Cover Teacher who thinks a primary source is something you put on your chips?

According to figures from the Dept for Education, the average secondary school teacher has about four working days off a year due to illness. Of course this incorporates teachers who have a long time out with a serious illness as well as the 44% of teachers who are fortunate enough to go a whole year not getting ill at all.

These numbers show why the need for ready-made materials for supply teachers who cover History classes is as vital as ever. For even when something has been left from the previous lesson, there are always going to be those who finish the work rapidly, and need something else to do.

Which is why the Absent History Teacher volume of worksheets was developed.

The worksheets within the volume cover a wide range of topics and range of ability – and are all designed so that they can be used as a one-off in an emergency, or as a series of highly varied tasks over a number of days, should the absence be unexpectedly protracted.

Activities range from a study of a discussion on the difference between the work of historians and archaeologists (and the issue of evidence) to an analysis of how the Cold War began.

Each article is followed by a wide range of questions, an extension task through which (for example) the students have to explain an archaeological dig which reveals artefacts from different eras, and a homework in which the students have to write a letter from a Soviet general in 1945 explaining the likely reaction of the Americans to a Soviet occupation of eastern Europe.

The volume covers such topics as evidence, anachronisms, The Romans, The Normans, Elizabethan England, diaries, letters, documents, crime and punishment etc etc.

Each lesson in the volume is printed on a single page and is simple to photocopy instantly for any class that suddenly requires the lesson.

The Absent History Teacher Worksheets collection is available from Hamilton House priced at £30.00 plus £2.95 delivery.

You can order the Absent History Teacher worksheets collection by filling in the order form and sending it by fax, email, or post (see contact details below). Alternatively, if you have a school order number, you can order by phone.

First and Best in Education, Earlstrees Court, Earlstrees Road, Corby, Northants, NN17 4HH
Telephone: 01536 399 011 Fax: 01536 399 01 Email:

What is a complex child?

What is the most effective way of helping and supporting students with complex mental health or behavioural challenges?

Knowing why young people behave as they do is always a major challenge, but it is doubly so when we work with pupils and students with complex mental health and/or behavioural problems.

Certainly, if students are to get maximum support, school staff must be prepared for their daily interactions with such children so that they know exactly what they are seeing and know when and how help and support is needed.

If your colleagues can be helped to understand what a complex child is and why each young person behaves in his/her unique way, their understanding of these students’ problems can be used to develop practical support and teaching in the school.

Colleagues also need to be aware of how their own attitudes, assumptions and behaviour can have an impact on the well-being of each such student, so that in this way each is able to improve his/her ability to make well-informed thoughtful decisions to help each individual child.

It is to achieve this that the I Matter Project, with its online Foundation course, was developed. Dr Cathy Betoin, the course developer, is a practising clinical psychologist and experienced teacher who knows just how important the skills and understanding of frontline adults can be to improving outcomes.

Raising the achievement of complex or disadvantaged children is done by ensuring that your colleagues are fully prepared to understand and respond preventatively to the confusing and challenging behaviours that the complex child can present.

The online course takes around two to three hours a week and lasts 8 weeks. However it can be taken over a longer period of time. Significant group discounts are available to make it possible to skill up more staff at an affordable price.

There is a brief summary of the course and the chance to sign up on our website

We also have a more detailed review of the course, once again on our website.

If you would like to discuss any issues relating to the course please do call 08432898142 or email

The Gilbert and Sullivan Series 1982

For more than 100 years the operas of Gilbert & Sullivan have played to packed audiences around the world.

These two names have become synonymous with classic light opera – music that is timeless and tuneful; lyrics that are witty, scathing and memorable.

Here are their 12 best loved operas specially filmed for broadcast and home entertainment. A cast of award winning international stars from the world of opera and comedy perform with the prestigious London Symphony Orchestra.

This collection captures all the elegance, style and inimitable humour for which these classic works have been loved and listened to the world over.

