Inspiring a happier generation

What is one of the most under-used ways to help pupils do well at school and beyond?

One of the issues often raised by teachers is that the constant pressures of an ever-changing curriculum and target-driven education system generate stress rather than success for all involved.

This teaching-by-numbers approach is not generally why most teachers entered the education system. It is also worrying that around three pupils per class are likely to suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder (Source:

Often it is the simplest interventions that can increase the emotional well-being of a young person (or any person, for that matter), but they need the guidance and support to know what steps to take. Schools are ideally placed to provide that support and guidance and already work very hard at helping those pupils that need it the most.

With an increasing amount of research findings demonstrating that happiness is a key contributor to success, increased problem-solving abilities and increased health, it is important for schools to include happiness-enhancing activities into their provision to pupils.

Curriculum and time restrictions mean that teachers are already over-stretched, though, and there is only so much they can do.

This is where bringing in external resources can help. An inspirational speaker provides much more than entertainment for the time they are speaking to or working with pupils. A good inspirational speaker will be a catalyst for improvement and change.

This is where I can help, whether you need me to come in and address your pupils in an assembly, work with them in smaller groups in a practical workshop setting, on an individual basis to coach/mentor them or a combination of the above.

The feedback I have had from schools and other organisations I have worked with has been fantastic (read testimonials here).

The best testimonials, however, come from the pupils themselves. Here is a short video taken during a Happiness Masterclass, which followed a Happiness Assembly to the full Year 12 group at The Hayfield School in Doncaster:

Did you know that giving to charity can make you happier and that this effect is increased if there is a social connection involved?

Source: Science Daily “Social giving makes us happier”

I am currently raising funds for Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity by taking part in Funny Business Doncaster: I will be stepping out of my comfort zone by doing 5 minutes of stand-up comedy on 6th November.

Although I have already exceeded my £1,000 fundraising target for this project, I would like to raise even more for Weston Park, so I am offering a discount off my standard fee and a donation of a chunk of my fee to Weston Park for any bookings for which I receive a 50% deposit by the end of November.

Would you like to find out more? Click here to get in touch with me or call me on 0114 360 5556.

Frederika Roberts

One facility; multi-games

What is the single most cost effective way of providing an all-year multi-use games area in your school?

The first key point about a multi-use games area is, of course, in the name. Such an area can be used for football, tennis, hockey, basketball, netball, etc.

But that’s only the start. Because where there is a facility that can be used for so many sports, there is immediately the risk that the surface will start to degrade because of over-use and inclement weather conditions.

And, just to cover every angle, such a multi-use facility would be less useful if it were not designed to meet the specific sports requirements of your school.

So when we speak of multi-sports facilities we also need to consider both flexibility of design and the ability for the area to be used again, and again, and again, every day, every week. (Including at the weekends if it is rented out to local sports clubs.)

Now that might seem to be everything covered, but there is still the issue of finance. We’ve even worked on this so that we can fund more entire facilities via Fast Track Funding, the mechanism used by numerous schools and local authorities for this sort of development – with payment not starting until the facility is completed.

These are the fundamentals that we have considered: flexible design, multi-sports use, all weather provision, constant use, and flexible finance.

As the leading UK artificial sports surfacing specialist and official partners of England Hockey, we decided to team up with Timberplay, the designer and supplier of flexible multi-sports areas to create exactly what was required.

Because Notts Sport synthetic surfacing systems require minimal maintenance over a long lifespan, schools using the system can offer more sports for more pupils with all the benefits that brings – no matter what the weather.

To make the whole process as simple as possible we built in a five step approach

  • Step 1. A free site visit and feasibility report
  • Step 2. A range of competitive quotes
  • Step 3. Confirmation of the funding package
  • Step 4. Construction begins with Notts Sport managing the build
  • Step 5. Payment begins after completion

To discuss how this remarkable development could be used in your school to enhance your sporting provision throughout the year, please do call me on 01455 883 730 or email

There is also more information at

Increases in marking workload: cutting out the needless

The new Ofsted school inspection handbook signalled a shift in evidence of good teaching and learning towards “scrutiny of pupils’ work”… In practice, this shift has often translated into greater demand on teachers to provide in-depth marking on more pieces of work. Read more

Many secondary teachers have seen a significant increase to their marking workload in recent months, in response to the changes in Ofsted inspection criteria.

In our latest blog, we look at how to adapt to these demands, and how Doddle can help you cut out non-essential marking work.

Read our blog here!

To see how Doddle can dramatically cut down marking time, and let you focus on in-depth feedback for the students that need it, see Doddle in full in an in-school demonstration.


Could a dustbin really impress a parent?

Is it possible that the school dustbins could really affect the way that parents think about their children’s school?

There surely can’t be a parent in the country who hasn’t railed against his or her child’s untidiness, and inability to put litter and unwanted rubbish in the bin.

From that we might well assume that most parents will applaud any action taken by a school to encourage children to deposit their rubbish in appropriate receptacles.

Now this is something of an interesting thought, because for most of us the first inclination with rubbish bins is not to make them something that parents see.

And yet like so many aspects of life, the most obvious assumption often turns out not to be true. Large, colourful rubbish bins of a modern design, can give parents a very positive message about the way in which the school takes its cultural and social responsibilities seriously, along with its academic work.

Indeed it is possible to go further on this, for one can have the school’s bins not only placed in strategic places that parents and students will see, but also have them displayed in the school’s colours.

Theme Bins have a variety of bins all available in a multiplicity of shapes and colours – and if your school’s colours are not part of our current range, we can certainly quote for producing bins in the colour combination you require.

There are more details, pictures and a colour chart on our website

For more information or to request a full colour brochure please call 0844 8794154 or email

Theme Bins International Ltd, Knowl House, 84 Dale Street, Ossett, WF5 9HJ

When contacting us please quote HH2014 to qualify for a 5% discount from your first order

Theme Bins specialises in supplying products with customers own personalised graphics. To aid the graphics application we offer a free of charge computer visualisation service by our in-house designers. Just forward a copy of your logo or call us and ask for assistance.

Mapping spiritual, moral, social and cultural development across the school

What is the simplest way of showing Ofsted where spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is happening in the school?

The fact is that auditing or mapping what’s happening in terms of spiritual, moral, social and cultural development across the school can be a complex and time-consuming task. Not least because it runs across so many departments.

But I’d like to suggest that this doesn’t have to be the case. Indeed over the last five years hundreds of schools have used a simple and effective tool to audit and track SMSC provision.

It is a tool that makes recording and tracking easy, and, as I shall show below, it is a tool that Ofsted inspectors have valued in a report.

What we set out to develop five years ago, and what we have constantly refined, is a simple tool that is quick and easy to use by everyone in the school so that each colleague’s contribution to SMSC can be added to the record within moments.

But there was more, for we also wanted to make sure that with our approach pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is better coordinated across the curriculum. And again that is what we have achieved.

Finally, as I noted above, we wanted to produce something that the Ofsted inspectorate could immediately see the value of; something that the inspectors would see as a useful tool in planning teaching and learning.

That was our final aim, and I believe we have achieved that too, because in an Ofsted report in April 2013 on a school that uses SMSC Gridmaker, we found this comment:

“Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is better co-ordinated across the curriculum. An on-line audit of all the activities promoting development is enabling gaps to be filled and resources shared.”

You can see Gridmaker in action on our website. Alternatively you can try it yourself for free by clicking here.

If you would like to know any more please call 0115 942 8912 or email me at

And there’s a final point. Gridmaker can also capture provision of PSHE and Citizenship, and that facility is included within the standard package.

Tricia Cadman

Free worksheet and activity: using IF statements

We’ve provided a set of free resources from our GCSE Computing product!

The worksheet and accompanying activity, which are taken from our algorithms and programming language topic, focus on control flow in imperative languages and using IF statements.

Get your students feeling confident with the terminology relating to this topic before giving them the chance to see it in practice using our ice cream activity. Do they fancy broccoli or sweets on their ice cream sundae? They’ll have to decide using the interactive flow chart!

Visit our ICT and Computing free stuff page to download the worksheet and activity!


The Boardworks team

P.S. Boardworks KS3 and GCSE Computing provides an excellent level of support for your teaching of the new curriculum. If you haven’t already, order your free product sample to find out what it’s all about.

London Student Conferences Online

Click onto the latest indispensible Teaching Aid
lectures by professors from leading UK Universities

Subscribe through our website!

We all know that getting on to the right course at the right place can be quite a struggle –but do your students really know enough about what studying the subject will feel like at College or University?

By listening to Professors from some of the UK’s leading Universities, students will increase their understanding of their chosen subjects as well as increasing their knowledge of the study experience when they leave school. With that added perception comes the increased likelihood of your students choosing the right path.

Providing an iPad for one student costs about the same as providing the whole suite of LSC online lectures for an entire class. At LSC we really understand the value of educational opportunities available through mobile learning. By offering all your school leavers valuable LSC lectures you can be confident you will achieve a solid and positive return on your Investment.

Do have a look through the Alma Maters of the Professors from UK Universities as featured in our lecture series. They have a fantastic pedigree. For instance the University of Birmingham was voted University of the year in 2014.

Please keep in touch and get back to us with any queries, large or small.

We are only a click away.


Available by Subscription to Parents and Schools via our Website

Schools Annual Subscription:
to all lectures for all students in your school

Schools £395.00 (AUD $720)

Parent’s Annual subscription:
Provides Access to all lectures in a subject group for your household

Parents £20.00 (AUD $37)

Guarantee: Price held for 2 years when subscription is received in 2014

Subjects include Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Economics, Geography, Psychology and Maths

Visit to learn more.

Forward any queries to
Phone: + 44 (0)203 326 1140

London Student Conferences Online
Ignite Curiosity

Music in Independent Schools, an insight into best practise

How has music changed in schools? Specifically, independent schools? The high standard of musical work in such schools has long been known but now Andrew Morris and his team have provided up-to-date information.

Bringing together historical debates from the late 19th and early 20th Century, the book discusses how best to practice the teaching of music. What makes a good music teacher? Is it their technical excellence or enthusiasm?

