Category Archives: School News

4 Reasons to Study a Postgraduate Course

When studying an undergraduate degree, most of us try to avoid thinking the inevitable — what on earth do I do next? It’s unlikely that in the last three years or so you’ve paused the partying to think about the next stage of your life seriously.

As with all major life decisions, there are pros and cons to consider. With further study comes even more fees. However, in a saturated jobs market, additional qualifications could be essential to even land a job in the first place. Ultimately, the best thing to start with is to do some research about what is best for you. So, in this article, we’ll try to make your life a little bit easier and will list the top reasons why you should choose to study a postgraduate degree.

Higher Salaries

According to research, the top paying salaries are the ones linked to postgraduate STEM courses. Architecture, medicine, veterinary science, maths, computer science and engineering related careers started at around £31,000 a year. Of course, these subjects can be quite specialist and might not be accessible to everyone for a number of reasons. However, BBC recently reported that on average, postgraduates earn £6,000 more a year than graduates. Even if you don’t start on a higher salary initially, it makes it more likely that in the long run you could be exposed to more opportunities and responsibilities leading to a pay rise.

In 2008, the average young graduate earned a yearly salary of £24,000. Ideally, this should’ve risen to £31,500 in 2018 to be in line with inflation. However, in 2018, the average salary only increased to £25,500, which shows that earnings have dropped. For this reason, and to overcome this disparity, it would make sense to undertake postgraduate study.

Develop Your Skills in Saturated Jobs Market

University research has found that there are more graduates choosing to study postgraduate than ever, which means that there are more rival candidates for you to outshine on your job application and in your interview.

Currently, the jobs market is an extremely competitive environment. It’s better to stay on in higher education so that you can develop your skills and even specialise in a particular area — around 9 per cent of students said that they studied postgraduate to meet the requirements of a current job. With rising expectations, employers can favour candidates who have committed to further study as it shows that they are willing to improve their skillset and are worth investing in.

Discounted Tuition Fees

If you’ve recently graduated, it’s worth checking to see if your university offers any alumni discounts for continuing to study at their establishment. For example, if you previously studied at Northumbria, and you’re considering postgraduate study but are put off by the tuition fees, you’ll be pleased to know about their alumni discount scheme. As alumni you can get a generous 20 per cent discount, which knocks a significant amount off your fees. This can make university life a lot easier and leaves some of your loan left over for living purposes. Keep your eyes peeled for your university’s discounts.

Can Help Change Career Path

If you find that you’re no longer interested in the subject you studied at undergraduate, or are losing interest in your current career, no, your degree wasn’t a waste of time. And yes, there’s still hope for you yet.

Postgraduate study is an excellent way to redirect your career path and prospects. And the brilliant news? You don’t always need to study a postgraduate course linked to your existing degree. For example, if you studied psychology at undergraduate, but decide that you want to be a solicitor, you can take a law conversion course. If you’re a psychology student who has just finished their degree and develops a sudden interest in marketing — go for it!

Many skills we learn at university are transferable no matter what you studied: time management, research, organisation, data handling, presentation skills. These are all desirable skills that would help you in the working world.

One of the most important things to remember is that additional education is never going to be a bad thing. At the end of the day, you’re bettering yourself and your chances of landing a job you’re interested in. In the grand scheme of things, a little bit more debt will be worthwhile in the long run. So why not invest in your future?



What’s the simple and cost effective way to help maths lessons be more productive,  both for teachers and students…….? 

Every now and again I get to chat with  teachers and one of the topics that often crops up is why many students don’t  bring a pen, pencil, ruler etc to their lessons.  They tell me that this leads to wasted time and a measure of disruption,  even before teaching has begun.

In an attempt to solve this problem there’s  now a  product called the “Value Maths set ” which, as the name suggests, contains all the basics that students need for their  maths lessons.

Consisting of  two quality black ink ballpens, a full length HB pencil, eraser, 15 cm ruler, 180 degree protractor, metal compass and half pencil,  and a sharpener, all packed in an  A5 size, clear PVC “exam friendly” wallet with a zip slider.

From just £ 1.25 each (ex vat) the “Value Maths set”  is a convenient and cost effective solution to the problem of students who haven’t brought the correct kit to their maths lessons.  Ideal to give or sell  to students at the start of lessons or at the start of a school day………  also very useful for exams.

