What is the most effective way of helping your pupils not just to decode texts but to comprehend them?

When we consider the many strategies that pupils use to make sense of all the information that they encounter on a daily basis, it is logical that these same strategies should also be used when it comes to understanding what they are reading.

Of course, the problem with this theory is that it is unlikely that children will all use the same strategies.  Which is why we’ve produced the Comprehension Activity Book series for years 1 to 6.

Each activity book contains an array of texts (fiction, non-fiction, poetry…) accompanied by a range of activities to suit your pupils’ preferred comprehension strategy. Activities include circling/ticking the correct answers, composing full sentences, relating the text to their own experiences/empathising with the text, creating a timetable, and drawing illustrations.

The activity books have been designed so that no one is left behind or held back from reaching, or exceeding, their reading comprehension potential. The books ensure that each and every pupil is able to progress at the speed and to the level that is right for them.

You can see sample pages from each of the activity books by clicking on the individual books here.

We have also produced a Comprehension Activity Book for Year 7 which you can use to challenge your Year 6 pupils who have progressed above and beyond expectations.

The activities can either be used with full classes, small groups or individual pupils.

If you are looking at implementing a whole-school comprehension programme using our clear, concise, easy-to-follow and child-friendly Comprehension Activity Books, you can buy all seven books at a discounted price of £112 for the books, £105+VAT for the e-books on a CD, or £84+VAT for the download on our website.

Or if you prefer, you can order the comprehension resources:

  • By phone on 01772 863158
  • By fax at 01772 866153
  • By email to sales@topical-resources.co.uk         
  • By post to Topical Resources, P.O. Box329, Broughton, Preston, Lancashire PR3 5LT


Still, the question remains, what are British values?

A few months ago the Educational Management News team raised what seems to be a very valuable point regarding the issue of British Values, questioning whether Ofsted could have got it wrong entirely.

Click here to read the article – Could it be that Ofsted got it wrong?

And we were informed that numerous teachers, administrators and school management replied to the article expressing similar concerns over Ofsted’s guidelines.

Since concerns over the issue of British values was so widely shared, we made it our mission to find a way to make the task of promoting British values (and proving this to Ofsted) less of a concern.

As a result we produced a comprehensive set of posters that promotes one value at a time – which we thought was less overwhelming than trying to look at all the values at once.

Also, we thought that by promoting British values through posters, it should make proving to Ofsted that the school promotes such values a fairly straightforward task. The posters can be found at http://www.carelpress.co.uk/exclusive/. See what you think.


Expand students’ cultural knowledge and improve linguistic ability

Current events and target-language culture have become an ever-increasing presence on MFL specifications over the years. And why shouldn’t they? It goes without saying that those with an affinity for target-language culture have greater motivation to learn the language. And ensuring students are in the loop when it comes to current events and contemporary issues is a sure-fire way to spark this passion.

With the trend set to continue with the impending accreditation of the 2016 GCSE and A Level specifications, no doubt you’re wondering how to ensure that students are sufficiently in the know without compromising on essential language practice.

Fortunately, we have created two fantastic new ranges designed specifically to meet this need!

Introducing Differentiated Topical Articles for GCSE and Topical Articles with Exercises for AS, both available for French, Spanish and German:

A series of up-to-date articles based around the latest events in target-language countries
Activities specifically designed to test the skills needed at GCSE and AS
All articles and activities inspired by the topics and requirements of the new specs – including translation!

To find out more, and to preview and order resources, visit the following links:

Differentiated Topical Articles for GCSE

French: zzed.uk/WW85-GCSE-French
German: zzed.uk/WW85-GCSE-German
Spanish: zzed.uk/WW85-GCSE-Spanish
Topical Articles with exercises for AS

French: zzed.uk/WW85-AS-French
German: zzed.uk/WW85-AS-German
Spanish: zzed.uk/WW85-AS-Spanish
Details of all MFL resources can be found at zzed.uk/WW85-MFL


ZigZag Education, Unit 3, Greenway Business Centre, Doncaster Road, Bristol BS10 5PY
t: 0117 950 3199 | f: 0117 959 1695 | MFL-WW85@zigzageducation.co.uk

Give your promotional code WW85 to get free postage!

Is there a “most effective” way to prepare secondary school students for their upcoming exams?

