General FAQs

Subscription FAQs

Who runs this website?

The SpellingPlay website is run by PhonicsPlay Limited. PhonicsPlay Limited is registered in England and Wales as a limited company.

Company Number: 7442997

VAT Number: 117 0926 28

Registered Address: Rose Cottage, Highbridge Lane, East Chiltington, Lewes, BN7 3QY

PhonicsPlay Limited is run by myself, Rosanna Springham, and my husband, Justin Springham.

I have worked as a teacher, literacy co-ordinator and leading literacy teacher. In more recent years, I have been created the website www.phonicsplay.co.uk which is used in schools to support phonics teaching.

Why SpellingPlay?

Teachers should be free to teach. They should be able to plan, create, adapt, innovate and deliver lessons that really work. Far too often where spelling is concerned, it is really hard to do any of these things because the precious preparation time that we have gets spent on: clarifying the intricacies of the subject knowledge needed (and English spelling has some very intricate subject knowledge); searching our brains, the internet, various documents for words that follow particular rules; typing up wordlists and wordcards; searching for ideas and activities for learning and rehearsing and, as if that wasn't enough, creating all the resources (interactive or otherwise) needed to carry out these activities. Previously, we at least had some guidance documents to turn to (Spelling bank, Support for Spelling etc) but they no longer match up neatly with the new curriculum.

It makes no sense to me that teachers across the country are recreating the wheel in this way. SpellingPlay aims to put subject knowledge, words, teaching and rehearsal ideas and both interactive and printable resources in one place so that teachers are free to do the important stuff - create more personalised resources when they are needed, adapt things to really suit their children, reflect on the best ways to bring spelling teaching to life and (most importantly) make it fun and effective.

In short, it is what I would want in place as a starting point for teaching spelling. I hope others find it a useful starting point also.

Currently SpellingPlay covers Year 2 only - it was a much bigger job than I envisaged. It is too early to say whether it will grow to cover key stage 2.

Where do the ideas and approaches in SpellingPlay come from?

The starting point for SpellingPlay has been the statutory requirements and guidance notes from the new curriculum (2014). However, as all teachers will be aware, the guidance given in the new curriculum is very brief. Frustratingly, it is also the case that research into spelling teaching has not (yet) been able to provide us with a clear picture of what works in terms of spelling teaching (What is the research evidence for writing? Ref: DFE-RR238 DfE 2012 p26). This therefore makes attempting to give good solid advice on teaching spelling a bit tricky and fairly daunting. However, since a good number of teachers have very kindly asked me to try, I have given it my best attempt by referring back to all I have learnt during my career.

I have continued to draw on advice and ideas given in previous official guidance (see links below) whilst making adaptations to allow for the fact that nowadays spelling teaching can build on the solid foundation of phonics that most children now have by Y2. Many years of attending and delivering training on how to teach spelling have meant that I have had to get to know these documents very well over the years and have also read around the subject of spelling and the history of our language.

I have been lucky enough, during my work as a leading literacy teacher, to have observed many teachers teaching spelling and phonics and have also (not so luckily) had many, many teachers observe me teaching demonstration spelling and phonics sessions. I have therefore been able to draw on all that I have learned from these experiences and from all the incredible teachers and TAs that I have worked with over the years. I have also been fortunate enough to work with some extraordinarily knowledgeable and talented literacy consultants and leading teachers. I can't hope to ever know as much about teaching or about spelling as they do but it would have been impossible to work alongside them and not learn a huge amount.

In the light of the above, I have done my best to give accurate, sensible support and useful information at all times but at the end of the day I am just one teacher and the way that I interpret and approach things won't necessarily be the same as the way that anyone else would. Therefore, as for any teaching resources (no matter who has produced them), always, always rely on your own teacher expertise and judgement to make decisions about what actually happens in your own classroom.

Useful documents:

The information in these documents is public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v2.0

Please note that many of these documents no longer constitute current guidance and are only available as archived documents on various external websites. If any of these links stop working, please contact us and we will try to get them working again as soon as we can.

Useful and interesting books about spelling and the English language include:

Spell It Out: The singular story of English spelling by David Crystal

The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language by David Crystal

Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson

How can I contact you?

Email: [email protected]

Fax: 01273 316667

Why is SpellingPlay free? Will it always be free?

At the moment SpellingPlay is not a finished website. It is growing and developing and has big gaps. During these initial teething stages, it will remain free. Once it has been running for a while, a decision will be made as to how expensive it is to run (which depends a lot on how many people use it) and develop (which depends a lot on how much more it grows) and therefore how best it can support itself. Like PhonicsPlay before it (which also began life as a free website), at some point it will probably reach a point where it has to begin to pay its own way. It will therefore probably become a website that requires a paid subscription at some point in the future. We will aim to give lots of notice if this is likely to happen.

Can I talk to you on the phone?

At the moment we don't have a SpellingPlay phone number. SpellingPlay is run from our home and we work very flexibly (often well outside normal working hours) to fit around our family life. We are therefore often not available to take phone calls during the day. Emailing us at [email protected] is the easiest way to communicate with us. However, if you do wish to speak to us directly, simply email us requesting a phone call and leaving your phone number and we will phone you back as soon as we can.