The University of Sheffield
School of Education

Professor Greg Brooks B.A., M.A., PGCE, Ph.D.

Photograph of Professor Greg Brooks

Professor Emeritus of Education

Expert member, European Commission High-Level Group on Literacy (2011-12)



Tel:
(+44) (0)1737 816136
Email: g.brooks@Sheffield.ac.uk

Greg Brooks joined the School of Education on 1 January 2001, retired on 31 December 2007, having given his Professorial Lecture on 1 October 2007, and has been Emeritus since 1 January 2008. He taught for 10 years in secondary and higher education, variously in France, Kenya, Essex and Northern Ireland. His Ph.D. at the University of Leeds was on the question of phonological coding in silent reading. For the 20 calendar years 1981-2000 he worked at the National Foundation for Educational Research in Slough.

Research interests

The initial teaching of reading and spelling, especially through phonics

In 2003 Greg reviewed the phonics element of the National Literacy Strategy for the DfES, and in 2005 he and colleagues at the University of York conducted an in-depth review of the research evidence on the benefits of using phonics. In 2005-06 he was a member of the Advisory Group to the Rose review of the teaching of reading, and in 2007 provided tables of phoneme-grapheme and grapheme-phoneme correspondences for Letters and Sounds. Though a strong advocate of systematic synthetic phonics teaching, he is vociferously opposed to the phonics decoding check - see http://www.ukla.org/news/professor_greg_brooks_critiques_the_governments_proposed_decoding_test_for_/

What works for children and young people who have literacy difficulties

In 2007 Greg published What Works for Pupils with Literacy Difficulties? and in 2011 is revising it for a new edition. In 2008-09 he was a member of the expert advisory group on dyslexia attached to the Rose review of the primary curriculum in England, and in 2010 wrote the content on intervention schemes for the Dyslexia-SpLD Trust’s website www.interventionsforliteracy.org.uk

What works for children and young people who have literacy difficulties

In 2007 Greg published What Works for Pupils with Literacy Difficulties? and in 2011 is revising it for a new edition. In 2008-09 he was a member of the expert advisory group on dyslexia attached to the Rose review of the primary curriculum in England, and in 2010 wrote the content on intervention schemes for the Dyslexia-SpLD Trust’s website www.interventionsforliteracy.org.uk

Family literacy and numeracy

Beginning in 1994, Greg directed seven evaluations of family literacy and numeracy initiatives for the Basic Skills Agency. These all focused on the benefits to both parents and children, and to parents´ ability to help their children´s development. In 2007-09 he was a consultant to a national evaluation of family literacy programmes in England, and in 2008, with Kate Pahl and colleagues, he produced an international meta-study of family literacy and numeracy initiatives. In 2009-10 he was a consultant to the EC-funded project Family literacy in Europe: using parental support initiatives to enhance early literacy development (EAC/16/2009). In February 2011 he chaired a section of a conference on Early Childhood Education and Care in Budapest mounted by the Hungarian government as part of its first presidency of the European Union.

Adult literacy and numeracy

In 2002 Greg was a founder member of the National Research and Development Centre for adult literacy and numeracy and was Research Director of its Sheffield arm until the consortium was dissolved in 2008. He directed 15 research projects for NRDC, which included reviewing various aspects of the field, especially previous research and the available assessment instruments, and investigating how much progress adult learners make and what enables them to make better progress, particularly in reading. In 2009-10 with Maxine Burton he contributed a glossary of terms relevant to the adult learning sector in all 28 official languages of the European Union and its candidate and associated states to the EC-funded project Study on European Terminology in Adult Learning for a common language and common understanding and monitoring of the sector (EAC 11/2008).

Trends in educational attainment over time

Greg´s interest in this area dates back to 1981, when he joined the (then) Department of Education and Science (DES) Assessment of Performance Unit Language Monitoring Project at the National Foundation for Educational Research and spent nine years mounting national surveys of the speaking and listening attainment of 11- and 15-year-olds. He has published several analyses of data on trends in educational attainment, the latest being his and Sammy Rashid’s NRDC report on the literacy and numeracy levels of 13- to 19-year-olds over time.

Teaching

In 2011 Greg was supervising three students, two on the general EdD, and one on the EdD in Educational Psychology.

