Category Archives: School News

How can schools and parents work together to combat stress & anxiety amongst children?

With end of year exam season approaching, discussions have turned once again to the level of stress students are put under to perform well in these exams. With the intensity of the tests increasing each year, it’s safe to say that the levels of stress are on the rise for these young minds too. But is this stress a natural motivator, or are we pushing students to the point of toxic stress levels that could cause mental health problems to develop?

According to a recent report by Tes Global, support company Childline delivered 2,795 counselling sessions for exam stress between 2018 and 2019. One third of these sessions took place during the exam season months. The most common age for students to seek this help was between 15 and 16, with girls five times more likely to ask for help than boys. But should we be aiming to help children at a younger age, to help them cope with the pressures that exams bring?

In this article, we explore the difference in healthy stress and unhealthy stress, how our current exam system may well be aggravating stress levels, as well as the link between stress and mental health conditions and how the two relate to each other.

Identification

The difference between healthy stress, toxic stress, and mental health conditions

Although the terms ‘stress’ and ‘anxiety’ are often used interchangeably, they are very different medically.

Stress is a natural response to present threats. Whether this is pressure at work, home, or school, this current pressure causes adrenaline to be released and cause a feeling of stress. This is a natural reaction in a short-term scenario.

However, too much stress or having the chemical adrenaline linger in the bloodstream for too long can cause anxiety to develop. Anxiety brings a whole host of symptoms with it, including sickness, panic attacks, and dizziness. Anxiety continues to pressure a person long after the pressure-causing event has gone. This can be caused by an internal chemical imbalance, hence the prolonged effects even without a current, identifiable event causing the feelings. This in and of itself can prove upsetting for an individual with anxiety, as they feel there’s no observable reason for them to feel like this.

In short, stress is a response to an immediate, present threat or pressure. Anxiety is usually longer lasting, and often deals with concerns of the future; it is a response to hypothetical, potential pressures to come. Where stress is a response to a currently occurring issue, anxiety has been considered as an intolerance for uncertainty.

When to embrace stress

Healthy stress is temporary, and it can indeed be beneficial. It is born out of our fight-or-flight instinct, where present threats or pressures took the form of predators more than academic performance!

Feeling stressed before an exam is normal. The adrenaline is all part of the body and brain getting ready to perform. It is important that students are aware that a little stress is nothing to fear. It’s normal, and it’s helpful. With a healthy, manageable level of stress, people often perform well.

Of course, the key element here is ‘manageable’. When this healthy burst of stress builds and spirals out of control, affecting areas of life outside of the exam hall, then it most certainly isn’t helpful, nor is it healthy. If a student finds themselves feeling stressed outside the exam hall, and that that stress is impacting home life or classroom behaviour, it’s time to look at the issue from the viewpoint of anxiety.

When to combat anxiety

Anxiety’s damage comes in how it lingers and gets tangled into everything. Often, people suffering from anxiety note that little to nothing seems enjoyable anymore, as there’s something in everything they do that makes them worry more or their feelings of anxiety are so overwhelming that they cannot focus on anything else. Simply ‘taking their mind off it’ isn’t possible.

A jittery feeling and nerves before an exam are one thing. But when that worry lingers long after you’ve left the exam hall and starts to extend out into future ‘what if’ scenarios, that’s when anxiety could be developing. Often, anxiety is characterised as a feeling of ‘doom’ in these future worries. The worst-case scenario is, in the throes of anxiety, suddenly a fact rather than a hypothetical. With this in mind, how can schools provide for students in order to ensure stress remains at healthy, short bursts and not a lingering, damaging, and often harmful condition?

What schools can do

Schools can provide a number of methods to help their students in the run up to their exams:

  • Encourage achievement but avoid undue pressure. Particularly for high achievers, the pressure to perform perfectly in exams can be a lot to handle. These students can feel that they not only need to achieve the grade for themselves, but for their parents and teachers or they will risk letting them down. Many may feel shocked or ashamed if they gain a grade 8 in their exam when they were ‘expected’ to get a grade 9. Assure them that this top-tier grade is still that: a top-tier grade, and more than enough to see them on to future success!
  • Arrange stress-buster sessions. Learning how to handle and manage stress is a vital skill. Particularly at school, students will probably be thinking of their upcoming exams while in the classroom revising. It can feel like there’s no escape, so be the one to release that pressure valve on stress with an occasional stress-busting lesson instead of intense revision. Whether this is with a puppy-hugging day to look forward to as a special reward for working so hard, heading out to the school garden with a trowel and some compost for some relaxing plant-attending, or even a one-off lesson of stress-busting techniques like breathing exercises and mindfulness, treat stress-management as a lesson and exam technique just as vital as going over those notes and books again.
  • Remind students that exams are important, but they are not the most important thing in life. We’re not saying tell your students the exams don’t matter; of course, they do. But make sure the scale is realistic. You want, and expect, them to do their best. Achieving good results here will build a great foundation for their lives. But remind them that a failed exam will not mark them for the rest of their lives, nor will it be the defining of them