There are contributions from seven individual schools – Bedford, Dulwich, Eton, Gresham’s, St. Paul’s, Uppingham and Worksop – as well as chapters about Girls’ Schools, Preparatory Schools, Choir Schools and Specialist Schools.

The book looks at each of these schools and the challenges they have faced in the current day and over the last sixty years. Music and teaching of music remains relevant and fruitful across class divides. Music in Independent Schools will be of interest as a reference point for all music departments.

ANDREW MORRIS taught in secondary modern, grammar and comprehensive schools in London before becoming Director of Music at Bedford School for thirty-two years. He was President of the Music Masters’ and Mistresses’ Association from 1996-97 and President of the RAM Club at the Royal Academy of Music 2005-06. He has examined for the ABRSM for over thirty years.

The Bernarr Rainbow Trust, under the chairmanship of Professor Peter Dickinson, is now responsible for some forty books based on Rainbow’s extensive historical research into music education, mostly within his Classic Texts in Music Education series, published by Boydell.

Contributors include Catherine Beddison, Elizabeth Blackford, Timothy Daniell, Richard Mayo, James Peschek, Alastair Sampson, Graham Smallbone, Jonathan Varcoe, Myfanwy Walters, Nathan Waring, Robert Weaver and Hilary Webster.

Music in Independent Schools edited by Andrew Morris & Bernarr Rainbow, with introduction by Peter Dickinson
Boydell Press
978 1 84383 967 5, August 2014

Be sure to quote reference: HAMHOUSE14 when ordering. Online this will be at checkout.

To order you copy please phone, mail or online:
01394 610600
Boydell & Brewer Ltd, PO Box 9, Woodbridge, Suffolk, IP12 3DF
Please note that our usual postage rates will apply:
£3 UK, £7.50 Europe, £13.50 International

Helena Quarmby, Marketing Assistant, Boydell & Brewer Ltd
01394 610606


A tired teacher is not a good teacher

What is the best way of ensuring that every teacher is fully effective in every lesson, every day?

Everyone has good days and bad days.

Of course, as professionals we all aim to perform well in the classroom no matter how we feel, but even so there can come a time where the sheer level of work required can make one operate at a slightly lower level than at other times.

So can anything be done? Can we do anything to reduce stress, feelings of tiredness, or any other ailment that can affect most of us at some time or another.

Fortunately the answer is, yes, as many schools have found out. For they have used a process that controls the amount of work teachers have to do in four key areas of teaching facts, revising facts, setting tests, and marking tests.

Of course, these four areas don’t make up the sum of education. But there is no doubt that if one reduces part of the workload in these four areas, then yes, when a teacher feels overloaded, the pressure is reduced so classroom teaching is not affected.

Now this raises two important questions. Supposing we could do this, the argument goes, it would be good for teachers. But would it not affect the quality of education? And wouldn’t it be costly?

In fact, the approach I have in mind has been used in over half of all schools undertaking GCSEs during the last 12 years.

And far from reducing the quality of education, it is proven through rigorous research to raise grades at GCSE significantly.

Of course there is a cost – but it works out at less than £4 per student per year. It is an extra cost, but given that it reduces workload and as a result can reduce absences caused by stress, while at the same time raising grades, most schools that take it on feel that the cost is worthwhile.

The approach is known as SAM Learning. Students work on-line either at home or at school, studying the subjects they choose. Just ten hours on the system during the two years of GCSE study raises the average student two grades.

This interactive system not only teaches all the most popular GCSE subjects and organises revision around points that the student has not fully grasped, but it can also be used to set questions and mark them – with, of course, all the marks available for the teacher to use in the setting of further work either on-line or in the classroom.

As you might imagine, SAM Learning is not alone in this field of on-line learning – but it is the only system of its type which has been rigorously and independently tested – in our case by FFT who tracked the progress of over a quarter of a million students who have used SAM Learning.

If you would like to know more please call us on 0845 130 4160.

Alternatively if you would like to read more about SAM Learning and how it works please do visit our website.

Free teaching resources for English at KS2

At Anchor, many of our care homes and retirement housing developments have strong links with local schools, creating great connections across the generations.

Those links inspired us to work with education specialists to develop tools to help others do the same.

Our Life Histories teaching guide has been designed to deliver many of the key National Curriculum learning outcomes for children in years five and six, while breaking down the barriers between the young and old.

Anchor Life Histories is a unit of work which fits comfortably within strands for Speaking and Listening and Writing.

It provides opportunities for developing questioning skills, planning and chronological writing within a real context of talking to and learning from an older person who may not be known to the children.

This unit is planned in four developmental phases, from examining and interrogating texts, planning for an interview and then developing and improving writing.

It could take from two to four weeks, depending on how many of the speaking and grammar activities teachers wish to include.

Teaching Notes outline the possible teaching strands and activities for each phase and highlight the end of Key stage learning outcomes for years 5 and 6 that are met by these lessons.

Anchor Life Histories teaching notes, writing scaffolds and curriculum planning document can be downloaded free of charge here.

We hope you and your pupils enjoy using these materials.

The team at Anchor

A way to improve learning and behaviour that really works

How to make teachers twice as effective in the classroom and double the attainment of lower ability students

This statement is bold but true, latest research shows that when carefully crafted seating charts are in place, teachers are twice as effective in the classroom and the attainment of lower ability students can be doubled.

This will come as no surprise to those more experienced teaching staff. By telling pupils where they should sit in the classroom you are immediately asserting your authority and can also take advantage of strategies such as peer to peer learning.

So does your school have a policy on seating charts? Are you able to ascertain which combinations work best for the classroom and lead to improved performance and behaviour, are you ready to impress Ofsted?

Class Charts links up with SIMS, Integris & SMIS. It instantly creates seating charts for your teachers and displays key data such as SEN, Pupil Premium & subject targets. This means that your staff will be aware of pupils’ abilities and needs at a glance.

But there is more!

Coupled with the seating charts is an optional real time behaviour management system (SIMS writeback supported) that is simple for your staff to use and provides the leadership team with detailed behaviour analytics – allowing them to pinpoint behaviour issues and trends and get support strategies in place.

Sound good?

Take a look at what is on offer at Class Charts and get in touch quoting ref HH for a chat or a quick online demo.

0845 094 6427

Edukey Education Ltd, 1 High Street, St Davids, SA62 6SA

Free computing curriculum mapping guide and creative teacher resources for KS3/4

Mapped to Digital Literacy, IT and Computer Science, Serif’s free KS3/4 computing guide provides creative ideas and resources to help you deliver the three core strands of the new framework.

From editing digital artefacts to bringing creativity to coding projects – Serif’s guide brings together a wealth of comprehensive resources to help you deliver creative computing lessons and develop pupils’ confidence using IT. You don’t need a Serif software licence to benefit from the resources.

Whether you’re getting to grips or well underway with the new curriculum, our resources can help save time planning, with ideas that you can add to schemes of work as you move further into teaching computing.

We’ll send you a FREE computing guide with ideas for:

  • Digital Literacy
  • Computer Science
  • Information Technology
  • Creative KS3 Projects
  • Digital Artefacts
  • Sprite Design for Scratch Games

As a UK graphics software developer, we’re passionate about two things: creativity and supporting UK schools. That’s why our computing guide and creative resources are free to all – even if your school doesn’t hold a Serif licence.

For your FREE computing mapping guide and resources, email with your schools details.

Claire Macdonald
Education Business Manager
Serif (Europe) Ltd

Phone: 0800 376 6868

The Afterlife

This 70 page, copiable book tackles the subject of the afterlife from a number of perspectives:

  • it considers the position of the world’s major religions in respect of the afterlife
  • it discusses specific beliefs, such as heaven and hell, the resurrection and reincarnation and their implication for the concept of the afterlife
  • it examines near-death experiences and what they add to our certainty or otherwise of an afterlife.

The book includes over 50 exercises which will give your students plenty of practice at thinking about and writing on the topic.

The book is highly relevant to students who need to examine issues such as resurrection and reincarnation.

The Afterlife was written by Francis Beswick.

You can see a full list of the topics and some sample pages at

Publisher’s reference: T1674EMN ISBN: 978 1 86083 725 8


  • Photocopiable report in a ring binder, £19.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • CD with school-wide rights: £19.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • Both the Ring Binder and the CD £26.94 plus £3.95 delivery

Prices include VAT.

You can purchase the report… please quote the order ref: T1674EMN

A notebook that never runs out

The Reusable Magic Notebook is here. This is a cool notebook that never runs out. Write on the reusable sheets, wipe clean and reuse. Use discount code HAMILTON20 to get a 20% discount.

The Magic Notebook ™ was inspired by the frustration of wasting paper when taking messages and notes and throwing away lots of sticky notes on a daily basis.

Magic Notebook ™ combines a notebook and a whiteboard to create an erasable and reusable notebook.

Reusable notebooks are great for writing notes, taking phone messages, generating ideas, playing games, doodling, for writing at school and for doing homework.

The Magic Notebook has 60 micro perforated reusable pages. Write on them with any dry marker or dry erase correctable pen (no smudging), wipe clean and reuse any of the 60 reusable waterproof pages. Useful for jotting down travel plans, doodling in the back of car, writing down messages and for generating ideas.

You can tear out the sheets and print them in a laser printer to create your own whiteboard calendars, itineraries, and weekly planners. Here are some photos

Available in A5 and A4. £12.99 and £19.99 each, includes a dry erase pen. Order online at

Don’t forget to use discount code HAMILTON20 to get your 20% discount.

Watch the 1 min clip

If you have any questions email
or ring us on 01905 451552.

Best Wishes

Neil Westwood
Managing Director

Magic Whiteboard Limited

TV News for GCSE AQA Media Studies

New resources are available to support the GCSE AQA Media Studies annual topic: TV News!