Activities and distinctions

Publications

Rashid, S.N., Parry, G.W., Thompson, A. and Brooks, G. (2011). Patterns of further and higher education in colleges and universities in England: a statistical summary and technical commentary. Bristol: HEFCE. Available at http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/rdreports/2011/rd04_11/

Aynsley, S., Rickinson, M., Shepherd, J., Owen, J. and Brooks, G. (2011). Evaluation of the Skills for Life at Work Project. Final Report. Brighton: University of Sussex. http://www.cfbt.com/PDF/Evaluation%20of%20the%20Skills%20For%20Life%20at%20Work%20Project.pdf

Burton, M., Davey, J., Lewis, M., Ritchie, L. and Brooks, G. (2010). Progress for Adult Literacy Learners. London: National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy. http://www.nrdc.org.uk/publications_details.asp?ID=175#

Brooks, G. and Burton, M. (2010). European Adult Learning Glossary, Level 1. Brussels: European Commission. http://ec.europa.eu/education/more-information/doc/2010/adultglossary1_en.pdf

Rashid, S. and Brooks, G. (2010). The levels of attainment in literacy and numeracy of 13- to 19-year-olds in England, 1948-2009. London: National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy. http://www.nrdc.org.uk/publications_details.asp?ID=181#

Swain, J., Welby, S., Brooks, G., Bosley, S, Frumkin, L., Fairfax-Cholmeley, K., Pérez, A. and Cara, O. (2009). Learning literacy together: the impact and effectiveness of family literacy on parents, children, families and schools. Executive summary - October 2009. Coventry: Learning and Skills Improvement Service. http://www.nrdc.org.uk/publications_details.asp?ID=162

Rhys Warner, J., Vorhaus, J., Appleby, Y., Bathmaker, A-M., Brooks, G., Cole, P., Pilling, M. and Pearce, L. (2008). The Learner Study: the impact of the Skills for Life strategy on adult literacy, language and numeracy learners. Summary report. London: National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy. http://www.nrdc.org.uk/publications_details.asp?ID=158

Brooks, G., Pahl, K., Pollard, A. and Rees, F. (2008). Effective and inclusive practices in family literacy, language and numeracy: a review of programmes and practice in the UK and internationally. Reading: CfBT Education Trust. Also available online at http://www.cfbt.com/evidenceforeducation/our_research/evidence_for_youth/family_learning.aspx and on a CD accompanying Mallows, D. (2008). Effective and inclusive practices in family literacy, language and numeracy. Family literacy, language and numeracy: a practitioner handbook. Reading: CfBT Education Trust. http://www.cfbt.com/evidenceforeducation/pdf/Family%20Learning%20Handbook%20(V5)FINAL.pdf

Brooks, G., Burton, M., Cole, P., Miles, J., Torgerson, C.J. and Torgerson, D. (2008). ‘Randomised controlled trial of incentives to improve attendance at adult literacy classes.’ Oxford Review of Education, 34, 5, 493-504.

Burton, M., Davey, J., Lewis, M., Ritchie, L. and Brooks, G. (2008). Improving Reading: phonics and fluency. Practitioner guide. London: National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy. http://www.nrdc.org.uk/publications_details.asp?ID=156#

Bathmaker, A-M., Brooks, G., Parry, G. and Smith, D. (2008). ‘Dual-sector further and higher education: policies, organisations and students in transition.’ Research Papers in Education, 23, 2, 125-37.

Brooks, G., Burton, M., Cole, P. and SzczerbiƄski, M. (2007). Effective Teaching and Learning: Reading. London: National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy. http://www.nrdc.org.uk/publications_details.asp?ID=90

Evangelou, M., Brooks, G. and Smith S. (2007). ‘The Birth to School Study: evidence on the effectiveness of PEEP, an early intervention for children at risk of educational under-achievement.’ Oxford Review of Education, 33, 5, 581-609.

Brooks, G. (2007). What Works for Pupils with Literacy Difficulties? The Effectiveness of Intervention Schemes. 3rd edition. London: DCSF. http://publications.education.gov.uk/default.aspx?PageFunction=downloadoptions&PageMode=publications&ProductId=DCSF-00688-2007&

Torgerson, C.J., Brooks, G. and Hall, J. (2006). A Systematic Review of the Research Literature on the Use of Phonics in the Teaching of Reading and Spelling. London: DfES Research Report 711. This report is available here.

Brooks, G., Miles, J.N.V., Torgerson, C.J. and Torgerson, D.J. (2006) `Is an intervention using computer software effective in literacy learning? A randomised controlled trial.´ Educational Studies, 32, 2, 133-43.

Evangelou, M., Brooks, G., Smith, S., Jennings, D. and Roberts, F. (2005). The Birth to School Study: a longitudinal evaluation of the Peers Early Education Partnership (PEEP) 1998-2005. (Sure Start Unit Research Report no. SSU/2005/FR/017) London: DfES.

Brooks, G., Davies, R., Duckett, L., Hutchison, D., Kendall, S. and Wilkin, A. (2001). Progress in Adult Literacy: Do Learners Learn? London: Basic Skills Agency.

Brooks, G., Giles, K., Harman, J., Kendall, S., Rees, F. and Whittaker, S. (2001). Assembling the Fragments: a Review of Research on Adult Basic Skills. London: Department for Education and Employment Research Report no.220.

Brooks, G., Gorman, T.P., Harman, J., Hutchison, D. and Wilkin, A. (1996). Family Literacy Works: The NFER Evaluation of the Basic Skills Agency´s Family Literacy Demonstration Programmes. London: Basic Skills Agency.

View a full list of Greg Brooks’s publications