides the building blocks from which the code will be built. The learning is well paced and gradually gets more challenging, requiring learners to continually build upon the skills they have learned previously. It has made me think carefully about how I teach literacy in my classroom from reading, to phonics, to spelling patterns, to displays! I’d like to try it out with a pupil first and then build up to using it in my whole class (P1). I now feel much more confident when readers come across a word about explaining why it has that sound e.g. all. Invested in more Dandelion Reader books and completed name activity with whole class already!
R McF

At the beginning of the training you read this statement: “A good reading programme must structure lessons in such a way that neither the teacher, nor the pupils are ever confused or confronted by something they can’t do. In other words, information must be introduced systematically so that it is easy to assimilate (learn).” – Diane McGuinness

This statement underpins the whole teaching philosophy of the SRS programme. Every activity within the programme has been carefully designed using what research from Cognitive Science tells us about how novices learn. Careful consideration has been given to ensure working memory is not overloaded and long-term learning is achieved. Nothing is taught that will confuse or have to be un-learned at a later stage and there are no gimmicks. Every activity has meaningful purpose and the programme as a whole is completely coherent. Learning is supported at every stage and the diagnostic nature means the learner is never left to struggle with uncertainty. I have never before seen a reading programme of this quality that empowers both the teacher to instruct effectively and the learner to master reading.

My practice has changed forever! It is only now that I have seen the COMPLETE alphabet code with the accompanying programme that I feel I know how to successfully teach learners who struggle to read. In my experience the strugglers complete other phonic programmes with significant barriers because much of the code has not been adequately revealed or mastered. I also believe that if the whole alphabet code is not revealed, rote learning is inadvertently encouraged. This programme ensures vital knowledge of the code is fixed into memory and strugglers are taught effective strategies to ensure success.
JC

This training has equipped me with a deeper knowledge and understanding of teaching reading and spelling. The logical structure of the four keys has helped to clarify the complex code for myself and set out a clear pathway for the learner. I have a far better grasp of what a learner needs to make progress and succeed in reading and spelling. I also feel better equipped to help a struggling reader. Teaching beginners is one thing, but being able to succinctly assess, support, and move on a catch-up learner is something entirely different. I feel this programme has broadened my skill set and I am excited to get started.
SH

I believe that SRS gives the teacher the keys to methodically teach the knowledge and skills required for a person of any age to learn to read and spell with confidence. It does this by applying the meticulous research of Diane McGuinness in a programme of logical steps. The programme takes the phoneme as the base unit, and unpicks how it ‘maps on’ to written English, going from simple to complex. It applies this logic unfailingly, and does not fall into the trap of other reading approaches which ‘give up’ when faced with complexity (giving rise to ‘rules with exceptions’, lists of ‘sight words’, etc). I believe that understanding this programme will enable teachers to teach the fundamental skills of literacy with complete confidence.
IK Educational Psychologist, Orkney

Excellent training. I particularly liked the film clips of real students working with their tutor. Excellent materials. Very thorough. I particularly liked the opportunity to practise the teaching method using role-play. Excellent homework tasks. Valuable end-of-course test.

2017

The SRS is very new to me and it is great to go on a training course where we learn something of value and importance for us as teachers and for our students as well. I look forward to using the SRS in my every day work because it is very organised and a very systematic approach.
JAZ, Israel

After DMcG quote: ‘This is the essence of the SRS programme itself; the more a teacher knows what to do and how to lead, the more a learner can feel confident about the process and succeed. This programme is the first ‘hishtalmut’ (‘When teachers do hishtalmut they become more rounded more complete in their profession’) as a teacher. It was very interesting and an important learning process. We acquired a lot of essential tools in order to help learners to acquire the English language (reading and spelling) almost without frustration!
KE, Israel

The course was brilliantly and passionately given, and I am someone who really responds to passion, and actually I think it’s an important aspect of being a teacher. So Fiona’s enthusiasm, passion and belief in what she was talking about really caught my attention, and encouraged me to then form my own opinions and draw my own conclusions. And those conclusions were simply that this is the way to teach literacy. In the time since coming back from the course I have had the chance to start using SRS with catch up learners, and I am seeing a difference in their confidence, and how they find they can do it! Whereas before they were being asked to do what they couldn’t, and were constantly being reminded of their lacking, rather than being put in a position where they found that they thrived.

