What one factor beyond all others determines the behaviour of students in school?

It can be argued that one of the great problems with approaches to schooling is that the vision that underpins the work of an individual school is often based on ideas and beliefs rather than any experimentation to see if the idea works.

Indeed, even when such experimentation does exist, it can sometimes be the case that those who determine educational policy may set it aside when the experiment’s results don’t quite match their political beliefs.

But when it comes to behaviour and discipline there is research, the findings of which have never been countered, which shows that a key factor in determining the behaviour of pupils is not the syllabus of the school, the parental expectations or indeed the socio-economic background of the students.

Rather it is the view of the staff within the school. In fact, where different staff hold different views on the issue of behaviour and discipline, then behavioural issues increase. When the staff genuinely agree to and adopt a unified policy then the problems vanish.

What makes this finding so important is that it puts the power to change pupil and student behaviour totally in the hands of the school and its managers.

This is the starting point for the volume, Improving attitudes, managing behaviour and reducing exclusions, a book that builds from the original research which proved this finding and which applies it to contemporary schooling.

The findings of the original research reviewed in the book is very clear: schools improve when all those in the school decide to improve the school, not because of government initiatives, policies curricula, inspectors, naming and shaming or anything else imposed from without.

For, once a school has its own unified policy, if the school is able to project that policy to parents and students as an approach to which all staff agree, and which all parents and students are expected to adopt, the unity of purpose of the school is established.

The key issue thus becomes the implementation and maintenance of the policy every day of the school year. And it is the implementation of this approach that “Improving attitudes” describes.

You can see some sample pages at http://pdf.firstandbest.co.uk/education/T1813.pdf

Publisher’s reference: T1813EMN ISBN: 978 1 86083 821 7


  • Photocopiable book £24.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • CD £24.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • Book plus CD £31.94 plus £3.95 delivery

Prices include VAT.

You can purchase the report… please quote the order ref: T1813EMN

Free resources: Students take action for the victims of conflict

Free resources for students to take action for the forgotten victims of conflict

Could your students take action for the victims of conflict? The Forgotten 10 Challenge is your chance. During 10 days of action from 1st to 10th December, your students can take part in the UK’s largest campaign to raise awareness and funds for the forgotten victims of landmines and cluster bombs.

For your free Action Pack visit: www.handicap-international.org.uk/F10-signup

The Action Pack is full of ideas for how your school could take up this year’s learning, campaigning and fundraising challenges.It includes a wide range of free teaching resources to order and suggestions for getting your class, year group or the whole school involved.

To order your pack, visit: www.handicap-international.org.uk/F10-signup

In Gaza, Syria and Afghanistan, new generations of children are being exposed to the danger of landmines and unexploded weapons. Long after fighting has ended, these indiscriminate killers lie hidden in the ground or under rubble. Most of the victims are civilians and 47% of civilian victims are children.

If you would like to find out more about how your school could get involved, please do get in touch at the details below.

We look forward to working together this term to make the Forgotten 10 Challenge extra special!

Yours sincerely,


John McGeachy
Forgotten 10 Challenge Coordinator

Handicap International UK
9 Rushworth Street, London SE1 0RB
Email: schools@hi-uk.org
Tel: +44 (0)870 774 3737
Text Relay: 18001 0870 774 3737

Handicap International is an international aid organisation working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster. Working alongside people with disabilities and vulnerable populations, we take action and raise awareness in order to respond to their essential needs, improve their living conditions and promote respect for their dignity and fundamental rights. Handicap International is a co-founder of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and the Cluster Munition Coalition. UK Registered Charity no. 1082565

The two ways of raising grades

There are two different ways of raising grades at GCSE and A level which work well together. But not every school uses both.

The most obvious way to raise the grades of students taking exams is what we all strive to do: raise the quality of teaching and learning.

So dominant is this approach that the notion of there being an alternative is often not considered. After all, what else is there to do?

The answer, which perfectly complements the first approach, is managing stress and increasing motivation. This is essential because the level of stress that students experience seriously affects their ability to learn and their motivation to succeed.

However, the problem is that managing stress and fostering self-motivation is not something most of us are trained to do and we may feel that the time and resources to try are limited.

Helping students learn to overcome stress, teaching them to motivate themselves, encouraging them to plan for the future and develop confidence to try new things are essential skills. They help to build mental resilience and enhance overall mental well-being.

To develop these skills, students must explore them. Finding time in the school day to focus on these areas can be challenging and you may not have the resources or ideas to hand to achieve the desired result. But could you find ten minutes to introduce an activity that was already prepared?

Our solution comes in the form of eight worksheets in a ready-made booklet – ‘Greatest Strength Workbook for Students’. It comes with a free teacher’s guide and is available as an instant download. The teacher’s guide and a sample can be downloaded for free to get you started. The full license is currently only £29.99.