  • Teaching Pack: Bespoke schemes of work with worksheets, handouts and PowerPoints included. The perfect resources to structure and support your teaching of the annual topic. (WH79/5672, £89)
  • Revision Guide: Ensure students are fully prepared for the exam, from key terms to pre-production skills. The workbooks can be used independently, with a variety of activities and exam-style tasks. (WH79/5671, £89)
  • Online Homework: Unique online homework/revision system. The four-part quiz/test structure gives students a variety of exercises to complete to consolidate their learning, revise key terms and theories, and practise with exam-style questions. As a teacher, you can track their progress too! (Various packages from £99+VAT for site licence – email us now for a month’s free access!)
  • Practice Papers: Original papers in the exact style of the exam. All key concepts tested across a range of exam-style questions. Detailed examiner commentary on every answer gives students a clear idea of ‘what the examiner is thinking’! (WH79/5656, £54)

The four resources are complementary, and can be used either together or independently. Each resource has been carefully designed so that there is no overlap of content – while still covering the relevant parts of the specification and the core aspects of the topic.

Just a few comments from teachers, many of whom use these resources every year:

  • ‘I had no idea where to start with this topic, but this resource has taken all the hard work out!’ (E Fraser, Head of Media & Independent Reviewer, AQA 2014 Teaching Pack)
  • ‘I love it! It’s so useful to have mock exam papers written for the actual exam topic… they are as close as you are going to get to the real thing… all teachers of the spec need materials like this!’ (L Bird, Head of Media & Independent Reviewer, AQA Practice Papers)
  • ‘So user friendly, really engaging and fun – at just the right level for our Year 11s… having all the activities and PowerPoints prepared to such a high standard leaves me free to concentrate on the teaching and learning itself.’ (N Blackborow, Media Teacher & Customer, AQA Teaching Pack)

ZigZag resources are available as ‘copy masters’ or in editable format and come with a site licence, allowing you to pay once and copy as often as you need, or put on your server for multiple use. The Teaching Pack, Revision Guide and Practice Papers are also available in:

  1. Easy-printing PDF files (add 30%+VAT), or
  2. PDF with editable Word files (add 50%+VAT).

Order now at

ZigZag Education, Unit 3, Greenway Business Centre, Doncaster Road, Bristol BS10 5PY
t: 0117 950 3199 | f: 0117 959 1695 |

Give your promotional code WH79 to get free postage!

Straight Talk Manual

A Self-esteem and Life Skills Workbook for Young People

This is a no-nonsense, friendly and ‘right to the point’ program on self-esteem and life skills. For use by counsellors, teachers and parents.

Contains a CD of reproducible worksheets covering topics such as:

• Friendship • Communication •Values • Feelings • Self-esteem • Stress • Mental Health • Healthy Body • Alcohol Drugs & Addiction • Grief • Separation and Divorce •Bullying • Staying Safe • Disabilities • The planet and how to care for it • Finding help when you need it

Contents: over 200 pages. Includes FREE CD-ROM of reproducible worksheets.

A4 Spiral bound book. Age 9-14



Post: Small World, 9 Burnham Place, Syresham, Northants, NN13 5HT

Tel: 01280 850 305
Fax: 01280 830022



To obtain a 5% discount on your order, please quote HH14 on your purchase order form or add the discount code whilst purchasing online.

The pipe, the wheels, the imagination.

From telescopes to combine harvesters: it is the award winning pipe pieces with wheels

The manipulation of objects is a hugely beneficial activity for children, and indeed is something that they find enjoyable and engrossing.

Hand-eye coordination and judgement are both developed as children move from trying approaches at random to realising that, with a bit of planning, they could get much further.

It was our awareness of the need for exciting construction materials for children to experiment with that was at the centre of our thinking when we developed Pipe Pieces with Wheels.

Quite simply, we offer 100 pipe pieces that can all be joined together in whichever way the children want.

All told there are four shapes in four colours. They slot together, twist and turn, and can be used to create a lawnmower man, a moon walker, a robot dog, a quad bike, a road sweeper, two people on wheels locked in a dance….

In short, wherever the imagination goes, the child can try to create it.

We were thrilled with our development of the idea, and it wasn’t just us; the judges at the 2014 Primary Awards recently gave “Pipe Pieces with Wheels” classroom pack their silver awards.

Pipe Pieces can be used to help children aged five to nine to understand three dimensional building much more readily as they twist and turn pieces to explore 3D spaces, stability and movement.

As one of the judges said, I would definitely buy this product; it really fired up the children’s imagination. Children of all ages really enjoyed playing with these, and staff thought the storage bag and bright primary colours were great.


If you’re not completely happy with your order we offer a no quibble, money back guarantee.


Most UK orders over £35 benefit from a free delivery service. For orders under £35 there is a £2.99 delivery charge.

For Northern Ireland, the Isles of Scilly, the Scottish Highlands, Isle of Wight and the Isle of Man it’s £7 delivery. If you are lucky enough to be living in the Channel Islands the delivery charge is £12.45 irrespective of the size of the order.

You can order in any of these ways:

  • On our website
  • By email to
  • By phone on 01789 765323
  • By fax to 01789 765469
  • By post to S & S Services, Units 4-8 Tything Road, Arden Forest Industrial Estate, Alcester, Warwickshire, B49 6EP

How best to teach; how best to learn

When it comes to teaching not all methods are equally effective. The same is true of learning. But which methods are best?

Recently the focus in terms of methods of teaching has been on the technology used to deliver the lesson.

And yet there is a huge amount of evidence to suggest that it is not the technology that makes one method of teaching better than another.

Rather, it is the method of teaching itself. Technology can make a difference, but it is not the prime difference.

What’s more, while a change in the method of teaching used to teach any specific subject or topic can have a benefit – that benefit won’t be maximised unless the students also get some help in understanding the best methods of learning that they ought to be using.

To put this another way, it is possible to deliver a lecture to a class using your voice on its own or your voice plus a diagram drawn on a chalkboard, displays on a whiteboard, a video, or anything else.

But the fact remains that whatever technical additions are used it is still a lecture.

Which is fine as long as the lecture is the best method of teaching the subject that you have in mind. If it isn’t, then the effectiveness of the lesson will still be dependent on the effectiveness of the lecture as a method of teaching.

Now, of course, most of the time we don’t lecture in class because we all know that lectures are fairly ineffective ways of teaching. But that still raises the question: what are the most effective ways of teaching?

And as we ask that question, we also have to ask, what implication does this have for the various methods of learning that the students then adopt?

These are the questions posed and answered by “Methods of Teaching”. The book has articles which can be shared with teaching colleagues, policy statements on methods of teaching, a review of methods of learning, and 22 articles on methods of learning that can, over time, be provided to students to help them organise their own learning.

There are also eight active learning assignments for the students plus a series of articles on memory which will explain how teaching and learning can be organised in such a way that the topics and issues under consideration will be retained in the memory for years to come.

The latest edition of “Methods of Teaching” is probably the most powerful book on teaching and learning available today. It is available both as a photocopy master and on CD (so that it can be put on the school’s learning platform or printed out from the disk).

Cat No: 978 1 86083 830 9 Order code: T1784emn – please quote with order.

Sample pages can be viewed at

  • Photocopiable book, £29.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • CD with school-wide rights: £29.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • Both the book and the CD £36.94 plus £3.95 delivery
  • Prices include VAT.

You can purchase the report…

Monologues/Duologues at Key Stage Three

A book of short, self-contained and original monologues/duologues which will be an ideal introduction to drama within English or for use within a drama group. The monologues/duologues are designed to be learned, rehearsed and performed by pupils and will give them an understanding of pace, voice and body language. Students will develop drama techniques to explore in role a variety of situations.

Each monologue/duologue is accompanied by a number of activities (written and oral) which will encourage students to look critically at their own performance and constructively criticise that of others. They will also develop skills in reading and writing and will be encouraged to reflect on and discuss a variety of topical issues.

Cat No: 978 1 86083 762 3 Order code: T1727emn – please quote with order.

Sample pages can be viewed at

  • Photocopiable book: £19.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • CD with school-wide rights: £19.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • Both the Book and the CD: £26.94 plus £3.95 delivery
  • Prices include VAT.

You can purchase the report from the publisher:

Who was the real Cleopatra?

And what is her relationship to the beautiful seductress of Hollywood myth?

In contrast to other historical figures whose names may be less familiar, many of your students will come to study the life and influence of the last Egyptian pharaoh with many preconceptions about her – in terms of her appearance, her behaviour and her place in history.

This new textbook provides an easy way into the life and times of Cleopatra for students of OCR Ancient History GCSE. It offers a factual account of her life from first coming to power to her death after the suicide of Antony and is written in an easy-to-read narrative style so is accessible for all your students, and not just those with high reading skills.

However, Cleopatra goes much further than just outlining the bare facts but also sets out for your students a clear insight into the historical context in both Eqypt and Rome, with analysis of the facts and synopses of the interested parties and their possible motives and influence on Cleopatra’s life.

The textbook also outlines the various sources of information on Cleopatra, giving guidance on the interpretation of such sources as well as pointers as to how best to answer exam questions on them.

Each section of the book includes a glossary of terms with which your students may not be familiar, activities to complete and an exam skills section, with sample questions, which sets out clearly how the exam scheme works – so your students will know what is required of them to get the best grade they can.

This book is fully photocopiable so you need only buy one copy which can then be shared with your students and colleagues.

There are sample pages from this photocopiable book at

Publisher’s reference: T1826EMN ISBN: 978 1 86083 881 1


  • Photocopiable book: £24.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • CD: £24.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • Book plus CD £31.94 plus £3.95 delivery
    Prices include VAT.
    You can purchase the report… please quote the order ref: T1826EMN

The two ways of raising grades

There are two different ways of raising grades at GCSE and A level which work well together. But not every school uses both.

The most obvious way to raise the grades of students taking exams is what we all strive to do: raise the quality of teaching and learning.

So dominant is this approach that the notion of there being an alternative is often not considered. After all, what else is there to do?

The answer, which perfectly complements the first approach, is managing stress and increasing motivation. This is essential because the level of stress that students experience seriously affects their ability to learn and their motivation to succeed.

However, the problem is that managing stress and fostering self-motivation is not something most of us are trained to do and we may feel that the time and resources to try are limited.

Helping students learn to overcome stress, teaching them to motivate themselves, encouraging them to plan for the future and develop confidence to try new things are essential skills. They help to build mental resilience and enhance overall mental well-being.

To develop these skills, students must explore them. Finding time in the school day to focus on these areas can be challenging and you may not have the resources or ideas to hand to achieve the desired result. But could you find ten minutes to introduce an activity that was already prepared?

