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Clair Freeman

Reading Development Consultant and Head of Research

As a Reading Development Consultant, Clair provides initial training and support to the schools in her areas that have identified a need to develop students’ comprehension, fluency, and vocabulary.

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Before joining our team, Clair worked in the education sector for over 20 years. Her role at RSUK allows her to use her knowledge and experience in the education sector to help teachers successfully implement Reading Plus in their schools. Furthermore, as Head of Research, Clair is constantly exploring research insights in education that will further support the efficacy of the Reading Plus programme.

What attracted you to the education sector?

I loved sport, especially swimming which I competed at a decent level (Clair is being modest here, she competed for the European Championships!). I was surrounded by some inspirational coaches who had coached Olympians which undoubtedly made a lasting impression on me. After seeing the amazing transformation that can happen when in receipt of good teaching and coaching, I was hooked! I began taking coaching qualifications which then led me into looking at teaching as a career.

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

  • Driven
  • Passionate
  • Loyal

Tell us more about your role at Reading Solutions UK?

I deliver 1-1 and group training to staff at all levels in the school so that they can confidently get pupils up and running on the Reading Plus programme. I also help teachers and leaders unpick what the data is telling them about their pupils as readers, and support the school in developing the best strategy to implement the Reading Plus materials to address their needs.

To best advise schools, the job entails a good understanding of the pedagogy of reading and the ability to address and respond to new educational developments such as a new curriculum or changing Ofsted Framework.

Why is reading so important?

Reading is one of the major building blocks of life and learning, without being proficient at reading, opportunities are significantly reduced and aspirations are low.

My Gran had a saying she often used when she heard people say that they can’t cook, ‘if you can read, you can cook!’.

So true, it’s just a simple series of step-by-step instructions. When we look at other functions in life, how many people are limited by what they cannot do in seemly basic everyday functions because of their reading ability. When we relate that to what pupils’ experience at school each day if a pupil has not developed those fundamental skills at Key Stage One, their grasp on learning throughout the rest of their school career is severely limited.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t be so serious. Travel more. Nothing is ever the end of the world!

When you are not working, what do you enjoy doing?

My passion for sport and exercise continues, several years ago I set up a netball club where I coach children from as young as age 6 up to 80-year-old ladies who participate in our walking netball sessions. I am kept incredibly busy fundraising, training coaches organising events and taking girls to matches. I also don a netball dress each week for the club’s adult team.

What was your favourite childhood book?

The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S.Lewis, I fell in love with Aslan.

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