The effect of heat on students’ exam results

Fitting a whole year’s worth of revision and lessons into just a couple of hours can be tough going for students. Exams are difficult enough as they are, but during the summer months, things can really heat up. According to the independent, students in buildings without air-conditioning attain worse grades during tests in the middle of a heatwave – by around 13%. So, just how widespread is this issue, and what can be done to help future students?

Feeling the heat

According to a study by the US National Bureau of Economic Research, heat has a significant impact on exam results. This study, which was picked up by numerous news outlets as the first major analysis of the correlation between higher temperatures and lower exam scores, took place over a 13-year time period and included 10 million US secondary school pupils. The study found that learning achievement fell by 1% for every 0.55°C increase to the average temperature. Any temperature exceeding 21°C was found to have a significant impact on learning, with anything above 32°C having even more of an effect. The effect of heat on learning was found to be particularly high at temperatures over 38°C.

The study also outlined that high temperatures only impacted exam scored on hot school days – hot weekends didn’t have an impact on achievement levels. Heat did affect educational time however, both at school and at home during homework time.

University challenges

Building on this, another study by Harvard University examined the effects of heat on students living in university accommodation. The study looked at university students during a heatwave – some stayed in rooms with air-conditioning and others stayed in rooms without. Ultimately, the students who stayed in the non-air-conditioned rooms were found to have scored much lower in both problem solving and memory tests.

The effects of heat aren’t limited to daylight hours, however – too much heat at night can also cause problems.

Trouble sleeping

During the UK summer heatwave of 2018, the Guardian reported an increase in sleep problems across the country. The sudden rise in temperature for a country so used to milder climates caused many people to feel irritable, tired, and less productive as a result.

Sleep medicine consultant Dr Michal Farquhar spoke to the Guardian spoke to the Guardian about the problem, stating that: “Britain isn’t really designed to deal with higher than average temperatures. Unlike warmer climates, our homes are designed to keep us warm in the winter more than to keep us cool in the summer, and air conditioning is relatively rare in private homes.”

He went on to explain how the ideal temperature for sleeping is rather restrictive at just 16-18°C, so a sudden temperature rise can cause a number of issues for many people – both at work and at school.

Cooling down

With the effects of climate change becoming more and more apparent, many of us are asking what we can do to help students overcome the heat.

Both Harvard University and the US National Bureau of Economic Research recommend using a good air conditioning unit in educational facilities, such as exam halls and classrooms. The institutions both noted that air-conditioning had a positive effect on reversing the damage to student exam scores caused by too much heat.

As outlined by the Guardian, however, air-conditioning is rarely found in the UK, especially in universities and schools. Historically, this makes a lot of sense, as the UK has never had a history of extended periods of high temperatures, so in the past, air conditioning wasn’t a wise decision financially. With summers getting hotter each year however, and heatwaves during summer becoming a regular occurrence, some have asked if it’s time for the British attitude towards the value of air-conditioning to change.

The National Education Union recommend that UK schools should have an action plan in place should temperatures exceed 26°C. They recommend measures such as encouraging drinking water in the classroom, moving pupils away from windows, limiting the use of computers and installing a good air conditioning system. Companies like Daikin, for example, can offer their expertise in fitting the right air-conditioning system for educational environments. If warmer summers are really here for the foreseeable future, the UK needs to adapt its buildings in order to keep people safe, comfortable and cool.



Another FREE worksheet set from Brilliant Publications

 1) Who won the race?   2) What order did the team come in?
3) Show how you worked it out.  4) Make your own ‘Who Won?’ problem. 

This is just one of the activities that can be found in the set of worksheets that we are giving away, free of charge, from the popular “Open-ended Maths Investigations” series.

Among a few, other activities include: 

Measuring how much water you use (and can save) when washing  your hands,
from the worksheet Every Little Drop

Working out how a group of friends can buy movie tickets with the money that they have,
from the worksheet Movie Money

Calculating the price of clothes after the sales discount has been applied
from the worksheet Sale Time

Click here to request the free worksheet series 

The activities in the Open-ended Maths Investigations Series encourage pupils to apply higher order mathematical strategies, creatively and effectively. The investigations become increasingly complex as you progress through the series, enabling …read more.