Our solution comes in the form of eight worksheets in a ready-made booklet – ‘Greatest Strength Workbook for Students’. It comes with a free teacher’s guide and is available as an instant download. The teacher’s guide and a sample can be downloaded for free to get you started. The full license is currently only £29.99.

When you start to see the benefits of this kind of personal development, setting aside a small amount of time to complete a specifically designed task becomes easy.

The full details are available at:

If you have any questions then please email: or call 07811 356 283

I look forward to hearing from you.

Clare Martin

Introduction to HTML: free presentation!

Get your KS3 students coding with our free presentation on HTML!

Ideal as an introduction to programming, this presentation covers:

  • What HTML is, and what it does;
  • How tags work and what jobs they do;
  • The difference between head and body text.

Try out the presentation on our Doddle ICT & Computing page!

Get coding with Doddle ICT & Computing

Doddle ICT & Computing provides teaching, homework and assessment resources mapped to the 2014 KS3 programme of study, and offering comprehensive support for Naace and CAS Computing frameworks.

To see our resources in your classroom, book an in-school visit from a Doddle Educational Consultant.


The most effective way of helping students understand change…

Change is all around us (and happening more quickly all the time, or so they say). Identifying change is vital to any geography course. One of the best ways of helping students understand change is to look at a specific locality and see how it has evolved.

The clearest way of seeing change over time is through maps of different periods from, say, the mid 19th century to today. The kind of maps most likely to engage your students are those which cover an area familiar to them (say that of your school).

Your area’s evolutions can now be clearly seen with the Cassini Map Teaching Set which draws on several epochs of Ordnance Survey maps. There is no better source of British cartographic information. Whatever changes may befall the National Curriculum, these are first-hand geo-historical documents and so vital for any study of the landscape.

OS maps are accurate, objective and consistent. Using them will help engender the same qualities in your students’ geographical work and will be relevant to a wide range of classroom activities.

Until now, though, finding such maps was difficult. Areas of coverage, scales, symbols and designs have all changed over time. Libraries and record offices would have to be visited and permissions sought before a set of historical maps of your area could be obtained.

But now, with the Cassini Map Teaching Set, this problem is solved. You simply specify the postcode that you want as the centrepoint and we supply five OS maps from across the last 200 years or so, each covering the same area and at the same scale.

Another problem is solved, too. Maps, like any printed product, can get damaged. A set of maps supplied digitally, however, remains in perfect condition year after year for you to display on your whiteboard or intranet or to print out, as you wish.

The Cassini Map Teaching Set comprises five OS maps at successive periods from the mid 19th century to the present day, each covering at 1:50,000 the same 19km x 12 km area centred on your school’s postcode (or any other postcode in England or Wales). It comes complete with a set of worksheets and lively, informative background notes useful for teachers and students alike. A lifetime school licence is included and no pre-payment is needed.

The cost is normally £49.95 (+ VAT), but you can get 10% off if you order before 31 Oct 2014. Please enter the discount coupon X-HHG if ordering online or quote it if ordering by fax, tel or email.

For more information and to place orders:

(If ordering by fax, tel or email, please specify your school name and address, the postcode on which your maps are to be centred (even if this is the same as the school’s), the discount coupon and a contact tel and email.)

KS3 and KS4 English teaching resource exploring responsible advertising in the UK

There is no escaping the fact that we live in a commercial world. This brings with it the potential risk of children viewing harmful or inappropriate material.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) regulates UK ads to ensure that they are truthful and socially responsible. A crucial part of that process is putting the protection of children and young people at the heart of its work.

Ad:Check – Understanding Advertising Regulation is the ASA’s teaching resource which explores the big issues surrounding advertising and the impact which ads can have on young people.

Launched in 2012 and newly revised to reflect curriculum changes, the resource has relevant learning links to the curriculum for English at KS3 and KS4, and offers a range of flexible, easy-to-use lesson plans and class activities that will:

 Encourage active learning, rich in student talk, discussion and questioning.

 Prompt students to develop skills of visual literacy, thinking critically, constructively and creatively in analysing and evaluating evidence.

 Help students with presenting ideas in a variety of forms and justifying conclusions.

 Enable students to solve problems and develop their analytical skills while being encouraged to think creatively about topical issues, through decision-making exercises.

Ad:Check is FREE to download from the ASA website, where a library of broadcast, non-broadcast advertisements and other useful resource material are also available.

For further information about the ASA’s school resources and engagement work, please join our mailing list.

What controls the way you act?

How much of your day to day behaviour is influenced by the furniture?

It has long been a basic tenet of psychology that we are not only influenced by our inner feelings and personality, but we are also influenced by what is around us.

Nowhere is this clearer than with pupils and students. How they respond to the world around them is very clearly determined (in part at least) by the physical environment.

A perfect example of this comes with outdoor furniture. A bench for pupils and students to sit on during break and lunchtime encourages them to do just that – to sit rather than walk around.

And research suggests that a child sitting is less likely to be bullied or knocked over than a child walking around, simply because bullies tend themselves to be on the move.

It is quite a dramatic thought – that the installation of something as simple as an outdoor bench can change behaviour. Indeed, even if that were the only benefit of outdoor seating it would probably be enough of a reason to install lots of it.

But there is more, for if one asks the question, “What is the first thing that a parent sees when visiting the school for the first time?” the answer is, of course, the outside environment. It makes an impact and helps form an opinion.

So the outside of the school has an impact both on the pupils and students in the school and on the parents who visit.

If what pupils, students and parents see is (for example) smart outdoor seating, as well as suitable play and sports areas, there will be a feeling that this is an environment that caters for all and which considers the fact that some young people, like the rest of us, occasionally like to sit down and read, use a tablet, use their mobile phone, or simply have a chat with friends.

Thus, if we can take a step back and look at the exterior of the school, considering not only they way it currently looks but also how it might look with just a few additions, then we can have potential to make an impact on the behaviour of those who experience that environment.

This is why we produce so many different outdoor seats that are specifically designed for schools – for, if the school is to have a unique outdoor environment with new outdoor furniture, this must not only make an impact, but must also fit in with what is already there.

You can see a wide range of outdoor seating for schools on our website, or if you would like to talk about what might be suitable for your school, please do call 01280 701093.

Michael Barnes

I’d like an argument please

How can we help A level students understand the concept of the meaningful argument?

A man walks into an office and says, “I’d like to have an argument, please.”

If you are familiar with Monty Python you’ll know that the man is Michael Palin and he spends the new few minutes debating with John Cleese the difference between a true argument and “mere” contradiction.

Of course, the sketch never approaches the debate about the difference between these two concepts – and indeed why should it? It is just a comedy sketch, although a sketch so popular that, although first broadcast in 1972, it was performed by the original actors to much acclaim in their farewell performance 42 years later.

But while the difference between argument and contradiction was never resolved by Messers Palin and Cleese, it is a vital one for A Level students to grasp.

And grasping the difference is still only the start.

For even when the student starts to get to grips with the difference between such concepts as “claims” and “arguments”, there still remain such puzzling issues as explanations, assumptions, counter-claims, evidence, examples, deduction, induction, generalisation…

However the fact is that where students do understand the nature of debate and proof they tend not only to get better A level grades but they also become better prepared for university and/or employment.

In short, for many students it is a grasp of critical thinking which takes them from a B to an A, which delivers a far more impressive UCAS application, and which enables them to be much more persuasive in interviews and presentations.

It is for these reasons that the volume “Critical Thinking” has been written.

But “Critical Thinking” is about far more than just dismantling and evaluating other people’s arguments. For it is also involved in the production of the student’s own explanations and arguments.

Through examples and activities the volume encourages students to develop their considered point of view in essays, reports, debates, etc, and helps them be prepared to stand back and assess their own reasoning.

Critical Thinking is available as a printed copiable volume or as a CD which can be put on the school’s learning platform for use by students and staff.

You can see some sample pages at

Publisher’s reference:T1821EMN; ISBN: 978 1 86083 861 3


  • Photocopiable report in a book: £29.95
  • CD with school-wide rights: £24.95
  • Both the book and the CD: £36.94

Prices include VAT.

You can purchase the report… please quote the order ref: T1821EMN

Help your students to get a Grade C in AQA linear course 4365 foundation

AQA linear course 4365 foundation: getting a grade C

This 95 page revision guide/ workbook is a comprehensive study aid for all foundation level students, designed specifically for the new AQA linear course (code 4365 foundation). The highly illustrated volume is broken down into three sections:

  1. Statistics and Number
  2. Number and Algebra
  3. Geometry and Algebra.

Throughout the guide uses real life examples and is constructed in such a way that it is very easy for the students to understand.

Each chapter matches those on the scheme of work, and each chapter concludes with a range of questions which tests what the students have (and perhaps have not) understood.

There is also a copy of the recent foundation papers 4365/1F and 2F with answers pencilled in, showing your pupils how to gain every mark available and how to set out their answers to get grade C.

Overall this is an excellent resource which is also relevant to those students studying Edexcel and OCR specifications. It can be used in lessons when preparing for the exams or as a running homework over several weeks.

Every student will find this revision guide/ workbook very valuable in moving up one or more grades from that which has been predicted.

You can obtain GCSE Maths 4365 foundation: the revision guide as a download for immediate use by going to

The price is £19.95 plus VAT (the VAT can be reclaimed in most cases by the school).

GCSE Maths 4365 foundation: the revision guide is published by First and Best in Education, part of the Hamilton House group. If you have any enquiries you can call 01536 399 011, or email or write to us at First and Best, Hamilton House, Earlstrees Ct., Earlstrees Rd., Corby, Northants NN17 4HH.

The full range of First and Best books can be seen at

First and Best in Education
Earlstrees Road
NN17 4HH


How are you going to measure progress this term?

What’s the most effective way of providing evidence for Ofsted and parents on each child’s progress within each subject?

Knowing and recording exactly how each student is progressing in each specific subject is inevitably a time-consuming task, but is clearly essential.

Of course, the knowledge is vital because otherwise one is basing grouping on overall class position rather than ability within each subject. Detailed knowledge on a subject by subject basis enables one to differentiate teaching to meet the needs of different groups.

