What is a highly effective way of communicating with parents when you’re just too busy?

Building a rapport with parents is important, not least if you want them to embrace rather than oppose any changes that you implement during your post as the school’s head teacher.

However such a task can seem near impossible, particularly when we consider that how very little time you have in your working day to communicate with parents in person.

Making effective use of the school’s noticeboard is one way in which the school can build up good communication with parents. And yet the results of a survey conducted by Greenbarnes suggest that as few as 25% of head teachers take a personal interest in the school’s noticeboard.

Other findings of the survey were that school noticeboards aren’t typically the responsibility of just one member of staff, but are seen as a shared enterprise, thus creating a sense of cohesion not only between the school and the parents, but also between members of staff within the school.

It found that:

  • Noticeboards are the province of the SBM or an administrator.
  • As for deciding on the position of the noticeboard, this was mutually assumed – two thirds of schools have positioned it at the entrance of the school.
  • The member of staff who wishes to communicate a message is responsible for putting their message on the noticeboard.
  • Expired messages are removed by office staff.
  • An administrator is just as likely to take responsibility for keeping the noticeboard clean as the school cleaners.
  • The responsibility to fix a broken noticeboard falls with the school’s caretaker.

If you are thinking of acquiring a new noticeboard for your school, we have a range of styles of outdoor noticeboards which you can see on our website.

Alternatively, please do call us on 01280 701093 and we’ll be pleased to discuss our boards, send you a brochure, and give any advice and guidance that you may require.

One of my best friends is a teacher………….

I’ve known Ed for many years.  He’s been a class teacher, head of dep’t, and head of year. Vastly experienced and with a bit of a reputation as a “hard man” when it comes to classroom discipline.

Every now and again he moans about the number of students who turn up for lessons or exams without a pen, pencil, ruler, rubber etc. He  reckons it can waste up to ten minutes of teaching time while they try to borrow what they need for the lesson.

So what can be done to reduce the wasted time and disruption caused by pupils who turn up to lessons or exams without the proper equipment?

One helpful product which can make life easier for students and teachers alike is the “Student Essentials set.”

Consisting of three quality black ink pens, two full length HB pencils, a metal sharpener, eraser and a 15cm ruler, all packed in a clear PVC “exam friendly” zip-up wallet, from just 75p each ex vat. They are ideal to give or maybe sell to students at the start of a school day or just before exams.

More details can be found on: www.signposteducational.co.uk

The “Student Essentials set” can help reduce hassle at the start of lessons and exams and help students be more productive in the future than they may have been in the past.

The “Student Essentials set” can be obtained from
Signpost Educational Ltd., PO Box 999, London, E14 6SH
(signpost@talk21.com)  Fax:  020 7515 4420

PS. If you’d like more information please call 020 7515 1797 and ask to speak to Martin Evans who will be pleased to help.

The perfect complement to Shakespeare: plays by Jonson, Marlowe, Webster and…erm… Sheridan

While all Stage on Screen plays feature regularly on school and higher/further education curriculums in the UK and across the world, you don’t have to be studying our specially staged and filmed productions to benefit from them. Anyone who loves or who is learning Shakespeare will profit from seeing plays by his good friend Ben Jonson, later contemporary John Webster, plus major influencer – and ‘real’ Shakespeare candidate – Christopher Marlowe.

Our current titles are as follows:

Dr Faustus – themes from this Marlowe classic are echoed in Macbeth in particular, but also Othello, Timon of Athens and other plays. Marlowe heavily influenced Shakespeare, and with this, probably his finest play, it’s easy to see why.

Volpone – another play that has echoes in Othello, but which is also interesting for comparison of Jonson’s more classical approach to drama when compared to Shakespeare, his contemporary and great friend.

The Duchess of Malfi – this dark masterpiece by John Webster finds many echoes in Shakespeare with its themes of corruption, cruelty and class, while the use of madness makes an interesting comparison with its treatment in Hamlet.

The School for Scandal – this Richard Brinsley Sheridan comedy of manners was written much later of course, and we can’t by any stretch describe it (let alone him) as a Shakespearean companion. However, we mention it here as it makes up the fourth of our current available titles and, like the others, it’s on many curriculums in its own right. As we currently offer all four titles for a special price, you may wish to consider it.

Approved texts – and all round approval

Each play uses full approved texts (other filmed productions are often heavily cut or adapted), and each is staged and recorded live in front of an audience at London’s Greenwich Theatre.

They’ve all received excellent reviews from students, teachers and academic journals plus mainstream and specialist press.

Here are just a couple:

‘Pitched perfectly to suit both casual and academic audiences, Stage on Screen offers an unparalleled array of material on these productions that will be a welcome addition to those who wish to study early modern dramatists.’ (The Shakespeare Bulletin)  

‘..Unlike many modern productions of the classics, Stage on Screen productions are rarely cut, putting pupils who see them at a distinct advantage.’  (Times Education Supplement)

You can see clips from each play at https://www.youtube.com/user/StageOnScreen/

Buy all four titles and enjoy big savings

Each play is available in special Education Packs, which include three DVDs: the play (with optional subtitles); extensive interviews with the theatre company; and a master-shot recording, invaluable for teaching stagecraft, lighting and blocking. Our DVDs play on any system worldwide.

Available for £35.98 for each 3-disc title on Amazon, this special offer gets you the box set of all four titles for just £100 plus P&P, and VAT (if applicable). To order, just email stephen@hamilton-house.com with your completed order form. Alternatively, call us on +44 (0) 20 3174 3249.

If ordering from outside the UK, we’ll automatically convert the cost to your currency at that day’s exchange rate. (Currently, £100 is around US$145 or €130.)

Best wishes,


Phil Rees

Director, Stage on Screen

Exceptional Library Resources


Carel Press

‘Just Read!’ PDF Poster Set – motivational posters about the power of books

‘Learn about your library’ Posters – explain library terms successfully

Great Library Ideas – tried and tested ideas for school libraries by school librarians


You can find more Exceptional Teaching resources at exceptionalteaching.org.uk

“He enthused, motivated and inspired every child in the school.”

The above comment from a Cambridgeshire school is just one example Dr Matt Pritchard has received after a visit. Would you like this experience for your pupils?

Matt’s shows bring gasps of amazement, thought provoking ideas and memorable teaching. He is an Associate of the Inner Magic Circle and world class creative communicator who loves to inspire children in their studies and create a sense of wonder.

“A glorious blend of showmanship and science.”

Bookings are now being taken for the 2015/16 academic year. Grab a slot now before the diary gets filled up.

Secondary School and College shows

  • “Superhero Science” – Are superpowers fact or fiction? Explore invisibility, superstrength, body armour, levitation, mind control and find out what they do (or don’t) have to do with real science.
  • “Surprising Science” – Can you discover the sneaky scientific secrets behind the surprising illusions? The show will challenge the audience to think creatively like both a scientist and a magician. Superb for Critical Thinking skills.
  • “Magical Maths” – Predicting the future, reading minds, sending secret messages and making objects vanish are easy when you’re a maths magician. With shapes, symmetry, patterns and numbers forming the basis of the maths behind the magic.

Visit the website www.sciencemagicshows.co.uk or email hello@sciencemagicshows.co.uk to make a booking before the spaces have vanished. The cost for a day visit (for up to 3 performances) is only £500 plus travel.