When you start to see the benefits of this kind of personal development, setting aside a small amount of time to complete a specifically designed task becomes easy.

The full details are available at: http://newset-training.com/students.html

If you have any questions then please email: clare@newset-training.com or call 07811 356 283

I look forward to hearing from you.

Clare Martin

Can tectonic plates reverse their motion?

Probably not, yet the North American Plate
just got closer to Ireland!

You have always known that Iceland is just about the best Geography classroom available, with its geysers, volcanoes, glaciers and waterfalls, but it’s been so awkward to get to.

Well, you can now plan to take your students to experience its scenery without a detour across the Irish Sea.

From December, there will be two flights a week from Belfast International direct to Reykjavik (Keflavik) on Monday afternoon and on Friday morning – so schools can plan for a three-day or a full week’s guided visit.

We have planned itineraries to fit with the flight patterns and get the most out of your tour.

Take a look here: Iceland

Culture Trails
Travel House, Llwynmawr, Llangollen LL20 7BB, Wales

Tel: (+44) 0 16 91 88 61 61 e: geography@culturetrails.co.uk

Where does one start with drama?

What is the best way to learn about voice, body language and pace?

Starting a course immediately with a set of short, self-contained and original monologues/duologues tends to give students an instant involvement in their course.  And it is, after all, dramatic.

With this idea in mind we’ve published a group of monologues/duologues which are designed to be learned, rehearsed and performed by KS3 pupils in order to give them an understanding of what pace, voice and body language actually mean.

Each monologue/duologue is accompanied by other written and oral activities with the aim of encouraging students to look critically at their own performance and constructively criticise that of others.

In this way they will also develop skills in reading and writing and will be encouraged to reflect on and discuss a variety of topical issues.

There are 20 topics in all each covering a different theme, such as the Runaway, Prejudice, Mum’s Left, Joyriding, the Computer Nerd, Friendships, Homework…

The volume is copiable and available as a printed volume or on CD, with permission for the book to be placed on the school’s learning platform so all classes can access it.

Here are the details…

Cat No: 978 1 86083 762 3  Order code: T1727emn – please quote with order.

Sample pages can be viewed at http://www.pdf.firstandbest.co.uk/english/T1727.pdf

  • 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 from the publisher:

Are your purchasing contracts protected?

 How confident are you that all your school purchasing is protected within a robust contract?

School contracts come in many forms and cover many products, from the lease on the photocopier to the contract with the after school cleaning company, the agreement with the teaching supply company to the contract with the IT maintenance provider.

All of these have different contractual terms. Are you happy that the contracts you sign are in the best interest of the school? Did you know that the terms of many contracts are laid down by the supplier, often in their interests, you have the power to change these.

Planning and putting together a robust contract at the start will save time, worry and potentially money as the contract goes through its term.

Corporate Contracts Ltd in conjunction with the Schools of Education and Management run two on-line courses specifically for school procurement. The aim of the courses are to equip the participants with a full practical knowledge of being able to plan, construct and implement solid contracts in the best interests of their school.

The courses show how to put you and the school in a position of control over procurement and contracts. Being in control of the contract is the most effective way of ensuring robust contracts, effective requirements, positive performance by way of performance measurements and, of course, saving money, because it allows you to negotiate what you require, including the best prices, and ensures that your contracts are effective for both sides.

The course is taught on-line and is available in two forms. The Introduction to the Certificate in School Procurement covers the importance and impact of procurement and contracts, risk management, tendering, contract management, performance management, the issues surrounding decisions as to whether to lease or purchase and the relationship with the supplier. The course costs £225.

The Advanced Certificate in School Procurement is a more in-depth course. It incorporates the introductory course above but also goes on to incorporate contract management, having an effective procurement policy and procedures, strategic contracts and sustainable procurement. This more comprehensive course costs £375.

Through the courses you will not only receive a fully detailed manual containing all the information you need, but you will also have as a tutor Margaret Gilbert who has 25 years experience in procurement, contracts and tendering with schools. Each course contains a set of assignments, as well as a helpline through which you can ask any questions relating to specific issues in your school.

There is more information on our website at http://www.admin.org.uk/CCMintro.html

“I would highly recommend this course to anyone who thinks they know a bit about procurement. I had some knowledge but in hindsight and with reflection I wish I had done this course years ago, I think I had been procuring with a wing and a prayer!”

Part of a testimonial from the School Business Manager – Mexborough St Johns C of E Primary School.

To see the full testimonial http://www.admin.org.uk/CCMreview.html

Corporate Contracts Management Ltd, Earlstrees Court, Earlstrees Road, Corby, Northamptonshire NN17 4HH Phone: 01536 399007 Fax: 01536 399012 e-mail enquiries@admin.org.uk

Paid for, safe, reliable

What could be described as an invaluable resource
for any school or college?

Of course there could be many answers to this question. I will offer just one. Opening a statement on school owned minibuses provided by Hampshire Local Authority the Authority said “A safe and reliable minibus can be an invaluable resource for a school or college”. 

