It’s a chore of priority

How can you ensure that your minibus is roadworthy and safe without you, or your colleagues, having to arrange its MOT or servicing?

Keeping students safe from harm is undoubtedly the highest priority of any member of staff. Which is why the MOT, servicing and overall maintenance of the school’s minibus is of the highest priority.

But there is a problem. Because, not only is this an issue of utmost importance, but it is also an issue that takes up a significant amount of time.

And when it has to be done, it can’t be delayed.

Of course, if the person nominated as in charge of the School’s Transport Policy always has time at the moment when the maintenance is due, then there is no problem. But if this is not the case, it can mean that the vehicle is either being used outside of its safety parameters or has to be taken off the road.

However, there is a solution.

For if you lease a minibus with Benchmark we will arrange for the vehicle to receive regular maintenance and servicing checks by qualified engineers, giving you the comfort in knowing that the school minibus is fully operational and, most importantly, safe.

What’s more, our leasing option means that you can benefit from improved budgeting and cash flow forecasting, since you will always know what expenditure is coming along.

It is an arrangement which makes it possible for schools to fund the minibus through a small payment each month. And in some cases, where trips are paid for by contributions from parents and the PTA, it is possible to allocate a part of those payments towards the cost of the minibus.

You can find more information on our website or give us a call on 01753 859944.

Higher grades are linked to Mindset.

Develop a Mindset of success in your students as they prepare for exams.

It is easy to feel that people are born good at certain things. Lots of students still believe this because they see others around them learn things quickly and succeed effortlessly. What they don’t know is what that person is thinking that makes them so effective.

Mindset is crucial to success. There is so much research today on the importance of a Growth Mindset, but so many people have not developed it yet. Do some of your students have a Fixed Mindset? Do they believe they can’t do things? Are they set in their beliefs, that things are simply too hard for them to do?

Every school has students with Fixed Mindsets. The question is how do you develop a Growth Mindset – one that believes that with hard work and effort, anything is possible?

Raising awareness of this idea can be the first step to sow the seed for change. Next you need a structured programme to use in the weeks leading up to the exams to get them to think differently.

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 to print for use with your whole school is only £49.99.

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; together they develop a Growth Mindset.

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?

The full details are available at:

Thanks and I wish your students the best for their up-coming exams.

Clare Martin

Newset Training

Teaching good handwriting is about much more than just helping students to write

Of course, it is a fact that most test and exam papers require handwritten answers, and so good handwriting continues to make an impact and helps to deliver extra marks.

But there is more. For learning to write by hand improves literacy, understanding and comprehension. Indeed those who have been taught and encouraged to write by hand have been shown to find deciphering hard-to-read messages easier than those who have not.

Other studies show a positive link between hand-eye coordination and whether a child has been taught to write with a form of cursive handwriting.

Most surprisingly, it is now being suggested in academic studies that whether the individual uses the pen or the keyboard to write even affects the way the individual thinks.

One research paper suggests that university students who use pen and paper to make notes during lectures do better than those who make notes on a laptop.

In some ways we should not be too surprised by some of these findings, for handwriting requires a greater level of hand-eye coordination than typing on a keyboard, and thus, as well as helping with exam scores, good handwriting gives students the chance to develop their essential fine motor skills.

But many young people today are brought up in homes where handwriting is limited to little more than the production of shopping lists – and indeed many people now type these into their mobile phones.

It is for all of these reasons that Multi-Sensory Learning produced the Handwriting Rescue Scheme for fully cursive handwriting.

The scheme, which is available as a photocopiable program supplied on CD or as printed sheets, contains over 300 structured exercises designed to establish complete cursive letter formation.

And there is a particular bonus here, for tests have shown that the use of such material encourages the development of an automatic response to frequently used spelling choices. In other words, by practising their handwriting pupils also learn their spellings.

To see a sample of this resource please email us at

You can also find more information on our website.

The resource is available as a download for £39.99 (EUR 55.29).

Payment is required in Pounds Sterling and can be made through the website by clicking here.

You can then click on the International option and pay by credit card, debit card or Paypal.

The DfE provides up to £500 of additional funding for each student on the Pupil Premium programme for year 6/7 transition summer schools

It is one of the DfE’s better kept secrets. In fact so well kept is the secret that in 2014 a survey found out that only half of the secondary schools knew that fully funded summer schools could be held on their premises.

But the funding does exist, and it is enough to pay for a fully organised, fully staffed one or two week summer school for the pupil premium year 6/7 transition students.

Indeed the DfE funding is guaranteed for all eligible schools and students. But the deadline for the initial application for funding is 29th May. (There is a link through to the DfE for details on the website shown below.)

And so, as a result we offer a Year 6/7 transition summer school, funded by the DfE grant, to enable students to make friends, gain confidence and improve their communication skills.

But, of course, it is vital that such a summer school does what it sets out to do, putting the new year 7 pupils at their ease and making them feel that their new school is going to be exactly the place they want to be in the coming months and years.

Which leads to the question: who is it that can walk in front of a group of 11 year olds about to start secondary school and can put them utterly and totally at ease so that any worries they might have about their new school life are set aside?

There are, of course, many possible answers. But here’s one answer that you might not have thought of.

Highly trained theatre professionals with a range of skills and strong teaching experience are trained to grab an audience, hold the audience and engage with the audience.

Which is why West End in Schools exists and why, for the past six years, we have been bringing actors from the National Theatre, TV and the West End, along with dancers, directors and choreographers, into schools across the UK.

They then work with your transitioning students for either one or two weeks in the summer holiday, offering a range of different themes from Shakespeare to dance, from literacy to theatre-making, from storytelling to…

The summer school typically ends with a performance to parents and carers – which is a great way of welcoming disadvantaged families to your school community.

Once a booking is made we work with you to finalise the attendance numbers and the staff requirement closer to the summer. This means that we can work together to ensure that the DfE budget allowance covers all the costs incurred and ensure that the school incurs no overall cost from the summer school.

Our summer schools webpage includes a one minute video which will give you more information and which contains feedback from the workshop coordinator at an Academy we worked at last summer. You can see this at

To find out more please do give me a call on 020 7395 7520, or send a quick reply to this email.

Nigel Godfrey


Shakespeare for EFL / ESL








Drama texts providing

Practice in good English usage

Lively conversation practice

Confidence in speaking

Increase in vocabulary

Good stories

An introduction to Shakespeare


Ideal texts for students of English as a foreign language. They provide conversation practice and opportunities for classroom drama as well as introducing students to an important part of English culture. Each play gives the whole plot and all the characters of the originals in straightforward modern English. Intermediate level.

“A valid way into Shakespeare.” The Shakespeare and Schools Project
Cambridge University

More information and


£4.80 per copy

This approach recommended by the British Council and the BBC

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



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.

Inspiring your most reluctant readers

What can inspire even your most reluctant readers to find enjoyment in reading in Children’s Book Week?

The problem with World Book Day is that it isn’t quite long enough. You have just one day to stage reading activities that you hope will inspire your pupils to find enjoyment in reading.

But since children are interested and inspired by different things, it isn’t possible to encourage each and every pupil to become an avid reader in such a short space of time.

Fortunately, Children’s Book Week is coming up which will present plenty of opportunity for you to inspire even more pupils to get reading and, more importantly, to enjoy reading.

This year Children’s Book Week will be taking place from 6th – 10th July 2015 in schools, libraries and other venues all over the UK.

A popular Children’s Book Week activity among schools are our dance workshops, as they aim to inspire even the most reluctant readers to find enjoyment in reading.

These dance workshops are highly interactive, encouraging children to explore a storybook through movement and dance, stimulating their relationship with reading and books.

The day starts with an assembly and then continues on a class-by-class basis, developing responses to a choice of books through language, movement and dance. Each workshop then concludes with the children performing to one another and to their teacher.

The dance workshops are suitable for EYFS, KS1 and KS2 classes, depending on the choice of books and differentiation of each workshop.

For Children’s Book Week in July schools can choose to explore their choice of books from a selection which includes:

HANDA’S SURPRISE by Eileen Brown
THE TROLL by Julia Donaldson and David Roberts
THE IRON MAN by Ted Hughes
KENSUKE’S KINGDOM by Michael Morpurgo
MAN ON THE MOON by Simon Bartram
THE BUTTERFLY LION by Michael Morpurgo

There is more information and pricing on our website.

To book a dance workshop or to ask any questions about our workshops please either:

All school offices can reduce their overload, unpaid overtime, and interruptions

Whatever the job, there has to be organisation. Organisation not just of the task in hand, but also of the workload as a whole.

There needs to be a balance of input and output, a control of the level of interruptions, and a certainty that the level of work is manageable by the staff available.

Unfortunately, within school administrations these issues are not always considered, largely because some negative factors in relation to the work (interruptions are a perfect example) become thought of as an inevitable part of the job.

However, just as there are a hundred ways of teaching a lesson in the classroom, so there are a hundred ways of organising a school office.

But if one believes that overload is inevitable, then it will be inevitable. Only if one believes that there are alternative ways of doing things does one look for these alternatives. And even then the habit of the past means that the alternatives are not always easy to find.

Yet the fact is that different schools do organise their administrations in different ways and that some approaches can make a significant difference to the effectiveness and efficiency of the school’s work.