Undertaken manually, however, this approach is very time-consuming. So what is needed are assessments which are quick and simple to prepare, leaving more time for planning and teaching.

The way this is achieved is through Alfiesoft – a tool which provides valuable feedback to teachers, parents and pupils on the child’s ability and understanding of each subject.

It thus allows the teacher to set appropriate targets for pupils as well as being an invaluable source of information both for planning and tracking.

Not only is the test completed online, but the marking and feedback is immediate for both teacher and pupil, so your colleagues instantly know where to direct their attention in the future.

Over time the children can then take the test again to see how their understanding and knowledge has developed, an approach which of itself can be highly motivational for students.

Additionally parents can see how their son or daughter has progressed, giving them the whole picture and the ability to identify times when their child is working hard or is being distracted by outside events.

Likewise Ofsted inspectors can see each child’s progress as they can instantly access evidence to show where each student is now and where they need to get to. Ofsted will also count this approach as part of the student’s independent learning.

You can find more information and a free test demo on our website.

If you have any enquiries or questions please do call 08456 171 500 or email us at

I know we had one…

What is the simplest way of always keeping track of laptops, tablets, cables, musical instruments, cameras…?

Quite obviously, the first thing we all need to do is to have a hard-to-remove label on every piece of equipment – a label that won’t come off in the normal course of wear and tear, and one that is very hard to remove if someone tries to scratch it off.

But that is only the first point – because no matter how hard you make it to remove a label, there is always someone who will attempt it.

So the second thing is to make sure that the school name cut out in the label is painted with UV ink to show up should the label be removed. And, by simply letting everyone in the school know that this is the case, you can reduce attempts to remove the label by 90%.

ID Silver Mark are precision cut stencil labels which are ideal for labelling IT equipment (including iPads, tablets and mobiles) as no one can remove the label without it fragmenting, and even if they get peeled off the UV paint still shows the school name and postcode.

Another approach is to use a system that identifies and tracks small portable items of equipment, and this is where the Mini Mark Label comes into its own.

Each ID Mini Mark Label is not only hard to remove, but can also incorporate a serial number and/or barcode thus making it possible to include data in a small space.

Additionally should anybody attempt to remove the asset label or switch the label onto some other equipment, the material will break into small pieces, thus visibly announcing the fact that the label has been interfered with.

Furthermore, because the data is engraved into the surface of the label it cannot be removed with chemicals and cleaning materials.

Due to their size Mini Mark labels are suitable for all small electronic equipment from laptops to microphones, tablets to earphones, as well as cables, cameras and similar equipment.

Mini Mark labels are also ideal for musical instruments as the text won’t come off the label even with the continuous handling of an instrument. The labels can be provided with white text on black or silver material with black text.

Dantech also has a full range of ‘traditional’ printed labels with school name, asset number and bar code. Using asset numbering enables the school to maintain a detailed register with an instant view of which equipment is available and where.

There is more information on our website

Alternatively, please call us on 01354 688 488 or email us free and unbiased help and advice.

How to develop positive behaviour and erase bullying at playtimes and lunchtimes

Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development happens all the time. In the class, in the playground, in the home.

The problem is that when left to their own devices during playtimes and lunchtimes, some of the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development that one sees is not necessarily what one wants to see.

In short, while some children will play in a very positive way, some use playtime and lunchtime to learn how to be bullies. And sadly, because they find they like the feelings they get from bullying, they continue to do it.

Thus while others work together, mutually acknowledging the rules of their own games, helping and supporting each other and gaining much from the experience, for others the learning that happens is exactly what we don’t want to happen.

A straightforward way to enhance positive play in the school grounds is to teach the children one game a week which they can then work on together. Some games will catch on and become continuing favourites. Others by the nature of things will fade after a few days.

If the games can then be revealed to parents either by being put on the school’s website, or with the details described on the website or in hand outs, the impact of the game can be extended further and further.

The initial playing of the playground game by a group of children is always a highly rewarding experience. The sorting out of the rules, agreeing the fundamentals and, above all, working together are all basic to the development of the social aspect of each child’s life.

What’s more, many children will become enthused by the game, leaving those on duty with a much smaller number of potentially problematic situations to deal with.

PSHE in the Playground is a photocopiable book (also available on CD so that it can be loaded onto the school’s network) which incorporates enough games to last a full school year and includes games that are suitable for both key stage 1 and key stage 2 children. Most games can be taught to children in a matter of minutes.

Because the book is copiable only one copy needs to be purchased for the book to be used by all teachers in the school throughout the year.

An extract from PSHE in the Playground, ISBN 978 1 86083 726 5, order code T1691EMN is available at


  • Photocopiable report in a ring binder, £24.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • CD with school-wide rights: £24.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • Both the Ring Binder and the CD £31.94 plus £3.95 delivery
  • Prices include VAT.

You can purchase the report…

When ordering the book please quote the reference T1791EMN.

£300 worth of complimentary books and career resources for your school

How2Become Ltd, an Award-Winning careers specialist, is currently working in partnership with a number of universities, including the University of Central Lancashire, to provide free books and online testing for students and pupils looking to get a career.

To help your students get a job when they leave education we are offering to send you £300 worth of free career resource books and free access to our online testing suites from the website

To take up this free offer, or to find out more, simply contact me at:

Full details of all our resources can be found at

Or via our eCatalogue:

Richard McMunn
Managing Director
How2Become Ltd

How2become Ltd
Suite 2
50 Churchill Square Business Centre
Kings Hill
West Malling
ME19 4YU

Are your teachers sufficiently aware why some students find their learning so difficult?


Are your teachers sufficiently
aware why some students find
their learning so difficult?

This video resource introduces classroom
teachers to four common learning difficulties:

  • Dyslexia
  • Dyscalculia
  • Attention Deficit
  • Autistic Spectrum

This video aims to help understand teachers
understand their students needs and enable
them to better support their learning.


Based on the latest research, the material is
designed to be as accessible, jargon-free and
teacher-relevant as possible.

Using models and diagrams, we explain how the latest research can help teachers both understand their pupils and improve their learning, and how weaknesses in one area can be strengths in another.

The material can be used either at a staff training session or by teachers individually.

Since all the skills of the brain can be improved with practice, we include proven methods to help students in each of the four areas.

Order this training resource on DVD today for £149, or get the network version to share site-wide for just £199!

Order via our website or call 01223 750705 quoting SEN – Hamiliton House.

Contents of this resource

Introduction: Brain Essentials

This looks at the models and diagrams used in the film to understand the brain without the complex language used by specialists.

Areas covered:

  • Vision, hearing, touch, action and speech.
  • Reading, writing and Language
  • Making memories: Neurons and synapses
  • Skills for thinking: Paying attention
  • Working memory

Different Brains: Learning Difficulties

Looks at the four main types of learning difficulty, explains how the brain is different and how we can help develop the weak skills.

Ch1: What are Learning Difficulties?

  • Difference or Difficulty?
  • Symptoms and causes
  • What about diet?
  • On a spectrum
  • Is it genetic?

Ch2: Dyslexia

  • Reasons a student may have the symptoms of dyslexia (difficulty reading and spelling). Poor vocabulary, poor phonics, low working memory, letter inversion, words moving
  • Causes and advantages of a dominant right hemisphere
  • Ways to help dyslexics
  • Famous people with Dyslexia

Ch3: Difficulty with Maths

  • Difficulties shared with dyslexics
  • Dyscalculia: trouble with number

Ch4: Attention Deficit: difficulty holding attention

  • The sleeping brain
  • Executive function
  • Improving attention
  • Famous people with ADHD

Ch5: Autistic Spectrum: difficulty knowing the thoughts of others

  • Why a spectrum
  • Mirror cells
  • Training the skills
  • Famous people with autism

Ways to order:

DVD for £149.00 + VAT and £4.50 p&p
Network Version for £199.00 + VAT and £4.50 p&p

Via website: Pay via invoice, credit card or Paypal by clicking here
Visit the phone: We can take credit card payment or send an invoice.
Call us on 01223 750705 quoting SEN – Hamiliton House.
Via fax: Fax your purchase orders to 01223 750706 quoting SEN – Hamiliton House.

Mediamerge Ltd
Orwell House
Cowley Road

Psychology4Students: For students considering Psychology at University

The British Psychological Society: Psychology4Students 2014

Our Psychology4Students series gives A-level, Pre-tertiary and 1st year undergraduate students a glimpse into the exciting world of Psychology.

The event will consist of five keynote presentations by established UK Psychologists. Our aim is that the talks will give you a broad view of the many areas of Psychology; some will relate to the A level curriculum, whilst others are designed to widen your perspective on where a psychology degree could take you.

During the event there will be a 90 minute break to give you the chance to explore the exhibition zone which will include interactive demonstrations, book stalls, careers advice and much more.

20 November, Sheffield, 10:00am – 4:30pm

  • Swearing as a response to pain: Richard Stephens, Keele University
  • Applying Nonverbal Psychology in the Real World: Dr Daniel Gurney, University of Hertfordshire
  • Old brains – it’s all downhill, right?: Dr Alan Gow, Heriot-Watt University
  • Sweet memories: Glucose enhancement of human memory: Dr Michael Smith, Northumbria University
  • Lovestruck: The Psychology of Attraction: Dr Viren Swami, University of Westminster

2 December, London, 10:00am – 4:30pm

  • Psychology of behaviour change; It’s all about the baby steps: Professor Jim McKenna, Leeds Met University
  • What is work-life balance, and how can you make this work?: Almuth McDowall, University of Surrey
  • Childhood psychotic symptoms: developmental hiccup or bad omen?: Helen Fisher, Institute of Psychiatry, KCL
  • Relationships, Stress and Parents: Dr Andrea Oskis, Middlesex University
  • The seriously fun science of laughing babies: Dr Caspar Addyman, Birkbeck Babylab

Free tutor places for every 10 places you book. Only £16 to attend including lunch.

You can book online now by clicking here for group bookings please visit the website to download a group booking form.