Cox and Box & Trial by Jury 64 mins each £10.00 (£12.00 inc.VAT)
The Gondoliers 116 mins £10.00 (£12.00 inc. VAT)
H.M.S. Pinafore 116 mins £10.00 (£12.00 inc. VAT)
Iolanthe 115 mins £10.00 (£12.00 inc. VAT)
The Mikado 117 mins £10.00 (£12.00 inc. VAT)
Patience 117 mins £10.00 (£12.00 inc. VAT)
The Pirates of Penzance 116 mins £10.00 (£12.00 inc. VAT)
Princess Ida 112 mins £10.00 (£12.00 inc. VAT)
Ruddigore 115 mins £10.00 (£12.00 inc. VAT)
The Sorcerer 116 mins £10.00 (£12.00 inc. VAT)
The Yeoman of the Guard 116 mins £10.00 (£12.00 inc. VAT)

(All plus £5.00 postage +packing per purchase)

Once purchased the DVD can be freely networked throughout the school.

You can order the DVDs by quoting HH

  • By phone on 0117 940 6409
  • By email (quoting a school order number) to
  • By post to: Classroom Resources, PO Box 1489, Bristol, BS99 3QJ

Classroom Resources
PO Box 1489

Tel: 0117 940 6409

Looking for a publisher?

What is the simplest and most effective way of getting your book published and earning royalties?

The answer to that question is simple: if you have an idea for a book that would be purchased by schools, or indeed if you have already written or part-written such a book, the best thing to do is approach a publisher that is looking for authors. First and Best is one such publisher.

We specialise in books that can be copied by teachers for use in the classroom, placed on the school’s learning platform or be distributed to colleagues for their information. These volumes are supplied to schools either as printed masters, on CD, or as downloads.

The subject matter we cover is incredibly varied – from books covering all or part of an exam syllabus, through to volumes on managing behaviour, increasing school efficiency, school improvement and methods of teaching and learning.

We give our authors a 10% royalty on each copy sold, and of course deposit copies in the British Library and other major libraries.

The books are sold via constant promotion to teachers via postal and email campaigns and through our website ( at which location you can see an index of the books we have published, subject by subject. By and large we sell direct, not via bookshops.

The volumes that sell particularly well are those which offer something new. Thus if there is a new option in an exam syllabus which only a few schools might be following, the number of possible buyers might be small. But if there is nothing else on the market that covers this syllabus the chances are we will still get good sales.

On the other hand a book aimed at a syllabus of a subject taught in every school can still sell, providing it has something different about it which will convince teachers to buy it even though they have other resources in the school which cover the syllabus.

One other very specific area we are currently interested in is special needs. In recent years we have done particularly well with books on dyscalculia, and although we’ve got that market fairly well covered, we think there might be possibilities with other specific special needs for which few publications exist.

We are open to ideas concerning secondary school books, but aside from school management, methods of learning, and special needs, we are not currently able to take on any books aimed at nursery or primary schools.

However this is not to say we won’t look at books that deal with aspects of mainstream secondary school syllabi – as long as the book or download has something special or unusual about it that we can use to catch the potential buyer’s imagination.

If you would like to submit a book to us, we would urge you to take a look at the website (see the link above) to get a feel for what we publish, and then when you’re ready email in the following:

  • A summary of the book’s contents
  • Information about who the book is for and which syllabus it covers (if relevant)
  • A sample section from the book of approximately 10 pages (ideally not the first 10 pages).

We also need to have your assurance that you own the copyright of the book. If we do publish the book the copyright stays with you, with ourselves being licensed to publish the book until such time as the contract ends and we return the right to publication to you. If the book has been published elsewhere before, we do need to know about that and have your assurance that the previous publisher has agreed that you can offer the volume to us.

As I am sure you can appreciate, it is very hard to judge the possibility of a book by hearing about it on the phone. Therefore if you do have any enquiries or questions we’d really appreciate it if you could email It’s the same email address when you are ready to submit an idea as outlined above.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Anne Cockburn

Do you believe in the weather forecast?

Of course, each part of the country gets its own weather, and I am not sure that the fact that the Daily Mirror has forecast the wildest January since 1963 should affect our thinking too much.

But, on the other hand, last January was very wet, and it never does any harm to be prepared.

And that is why we have produced three different Wet Playtime Packs.

Each one contains enough activities for each child in a class to be fully occupied through any rain-affected lunchtimes or playtimes.

And, of course, if it rains across a number of playtimes and lunchtimes, the children will be able to move around onto a new activity with each new wet playtime.

The first pack we have produced (The Primary Wet Playtime Pack) caters for children of all primary school ages. It makes the perfect introduction if your school has not used any of our packs before.

The second pack focuses exclusively on materials for Infant children, and the third is for Junior children.

