What is the best way to take students from a predicted lower grade up to the achievement of an A* at GCSE?

Not surprisingly one of the best ways of helping students in French to get a higher grade is to give them a clear summary of the criteria the exam boards use, written in a student friendly language.

And that was what this booklet gives.  The authors have analysed the writing and the speaking criteria of various exam boards and have come up with a simple and clear summary of these criteria written in a student friendly language. These criteria have been divided into four sections; each section corresponding to a GCSE level while at the end of the booklet students can find a very useful list of recommended idioms and high level expressions.

Additionally the booklet includes the conjugation of the 50 most used French verbs, including the modal verbs, into different tenses.

This is followed by different language structures which the students can use to develop their writing.

The use of this booklet is proven to improve students’ levels not only in writing and speaking, but also in listening and reading.

How to get A* in French? is published as a download so that you can receive immediately a copy onto your computer which you can print out for colleagues and your students as often as you want.

There are sample pages from the book at http://pdf.firstandbest.co.uk/authordownloadsamples/T1815samples.pdf and you can order it at  http://shop.firstandbest.co.uk/product_info.php?cPath=76_125&products_id=785

The price is £10 plus VAT (the VAT can be reclaimed in most cases by the school).

How to get A* in French? 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 sales@firstandbest.co.uk 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 www.shop.firstandbest.co.uk

Devising a whole-school Literacy, Numeracy, and/or Science Programme for just a quarter of the price

Since the demand for digital teaching resources has now surpassed the demand for hardcopy teaching resources, we are selling our hardcopy teaching resources for just £5 each so that we can move to selling digital teaching resources only, sooner rather than later.

This means that between now and September 2016 (or while stocks last) your school can get a whole-school Literacy, Numeracy, and/or Science Programme for just a quarter of the price:

A whole-school Literacy Programme = £5 x 68

A whole-school Numeracy Programme = £5 x 36

A whole-school Science Programme = £5 x 18

Alternatively, you can buy the teaching resources separately (at £5 each) by clicking on the subject links above and browsing the categories.

We also have an extensive range of teaching resources for Art and Design, Cross Curricular Materials, Design & Technology, Geography, History, PSHE, Religious Education, Special Needs, and Work Books.

To see our full range of teaching resources, please visit: www.topical-resources.co.uk/.

And, as always, you can order any of our resources by:

  • visiting our website
  • calling 01772 863158
  • faxing 01772 866153
  • emailing sales@topical-resources.co.uk            
  • or by sending your order in the post to Topical Resources, P.O. Box329, Broughton, Preston, Lancashire PR3 5LT


How can you help students, who find writing a CV an intimidating task, to write a CV?

HR Review has reported on the results of a survey created by Barclays LifeSkills which has revealed that 60% of young people in the UK find compiling a CV  an intimidating task.

So intimidating, in fact, that 39% avoid writing one altogether.

One reason for this is that a high proportion of students do not yet know which career path to pursue and thus find it difficult to create something for an end goal that doesn’t yet exist.

Nonetheless, by issuing your students with a Record of Achievement file in which they can record all that they have achieved thus far, your students will have something to base their CV on, making the task of writing their CV much less daunting.

School Smart regularly supply schools with customised Record of Achievement files.  Please see below product description:

Classic Record of Achievement (from £2.25) – A4 polypropylene files containing quality A4 plastic wallets with your school name and logo and the wording ‘Record of Achievement’ on the front in either gold or silver print. Choice of 10 or 20-pockets. Available colours – Black, Blue, Red, Green.  Further details can be viewed on our website

Click here to request a sample Record of Achievement file

If you have any questions or would like to place an order

I look forward to hearing from you.

Jonathan Layton

Exceptional School Supplies

!cid_96c78ca8c876256bd6cecee822787df2The Buying Agency

The Buying Agency offers a new, unique service by comparing the markets’ suppliers for the products you require. How do you know you are getting the best price from the best supplier? You don’t, until you have used The Buying Agency to Compare the Market and the service is Free to use! Don’t buy at catalogue prices, we know suppliers can always do better. We Compare, You Save. Send us your enquiry today.

Contact: John Moulton
Email: john@thebuyingagency.org
Telephone: 01803 607440


School Bottle

School Sport Bottles – NDA Packaging Services are an established, leading UK schools and business water bottle supplier.

Email: sales@ndaps.com
01792 863331
Postal address:
NDA (Packaging Services) Ltd, PO Box 516, Swansea, SA8 3YN, UK.


