A passion to help school children excel with their literacy.

Hello I’m Carl,

I began my career in 2002 as a Key Stage 2 teacher and spent the bulk of my time teaching year six.

It was a very rewarding period and amongst many things, it allowed me to gain extensive knowledge of the English curriculum and the particular challenges children faced when reading and writing.

Middle Leadership experience

My initial specialism was in Mathematics, and this led to me becoming a Math’s Consultant for the National Strategies in 2008. However, my desire to support children in disadvantaged areas remained and I returned to work in a school as a deputy headteacher. During this period, I began to develop a deeper understanding of early literacy and the challenges children face. This period also enabled me to hone my skills of supporting other practitioners.


In my first headship, I successfully guided a junior school to their very first ‘Good’ Ofsted judgement. I was then fortunate to become an executive head teacher and help to lead two schools. Following this period, I then moved on to become the head teacher at a large primary school in Nottinghamshire.

Life after headship

After a six-year period in headship and executive headship, I took up the post of English Hub lead for the Flying High Partnership. This enabled me to further specialise in Early literacy and Reading for Pleasure, whilst helping colleagues in schools to meet the reading challenge. I am also fortunate to work as the Early Reading lead for schools across the Flying High Trust in the East Midlands and have established myself as an independent early literacy consultant. From 2023, I also helped to create and lead the Priority Literacy programme across Derby and Nottingham City. 

 Independent work and achievements

During my independent work, I have supported a range of schools and worked with other trusts. To supplement this, I have also created content for the National College platform and became the author of the DfE Validated Phonics Programme, Pearl Phonics (please visit pearlphonics.co.uk to learn more).


The first 18 months of working independently as a literacy advisor have been very rewarding. Here are some of the highlights:

-A small East Midlands based academy trust I have supported, now has all schools achieving above the National average in the phonics screening check. All schools have achieved excellent outcomes in their various Ofsted inspections.

-I continue to write and deliver material for The National College platform and am recognised as one of their experts. 

-Launchpad and Orbital Reading is now implemented in over twenty schools. It has gone from a concept to an approach that is proving to be very successful in schools.

-In 2023, my phonics programme, Pearl Phonics was validated by the DfE.

What do people think about The Literacy Advisor?

I thought this session was well thought out, building in complexity well and made excellent wider links for me to follow afterwards. I have just purchased two books off the back of this! Thanks so much.

Chantelle N, Teacher
The Sutton Academy

Carl came into school and provided excellent training and coaching for all my staff. His training gave staff the confidence to teach high quality engaging phonic lessons which has resulted in soaring phonics attainment. My phonics lead commented ‘Carl has transformed our phonics teaching and he has really helped me to lead phonics and support staff more effectively.

Andy Stirland, Principal
Python Hill Academy

Secondary reading: how to support pupils unable to read.

A very clear explanation on how children learn to read, the frustrations some may experience and how the ‘gap’ gets ever wider as they progress through school life if they do not get early help and support.

Jo B, School Staff (Non-teaching)
The James Hornsby School