For the latest news visit:


The Kaiserreich

This 150 page book will be invaluable to any student of the Second Reich at Advanced level. It provides a comprehensive, narrative chronological structure which is a prerequisite of any study of the period. Personalities and events are recounted in considerable detail and are clearly set in context.

However the book goes beyond most standard textbooks in the way it prepares students to produce competent essay responses to exam questions and provides practice in handling documentary source.

  • Students are given key questions to consider and are encouraged to test continuously the theories of historians against their own findings.
  • Essay style questions are set at each stage in the book, all drawn from past exam papers.
  • Documentary criticism skills are continuously tested.
  • Frequent historiographical references remind students to read beyond this text to gain a greater understanding of the subject.

What’s more, the materials are available as a photocopiable book and as a CD which can be put onto the school’s network and shared among all students for whom it is relevant. Thus all students may use the material with the purchase of just one copy.

ISBN No: 978 1 86083 564 3 Order code: T1649EMN

Sample pages are available to download free of charge from

  • Photocopiable book: £29.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • CD: £29.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • CD plus photocopiable book: £36.94 plus £3.95 delivery

You can order… Please quote the order code T1649EMN

  • By post: Write to First and Best, Hamilton House, Earlstrees Ct., Earlstrees Rd., Corby, Northants NN17 4HH
  • By fax: To 01536 399 012
  • By phone: quoting a credit card number or a school order reference number: 01536 399 018
  • On line: Go to – you will need a credit card to complete the order

Making Philosophical Arguments Accessible

This resource book of philosophical arguments presents and discusses such arguments and, where relevant, looks at individual philosophers in a form and style of writing that is accessible and comprehensible to students.

The coverage of the volume is extensive. After an introduction on logic and argument, the Theory of Knowledge section deals with empiricism, rationalism, justification, scepticism and knowledge of the external world.

Moral philosophy takes the student through utilitarianism, deontology and virtue ethics, practical ethics on topics such as abortion and voluntary euthanasia and meta-ethics.

The final section of the philosophy of region covers ideas of God, cosmological ontological and teleological arguments, faith reason and belief, and the implications of God’s existence.

After each argument there is an explanation – where necessary – of each part of the argument, followed by discussion of any problems or issues arising. Finally there are questions and points for discussion.

Some of the material on God and Moral Philosophy will also be useful to students of A level Religious Studies whose course includes some Philosophy of Religion and Ethics. Of particular relevance are sections on: arguments for the existence of God; faith, reason and belief; religious experience; God and morality; miracles.

There are sample pages from the photocopiable book at

Publisher’s reference: T1706EMN ISBN: 978 1 86083 771 5


  • Photocopiable book: £25.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • CD with school-wide rights: £25.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • Both the book and the CD: £32.94 plus £3.95 deliveryPrices include VAT.
    You can purchase the report… please quote the order ref: T1706EMN

Low-level disruption and other annoyances

Ofsted is getting concerned about low-level disruption. But what determines the behaviour of students in school?

Ofsted’s latest pronouncement about low-level disruption is one that will ring many a bell.

Not because it focuses on something new, but rather because we’ve been here before – not least in the Ofsted Report of March 2005, “Managing Challenging Behaviour”, which again focussed on low-level disruption.

So the question is, why is a problem that Ofsted worried about nine years back still a matter for press releases, news headlines and arguments?

It can be argued that one of the great problems with approaches to discipline is that they are based on ideas and beliefs rather than practical experimentation which might establish whether a theory works in terms of reducing disruption and enhancing learning.

Indeed, even when such experimentation does exist, it can sometimes be the case that those who determine educational policy may set it aside when the experiment’s results don’t quite match their established political beliefs.

When it comes to behaviour and discipline there is research, the findings of which have never been countered, which shows that the key factor in determining the behaviour of pupils is not the syllabus of the school, parental expectations, or indeed the socio-economic background of the students.

Rather it is the view of the staff within the school. In fact, where different staff hold different views on the issue of behaviour and discipline, then behavioural issues increase.

In short, when the staff genuinely agree to, and subsequently adopt, a unified policy then the problems vanish.

What makes this finding so important is that first, it puts the power to change pupil and student behaviour totally in the hands of the school and its managers, and second, it assures us all that change is possible.

This is the starting point for the volume, Improving attitudes, managing behaviour and reducing exclusions, a book that builds from the original research which proved this finding and which applies it to contemporary schooling.

The findings of the original research reviewed in the book are very clear: schools improve when all those in the school decide to improve the school, not because of government initiatives, Ofsted, or what anyone else tells us to do.

For, once a school has its own unified policy, and is able to project that policy to parents and students as an approach to which all staff agree, the unity of purpose of the school is established.

The key issue thus becomes the implementation and maintenance of the policy every day of the school year. And it is the implementation of this approach that “Improving attitudes” describes.

You can see some sample pages at

Publisher’s reference: T1813EMN ISBN: 978 1 86083 821 7


  • Photocopiable book £24.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • CD £24.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • Book plus CD £31.94 plus £3.95 delivery

Prices include VAT.

You can purchase the report… please quote the order ref: T1813EMN

What are the most complex movements that the human body can be trained to perform?

There is a fair chance that if you contemplate the question in my headline above you might suggest activities such as those seen within Olympic gymnastics or perhaps in traditional circus routines involving high-wire balancing abilities.

But it turns out that one particularly complex movement for the human body is… hopping on one foot. Indeed, in order to be able to do this we need both very high levels of physical coordination and sophisticated cognitive abilities.

It is perhaps because of the complexity involved that hopscotch, which of course depends on hopping as well as a certain amount of standing on one leg, is such an eternal favourite. It is a way of developing and revealing a high level of self-control.

What’s more, the jumping within a game of hopscotch also builds physical stamina. And because there is a competitive element (either between children or with a child attempting to push forward his/her own ability), the child moves on to ever bigger challenges.

Thus what appears to be a simple game has all sorts of interesting benefits in terms of balance plus cognitive, emotional, and social growth as well.

And all of this is without considering the very beginning of the game, where the child has to develop hand/eye coordination to throw the “stone” onto the right square of the hopscotch board.

Such is the power of hopscotch that one of our best sellers has become Foam Hopscotch – a version of the game that can be played both indoors and outdoors.

It includes four heavier plastic discs as the “stones” to be thrown and an Edventure Game Guide. When assembled the hopscotch board measures 210cm x 60cm.

Free Delivery

If you quote HH0314 when you place your order you will receive free delivery. Otherwise the carriage charge is £3.95 if ordered online or £7.50 if ordered by fax, phone or post.

Here are the details:

On our website
By fax to: 01323 50 10 41
By post to: Edventure Ltd, Hargreaves Business Park, Hargreaves Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN23 6QW.
By phone between 9am and 5pm: 01323 50 10 40

Edventure Ltd
Hargreaves Business Park
Hargreaves Road
East Sussex
BN23 6QW

Tel: 01323 50 10 40


Activities for AQA (A) AS Psychology

What is the most effective way of helping students come to terms with the key issues in psychology?

The answer to the question is simple: for the students to undertake activities relating to the topics that they are studying. Topics which they may have touched on in everyday life, but which they have never considered in terms of academic study.

Through such activities the students can engage in independent learning, develop their application skills and evaluation skills, and judge their own progress using the success criteria linked to examiner comments and the skills needed at each level.

Six separate areas are covered within this resource: memory, attachments, research methods, stress, individual differences, and social influence. The resource concludes with a set of wide-ranging revision activities.

By way of example, the memory section of the resource starts with a list of key authorities within the field so that students can gain a historical perspective. Second there is a review of models of memory and a link to the exam requirements in this area – plus a task to be completed.

We then move on to improving memory and finally there is a balloon debate activity which covers authoritative researchers in the field of cognitive psychology.

A similar level of depth is covered through each of the other topics, after which there is a set of revision activities.

There are sample pages at

25 Activities for AQA (A) AS Psychology is published as a download so that you can immediately receive a copy onto your computer, from which you can print out pages for colleagues and students as often as you want. You can also put it on your school learning platform so all staff can access the document – and indeed you can make it part of the induction documentation for new members of staff.

You can obtain 25 Activities for AQA (A) AS Psychology by going to

The price is £10 plus VAT (the VAT can be reclaimed in most cases by the school).

25 Activities for AQA (A) AS Psychology is published by First and Best in Education, part of the Hamilton House group. If you have any enquiries you can call 01536 399 011, or email or write to us at First and Best, Hamilton House, Earlstrees Ct., Earlstrees Rd., Corby, Northants NN17 4HH.

The full range of First and Best books can be seen at
First and Best in Education
Earlstrees Road
NN17 4HH


How do u pronounce the u in pronounce?

Of course, the answer to the question above is determined not specifically by the letter “u” but rather by what’s around it. The “u” in “umbrella” is different from the “u” in “uniform”, which again is different from the “u” in push.

Not to mention the “u” in “pronounce”.

Even the old classic rules like “i before e” stop working with reindeer and receiver and a plethora of words that actually start “ei”.

In fact there are some 90 different spelling and phonic rules in the English language ranging from similarities (as with words like “coin” and “toy” with the same sound but different spelling choices), to such outrageous oddities as “knife” and “gnome”.

So what is the poor dyslexic child to do?

Sadly there is no shortcut, for the only way in which dyslexic students can learn the spelling choices for the many different phonics and homophones, is through a structured reading and spelling programme.

And this is exactly what MSL has devised: the Complete Reading and Spelling Rescue Programme.

This programme covers all the 90 different spelling and sound rules, it then adds in ten further sections on issues such as word patterns, suffixes, prefixes, homophones and irregular final syllables, making 100 topics in all.

The 90 rules and associated topics can be seen on our website where you can see the structured order of teaching that we have introduced.

What we have then done is broken these 100 topics down into 20 modules, presented in an order which allows students to use the spelling rules as soon as they have learned them.

As a result of this structured approach, which includes placement & progress tests, you can introduce a dyslexic pupil or student to the sequence from the very start. You can also begin work at a point where the individual will be revising key points, before moving on to areas of weakness, where his/her knowledge becomes erratic.

A copiable printed version of each module costs £29.99, or you can order five modules together on a CD for £80 plus VAT. All 20 modules (including the 4 CD’s) are available for £450.

