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

What makes a play suitable for use in GCSE Drama?

The English language is full of plays – which is not surprising really since people have been writing them for around 1000 years.

The trouble is that many have cast requirements or subject matter that mean they are not at all suitable for the classroom or theatre with the right amount of engagement per candidate and the right number of students involved within the cast.

What’s more, given the need to find scenes and settings which are not just extracts from published plays and the need for the play to have a unified sense, finding suitable plays gets even more difficult – especially if one wishes to avoid using the same plays as last year.

This is the problem that “Here comes Godot now!” by Lindsay Jones solves. It contains 12 plays that engage with themes not often found in other sources, such as dark comedy, fantasy, horror, humour and urban myths.

Thus the themes in this volume avoid the social topics such as drug taking which other volumes (and indeed assemblies and PSHE lessons) will already have covered extensively.

As for performances, the plays are written for a variety of combinations of participants from two boys or two girls up to four boys and four girls.

Because the volume is photocopiable (or printable from a CD rom) only one copy of the book need be bought, and it can be used among the class without further cost.

ISBN: 978 1 86083 856 9 Order code: T1820emn – please quote with order.

Sample pages incorporating one complete play can be viewed at

  • Photocopiable book, £29.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • CD with school-wide rights: £24.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • Both the book and the CD £36.94 plus £3.95 delivery
  • Prices include VAT.

You can purchase the report…

What if there was one activity that could endorse the continuation of learning and development at playtimes?

To ensure that children continue to learn and develop at playtimes, it is important that they are offered a wide range of games, activities, and equipment that aim to develop an array of skills. From physical, cognitive, and social skills, to cooperation and team working skills.

The only problem with this concept is that providing a wide range of games, activities, and equipment can be fairly costly, so it makes sense that any that you buy for use at playtimes will develop a number of skills simultaneously.

One which ticks all these boxes is  Giant Mikado – a giant version of the traditional game of pick up sticks.

The rules are the same as pick up sticks but the large scale of the ‘sticks’ changes the game, making it physically challenging and thus improving children’s motor control and agility.

As the giant game is best played by working in pairs or teams, children will also have the opportunity to develop a number of social skills, including cooperation and team working.


What’s more, we are offering £10 off Giant Mikado when you order from our website before 31st March. And for further savings, if you quote HH0515 on your order, delivery will be free.


Or if you’d prefer, you can always place an order with Edventure in the following ways, but please note that the £10 discount only applies if you order online through our website:

  • by fax to 01323 50 10 41
  • by phone on 01323 50 10 40
  • by email at
  • by post to Edventure Ltd, Hargreaves Business Park, Hargreaves Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN23 6QW.

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.


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


Free instruments for your school

Would you like this djembe set, worth £299, for free?

Every school who books a free CD recording project with us receives this 12 player djembe set worth £299, totally free of charge.


You will receive six 40cm and six 30cm authentic, solid-wood djembe and as you can see, the djembe are of a good size and suitable for both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 children. The djembe would be a great addition to any hand percussion you may already have and assist in teaching rhythm, playing as an ensemble as well as other areas of the Music National Curriculum. Plus if you were to ever host a drumming workshop at your school, you can use your own djembe.

Our professional recording engineers come to your school with studio recording equipment, and spend the day recording your CD with you, for free. Our Interactive Recording Guide shows the huge educational benefit in the project for the children, and makes planning the project really simple with everything set out for you.

All you need to do is decide what you’d like to include on your CD – a performance or event, instrumental groups, the whole school singing, each class singing their favourite song or even your drumming. The CD is a treasured memento to be proud of, a great showcase for the school’s talents, and the recording is an amazing day for the children. You can even raise funds for your school from the sales of your CD. I have included some recent feedback from schools at the end of my email so you can see what other teachers have thought of recording with us.

The summer term is very popular for schools who want to record school performances and it is of course the last chance to record your year 6. Your CD could be as simple as each class singing their favourite song, along with any instrumentalists or whole school songs.

So you don’t miss out on this fantastic djembe set, it’s important to note that you need to record your CD in May, June or July. That leaves plenty of time to plan your recording but you’d need to register your interest with us soon so we can get the ball rolling.

If you’d like more information, you can give me a call or drop me an email and I’ll forward you our Interactive Recording Guide. I can also check the availability of any particular dates you may like to record your CD.

Kind regards,

Ann-Marie Lawrence
My School CD
Tel: 01925 321 800

“Our experience with My School CD has been nothing short of amazing and the whole school was thrilled with the outcome. We received excellent support and advice and the recording itself was extremely satisfying. We felt like real professionals and the quality of the finished CD was superb. We also received a lovely set of African percussion as a gift from My School CD, which has been very well received by the children”. Joe George, Astwood Bank First School.

“We are so excited that our school CDs are here! They’re being played in all the classrooms, and they sound amazing – thank you very much for helping us so much in this exciting project. Thanks also for your help and calm efficiency along the way. Parents and children are delighted with the CDs!” Jenny Griffin, Ashley Down Primary School.

“Thank you for all your help with our school CD recording. The children had a great time recording. It has really helped to raise the profile of music in our school.” Vicky Lambert, Compton C of E Primary School.

“Thanks so much for the wonderful CDs that arrived! We love them! The whole process has been brilliant and you’re fantastic to work with.” Laura Brereton, Tufnell Park Primary School.


The importance of having a comprehensive literacy programme, not only in each school, but across the whole of the UK.

With reports suggesting that one fifth of children are failing to meet the expected Level 4 standard in at least one of the “three Rs”, it highlights the importance of having a comprehensive literacy programme, not only in each school, but across the UK.

Which is why MSL has devised The Complete Reading and Spelling Programme

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

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

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

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

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

You can order the Complete Reading & Spelling Programme in a variety of ways:

  • On our website
  • By phone on 01536 399017
  • By fax to 01536 399012
  • By email to       
  • By post to Multi-Sensory Learning, Earlstrees Court, Earlstrees Road, Corby, NN17 4HH