A Richer English Curriculum

The work of the opening doors team is designed to support depth, challenge and ambition in English at key stages 1,2 and into 3. Contact Bob on bobcox@searchingforexcellence.co.uk to find out more. Blended learning has become a popular long term model with schools, trusts and LAs setting up cost effective training over a period of time which includes both online sessions and key-notes. Nothing summed up the impact more than a visit to Mulgrave Primary in Greenwich where exciting work, pitched high but accessed by all pupils, was evident through the school. Thanks Mulgrave and thanks Greenwich LA for partnering with us long term!


‘Opening Doors’ Key-Notes or Ongoing Support

Why not consider booking ‘Opening Doors’ for a key-note or series of visits? We can help you to grow the knowledge and skills that your teachers need to enable them to shape their own challenging English and move from using our resources to devising their own!

Your schools will gain the benefit of both principles and strategies for a richer and more ambitious English curriculum with support which will:

– have at its heart equity and excellence, social justice and inclusion.
– explore the principles of challenging English and suggest fresh approaches to include all learners in more ambitious English work
– explore planning from the top strategies along with ways of ‘opening doors’ and  accessing harder texts in an inclusive way
– supply the resources needed to signpost teachers in new, exciting directions
– track the journey from quality text to quality writing via case studies, modelling and examples of pupils’ work
– give advice on permeating whole text quality reading through the curriculum
– give advice on how spelling, punctuation and grammar can be taught in the context of exciting writing journeys
– inspire confidence in teachers to use challenging texts and make it fun!

Some schools are weaving in the price of a book for each delegate but, of course, that is optional.

The aim is always to support schools, clusters, LA’s and Trusts with the strategies, mindsets and resources which enable creative and in-depth English to thrive! The opening doors strategies are a toolkit of key principles which enable schools to jump-start challenging English for all pupils. The videos, blogs, online resources and the 80 units across the five books will give you the detail!

A more blended approach to CPD is emerging which is very exciting in terms of the potential for classroom impact. It’s very much ongoing input, interspersed with pilots and trialling and a face to face more towards the end of the process where teachers can contribute too. Here is an example:

Session 1:  Principles of a Richer English Curriculum – online

Session 2: Link Reading – quality reading culture – online

Session 3: Poetry – online

Session 4: Key-Note – From Principles to Practice – Face to Face

Session 5: Evaluating Plenary and next steps – online

Do contact Bob on bobcox@searchingforexcellence.co.uk if you are interested in support. This is just an example. CPD is tailored to your needs.

‘I would like to thank my co-authors Leah Crawford and Verity Jones for their contribution to ‘Opening Doors to a Richer English Curriculum’ ages 6-9 and 10-13. See below for their website links.

 Dr Verity Jones                   Leah Crawford  

This link gives more information on the books and the chance to purchase:


Julie Sargent has been an opening doors pioneer for a while now too. You can find out more about Julie here:


The fourth member of the team is Angela Jenkins who brings a wealth of experience from many different contexts across education.


For the up to date feed of latest news, see the home page:

Opening Doors

Examples of Previous Support 2019 onwards

In Reading, January 2020,Bob spoke at a huge conference via Brighter Futures for Children and all the speakers received this message:

I just wanted to say a huge thank-you for your contributions. There is a real buzz amongst colleagues here in Reading about reading, which is exactly what we wanted.’ Jackie Wilcocks

It was a pleasure and a privilege for Bob to follow Professor Teresa Cremin as a key-note speaker in Reading. Bob has been asked to follow up his presentation by supporting schools in the area in a more ongoing way and this is just one example of how ‘Opening Doors’ makes an impact.

Reading 2020

In January, 2020 Bob also enjoyed working with a group of schools in Pembrokeshire with Coastlands School the host. They have been using the opening doors strategies for a while and the standard of the pupils’ work was astonishing!

‘It was wonderful! Thank you so much, and rest assured you’ll be hearing from us.’ Wenda Davies, English Lead

Other 2020 travels to date have included a number of Wokingham and Hampshire schools, including Long Sutton, St Sebastians, St Teresa’s and The Circle Trust plus a session at William Murdoch School, Handsworth. A really exciting development in March was supporting both secondary and primary pupils in the GFM Trust in a very large gathering where the influence of the opening doors strategies was being felt cross-curricular and cross-phase. This was followed up with a webinar in May. See the ‘pitching high’ page for more of interest in terms of whole school application of the challenging mindsets:

Pitching High

GFM ConferenceGFM Con 2

Bob and the opening doors team can support your school’s English curriculum development work as appropriate, tailored to need. Bob presented at the 2018 Hertfordshire for Learning Conference (see evaluation) and returned (picture below)for the 2019 ‘Love That Book’ event. HfL have been long term partners as they share a passion for quality texts and quality writing!

Time Machine

“Bob’s passion for challenging, high quality literature, paired with his immense teaching experience, makes for a compelling combination. His workshops at our 2018 writing conference were a real hit. The teachers all enjoyed the opportunities provided to pore over engaging texts; to discuss and question; to tinker with the layers of language hidden within them, and most importantly to consider how they would adopt his practices for use within their own classrooms. Our audience left enthused, engaged and desperate to get back to their classrooms to start ‘Opening Doors’ to quality literature with their own pupils. Thank you for an inspiring session, Bob. We look forward to welcoming you back in 2019.” Penny Slater, Herts for Learning Conference, 2018

2019/20 has also included a memorable key-note at the National Association for the Teaching of English ‘Primary Matters’ Conference:
The delegate comments were really appreciated!
“Excellent speaker- passionate”
“Exciting talk from Bob Cox”
“Inspirational and enthusiastic”
The NATE newsletter included the following:
a classic Bob Cox performance in which literature was presented as the means of opening doors to children’s selves and the world around them.

There are now thousands of schools using Bob’s ‘going deeper’ strategies!  Bob and his team would like to work with you on an exciting journey using all kinds of quality reading – picture books, children’s fiction and literary classics – to stimulate quality writing.  We want to help spread the use of quality texts, poetry and literature in primary schools and across the transition phase to KS3!

All support can be tailored to need and across the five books there are 80 units of work to signpost the way to challenging English and approaches where great writers provide the inspiration and great teachers provide the access.

Click here to purchase the above ‘Opening Doors’ books on Amazon.

Click here to view The Crown House publishers’ information and reviews.

Click here to read more about ‘Opening Doors’ on the English Association’s website.


Pupils’ Work

‘The Eagle’ by Lord Tennyson

Please click on the links to the following 3 titles and browse the pupils’ work which has been written as a response to the texts and ideas in ‘Opening Doors’ and which has been sent in from around the UK:


Opening Doors to Famous Poetry and Prose


Opening Doors to Quality Writing (ages 6-9)


Opening Doors to Quality Writing (ages 10-13)

‘Descent into the Maelstrom’ by Edgar Allan Poe

‘The Kitten and Falling Leaves’
By William Wordsworth


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