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Synthetic Phonics Advocate Recognised in New Year’s Honours List

Vikki Rimmer – January 2014

Sue Lloyd, the co-author of Jolly Phonics and Grammar series, has been awarded an MBE for services to education.

Sue Lloyd said: “I didn’t think in my wildest dreams I’d get something like this. There’s an awful lot of other people who deserve this, people who have been campaigning for synthetic phonics for a long time. I’m very happy to have this honour for all the teachers who have realised how good synthetic phonics is.”

Mr Nick Gibb, MP for Bognor Regis & Littlehampton, said: “As one of the principal intellectual drivers of synthetic phonics in this country, the honour of an MBE is justly deserved and long overdue. Sue Lloyd’s drive and passion for the effective teaching of reading to young children has and will deliver to generations of children a sound foundation to their education. Her development of the Jolly Phonics programme, so dominant in our country’s primary schools, is testament to that work.  The award of an MBE is recognition of all that she has achieved for millions of children.”

Chris Jolly said: “This is a wonderful honour for Sue and recognition of her ground-breaking work.  She is the person who defined what ‘synthetic phonics’ is, and she showed how it makes such a difference in teaching reading and writing.  Her work has changed government policy in the UK and elsewhere and it has made a huge difference for children around the world.”

Sue Lloyd was working as a primary school teacher in Suffolk when she met Chris Jolly, a publisher of games and reading books, in 1989. Sue explained how she’d achieved excellent results using synthetic phonics but couldn’t get anyone to listen to her or try it elsewhere.

After trials to validate the effectiveness of the programme, the initial print run of The Phonics Handbook was published in 1990s and sold out in just three days.

Chris said: “For the education decision makers, phonics had been a ‘no-no’ but this opinion wasn’t shared by the public who were deeply concerned about the teaching of reading – we had hit on something.”

Sue has continued to work on expanding the range of materials so that the multi-sensory teaching approach could be adapted throughout both – reception and primary years.

“Synthetic Phonics is the only way to improve reading standards for all children. Whenever I see a child struggling with reading, it’s because they haven’t been taught how to work the word out. Everywhere it’s been tested, it has improved performance.