Sue PalmerChairUpstart Scotland

Sue Palmer, a former primary headteacher in the Scottish Borders, is a literacy specialist and author of books on child development, notably Toxic Childhood, 21st Century Boys and 21st Century Girls. Research for Upstart: the case for raising the school starting age and providing what the under-sevens really need (Floris, 2016) inspired the Upstart Scotland campaign (

During a long career as a freelance literacy specialist she wrote over 200 books, software programs and TV scripts on various aspects of literacy, and many hundreds of articles for the educational and national press.  She has also provided courses for teachers throughout the UK and around the world, and acted as a consultant to the National Literacy Trust, the Basic Skills Agency, the Department for Education and the BBC.

Over the last decade or so, Sue has been Chair of the Scottish Play Commission, served on the Scottish Government’s Early Years Task Force and is now Chair of Upstart Scotland, for which she edited Play is the Way: child development, early years and the future of Scottish education and tweets as @UpstartScot.

She is thrilled to be listed in Who’s Who and Debrett’s People of Today as a ‘childhood campaigner’ and has twice been named among the 40 most influential educationists in London, which gives her particular pleasure as she lives in Edinburgh.