What parents can do

There are a few things parents can do if they suspect their child is suffering high levels of exam stress or full-blown anxiety:

  • Do not say ‘we just dealt with it in my day!’ When anyone has a problem, the last thing they want to hear is how someone else has it worse. A problem that is causing someone to suffer doesn’t lose value just because someone else has suffered more! In particular, no child appreciates their parent indirectly telling them that they don’t have it as hard as their parents did. Saying you, or their siblings, ‘just got on with it’ isn’t helpful at all, nor it is wholly accurate.
  • Do say positive and constructive things! By constructive, we don’t mean ‘you should study more’ or ‘your big brother studied 14 hours a day for his exams!’. Again, comparisons are not helpful; everyone studies differently. Some people take in information best in an eight-hour-study-party then a day off, where others study best in multiple 20-minute bursts with a short break in between. By all means, offer strategies you found helpful, but don’t present them as the ‘correct’ way compared to what they are already doing. Also, be sure to remind your child that while the exams are important, they are not completely life-defining; assure them that even if the exam doesn’t go well, there are so many options to re-sit or re-evaluate. One failed exam will not bring their hopes and dreams to a halt.
  • Let them vent and listen. Sometimes, you don’t need to say anything. Sometimes, we just need someone to listen to our deepest fears and worries. Let your child vent their concerns, particularly after the exam, and don’t criticise them as being over-dramatic or needless in these fears.
  • Teach them to relax between exams. Treat days out, as well as reminding them that a day off studying isn’t wrong, can go a long way to managing stress down to those healthy short bursts and not a prolonged, weeks-on-end pressure. Assure them that rest days in studying are beneficial and will actually help them retain more of what they have revised. Get them out of the house for a bit, and don’t make them feel guilty for it!
  • If you suspect your child is under too much stress or suffering from anxiety, consider medical advice. A mental health problem is, by and large, chemical in nature. It is long past due that it lost its taboo, particularly among parents and children. The brain is an organ and, like any other organ in the body, for some people it may not produce the right amount of a necessary chemical. If your child’s stomach didn’t produce the chemicals it needed to be healthy, it would be a trip to the doctor to find out what to do next. It’s no different for matters of the brain and its chemistry — if you suspect you child has a mental health problem at play when it comes to dealing with and processing stress, do not be afraid of approaching a GP.

Sources:

https://eu.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2019/02/10/therapy-dog-spencerport-palmyra-macedon-gates-chili/2699133002/

https://www.quora.com/How-do-I-tell-the-difference-between-stress-and-a-mental-disorder

https://www.healthstatus.com/health_blog/depression-stress-anxiety/how-is-anxiety-different-from-stress/

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/19/well/family/how-to-help-teenagers-embrace-stress.html

https://www.verywellmind.com/top-school-stress-relievers-for-students-3145179

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/student-stress/

https://www.parentline.com.au/older-kids/issues/helping-kids-cope-exam-stress

https://www.digitalspy.com/showbiz/a804967/results-day-12-clever-successful-celebrities-who-also-failed-their-exams/

https://www.digitalspy.com/showbiz/a804967/results-day-12-clever-successful-celebrities-who-also-failed-their-exams/

 

 

Social Media: is there a way to strike a balance for our ever-social children?

Many UK adults rely on social media for a variety of reasons, but the audience of these platforms has shifted notably in recent years. There is an increasing number of youngsters engaging with some form of social app. While there are both positive and negative factors rooted in the idea of children on social media, it’s usually up to a parent to make the call on how and if their children should use social media. As a result, it has become a divisive topic. Let’s take a look at the perspective from both sides and evaluate whether or not there is a way to strike a balance for our ever-social children!

Social media, screen time and health concerns

One of the biggest issues with social media is the amount of time that it involves spent focusing on a screen. Many users have become aware of the impact that this can have on health. Known as ‘computer vision syndrome’, prolonged screen exposure can cause eye strain, headaches, and blurred vision. While these symptoms can be easily treated and managed, it’s important to take regular breaks from devices. Of course, distracting a child’s inquisitive eyes from the screen can be a challenge sometimes. Instead of spending rainy weekends indoors, dig out your kids waterproofs and encourage them to get out and explore nature and enjoy some fresh air.