For more information or to order the Open-ended Maths Investigations bundle for £40.00 (hardcopy), visit

Alternatively, you can place an order:

  • over the phone on 01449 766629
  • by email to
  • by fax on 01449 767122
  • or by post to Brilliant Publications, Mendlesham Industrial Estate, Norwich Road, Mendlesham, Suffolk, IP14 5ND

Brilliant Publications,
Mendlesham Industrial Estate,
Norwich Road,
IP14 5ND.


phone: 01449 766629
fax: 01449 767122

Want to better support your boys? 

Have you considered accredited mentoring?

How to effectively engage young males with education and provide them with the support and encouragement they need to go on to bigger and better things is always a concern for staff.

Mentoring, as well as offering an evidence-based approach to work with young men, helps young men to achieve their academic and vocational potential, addresses concerns related to problematic behaviours – and provides go-to support and signposting to other services from someone they have built trust with.

The Unit Award in Mentoring Boys and Young Men is a Level 2 award providing your staff/students with an understanding of mentoring work. Whether it is for your staff to better engage with boys or for the boys themselves to support one another, mentoring is an approach that has been shown to work.

The workshop covering the award criteria is 4 hours long. Each staff/student undertaking the award will be provided with their own copy of the Mengage course book: Mentoring Male: A guide to mentoring work with boys and young men. A Level 2 certificate will be issued upon completion.

Feedback received – 23 staff in a Liverpool School said –

Rating delivery and knowledge of the trainer as a one (brilliant), collectively the group said, “The facilitator was engaging and informative. The case studies were informative and beneficial to our CPD. We would recommend the course to others as it was one of the best training courses that has been delivered to us.” Lord Derby Academy, Huyton 

The workshop costs £1295 for up to 10 staff or up to 15 students or a mixture of both – works surprisingly well! Bigger groups are negotiable. You can see more about the workshop by clicking here.

For more information or to discuss a booking, you can contact Liam by email at or by phone on 07788725318.

Alternatively, you can visit our website at to see what else we offer with regards to mental health and raising boys’ achievement.

How can classic literature give young students an enquiring mind for the rest of their lives?

Two days ago I got somewhat fed up when I heard that global warming had now passed a tipping point such that within a couple of months (or was that a couple of decades – I may have got confused) the earth would be too hot for humans.

Yesterday, however, the news said that the “next year is doomsday scenario” was at the extreme end of the scale of predictions, and I was probably safe to book my Christmas holiday to visit my daughter without worrying that the plane would melt en route.

Today, I learn that the Arctic Ocean used to be covered in a tiny fern called Azolla filiculoides that absorbed far more carbon dioxide than we put into the atmosphere now, and so created the cool planet. And with the genome having been sorted, it can be re-introduced so we’re all going to be safe after all.

Which is quite reassuring.

But here’s a thought. I studied the arts at A level and thereafter and never returned to science. So how come I can appreciate this story about the salvation of humankind and follow it with some degree of understanding?

I’d put that down to the fact that I read a lot. Not science books, but classic fiction which I started reading at school. Because through that classic fiction I met thousands of characters each of which had their own way of seeing the world, and that made me think.

Heathcliff got inside my head as did Sherlock Holmes, Fezziwig and Robin Hood, and all the time I kept asking “Why?” “Why is the character doing this?” “Why is the world like this?” “Why doesn’t one character see the the other’s perfidious nature?”

Yes perhaps it would have been good if I had had a broader scientific education, but I didn’t, and yet literature gave me the sort of enquiring mind that scientists often extol as the virtue of their subject.

Which is why my colleagues and I started Wordsworth Editions – reprints of the classics from as little as £1.88 each (with no delivery charge and no minimum order) covering authors from Conan Doyle to Oscar Wilde, Jules Verne to James Joyce.

If you would like to see what we have added new in 2018 those details are here. For a selection of the 50 texts most regularly bought by schools, taken from our full range of 400 titles, please do click here.

