How fully have your pupils mastered the demands of the National Curriculum?

The new, challenging, literacy and numeracy requirements of the National Curriculum mean that it is ever more important to check your pupils’ depth of learning as they progress. With the new curriculum, there is now even less chance to catch up on unlearned knowledge, through remedial teaching.

Which is why it’s essential to check that all pupils are fully engaged with these challenges each step of the way.

To help ensure that this is the case, we have worked with former Chief Examiner, Sue Hackman, to produce the friendly new Annual Primary Tests, from Imaginative Minds.

These pupil-friendly assessment checks are written specifically for the new National Curriculum. As well as helping children get used to working under test conditions, they also help you see what each pupil has learned and needs to learn.

The tests are easy to use and to mark. They will help you crosscheck your children’s knowledge and progress across Reading, Writing and Mathematics.

Using objectives taken directly from the National Curriculum, the tests give you a clear indication of the strengths and weaknesses of pupils and classes, and allow you to confirm on-going teacher assessments.

Additionally, the tests are organised by strand to reveal patterns of strength and weakness in different subject strands, e.g. SPAG, geometry and statistics. This will be beneficial for arranging help and catch-up afterwards.

Priced at only £125 for a year pack covering 35 children, the tests are costed to help you keep your expenses low.

Order the tests today and receive a spare Teacher’s Manual absolutely free.

The Annual Primary Tests cover years one, three, four and five. The tests for years four and five are available now from the Teaching Times bookshop: see Year Four here; and Year Five here.

100% money back guarantee

I am sure that you will find the tests are simple to use, pupil-friendly and easy to mark. But if for some reason you’re not happy with them, simply return them and I personally guarantee you a refund on your purchase.

If you would like to order by email, or have a question about the tests, you can email me at Or call me on my direct line at 0121 224 7584.

Don’t forget: you will receive a free extra teacher’s manual, when you order either the Year Four or Year Five tests today.

I look forward to hearing from you.

James Mason
Teaching Times
Tel: 0121 224 7584 | Fax: 0121 224 7598 | Annual Primary Tests

PS Order today to get the complete test pack for either years four or five, plus an additional Teacher’s manual, at no extra cost.


Circus Science

Thinking about the forces in every day (and Circus) life, plus a few extra strange science facts! Suitable for KS1 and KS2.

Feats of juggling, spinning and balancing to astound and amuse, a demonstration followed by workshops with lots of participation.

Why do objects fall, slow down, speed up, change direction or remain balanced?
Within the sessions the Fantastiko Circus scientist explores all of the concepts required for KS1 & KS2 ‘Physical Processes’ and a little more besides. Using practical examples, observation and experiment, he helps the pupils gain a better understanding of ‘Forces & Motion’. They are actively encouraged to participate and give their own observations and conclusions.

The circus science sessions are designed to introduce students to the idea of forces. The sessions are full of fun whilst giving pupils the opportunity to put technical names to what they are experiencing and is brilliant for getting them to start thinking about the activities from a scientific angle.

Areas covered include:

Simple forces: pushing, pulling, action and reaction, gravity, friction, speeding up, slowing down and changing direction.

Centre of Gravity (balance point), air resistance, springs, gyroscopic motion and even the speed of sound are also brought into the mix to explain why some things behave the way they do. Whilst these are outside the curriculum objectives, they are still experienced everyday and can be explained at a simple level.

Depending on the length of workshop or show the pupils can have the opportunity to learn skills and use our equipment whilst being encouraged to explain what is happening and also guessing what might happen next.

Sessions can be from 45 minutes to an hour as well as an assembly show with lots of audience participation.

Pupils that complete one of our workshops can receive a Fantastiko Circus Certificate to recognise and remember their achievements.

We also offer other circus workshops, experiences and entertainment.

Prices start at £275 + VAT for a full day £225 + VAT for a half day.

Find out more about us on our website.

Practical, hands on and a great way to introduce problem solving and management skills

Ideal for STEM and re-usable at only £39.95

So how do you give young people the opportunity to solve problems and develop creative thinking skills whilst they are still at school?

STEM resources have been developed to provide teachers with a way of giving students experience of solving problems and gaining confidence in how to respond to challenges. Good maths based problem solving exercises are hard to come by.

So in order that students might see how things can easily go wrong and how, by working together and sharing information they can go right, we’ve put together a business exercise called Safe Delivery which is designed to give students experience of solving a difficult maths based problem and to develop creative thinking skills.

The exercise is suitable for small teams of KS4 and 6th form students who will each act as managers in a business.  Each manager will have individual briefing notes which they must read carefully and then communicate to the rest of their team.

The Scenario – The MD has ordered a huge fire resistant storage cabinet for the business that will house a new ‘server’ on which information will be stored. It is Friday afternoon and the cabinet is being delivered Saturday morning. It must be installed in the General Office by Monday morning – an office floor plan of the building is provided.  A team meeting is called and the managers sit down to work out how this problem will be undertaken.