At the heart of this volume is the notion that there are many ways of administering a school and that some of these ways of organising school administration are much more effective and efficient than other approaches.

The report “Increasing Efficiency in School Administration” gives examples of efficiencies that can be made within school administration and how one can change long-established approaches to leadership, change management, time management, facilities management, budgeting and the organisations’ behaviour.

The approaches outlined here do not require higher budgets; they simply put in place processes that inevitably lead to a smoother throughput of information and activity, which means there are fewer disruptions, fewer errors, and ultimately more time for everything to be done.

One of the fundamental issues within the report is that changes only work to the benefit of the organisation when everyone understands what is going on and why the changes are being implemented.

For this reason Increasing the Efficiency of School Administration is available as a photocopiable report, which allows you to give sections of the report to your colleagues. There is no restriction on the number of copies that can be made for use within your school. An edition of the book is also available on CD Rom for printing out via Word.

Additionally, all orders that quote the publisher’s reference below will also receive a free copy of two reports by the School of Educational Administration and Management: Reducing Overload in the School Office, and Eliminating Interruptions in the School Office.

There are sample pages from the photocopiable book at

Publisher’s reference: T1744EMX ISBN: 978 1 86083 798 2


  • 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… please quote the order ref: T1744EMX

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

On line with a credit card at

The Virtual Physics Laboratory

These 3d immersive experiments use games technology to give realistic laboratory experiences. They are based on years of research into teaching science on-screen. They are ideal where resources are limited or where you want to give your students a wider experience of experiments that they would not normally do, such as measuring the acceleration of gravity on the Moon, firing an AK47 at a ballistic balance, using an Airtrack to verify Newton’s Second Law.

The 3D immersive experiments can be used in a variety of ways:

  • By the students directly to prepare for a laboratory experiment by familiarising them with the equipment to be used and the methodology of the experiment. ·
  • To give experience of an additional experiment for which there would not normally be available laboratory time. ·
  • To give experience of getting a particular result in a different way to what they have used in a practical laboratory lesson which allows the students to compare methods and better understand the essentials of an experiment. ·
  • As a substitute for an experiment that might be too dangerous or impossible for a student to undertake. · As general supporting material for science theoretical work. ·
  • As revision for an experiment that has previously been performed in the laboratory. ·
  • As a personal experience of an experiment normally only performed by the teacher in front of the class.

Experiments include: Velocity, Acceleration and Newton’s 3nd Law using an Airtrack, Conservation of Momentum using a ballistic balance, Moments, Rutherford’s Gold Foil experiment, I/V Characteristics, Magnetic Field of a Coil, Specific Heat, Mechanical Equivalent of Heat, Diffraction, Hooke’s Law and Young’s Modulus, Capacitor Charge and Discharge, Planck’s Constant, Millikan’s Oil Drop. See for latest list and more details including videos.

Email me at quoting code HH15 to receive our information pack.

A perpetual site licence costs £399 plus £2.50 pp + VAT at 20% (£481.80)Email to: or send to Keylink Computers Ltd, 2 Woodway House, Common Lane, Kenilworth CV8 2ES quoting order code HH15.

School Name:  
Order No.  

How to get A* in Spanish?

What is the best way to take students from a predicted lower grade up to the achievement of an A* at GCSE?

When we brought out How to get A* in French we were asked if it was also available for Spanish – so now here it is.

As with the French version the author has analysed the writing and the speaking criteria of various exam boards and has come up with a simple and clear summary of these criteria written in a student friendly language. These criteria have been divided into four sections; each section corresponding to a GCSE level while at the end of the booklet students can find a very useful list of recommended idioms and high level expressions.

Additionally the booklet includes the conjugation of the 50 most used Spanish verbs, including the modal verbs, into different tenses.

This is followed by different language structures which the students can use to develop their writing.

The use of this booklet is proven to improve students’ levels not only in writing and speaking, but also in listening and reading.

How to get A* in Spanish? is published as a download so that you can receive immediately a copy onto your computer which you can print out for colleagues and your students as often as you want.

There are sample pages from the book at and you can order it at

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

How to get A* in Spanish? 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


Grab and Hold. Grab and Hold

Grabbing and holding attention is what it is all about. So how do we design items that do this?

In my last piece I reduced all advertising to three processes

  1. Think how we are going to be informative, interesting and unusual
  2. Think how we are grabbing and holding attention
  3. Consider what we have got, and then work out the design and copywriting in terms of what the psychology of perception says.

I got to this conclusion after travelling through a series of articles which deal with the ways in which it is possible to get double or treble the response rate from each advert which you place via email, the post and on web sites. (If you want to go back and read the series from the start, just click here)

I suggested also that the common sense notion that we need to be shouting out our company name and our product name so people remember it doesn’t work. Common sense is wrong. For all the evidence clearly shows that we need to be informative, interesting and unusual.

We need to jerk the readers or viewers out of their current state and get them to think about what we want them to think about.

So the question is, what does this imply for the design and copywriting?

The first point to make is that the design and copywriting doesn’t come first. You can’t just write copy or come up with a design that looks nice before you have decided how the promotion is going to be unusual and different from all the thousands of other promotions that people see.

And we must also always remember that “looking good” isn’t enough. It might look good to you when you look at the resultant web page, email or brochure – but you are focussed on it, because it is your product.

What we actually have to do is use the design to grab the reader who is not very interested by the throat, and then hold on. Our question therefore becomes:

What sort of design grabs the reader’s attention so dramatically that he or she can’t stop looking?

Now, of course, we don’t know the state of mind of the reader. If the reader is already interested, then quite often simple illustrations will work. So if you are thinking about buying a sofa or a set of new office furniture, or a set of chemistry books to use with your A level class, you might well focus on the picture of a sofa, office desk or a page from the book.

But that is nowhere near enough for the person who might well buy from you, but isn’t actually thinking that way when your advert arrives. Yes, a nice picture might well get some recipients to think, “oh that look’s nice” or “oh that looks interesting”, but still many other potential customers will be lost along the way.

Instead, what you need to do is consider your sale from the point of view of the psychology of perception.

Now a fundamental finding of the psychology of perception is that it is much easier to grab that attention of the passing individual with a phrase or slogan than it is with a picture. Also we know that it requires a considerable amount of brainpower to switch between looking at a picture and reading text. The partially interested reader can get lost at this stage.

The problem is that lots and lots of firms have tried to find phrases or slogans, and the passing reader is inundated with phrases or slogans. So much so that they are now ignored.

Which brings us to a real problem. Pictures take far more brain power to decipher than words, and so although a picture can work where the individual gives lots of attention to the page, when we think of the casual recipient, he/she won’t be bothered.

But phrases and slogans have been done to death, and so most are also ignored. Consider what you might do if you are faced with “Simply the best”, for example. You’ve seen and heard it so often, it stops having any arresting qualities. It is a bit like “Often copied, never bettered”, and “20% discount!” They don’t work any more.

The same is true with pictures. Stock pictures just don’t work because they have been seen.

Now if you really can create a picture that goes way beyond being nice, attractive and interesting, and is genuinely arresting, so much so that it makes everyone who looks at it drop everything and stare open mouthed, then great. Use that picture.

But a regular picture won’t work. And the same is true of a headline or a phrase. Everyday won’t do.

Our approach is often to create unusual phrases and headlines to grab attention because we find these a lot more successful and a lot less expensive than the creation of unusual pictures and designs.

Further, because no one can be utterly certain that an advert will work first time around, we often need to experiment. If that experimentation means finding different phrases or words, then it is not too expensive. If it means taking lots of different pictures, that can send the costs up dramatically.

So we will work with phrases such as “a word is worth 10,000 pictures”. But, of course, if you have the budget to create a range of unusual pictures that really do gain attention, then you can approach the design issue that way.

However, if you choose the less costly way of grabbing attention through words, that doesn’t mean that you don’t use pictures at all. All we have been discussing here is the first point of grabbing attention. I’ll move on to the way the design can take the reader towards the sale in the next article.


This is one of three regular blogs on advertising and marketing produced by Hamilton House. If you would like to know more about what Hamilton House does please do have a meander around our web site or call us on 01536 399 000. If you want to subscribe free of charge to any of our newsletters there are details here.

And do remember: the unknown will always be boundless.

Tony Attwood


Making the most of your schools outdoor areas

We tend to think of the school as being a fixed entity
with established buildings, and designated
teaching areas. But…

Teaching and learning can and does happen anywhere; in the classroom, the hall, the playground… Indeed the only thing that ever limits the use of any space is our ability to imagine the possibilities.

So if you have a playground, and it is raining, or there is strong direct sunlight, or it is very windy, the area’s use as a teaching and learning environment might be thought to be restricted.

But if you were to put up a canopy, you could, for a very modest sum, give yourself an extended classroom, an al fresco dining area, an adventure play area…

This is the route down which numerous schools have recently gone, in developing ever more varied use of their facilities. And there really is no limit to the ways in which an area could be used.

True, there’s no telling what the British weather is going to do next, but the fact that canopies can be used in so many ways, means that there are virtually no days at all in the school year when such a facility cannot be used in some way or other.