And we also have our offer of a free book just in case you have not come across Wordsworth Editions before. To receive a free sample of one of our classics without any obligation please do email with your name and the school address, and we’ll put it in the post to you with our compliments.

What is the one factor that allows you to know that one school supplier is better than the others? 

Of course there is one thing that all school suppliers seem to have in common. They like to tell you they are the best.

But really, how do you know for sure?

One way to find out is to ask a prospective supplier for some free samples of each product you are interested in, not least because if you find the supplier doesn’t want to give you a free sample, you might start to be a little suspicious about the product and its long term viability.

Which is why we offer free samples of all the products in our range. Items such as ID badges, accident books, absence pass books, hi viz vests, school water bottles, visitor books, printing on sports kit, lanyards, wristbands, school bags, etc, etc.

And there’s a bonus: if you send a copy of your school logo or badge, we’ll incorporate that into the free sample: and the free sample still remains absolutely free.

We know that what we offer is high quality and that the moment our customers in schools across Scotland see what we have, they are interested in making a purchase. So, free samples it is. And yes, in the unlikely event that you don’t want to place an order, the samples are yours to keep. We don’t ask for them back.

If you would like to see free samples from any of our ranges all you have to do is go to our web site, tick the box/es of the items you’d like to see, and we’ll send them to you.

Alternatively if you would like to see some pictures just go to our products page, scroll down a little and you’ll see a lot of pictures of what we have to offer.

Or, of course if you have a question, or want to talk about any particular part of our range, please do call us on on our freephone number of 0800 999 2776 or email us with any questions on

What are the dangers of reading books and should we do anything about them?

I started to worry about the effects of book reading after I had been interrupted by sounds from my neighbour’s garden.

The calling in of Poirot or Holmes, however, was not necessary in establishing the reason for the commotion – the parents had decided that their teenager had spent enough of the day on whatever device he was on and had summoned him to join the family meal outside.

The teenager did not agree, but his argument against the “come outside” view lost a certain amount of its pervasive force, in my view, by being limited to expressions of how much she hated her parents and the rest of the family.

But then I remembered my teenage years in which my parents also sought on occasion to get me out of my book and into family conversation. Was I just a pre-digital version of this teenage girl’s behaviour?

Thus I got to wondering about the difference between books and video games, and in doing this I found a large number of articles saying that playing video games is good for young people because it stimulates their imagination and enhances creative thinking.

But that wasn’t what I observed as I did my nosy neighbour bit.  So I dug further and found that in articles written by psychologists with proper qualifications the clear view is that playing these games increases heart rate and blood pressure.  Stress hormones rise and the individual becomes overstimulated – and often unable to come down.

Although any kind of reading stimulates the brain, researchers at Stanford University found that “literary reading” (as, for example, reading of the classics) stimulates multiple cognitive functions. They conclude that reading a novel and then discussing it, thinking about it, and/or writing about it is an extraordinarily effective “brain exercise”.

In short reading a novel stimulates the imagination, while playing contemporary video games stimulates creativity in response to the game, but reduces any sense of exploration of abstract ideas and the ability to communicate.

So, after my grand survey of one family I conclude that reading is still a good idea. And to help encourage reading Wordsworth Editions has a very wide range of classics from as little as £1.88 each (with no delivery charge and no minimum order) covering authors from Conan Doyle to Oscar Wilde, Jules Verne to James Joyce.

If you want to see our selection of 50 essential texts taken from our full range of 400 titles, please do click here.

We also have our offer of a free book just in case you have not come across Wordsworth Editions before. To receive a free sample of one of our classics without any obligation please do email with your name and the school address, and we’ll put it in the post to you with our compliments.


What is the easiest way to give applicants and colleagues a feeling for work in a nursery and all that it can involve?

While reading about the work of nurseries and Sure Start Centres can teach us a lot, videos provide a much more meaningful experience for those who wish to get insights into what the day to day work with very young children is really all about.

All the videos listed below can be purchased outright or bought through our video on demand service. In each case you can watch a clip from the video on our website by following the link provided.