You can order the Reading and Spelling Rescue Programme in any of these ways:

On our website
By phone on 01604 505000
By fax to 01604 505001
By email to
By post to Multi-Sensory Learning, Highgate House, Creaton, Northants, NN6 8NN

How do u pronounce the u in pronounce?

In the English language almost everything
depends on everything else

Of course, the answer to the question in the subject line is the statement in the headline. How you pronounce “u” depends on what’s around it. The “u” in “umbrella” is different from the “u” in “uniform”, which again is different from the “u” in push.

Not to mention the “u” in “pronounce”.

Even the old classic rules like “i before e” stop working with reindeer and receiver and a plethora of words that actually start “ei”.

In fact, there are some 90 different spelling and phonic rules in the English language ranging from similarities (as with words like “coin” and “toy” with the same sound but different spelling choices), to such outrageous oddities as “knife” and “gnome”.

So what is the poor dyslexic child to do?

Sadly there is no shortcut, for the only way in which dyslexic students can learn the spelling choices for the many different phonics and homophones is through a structured reading and spelling programme.

And this is exactly what MSL has devised: the Complete Reading and Spelling Rescue Programme.

This programme covers all the 90 different spelling and sound rules; it then adds in ten further sections on issues such as word patterns, suffixes, prefixes, homophones and irregular final syllables, making 100 topics in all.

The 90 rules and associated topics can be seen on our website where you can see the structured order of teaching that we have introduced.

What we have then done is broken these 100 topics down into 20 modules, presented in an order which allows students to use the spelling rules as soon as they have learned them.

As a result of this structured approach, which includes placement & progress tests, you can introduce a dyslexic pupil or student to the sequence from the very start. You can also begin work at a point where the individual will be revising key points before moving on to areas of weakness where his/her knowledge becomes erratic.

A copiable printed version of each module costs £29.99, or you can order five modules together on a CD for £80 plus VAT. All 20 modules (including the 4 CD’s) are available for £450.

You can order the Reading and Spelling Rescue Programme in any of these ways:

  • On our website
  • By phone on 01604 505000
  • By fax to 01604 505001
  • By email to
  • By post to Multi-Sensory Learning, Highgate House, Creaton, Northants, NN6 8NN

One way that everyone can get a better grade

What is the simplest and most cost-effective way to
take all students up a grade at GCSE and A Level?

Leaving aside those students who, you are sure, going to get top grades no matter what, everyone has the ability to go up one or two grades if they will only make a simple change to their approach to learning.

All they have to do is improve the way they focus on the learning, when they are writing essays, making notes, and undertaking revision. Improve the focus, and up goes the grade.

Now as you will know, focus relates to something very simple – the ability to screen out distraction and instead pay total attention to what is being learned. When focus is high, then the time taken to learn anything is reduced and learning becomes much more productive.

So our question becomes: what is the simplest way to raise the focus of students?

The answer is to get rid of the one factor in learning that interferes most strongly with a focus on the subject. That factor turns out to be the way in which students make notes.

If they are making notes by hand, for example looking at a book or a whiteboard, and then looking down at the page on which they write, they are focussing so much on the action of looking and writing that the meaning of what they are writing is less likely to sink in.

In short, their notes become far less meaningful because their brain power is spent on the looking up and down and the subsequent handwriting, rather than on the information.

On the other hand, if the student can touch type, then the student can read the text in a book or on the whiteboard, and then copy it down in full or in note form, while reading.

The learning thus takes place while the note taking is happening, and when the student returns to the typed up text, the learning is already in the brain, waiting to be enhanced.

Unfortunately there is one snag. Most students can’t touch type, and most schools don’t provide them with any touch typing training. Some schools claim that they do so but only point their students to free touch-typing programs on the internet. By and large they don’t work because they consist of little more than repeated exercises with no motivation for the student to keep progressing and no means for the teacher to track progress.

Worse, these programs tend to contain adverts (which is why they can be provided for free) which distract the user. Thus students don’t learn to touch type, and then believe that they “can’t touch type” – which is a fallacy. 99% of the literate population can learn to touch type.

There is however a program that is widely used in schools – Typequick, offered by Type&Test Ltd – which not only teaches students to touch type quickly through a professional, detailed online learning system, but also offers a way for the school to earn income from it, if parents choose to buy their own copy.

You can read more about Type&Test at and you can also find details of the system that many schools use in order to earn additional income from parental purchases by clicking here. Alternatively if you have any questions please do call 01480 861867 or you can make contact by completing an online enquiry form, available here.

And of course once parents realise just how touch typing is helping their children to get higher grades – as well as giving them a solid advantage when it comes to applying for jobs and university places, then they do tend to buy.

All About Success Discussion Cards – Yes success

Quite often we see a range of resources aimed at the negatives faced by our young people, anger, stress, anxiety for example. Whilst these areas are vitally important, is it wrong to occasionally focus on the positives?This set of discussion cards does just that, they challenge the ideas surrounding success, increase confidence and raise awareness of goal setting.

Achieving success in life means different things to different people: some judge it by social interactions; some by academic achievements. In order to achieve our goals, we must first identify them but then, just as importantly, we need to adopt the strategies that will help us to succeed.

These cards give students an opportunity to develop the following key skills and attitudes:

Self-belief and confidence in one’s own abilities, realising the importance of goal-setting.

Understanding the need of planning for success, understanding what success means to them.

Persistence and tenacity, understanding the importance of social interaction and networking

Includes 36 cards, Age 8-16



Post: Small World, 9 Burnham Place, Syresham, Northants, NN13 5HT
Tel: 01280 850 305
Fax: 01280 830022



To obtain a 5% discount on your order, please quote HH14 on your purchase order form or add the discount code whilst purchasing online.

A life saver for any teacher new to Politics

‘A life saver for any teacher new
to Politics…’

I wish this had been available when I started teaching Unit 1 – as a new teacher to Politics it would have made my life a lot easier. (L Peart, Politics Teacher, Head of Department and Independent Reviewer)

This comprehensive scheme of work for A Level Edexcel Unit 1 People and Politics guides you through over 50 lessons of key content to make sure your students’ first experience of Politics is engaging and fun. Plus it’s all directly relevant to the Edexcel specification; and tried and tested by an experienced Politics teacher, you can be confident your students won’t miss a thing!

  • This is one of the best sets of resources I have been lucky enough to review and also use. I am blown away by the detail and effort put into this; the creator has done a fantastic job. (D Taborda, Learning Manager and Independent Reviewer)
  • Absolutely brilliant… this will transform what I am delivering and really help students’ attainment, particularly at the upper end, to achieve better results. A really good resource – the best I’ve reviewed – well done! (S Sharpe-Foster, Teacher and Independent Reviewer)

For each lesson the resource consists of:

  1. Structured lesson plans including ideas for starters, mains and plenaries
  2. Supported by worksheets and activities that encourage structured note-taking
  3. Stimulating PowerPoints that are expertly designed and animated to keep your students’ interest

ZigZag resources are available as ‘copy masters’ or in editable format and come with a site licence, allowing you to pay once and copy as often as you need, or put on your server for multiple use.

The Edexcel Unit 1 People and Politics Schemes of Work are available per topic from as little as £44+VAT as photocopy masters with site licence. Also available for the whole of Unit 1 for £149+VAT, or get Word and PDF copies of all worksheets and lesson plans for £199+VAT.

Would I purchase this resource?… Definitely YES YES YES!
S Sharpe-Foster, Teacher and Independent Reviewer)

Preview and order now at

ZigZag Education, Unit 3, Greenway Business Centre, Doncaster Road, Bristol BS10 5PY
t: 0117 950 3199 | f: 0117 959 1695 |

Give your promotional code WH60 to get free postage!

The Maverick Theatre Company – Available Autumn 2014 – Spring 2015.

Arguably one of Shakespeare’s finest History Plays, this critically acclaimed, one-person adaptation features historical accuracy with much of Shakespeare’s original text. A spirited production combines an innovative recipe of one actor and a ‘supporting cast’ of lights, sound, special effects and an evocative and original live music score. The result is 70 minutes edge-of-the-seat excitement.Our Maverick Henry V workshop can accompany the show and delivers drama-based exercises relevant to National Curriculum KS3 and KS4 (content taught at an appropriate level to the pupils), with a focus on storytelling techniques, writing skills and teamwork. The most important focus for us at Maverick is to improve communication skills, confidence, co-ordination and understanding of key works of literature. All workshops will be led by either our Associate Director Katie Merritt, who achieved her MFA at East 15 Acting School, or actor Ed Morris, who has just finished a summer of school workshops with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

In addition to this, we can also provide the Maverick Henry V Education Pack which serves as a guide to teachers to continue to explore and develop the play and relevant associated literature, through practical drama-based activities in the classroom with key references to National Curriculum specifications.

Show Only – £400

Show + Workshop – £500

Show + Workshop + Education Pack – £600

For further details, please email

“A towering, quicksilver show… quite brilliant.”
Stratford-upon-Avon Herald

“A Henry V to stir the imagination. A truly vivid theatrical experience, comic, ironic and deeply moving. The arrows hiss upwards and you chill inside… a miracle. The battle sequence at Agincourt is a tour de force.”
Birmingham Post.

“Hennegan’s Henry is an adventure story for today… this will surely exorcise the ghost of schoolroom Shakespeare for good. Theatre at its best. Cry God for Harry, Shakespeare and Nick Hennegan”
Birmingham Evening Mail

“A tremendous story… a truly superb theatrical experience – a tour de force”
Edinburgh Fringe News

Nick Hennegan M.A.
Artistic Director
0208 090 5082.
0743 536 2424.
Twitter: @LiteraryPubs

Hear ‘Literary London’ every Friday evening at 7pm on Resolution 104.4 FM and online.

The London Literary Pub Crawl
Every week in the heart of London.
WINNER – Society of London Theatre Stage One Bursary.

NEW – Writers Urban Retreats – every last Sat. of the month in London.

Self-evaluation in the Mathematics Dept

What is the simplest (and most effective) approach to self-evaluation in the Mathematics Department?

Self-evaluation has two problems. One is that it can take up a lot of time and the other is that Ofsted often comments that self-evaluation forms can be a trifle vague. This is bad news because no one wants to spend time and finish up with statements that turn out to be hard to defend.

