How many words does it take to spell out the word of God, the rules on cabbages, and the regulations on eating at the Olympics?

If you have been reading my ramblings in this blog for some time you might have reached the conclusion that I like words.  And by and large in that you will be correct.

So I have been rather attracted to this little ditty which you will find replicated on all sorts of internet sites…

Pythagoras’ Theorem: …………………….24 words.
Lord’s Prayer: …………………………………… 66 words.
Archimedes’ Principle: ……………………………67 words.
Ten Commandments: …………………………………179 words.
Gettysburg Address: …………………………………………286 words.
US Declaration of Independence: …………………………1,300 words.
US Constitution with all 27 Amendments: ……………………7,818 words.
EU Regulations on the Sale of CABBAGES: …………….…………26,911 words.

That just about does it for the EU doesn’t it?  Indeed you may have heard about it.  It has been publicised a lot.

And yes, I must admit, I fell for it, and it wasn’t until I showed the piece to one of my customers who was popping in to add some documents to his collection held at the Admiral Storage Facility (and who is a guy who knows about these things) that I realised I had been conned.

As I have now discovered and indeed validated through some assiduous research (OK, two minutes on Wikipedia – but at least I did it, which is more than some people do!) the cabbage story first turned up as a part of an anti-Federal government propaganda programme in the USA in the 1950s.

In fact The Washington Post has apparently twice run articles detailing its known history – one in the early 1960s and the other in 1992.

The cabbage story also turned up in Pearls of Wisdom: A Book of Aphorisms in 1987 and it still does the rounds despite the fact that it is still (as it has always been) completely untrue.

I can’t speak for the Federal Government in America, but I can tell you the actual EU regulations on cabbages run to 1990 words and are there to prevent dubious farmers selling bad veg to shopkeepers.  I’m not going to try to argue if that is a good or bad thing – I’m just saying, that’s why they are there and that is how long they are.

Now I probably wouldn’t have mentioned any of this had it not been for the fact that one of my customers has a collection of memorabilia relating to the London Olympics, and we were discussing this recently.  Indeed we turned our attention (as one does) to the food and drink terms and conditions imposed upon people who actually went into the stadium.

Within that is a notice (clause 19.2.3 if you must know) which prohibits (without exception) “bottles or containers made of glass or other material” from being taken into the venue.  This is in addition to the blanket ban elsewhere in the regulations on taking in “food (save for baby food,) alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages (save for baby milk and other valid medical reasons”.)

Which raises the question how does one transport the baby milk (other than when it is still within the mother) since all “bottles or containers” were banned?

Ah well, you may say (if you are still with me) the Olympics Committee were avoiding the cabbage problem.  They didn’t want to overburden visitors with words.

Except that the terms and conditions on what you could and could not take into the London Olympics ran to 7140 words – only a fraction under the length of the US constitution with all 27 amendments, and 40 times the length of the Ten Commandments.

Not to mention three times the length of EU regulations on cabbages.

So one might say that the all-encompassing rules of God as handed down to Moses, which determine our complete mode of behaviour in all aspects of life takes up 2.5% of the space of the rules and regulations for food and drink while watching the Olympics.

One wonders why the Olympics committee didn’t follow the old adage devised by a design studio in Chicago in 1932 (and then cleverly but wrongly attributed by them to Confucius) that a picture is worth 10,000 words.

On this basis the London Olympic Committee could have produced three quarters of a drawing and conveyed all they want to convey on food and drink through all those words.

But still, if you have documents and the like, you may well want to keep them safe, no matter how many words they contain.

The London Olympic Committee has now long since wound itself up (something that I suspect it must surely have proclaimed in a document longer than the mythical EU cabbage document) but its words, and those of many others, need to live on and be kept for posterity.

Meanwhile, words or no words, when you need us you know we are here.

You can find more information about our facilities on our website at   Alternatively, you can call us on 0800 810 1125.

Admiral Document Storage
Bloxwich Lane
Tel: 0800 810 1125


Starting and ending the lesson

There’s not much doubt that if the start and end of a lesson can be particularly enjoyable or exciting for the students, then the memory of the lesson itself that they hold will be more positive.