I Don’t Need Toys  A film about play in the first two years of life.  (18 Mins)

This film depicts babies and toddlers at play in the home environment, playing with household, natural and recycled objects as they discover, learn and gain enormous pleasure and satisfaction. At all times the babies and children are being supervised by a caring adult (with whom they have secure relationships) although the adults are rarely visible in the film.   More details here

Individual Differences: Infancy to Early Childhood (16 Mins)

Our individuality is created by genetic traits and the environment we explore as babies.  This film explores individuality and the broad range of characteristics that are considered normal. Tests devised to separate personality differences from traits that indicate developmental problems, are shown.  More details here

Infant Hearing Tests in three infant age groups. (28 Mins)

The video shows demonstrations of how to test the hearing of three age groups including the Distraction Test (6-18 months), Co-operative Test (18-30 months) and Performance Test (30+ months). Testing a hearing-impaired child is also demonstrated.  More details here.

Soft Baby Yoga: Yoga stretching for very young children, in an atmosphere of play. (17 Mins)

This step by step guide shows how to make full use of your baby’s natural love of movement and offers a very enjoyable way to encouraging a full range of versatile movement to maintain flexibility as a baby strengthens.   More details here.

Aggression in Young Children: Is hitting, biting and bullying normal? (16 mins)

If such behaviour is considered “normal” when does such behaviour start and when and how should we intervene to stop it?   These are indeed fundamental questions, because if we do consider aggression to be a normal part of young children’s behaviour, then that will affect the way we deal with it at school.

This two-disc DVD set uses direct observations filmed in natural settings and includes exercises, quizzes and interviews with experts on childhood aggression and offers a comprehensive guide to the subject.  More details here.

Speech and Language Therapy with Children: The development of oral communication skills (16 mins)

This programme looks at all aspects of the development of oral communication skills in children and some of the specific difficulties children experience. It shows in detail therapists working with children with various difficulties.  More details here

Yoga Gym: Animal Stretches: Teaching 3 to 7 year olds elementary stretches relating to animals.   (20 mins)

Children love and enjoy these stretches which maintain muscular suppleness and improve the flexibility of all the major joints. These stretches can be used on a one-posture-a-day basis or woven into a simple story and will maintain good posture and a wide range of versatile movement.

This is also a fun way for children to reduce nervous tension and muscular armouring and restore emotional balance and agility.  More details here.


These videos relating to the work of nursery schools and Sure Start Centres are brought to you by Concord Media, an educational charity founded over 50 years ago and the source for many significant programmes in the education field’.  The videos can be bought outright or viewed through our video on demand service.

For more information and to order please follow the link with each individual video.  If you have any questions you can contact us on 01473 726 012 or via email at

Our postal address is Concord Media, 22 Hines Road, Ipswich. IP3 9BG

Classroom chairs, manufactured in the UK with a FIVE year warranty and costing from less than £10 each (ex vat) ….. 

At a time when there have been increases in the price of classroom chairs it’s nice to be able to report that it’s still possible to purchase classroom chairs from an established UK manufacturer at very competitive prices.

It’s true that there is a limited colour range and in just one seat height (430 mm) but at these prices, AND with a FIVE year warranty, it’s hard to ignore the benefits of having extra seating eg. for exams, for fitting out temporary classrooms, or just for use in emergencies.

The “Poplar” classroom chair is available in black or blue from just £8.98 ex vat (200+) (slightly more for smaller quantities). Quick delivery can usually be arranged, subject to stock.

Further information can be found on the website of Central Educational Supplies Ltd or give Martin Evans a call on 020 7515 1797 or by email

Central Educational Supplies Ltd.,  PO Box 999  London  E14 6SH

Name Your Price Magic Show?   

This is Franc Karpo of Amazing Kids Magic.

Have you ever heard of an entertainer willing to let you name your price for a show?

My guess… probably never.

Well – all that is about to change. I have some very exciting news for you…

I realise that some Primary schools just don’t have the budget to bring in the finest quality enrichment programmes for their children.

As one of the leading kids/family entertainers in Scotland, my goal is to share my magic with every school that has not yet experienced my special Award-Winning kids magic show no matter what their entertainment budget is.

How can we accomplish this?

Great question!

The answer is simple. I am removing the issue of cost from the equation. No longer will you be constrained by your limited entertainment budget.

