Why discussing Christmas with your pupils is perhaps one of the most effective ways to develop their cultural understanding and awareness

Christmas is generally a time of generosity and kindness, but in many other ways Christmas can vary enormously from one culture to the next as traditions take root and evolve over time.

Furthermore, not only is Christmas celebrated in a different way from one culture to the next, but it is not always celebrated at the same time of year. And whilst some countries have no holiday at this time, one country has managed to get two Christmas holidays a year!

This country is Australia, where the traditional English style of Christmas cards with the robins in the snow-covered environment are regularly exchanged. But because December is in the middle of summer, a lot of Australians also have a “Winter Christmas” holiday in June.

In Ethiopia and Eritrea Christmas is not on December 25, but can either be on 7 or 27 January.  And rather than being accompanied by a larger than normal amount of eating, it is related to a 40 day Fast of the Prophets.

In China Christmas is not a public holiday, but that has not stopped many Chinese people increasingly celebrating the traditions of western Christmas and importing Christmas designs into the shopping areas.

So the story continues. Christmas is different everywhere – and yet in many countries the images of Christmas remain the same. The presents may be given on Christmas Eve in many countries, but the idea of Christmas has spread almost worldwide.

Which is why there are so many Christmas stories from around the world which originate in different traditions but which are all recognisable as part of Christmas.

And it is this vast array of ways of celebrating Christmas which lives on in a whole variety of different stories and different storytelling styles – stories that encourage children to expand their cultural awareness at the same time as developing their literacy skills, while enjoying the fun of Christmas.

Snail Tales specialises in telling Christmas stories that reflect the multiplicity of ways in which people across the world relate to Christmas.  We tell stories in assemblies and in individual classes and include a free after-school INSET with every whole day booking.

There is more information about our Christmas Storytelling activities here, or you can call us on 020 328 76245, or email us at stories@snailtales.org

Exceptional Art Teaching Resources


First and Best in Education

Aprons – cream aprons with pockets, cream aprons without pockets, navy aprons with pockets, navy aprons without pockets.

Art Aid for Key Stage 3 – comprises a set of project sheets which have been especially developed for KS3 level by practising Art teachers. The approach involves encouraging students to be more independent in their research by giving them the opportunity to choose, select and make decisions as they become independent enquirers and learners.

Art and Design at Key Stage Three – this book will provide your students with support, advice and information about Art and Design at Key Stage 3. It will provide them with invaluable guidance on skills, methods and materials and will show them how to do well in the subject at this level.

Arty Tasks – incorporates step by step instructions for 35 separate projects each of which requires pupils to produce a piece of artwork based on the work of a selection of artists as diverse as Georgia 0’Keeffe and Joseph Cornell.

Teaching Art to KS3/KS4 – Teaching Art to KS3 / KS4 is a highly illustrated book of lesson ideas. The bulk of the book covers a series of 10 skill based lessons for KS3 & 4, a series of projects involving working with industry and reports on making links with art schools.

Cross Curricular Art – contains over 40 project sheets and links art to seven different subject areas.  Within the Art, RE and Citizenship section, for example, there are projects which encourage pupils to consider what makes a good citizen, faiths and communities, the architecture of Gaudi and other design ideas.

Presenting Research in Art and Design – This book is an effective and invaluable guide to putting together a case study, something which can often present difficulty to students due to lack of confidence and lack of the necessary skills for the successful completion of work.

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



Search Taster Day Events – helps Art teachers discover an array of events to book their 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

Art Teaching Resources – Art teaching resources for KS3.

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


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

An interactive experience that motivates and inspires

Inspiring and motivating maths and science students, now there’s a challenge.

If you’re looking for an alternative way to cement the concepts you’re teaching, Dr Matt Pritchard is the answer.

Tailored to each group’s age and ability, Dr Pritchard will visit your school and perform his maths and science shows using live demonstrations, magic tricks and multimedia.

Using real life examples, the captivating shows are clear and relevant to what your students are studying.

Current secondary school shows include:

  • “Superhero Science” – Are superpowers fact or fiction? Explore invisibility, super strength, 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.

Performing to over 50,000 people each year, Dr Pritchard works with a number of organisations including The Royal Society, Royal Institution, British Science Association, The Big Bang fairs, Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC) to name a few.