There are over 150 different designs of canopies available. Some of course are designed for very specific purposes, such as the bicycle shed, but many others do have multiple uses.

Which is why before we do anything else, we always offer to come to your school, without cost and without any obligation, to see the site and discuss the ways in which a canopy could be added to your existing buildings.

To get an idea of the huge range of options available we’ve collected together photographs of over 30 different installations that we’ve undertaken recently. They are on – just click on any photograph that looks interesting and you will see it enlarged.

We’ve also got a separate page for cycle shelters

If you’d like to discuss how a canopy could be used in your school, or have us come to look at your site and advise on the options, please either

Phone: 01353 699009
Or write to: Cambridge Style Canopies, 62 Main Street, Pymoor, Ely, Cambs CB6 2DY

What is the best way to teach rhythm, melody and harmony at key stage 3?

This 130 page volume presents rhythm, harmony and melody as separate sets of activities which can be incorporated into lessons of any length. Each lesson plan sets out the purpose of that lesson, the materials needed, the method employed and the tasks to be done.

Activities are supported by specially composed short practice segments covering a range of styles, for example rock, reggae, jazz and funk.

Each activity and its accompanying music includes easier and more advanced elements for classes with a range of abilities.

The CD illustrates the text and provides accompanying music for student tasks with at least one CD track for each lesson. Students are guided through scores and lines of music, encouraged to get a feel for the flow of the piece and to sing or play at every opportunity.

An early example from the volume contains explanations and musical examples to show how the 8th note of a major scale becomes the first note of the next octave. Examples are generated and then joined together as a song.

By the middle of the volume, in Lesson 27, students progress from block harmonies into the harmonies that can occur in a free flowing song – in this case a round. The CD contains a recording of the round, which consists of eight two bar segments, each of which can be introduced at two bar intervals.

You can see the presentation of this lesson by clicking here.

Towards the end students combine everything learned about rhythm, harmony and melody into a series of pieces for which the music is provided.

Details of how to order are given below. The format of the book is a Ringbinder plus CD. The price is £34.95 plus £3.95 delivery.

  • Publisher’s catalogue number T1614emn
  • ISBN: 978 1 86083 603 9

Methods of ordering – please quote catalogue number T1614emn

Why and how should you implement a whole-school spelling policy?

Research suggests that schools which adopt a whole-school spelling policy can improve the rate at which their pupils progress in spelling by responding to the demands of the English Programmes of Study more effectively.

A whole-school spelling policy ensures that teachers and pupils are prepared for the teaching and learning stages ahead, encouraging swift but sensible progression.

Further to this, it ensures that the marking and feedback of pupils’ spelling is consistent, making it easier to develop and implement a unified tracking approach to the pupils’ progress.

Lead researcher, Rich Procter, a University of Bedfordshire PhD student, suggests that a whole-school spelling policy can be achieved by starting with the Spelling Appendix of the National Curriculum in Key Stage one and sharing the teaching of spelling with a wider range of curricular areas at Key Stage two.

The Foundation and Key Stage 1 Spelling Programme (based on DFES – Letters & Sounds) consists of eight Spelling Practice Activity Books and a Weekly Spelling Lists resource which start from the 100 high-frequency words in the Letters and Sounds Appendix.

Following on from this is our Key Stage 2 Spelling Programme which consists of a Weekly Spelling Lists resource, four Spelling Practice Activity Books, three Spelling Practice Activity Books for revision and two Spelling Practice Activity Books for extension.

Within the programmes are diagnostic tests for assessment, record sheets, vocabulary development work, games, dictionary work, personal spelling logs, supplementary lists which encourage repetition for less able pupils, and a number of extension tasks for gifted and talented pupils.

All the resources are photocopiable, and free sample pages for each resource are available from our website.

To see the full range of resources which make up the Foundation and Key Stage 1 Spelling Programme click here.

And to see the full range of resources which make up the Key Stage 2 Spelling Programme click here.

You can order the in any of these ways:

  • On our website at the web links above
  • By phone on 01772 863158
  • By fax to 01772 866153
  • By email to
  • By post: Topical Resources, P.O. Box 329, Broughton, Preston, Lancashire PR3 5LT

Topical Resources
P.O. Box329

Tel: 01772 863158

No school to be left in the dark

What is the most cost effective way of making the school grounds safe and attractive after dark?

The Department for Education states that schools should “provide external lighting to ensure safe pedestrian movement after dark” to comply with the ISS Regulation 23E and the SPRs Regulation 8.

But there is more to outdoor lighting than a legal requirement.

Outdoor lighting makes the school grounds more welcoming and a safer place to be when it is dark – whether it is for teachers working later, students going home from an after school club, or parents attending parents’ evening.

However there is a problem, because outdoor lighting can be expensive to buy and expensive to run, and even more so when multiple units of outdoor lighting are required to cover a large area or multiple building entrances and walkways.

Solisposts are innovative and contemporary solar powered bollards which are ideal for providing permanent low level lighting in walkways, entrances and carparks during the hours of darkness and which brighten on approach.

What’s more, the installation of the Solispost solar bollards is significantly cheaper than that of electrical bollards and they are even cheaper to run with zero energy costs.

And the Solis Power Management System offers the very latest in solar technology, providing high performance and long life lighting with the power capacity to ensure that there is permanent LED operation from dusk to dawn and PIR sensors that trigger automatic brightening on approach.

Furthermore, the Solisposts carry green credentials, are low maintenance, have an aluminium weatherproof construction and all installations of Solisposts come with a 3 years warranty on the parts.

You can find more information on our website by clicking here, or alternatively please do call us on 01280 701 093.

Michael Barnes

How to develop an effective Asbestos policy

We can help you with your asbestos policy.

Asbestos described as the hidden killer is likely to be present in any building constructed before 1999 and if undisturbed the risks are minimalised. However, it is important to be aware of these risks and have a clear asbestos policy in place.

Where does the responsibility lie?

The responsibility for managing asbestos in schools lies with the duty holder, this is normally the employer which in state schools is often the local authority. For academies, free schools, voluntary-aided and foundation schools, it will be the school governors, proprietor or trustees.

It is important that all staff, particularly those responsible for the running of the buildings, are made aware of the potential hazards. All staff should be instructed not to disturb or damage asbestos containing materials, for example by pinning work to walls. Damage to school fixtures or fittings that could lead to the release of asbestos fibres need to be reported.

The Asbestos Man is able to work with you to devise and implement a comprehensive Asbestos policy that starts with a consultation, followed by a full site survey including the analysis of any suspect materials.

All sampled materials are analysed at an independent UKAS accredited laboratory.

The Asbestos Man will compile a user friendly report containing photographs, annotated plans and the appropriate recommendations from the survey findings. Where asbestos has been identified we will then work with you to put in place a management plan so that the occupants of the premises are protected.

The Asbestos Man where necessary can arrange and oversee the safe removal of any type of asbestos containing materials.

Did you know?
It is a legal requirement to undertake a refurbishment or demolition survey for asbestos containing materials prior to any works taking place.

If you have any enquiries regarding asbestos please do not hesitate to call:-

Alan the Asbestos Man on 07510104323

Do you have left-handed pupils who struggle with their handwriting?

New 2015 Metallic & Antimicrobial Range

Slowly formed, sloping letters. Messy smudged presentation. Reversed d’s and b’s, p’s and q’s… even physical discomfort. It’s all part and parcel of the left hander’s challenge that often emerges when learning to write in childhood. Up until now, many thought it would never disappear.

Smudging is a common issue for left-handers, with over 88% experiencing the problem.

Our smart Swan Neck Pens are an elegantly simple solution to the left-handed writing problem that ultimately affects some 1 in 6 worldwide – a staggering 1 billion people.

All models in the Swan Neck Pen range feature a unique, S-bend neck and grip area. This enables left-handed writers to hold the pen comfortably at a balanced angle and easily view all letters and words as they are written, just as right-handers do.

• Avoid smudged presentations!
• Avoid reversed letters!
• Avoid wrist pain!
• Suitable for left and right-handers of all ages and children with special needs

Swan Neck Pens don’t just make left-handers of all ages happier and better writers. They make writing a breeze for right-handers too.

Swan Neck Pens have passed British Standards EN71 part 1, 2, 3 and BS7272 2008.

Thank you for your time .you can view our website at for more information, or you can contact me on +44 1454 325873.

If you would like to place an order for our Swanneck school pack, we have a special 20% discount for schools:

Please use our promotional code: Learning0124 *when ordering on our website buy pens page with full details and address of your school.

Promotion includes:

• The full Swanneck range, yellow, pink, aluminium, antimicrobial and metallic colours

PLEASE EMAIL: with any school order enquires or question or if your school requires a larger order exceeding 30 pens for a postal discount.

Parents are welcome to order directly from our website.

Would like further information, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

* Not to be used in conjunction with any other promotion, delivery to school address only.

A better way to manage your school fund
Istek UK Ltd, 3 St Ursula’s Close, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP1 3FY

Phone: 01722 413255
Fax number: 01722 568262

The Private Funds Manager software for primary schools, helps manage the school funds more efficiently, providing all the information needed for auditors, governors and budget holders.