I have decided to let you…


Sound Crazy?

Well, you are in luck because… I have Gone Mad. :o)

I have created a Unique, and Unbelievable Discount Opportunity where you can…

Name The Price for my magic show!

How does it work?

Just click the link below and follow the simple steps to bring this outstanding show to your school at a price you can afford–because you named it!

This promotion is available from now until the end of winter term, (21th December 2018).

Note: there is no catch – you really do Name Your Price!

Have your best day,

Franc Karpo
Amazing Kids Magic

P.S. As you can imagine, because I am willing to let you name your price, available slots will disappear fast. Once all the programme slots are booked… that is it, the promotion will be over.

Act now to make sure you reserve a date for your school ASAP as I would hate to see you miss out on this opportunity:

Give your students the advantage of live performance in 2018-19

 How’s your summer going? 

The pressure is off a little here at Fred Theatre H.Q. but we’re still open for business and happy to have a chat about bringing top quality live performance to your school across the upcoming academic year.

We really believe in the benefits our productions bring to your students:

  • Experience the GCSE text in 90 minutes (great for revision)
  • Understand the narrative arc of the text
  • Hear those all important quotes in context
  • See the text rather than just reading it
  • And, of course, the simple joy of live theatre

In 2017-18 we performed in almost 50 schools. In every one an overwhelming majority of students provided positive feedback on the performance.

Available to you next year are four productions designed with the needs of your GCSE students in mind:

A Christmas Carol


Romeo and Juliet

Jekyll and Hyde

The diary is beginning to fill up, and once schools re-open in September past performance shows we’ll be handling a lot of enquires. We’re already set to surpass last year’s total by quite a margin.

 And, new for the coming year, we’re launching our student newsletters. We’ll be mailing these to teachers about once a fortnight throughout the run of all four shows. Each newsletter will be packed with really useful info on the texts, how we’re approaching them and the production process.

If you’d like a no-commitment chat, and to reserve some dates please feel free to get in touch.

E-mail Helen in our office,, or call us on 01789 777612. We’ll collect a few details from you and respond with potential dates and a quote.

Living in London: A guide to student accommodation

You’ve finished sixth form or college and now you’re heading to university for the time of your life. Whether you’re planning to study a subject allied to medicine, which was most popular amongst women with 226,420 applicants, or looking for a business and administration degree which most men were drawn to, totalling 154,720 submissions — there’s a lot you must consider when making the move.

Using the largest survey of its kind that questioned 6,000 students regarding their accommodation, we bring you the following analysis of what’s the best alternative — halls or house shares? However, it must be made clear that students that lived in halls are overrepresented (57%).

Looking at halls

Most first-year students believe that halls of residence are the only option on their list. Moving into student accommodation is all part of the student lifestyle and there are many benefits of this, including the ease of making friends within the university and that many halls are on campus or close by.

But, are they glad about their initial decision? The survey suggests that 55% of undergraduates and 61% of postgraduates were. However, a sharp increase in dissatisfaction showed that 19% of undergraduates were dissatisfied with their accommodation which was 7% increase on results from 2012.

The survey suggested that 15% of postgrads weren’t fond of their halls. One of the biggest factors to this was the cost; according to 27% of people. Common complaints surrounding university halls were related to plumbing, water and heating problems at 25% but it must be made clear that these problems should be fixed by the accommodation itself.

There are two types of accommodation you can go for in London.  Using University College London (UCL) 2018/19 accommodation fees as a guideline, a singled catered room would range from £173.88-£180.67 per week. If you wanted to go self-catered, this would be priced around £165.69-£242.62 depending which of course is dependent on building type and location.

Looking at house shares

House shares are becoming a more thought about option for students around the UK. However, with the finer financial details coming into play — saving as many pennies as you can has become vital for prospective students.

The survey found that 55% of undergraduates and 60% of postgraduates were happy.  But were the expectations for students upheld when they moved into their flat? Well, looking at results from 2012-2014, dissatisfaction increased by 4% for undergraduates and 5% for postgraduates.