As these devices are more accessible than ever before, kids are spending more time focused on a screen with little downtime. Studies have found evidence to support the claim that obesity is in fact linked to excessive screen time, through both inactivity and poor dietary . The evidence suggests that increased screen time could even increase the likelihood of obesity in later life. In 2017/2018, around 34.3% of children aged between 10 and 11 were overweight. As we see the continual surge in the popularity of social networks, this figure is only expected to grow.

Other health related impacts that are linked to excessive screen time include difficulty sleeping, as the light which is emitted from many of our essential digital devices can interfere with the brain’s sleep cycle, triggering insomnia.

Networking skills from a young age

It’s not all bad though. The concept of social media is to bring people together and it has evolved the way we stay in touch with both people we care about and issues in the wider world. For children, there are benefits of being a part of such networks, as it can have a positive impact in teaching them how to interact with their peers. Sites such as Kidzworld, GromSocial, and Yoursphere are all leading examples of how social media can be used to generating a useful community for kids to enjoy themselves.

The younger generation are also growing up in a highly digitised climate, so exposure to social media can actually equip them with the necessary skills for the world that they will inherit. Digital technology has arisen across all areas of life at an alarming rate, and our kids will need to be prepared for an ever-advancing world.

Relationships — a positive and negative influence

In a world before widespread access to social media, developing relationships was a process reserved for real life. However, as these networks began to emerge, they provided a new way to create new connections and relationships. Observations into children’s behaviour development as a result of social media has revealed a potential increase in a child’s ability to be empathetic. It has also highlighted an improved focus on solidifying new relationships.

Youngsters are growing up in a world where we stay in touch with friends and family by ‘liking’ and commenting on updates. However, this can lead to over-use and even a reliance on these platforms for maintaining such relationships. This can affect a child’s perception of what a real human relationship is. Contrarily, technology can be used to teach empathy, and some of the content that a child sees online can help to teach compassion to a younger audience.

The impact of social media on children can certainly be managed, and as we have explored, the technology can actually be useful for developing a wider understanding of the world and communication. 

Article provided by Muddy Puddles, a UK kids waterproofs retailer, on a mission to make childhood magic in the great outdoors.

Sources:

https://www.verywellfamily.com/the-negative-effects-of-too-much-screen-time-1094877

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5769928/

https://www.google.com/search?q=impacts+of+prolonged+screen+time&rlz=1C1LENP_enGB841GB841&oq=impacts+of+prolonged+screen+time&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.5055j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

https://www.ofcom.org.uk/about-ofcom/latest/features-and-news/half-of-people-get-news-from-social-media

What’s a simple way to encourage and motivate your students?  

Almost everyone likes to be recognised..… whether it’s in the form of a bonus payment, long service award or just an occasional “well done.”

Interestingly I once read an article which stated that most employees respond best when they are thanked for their efforts or praised for their contribution to the organisation they work for……rather than being given money.  When praise is combined with even a small gift then this becomes a great motivator and is likely to increase their loyalty and commitment.

Sadly, it seems that many large firms take their staff for granted and seem oblivious to the fact that without their (often) hard working staff their business would not exist.

If you’ve ever watched the programme “Undercover Boss”  you’ll know what I mean.  All too often the boss of the company is out of touch with his staff, his stores, and what goes on in them……In fact all too often it seems that lowly paid staff are better able to run the stores than the CEO himself (or herself). 

So, what has this got to do with student behaviour, effort and recognition? 

Well, there’s a  product which has just become available in the UK. It’s simple, it’s basic, it’s low cost, but as well as being very useful for students I think it could also be a great motivator.

It’s called the “Student Study Set”  and contains all that a student needs for most of their lessons.

Consisting of four full length HB pencils, four black ink pens, two quality erasers and two sharpeners and a 15 cm ruler …all contained in  an “exam friendly” clear PVC pencil case with a traditional zip closure and sewn sides for strength. From just £1.35 ex vat it could be an ideal gift for use as an incentive, a prize or perhaps given to all students at the start of a new term.

The “Student Study Set” can be ordered from:

Signpost Educational Ltd.,   PO Box 999,   London  E14 6SH      Tel:  020 7515 1797

email:  signpost@talk21.com    website:  www.signposteducational.co.uk

PS.  Orders are usually delivered within 1-3 working  days

Free same day emergency supplies of first aid, hygiene and protection products for schools

Of course we all aim to keep good supplies of the key first aid items that we need – but emergencies can arise.