And that, of course, raises the enthusiasm with which the lesson is approached next time around.

With this in mind science teacher Rosamund Rogers produced a series of science crosswords and short-answer tasks focussing on GCSE science topics.

The subject matter ranges from scientific instruments and lab equipment through to the electromagnetic spectrum, via food chains, classifying vertebrates, gases, gears and light.

Some of the pages cover mixed topics as in the inevitable odd one out, the famous scientists and names given to studies of certain subjects. But most are set firmly in one area of work (‘Parts of the Human Body’, ‘Motion of an object’, ‘The Planets’ etc).

The collection  includes more such activities than you are likely to need each year and can be set as homework, revision studies, or (if you are so minded) co-operative learning in the class. It is available as a photocopiable book – and thus just one copy is needed, and can be used repeatedly within the school. 

Sample pages from Science Crosswords and Short Answer Tasks are available at

Publisher’s reference: T1684EMN ISBN: 978 1 86083 770 8


  • Photocopiable book: £19.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • CD with school-wide rights: £19.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • Both the book and the CD: £26.94 plus £3.95 delivery

Prices include VAT.

You can purchase the report… please quote the order ref: T1684EMN

  • By post to First and Best, Hamilton House, Earlstrees Ct., Earlstrees Way, Corby, NN17 4HH
  • By fax to 01536 399 012
  • On line with a credit card at

Save hours of your valuable time, boost your productivity and reduce stress.

These days you probably find yourself spending more and more time at the computer, answering emails, producing typed documents for various purposes and exploring the internet.  It seems that most teachers now use a keyboard more often than a pen.

Yet, like many UK employees, the majority of teachers have never learned to type properly.  Do you struggle along, prodding away with just two fingers and with your head down?  If so, you will be typing at only about half your potential speed and probably with low levels of accuracy.

With such heavy workloads, wasting valuable time through poor typing skills is inefficient and costly and increases stress.

Type&Test are the UK’s leading specialists in touch-typing training and assessment.  Our online learning programmes are the only ones recommended by Awarding Bodies such as the BCS and the SQA, having been used over the past nine years to prepare learners of all ages for national typing qualifications.

Our unique ‘Type Faster, Work Smarter’ course is guaranteed to significantly increase your typing speed whilst maintaining or improving your accuracy.  The outcome will be that you will increase your output, gain more time, work more productively and reduce your levels of work-related pressure.

Involving a structured interactive online programme, with support from an experienced Type&Test tutor who will communicate with you regularly via email, messaging and skype, you will gain invaluable touch-typing skills through short regular practice sessions which you will complete at times that fit around your busy working day.  After just a few weeks – around the length of a school term – we guarantee that your typing skills will improve significantly or we will refund your course fee in full.

For more information please email with the subject line ‘Type Faster, Work Smarter’ and we will email you our programme flier.  Click here for information from our website.  Or if you want to have a chat about it with no obligation then call Andy Stevenson on 01480 861867.

Professional Yearbooks Delivered In 10 Working Days

Get your yearbooks in a flash and make sure your students never forget their time at your school!

It’s not too late to get your yearbooks before term ends and with Leavers’ Books it’s super quick and super easy.

With a huge range of designs and layouts to choose from, you can tailor your yearbook to suit your school. From traditional, formal layouts to fun, quirky designs like our new Superhero theme, there’s something for everyone.

  • Great value starting from just £7.99 with no deposit or pre-payment.
  • Professionally finished and printed in just 10 working days.
  • Service you can trust from your sidekicks at Leavers’ Books.
  • Create your yearbook using our easy online creator.

Request a sample pack and start your yearbook today!

Grant your students access to a library of free English Language and Literature quizzes to help them prepare for their exams

It is unfortunate but true that testing your students in the lead up to their exams is the only way to truly know where and when a particular topic or concept needs revisiting in the classroom and revising as a whole class.

But in mock testing your students in the lead up to their exams, there are problems.

