English and Reading Advisory Team
We are proud of our English and reading experts who help us ensure our resources meet the needs for teaching the new national curriculum.
Pauline Allen, Independent Literacy Consultant
Pauline Allen is an English teaching and learning advisor with a passion for engaging children and improving skills through the use of quality texts and visual media. In her roles as a lead literacy teacher, local authority school improvement consultant, lead KS2 writing moderator and with 14 years’ experience in the classroom, Pauline has a wealth of practical experience in working alongside schools in Sandwell, Birmingham and Shropshire to raise standards in English.
She currently works as an independent consultant and has developed and led successful writing projects and CPD in all aspects of literacy, including reading, writing, spelling and grammar. She was a consultant for Rising Stars Spelling as well as an advisor on all the KS2 Reading Planet fiction and non-fiction books.
Maddy Barnes, Assistant Head Teacher, Sacred Heart Catholic School and English Consultant
Maddy Barnes is an experienced primary school teacher and senior leader who is currently a full-time English Advisor. She offers bespoke training to support schools locally, nationally and internationally. Maddy still regularly teaches in the classroom and includes live-teaching sessions in most of her training. Maddy is an established educational author, writer, blogger and series editor for a range of educational publishers. She is a DfE QA proofer for grammar and reading and works within test development. Maddy is a KS2 Writing Moderator and blogs regularly for a range of educational settings. Passionate about ‘getting it right’ for children, Maddy is a published author and has written the Skills Builders Grammar and Punctuation series for Rising Stars and NTS Assessment for RS Assessment. She was a key advisor on the development of Reading Planet and contributed to the development of the teacher’s guides and to embedding comprehension skills within the series.
Helen Marron, Independent Literacy Consultant
Helen Marron has extensive teaching and management experience at all phases within the primary sector and an in-depth understanding of schools at the grass-roots level. Her background experience is deeply rooted in the classroom and this continues to be at the heart of her practice. In addition to being an Early Years and Key Stage 1 lead and a whole school English subject co-ordinator, she was deputy head teacher and acting head of St Nicholas Primary School, Sutton Coldfield, in a period that spanned ten years.
Helen currently works as an independent consultant working in schools across Coventry, Birmingham, Sandwell and Shropshire. Specialising in Early Years and KS1, Helen has provided training and support in all aspects of English, including reading, writing, phonics, spelling, handwriting and grammar.
Helen is an author for the Read into Writing series, a consultant for Rising Stars Spelling and for many of the Early Years and KS1 books within Reading Planet.
Shareen Wilkinson (née Mayers), English Consultant
Shareen Wilkinson is a primary English adviser and experienced primary teacher. She has a proven and extensive track record of raising standards in English and has worked with schools and LAs across the country. She advises at national level and is currently a DfE (Department for Education) subject specialist for reading and grammar (KS1 and KS2). For seven years, she was a part of the STA expert review team. Shareen is an established educational author and has written the KS2 Rising Stars New Curriculum Spelling Test books and co-authored the Achieve Reading books and the Reading Planet KS2 teacher guidance. In addition, she is series editor of the NTS Assessments for reading at KS2.
Clare Wood, Professor of Psychology, Nottingham Trent University (formerly Executive Director of the Centre for Psychology, Behaviour and Achievement at Coventry University)
Clare Wood has conducted research into children's reading development for over 25 years, with particular interests in children phonological awareness and the factors that contribute to reading development and reading difficulties. She also has wider interests relating to children's use of digital technology in educational setting, and the factors that can impact on children's progress at school, such as wellbeing and school library provision.
She is a Trustee of the National Literacy Trust, and has worked with Rising Stars over a number of years on the development of the Reading Planet books and teacher's guides. Most recently she has worked with RS Assessment on the creation of the Wellbeing and Attitudes to Learning: Survey and Strategies.