Full details of the “Value Maths set”   can be found on the website: 

You can order by email:  or tel: 020 7515 1797

Signpost Educational Ltd.,   PO Box 999   London   E14 6SH

My mate Ed used to be a teacher   ………. 

Ed has been a teacher for more than thirty years,  working in several London boroughs. He started out as a supply teacher, then moved on to be a subject teacher,  head of year and head of department.

Now and again he would recount some of the more “grisly” goings on in whichever  school he was working  at the time…..and it wasn’t only the students he got “naffed off” with…… (but that’s another story, as they say)

If there was one thing he felt strongly and got so angry about it was when  students came to his lessons without the basics,  ie. they turned up without a pen, pencil, ruler etc.

He was well read,  an experienced teacher and planned his lessons carefully,  so  he regarded any delay in starting a lesson as a personal insult.  His view was “If I take the trouble to plan my lessons and make them  relevant and interesting, then why the heck can’t  my students bring a pen and pencil with them ?”

Thankfully, a couple of years before he retired, he found out about the “Student Essentials” set.

“If I’d known about this product thirty years ago then my life as a teacher would have been much easier and my students would almost certainly have got a lot more benefit from my lessons.”

The “Student Essentials” set  is all about  providing students with the basics they need  and cutting out wasted time at the beginning of lessons….result ?  Improved productivity in both teaching and learning.

The “Student Essentials” set consists of three quality black ink ballpens, two full length HB pencils, an eraser, pencil sharpener and a 15 cm ruler, all packed in a clear “exam friendly” PVC wallet with a zip slider (size: 230 x 155 mm). It’s ideal to sell to your students (or maybe even give them away !) or use as prizes or incentives.  From only 85p each, ex vat  it’s a simple, yet cost effective way of helping both teachers and students be more productive.

The “Student Essentials” set can be obtained from  Signpost Educational Ltd.  who can be contacted on: email:  or tel  020 7515 1797  or you can visit their website:

Signpost Educational Ltd.,  PO Box 999  London E14 6SH 

PS.  Your order will usually be delivered within 1-3 working days.

Classroom chairs with a TWENTY  year warranty can save your school or college hundreds of pounds  AND eliminate time wasted in trying to repair damaged chairs. 

Improvements in  design and manufacture  have  meant that the quality and durability of  classroom chairs have improved significantly. The result is that it’s now possible to obtain classroom  chairs with a TWENTY  year warranty.

That’s  TWENTY years with NO replacement costs and NO repair bills…which,  in a large school or college can save  hundreds of pounds.

Designed not only to be comfortable, durable and virtually vandal proof but also to encourage good posture, the “Postura Plus” chair is available in sixteen attractive colours and six sizes,  making it ideal for use across different departments and in  primary,  secondary and tertiary sectors.

So, if you have been considering adding to your stock of Postura Plus chairs or perhaps introducing them for the first time,  here is an opportunity to do so and save money at the same time.

For more information about these chairs please visit the website 

 If you’d like to discuss their suitability for your organisation or to chat about a possible order please call 020 7515 1797 and ask to speak to Martin Evans who will be pleased to help.

Central Educational Supplies Ltd can also be contacted by email on

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

PS.  If you need new classroom tables or exam desks we can also help with these….and did you know that you can order  replacement table tops in a range of colours  if your existing tables are perhaps looking a bit worse for wear  ?  If this is of interest, please phone 020 7515 1797 and ask for Martin Evans.  As with all enquiries we receive we’ll give you the facts and leave the decisions to you. There’ll be no “hard sell”  or “pie in the sky” delivery promises

The “Mr. Reliable”  GCSE scientific calculator that’s been around since 2004 and is still going strong…… 

In 2004 the Logik LK 183 GCSE scientific calculator was introduced to UK schools and colleges.

Up to this point the Logik brand had only been available in basic four function models which were fine for primary schools, but didn’t really cater for KS 3 and 4 and GCSE exams.

The LK 183 changed all that.  With excellent build quality and reliability and a keyboard that was already familiar to maths teachers and students alike, the LK 183 became a favourite in many schools.  It’s functions and features, which included twin line display, stats calculations, check, correct and replay,  random numbers etc   meant that it was well suited for GCSE.  With 240 functions, a slide-on protective cover, hard plastic keys for durability, auto-power off  and similar features to the brand leader PLUS a three year guarantee, it became established in many maths departments.

