The first Jelly and Bean books were written in 1998 to accompany the National Literacy Strategy. They were developed with the help of staff and pupils at Saltergate Infant School and Beckwithshaw Primary School in Harrogate. In 2000 they were discovered by the Special Educational Needs advisory teachers in North Yorkshire and Leeds. These advisory teachers recommended them to other local schools. Between 2000 and 2005 their use spread across schools in all areas of the UK and also worldwide.
Jelly and Bean Ltd was set up in January 2006. The company moved to business premises overlooking the fields at Follifoot Ridge Business Park in 2007. The view from the office window became the inspiration for the Follifoot Farm stories published later in 2010.
After a parliamentary consultation on the teaching of reading, the Rose Report was published in 2006. This report advised schools that children should be taught to read using systematic phonics and that they should be given phonically 'decodable' books. The Jelly and Bean books fitted this recommendation and more schools in the UK began using them.
The Department of Education launched their phonic programme Letters and Sounds in the autumn of 2007. The phonic progression of Letters and Sounds was not the same as that of the National Literacy Strategy. The main change was that children were now to be taught one spelling of each of the 44 phonemes of the English language in the Reception Year.
Some of these letter/sound correspondences, i.e. GPCs, for the Reception Year were not previously taught in the National Literacy Strategy until Year 2. This new initiative meant that the order of introduction of graphemes and phonemes in our books was not the same as the order set out by Letters and Sounds (2007). Some of the grapheme/phoneme correspondences in our original Long Vowels Series and More Vowels Series, written for children in Years 1 and 2, now had to be taught in the Reception Year.
By revising the language and vocabulary in these books and republishing them in different series we brought the phonic progression in our books more into line with the phonic progression of Letters and Sounds (2007).
We also published new series to give children suitable reading material for Phase 3 of Letters and Sounds. Follifoot Farm Series 1 was published early in 2010. This was closely followed by Follifoot Farm Series 2, published later the same year.
However, at this time, teachers were asking for more books for Phonic Phase 2 of Letters and Sounds 2007 and at the pink book-band level. The First Words Series was devised to accommodate this demand and was published in 2010 also.
More stories suitable for children in Year 1 were devised next. The Early Vowels Combinations Series was published in 2011 to include the vowel graphemes 'ai, oo, ea, ie, y, oa'.
In 2011, one of the stories from the original Long Vowel Series (The Cave) was used as the basis for a series of six books containing words with the split-digraphs 'a-e, i-e, o-e'. This series, Follifoot Farm Series 3, The Snake in the Cave, was co-authored by Joe Greenwood, then aged 10.
In 2012, it became clear that schools required many more copies of books with very simple vocabulary. Consequently, we split the original A Series and B Series and launched the first 4 books of each as the AB Starter Pack. A new book A4 was written to eliminate the phonically problematic word, 'puppy'. (A consequence of this change is that the letter 'p' is not now introduced until book B4.)
In 2012 most of our books were accepted as resources for the UK government's match-funding phonics catalogue, and they were available for schools until October 2013.
During the match-funding period the Long Vowel Series went out of print. We took the opportunity to revise the books containing words with the vowel graphemes 'ue, ew, ow, igh, u-e' and published them separately in 2012 as the Further Vowels Series.
The original A Digraphs Series went out of print at the end of the match-funding period. We took the opportunity to add two books in the reprint to extend the series to eight.
The B Extra Series (books 11-16) also needed reprinting at this time. The books 'My Clock' and 'Ring-a-ding' were included to concentrate on the consonant combinations 'ck' and 'ng'.
In 2013, a decision was taken to create the B Digraphs Series (books 17-24) to run parallel with the A Digraphs Series (books 17-24). Some of the stories from the original Consonant, Blends and Clusters Series were simplified, and added to others from the original Long Vowel Series.
The Tom and Bella characters were devised in 2012 by James Greenwood. Three series of books about the playful and amusing incidents between this pair of children were written and illustrated for reading at the Phonic Phases 2 and 3 levels for the pink, red and yellow book-bands. The original black and white pictures were also used in writing activity books.
In 2013, the remaining books from the original Long Vowel Series and Gold Series, were revised to focus on the verb endings 'ing' and 'ed' and these were published as the Past Tense Verbs Series.
In 2015, Tom and Bella Series 4 was published for the blue book-band level. Also the books in the English Vowels Series were revised so that all the stories were narrated in the past tense. The books were printed in the new format of 20 cm square. The series was also split into two sets, Set 1 for books 1-6, and Set 2 for books 7-12.
In 2018, two more books were added to Tom and Bella Series 4 to make this a series of six books. Another book was also added to the Combining Consonants Series to make this a series of six books also.
In 2019, we added the series My First Animals to our books for the red book-band.
In 2020, we added the series Alfie's Adventure to our collection of books for the green book-band. This series is written in the past-tense.
In 2020, we also reformatted the books in Follifoot Farm Series 3, The Snake in the Cave, as 20 cm square books. The whole story was rewritten in the past tense for the orange book-band at Phonic Phase 5 level.
Since 2015 we have revised all our photocopiable writing activity books. We have enhanced almost all our series of books by including both phonic exercises and comprehension exercises in these at the appropriate places. Only Follifoot Farm Series 2, Follifoot Farm Series 3 and the Past Tense Verbs Series do not have accompanying activity books.