Should we worry about children snacking?

The notion of snacking is deeply embedded in our culture. But does it matter what children
eat when they snack?

When children have a snack between meals they mostly do it because everyone else does it. Their friends, their parents… everyone has a snack. It’s what we do in Britain.

Interestingly it is not something that is commonplace in every country, and even where it is, not every country takes snacking so seriously. Indeed the word “snack” comes from the middle English word snacken – “to bite”. It is just that we have extended the notion somewhat.

Children who snack are not necessarily hungry (although some will claim to be “starving”) but rather snacking is a habit. It is what they, their friends, and most likely their parents, do.

In the end there is nothing much wrong with snacking in itself, but there is everything wrong with snacking too much and with snacking on the wrong foods.

And this is where the problem arises because many children (along with many of their parents) simply don’t know which foods are healthy and which ones are not.

Which is why it is important that we help children to discover healthier food rather than the foods that may lead them into overeating and being overweight (now an issue for 64% of the UK population).

And this, in turn, is why we have set up the Tasty Tuck Shop – a simple-to-run school tuck shop based entirely on healthy food and drink.

You pick and choose the snacks you sell so that your Tuck Shop stays varied and appealing – and your teaching colleagues can help the children to understand more about the healthier options that the shop offers.

We make a Tuck Shop simple to set up, there are no set up forms, etc, and we supply posters, nutritional information, display stands, and an example letter to give to parents.

The snacks sell for as little as 35p, and our ‘Healthy Range’ fully complies with the new ‘National School Food Standards’ that were introduced January 2015.

You can find more information by clicking here and also on our website at

Alternatively please do call James on 01206 391179 or email me at

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…

By post to First and Best, Hamilton House, Earlstrees Ct., Earlstrees Way, Corby, NN17 4HH
On the phone with a credit card or school order number at 01536 399 011
By email with a school order number to

By fax to 01536 399 012
On line with a credit card at

The Secret to Successful Revision

The Secret to Successful Revision
A practical guide for GCSE Geography teachers

How is it possible for a dedicated student to fail to get the grades s/he wants despite long hours of revision?

All too often, the answer is simple. The type of revision that has been done at home by this promising student has been ineffective, focusing on knowledge acquisition rather than understanding.

It is this observation that leads to the thought that the knowledge one needs to give to students is that knowledge is not quite as important as they think.

The typical weighting for knowledge in a GCSE Geography exam is only between 30 and 40% of the marks. But, despite this fact, left to their own devices some of my students would happily devote near to 100% of their geography revision time to the retention of knowledge.

Some, in pursuit of the magical A* grade, will recreate their notes into beautifully colour co-ordinated works of Post-It note art or elaborate mind maps. But still, despite all the work, these students will ignore the other 60-70% of the marks that are not knowledge based.

So, it may be argued that in the classroom the teacher no longer has to emphasise knowledge. As creatures of habit, students will still spend plenty of time on knowledge acquisition, leaving the teacher free to fill their revision sessions with activities that enable them to practise applying that knowledge and honing their skills.

“The Secret to Successful Revision” makes clear that students retain more by actively re-working their knowledge in different ways than by reading revision guides or following revision lessons. It deals with methods of revising geography which take into account the way exams are marked. It covers “command words” and “maximising marks on terms and definitions”, simplifying case studies, using data from graphs and maps, and much more.

The Secret to Successful Revision 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.

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).

The Secret to Successful Revision 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
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