The good news is that the LK 183 is still available today.  From just £ 3.80  ex vat and in class sets of 30 calcs in a Gratnells storage box with foam insert and lid from just £ 124.50  ex vat  it still offers remarkably good value.

Further details on the website:  or call  020 7515 1797 or

order by email:

Signpost Educational Ltd.,  PO Box 999  London  E14 6SH

NB. orders are usually  delivered within 1-3 working days

90% of your training paid for becoming a Registered Play Therapist?

A new TrailBlazer group is developing a government funded training scheme for SENCOs, Teachers, Teaching Assistants and School Nurses to become registered Play Therapists.  90% of the total cost (estimated at £17,000 over a three year period) would be provided for training at level 7 (Post Graduate), once the proposed scheme is fully developed.

We can’t yet guarantee that the scheme will go ahead and it will depend upon enough schools in your area becoming involved. Out of the 300 maximum capacity in 2020 there’s 128 places left.  There’s no commitment on either side at present so don’t miss this opportunity.  Register your interest now!

The training will meet:

  • The new Ofsted inspection requirements that came into force this September;
  • registration on the Professional Standard Authority’s Accredited Register of Play and Creative Arts Therapists;
  • the principles of the new Mental Health Charter, being put forward as a blueprint for the reform of the 1983 Mental Health Act

This is a marvellous opportunity for you to provide therapeutic support for your pupils with social, emotional, behaviour and mental health issues.

Please contact:  for registration and more details.

Yours sincerely

Jeff Thomas

Secretariat:  Play Therapist TrailBlazer Apprenticeship Group

The first of our 2019-20 productions is now on tour

Fred Theatre’s popular production of A Christmas Carol is now out on tour. Directed by Tracey Street, our team of six actors report that the production is receiving an amazing response from staff and students at all the schools where they are performing.

Although the diary is very busy already, there are a couple of opportunities to book a performance before Christmas if you’re quick.

As ever, to discuss any aspect of a visit from Fred Theatre to your school, please feel free to contact me or Helen Warrilow, our tour administrator. You can call us on 01789 777612 or email:


We look forward to speaking with you soon, and bringing amazing live performance to your school this year.

Full details of all of our productions can be found on our web site, along with further information on the additional pedagogical material we’ve added in for this year:

Robert Ball
Artistic Director
Fred Theatre

PS: Also on our website we have a great report on the value of booking a visiting theatre company, well worth a read.

Five Children’s Books that Champion Inclusivity

During their formative years, it is of utmost importance to teach children valuable life lessons. The beauty of inclusive children’s books is not only that they teach young people about kindness and acceptance, but that they reflect the lives of underrepresented children. In the Book Trust’s summary on inclusive book printing, they said, “inclusive children’s literature is vital. Children’s books can act as mirrors, to reflect the readers’ own lives, but also as windows so readers can learn about, understand and appreciate the lives of others”. If children only have access to narratives that seem utterly different to their own experience, they might feel confused and alienated. Some writers are combatting this by making sure their books are inclusive and accessible to all. Whether this be through words or pictures, it is important to make sure various narratives are available. This way, every child can have a hero who they can relate to. The following books do an amazing job of representing different marginalised groups and teaching children valuable lessons.

Representing disabilities: Harriet Versus the Galaxy by Samantha Baines

People with disabilities are underrepresented in popular culture. Because of this, children often don’t have access to disabled role models. Considering there is still a lot of stigma surrounding disabilities, it is fantastic to see books such as Harriet Versus the Galaxy showcase the beauty of being different. In Samantha Baines’ debut children’s book, we follow the story of Harriet, a young girl who uses a hearing aid. One day, to her surprise, Harriet finds an alien in her room and discovers that she is able to communicate with it because of her hearing aid. Because she is the only one who can understand the invaders, Harriet becomes planet Earth’s first line of defence and she steps up to become the hero humanity needs.

This story highlights the fact that ‘disabilities’ are not always a hindrance, and sometimes the thing that sets you apart is your greatest gift.