And when you do suddenly find you have just used the last of a particular first aid item, then waiting a day or two for the next delivery is really not an option.

Which is why we offer free same day emergency delivery in the Manchester and Liverpool areas.

Of course we also offer free next day delivery across the country on all orders over £50, which means if you can wait until tomorrow, we’ll get you the supplies you want, no matter where you are.

Which then brings us to the question of what we supply.

There’s far too much to set out in an email – and besides emails have a habit of vanishing into a virtual dustbin.  So we’ve set the list out on our website.

If you have a moment please do go to the site, bookmark the page, and then you can be assured that whatever you run out of, whenever you run out, it will be available on next day delivery.

(You might also want to pin our number on your notice board next to your phone – or indeed write it on label and stick that on your first aid cabinet, so when you do need us, no time is lost in finding the number).

But I would also like to throw in one other suggestion.

There are ten good environmental and social reasons why you might want to buy locally rather than through a national supplier, and I’ve taken the liberty of setting them out on our website.

Some school offices have printed it out the list and stuck it on their notice board, which I know our delivery people really love to see.  I know that uses up a sheet of paper and a micro millilitre of ink, but the environmental saving on just one order will cover such usage!

Of course schools may like us because they find they can save up to 64% on first aid products by buying from us, but I like to think their concern for the environment is part of the reason too.

We are at www.firstaidproduct.co.uk or call 0161 2236633 and request your free catalogue and sample pack.

Does your school or college have enough exam desks for your students …….? 

Exams aren’t far away and it’s perhaps easy to assume that there will be enough exam desks for all  students….. but suppose this isn’t the case….

It’s might be worth checking the stock of exam desks well before the exams are due to start, just to make sure there’s enough to go round.

Central Educational Supplies Ltd have been supplying exam desks (as well as other educational furniture) since 2004 and can often supply at very short notice…sometimes  just two or three working days.

Why not contact them now to see how they may be able to help with your exam preparations?

Central Educational Supplies Ltd can be contacted by:

email: info@centraleducational.co.uk

phone: 020 7515 1797

or visit the website: www.centraleducational.co.uk

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

What’s a simple way to encourage and motivate your students?   

Almost everyone likes to be recognised..… whether it’s in the form of a bonus payment, long service award or just an occasional “well done.”

Interestingly I once read an article which stated that most employees respond best when they are thanked for their efforts or praised for their contribution to the organisation they work for……rather than being given money.  When praise is combined with even a small gift then this becomes a great motivator and is likely to increase their loyalty and commitment.

Sadly, it seems that many large firms take their staff for granted and seem oblivious to the fact that without their (often) hard working staff their business would not exist.

If you’ve ever watched the programme “Undercover Boss”  you’ll know what I mean.  All too often the boss of the company is out of touch with his staff, his stores, and what goes on in them……In fact all too often it seems that lowly paid staff are better able to run the stores than the CEO himself (or herself). 

So, what has this got to do with student behaviour, effort and recognition? 

Well, there’s a  product which has just become available in the UK. It’s simple, it’s basic, it’s low cost, but as well as being very useful for students I think it could also be a great motivator.

It’s called the “Student Study Set”  and contains all that a student needs for most of their lessons.

Consisting of four full length HB pencils, four black ink pens, two quality erasers and two sharpeners and a 15 cm ruler …all contained in  an “exam friendly” clear PVC pencil case with a traditional zip closure and sewn sides for strength. From just £1.35 ex vat it could be an ideal gift for use as an incentive, a prize or perhaps given to all students at the start of a new term.

The “Student Study Set” can be ordered from:

Signpost Educational Ltd.,   PO Box 999,   London  E14 6SH      Tel:  020 7515 1797

email:  signpost@talk21.com    website:  www.signposteducational.co.uk

PS.  Orders are usually delivered within 1-3 working  days

Careers in catering: why the industry shouldn’t be overlooked

A career in catering is perhaps one of the most diverse professions out there, and even though it sounds cliché, it really is different every day. The breadth of available roles is something which continues to appeal to new recruits, offering a whole host of challenges and opportunities. Not all career opportunities are obvious though — and there’s certainly a few hidden gems to uncover! Join The Kings Lodge Inn, one of the popular hotels near Alnwick Castle and take a look through this run down of some of the most interesting roles available in the catering industry.