I’m very keen to continue and develop the use of SRS in my own teaching, in the school I work in, and hope to promote SRS amongst the teaching community where I can. Thanks for the opportunity!
ND Steiner Teacher

This course has been extremely informative and it is refreshing to find a scheme that is so easy to use and incremental in nature. The course has given me the confidence to use the scheme with learners due to the attention to detail, such as scripts, error correction and testing, which were excellently explained by somebody who evidently has a deep knowledge but is still able to explain things clearly.
A.L Secondary Special School

I like the progression steps of the program and how the skills and how the learner’s knowledge is reinforced with each stage of the SRS programme. I think as a whole school teaching method, SRS is an excellent way empowering learners with a solid understanding of reading and spelling system within the school. Consistency to teaching and learning is achieved throughout the school as all teachers know the system and the progress made by every pupil, teaching can continue without any major disruption to learning.
NB Class teacher

2016

It was a joy to meet like-minded people on this course- all looking for something that would make a difference to the children we teach. The going was tough at times, especially as I had little knowledge to begin with.  I felt comfortable to ask all of the daft questions as my knowledge slowly improved.  Day 1 was a little like being thrown in the deep end, but it then began to make sense over the subsequent days….I always found discussing the homework very helpful.

I have truly learnt more in four days than in 15 years of teaching. The challenge is to implement. It made me realise I wasn’t alone in my concern about how to approach reading.  I believe the hard work has been well worthwhile. Thank you.
DB Class Teacher

The venue was delightful and the atmosphere relaxed. Fiona made every effort to ensure that the delegates felt welcomed. As we were a small group, we quickly established a nice working relationship which continued into the evening for food and ‘homework’ support. The course itself was excellent and should be compulsory for all teachers!  No one should be leaving college wondering how to teach reading and spelling.
LM Class Teacher

The last four days have been amazing.  I had been searching for a clearly structured reading programme that would ensure that I, as the teacher felt confident in my understanding and that the learner would have the support and learn the knowledge to really be able to read.  I am delighted that I have found everything I need as a teacher from the SRS programme.

Thanks to Fiona’s four day intensive training I now feel fully equipped to go out there and teach children to read – what an achievement that will be and surely a skill that all teachers should have in order to provide our children with a secure future.
JA Teacher

I am very glad that I will be able to support three pupils in my Class that desperately need this system. I am a total believer in the system and I will do my best to do it justice!
AG Steiner Teacher

This course was:

  • eye-opening in terms of the code and the ways of teaching,
  • every part of the code justified and explained,
  • lots of information given,
  • good to practice skills practically in groups,
  • very good materials provided,
  • well organised and structured.
    AW, Class Teacher, Secondary Special School

A really interesting training week.  It has given me lots of information and allowed me to understand something that was brand new to me. Being able to encode and decode effectively will improve my teaching and the learning of my students. Thank you.
HS Secondary Special School

2015

Many of us take reading for granted, but working in FE we see on a daily basis learners who can’t read or struggle with their reading.

I found the four days interesting. It showed that there can be improvement with a learner in a short space of time. It was difficult to think that some of what I have been teaching and what I have been taught was irrelevant in this system, and that I have to un-teach myself and the learner.

It is different to any reading system I have encountered with practice and willing participants, I think it is something that I will be confident to use. Interesting case studies and videos demonstrated the theory in a ‘real life’ way.

I would also encourage my learners to read more and place more emphasis on reading in my teaching / support as I now more fully understand the connection between reading and spelling.
Three teachers working in Further Education

The four day course was a real eye opener and it has given me a better understanding of how children actually learn to read. The materials are very clear and there was good progression over the four days. The home-work was relevant and helpful. I am myself, quite a slow learner and whilst I was able to understand and take in each of the day’s activities, it still feels quite daunting as to how I’m going to implement the programme with my students. However, I’m eager to get started! The support and encouragement from Fiona and the other course members was most valuable throughout the four days. Thank you.
AL, Tutor

These 4 days of training have been amazing. It is such an eye opener to think about how I was taught as a child and how we have been teaching our children for so long is almost ‘wrong’. Fiona has shown me an easier and more systematic way to teach the children and also involve the parents more in how this system works. It was also lovely to meet other people that felt so passionate about the children and how we NEED to teach them. Thank you so much for bringing SRS to me it will change how I teach forever.
HJ, Class Teacher