First and Best in Education

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

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


Signpost Educational Ltd

Dictionaries, Thesauri & the Essential Students’ Companion – Collins English dictionaries, the “Essential Students’ Companion”, Word Power dictionaries, Word Power thesauri, Word Power Pocket English dictionaries, School English dictionaries.

Calculators – basic calculators, Casio scientific calculators, LK 183 scientific calculators, Sharp scientific calculators, Texet scientific calculators and Aurora scientific calculators.

Calculator Storage Boxes – Gratnell’s storage boxes (with transparent clip-on lids and foam inserts for 30 basic or scientific calculators) are a convenient way of storing your classroom calcs.  The slots in the foam mean that you can see at a glance if any calcs are missing as well as providing protection for your calcs.

Geometry Sets – consists of a metal compass with 1/2 pencil, ballpen (black ink), 45 and 60 degree set squares, 180 degree protractor, 15 cm ruler, pencil sharpener, eraser, packed in a robust tin box.

Student Packs for Lessons and Exams – designed to provide your students with the equipment they need for most of their lessons and exams. Consists of a clear plastic, “exam friendly” zip up wallet containing: Three quality ballpens (black ink), two HB pencils, 15 cm ruler, metal sharpener, eraser.

Telephone: 020-7515-1797
Postal address:


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

Something to consider when preparing your dining hall for a higher than usual September intake

If you require more seating in the dining hall to accommodate increased numbers of pupils, Versa Design has designed a table which is arguably the most space-efficient mobile table in the world.

With the Benchmark table, space optimisation comes as standard as (for example) six tables require less than 5ft x 8ft of space when packed away, with each additional table adding just 11-inches to the nested depth.

And when the tables are set out the extended table-tops and end-to-end positioning (with no gaps between table-tops) will massively increase the dining capacity of your school’s dining hall.

The Benchmark table has safety at the forefront of its design with locking latches, anti-glide legs, and DoubleGuard anti-tipping feet, and has a built-in Lift Assist System to provide controlled operation when setting out and packing away the tables.

Furthermore, all Benchmark tables can, if you choose, be customised with a graphic of your choice and are covered by a manufacturer’s 15-year warranty.

To see pictures of our Benchmark tables, click here.

For more information please visit www.versadesign.co.uk/portfolio/benchmark/, call 01752 306 200 or email ideas@versadesign.co.uk.

What is the simplest way for a left handed person to achieve perfect handwriting?

Many left handed pupils and students find handwriting difficult.   Some reverse d’s and b’s, some smudge their work, some report physical discomfort, such as backache and hand ache as they write.

Yet although many left handed people battle on with this problem, the solution to the issue left handed people face in writing is quite simple: it is to provide them with pens that are designed specifically for those who write with their left hand.

This is the issue we have approached, and after considerable experimentation and research we evolved the ideal solution – a pen with an S bend neck and grip area.


Such a pen enables left-handed writers to hold the pen comfortably at a balanced angle and easily view all letters and words as they are written.  In other words the left handed writer and the right handed writer are now set up on an equal footing.

Indeed so successful was the experimentation that led to the production of this solution, the resultant Swan Neck Pens have passed all the requisite British Standards approvals including EN71 part 1, 2, 3 and BS7272 2008.

You can see a video of the pen being used by a left handed writer here.

Obviously these pens are now being sold to left-handed adults for their own use and for use by their children, but we are also currently offering a special 20% educational discount.  This is available to schools if you quote the reference “Learning 0124” and where we are delivering to the school address.

For more information please…

●       Call 01454 325873.
●       Email: Schools@swanneckpen.com
●       See our website at www.swanneckpen.com
●       Write to us at Swanneck, 151 Sydney Street, Chelsea, London, SW3 6NT

How can you ensure that everyone knows what positive play is, why it is beneficial, and how to do it?

Though Positive Play Week 2016 has been and gone, encouraging positive play among your pupils is an all year round activity which can easily be achieved by creating an environment in which everyone knows what positive play is, why it is beneficial, and how to do it.

One way that this can be achieved is by ensuring that you are confident in implementing playtime activities that promote positive play. Which is why we have devised the Pocket Books Set with FREE Top Tips for Midday Supervisors.

The Pocket Books Set includes seven titles: Pocket Playground Games Volumes one and two, Craze of the Week Games, Ball Games of the Week, Long Rope Skipping Games, Playground Games from Around the World, and Wet Playtime Games.