In an easy-to-use format it :

  • Manages trips & residentials, before and afterschool clubs, fund raising and all other school fund accounts.
  • Processes money in and out and prints receipts if required
  • Synchronises automatically with Sims for pupil information
  • Balances bank accounts easily with a simple ticking system
  • Creates all the financial reports required by staff and by auditors
  • Includes a free of charge, zero fee method of accepting internet payments
  • But also links with all major online payment systems (Parentmail, Parentpay Schoolcomms etc)

Please see our website for details or phone 01722 413255

The themes and characters from The Railway Children have always fascinated children.

Now we also have the workshops and award winning stage show.

First there was The Railway Children – the book. Then there were the films.

After that, the Olivier Award-winning stage show for children, which is set in a purpose built 1,000 seat venue at King’s Cross, built around a real train track, with a vintage locomotive that steams into the theatre to delight all ages.

And now, for primary schools that bring 60 or more children to the show, the producers are offering drama workshops to be delivered class by class in their school either before or after the performance day.

Each workshop lasts for just under an hour and is adapted to suit the age of the class attending.

The children will explore themes and characters from the play, bringing sections of the script to life. By encouraging them to inhabit the characters and explore the story, we will enhance the children’s experience of the show and enable them to write engagingly about the production and their experience.

Additionally our Education Guide includes activities for teachers and students and behind-the-scenes interviews with the writer and the director.

Both the live production and E. Nesbit’s original text contain numerous themes to explore in the classroom, including family relationships, the countryside, morality and social justice. To download our education pack, please click here.

Workshops for smaller groups are available in the theatre foyer before the performance.

Cost and How to Book

The cost for a workshop and ticket to the show is £19.50 per person. A minimum number of 60 attendees is required for the workshops.

For groups of 60+ children the workshop takes place in an afternoon and for groups of 90+ children the workshop takes place in the morning. We can see up to 150 children in a day, potentially more depending on lunchtime arrangements.

For more information please contact 020 7420 9700 or email

Organising successful school trips and visits

What makes for a brilliant, memorable and, above all, highly beneficial school trip?

A recent survey of secondary schools by the School of Educational Administration and Management found that over 96% of schools run overseas school trips each year.

Indeed, that number just took into account overseas trips organised by the foreign languages departments. Additional visits were arranged by geography, science, history, music, art, sport, business studies… Plus of course all the trips that take place within the UK.

What makes the figure so interesting is that it came after years of argument and debate concerning legal requirements, risk assessment and liability, and a period when a reader of the national press might have assumed that school trips were a thing of the past.

But no. Every year tens of thousands of us put ourselves through the hard work of organising and running the trips because of the good that we know it does for the pupils and students we teach.

So, to help with the practicalities of setting up and running contemporary out of school trips and visits, a new edition of Organising Successful Trips and Visits: a practical guide for secondary school teachers has been published.

This aims to help with the arrangement of trips and visits by covering all the main points, from the “loco parentis” debate to turning the idea into a trip, from transport issues to the letter to the parents, from staffing issues to kit lists.

In just over 50 pages it gives you all the basics – not least so that if a colleague in the school is looking to organise a trip for the first time he/she will be able to read up on all the key issues presented in a straightforward way.

If you would like to see some pages from the book these are at:

Organising Successful Trips and Visits: a practical guide for secondary school teachers is published as a download so that you can receive immediately a copy onto your computer which you can print out for colleagues 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 Organising Successful Trips and Visits: a practical guide for secondary school teachers by going to

The price is £10 plus VAT.

If you are unable to pay on-line with a credit card please send in a school order in the normal way. We’ll issue a pro-forma invoice and as soon as we receive payment we will email you a copy of the book. There is a handling charge of £2.50 for this service which does not apply if you are able to buy on-line with a credit or debit card.

Organising Successful Trips and Visits is published by First and Best in Education, Hamilton House, Earlstrees Ct., Earlstrees Rd, Corby, Northampton NN17 4HH. Phone 01536 399 011. A full catalogue of our books and downloads set out by subject and topic can be found at

First and Best in Education
Earlstrees Road
NN17 4HH


Improving efficiency in the school office

What is the most effective way of reducing the amount of traffic coming into the school office?

There are two types of school offices. In one there is constant activity, interruptions, and change of direction. In the other there is a feeling of calm and organisation.

In each the work gets done – but the latter is a less stressful atmosphere in which to work simply because for everyone in the office, matters feel more under control, rather than directed by outside forces.

Interestingly, many people who work in an office where there is constant coming and going and ringing of phones feel that this is inevitable in a school environment even though it may not necessarily be an ideal working situation.

And yet the experience of other schools proves that this is not the case.

It is in fact possible to reduce the amount of traffic coming into the school office (even on a Monday morning) through one simple mechanism – by including on the school’s website not just that which is legally required but also the information that parents most frequently enquire about.

The government states that “every maintained school must publish specific information on its website to comply with The School Information (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2012”.

This includes the school’s contact details, Ofsted reports, exam and assessment results, performance tables, curriculum, behaviour policy, pupil premium, SEN report, charging and remissions policies, values and ethos.

Yet many schools are finding it difficult to comply with this legislation as the website isn’t quick or easy to update in-house.

It is therefore important that your school website comes with built in tools and controls to reduce the amount of time spent on maintaining the site and which enable any member of staff, even with the most basic of IT knowledge, to take on the task.

Furthermore the website should be accessible to every parent, anywhere, by ensuring that the information and content can be viewed easily on a range of devices including smart phones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers.

Where the website is easily accessible and full of information relevant to parents and prospective parents, traffic and calls into the school office can be reduced, making the school office a place in which work can be produced much more rapidly than might otherwise be the case.

If you would like to get an expert’s view on how well your school’s website is communicating information to parents, or indeed how the process of updating the website can be made more efficient, please do visit our website:

Alternatively please call us on 01902 784 800 or email

How Design Can Impact Learning in Our Science Classrooms

Secondary school scientific understanding and learning require a dedicated environment, with facilities to help students progress their ability and examination results.

An intelligently designed classroom can help students fully understand the scientific principles and develop their own studies and investigations.

Encouraging Free-Thought

Rather than helping students remember and regurgitate facts, a well-designed science classroom should help them fully understand the reasons behind scientific developments. A classroom which supports independent study and practical research can build a broader and more robust knowledge of scientific principles.

Facilities which safely support practical learning can help students develop their own experiments and investigations without the fear of explosions or contamination by hazardous materials. This freedom to experiment can help build a true passion for science within students.

Combined Learning Methods

The Pyramid of Learning demonstrates the importance of exposing students to a variety of learning methods – helping them gain a greater understanding of the subject matter and the important principles. This is particularly pertinent in school science laboratories and classrooms where theoretical understanding is developed through practical experimentation.

The dual-approach to learning scientific curriculum can benefit from a versatile classroom which supports both practical experiments and theoretical learning. Education interior specialist Innova Design Solutions have dedicated significant time to building classrooms which offer support for both practical and theoretical learning: “It is becoming increasingly important that all forms of learning are supported so students can switch from one discipline to another with minimal fuss and wasted time.”

Beneficial Environmental Factors

This study by the University of Salford determined that the environmental factors of a classroom can improve a student’s academic progress by up to 16%. Factors such as lighting, acoustics, air quality and orientation could all have significant effect upon the students’ progress – helping improve their understanding of the curiculum and test results.

The study recognised that environmental factors affected a large number of students, with 77% of the 751 students involved in the year-long research recording progress caused by classroom design. This figure demonstrates the huge importance placed upon the environment, when creating a classroom interior in which the students can flourish.

Stress-Free Surroundings

An inviting and stress-free classroom can help students feel more comfortable in their surroundings and receptive to the education and information they are receiving. A classroom which is stimulating without being overbearing can help students get involved in the subject without feeling intense, overwhelming pressure.

Creating a classroom in which students have sufficient space to move around and share work with one another can help improve their relationships with teachers and fellow students. This is particularly beneficial during practical lessons and tests.

Focussed Learning

Teenagers in particular are prone to distraction, with many more concerned with their mobile phone or what their neighbour is doing. This makes it important to create a classroom which helps focus their attention to their teacher or the area where a practical presentation is taking place. A well-designed classroom will ensure that all students have a clear view of their teacher and the lessons they are imparting.



Pupil Premium – SAM Learning provides the proof that Ofsted demands.

Narrowing the Gap from £3 per student. Just the facts…..

As the only independently reviewed service of its kind, SAM Learning is proven to take each FSM student up an average of 3.5 GCSE grades.

Not only this, SAM Learning provides that proof that is needed by Ofsted and the government to show that your school is using Pupil Premium to achieve improvement.

With SAM Learning your school can raise attainment, further increase its league table standing and help your students to flourish whilst maintaining the accountability required by Ofsted and the Government. We’ll work with you every step of the way, too.

To find out more about how for as little as £3 per student SAM Learning can do this for your school, say hello@SAMLearning, call us on 0845 130 4160 or book a free on-site demonstration of the site in your school.

This Is The Number One Reason Why So Many Students Underachieve In Their Maths Exam…

You’ve probably come across this situation many times before – a student who has all the potential to do well in their maths yet performs badly in their final exam…

The main reason why this occurs is they don’t follow an effective revision strategy at home. Students tend to revise on auto-pilot without critically analysing what they’re doing and whether or not it’s making progress.