This resource contains: For the students:
A memo that sets out the task
5 detailed briefs for different managers in the business and one scribe
A floor plan of the office building showing all the obstacles that need to be overcome

For the teacher:
Clear teachers’ guidance notes that explain how to run the exercise
A snapshot crucial information chart
The written solution
The solution on a power point presentation

There are more details at…

You can pay and download the exercise direct from our website using Paypal or you may wish to pay with a purchase order number. Simply e-mail your purchase order number to us and we will send the exercise to you along with the invoice for payment.  For more information e-mail

Solving a problem that comes with teaching secondary school pupils basic literacy

A common problem that comes with teaching secondary school pupils who require additional support in literacy is that there is often a lack of interesting, informative and age-appropriate, ready-made material available.

Fortunately, Ark Educational has produced the “Literacy Through…”  Worksheets Series, which is a resource containing an extensive range of activity worksheets designed to support your pupils on their journey to becoming confident in their literacy abilities.

The worksheets within the volume are all designed so that they can be used either as a one-off or as a series of highly varied tasks. Activities range from comprehension questions and fill in the gap exercises, to filling in forms and completing a Wordsearch (for example).

Throughout, the volume encourages the development of fundamental literacy skills, such as: comprehension, vocabulary, descriptive writing, grammar, tenses, definitions, phonics, word-building, vowels, compound words and punctuation, among just a few.

What’s more, the resource is divided up into eight sections, each of which is based on a different subject area: Literacy Through… English, Literacy Through… Geography, Literacy Through… History, Literacy Through… ICT, Literacy Through… PE, Literacy Through… RE, Literacy Through… Science and Literacy Through… Technology.

To order the “Literacy Through…” Worksheets Series, simply fill in the order form and send it by fax, email, or post (see contact details below). If you have a school order number, you can also order by phone.

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

Alternatively, you can order the “Literacy Through…” Worksheets Series online as a download for £20 by visiting

If you quote HH10% into the message box when you make your purchase on PayPal, you will receive a 10% refund on your order.


Free resources for science teachers

Children of all ages care about animals. Establishing links between science and animal welfare can be a great way of stimulating discussion of ethical issues in science.

The way our food is produced is a growing topic of debate and directly relevant to syllabus content such as selective breeding and food chains which feed humans. These issues can be brought to life by discussing different ways of keeping farm animals in organic, free-range or intensive systems.

We have free resources on animal welfare and sustainability in farming to help with all of these. You can order a DVD-ROM or invite a speaker to visit your school by replying to this email. You can also download films and worksheets on our website.

Our regularly updated resources include:

  • The Farm Animals & Us films which compare intensive farming systems with alternative methods of production
  • Science worksheets covering selective breeding and human food chains
  • How Should We Treat Farm Animals? – a card activity designed to promote small group discussion of different systems of production.

If you would like to order a free copy of our Farm Animals & Us DVDROM, with all the resources mentioned, or to invite a local speaker, please just email

If you would like to download these materials directly, including the films, or just to find out more, please go straight to our website which has details of all our resources for science including an archive genetic engineering film.

Yours sincerely,

Phil Brooke
Education Development Manager
Compassion in World Farming

Links and contacts:


Tel: 01483 521 965

Education website:

Speaker service:

Science resources:

Some quotes from science teachers

“Gave me a really good lesson … superb for stimulating discussion … pupils have asked to see it again!”Special school science teacher“ … very useful.Prompts discussion well. Well produced. Gets their attention. Good description of the problems experienced by farmed animals.
Head of Biology

“Excellent resource.  Interesting presentation. Wide range of ages and abilities have been engaged by the video.”
Teacher of Biology

“I use the Farm Animals & Us film in science for introducing selective breeding in KS3. Encourages discussion from pupils who are normally quiet.”
Science Teacher


What is the one classroom activity that will enhance your pupils’ confidence in, and enjoyment of maths more than any other?

There are only a limited number of activities around that are designed specifically to increase children’s enjoyment of maths.  And yet the more children do see maths as an enjoyable subject the more confidence they will have in the subject – and the more rapidly their studies will progress.

Which is why we created Magical Maths.

Magical Maths is a school based workshop aimed at either KS1 or KS2 students.  It is taught on a class-by-class basis with up to five classes being taught during the course of the day, with each class session lasting 45 minutes to an hour.

The sessions are based around the notion of magic, and indeed the practitioner who leads the sessions is a member of the Magic Circle.  Children practice and perform the magic tricks that are taught during the workshop – magic which is all based on National Curriculum maths.

As a result the children gain new mathematical insights and revel in their new-found positive relationship with mathematics.

To enquire about a possible booking please call me on 07870 215675 or email with the words MAGIC MATHS in the subject line.


KS4 Problem Solving: featured poster and presentation!

To accompany one of our brand new KS4 Problem Solving presentations, we’ve created a free classroom poster!

Nazir and Chloe share 72 sweets. Chloe has 18 more sweets than Nazir. In what ratio do Nazir and Chloe share the sweets?

Ask your students to work through the problem on the poster, then open up the accompanying presentation to find the worked solution and the answer!

Download the poster from our Doddle Maths page!

Doddle Maths provides teaching, homework and assessment resources for KS3 and KS4 which are fully updated for the new curriculum, and includes resources with a specific focus on problem solving skills. For a free tour of how Doddle can help support your teaching, book a free in-school visit!