And Top Tips for Midday Supervisors provides helpful advice in an easy-to-follow, accessible style that is full of good ideas to help create calm and happy lunchtimes.

Another way in which you can create an environment that encourages positive play is by displaying signs in your playground such as those that can be found at this link.

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.

What’s more, if you quote HH0515 when you place your order, we will deliver it for FREE!
(Without quoting the code the charge is £3.95.)

Why do History 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 allow participants to study elements of their subject they have not studied before, 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 a range of part-time courses in archaeology, historic environment, international development, local history, and the study of medieval England.

The Certificate in Local History opens by providing participants with the key skills and concepts used by local historians before considering early modern communities (c.1500 – c.1750) and their cultures.  The final unit examines the impact of the First World War on churches and church-going at the local level.

The Certificate in International Development introduces the various actors in international development and discusses how development is shaped by the interactions among these actors. We also examine approaches to sustainable development using case studies from across the world.

The Certificate in Archaeology II starts with research on the development of the state, of urbanisation, and of the world’s progressive integration illustrated by discoveries in ancient Iraq and Mexico and in Britain. It also includes a term-long case study in Egyptology and concludes by examining the Greeks and the Romans, focussing on their interaction and the influence they had on the emergence of Western civilisation.

The Diploma in Archaeology I covers the theoretical and practical aspects of osteoarchaeology alongside sessions examining its integration into field and research archaeology and funerary studies and the ethical aspects of working with human remains.  It also considers the Aztec and Inka cultures and Neolithic Britain.

The Certificate in the Study of Medieval England course looks at contemporary assumptions and how they changed across time, considers English social and economic history in medieval rural settlements, and considers the period from 1000-1530 which saw a flowering of the arts.

The Diploma in International Development examines how a variety of separate issues translate into sustainability challenges. We also examine the different facets of globalisation and how it shapes and is shaped by economic, cultural, and social changes worldwide.

Finally, we offer four advanced diploma courses:

These are part-time, research-based courses which offer those involved the opportunity to undertake supervised independent study over two academic years, culminating in a dissertation of 10,000-12,000 words. Students choose their own research topic and the research proposal is considered when they apply.

The advanced diplomas provide a good foundation in research methods for those who wish to continue with their research at a higher level, either through a postgraduate course or on their own initiative.

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 of the above courses and apply online by 5 September on our website

Or 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

Arranging Your French Trip

With the busy period of exams drawing to a close, we think it’s time for our hardworking teachers to breathe a sigh of relief and start thinking about a trip that both you and your class can look forward to.

One of the best resources for learning French, and experiencing French culture is surely France itself; however, we also offer an exciting range of on-site adventure and team-building activities, perfectly designed for those tricky new year / new class transitions.

For more information, please visit: www.chateau-beaumont.co.uk

We have been organising trips for schools, to suit any budget, for nearly 20 years; we are fully registered with the British Activity Providers’ Association (BAPA) and hold the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge.

I look forward to your response,

Katherine Anderson
Business Development
Château Beaumont

01388 741 361



How can you limit the extent to which your students develop back and neck pain as a result of their school days?

There are two things which have been proven to cause back and neck pain among students: carrying heavy school bags; and sitting for long periods of time.

Which is why a growing number of schools no longer require their students to carry around heavy course material – often by providing them with lockers where they can store books until needed.

Unfortunately, however, the issue of sitting for long periods of time cannot be avoided quite so easily.

So there is clearly a need for classroom chairs which enhance wellbeing, comfort, and concentration. And which are durable and able to withstand even the toughest of environments.

And it is for this reason that Don’t Lean Back (DLB) has produced the Max 2 chair.

The Max 2 chair, which has been designed by a teacher, reduces incidents of back and neck pain, is designed not to rock back and forth, and is built of the sort of materials that will ensure a long life (they come with a ten year guarantee).

Furthermore, the Max 2 chair has been designed to inspire a fresh approach to learning spaces which have an immediate impact on the expectations of all stakeholders within a school.

And there are other positives as well, such as the zero environmental impact of the chairs (they are 100% recyclable) and delivery in just 7-10 days from order. You can see the chairs (and all the colour options) and find out more here along with details on how to buy.

If you want any further information or if I can help in any way, please do call us on 0345 257 8850 or email info@dlb.co.uk

Tom Wates