Food manufacturing inspector

Recent years have demonstrated a growing awareness towards food allergies and the public handling of various dietary requirements. Many food and beverage companies have placed a lot of focus onto their health and safety departments for this reason, and as a food manufacturing inspector, you’ll be at the forefront of these all-important processes. Your day to day duties could include inspecting conditions in processing plants, carrying out quality control checks, testing samples of raw ingredients and processed products, presenting results and interpreting data, ensuring that practices meet the required standards, checking labelling is sufficient, producing quality reports and advising manufacturers on how to improve, as well as issuing warning notices if standards are not being met. The training processes relating to these roles is meticulous, due to the complexity of the work.

o   Getting started

Generally, GCSE certificates are required for entry onto the relevant college or apprenticeship scheme, and A-Levels will be a necessity for those who pursue the university route with popular course choices including Food Safety Inspection and Control. For apprenticeship hopefuls, the level 2 award in food catering certificate, or a level 3 award in supervising food safety in catering are options to look out for. College curse such as the Level 3 Diploma in Food and Drink Operations is also recommended, providing a combination of taught work and hands-on experience. Candidates could apply directly to a vacancy or gain experience in the field then progress through an existing position.

o   Pay expectations and working hours

The typical starting wage in this position at entry level can be around £15,000 per year, and an experienced food inspector could earn up to £30,000 per year. The typical hours are set between 40-42 per week, and the role can involve being on call. For this reason, a driving license can prove advantageous.

 

Food technologist/ food scientist

Food technologists get to experiment and conjure up new flavour creations— making them a kind of modern-day equivalent to Willy Wonka! This is one of the most interesting roles in the production side of the catering industry, wherein you’ll be responsible for devising and testing new flavours, products and ensuring safe consumption. Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of exactly what they eat, and this is being incorporated into the production line, testing and labelling these ‘zero fat’ and ‘high protein’ products that have become commonplace in supermarket aisles. You’ll also be involved in investing new ways to keep food fresh, attractive and safe, as well as finding ways to cut costs and save time in production. Along with blending new recipes, experimenting and creating sample products, you might also design the manufacturing machinery.

o   Getting started

Workplace progression as well as educational qualifications such as degree courses and apprenticeships can lead to a fulfilling career as a food inspector. Relevant higher education awards include food science, food studies and food technology. Chemistry and nutrition can also lend themselves to securing a role as a food technologist or scientist, but overall some hands-on experience is always invaluable. Other options include the food technologist advanced apprenticeship, and progression from this could lead to a food industry technical professional degree apprenticeship. Those in employment can work towards these roles, in positions such as a lab assistant or a food technician, gaining qualifications while employed.

o   Pay expectations and working hours

With a working week of around 39-41 hours the role is demanding but candidates will develop a serious level of expertise of the field while on duty. The starting wage is around £20,000, rising to anywhere around £45,000 for those with experience. These roles might involve shift work, and this is predominantly during the evening.

Catering Manager

The social aspect of the catering industry is unbeatable when compared to many other professions. Catering is the backbone to many large conferences, parties, weddings and other events. Nowadays, catering can be used to create unique experiences for a whole host of purposes, and as a catering manager you can be as creative as you want in this sense. From making contacts in the right places, to securing a catering plan that will make people’s big events as memorable as possible, the job is extremely varied. This role relies heavily upon communication, initiative and leadership, as well as the ability to think outside of the box. You’ll be at the helm of brining together one-in-a-lifetime events for your clients, and no two days will be the same as a catering manager. Daily, you could be required to organise shifts and rotas, recruit and train staff, meet suppliers and negotiate contracts, cater for dietary requirements and plan various budgets.

o   Getting started

Many venues look to hire internally, or they will have schemes in place to appeal to young people and graduates. Many catering managers start off as graduates or on  an entry-level scheme, learning on the job and attending courses in order to gain the relevant qualifications. It is certainly worthwhile looking into such establishments in your location, finding out where these schemes are available. Experience is favoured, even if it is just in the form of a generic events management/ catering role. Apprenticeships to pursue for a role as a catering manager will be focused on management, and a college courses to consider is the Higher National Diploma in Hospitality Management.

o   Pay expectations and working hours

An entry level wage is around £19,000 per year, and a catering manager with experience can earn up to £40,000 per year depending on the location of work. The hours for this role are slightly more than any typical catering position, working up to 41-43 hours per week. It can be demanding, and often working patterns will fall on weekends and can include bank holidays.

 

Could you picture your future in the catering industry? Pursue one of these exciting avenues and you could be set for a whole breadth of new challenges.

 

 

Sources –

https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/job-profiles/food-manufacturing-inspector

https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/job-profiles/food-scientist

https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/job-profiles/catering-manager

Battling Period Poverty In The Classroom And Beyond…

According to Plan International UK, a dedicated children’s charity, one in every ten teenage girls will have experienced the problem of not being able to afford sanitary products.