Firstly, mock testing takes up valuable time that could be spent revising. And secondly, your workload is stretched beyond its limits due to the additional and lengthy marking involved.

However, by signing up to Education Quizzes you will be able to see where there are gaps in your students’ knowledge without them losing valuable revision time and without you having to stay up late marking tests (as marking of the quizzes is an automatic process).

To grant your students access to a library of free English Language and Literature quizzes for a whole year to help them prepare in the lead up to their exams, simply sign up to Education Quizzes at

Here you will find an extensive range of both KS3 English quizzes and GCSE English quizzes, as well as GCSE English Literature quizzes.

If you have any questions, please do email or call 01406 371799.

Colin King

What is one of the best ways of making history come alive without leaving school?

One of the most exciting, stimulating and effective ways of bringing a period of history to life is through getting the pupils to dress in the way that ordinary people (or the elite) dressed during the relevant era.

The problem is that this often involves parents in helping to prepare costumes – and not all of them welcome an extra round of work at home.

The children do love becoming Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings… because all children love dressing up, but the issue is entirely one of making all the parents feel ok about the project.

It is to solve this problem that we have produced a new and extended edition of “Roman, Anglo-Saxon and Viking Children’s Costumes.”  This is a copiable book so that you can take the relevant section and either put it on the school website or learning platform or print out sections and give them to parents.

In each section of the book there are details of what people wore at that time, full page line drawings of the costumes with close ups of specific parts of the costume, plus separate sections for male and female, adults and children, peasants and the upper class.

Then there are sections on hairstyle, caps and hats, jewellery, leggings and shoes, belts, cloaks, pouches, dresses, tunics, and (for the sake of completeness) undergarments.

For each item mentioned there are patterns, sizing information, materials and so forth – and all of this data is repeated for the Romans, the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings.

In over 150 pages of A4 there is everything anyone would ever want, giving you and the parents who make the costumes a massive choice so that it is possible (should you wish it) to have every child in the class come in showing off a different type of costume.

Everything is here, you need no other volume.

There are sample pages from the photocopiable book at

Publisher’s reference: T1763EMN ISBN: 978 1 86083 784 5


  • Photocopiable book: £24.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • CD with school-wide rights: £24.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • Both the book and the CD: £31.94 plus £3.95 delivery

Prices include VAT.

You can purchase the report… please quote the order ref: T1763EMN

Is there a solution to the problem of wasted time and disruption at the start of lessons or exams…..?

There’s probably more than one reason why lessons or exams don’t always begin as smoothly as teaching staff might like……

It could be that students have just come from a PE or games lesson and they haven’t all managed to change quickly enough.

It might be that the lesson in question occurs just after break time when there’s a handful of students still kicking a football around in the playground.

But it’s more likely that some of them may not have brought essential equipment like a pen, pencil, ruler etc to the lesson. Several minutes can then be wasted while those students try to beg, borrow or steal what they need for the lesson.

Thankfully there’s a simple and helpful solution to this problem.

It’s the “Student Essentials set.” 

The Student Essentials set is ideal to hand out at the start of a school day or before exams. Apart from some specialist subjects like maths it contains all a student is likely to need for their lessons. From just 75p each, ex vat it’s a cost effective solution to the problem of wasted time and disruption at the start of lessons or exams.

The Student Essentials set comprises three quality black ink ballpens, two full length HB pencils, a 15cm ruler, metal sharpener and eraser, all packed in a clear “exam friendly” PVC zip-up wallet.

More details can be found at: or you can order directly from or fax: 020 7515 4420.

PS. If you need further information please call 020 7515 1797 and ask for Martin Evans.  He’ll be pleased to answer your questions or take your order on the spot.

What is the subject that many young people with special needs find most difficult?

In earlier times it would have been sex that was probably the most difficult subject to discuss and understand.  But in the 21st century it can be argued that everyone talks about sex all the time.  Now there is a new problem area: money.

Money hasn’t been with us as long as sex, but it has grown very complex in recent years, and for many 14 to 19 year olds with special needs it can seem utterly and completely incomprehensible.