What’s more, he is one of only 300 members of the prestigious Associate of the Inner Magic Circle.

You can find more information on our website at www.sciencemagicshows.co.uk

Alternatively, you can email us at hello@sciencemagicshows.co.uk to make a booking.

The cost for a day visit for up to 3 performances (no limit to audience size), is £500 plus travel.

Click here to read what other schools thought of our recent shows.

FAO the Head of Maths – Work Less. Boost Results.

Dear head of department,

I used to work hard: 12-14 hour days, 7 days a week.

But the results of my students did not improve until I did less – a lot less.

This is because I created a revision program that was “self-taught”.

It showed students how to revise for their upcoming GCSE maths exam (in a step-by-step manner) from day 1 right up to the day of their exam.

The best part about it is, my program didn’t require me to be there and hammer-home the key concepts.

Since I put it into place, my workload has reduced by 50% yet the results of all my students have improved considerably.

If you want to reduce your workload significantly and boost your student’s results in the near future, I highly recommend that you get my unique revision program from: www.gcsemathsforschools.co.uk.

Kind regards,

Jeevan Singh
GCSE Maths For Schools

Why do Psychology teachers take part-time qualifications from the University of Cambridge?

We all tend to have our own reasons for approaching each course we take and each additional qualification we work towards.

Some courses can cover an aspect of a syllabus that one is teaching and which has not been central to one’s studies in the past. Some take participants into the world of further study, and some involve original research.

And then the status and credibility of the awarding body is also important, not just for the quality of the teaching and the work, but also in terms of how the qualification will look on our CV should we wish to apply for a new post at some time in the future.

This coming academic year the University of Cambridge is offering part-time courses in cognitive psychology, philosophy and social sciences starting this October. Brief details are given below, and more information is available on our website.

The Certificate in Cognitive Psychology course opens with a review of the history, core themes, and methods in the scientific study of the mind, brain, and behaviour and reviews the historical dominance of behaviourism, the shift to cognitive science, and the eventual adoption of the broader ‘cognitive neurosciences’.

Our second unit provides an introduction to the study of memory, language, and perception and introduces the core distinctions between different memory systems and their neural underpinnings.

The final unit introduces core topics in cognition, the notion of general intelligence, and neural mechanisms involved in domain general problem solving.

The Certificate in Philosophy I begins by addressing philosophical problems concerning time, space, possibility, and the relations between objects and their properties, considering such questions as: Is there a metaphysical difference between us and past people?

In the second unit we look at formal logic, the language within which we can formulate arguments clearly and test whether they are valid or invalid. At the same time we consider the philosophical issues raised by our formal language.

Finally we consider the two key areas within ethics: normative ethics and meta-ethics starting with what “goods” our ethical theories should promote, and ask (among other things) whether there are principles which determine what it is right to do, and, if so, what they are.

The Certificate in Social Sciences examines sociology, politics, and psychology as three different ways of exploring human behaviour. It opens by asking “What is sociology” and considers how it is relevant to modern social life.

It also considers politics and power and, in particular, the power exercised by the state over its citizens while introducing the key elements of political theory and tracing the evolution of the contemporary nation-state.

In the third unit we ask, “what is psychology and why should we study the human mind and behaviour?” We also consider the application of psychology within modern society and the different schools of thought that have developed since its inception.

The Advanced Diploma in Philosophy is a part-time research based course that offers the opportunity to undertake independent study based around a series of eight structured supervisions over two academic years. You can choose your own research topics and your research proposal is considered when you apply.

Alternatively if you’d like to dip your toe in the water or explore a specific topic, we also offer a range of short courses throughout the year.

You can find out more about all the above courses and apply online by 5 September on our website

Alternatively, you can contact me directly with specific enquiries on 01223 746 417 or email me at enquiries@ice.cam.ac.uk.

Paul Ireland
Institute of Continuing Education, University of Cambridge
Madingley Hall, Madingley, Cambridge, CB23 8AQ

Grofar gets even better!