The issue of Period Poverty has been picked up by many campaigners who are pushing to eradicate the financial barriers between girls and menstruation. So, let’s talk about exactly why young girls need to be growing up in a world free of period poverty.

Period poverty: what is it?

To define period poverty, it is having the financial inability to afford sanitary products such as tampons, towels and even in later life when products such as maternity pads are required. However, it can also refer to having a lack of knowledge about menstruation. Governments have come under fire for matters such as the tampon tax, which is thought to contribute to period poverty.

Tampon tax refers to the profits from the VAT charge of 5% applied to sanitary products and while this might be significantly less than the standard 20% VAT which applies to a whole host of other products, there is still dispute over whether we should be paying tax duties on these products at all.

A couple of retailers have swallowed the tax and a Tampon Tax Fund has been set up to support certain women’s charities, but that hasn’t changed the fact that many girls are growing up in a climate where they can’t afford these essential items.

How can we begin to address Period Poverty?

The UK Government’s Department for Education in April 2019 announced it aimed to provide free sanitary products across Primary school’s in England by 2020. The Children and Families Minister Zadhim Zahawi covered some of the key concerns for period poverty campaigners, outlining the move as a step towards enabling girls to meet their full potential, while also leading happy, healthy lives.

With the classroom being one of the key places to tackle period poverty and in February the UK government announced that it intends to implement classes on menstrual health by 2020, which is certainly a step in the right direction when it comes to educating young girls about their periods.

The impact of period poverty on young women

Girls on average get the first period signs at twelve years old, however from the age of eight they can start. Not all young girls are fortunate enough to be able to add sanitary products onto their parents’ weekly shop and this has left many without access to sanitary items. With many girls not having the money to afford such items, wondering, “When will I get my first period?” may be an extremely stressful thought.

Experiencing symptoms and having no access to period products means that many girls could be going through period poverty during the peak years of their education and development. The average schoolgirl is found to take three days off each term due to period related issues and 1,000 girls said that period poverty affected their academic performance. There needs to be a solution to remedy this, allowing girls to focus on their education.

Why is it important to discuss period poverty in the classroom?

We should be actively talking about menstruation in the classroom since the pressure placed on parents to educate their daughters about periods may be difficult, especially if they lack the knowledge that is needed. As we’ve already mentioned, the government is taking the right steps towards bringing periods into the classroom and by educating girls at a young age, the school system can help to tackle period poverty at its very origin.

There’s certainly a stigma around menstruation and by leveling the playing field early on, we can inform young girls about what to expect and that it is totally natural. Plan International UK found that some of the most reoccurring reasons cited by girls missing school lessons, due to period related issues, were embarrassment and anxiety about the situation. This demonstrates the need for period education and schools should be striving to tackle this and make classrooms a safe space for all youngsters.

There is already a growing understanding of period poverty amongst teenagers and young girls thanks to multiple widespread social media movements. PHS Group carried out a survey in which a third of participants said that either they or someone they knew had been affected by period poverty. Teen activist Amika George began the #FreePeriods movement, and the nineteen-year-old is amplifying the message that no young girl should have to miss out on learning because they can’t afford sanitary products. She has joined forces with various other campaigns such as the Pink Protest and the Red Box Project to reiterate the importance of achieving period equality for all girls.

All women have a duty to share and support each other through an experience we all have in common, especially when girls get signs of their first period. So let’s tackle period poverty and raise a generation of girls who have ready access to essential sanitary products and are empowered by their bodies, not held back by them.

Sources:

https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/period-poverty-everything-you-need-to-know/

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/periods/starting-periods/

Don’t ‘hide’ periods in schools, urges charity at head of government taskforce

https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/amika-george-period-poverty-uk/

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/08/girls-school-period-poverty-scotland-free-menstrual-products-england-campaign

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/period-poverty-girls-school-absent-phs-group-menstrual-a8922246.html

https://plan-uk.org/media-centre/plan-international-uks-research-on-period-poverty-and-stigma

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/free-sanitary-products-in-all-primary-schools

http://redboxproject.org/

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-47350835

Teaching tech to older people: How to overcome the digital divide

We all know of instances where individuals have fallen victim to the digital barrier. Those that were born before 1990 weren’t brought up surrounded by technology, and this pattern continues to increase as the years go on, with those born after the millennium being the first cohort to be surrounded by technology in their upbringing.

Maplewave, whose revolutionary customer experience software which has transformed the way in which we do our shopping, have lent their expertise on how we can provide a helping hand when it comes to the elderly learning technology.