Zakkiyah from London (UK) was a prime example of one of these students…

“I seemed to underperform in my mock exams – achieving D’s/E’s and I couldn’t work out why… but after following Jeevan’s revision principles, I could see where I was going wrong… I achieved a ‘B’ grade in my final maths exam… These revision principles have helped me immensely with my Chemistry too… Thank you so much Jeevan.. my ‘B’ grade will definitely help me in applying for a ‘Pharmacy’ course at University…”

As you can see, my revision principles are crucial when taking a maths exam. It allows a student to reach their full potential.

To find out more information about my revision principles, please visit

Kind regards

Jeevan Singh

GCSE Maths For Schools

Why testing for dyscalculia is so important

What is the benefit of testing pupils for dyscalculia?

One of the great problems in working with dyscalculic pupils is that there are many different ways in which dyscalculia affects individuals.

Because of this there is no such thing as a “typical dyscalculic pupil” or indeed a single method for helping the dyscalculic pupil.

In short, when faced with a dyscalculic child what we have to do is try to find out the areas in which the pupil has problems and the specific difficulties that the pupil has.

Finding such information out can be made more difficult by the fact that many dyscalculics evolve their own methods of handling maths over time, making it appear as if they know what they are doing in certain situations.

In such situations, although the pupil can get an answer right, he/she often has no understanding at all and is instead just going through a mechanical and essentially (for them) meaningless process.

It is because of this sort of problem that last year the Dyscalculia Centre introduced its on-line test for dyscalculia, suitable for pupils aged 8 and above.

The aim of the test, however, is not simply to say “this person is dyscalculic,” although it does give that result. It aims primarily to find out where the specific problems for that individual are and then suggest how these problems can be overcome.

For example, the test seeks to unravel situations where the student seemingly knows how to undertake mathematical computations without having any idea what is going on. It also looks for associated short term / long term memory issues, problems with understanding the very concept of number, and difficulties with the notion of time and of shapes.

The Dyscalculia Test is taken on-line, and results in a detailed report (usually around five pages of A4) identifying the problem areas and the actions that can be taken to help the pupil overcome these issues.

What’s more, the Centre also then provides free teaching materials that can be used with the pupil to help deal with the most important areas of difficulty in a multi-sensory way, thus allowing the student to start moving forward in terms of mathematical knowledge.

There is more information about the Dyscalculia Centre’s on-line test for dyscalculia at

Testing costs £49.95 per pupil. This price includes taking the test, receiving a specific report in relation to the individual taking the test, and being provided with resources relevant to that individual which can be used to help them progress in maths.

The test itself is set up for payment by credit card on-line, but if you wish to use a school order number you can do this by phoning 01536 399 011, or by fax to 01536 399 012. In each case we will need your email address so that we can email you a link to the on-line test. There are more details about payment for schools on

If you have any enquiries please do call 01536 399 000 or email

The Dyscalculia Centre
Hamilton House Mailings
Earlstrees Road
NN17 4HH


How can iPad apps help to deliver Outstanding teaching?

With so many educational apps available, it can be difficult to decide which are right for you and your students. While many rely on exciting graphics and target individual skills, finding one that is dedicated to true collaboration while learning about curriculum topics is very difficult.

Many schools use some great apps which students may use in pairs, but they must take turns or have an iPad each – basically they are just ‘co-working’ on the same document. What neither of these situations do, however, is encourage the crucial activities of effective communication and negotiating an answer to an open-ended question.

These skills can understandably be put on the ‘back-burner’ but if there were apps which helped you enhance these skills as well as covering crucial subject information, would you be interested?

This is where I bring in Digital Mysteries apps which are cross curricular and designed to help students learn in pairs while covering essential topics. Former Ofsted inspectors have explained how the app can enhance the rating of ‘Quality of Teaching’ in particular, saying it helps students to learn across the curriculum and “communicate their thoughts and ideas using specific targeted vocabulary that exists within the program”.

Two students work around one iPad at a time to answer one main, open question, for example ‘What is Theo most proud of about Ancient Greece?’ In order to do this they sort through digital, illustrated slips of information together, read them, and then group and order them as they go along. Each step e.g. ‘name a group’ or ‘choose a sticky tape’ requires a joint decision, involving lively debate and ideas being brought out into the forefront. This means they must “express their ideas verbally”, “discuss issues and problems” and “come to agreed conclusions”.

Once they’ve done this, they can print or share a PDF report of their session or play it all back with their teacher. This is brilliant for meeting Ofsted guidelines of encouraging reflection, higher-level thinking and problem solving. It is also a record of learning so you, and they, have proof.

To try the apps, just search ‘Digital Mysteries’ on the App Store and download or click here to read more about each task.

If you have any questions at all, please reply to this email or call 0191 603 1960.

Kind regards,

Natalie Taylor
Reflective Thinking

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 sources.

  • 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.
  • 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

Dysgraphia: the mistaken special need

Dysgraphia is perhaps one of the most mistaken learning differences, with thousands of children and adults across the world being misdiagnosed with its more well-known counterpart – dyslexia.

So what is dysgraphia and why is it so commonly mistaken?

Dysgraphia is a neurological disorder which can be defined as “a disorder in written expression”. Dysgraphia is a Greek term which in English translates to “impaired at writing by hand”.

Students with dysgraphia are known for making a number of spelling mistakes in their writing, just as students with dyslexia are. However those with dysgraphia can spell these words orally and can select the correct spelling out of a list (unlike dyslexics). It is in fact the process of writing the word that they have difficulties with and thus misspell it.

The impacts these disorders have on learning outcomes are often identical, but the symptoms are very different, and in developing strategies to overcome them, two wholly different approaches are required.

At Dysgraphia Help we offer an online dysgraphia test for students (over the age of 8) for £36.86.

After completing the test and sending us a sample of the student’s handwriting, you will receive a detailed report on whether or not we believe the student to have dysgraphia.

If we do believe that dysgraphia is present, you will also receive some supporting information on dysgraphia and a number of activity materials for the student to work through.

Many use this testing as a preliminary diagnosis of dysgraphia, or to rule out/confirm whether the student may need testing for dyslexia.

You can find more information on dysgraphia and testing for dysgraphia at: or alternatively you can email

Is, Vs, Xs, Ls, Ds and Ms

How can we explain to pupils that particular letters, written in a particular sequence, represent a particular number?

Roman Numerals were something of a failure. To a fair degree they worked, but they were extremely cumbersome due to their lack of a zero.

But despite this it seems to we can’t quite let go of the numerical, historical, artistic and linguistic value they hold.

This becomes evident when we see how frequently Roman Numerals are still used in our everyday lives, from the ordering of the preliminary pages in a book to the markers on an analogue clock – making them something of a necessity to know.

But they are curious, and it does take the establishment of the difference between Roman and Arabic numerals and the totally odd concept of “nothing” to show pupils exactly why “nothing” is so important.

Indeed it is the conundrum of nothing that has led us to develop a KS2 Roman Numerals resource which contains a range of engaging activities to help pupils to easily identify their meaning.

The activity book covers the following for each year group:

Year 3 – learning Roman numerals from 1 to 12 (I to XII)
Year 4 – learning Roman numerals from 1 to 100 (I to C)
Year 5 – learning Roman numerals from 1 to 1000 (I to M)

What’s more, notes for teachers, discussion pages, information sheets and photocopiable activities are also included.

This resource is available as a book, a download, or on CD, and you can view free sample pages on our website.

If you would like to know more please call us on 01772 863158 or email us at

You can order the Roman Numerals Activity Book in any of these ways:

On our website
By phone on 01772 863158
By fax to 01772 866153
By email to
By post to Topical Resources, P.O. Box 329, Broughton, Preston, Lancashire PR3 5LT.

Topical Resources
P.O. Box329

Tel: 01772 863158

Are you ready for June?

With SAM Learning you can make sure your students are…

With moving grade boundaries, the shift towards exam testing over coursework and cuts to the number of resits available, the path towards taking GCSEs – the culmination of years of study – continues to be a journey that crosses a perilous landscape, both for students and teachers.

At SAM Learning we aim to make this landscape more inviting to everyone involved.

Enter the new SAM Learning World.

Students are immersed into a world that rewards their learning and gives them a sense of direction and fun whilst remaining firmly focused in the world of revision, ensuring that independent work is not lost to a world of gimmicks and games.

All the while a sense of community is instilled into them, encouraging both competition and a desire to develop. See the world and some of the activities for yourself.

It takes just 10 hours.

Independent research has shown that using SAM Learning for just ten hours over the course of a year can increase a student’s grades across two subjects.

Take that up to twenty hours and the report shows this can move to four subjects.

With 83% of students saying they enjoyed using SAM Learning, schools re-subscribing again and again, and a number of awards to our name, have a look at what SAM Learning can do for your school.

If you want to know more about SAM Learning or join the thousands of schools already using us, Say hello or call us on 0845 130 4160.

The Virtual Physics Laboratory

These 3d immersive experiments use games technology to give realistic laboratory experiences. They are based on years of research into teaching science on-screen. They are ideal where resources are limited or where you want to give your students a wider experience of experiments that they would not normally do, such as measuring the acceleration of gravity on the Moon, firing an AK47 at a ballistic balance, using an Airtrack to verify Newton’s Second Law.