Primary schools across the UK have refused to take part in a series of tests because they are making children tearful. Unfortunately, this is not an option for secondary schools, even though older students can experience these same overwhelming emotions when it comes to exams.

So what is the most effective way of supporting your students in dealing with the pressure of exams?

One way which has proven to be highly effective comes from looking at how new recruits in the army prepare for combat. Many of the skills that new recruits have to acquire would be beneficial to students who are struggling to deal with the pressures of exams.

This is because everyone involved in a mission knows that success is not a possibility; it is essential. There are no second chances. This gives them the motivation and determination that students need in order to perform well in their exams and achieve their desired results.

Such skills include application, attention to detail and focus, the avoidance of excuses, and, above all, a determination to succeed, no matter what.

It is for this reason that upon leaving the army I formed Major Motivator – to share these invaluable skills (which are central to army training) with young people through a range of fun, inspiring, and motivational seminars.

Your pupils will be shown a wide range of innovative strategies to help them tackle the array of challenges that they face between now and their exams – from being overwhelmed by the sudden increase in their workload, to coming to terms with the greater onus placed on them to manage their own revision.

Whatever challenges your students are facing with regard to their upcoming exams, our team of dedicated ex-military staff will equip them with effective revision strategies that we have acquired (and adapted) from schools across the UK.

It is essential that young people today realise that their future success is under their control.

If they want it enough, if they are determined enough, they can succeed.

You can find more information about the different ways that we work with schools by visiting www.majormotivator.co.uk. Alternatively, you can call us on 01536 399010 or email us at info@majormotivator.co.uk.

What’s the most effective method to help young children overcome speech problems?

We’d all agree that repetition of key phrases and sounds is crucial and of course if we can encourage parents and carers to continue this practice at home, the results can often be spectacular.

The problem is twofold; first we have to inspire the parents/carers and then we have to make it simple for them. Bearing in mind that most parents/carers have a full day and many of them feel they don’t have extra time to spend doing speech exercises.

But what if we could make it fun and easy? What if it could be done first thing in the morning, at breaktimes, at lunchtime and just before going home.

We believe we have the answer! A collection of songs specifically aimed at young children with speech and language problems. A collection of songs composed by a well known children’s songwriter in association with a team of Speech & Language Therapists. A collecton of songs that won an award as an innovative project.

If you’d like to know more go to: http://calmerchildren.com/Speech_Development_Songs.html

Where you’ll be able to hear samples and purchase & download this wonderfully effective collection of songs. They can be used on media players and smart phones or you can burn your own CD with the songs in any order you choose.

The collection of songs costs £6.99 and school workshops/teacher training sessions are available for £195 plus travelling expenses. You’re also very welcome to invite Parents/Carers along to the workshops. The more the merrier!

If you have any questions or queries about these Speech Development Songs or Workshops please do call me on 07801 067386. Or  email: vo.fletcher@btinternet.com

Vo Fletcher

Why the requirements of the New Ofsted Common Inspection Framework for SMSC may not be as demanding as you think.

SMSC is a big feature of the New Ofsted Common Inspection Framework.  Given that you are probably already providing your pupils with an abundance of SMSC education in a less formal way, this should make meeting the requirements of the CIF fairly straightforward.

The difficult bit, of course, is proving to Ofsted that you are actively providing SMSC learning.

So the first step to ensuring that you are meeting the requirements of the CIF is to analyse each and every aspect of your pupils’ education to identify exactly where and when SMSC learning is taking place.

The second step is as simple as logging this SMSC. And the third step is to evaluate the effectiveness of these SMSC provisions so that they can be developed and ultimately meet Ofsted’s demands – which can be slightly more challenging.

To ensure that this three-step process doesn’t take up too much of your time we have developed SMSC Gridmaker – a time-efficient way of auditing SMSC across the whole school.

Thus, SMSC Gridmaker allows you and your colleagues to focus more attention on implementing SMSC learning itself, rather than the bureaucracy and paperwork that comes with it.

It is an online tool which makes it possible to log SMSC activities in a matter of seconds, analyse whole-school SMSC at the click of a button, and share evidence of SMSC in the form of dynamic bar charts and PDF reports with others.

Furthermore, SMSC Gridmaker can be tailored to your school’s areas of SMSC priority to include criteria such as British values, PSHE, Citizenship, and so on.

To see how SMSC GridMaker can help your school to collect evidence of your SMSC provisions and evaluate these provisions to create an SMSC improvement