Meet the authors

Margaret and Jo are the authors of Bite into Writing, NFER's resource to support teachers with the teaching and assessment of writing. They have worked closely together since 2012, predominantly on the teacher assessment and moderation of writing at key stages 1 and 2. They were part of the core group which advised the Standards and Testing Agency (STA) on the English writing interim teacher assessment frameworks, and which developed the original national exemplification materials. They have played a key role in producing national standardisation and moderator training materials, designed to support local authority moderators across England, and in British International schools, in ensuring that statutory teacher assessment judgements are consistent with national standards.

They have also been senior external moderators working on behalf of the STA, visiting more than sixty local authorities between them, meeting teachers and moderators, and observing key stage 2 writing moderation practice.

They are passionate about writing, about the power of quality texts to stimulate children to write, and – above all – the power of ‘reading with a writer’s eye’ to enable pupils to regard themselves as writers.

Margaret has extensive teaching experience in primary and secondary schools, and in higher education. She has been an associate consultant for English with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), an accredited lead consultant for Improvement in Writing, a School Improvement Advisor, and a local authority moderation manager for key stages 1 and 2. As a National Strategies Primary Literacy Consultant, Margaret supported schools with the introduction of the national Assessing Pupils’ Progress initiative (APP), producing materials and delivering training both locally and nationally. In 2012, to support the move from the key stage 2 writing test to statutory teacher assessment, she was invited to write the National Level Criteria for English Writing, on behalf of the STA.

Since 2012, Margaret has acted as an independent education expert to the moderation team at the STA, and has been a curriculum advisor for the key stage 1 and 2 English grammar, punctuation and spelling tests, and the key stage 1 and 2 English reading tests.

Jo was a secondary English teacher, a National Strategies’ English Consultant, a local authority School Improvement Advisor and an Ofsted inspector. She has featured in a National Strategies training video demonstrating effective practice in the teaching of writing, worked with the QCA to develop the national Assessing Pupils’ Progress (APP) reading and writing materials, and spent five years at the Department for Education, where she led school-based investigations into areas of government priority as well as providing professional leadership for the national Assessment for Learning Strategy and advice on the National Curriculum English Review.

Jo has been a curriculum advisor to the STA on the key stage 2 English grammar, punctuation and spelling test since 2012. She is a published author with numerous educational books for teachers and pupils to her name, including ‘Grammar Survival for Primary Teachers: A Practical Toolkit’ (Routledge 2017).