All the details of the contents of each pack are given below. In each case all of the materials are supplied in a storage box. Full details are given on the website.

The Primary Wet Playtime Pack contains: Chess, Doodle Scenes, Draughts, Frog Hoppers, Ludo, Make a Pair, Pick Up Sticks in a Drawstring Bag, Playing Cards, a Popular Card Games Pack, Secret Code, Shut the Box, Snakes & Ladders, Tumbling Chimps and Word Building

The Infant Wet Playtime Pack consists of: Colour by Numbers, Dominoes, Frog Hoppers, Fruity Bugs, Line Up Four, Ludo, Make a Pair, Playing Cards, Popular Card Games Pack, Snakes & Ladders, Teddy’s Colouring, Tumbling Chimps, Who Is It? and Wooden Tumbling Blocks in a Drawstring Bag.

Finally the Junior Wet Playtime Pack contains: Nature to Colour – Pack of 12 Books, Chess, Dominoes, Draughts, Fruity Bugs, Line Up Four, Pick Up Sticks in a Drawstring Bag, Playing Cards, Popular Card Games Pack, Secret Code, Shut the Box, Who Is It, Wooden Tumbling Blocks in a Drawstring Bag, Word Building

Free delivery

If you quote HH0314 when you place your order, delivery will be free. Otherwise the carriage charge is £3.95 if ordered online or £7.50 if ordered by fax, phone or post.

Here are the details:

Edventure Ltd
Hargreaves Business Park
Hargreaves Road
East Sussex
BN23 6QW

Tel: 01323 50 10 40


Simplifying Shakespeare

These delightful adaptations written in modern English are an excellent way of introducing young people to Shakespeare – they are readable, they bring out the humour of the originals and they are surprisingly true to the feeling of Shakespeare’s plays.

A very useful resource both in the classroom, as the school play and useful preparation for a visit to the theatre. Also an excellent text for students of English as a foreign Language.

978 0 948662 04 1

978 0 948662 05 8

978 0 948662 07 2

978 0 948662 09 6

978 0 948662 08 9

978 0 948662 01 0

978 0 948662 06 5

£4.80 each
order on line at

The Kabet Press

“Shakespeare made entertaining
and simple, faithful to the
characters and scenes and capturing
the essence of the originals.”


Visual Revision for BTEC Media

Newly available for teachers of BTEC First in Creative Digital Media Production – a dynamically presented photocopiable Revision Guide for the new BTEC exam!

All the key information needed for the Unit 1 examination in bite-size chunks, with revision tasks to consolidate understanding.

Concise single-page overviews covering every specification topic, including:

  • Revise it – snappy bullets and table summaries for maximum retention!
  • Test it – vitally exposes students to exam-style questions


  • Clear answers for every question
  • Revision checklist for students to record their progress
  • Key Words and Concept Map activities help students identify terms and get an overview of topics
  • Practice Questions worksheets for last-minute exam practice

The Unit 1 Revision Guide is available as a photocopy master with site licences (£9). Also available in:

  1. Easy-printing PDF files (add 30%+VAT), or
  2. PDF with editable Word files (add 50%+VAT).

Preview and order now at

Plus! Pre-order 4 Practice Exam Papers for Unit 1! Full coverage of the
specification, and rigorously matched to the style of the sample assessment
material from Edexcel! Pre-order here:

ZigZag Education, Unit 3, Greenway Business Centre, Doncaster Road, Bristol BS10 5PY
t: 0117 950 3199 | f: 0117 959 1695 |

Give your promotional code WH80 to get free postage!

How best to help EAL pupils and students

What is the most effective way of working with pupils who have English as an additional language?

Students who have English as an additional language now form a majority in one in nine schools in the UK; the number has risen by 20% during the last five years.

Many schools estimate that it takes about a half term for the average EAL pupil to gain sufficient working knowledge of English for them to move into the mainstream classroom, while spending time with the intervention teacher each day.

However, although this seems a simple process there are many issues that arise, ranging from the exact legal requirements in terms of dealing with these pupils through to the best approach for induction and admission of these new arrivals.

There are also issues of engaging with the parents, the question of which teaching and learning strategies are the most effective, and the support and encouragement that should be given to more advanced EAL learners.

Indeed, many schools are now asking what a good induction programme looks like. Indeed when it comes to EAL is one approach as good as another?