The digital divide

Both an economic and social inequality, the digital divide is becoming an increasing problem not only for the elderly but for all generations. Although once it was due to financial inequalities disabling the access to technology, it has now shifted towards a knowledge gap. Once connected to their devices, the information presented to them instantly becomes a barrier.

There is a huge effort to develop new innovations in technology but those with the necessary skills for the job are lacking in numbers. Thus, creates the digital gap, where the demand for digital skills has outstripped the supply. With predictions that within 20 years, 90% of all jobs will require an element of digital skills to a sufficient degree, so the efforts to bridge that gap is gaining pace.

Grasping new technology

It’s easy for the younger generations to grasp new developments in technology as it’s all we’ve ever known, we know the processes inside and out and can adapt out intuitiveness to suit the seemingly perpetual developments.

So, for those that didn’t go through childhood and adolescence whilst the digital boom was underway, learning about what the latest technology has to offer can be an intimidating experience. Generation X would’ve felt intimidated by the thought of learning how to use Microsoft Excel, now, it’s more virtual reality, voice activated domestic robots and wireless charging.

A great way of bridging the gap between developments is building on existing knowledge. If the senior is already familiar with an aspect, use analogies like referring links to webpages to roads to other cities or web addresses to street addresses.

Language of the internet

Implementing technologically-orientated words such as selfie or emoji may have reluctantly made their way into the Oxford Dictionaries at the displeasure of traditionalists, but that’s an indication of how much influence the internet has had on our lexicon contemporarily. As digital natives, we have adopted this as if it were a second skin, so when it comes to communicating with the elderly on the topic of technology, be sure to use simplified language.

Although using jargon is usually deployed to make the explanation process more concise, it’ll stall or confuse the listener and cause the teaching to slow down.

 

The importance of tech for seniors

With an estimated one in five over 50’s feeling as though they are being left behind by technology, it’s important for that demographic, which makes up a large chunk of any nations population, to begin coming to terms with the digital revolution. There are also fears that millions of over 50’s are struggling with economic inactivity as a result. As well as older people missing out on job opportunities due to their tech struggles, companies could be missing out on valuable business growth by neglecting to adequately train older employees in tech.

It goes beyond just the financial aspects too, elements of loneliness and feeling out-of-sync with family members can often occur if the older generation hasn’t yet made the switch to the likes of Skype, Facetime or even WhatsApp. All of which being visual or verbal communicative apps where users can video or message each other from anywhere in the world providing they have a stable internet connection. It’s especially great for family times like Christmas or birthday’s if one of the family members is away travelling for leisure or work.

Although generally we welcome fresh innovations with open arms, it is worth noting that the consumers don’t move as quickly to match the pace.

Debate Chamber Summer Schools 2020

The Debate Chamber Summer Schools offer students age 11-18 the opportunity to find out more about some fascinating subjects, prepare for university applications, meet like-minded peers and get to grips with some tough intellectual challenges.

The material will be challenging (for the older age-group, about the level of difficulty one might expect in the first year at university), but the atmosphere will be relaxed, with plenty of discussion, debate, and opportunities for students to shape the direction of classes. It is an environment highly conducive to getting to grips with new ideas.

Working in small groups (usually around 14 students per group) over several days offers participants a real chance to get to know tutors and fellow students and to explore the topics or questions that particularly interest them.

Highlights for students aged 15-18:

The Summer Law School in three distinct five-day Parts to allow time for more cases, more analysis and more debate on some of the most intriguing legal questions. Students can choose to focus on Criminal Law, Civil Law or International Law, or to attend all three Parts for a comprehensive introduction to legal study.

The International Relations Summer School will introduce the central theories involved in the academic study of IR – realism, liberalism, constructivism and Marxism – and will then look at a range of detailed case studies in order to apply, test and explore these theories. Topics covered will include military intervention, international law, development aid, feminism and foreign policy, regional sessions looking at China and the Middle East, and global responses to climate change

The Medicine Summer School offers a series of two-day events with specialist sessions on cardiology, paediatrics, oncology, emergency medicine and many other topics – enabling students to attend a wide-ranging introduction or select the sessions most relevant to their interests.

Our Mathematics and Physics Summer Schools now offer options for students at GCSE, and also for those who have completed the first year of A Level study. These five-day events offer a challenging and rigorous exploration of theory and application, with a focus on developing practical problem-solving skills.

We also have courses in Economics, History, Classical Civilisations, Philosophy and Politics (all for students aged 15-18).

Last but not least, we also have a smaller number of courses available for younger students (ages 11-14) in Law, Medicine, Creative Writing and Science subjects.