The training was inspirational. I have not come across any other method that teaches reading in such a logical way and has such quick results. I am looking forward to SRS being used in every Primary classroom as a standard teaching method.
RK, Teacher of LD children

It has been an empowering 4 days of enlightenment into a world of structure that will enable me to free learners from the confusion of trying to understand how our written English language works.  Instead I will have empowered independent learners! Thank you Fiona.
VG, Teacher of LD children

I was sceptical and came on the course because a colleague recommended it.  I have been on many different courses over the years to do with supporting dyslexic children and I still felt frustrated that even though I was using the strategies that I had been taught, children were still not reading. As the days on this course progressed and we worked through the program it all started to make sense and fall very, very quickly into place and force me to realise that my DA courses had actually left me in the dark. SRS seemed instinctively right.

I have been back in the classroom for a week and decided that only having 3 weeks left at school this year, and having half my class identified as having reading and spelling difficulties, that I would give them a concentrated burst of SRS.

I introduced /ee/ sound, again! And we have this week completed spell sorting, made a sound dictionary, made word puzzles of our name, chopped up words and had loads of fun.

The children have been able to discuss the words in sounds, identify the different spellings the more able have researched the more unusual spelling of this sound and found the word people. The less able children and the non- reader worked with different sounds from Key 2. When they asked to discuss what they had been doing they were able to explain confidently and read the words appropriately. I now have the structure of SRS to support my teaching. This course has been like a revelation and I can’t believe others cannot see or want to see how it leads to immediate success.
DW, Class teacher

The four days training have been exciting. To know that you can help a person learn to read and spell in a logical and systematic way is amazing. It has been good for me to do the homework and the exam as it keeps the knowledge learnt in training fresh and reinforces the teaching skills…

The teacher’s handbook is excellent and breaks down the lesson teaching in an easy to understand way. Also to have worksheets ready prepared to reinforce teaching is a bonus. Thank you Fiona. I can’t wait to start using SRS.
KS, Class teacher

An excellent training course led by an expert trainer. Good pace with varied activities, lots of practical work, and all illustrated by interesting and relevant (and inspiring!) examples from Fiona’s own teaching. It was particularly useful to have the homework in order to consolidate each day’s learning. Many thanks.
SC, Class teacher

This programme has helped me to understand the ways in which I can make reading and spelling easier for a child. I will be able to put these methods into action when working with children over the next year as a teaching assistant before I go on to complete my teacher training next year.
TJT, Classroom TA

My teaching will never be the same again! I came to this course as a teacher, frustrated mother and as a specialist teacher who has trained in dyslexia and assessing the needs of learners who have not cracked the code. I felt frustrated that after all my training I still did not have answers of how to actually help the learners. Most were frustrated, some despondent but ALL were bewildered. I left lessons feeling that I had not helped with their confusion. Some progressed. Some did not, but the amount of time taken and the input from myself and the energy from the learners was tremendous.

Teaching reading is my passion. Giving anyone the ability to decode an arbitrary code that in the best scenario can build a new world and transport them to a universe where anything is possible, creating dreams and experiences in between the pages are the riches gift that I know. I will now endeavour to share my new found SRS knowledge with parents and teachers and share ‘this gift’ so that everyone can benefit from the knowledge that I have gained.

Fiona is a true inspiration and whilst many courses have come and gone, I believe this will stay with me forever. I am truly grateful and indebted to Fiona and the work of Diane McGuiness.  I cannot wait to putting into practise all that I have learnt. Thank you!
JS Special Needs Teacher

I feel that the 4 days has given me a thorough insight into the SRS system and I am very impressed with the potential outcomes. I love the fact that model lessons have been included and the actual script is also incorporated as it offers greater reassurance that one is delivering the content as it was originally intended. It has been a most worthwhile piece of training and an incredible experience.
DJ, Class teacher

It has been really interesting to learn the code and the four keys. It will completely change the way I will teach in the future. Never before have I considered the difficultly in teaching/learning high frequency words! The array of resources will also be a massive help when teaching. The clear system is fantastic!
DG, Class teacher

This training cannot help but influence any further teaching I do.

