What a complex mess! Solving the Problem of Punctuation

Of the many issues faced by teachers in recent times, it was a tiny punctuation mark that forced the government to make a change!

The traditional media were incensed. The Independent told us the ’excitable, text speaking youth of today are being told to curb their exclamation by the Government’ with ‘strict new rules on use of exclamation marks’.

‘How strange!’ wrote The Guardian, it was ‘…effectively proof that the government wants to penalise enthusiasm!’

The Telegraph described it as ‘Nonsense!’ that would take ‘writing back to the 19th century’.

BBC Breakfast debated the issue with linguistic experts who agreed in their ridicule.

Meanwhile a mighty battle erupted on social media between the punctuation pedants and the grammar anarchists, until both sides realised that neither agreed with the government’s stance.

The mounting outrage drove the Department for Education to issue a ‘clarification’ and just to be sure, the Minister of State for Schools published his personal guidance that:

“the exclamation mark will continue to be acceptable in children’s responses in the test” and “pupils will not be marked down for using an exclamation mark for emphasis”…however should they be asked to write an exclamation using the “correct sentence format, starting with ‘what’ or ‘how’, will be required”.

While the exclamation mark was safe, teachers now found themselves charged with teaching not only exclamative sentences but also the ‘variety of sentence forms’ that might end with an exclamation mark!

For many primary school teachers, particularly those without a specialism in English, the new pedantic code is a complex and scary beast. Thankfully teachers can now recruit their own monster: the Punctuation Monsters!

Designed to help teachers retain an emphasis on creativity while meeting the needs of the new curriculum, the ‘Unpunctuated’ series uses a theme of ‘Mermaids & Water Monsters’ to challenge students to rewrite unpunctuated sentences and then consolidate their learning with further creative thinking and writing challenges.

After completing the Challenge Sheets, students can mark their own work (and their friends) with the ‘Sentence Check’ sheets. The whole class can then take part in class challenges to add their own punctuation and rewrite the sentences using the powerpoint challenges included with each module.

Teachers can take confidence from the simple step-by-step guidance to each form of punctuation and they may take a particular interest in: http://thinkythinky.com/shop/exclamation-marks/?ref=33

I Can Write Exclamative Sentences http://thinkythinky.com/shop/introducing-exclamations/?ref=33 How to Use Exclamations (which includes a template to create an Exclamation Comic!).

At just £3 each the modules are excellent value for teachers with plenty of activities to use throughout each term. Full details can be found at www.monsterpunctuation.com


Complete Unit: Module 1 Capitals, Full Stops, Exclamations, Question Marks


“A great resource – well differentiated and suits my intended purpose of using with intervention groups in Year 2. I particularly like the ‘unpunctuated’ texts as some of my target children struggle to use capital letters and full stops accurately. This was a great time saver! “


Exceptional Music Teaching Resources

Exceptional Banner - Bigger

Ocarina Workshop – Award-winning Ocarinas

Tuned, Accessible, Musical and Ready-to-play

All your children will love the Ocarina and play full-octave tunes straight away. Ocarinas inspire the musician in everyone. Appropriate for transition to secondary school, enjoyed by boys as well as girls, the instrument is UK-made, robust and ready-to-play.

The Ocarina “combines creative potential, ease of use, affordability and practicality” – Best Music Education Product WINNER in the Music Teacher Awards for Excellence 2015

For just £10 each, everyone can have their own Ocarina and Book. Ocarina music gives immediate access to fluent playing and musical understanding, providing common ground for all the class.

Website: www.ocarina.co.uk
01536 485 963
Ocarina Workshop, PO BOX 56, Kettering, NN15 5LX


Drums for Schools

Music Education for the Whole School – From £1 per pupil including teaching support

All Drums for Schools Class Packs come with complete teaching support: teaching guides, lesson plans, video and audio tracks and with expert advice on tap. The support is so good and the approach so accessible that any enthusiastic teacher can successfully lead their class from basics through to first performance in just 10 lessons.

NEW for 2016 Our Class Packs are now configured on the “Buddies” principle with equal numbers of large and small instruments. The class can be split easily into “buddy” pairs, keeping everyone engaged and making your budget go twice as far.

Email: sales@drumsforschools.co.uk
01159 314 513
Postal address:
Drums for Schools, 21 Shaftesbury Avenue, Burton Joyce, Nottingham, NG14 5GL



CCLI Collective Worship Licenses – offers licences, resources and ideas to help schools use songs and hymns during their times of Collective Worship in assemblies and special services.

Telephone: 01323 436100
Postal address:
CCLI, Chantry House, 22 Upperton Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 1BF



Search Taster Day Events – helps Music teachers to discover an array of events to book students on to, such as university and college taster days, workshops, residentials, open days, outreach events and widening participation opportunities.

Email: info@unitasterdays.com
+44(0)208 798 0982


ZigZag Education

Music Teaching Resources – publishers of teaching resources for schools.