Practical Details:

All the Summer School events will be held at University of London venues in Bloomsbury, Central London, and will take place in July and August 2020. Please note that these courses are not residential, and accommodation must be arranged independently if required.

You can find full details of schedules, dates, costs, student reviews and tutors at https://debatechamber.com/summerschools/

There is a limited amount of bursary funding available for students who would otherwise have financial difficulty in attending – please see our website for details.

To book a place please visit https://debatechamber.com/ call us on 0800 810 1058, or email info@debatechamber.com. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

Does your school or college have enough exam desks for all your students…….? 

Exams aren’t far away now and it’s perhaps easy to assume that there will be enough exam desks for all your students taking the exams. But suppose this isn’t the case….

It might be worth checking the stock of exam desks well before the exams are due to start, just to make sure there’s enough to go round.

Central Educational Supplies Ltd have been supplying exam desks (as well as other educational furniture) since 2004 and can often supply at very short notice, sometimes just two or three  working days.

Why not contact them now to see how they may be able to help with your exam preparations?

Central Educational Supplies Ltd can be contacted by email: info@centraleducational.co.uk or phone: 020 7515 1797 or visit their website.   www.centraleducational.co.uk

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

Will this calculator replace the  Casio FX 83GT Plus …..? 

The Casio FX 83 GT+ was the UK’s best selling scientific calc…and deservedly so.  It’s been setting the pace in many UK schools & colleges and was  the first choice for GCSE exams for many students.

But now it’s been discontinued, having been replaced by an upgraded spec’ model at a higher price. Top grade maths students are likely to benefit from this new model (FX83GTX),  but what about the majority, for whom the FX83GT+ was perfectly adequate and available at a reasonable price ?

Well, the news is positive. There is an alternative……

It’s the Logik LK 83XP which has almost all the features of the FX 83GT Plus   but with one big advantage…… it’s dual power.  This combination of battery and solar power  prolongs battery life and gives students  extra reassurance, especially when used in exams.

The LK 83XP has a THREE year guarantee* and is suitable for all exams where a calculator is allowed.  Features include:  252 functions,   “natural (textbook) display,”  check, correct and replay,  stats calculations, prime factorisation, hard plastic keys, slide on case etc.

It’s a calc which can see your students all the way from year 7 to GCSE and at a surprisingly modest price.  (*excludes LCD damage)

Further details on:   www.signposteducational.co.uk 

or phone 020 7515 1797  or email: signpost@talk21.com

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

PS.  For other calculators and helpful maths products please visit the website.

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:  signpost@talk21.com  or tel  020 7515 1797  or you can visit their website:

www.signposteducational.co.uk

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

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

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?

Sources

https://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/postgraduate/top-10-postgraduate-subjects-for-starting-salaries?entry=10

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-48058013

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2018/jul/09/more-graduates-choose-further-study

https://www.prospects.ac.uk/postgraduate-study/masters-degrees/should-i-do-a-masters

 

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:

     www.signposteducational.co.uk 

You can order by email:  signpost@talk21.com  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:  signpost@talk21.com  or tel  020 7515 1797  or you can visit their website:

www.signposteducational.co.uk

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  

www.centraleducational.co.uk/index.php/product/postura-plus/ 

 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 info@centraleducational.co.uk

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:  www.signposteducational.co.uk  or call  020 7515 1797 or

order by email:   signpost@talk21.com

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 https://childmentalhealthcharter.com/

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

Please contact: jefferyht@majemail.com  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:

Helen: helen@fred-theatre.co.uk

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:

www.fred-theatre.co.uk/schools

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.

Sources

https://www.booktrust.org.uk/globalassets/resources/represents/booktrust-represents-diversity-childrens-authors-illustrators-report.pdf

https://bookriot.com/2018/09/19/childrens-books-about-diversity/

https://www.booktrust.org.uk/news-and-features/features/2018/july/why-inclusive-picture-books-need-to-think-about-class-and-poverty-by-anna-mcquinn/

https://www.booktrust.org.uk/book/t/the-family-book/

https://www.bouncemarketing.co.uk/9781999642587/

https://www.booktrust.org.uk/globalassets/resources/represents/booktrust-represents-diversity-childrens-authors-illustrators-report.pdf

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.

image

You can place an order:

  • on our website
  • over the phone on 01449 766629
  • by email to orders@tradecounter.co.uk
  • 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
https://www.magicwhiteboard.co.uk/category/tabletop-whiteboards/

How to use video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3I1aIi760Y&feature=youtu.be

tabletop dry erase whiteboard magnetic whiteboard easel
whiteboard folds flat