Questions such as: “Where does money come from?” “How can one budget for everything that is needed?” and “What is this thing called profit?” can seem unfathomable … Indeed, there are many issues that most of us just accept as part of everyday life, but which for some young people are simply bewildering.

Which is why we have created a set of six stories based around the spending habits of a teenager, his family, and friends.

Each reader follows a particular topic such as “What’s it worth?” and “Making ends meet” and is accompanied by worksheets and teaching resources aimed at 14 to 19 year old special needs students.

Thus students’ understanding is developed through picture searches, spot the difference, flashcards, and so on. There are accompanying teacher’s notes and 48 worksheets, as well as feedback and assessment sheets – plus e-books and a whole range of interactive activities for whiteboards and computers.

The complete “Making Sense of Money” resource contains two copies of each of the six readers, plus the teacher book of notes and worksheets and a CD Rom of the e-books and whiteboard resources.

You can see more details and sample pages from the readers, and details for ordering individual items as well as the full pack, on our “Making Sense of Money” web page.

If you have any questions or need more information please email or call 01582 833205.  We’ll be delighted to hear from you.

Janie Nicholas

How can schools deliver a manageable computing journey at Key Stage 3 when there are so many free tools to use?

In the run up to the launch of the new computing curriculum, as well as after it was phased in, there was a collective intake of breath from teachers up and down the country as they absorbed what it all meant.

For many teachers the notion of writing and debugging programs or explaining simple algorithms was well beyond their every-day experience and certainly not in their training.

Thankfully at the time there was already a string of free web based tools out there to use and a couple of these have proved really successful like Scratch, Kodu & Minecraft.

With all the free tools that some school enthusiasts started to champion it soon became apparent that while they were free there was little if any support or influence on how products developed – how could there be if the tool was free?

The result for some schools has been a bird’s nest of logins for different tools, varying user interfaces, unreliable work saving and patchy levels of school service.  Factors like these undermine teacher confidence who just want it to work.  Schools love saving money but when the cost is not having a reliable learning environment then its surely too high.

The mission at Blippit has been to get key elements of the computing curriculum under one roof and to help develop curious learners through authentic learning – even to the point of publishing project apps made with our App Maker (with the teacher’s approval) on our free app store, Planet Blippit.

Blippit IO, through its powerful and open-ended tools, give teachers the control they need to deliver a tailor made curriculum for their school while not compromising on promoting computational thinking, logical reasoning and (unexpectedly) writing in the wider curriculum.

To try Blippit IO for your school just visit us here and if you decide that Blippit IO would extend and serve your schools’ computing curriculum needs you can upgrade here.  If you find that your school has been registered already, or are given a message that suggests this just contact us & we’ll sort it out for you.

If you have any questions or queries about Blippit IO please do call 01772 657 100 or email

John Bidder

New curriculum: Mathematics New test: 2016 Mathematics test New resource: Assessing End of Year Expectations in Mathematics

When there is a change to the curriculum it is unlikely that you can get away with using the same teaching resources that you used previously. And even if you can, it is likely that you will have to acquire an additional resource to cover the changes.

It can, however, take a few years to find a teaching resource that is most effective in supporting you and your pupils with the changes, which is why we’ve produced Assessing End of Year Expectations in Mathematics. To add another, different choice to the mix.

Assessing End of Year Expectations in Mathematics is an activity book for Year 6 pupils that provides carefully organised assessments for each statutory statement of the 2014 Mathematics National Curriculum.

The questions within the volume are similar to the new 2016 Mathematics test and can either be used as part of a baseline assessment or at the end of term to measure progress made.

Furthermore, Assessing End of Year Expectations in Mathematics provides answers to the questions making it an ideal teaching resource for non-specialist maths teachers undertaking lessons in the maths teacher’s absence.

You can view sample pages by clicking here.

And, as always, you can order our new resource, either by:

  • visiting our website
  • calling 01772 863158
  • faxing 01772 866153
  • emailing           
  • Or by sending your order in the post to Topical Resources, P.O. Box329, Broughton, Preston, Lancashire PR3 5LT

Daily information for teachers in the UK