Considering class: Lulu Loves Flowers by Anna McQuinn

With so many stories revolving around princesses, castles, and riches, children from low-income families might feel alienated. Lulu Loves Flowers by Anna McQuinn highlights the fact that beautiful stories can apply to children of all social classes. This story follows a young girl who reads a book of garden poems, then decides she wants to grow flowers and create a garden of her own. It is a simple story, in which class isn’t explicitly discussed, but hinted at through the bright illustrations. Instead of featuring a grand family home, Lulu and her mother are depicted in a flat, the view of which suggests they live in a high-rise block. Furthermore, when she begins to plant her flowers, the illustrated scene is of a communal allotment rather than a garden of her own.

Discussing the delicate references to social class the book, Anna McQuinn says, “Many readers will not even notice these tiny details. They may assume that Lulu and her mummy are reading upstairs in their house and that they have their own lovely garden. It’s not about making a point or making people notice, but rather trying to make the story inclusive of other possibilities.”

LGBTQ+ inclusivity: The Family Book by Todd Parr

Inclusivity means representation for everyone, and in Todd Parr’s book The Family Book, he certainly sticks to this message. The Family Book plays its part to represent families of all shapes and sizes, subtly teaching children that they can grow up to be whoever they want to be. The story features families with two dads, families with two mums, adoptive families, stepfamilies, single parent families, and families who have decided not to have children. There is a wonderful simplicity about this book. It teaches children that there are so many variations of ‘family’ that there is really no such thing as ‘normal’.

Highlighting ethnic minority groups: The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi

The Name Jar, by Yangsook Choi, revolves around the experience of moving to a new country and feeling like you’re different to everyone else. The book follows the story of Unhei, a young girl who has just moved from Korea to America. After feeling anxious that none of the other children will be able to pronounce her name, she announces that she is going to choose a new, more American name instead. To help out, her classmates all come up with some suggestions and put them in a jar. However, after visiting Unhei’s district, one classmate learns the beautiful story behind her name.

When the day comes to pick a name, Unhei finds the jar has gone missing. After a show of acceptance and encouragement from her classmates, she ultimately decides to stick with her Korean name, and she helps her peers to pronounce it properly.

This story teaches children about acceptance and inclusion. It also gives children who have moved from one country to another a story to relate to so that they don’t face alienation.


Even though we live in a diverse society, in which no two people are the same, this clearly isn’t well reflected in children’s literature. However, if pioneering books like the ones listed above continue to challenge the norm, children have a greater chance of finding positive role models and learning about inclusivity.


Reading incorporates two activities. 

 But what is the most successful way of pulling these two elements together?

Most of us working in primary schools will have witnessed children who have the ability to decode texts at an appropriate level for their age, but who find it hard to grasp and hold the meaning of that text at the same time.

As a result they cannot engage in activities that build upon their reading, because they simply don’t have enough of an immediate understanding of what they have read.

In such cases what is happening is that the brain is working to translate each pattern of letters into a word, but because so much effort is put into this activity the brain does not then take the words of a phrase or sentence and convert those words into something meaningful.

As a result there is little ability for the child to answer any questions about what has been read and (more worrying in the long term) there can be no enjoyment in reading.  Reading is a chore to be got through, not something to be enjoyed.

Unfortunately, many resources that exist to help primary school children read, focus on helping children read the text, but don’t simultaneously focus on giving them something that is enjoyable to read.

And so it was to provide this additional vital element in primary school literacy that we have produced the new edition of Brilliant Activities for Reading Comprehension – Years 1 – 6

The books in this series contain a variety of types of comprehension passages ranging from newspaper articles and dialogues to plays, stories and poems.  Each is followed by a series of enjoyable tasks for the children to undertake which test and stimulate their understanding of what they have read.

There is a lot more information about these books and their content on our website.

The books can be ordered either as a PDF for £13.99 or as a hardcopy book for £19.99. There is also the option to buy the hardcopy and PDF together at a discounted price.


You can place an order:

  • on our website
  • 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

New Children’s Folding Tabletop Magnetic Whiteboard – Double sided £19.99

You may remember Magic Whiteboard from winning Dragons’ Den? It has been 13 years since we faced the Dragons. We now supply over 2000 schools in the UK.

We have designed this wedge whiteboard for nursery and primary school children. It encourages creative play & learning.

🧲 Children’s A3 Folding Tabletop Magnetic Whiteboard Easel Set  – Only £19.99 🧲

More Information here

How to use video

tabletop dry erase whiteboard magnetic whiteboard easel
whiteboard folds flat