This matter was highlighted by the publication of the New Arrivals Excellence Programme which was issued in 2007 and represents a summary of best practice in EAL in the country. It includes case studies and does give a clear source of information on what schools can do in relation to EAL students.

This is not to say that there is a single process and approach which every school should follow, but it is often felt that it is helpful for schools to consider a range of approaches when thinking about their EAL students.

From the sort of approach adopted come the appropriate teaching and learning strategies, and indeed the role of the EAL Coordinator who can ensure that the plan that the school has developed is being followed at each turn, and that any gaps in learning and performance between EAL language pupils and students and those who have English as their first language are narrowed and ultimately removed.

These are the issues examined in the new extensive volume The EAL Coordinator’s Manual. The 170 page volume comes in copiable form so that it can shared with any members of staff in the school who work with EAL students.

You can see a full contents list and some sample pages at

Publisher’s reference: T1832EMN ISBN: 978 1 86083 802 6


  • Photocopiable report in a ring binder, £29.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • CD with school-wide rights: £29.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • Both the Ring Binder and the CD £36.94 plus £3.95 delivery

Prices include VAT.

You can purchase the report… please quote the order ref: T1832EMN

Teaching good handwriting is about much more than just helping students to write

Of course, it is a fact that most test and exam papers require handwritten answers, and so good handwriting continues to make an impact and helps to deliver extra marks.

But there is more. For learning to write by hand improves literacy, understanding and comprehension. Indeed those who have been taught and encouraged to write by hand have been shown to find deciphering hard-to-read messages easier than those who have not.

Other studies show a positive link between hand-eye coordination and whether a child has been taught to write with a form of cursive handwriting.

Most surprisingly, it is now being suggested in academic studies that whether the individual uses the pen or the keyboard to write even affects the way the individual thinks.

One research paper suggests that university students who use pen and paper to make notes during lectures do better than those who make notes on a laptop.

In some ways we should not be too surprised by some of these findings, for handwriting requires a greater level of hand-eye coordination than typing on a keyboard, and thus, as well as helping with exam scores, good handwriting gives students the chance to develop their essential fine motor skills.

But many young people today are brought up in homes where handwriting is limited to little more than the production of shopping lists – and indeed many people now type these into their mobile phones.

It is for all of these reasons that Multi-Sensory Learning produced the Handwriting Rescue Scheme for fully cursive handwriting.

The scheme, which is available as a photocopiable program supplied on CD or as printed sheets, contains over 300 structured exercises designed to establish complete cursive letter formation.

And there is a particular bonus here, for tests have shown that the use of such material encourages the development of an automatic response to frequently used spelling choices. In other words, by practising their handwriting pupils also learn their spellings.

You can order The Handwriting Rescue Scheme in any of these ways:

  • On our website
  • By phone on 01536 399017
  • By fax to 01536 399012
  • By email to
  • By post to Multi-Sensory Learning, Earlstrees Court, Earlstrees Road, Corby, NN17 4HH

Early Modern Europe: the teaching solution

What is the most effective way of teaching the history of Early Modern Europe at A level?

The answer to the above question is simple. First, one needs to make use of classroom discussion and the appropriate text book that each student has to read. And there are also, of course, student essays and mock exams.

But there is something else.

And it turns out that this “something else” is the vital final component that leads to a much more effective study of Early Modern Europe by A level students.

This “something else” is in fact a basic guide for students which they can notate, so that whenever the student feels in need of an overall perspective, or wishes to review the major points from within a specific topic, the basic information is instantly easy to find, read and notate.

It is just such notes that Professor David Loades – a world authority on the sixteenth century – has produced and made available in a photocopiable format. Each set of notes contains a chronology where appropriate, an introduction and sections on core information on major issues within the topic.

Nine separate topics have been addressed by Professor Loades, and each set of notes is available separately. Access to the full contents of each volume and the sample pages is given on our index page.

The topics covered range from Henry IV of France to The Northern Renaissance, from Luther and the Reformation to Louis XIV 1661-1715.

In addition to Early Modern Europe, The Davenant Press publishes A level notes on five other major periods selected from A Level exams, as well as topics from the International Baccalaureate. An index to these sets of notes is available here, and sample pages for each topic can be obtained by emailing

Once you have decided on the volume/s you want, you can order in any of these ways:

Daily information for teachers in the UK