The good news is that we’ve built a unique self-evaluation system for use in Mathematics departments. It is quick to use and results in statements that can be presented with a certainty that they are completely accurate when questioned by senior leaders or an inspector. Look at how it works here:

Of course, the first thing to ensure with any system which claims to be easy to use is that it is possible to start using it within five minutes of turning it on. And that means no manual, no complex logging-in procedure, etc. – just instant access and instant use.

In the case of iAbacus, you go straight in and then, either on your own or with a colleague, you decide where your school stands for that area of work.

Thus you might decide your department is “good” in terms of “achievement of pupils” and “outstanding” in terms of “quality of teaching”; iAbacus then shows you what that means in Ofsted terms.

Now there’s a moment’s pause. Are you really sure that the department meets those criteria? Have you overplayed your hand a bit, or maybe done yourself down? Either alone or with a colleague or two, you can accept the setting in the light of the criteria or change it.

As you know, you’ll have to provide evidence to meet the judgement you’ve made and formulate an action plan for getting better. So that is what iAbacus helps you to do next.

The iAbacus approach to self-evaluation is having a huge impact on subject departments – especially when several colleagues get involved in the process. For it challenges everyone to justify their judgements, analyse what is going on, and plan to improve – and that is the most valuable step of all.

In no time you have a departmental evaluation and improvement plan, in PDF format or printed off, with visual displays of your judgements, evidence of where you are now, and detailed plans of how you are going to move forward.

As one colleague emailed, “Self evaluation at our school has been transformed by the use of iAbacus. Whole school, subject self-evaluation and improvement is now rooted in a system that is not only simple to use but also very visual.”

iAbacus costs just £100 for a one year, one-person licence. Our suggestion is that you try it out yourself and then show it to a couple of colleagues. If they like it too, just call us back for another licence.

To see the Mathematics iAbacus please visit and then see the other areas on which iAbacus focuses.

The easy school trip….

The end of stressful journeys

Even before you set out on the school trip, the stress starts. Having to arrange the coach, the ferry, the coach again and possibly train journeys – not to mention making all the connections on time.

An alternative approach is available which reduces both the time taken with the travelling and offers the avoidance of these numerous inter-connecting parts of the journey.

This approach not only involves a much simpler journey, but it also involves one person processing everything from the initial enquiry through to the production of tickets, making this a singularly smooth and stress free transaction.

Travelling time is considerably reduced by using air flights to the destination of your choice, all booked via GTC Travel Group.

Given that it is normally possible to fly from an airport near to the school to an airport close to the final destination, such arrangements can add up to three more days spent in the desired destination.

You may be surprised to find that the cost of the flights can be less expensive than travel by conventional methods as bulk buying by the school can push down airline prices.

At GTC Travel Group we understand the importance of meeting the exact needs of your individual group, and so we will offer you the best advice to make your journey as stress free as possible.

Better still, our reservation technology enables us to give you the most up-to-date travel options, all the time. We book and issue our own tickets enabling us to keep full control of your booking and ensure your journey meets your needs.

What’s more, as we are ABTA and ATOL holders you can be assured that you and your students are fully protected (as recommended by the Health and Safety Executive for schools) should the airline fail.

Because we have so many locations to and from which we can fly, the best way to explore the possibilities is to either call one of our specialist group reservation advisors on 020 8429 2900 or email us at with the details of your requirements.

You can also go to our website for more information.

Either way we’ll come back to you with our suggestions and prices. You’ll be surprised how much time can be saved and how low group air fares can be.

To keep up to date with the latest news and offers for your group bookings

Join us on Facebook
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Dyscalculia Centre reveals five different types of dyscalculia.

Diagnosing dyscalculia is just the start.
It is also necessary to identify the type of dyscalculia the student has got.

Research by the Dyscalculia Centre, which has been published in SEN Magazine, has shown that there are five different types of dyscalculia – although inevitably many young people suffer from a combination of the types listed below.

Type 1 dyscalculics report significant worries about maths. As a result they feel themselves living in an alien world in which everyone else can grasp maths, but they can’t. Self-doubt becomes so strong that it gets increasingly difficult to persuade the individual that with proper support they might well be able to undertake and understand mathematical calculations.

Type 2 dyscalculics also experience this deep concern but have found strategies for understanding and coping with basic maths – yet they feel that they don’t have the automatic grasp that others have and often take twice as much time (or more) to do a maths problem as a non-dyscalculic person.

Type 3 students have a profound difficulty in comprehending and dealing with the concept of time. Sometimes this issue appears on its own, sometimes in combination with types 1 or 2 dyscalculia. For such people time itself makes no sense and they are quite unable to estimate “five minutes” or any other time length while questions about timetables and the like are also quite meaningless.

Type 4 dyscalculics may not always be dyscalculic in the genetic sense, although they display many of the symptoms of dyscalculic people because they have short-term and long-term memory problems. These students generally have a problem with all sequences – and this, of course, affects their ability to handle maths perhaps more than any other subject.

Type 5 dyscalculics tend not to see numbers as in any way related to the real world. In one sense most of us have this problem; after all, what is “six”? We know what six sheep are. But “six” on its own is close to meaningless. For such people, maths can be learned automatically, but when it gets to issues such as fractions, decimals, and percentages then life gets difficult.

Fortunately all these types of dyscalculics can be helped through different types of multi-sensory learning of maths, and this is the approach we have set out in our series: “Dyscalculia Activities”

Each volume contains a vast array of activities which a teacher or assistant teacher can undertake with a small group of students, and involves turning the abstract concepts of maths into physical experiences. No special equipment is needed, apart from paper, scissors, small cards and some ludo type counters. (We can supply the cards and counters if you don’t already have them).

Each printed volume is copiable, and so only one copy is needed per school.

There are details here including sample pages

Dyscalculia Activities 1: Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division
Dyscalculia Activities 2: Shapes, fractions, percentages.
Dyscalculia Activities 3: Time and Timetables:
Cards and counters for use with above books:
If you have any enquiries please do call 01536 399 000 or email

You can place orders on line (there is a link from each of the above resource pages) or you can go straight to the on-line shop here You can also order by post and fax:

By post to First and Best, Hamilton House, Earlstrees Ct., Earlstrees Way, Corby, NN17 4HH
By fax to 01536 399 012

Covering the variety of tasks in GCSE music

The variety of tasks in GCSE music
is itself a problem

One of the great developments in GCSE music has been the expansion of the course to include many of the things that a “real musician” has to do.

Whether the individual is playing in an orchestra or a rock band the issues still arise. Directing, rehearsing, unprepared performance, group playing, group singing, form, harmony, composition, arrangement – all of this is relevant to every form of music that is being performed.

The problem is, however, that the range of topics is so huge that it is impossible to imagine one volume that covers them all from the student’s point of view.

Yet that is the task that Judith Bailey set herself when preparing “Making Music”, and it does indeed work. The book comes in photocopiable form or as a CD which can be loaded onto the school’s intranet or learning platform so that all may share in the information.

To me, this is a most interesting approach, and one that is worthy of a look. There are sample pages available on line at

The volume not only includes practical illustrations and numerous musical examples, it also includes graded tests, tests for singing and playing, and compositional projects.

A key element in this volume is the way in which the book forces the students to focus on the central issues of performance, so that all actions are made as a result of clear decisions rather than whims, and of course it is this approach that allows the students to apply their learning to all forms of music making.

The graded tests allow you to see exactly where the students have progressed to and which areas need to be revised before proceeding with the course.

Here are the publisher’s details.

Making Music by Judith Bailey ISBN: 978 1 86083 600 8 Order code: T1557EMN
Order details:

Formats please specify when ordering
Photocopiable book: £19.95 plus £3.95 delivery
CD: £19.95 plus £3.95 delivery
Photocopiable book plus CD: £26.94 plus £3.95 delivery

Methods of ordering
By post to First and Best, Hamilton House Mailings plc, Earlstrees Ct., Earlstrees Rd., Corby, Northants NN17 4HH

By fax on 01536 399 012

By phone with a credit card or with an official school order number on 01536 399 011

On line with a credit card

In each case please quote our reference T1557EMN

Study guides for English GCE and GCSE

Writers and their Work has been working with the British Council since 1985; our aim is to provide students with clear, comprehensible studies on central literary figures and key texts, written by inspiring teachers and academics.

The series, which now reaches over 200 titles, provides students and staff with an overview of an author’s work and life, giving valuable insight into the ‘bigger picture’.

  • Revision tool for key GCSE and GCE texts;
  • Affordable at £12.99 – £14.99;
  • Concise;
  • Accessible – written with the student in mind;
  • Up to date bibliographies and biographical outlines;
  • Aide memoire for teachers.


Charlotte Brontë by Patsy Stoneman
128pp 9 780 74630 856 1 £12.99

William Golding by Kevin MacCarron
88pp 9 780 74631 143 1 £12.99

‘ lively and succinct…this is a provocative study.’ English Studies

Seamus Heaney (3rd ed) by Andrew Murphy
9 780 746 3120 94 £12.99
‘…a remarkably good job at elucidating Heaney’s work.’ The Lecturer

Jean Rhys (2nd ed) by Helen Carr
170pp 9 780 74631 163 9 £12.99
‘..engaging and accessible with a thorough and a very useful select bibliography ‘ Reference Reviews

For ordering details, and further information, please visit our website quoting ref: HH01 on ordering.

Static electricity: free Boardworks KS3 presentation

Welcome back! We wanted to start the term by reminding you about the upgrade to Boardworks KS3 Science, which has been fully updated to match the new 2014 KS3 Programme of Study.

To help you get a feel for what’s included in this upgrade, we’ve provided a set of free resources on static electricity!

This presentation provides the historical context of Michael Faraday’s “lines of force”, before expanding on this theory and why it was later proved incorrect. By demonstrating the true shapes of electric fields through interactive drag-and-drop activities, students can see for themselves how positive and negative charges affect electric fields.

Download the resources today – they’re available free on our science free stuff page!


The Boardworks team

P.S. If you’re interested in our A-Level Science products, why not explore them on our website?