The 3D immersive experiments can be used in a variety of ways:

  • By the students directly to prepare for a laboratory experiment by familiarising them with the equipment to be used and the methodology of the experiment. ·
  • To give experience of an additional experiment for which there would not normally be available laboratory time. ·
  • To give experience of getting a particular result in a different way to what they have used in a practical laboratory lesson which allows the students to compare methods and better understand the essentials of an experiment. ·
  • As a substitute for an experiment that might be too dangerous or impossible for a student to undertake. · As general supporting material for science theoretical work. ·
  • As revision for an experiment that has previously been performed in the laboratory. ·
  • As a personal experience of an experiment normally only performed by the teacher in front of the class.

Experiments include: Velocity, Acceleration and Newton’s 3nd Law using an Airtrack, Conservation of Momentum using a ballistic balance, Moments, Rutherford’s Gold Foil experiment, I/V Characteristics, Magnetic Field of a Coil, Specific Heat, Mechanical Equivalent of Heat, Diffraction, Hooke’s Law and Young’s Modulus, Capacitor Charge and Discharge, Planck’s Constant, Millikan’s Oil Drop. See for latest list and more details including videos.

Email me at quoting code HH15 to receive our information pack.

A perpetual site licence costs £399 plus £2.50 pp + VAT at 20% (£481.80)Email to: or send to Keylink Computers Ltd, 2 Woodway House, Common Lane, Kenilworth CV8 2ES quoting order code HH15.

School Name:  
Order No.  

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


FREE CHOCOLATES with every set of toner cartridges purchased. And free next day delivery.

JEMDIRECT supplies inkjet, toner, laser toner, fax and photocopier cartridges to schools across the UK. Our claim is simple: that we offer the lowest prices and free next day delivery – and thus we are bound to save your school money.

If you find our prices attractive and you place an order for a set of toner cartridges (black, cyan, yellow and magenta) we will send you your free chocolates. Just quote ‘chocs100’ when you contact us; without this we cannot supply you with your goodies, and the offer runs only until the end of March 2015.

To obtain an immediate quote for the products you need, simply click on the link below or phone us and ask us for a quote.

  • Here’s the link:
  • Here’s the phone number: 01785 606034 (ask for quotes)
  • Here’s our email address in case you prefer that:
  • Here’s the fax: 01785 814036
  • And here’s where we are: JEMDIRECT, PO BOX 2339, Stone, Staffordshire, ST15 8ZD

Jonathan Monk

What is the most effective way of developing the delivery of dance, swimming and gymnastics in your school?

The requirement to teach dance, swimming and gymnastics is perhaps one of the most troublesome parts of the National Curriculum, for each is a specialist subject requiring both knowledge and confidence to deliver.

And yet strangely, although each of these subject areas does have a very particular agenda of its own, it is possible to deliver quality teaching and learning, even without a specialist teacher.

What’s more such teaching can be delivered without your colleagues having to go on an expensive course and without having previous experience of the subject area.

This is because all three areas – dance, swimming and gymnastics – have very clear and particular issues within them, that can be taught step-by-step, even by a non-specialist.

Once one knows the step-by-step approach, then the teaching can progress towards the most positive of outcomes that will enthral the children and impress both parents and inspectors.

This unique approach, aimed specifically at the non-specialist teacher with little or no experience of teaching the topic, is covered in three separate teacher manuals, each of which reveals a complete methodology for teaching the specific discipline.

The three volumes “The Complete Guide to Primary Dance,” “Primary Swimming” and “Primary Gymnastics” can be purchased separately or as one selection (in which case the price is significantly reduced.

You can order the volumes:

● On our website (where there are more details of the contents of the manuals) via the links above
● By phone on: 0113 255 5665
● By fax to: 0113 255 5885
● By post to: Human Kinetics, 107 Bradford Road, Stanningley, Leeds LS28 6AT
● By email to:

All volumes come with a 30-day guarantee and can be returned for a full refund if you are not completely satisfied.

I look forward to hearing from you. Please do call me on 0113 255 5665 or email me at if you have any questions about these three unique volumes.

Claire Davey

Cover Teacher who thinks a primary source is something you put on your chips?

According to figures from the Dept for Education, the average secondary school teacher has about four working days off a year due to illness. Of course this incorporates teachers who have a long time out with a serious illness as well as the 44% of teachers who are fortunate enough to go a whole year not getting ill at all.

These numbers show why the need for ready-made materials for supply teachers who cover History classes is as vital as ever. For even when something has been left from the previous lesson, there are always going to be those who finish the work rapidly, and need something else to do.

Which is why the Absent History Teacher volume of worksheets was developed.

The worksheets within the volume cover a wide range of topics and range of ability – and are all designed so that they can be used as a one-off in an emergency, or as a series of highly varied tasks over a number of days, should the absence be unexpectedly protracted.

Activities range from a study of a discussion on the difference between the work of historians and archaeologists (and the issue of evidence) to an analysis of how the Cold War began.

Each article is followed by a wide range of questions, an extension task through which (for example) the students have to explain an archaeological dig which reveals artefacts from different eras, and a homework in which the students have to write a letter from a Soviet general in 1945 explaining the likely reaction of the Americans to a Soviet occupation of eastern Europe.

The volume covers such topics as evidence, anachronisms, The Romans, The Normans, Elizabethan England, diaries, letters, documents, crime and punishment etc etc.

Each lesson in the volume is printed on a single page and is simple to photocopy instantly for any class that suddenly requires the lesson.

The Absent History Teacher Worksheets collection is available from Hamilton House priced at £30.00 plus £2.95 delivery.

You can order the Absent History Teacher worksheets collection by filling in the order form and sending it by fax, email, or post (see contact details below). Alternatively, if you have a school order number, you can order by phone.

First and Best in Education, Earlstrees Court, Earlstrees Road, Corby, Northants, NN17 4HH
Telephone: 01536 399 011 Fax: 01536 399 01 Email:

Tell them once, tell them again

How to reduce parental anxiety

Imagine this scenario. An extremely agitated parent marches into school with her son or daughter trailing behind, on a day when the school is closed to students.

With the teaching staff involved in a training session the parent finds you and demands to know why she was not told that children should not be in the school this day.

Patiently you explain that she was sent a letter, but she claims she didn’t receive it. You tell her that the dates of school closures are on the website but she claims she doesn’t have internet connection.

You apologise, but she says that’s not good enough. So what next?

It’s a tough one because you know that the parent is quite possibly not giving you the full facts, but you can’t actually say so.

Although such confrontations are thankfully rare, and quite possibly you’ve never faced one at all, it can be worth creating a way around such a problem – not just because it deals with this particular parent but also because it has associated benefits.

Imagine that in this situation you were able to walk with the lady and her embarrassed son or daughter back to her car, parked at the school entrance – where you could indicate the notice on school closure dates on the entry point notice board.

Indeed, where installed such a board can have lists of all the forthcoming events of relevance to parents – sports matches, trips, visits, parent’s evenings, etc.

Not only is this an additional way of getting information to parents, but it also has other benefits. It actually can bring parents together as they gather around to read the notice. And it can reduce the number of parents who seem to find a regular excuse to pop into the school office.

Although the number of entry-point notice boards declined at the end of the 20th century, they are now very much in use again with around two thirds of schools now having at least one – with most of them recently installed.

The major supplier behind this re-discovery of external notice boards is my company: Greenbarnes. And you can find more information on our website at:

Alternatively you can call us on 01280 701 093.

Michael Barnes


FAO the Head of Psychology

Individual Oral Commentary

The Individual Oral Commentary is assessed on four basic criteria. Now there are PowerPoint presentations and a workbook which includes activity sheets to address each of these. The digital presentation allows images, movement, internet links, colour and sound to be combined while the workbook complements with practical activities that illustrate the concepts being discussed. Students can now address the key concerns of assessors before they actually present.

Knowledge and Understanding

Depth of knowledge is achieved by establishing a context for the passage being discussed. An awareness of the excerpt’s position in the text is further enhanced by an understanding of when the text was written and how it fits and reflects the period, the style of the day and the author’s development. Our own knowledge is enhanced when we can establish how a passage is representative of an author’s canon of work, how it reflects the author’s style and how it complements, or challenges, the conventions of the period in which it was written.

Organization and Presentation

The key to a good presentation is a well structured and considered delivery that is clearly signposted. In this way, anyone listening can follow your ideas and better appreciate your understanding. A presentation is given shape and form though good organization and allows the content to be contained, compartmentalized and given due consideration.


How you speak is best indicated by the language you chose to use. There is a repertoire of literary terms that can enhance and show your appreciation and understanding of the writer’s craft. There is also an appropriate language associated with the subject matter that should be at your command. The language chosen will be an indication of the command you have over the conventions of presentation and of the affinity you have with the chosen topic.

Writer’s Choices

An awareness of how an author has constructed a work shows that you, as a reader, have gone beyond simply retelling the story. You have reached a level of seeing how something is shaped and patterned. You are balancing the story, the writer’s style, and the writer’s use of literary devices which combine to generate the shape of the work in question. Your handling of these elements shows your command of the work as a whole.