The structure makes sense and creates a ‘pin’ to hang students learning onto. I am using it in it’s most basic from with a small group of students in my class. I wish I had received this training as a student as there are so many students, both mainstream and SEN, that I have taught in the past who would have benefitted from the structure and the clarity that this system brings to both reading and spelling. I would recommend it to any school to use! Thank you.
MD Special Needs teacher

A really interesting training week! I found myself understanding decoding and encoding more than I ever have! I think the activities are refreshingly kinaesthetic and logical, which will work really well with my students.
RG Teacher of SEN

2014

Listening to an expert in teaching reading, who is knowledgeable, passionate and experienced, was essential because I needed convincing that this would work After all nothing else has to date and my child is now in year 4 – so why this? I was convinced because there is a code and therefore a logic and a graded way of teaching it and I am willing to try and to use it.

It was so helpful understanding why the all the strategies/methods/programmes that fill my bookshelves at home haven’t worked (eg Toe by Toe, Read Write inc, Fuzz Buzz, Letterland, HFW flash cards, many many early readers from the Library), or at least are limited in their efficacy .

Realising it’s not my fault  my child can’t read and that maybe  I’m not a bad mother because I have failed to help him;  so a great sense of relief and hope!
AV, mother of an ADHD child

I wish I had known this information years ago! I for one maybe a better speller and maybe now I will. I would also have been able to help a struggling young boy who I now know would have really benefited from this programme and would not be going down the exclusion/ESBD route, as I know he was not the person other professionals had branded him as. I cannot wait to use this programme and make a difference to the lives of those who are struggling and need not be. Thorough straight forward training, with no gimmicks or expensive resources needed.
HH, Secondary SEN teacher

SRS has changed my way of teaching already!!  It works, I’ve seen it with one of my pupils working with Duka.  I support her with the 3 follow up activities in the week.  Initially a few weeks ago, she just said, “I will not read!!” now she wants to read books!! and says, “give me more words, and can I spell this word!”  I am eager to implement this intervention with other pupils in my class too!!  Because English is my second language, I was never too confident with teaching English, but the SRS course has made me confident, as I have the knowledge of the code now (and I’m forever trying to code words!) and the excellent interactive resources.  Reading is not guessing or memorising words – and I know this all thanks to SRS!!
KF Teacher, working with secondary children with LD

It has honestly been the most intense and worthwhile learning I think I have ever done. In four days I have learnt how to look at and analyse written English and see how it fits into a clearly defined code and how we can call upon this code to both read and spell. In terms of my work with children, it is not only that I feel able to truly understand the teaching of literacy but crucially how to make a significant difference.
ND, SEN teacher

It has already influenced my teaching and I have been using my letter tiles with my class and building words and the children’s names. We are using all the tools in the box  – hearing the sound, seeing the sound, writing the sound, moving the sound – never guessing. They love it!

I shall never teach whole words again and it has taught me how to break the words down into the correct way sound to symbol. It has taught me that you correct an error immediately – so that the child can self-correct.

My eyes have been completely opened and now I know how children should be taught to read and spell. It was well worth doing the 4 day course because although after one day I knew SRS worked I really learnt how and why it works after four days.
VJ, Class Teacher

I found the training eye-opening and exciting.  I have come away with a really clear idea of what I need to do.  It will take me a little experience to really become confident, but that will come in time. Please bear in mind that I have not been taught how to teach children to read or write in my teacher training. Now I want learners to know that reading and spelling is possible.  I want them to know that there is a system at work and they need not remain locked out of that. I would like to protect learners from being exposed to the code in an insufficient or random way, where they can quickly lose their confidence that there is any system at all. Or worse still that everyone ‘gets’ the system and except them … I would like to use all the painstakingly thought out teaching techniques and principles in SRS, which result in a nurturing and healing programme.  Even better I would like use SRS with beginner readers as a preventative programme…It would prevent them from ever struggling with reading. It works with the brain and memory.
MB, SEN Teacher

2013

I believe this programme will help our lower ability learners who struggle with reading and spelling…I also believe it will affect their confidence and their love of learning will improve…This programme will be a major part of our intervention groups within the secondary setting…I believe my teaching will become more effective…It’s made me realise how difficult it is for some students to learn to read…and that by using this excellent scheme we will be able to help them…This course was very valuable…I am really influenced by knowing there is a reliable code…to carry forwards into my teaching…
A Liverpool High School

I am very much looking forward to using SRS because of its systematic and intelligent approach.