!cid_c14a3b9b0e0e6aeb9e2954faf37d4f79The summer holidays may be just around the corner, but we’re still working hard to make Grofar even better for your school.  As well as many other exciting improvements, Grofar can now create Student Entitlement Statements using the same wizard driven templates that are used in the Grofar Career Plan creator. Read more in our latest blog post.

Schools using Grofar have been impressed by how much time they are saving and how routine tasks are now so much easier to manage.

  • The leading MIS system designed just for Careers Leaders, Managers and Administrators
  • Everything in one place
  • Saves time on administration
  • Put yourself in control – use as many of the tools as you like
  • Engage your students and monitor progress
  • Evidence for Leadership Team & OFSTED
  • Achieve Gatsby “Good Careers Guidance” report benchmarks
  • Easily generate a career plan for your school
  • Affordable – starting from £495 p.a.

If you would like to start benefiting from the Grofar Careers Management solution, then please contact us before the summer term ends. Visit www.grofar.com or email info@grofar.com to start your FREE no obligation trial.

We hope to hear from you soon, but in case we don’t, have a great summer.

Yours sincerely,

James Robertson

Managing Director – Grofar

Hands-on educational visits with the NCCL

How can your school get involved? 

Law workshop with NCCL


NCCL delivers memorable learning experiences in legal and heritage sites including working courts  

We help bring History, Law, Careers Enrichment and British Values to life!

Activities can include:

•Contemporary and historical courtroom workshops


•Q&As with legal professionals

Where We Work:

•Galleries of Justice Museum, Nottingham 

Civil Justice Centre and Crown Court, Manchester and Bolton Magistrates’ Court

•The Royal Courts of Justice, London

Find your nearest NCCL education team:   



Get involved, inspire young minds and book your visit now!

Tel: 0115 9939 811 Email: education@nccl.org.uk Website: www.nccl.org.uk


“It was very insightful and our students learned an awful lot about the justice system.” Hayley Bennett, Titus Salt School

“I feel that my pupils have learnt a lot from this trip and skills too; advocacy, time management and problem solving” 

Lantern of Knowledge Boys Secondary School 


  “Learning outside the classroom (LOtC) offers a valuable stimulus and context to learning that motivates learners and facilitates application of knowledge and skills” 

 LOtC Sectors Working Group 

Galleries of Justice Museum, City of Caves and NCCL are trading names of The Egalitarian Trust.

Registered Charity: 1030554 Company Registration: 2866265 Registered in England and Wales



Pupils love poetry and song

To help schools enjoy and promote the reciting and learning of poetry, the Performance Poetry Society is offering Primary Schools the opportunity of having Jim MacCool’s Interactive Poetry and Song Shows to visit this Autumn Term.

Jim MacCool’s Shows have proved to be suitable for all ages and abilities of primary school pupils and will enrich and entertain your pupils and staff alike.

Here are some comments on schools’ Web pages and newsletters, after Jim’s visit.

A Poet Visiting Kings Avenue School

On Tuesday the 26th April a fantastic poet named Jim MacCool came to Kings Avenue to tell us about his job. The assembly was so upbeat it was like a concert. We did loads of singing; everyone was having so much fun. He did riddles and was very inspirational. He inspired me to write more poems. Jim brought some fabulous instruments; I want to give Jim special thanks for being so inspiring. By Lattisha – 5S

Jim MacCool at Cragside School

We were so pleased to have Jim MacCool from the Performance Poetry Society today. He performed for reception to year 6, including parents and grandparents, and had everyone clapping, stomping and joining in with a variety of Scottish and Irish verse. It was fabulous to see the children sharing such an exciting experience with their families.We’re all now looking forward to the children writing and presenting their own performance poetry in the classroom. Thanks so much to everyone who came and joined in the fun; sharing the experience with parents and grandparents was very special and exciting for the children.

To find out how your school  can take advantage of this opportunity and join in, please telephone me, Sandra Dennis on 0208 688 6951 or email performancepoetry@yahoo.com for further details.


Working In Universities, Colleges, Schools, Arts Centres, Libraries And Prisons


The Performance Poetry Society is the longest-serving provider of quality Poetry Services to Schools.

Performance Poetry Society
Tigh a Bhaird
7 Harepit Close
Tel. 0208 688 6951


We operate throughout the year.