Four Powerpoint Presentations and Workbook – £79.99 (£95.99 inc. VAT) Order code 19051

To see sample pages please email quoting the order code H19051

You can order the Individual Oral Commentary in any of these ways:

  • On our website
  • By phone on 0117 940 6409
  • By email (quoting a school order number, if required) to
  • By post to: Classroom Resources, PO Box 1489, Bristol, BS99 3QJ

Classroom Resources
PO Box 1489

Tel: 0117 940 6409

Media Studies: an Introduction to the Terminology and Concepts

A major part of any Media Studies course is learning how to analyse or deconstruct media texts. For students new to Media Studies, the most difficult aspects of this are the terminology and concepts of the subject, many of which will be new to them or will have a slightly different meaning in the world of media.

This 119 page, photocopiable book will explain the terminology and concepts of the media to your GCSE students in simple terms and will provide them with a logical structure for evaluating media texts. The content of the book is applicable to both the English GCSE courses and examinations and the Scottish Standard Grade. Each chapter of Media Studies deals with a specific area of analytical inquiry: categories, language, narrative structure and conventions, representations, audience, institutional influences.

The book includes practical and theoretical exercises and an exemplar of an essay response to each area of inquiry. Frequent references are made to well-known media texts in order to clarify meanings.

Media Studies: an Introduction to the Terminology and Concepts by James Rigg; ISBN 978 1 86083 780 7.
Order code: T1685EMN. Sample pages may be viewed at


  • Photocopiable book, £29.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • CD with school-wide rights: £29.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • Both the Ring Binder and the CD £37.94 plus £3.95 delivery

Prices include VAT.

You can purchase the report…

When ordering the book please quote the reference T1685EMN.

Free Dictionaries and Thesauri for your school and students


No, there’s no catch. You’ll be pleased to know that it’s all completely above board. (No, they didn’t fall off the back of a lorry !)

Even in our digital age the use of a dictionary can help students by encouraging independent study and developing literacy skills, while a thesaurus is particularly useful in developing a wider range of vocabulary for essays, articles and reports etc than might otherwise be the case.

The Webster’s “Wordpower” dictionary has a clear, easy to read typeface, 384 pages and a database of approx. 15,000 words. It’s the usual paperback size and is an excellent choice for your KS3, 4 and GCSE students.

There are two particular benefits with these titles that are currently available to schools and colleges………

1. Although the cover price is £5.99 if you order on behalf of a school or college, the Webster’s dictionary may be obtained for just £1.99…. that’s a substantial saving on every copy.

What about the free copies ?

2. Simple. Just order 100 or more copies and you’ll get 50 % extra free.

e.g. Order 200 and you’ll get another 100 copies free….order 500 copies and get an extra 250 completely free. There’s no limit to the quantity you can order and you’ll always get 50% extra free with orders of 100 or more copies.

You can “mix and match” orders for dictionaries and thesauri and still get free copies, as long as your total order is for 100 or more copies. You are welcome to order fewer than 100 copies but the free offer only applies to orders of 100 or more copies.

What’s more you can get the same deal with the Webster’s thesaurus which is also £ 1.99 (cover price £ 5.99). In fact you can combine your orders and your free copies to include both dictionaries and thesauri.

You can view the Webster’s dictionaries and thesauri on the website of Signpost Educational Ltd. OK, it’s not a particularly earth shattering website but you can get a good idea of what we’re talking about here……

While we’re on the subject of helping students with their studies, you might also be interested in the “Student Essentials” sets. As the name suggests, each set comprises of pens, pencils, ruler, metal sharpener, eraser, all packed in a clear, “exam friendly” PVC wallet with a zip slider. From only 75p ex vat, they are not only useful for handing out to students who have forgotten their own equipment but particularly helpful for distribution before exams…. details on the website.

If you have any questions about dictionaries, thesauri or “Student Essentials” sets they’d be pleased to hear from you on: 020 7515 1797.

You can order direct from Signpost Educational Ltd and contact them via or phone 020 7515 1797 or fax 020 7515 4420.

Raising your school’s profile through sports

How by presenting a united front at sporting events it is possible to raise your school’s profile, no matter the end result

By encouraging parents and members of the local community to watch and support the sports’ teams, both at home and away, it is possible to strengthen your relations with the public.

Such sporting events offer you the opportunity to showcase the effort and achievements which help to communicate your school values.

Clearly, in the case of sporting events which occur at home, it is fairly easy to communicate these values as the environment in which they were founded is all around.

However, communicating these values at sporting events away from home can be more difficult, and it is therefore important that a united front is formed in order to continue promoting these values.

One way in which this can be achieved is by travelling to the event in a minibus.

The problem with this, however, is that minibuses are expensive, and many school budgets will not allow for a purchase as big as this.

It is for this reason that we offer leasing of minibuses to schools, an arrangement which makes it possible for schools to fund the minibus through a small payment each month.

In some cases, where financial contributions are made by parents and the PTA, it is possible to allocate a part of those payments towards the cost of the minibus – reducing the funds being deducted from the school’s capital account.

In other cases the minibus can be funded through small monthly deductions from various departments’ income. So, if half a dozen departments agree to contribute towards funding the bus and the PTA agrees to put in a monthly amount as well, the funding problem is completely resolved.

Furthermore, when leasing a minibus with Benchmark, you don’t have to worry about taxing or maintaining the vehicle as we have this covered. We ensure that the vehicle is fully operational at all times.

Benchmark Leasing specialises in the supply and maintenance of school minibuses. If you are interested in the benefits of a minibus do call us on 01753 859944 or click here to see what we can offer.

Expanding your school’s three-dimensional realm

How can we exploit the demand for additional space to improve students’ learning outcomes?

Striking the right balance between supply and demand when the demand is for additional space to cope with increased numbers of students is often a lengthy, rather complex and occasionally costly process.

But it doesn’t have to be, especially if the space can be tailored to the very specific needs of the school, the students and the teachers.

At The Learning Escape we design and build additional spaces for schools which are of a bespoke design – a response to the local conditions, local needs and local specification.

Whether you need a classroom, staffroom, office space, school hall or library, we take your needs and wishes and create a stunning and sustainable building that fits into your existing space and budget.

We look after the build from planning permission to the final handover, and because of the way we work the cost of our buildings is invariably much lower than that of a traditional building.

And our leasing option also means that a permanent, architect-designed Learning Escape can actually cost less per month than hiring a temporary solution!

What’s more, our buildings are eco-friendly, full of natural light and the floor to ceiling doors and covered walkways encourage free flow outdoor learning.

We’ve put together an online portfolio of some of the school buildings we’ve constructed during the last couple of years to show you the kind of choice available. To see what we have built recently just click here.

To discuss any aspect of your project, or to book a free survey, just call us on 0800 917 7726.

You can find more information on the website.

Visit us at the Education Show

Look out for us at The Education Show – NEC Hall 3, Stand B39-A40 19-21 March 2015

  • See our latest release of myPenstripe (online artwork tool) in action
  • Find out how myPenstripe saves hours of precious time in designing your planners
  • Watch the journey of a planner
  • Preview some of next season’s products
  • Meet our sales team
  • Book an appointment with your Personal Account Manager

From the Penstripe team.


275 Kirkstall Road, Leeds, LS4 2BX

Tel: +44 (0) 113 231 0995 | fax: +44 (0) 113 212 1000

Email: |

Registered Office and Service Address: 275 Kirkstall Road, Leeds, LS4 2BX

CN Anderson Ltd, CV Anderson Ltd, DS Anderson Ltd, RD Anderson Ltd, Anderson Nominees Ltd


Drama for pupils with special needs

What is the most effective way of helping children with literacy special needs?

And building group trust and self confidence, teaching self awareness, body awareness and self-expression.

Children with literacy special needs tend also to have problems in the areas of self-confidence, self-awareness, and self-expression.

Our view is that if one works to overcome the literacy problems without tackling these other issues, then the task is much harder than if one works with both the literacy issues and these other factors as the same time.

Which is all very well, but how does one use the limited time available to build group trust, self confidence, self awareness, body awareness and self-expression?

The volume “Drama for students with special needs” provides the answer.

This is a book of lesson plans across 180 A4 pages, each of which can be used as a one-off session or built into a comprehensive scheme of work to address all of these issues.

Included within the volume are lessons intended for students with moderate learning difficulties as well as those with disabilities who might participate in sessions with a support worker.

The book has been written with basic KS3 skills in mind, in particular through the development of literacy skills as well as basic drama skills.

However it can be equally be used towards other aims, for example, to build group trust or self confidence, to teach self awareness, body awareness and self-expression.

Drama for Students with Special Needs by Louise Tondeur is available as a photocopiable ringbinder or on CD Rom which can itself be copied or loaded onto the school’s learning platform or intranet.

Cat No: 978 1 86083 790 6 Order code: T1689emn – please quote with order.

Sample pages can be viewed at

  • Photocopiable report in a ring binder, £29.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • CD with school-wide rights: £29.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • Both the Ring Binder and the CD £36.94 plus £3.95 delivery
  • Prices include VAT.

You can purchase the report…

What’s so special about Prague and business?