This programme provides the tools to effectively link reading, writing and spelling.

It is great to go on a training course where you know you are learning something of value and you can see how you can use it. The handbook, materials, teaching notes are well presented and clearly laid out. Everything is designed to help us learn about SRS, rather as SRS is designed to help the struggling learner.

The SRS is indeed very new, in fact it’s revolutionary! This programme will have a profound effect on my teaching.
SEN Team across Dumfries and Galloway

A very rewarding three days…It was important to do the training as a whole staff as we are now rolling out the programme across the whole school. It is already impacting upon the staff confidence which will in turn be reflected in the children’s attitudes to reading and spelling. The ‘I can’ ethos is already evident.
Head teacher, a Newark Primary School

2012

I shall certainly enjoy getting to grips with a programme which includes everything I need and which is brilliantly suited to secondary learners. I shall start the programme with some Yr 7, 8 and 9 students. The resources, worksheets and cards are excellent…and fail- safe. The learner can be taught in a logical and safe way, giving them the confidence to progress.
Training in a Berkshire Special School for KS2 and 3

Motivating and inspiring…Brilliant! Made us identify with a whole school approach and feel confident about implementing it…Totally inspirational…All teachers should be using it! I am fired with enthusiasm and keen to find a ‘guinea pig’ to teach over the summer.
Colwall prep school

My understanding of the code and the keys has already impacted my teaching…The activities are simple and I am eager to get started…Just as Mathematics is taught logically and incrementally so SRS builds layer upon layer, eliminating any guessing or random teaching…I can see exactly how I can help children to read and spell. I have realised how hard it is for children to learn without sequential teaching…I really like the fact that High Frequency words are taught within their sound group, instead of giving 4-5 year olds lists of words to ‘learn’ the second they get into school…I believe they will feel success with reading earlier and will be more excited by reading!
Newark Primary School

SRS has introduced me to a systematic, no fuss approach that I feel I can successfully implement. Hopefully I can make a real difference…I can’t wait to teach the students in school who need this help. I am determined to use the SRS resources and have planned to teach a Year 7 girl who cannot read or write…I’ve learnt that nobody has known how to teach learners before as it has never been organised. I will teach my learners to become confident readers.
Stretford High School

I will stop giving out high frequency words to memorise…I will reassess every learner to find out where their difficulties lie…I will check they have a thorough knowledge of the sound to symbol relationship…As someone who suffered by not being able to read and spell myself when I was at school I intend to make it my mission to not let children/learners feel as I did, using my new found knowledge…I am definitely incorporating the SRS into my teaching of adult learners.
Oxford

The programme has cleared the fog of knowing how to teach reading and spelling effectively. It will revolutionise my approach. As Headteacher of a primary school, I will now ensure that reading and spelling are taught in this way from when a child first starts school. The training is just the beginning, the real work is yet to be done!! My colleagues and I now need to evaluate our whole approach to teaching literacy ensuring that SRS is a central part of every child’s experience. My goal is to ensure that every child in school becomes a highly skilled reader and a proficient speller before they leave us at age 11. The course has made me want to return to the classroom!
JB Headteacher of Primary School, Newark

Phonics lessons will no longer lack structure or direction.

The teaching of reading and spelling – along with handwriting – will no longer be seen as a series of separate activities – the programme and the activities within it, approaches all skills concurrently.

I will no longer need to ‘concoct’ interesting activities to hold my learners’ interests – now understanding that a standard/uniform approach to sessions is what they need and it is the very progress they make which will mean that the sessions are inherently ‘interesting’ to them!

I will be able to diagnose the needs of all learners far more accurately and will have an appropriate solution to hand rather than adopting a ‘trial and error’ solution approach.