Two main issues that were a common trend in the survey were problems with landlords and the condition of the property. London’s landlords are notorious for charging extortionate rates for small living spaces, which is probably why ‘people’ came up as a common student complaint, small spaces mean that you might be too close to comfort with people — all of the time.

Four in ten students pay less than £125 each week according to the survey (which also excludes bills). The majority of students from this survey, accounting for 31% said that they paid £126-£150 each week. This was soon followed by 26% that said that they paid £100-£125 each week.

If you’re from a fellow EU nation, you might find yourself paying a higher £140.43 but this is still less than those who are from outside of the EU who pay £150.35.

The end result

Although Oxford to London coach providers, Oxford Tube has provided you with these eye-opening statistics, it’s important to understand the financial position you will be in. You also need to consider how you’re going to afford everything — if you’re getting out a student loan, will this cover it?

It’s important for you to make the best decision that can support your lifestyle. You don’t want to miss out any important necessities — work with the mindset of what your financial situation will be.

Remember to carry out in-depth research into what accommodation will be better suited to you. Alternatively, if you go for a flat share — are you prepared to pay for bills that may not be included in your weekly rent, and put up with the landlords?

University campuses are usually close to the university accommodation — so make sure if you do go for a flat share, you’re close by — check out the London bus times to be extra vigilant. Of course, all of this does come down to personal preference but making sure that you’re happy with what you have is vital.


What is the easiest way to give applicants and colleagues a feeling for work in a nursery and all that it can involve?

These videos relating to the work of nursery schools can be purchased outright, or bought through our video on demand service.  In each case you can watch a clip from the video on our website by following the link provided.

A Day in the Life of a Day Nursery

This Detailed description of the work of a day nursery is an excellent guide to the demonstration of competencies which explains to the viewer the philosophy of good child care and its relationship with the everyday tasks of caring and nurturing the development of children in her/his care.

This 90 minute DVD is an ideal video to show to parents who are contemplating sending their child to a nursery for the first time, and to volunteers and first-time applicants for jobs who need an introduction to what nursery school life is about.

You can read more about the video and also see an extract from it here.

The Road Home

This film demonstrates the importance of one to one attachment for the emotional development of babies and young children and reflects on what happens when that attachment is not available.

The video will be of great benefit to anyone who is working with children who have not been able to form attachments in their lives thus far.

You can read more about the video and also see an extract from it here.

Getting the Feel of Things

In this film two two-year olds explore unfamiliar objects with their senses.  They move slowly and thoughtfully, absorbing what they find, and present what is for many people an unusual view of young children.

You can read more about the video and also see an extract from it here.

Cognitive Development

This American film gives a fairly comprehensive overview of current psychological theories of development, covering Piaget’s work and the work of behaviourist psychologists.

The ideas of Bruner and Kagan are contrasted with Piaget via examples from different schools which have adopted different approaches.  You can read more about the video and also see an extract from it here.

Through the Eyes of a Child

This video shows approaches to ways of helping people enter a child’s world. Small happenings, such as going on a bus, an encounter with a dog, and playing in the garden are seen through a child’s eyes,

You can read more about the video and also see an extract from it here.

The Psychology of the Pre-School Child – Part 1

Five children aged from three and a half to five years talk about their interests and fears, their attitudes to parents and grownups, the dreams they have and their desires to be older than they are. They demonstrate early defence mechanisms and various elements of sibling rivalry.

You can read more about the video and also see an extra from it here.

The Anna Freud Nursery School

This video looks at the running of a nursery school for children age 2 to 5 showing the principles and practise underlying the daily running of a group of 13 children aged 2 1/2 to 5 years.

You can read more about the video and also see an extra from it here.

Young Children in Brief Separation (five films in this series each featuring a different child)

At 17 months John is a placid, easy to manage child.

He spends nine days in a residential nursery. The nurses are young and friendly, but the system of care does not allow any one of them to substitute for the absent mother.

This film represents  a microcosm of the human dilemma of how to give appropriate care to those in need, whether they be infants, the aged, the mentally ill, or prisoners, all of whom need stable, supportive relationships.

You can read more about the video here.

Please note this video is not available on video on demand.