A former teacher, special needs teacher and head teacher, Debbie took over as RRF newsletter editor in 2000 when Mona McNee retired from the RRF, and Debbie launched the first RRF website shortly after that. She 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 , 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 and provided talks at several researchED literacy conferences. She currently provides phonics consultancy services internationally including training in schools and universities. She 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. She is author of the online Phonics International programme for all ages (Phonics International Ltd, 2007) and phonics consultant for the Oxford Reading Tree Floppy’s Phonics Sounds and Letters programme designed for infants (Oxford University Press, 2010). She is also author of Phonics Training Online (Phonics International Ltd, 2015), the No Nonsense Phonics Skills programme (Raintree, 2016) and the Phonics Intervention blog: www.phonicsintervention.org .
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 (http://www.iferi.org/) 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.