An enormously thorough and satisfying course which was absolutely appropriate to my needs. Although all of those who attended had very different backgrounds and needs, the teaching of approaches to suit learners of all ages and stages was entirely appropriate – there was no point at which any of us considered that an aspect ‘did not apply’, whether our immediate concerns were with young children at ‘foundation’ or older children/adults at ‘catch-up’.
JA Yr1 Primary Class teacher, Oxfordshire

The programme has re-ignited my interest in the English language and in teaching it. Seeing the teaching of reading/writing in this systematic way is eye-opening, because the system makes possible what has been, in the past, a partly impossible task – i.e. teaching reading/writing to a certain section of pupils who just never ‘got it’. I’m grateful that this system will never date, unlike other computer-based systems, for example. I look forward to understanding more about the English language and its patterns as I begin teaching using this method.

Thank you for such a well and fully structured programme, that even the failing reader can get hold of. I very much appreciated the theoretical background and the hands on approach during our four days and that we can now make a difference to people whose lives have been blighted by illiteracy. I can’t wait to use the system with disadvantaged individuals in south London and also I hope to use it this summer on a trip to an A.I.D.S. orphanage in Uganda. Thank you so much for giving us the tools to enhance other people’s lives.
CR English Secondary teacher, now working with the disadvantaged, homeless and Young Offenders, London SE20

I will concentrate on developing the key skills of segmenting, blending and sound processing in my learners, and use these skills in conjunction with the 4 keys to teach them that the 44 phonemes in English can be encoded with common spelling patterns; and that to read they need to know how to decode these spellings. Furthermore that is vital to link the visual, auditory and kinaesthetic senses to ensure the learner learns as speedily as possible and that lessons must always build on prior knowledge in a logical sequence working from the simple to the complex.

I loved the course and wish I had had this input 15 years ago at teacher training college. I feel that I have a chance of starting all over again and, hopefully, this time I will be successful in teaching reading – my first pupil will be my son

The location of the course, the facilities provided and the delivery of the content were excellent. Your personality, dedication and enthusiasm shown through everything you taught us, and provided a real feeling of support and ‘we can make a difference’.

I have found the programme enlightening and inspirational. I now have a structure to follow, and the ability to explain to learners how the code works and the steps to work through to achieve success. I will avoid doing ‘a bit of everything’ and stick with this concept and hope to make progress. I have already started to test a couple of pupils and watched their faces light up as we built their names and identified any unusual spellings and key 2 sounds. We also built lined up the spellings for /ee/ in a column. I have been sharing the skills required for reading with my teaching colleagues and feel that much of this can be adapted for the classroom too. I have been asked to speak about the course at our SfL network In-service day next week and hope to get the chance to share more with the classroom teachers at my school.
KA Support for Learning Teacher from Aberdeenshire Council

The teaching was dynamic, providing a good balance between background theory, practical demonstrations and opportunities to ‘have a go’ ourselves, footage of the code being used in different contexts and anecdotal references. To be able to watch the code demonstrated with children in the films was particularly valuable.
JB Headteacher of Primary School, Newark

The organisation for learning was excellent – daily handouts, colour coded resources, practical activities, background theory, demonstrations, video-clips. Fiona’s teaching was inspirational, her enthusiasm infectious. There was never any clock watching and it always came as a surprise when I suddenly realised it was time for lunch or 5:00 already!
CC Yr3 Primary Class teacher, responsible for literacy, Newark

The course has been useful in giving me a better understanding of exactly how our language works and therefore, a greater empathy with the problems/barriers encountered by our students who find spelling difficult. As a result, I now feel I have the knowledge and new skills to offer more effective support.

I will incorporate the SRS into all lessons. It will be particularly useful with pre-entry and entry 1 learners. It will give me a new way to teach any low-level learners using a new reading format, which should improve their way of understanding how to read complex information and achieve.

An extremely interesting course that I can adopt to the learners in the Foundation and Community school. This logical way of learning to read and write could have a huge impact on our learners.

Fiona’s enthusiasm and clarity, together with the usefulness of the practicals (and the homework!) made the course very worthwhile. She left us with a comprehensive set of teaching materials which I would feel comfortable in using.

This session will enable me to work closer with the SFL tutors in their delivery of Literacy and Numeracy. I will know how to use activities and worksheets to help the learners decipher English spellings.

I did not expect to discover a completely different way of teaching how to translate the English language! Who could not be impressed by the way Fiona has designed this system? It was wonderful to have the training delivered by the author as her knowledge is so in depth – and it was so interesting seeing her teaching on the video clips.