Email: sales@ZigZagEducation.com
0117 950 3199
Postal address:
ZigZag Education, Unit 3, Greenway Business Centre, Doncaster Road, Bristol, BS10 5PY


First and Best in Education

Teaching Rythm, Melody and Harmony – this 130 page book plus music CD will be an invaluable source of materials and methods for teachers of Key Stage 3 Music classes. Rhythm, harmony and melody are all presented as separate sets of activities which can be incorporated into lessons of any length.

Email: sales@firstandbest.co.uk
01536 399007
Postal address:
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd, Earlstrees Ct, Earlstrees Rd, Corby, Northants, NN17 4HH


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


AQA A-Level Psychology: Year 1 and AS

AQA A-Level Psychology: Year 1 and AS
#2 ‘How to do series’
Mathematics for Psychology Students
All examination Boards
New Specifications
From September 2015

CD-ROM: PowerPoints© (1O6 slides) plus photocopy friendly workbook (22 pages). All based on OFQUAL’s ‘Mathematical requirements and exemplification’. AS & Year 1 A-Level require similar content and any differences are clearly marked.  The presentation and workbook cover areas including:

  • Basic mathematical skills
  • Decimal / Standard form data
  • Fractions / Percentages / Ratios
  • Order of Magnitude
  • Estimating Range / Standard Deviation
  • Measures of Central Tendency
  • Graphs / Charts
  • Algebra
  • Probability / Significance
  • Statistical tests

Overall, at least 10% of the marks in assessments for Psychology will require the use of mathematical skills.

These skills will be to at least the standard of higher tier GCSE mathematics.

The author is a Chartered Psychologist, Member of the Royal Statistical Society, experienced teacher, lecturer and publisher.

This unique and extensive resource is designed for both experienced teachers and those new to teaching psychology. It is fully updated to match the new 2015 specification (first examination: AS 2016 and Year 1 A-level 2017).

Quite simply, all you need to pick-up and present with confidence.

106 Slides plus 22 page workbook  – Price £59.99 (excluding VAT) – Order Code: H19055

Once purchased, the CD can be freely copied and networked throughout the school!

To see sample pages please email info@classroom-resources.co.uk quoting the order code H19055.

You can order the A Level Psychology “How To Do” Series Mathematics for Psychology Students CD-ROM in any of these ways: 

  • On our website
  • By phone or fax on 0117 940 6409
  • By email (quoting a school order number) to info@classroom-resources.co.uk
  • By post to: Classroom Resources, 9 Logan Road, Bristol, BS7 8DU

How can you prove to prospective students that your sixth form is the right one for them?

It could be argued that it is harder than ever before to convince prospective students to enrol at your sixth form. Why? Because they want tangible proof that your sixth form will support them in achieving the highest A-level results they are capable of.

Indeed, the fact that your sixth form has a faultless mission statement, brand-new science facilities, and offers an extensive range of extra-curricular activities may not be enough.

So how can you prove to prospective students that your sixth form is the right sixth form?

Just one way that you can do this is by presenting your sixth formers’ exam certificates in a presentation folder, branded with your sixth form’s logo, colours and house-style.

This way, when your students are exhibiting their certificates of achievement to their friends, family, and future employers, it portrays the message that your sixth form is responsible for these achievements – this is the proof that prospective students are looking for.

Our presentation folders start from just 48p each and are available in four different styles – Lincoln (A4,1mm), Chester (A4,5mm), Oxford (A5,1mm), Windsor (A5,5mm) – and a choice of 13 different coloured cards with either gold, silver, black, blue, red, or green print.

You can see pictures and details of our examination certificate folders available on our website

Alternatively, if you have any questions or want to place an order you can

  • Email sales@school-smart.co.uk
  • Phone 01302 836777 or
  • Write to Unity House, 14 Durham Lane, Armthorpe Doncaster DN3 3FE.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Jonathan Layton

Preparing your pupils for the Euros: multipack footballs and football equipment

Celebrating the Euros at school is a great way to get those pupils who are disinterested in football enthused with the sport. Why? Because the Euros isn’t just about football, it is about passion, competition, patriotism, celebration, team spirit, community cohesion and more.

To support you in celebrating the Euros at school with your pupils, we have devised a number of football and football equipment multipacks with savings, including:

A pack of three Size 3 Elephant Skin Footballs £26.85 + VAT (You Save: £3.00)

A pack of six Size 4 Match Footballs £28.50 + VAT (You Save: £6.00)

A pack of eight Mini Footballs £19.50 + VAT (You Save: £2.50)

A pack of 12 Soft Small Footballs £14.95 + VAT (You Save: £3.05)

A pack of two 180 x 150 x 120cm Football Nets £79.00 + VAT (You Save: £10.00)

As always, you can place an order with Edventure in a variety of ways, including:

  • on the website www.edventure.co.uk
  • by faxing us to 01323 50 10 41
  • by calling us on 01323 50 10 40
  • by emailing us at sales@edventure.co.uk        
  • by post to Edventure Ltd, Hargreaves Business Park, Hargreaves Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN23 6QW.

Quote HH0515 when you place your order and we will deliver it for FREE!

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