Prague offers business students a rare insight into a
post-communist economy

Sometimes it is easy to forget the implications that a major political change has on the economy. But nothing brings this home more readily than a visit to the Prague Stock Exchange and the recognition that it was shut for fifty years during the Communist regime and was not re-opened until 1993.

Indeed the suspension and rebirth of the Prague Stock Exchange is the cornerstone of the story of the transition of the country from a centrally planned economy to a free market model.

The issue of the transition and rebirth of the market economy is one that can also be explored at the Cerge Institute – one of the world’s top research institutes and a joint venture of Charles University in Prague and the Economics Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences.

Its lectures on the current macroeconomic situation of the Czech Republic with a Q&A afterwards are very highly regarded by schools that have visited.

Meanwhile a visit to Skoda’s factory reveals, through an introductory film, the huge production facilities where cutting edge technology is used to achieve and enhance quality throughout the production lines.

For something totally different yet again there is… Tesco, not a name that is normally associated with the Czech Republic. But there is a really interesting tale here as in 2006 Tesco closed down five small distribution centres and replaced them with a new 67,000 square metre purpose-built facility in the north of Prague.

Two different forms of picking are deployed in the centre: selected slow moving items and high value products are picked by line, whereas fast movers are picked by store where staff use radio connected wearable computers to increase picking accuracy to 98.9%

Different again is a visit to the Pilsner Urquell brewery to explore the science behind the brewing process and logistics, while yet another alternative is the Czech Radio tour. This takes in the radio station and allows students to gain a detailed understanding of the way in which a major radio station works.

Moving on once again there is Bohemia Crystal. Here students can see the craftsmanship of the glasscutters and glassblowers in a low-tech, labour intensive production line. Students can also try glassblowing themselves and will appreciate how traditional industries can still play a vital part in the economic well-being of the country.

Of course, students will also welcome a break from tours directly related to their studies and Prague offers a multitude of distractions, including Prague Castle and St Vitus Cathedral, Historic Tram Sightseeing Tour, Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art, Veletrzní Palace and Barrandov Film Studios.

StudyTrips will work with you to create the itinerary you want, and you can see a typical school media studies visit to Prague by clicking here.

Alternatively for more information call us on 0845 026 4661 or email us at

How to promote British values in Tutor Time

OFSTED is currently placing an emphasis on the promotion of British values such as tolerance and democracy. Helping students develop tolerance and learn about British society is of intrinsic worth but how can hard pressed tutors do this on top of all the other demands on their time?

Providing information on the development of democracy and the rule of law is part of the answer.

Having opportunities to learn about and reflect on those who have contributed to society also has a part to play.

Being able to work co-operatively to solve puzzles and challenges is also a method of developing team working and listening skills which help support tolerance and democratic methods.

Daily Tutor Time © provides all these in one easy to use package. Each week we supply (via email) a set of 5 power point presentations.

Each day has information on a person or event linked to that date in the past as well as set of 4 activities related to that topic.

Recent topics have included the Newport Chartist Uprising, William Hogarth and the first female peers. (We do regularly include Scottish & Welsh related people/events)

Daily activities are a mixture of observation, literacy, numeracy and knowledge/research puzzles and challenges. There is also a free word document each week with the activities –ideal for printing out or for adding to a shared area for student access.

For a free sample set of this week’s resources then please email michael at Wise Ark Ltd ; we will send you the power points and word document –there is no obligation and you will be free to use them across the whole school if wished.


Wise Ark Ltd Company no: 07630623

P.S We also offer Weekly Tutor Time © – an edited version of the above with information on one topic and 5 activities ( one from each day). For a free sample email michael at Wise Ark Ltd ; we will send you the power point and word version –there is no obligation and you will be free to use them across the whole school if wished.​


As you may know, AQA have now released their design contexts for GCSE Design Technology, which form the basis of Section A questions in the June 2015 exams.

Coinciding with their release are brand new Practice Papers – produced exclusively for ZigZag Education by past and present examiners for Design Technology.

AQA GCSE DT Practice Papers – 2015 Edition

For each subject there are two original and authentic papers with supporting mark schemes. Each paper includes questions based on the AQA design contexts that will appear in this summers’ exams.

Both the practice papers and the detailed mark schemes mimic the format and style of their real counterparts, providing effective exam practice for your students.

The 2015 AQA GCSE Practice Papers are available for the following specifications:

Specification Design Context (Used in Section A)
AQA Food Technology [4545] Pastry products from a local bakery
AQA Graphic Products [4550] Prototype block modelling of children’s hand held products, based on the theme of wildlife.
AQA Product Design [4555] Structures inspired by natural forms
AQA Resistant Materials [4560] Task lighting
AQA Textiles [4570] Garments inspired by science and technology

Pre-order now for dispatch on or before 25th March.

Go to to see the latest available inspection copies.

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 AQA GCSE Design Technology practice papers are available as a photocopy master with site licence (£49 per pack). Also available in:

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

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 WN67 to get free postage!

History visit to Auschwitz

How can we best help students to understand the meaning and implications of the Holocaust?

Students may know that it starts with prejudice, discrimination and bullying and that it is countered by knowledge and thought.

But still, for almost every student it remains an absolute shock to realise how easily a civilised nation can slide from civilisation into bigotry and thence to mass murder.

Indeed, such was the enormity of the horror that the Jewish population experienced in Europe at the hands of the Nazis that the only way in which history students can begin the journey towards grasping these issues is by visiting the sites of the Holocaust.

It is an experience they will never forget.

Self-evidently a visit to Auschwitz will enhance an understanding of the physical side of the horrors. But it will also enhance the thinking processes that lay behind everything from the medical experiments of Dr Mengele to the dehumanisation process of converting people’s names into numbers.

Students can also visit the Jewish cultural area of Kazimierz in Kraków which includes an active synagogue and the Ghetto in the Podgorze district which incorporates Schindler’s factory.

There is also an exhibition documenting the remnants of Jewish culture and life in Galicia, which is divided into five sections, representing different ways of approaching the Jewish past: Jewish Life in Ruins, Jewish Culture as it Once Was, The Holocaust: Sites of Massacre and Destruction, How the Past is Being Remembered and People Making Memory Today.

Also in the region are the Wieliczka 13th century salt mines, one of the original World Heritage Sites under the auspices of Unesco. During the Second World War the site was used by the occupying Germans as a facility for industries related to their war effort.

The mine features an underground lake as well as a 3.5 km tour that takes in the historic statues and mythical figures carved out of rock salt across the past 700 years.

There is more information on our website at

But do remember, we’ll work with you to create the tour that meets your school’s specific requirements, and we’ll look after you every step of the way, helping to bring your ideas to life.

To discuss your specific needs you can call us on 0845 130 6070 or email us at

Solidworks Projects for KS3 and KS4

This resource will enable pupils to become familiar and competent at using ‘SolidWorks’ CAD software.

They will use CAD (Solidworks) to develop their designs solution and be aware of the many advantages and dis-advantages that such software has in the real world.

This book contains a number of projects suitable for Key Stage 3 and as a revision guide for pupils in Key stage 4. It allows pupils to quickly get up to speed with using such a complex piece of software and, most importantly, allows them to become competent in designing better products.

Pupils will become familiar with the range of sketch tools and features available. They will be shown step by step how to build a Frisbee, Lego Block, Memory pen, IPOD Nano and a Digital camera. They will also be shown how to assemble parts step-by-step.

The resource also includes two further projects to extend your pupils’ skills – building a Die and a Child’s Stacking Toy. After completing all seven projects they should be able to create something by themselves using the skills they have learnt from the book.

Solidworks Projects for KS3 and KS4 is published as a download so that you can receive immediately a copy onto your computer which you can print out for colleagues as often as you want. You can also put it on your school learning platform so all members of your department can access the document. YOu can view sample pages at

You can obtain Solidworks Projects for KS3 and KS4 by going to

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

Solidworks Projects for KS3 and KS4 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

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

Publisher seeking new education resources: 50% commission on all sales

Share your self-made lesson resources with other teachers in your field and generate significant financial reward and the plaudits of colleagues.

There is nothing quite like making one piece of work meet two separate ends.

You’ve written some course materials for use in your classroom because they are needed, and there was nothing else available.

So you have met one need. And the second?

If that set of materials can then be published, you can receive a significant amount of money in return. Especially if your publisher pays you 50% commission on each and every sale he makes.

This is most certainly possible because Classroom Resources is constantly looking for ready-made materials – materials that cover a topic or subject area that others have not covered – that can be published and advertised to teachers.

Indeed we are interested in materials that approach any school topic in a new, vibrant and interesting manner.

We undertake the proofreading, editing, publishing, production, ISBN registration, VAT, postage and packaging, handling and despatch, and marketing of your resource on your behalf.

What’s more, as noted above you will receive 50% commission (excluding VAT) and printed statements of your resource sales every 6 months. And the copyright remains with you at all times.

Further to this, we guarantee the regular promotion of your materials to colleagues in relevant schools across the UK.

Give us call on 0117 940 6409 or email us at if you would like to join our list of authors.

To see a full list of our Corporate Clients as well as samples of materials which our teacher authors have produced for them, go to:
Classroom Resources
PO Box 1489

Tel: 0117 940 6409

Education news and product reviews for teachers