And I don’t think anyone is going to argue. 

Now I mention this, not because there is anything to disagree with nor because the statement is remarkable in any way, but rather because the Authority has chosen to write “safe and reliable” at the very start of the document. 

Such an assertion that the minibus must be safe and reliable in order to be an invaluable resource is hardly controversial. No one could possibly think the reverse. 

But the fact that the Authority suggests it still needs saying shows that its members are as aware as the rest of us that there are a number of school minibuses in use which are anything but safe and reliable. 

The reason for this is not hard to see. Indeed one only has to look at news stories in local papers which mention school minibuses to understand the problem. 

The fact is that most school minibuses are purchased after various dedicated parents and supporters of the school have worked hard to raise the money to buy the bus. 

And of course nothing can be wrong with such laudable activity! There isn’t anything wrong with fundraising to buy a minibus – until the bus starts showing signs of wear and tear. 

But then the problems can really begin, as it would seem embarrassing to the point of heartlessness for the school immediately to start raising money all over again to pay for a major overhaul for the bus. 

Indeed even a complete set of new tyres might have to be delayed if there is no money available in the budget. 

Sadly, the fact is that many schools that do buy a minibus after a huge amount of hard work by supporters of the school tend to under-estimate the cost of maintaining the bus once it is over a few years old. 

They then get to the stage where there is neither the money to pay for the repairs and maintenance needed, nor the funds to buy a new bus. 

However there is a way around the issue and that is for the school to lease the bus. In this way the cost of the maintenance of the bus is known week by week, month by month and year by year. These costs can be built into the school’s budget, and so never come as a surprise. 

Better still, everyone knows that when the lifespan of the bus comes to an end a new lease can be taken on meaning that as and when it wants to, the school can deal with the issue of the aging bus. 

And meanwhile the school’s fundraising efforts can be centred elsewhere on other much needed equipment. 

If you would like to know more about our leasing options take a look at our website

Alternatively call us on 01753 859944 or email us at minibus@benchmarkleasing.co.uk

Benchmark Leasing Ltd
11 High Street

Tel: 01753 859944

Island of Lemurs: Madagascar

THE FILM SPACE is proud to announce its first new teaching resource for the new school year – “Island of Lemurs: Madagascar” which supports the film of the same name.

This film will take your pupils on a spectacular journey to the remote and wondrous world of Madagascar. Lemurs arrived in Madagascar as castaways millions of years ago and evolved into hundreds of diverse species, but are now highly endangered.

Narrated by Morgan Freeman, the film explores the different types of lemurs still living on Madagascar, allowing pupils to consider not only how the lemurs live, but also the threats they face and the ecological issues which occur in the struggle for survival, not only of the animal kingdom but also humankind.

An IMAX 3D film, “Island of Lemurs: Madagascar” is a phenomenal visual experience which we are certain will inspire your pupils to find out more about the wonderful but endangered world of the lemurs of Madagascar.

The supporting teaching materials, which you can find at www.thefilmspace.org/lemurs, cover a range of subjects from English through to Dance, Geography and Science. All activities are related to the various national curricula and are supported by detailed teacher’s notes that have been written by a practising teacher. The materials are aimed at pupils aged 7-11.

The film opens on the 5th of September at IMAX theatres in Glasgow and Edinburgh. For information on screenings of ‘Island of Lemurs: Madagascar” click Glasgow or Edinburgh.

Please forward this e-mail to any colleagues to whom you feel it may be of interest.


THE FILM SPACE recognises the key role that teachers play in introducing children and young people to a wide variety of moving images; both as an art form, and as a way of exploring other curriculum areas.

We are a new organisation co-founded by Ian Wall – who established Film Education (in 1986), serving as Director of Education until it closed (in April 2013) – and James Lennox, previously Managing Director of Film Education.

THE FILM SPACE seeks to encourage and build an understanding and appreciation of moving images, in all forms, amongst children and young people in full-time education.


How the memory helps us learn French

What is the most effective way for students to learn and remember French grammar and vocabulary?

Part of the issue of learning a language is the move from having to think about the language into making the correct use of phrases and constructions an automatic process. 

Thus after a while the KS3 student stops attempting to translate word for word, and is able to say “J’aime jouer au tennis,” with “au” added without thinking about constructions and grammatical rules. The knowledge that this is how the phrase goes in French is simply embedded in the brain and used when needed. 

Obviously one way of getting to this position of automatically inserting the right grammatical phrase at the right point, rather than attempting to translate, is by enhancing the amount of the language that the students hear and respond to. 

But there is another approach. 

This involves helping the student’s awareness of the language develop by introducing a series of memory tricks which both teach and reinforce major points of French grammar from the basics up to GCSE level. 

Unforgettable Frenchis a volume that is full of memory tricks to help to engage students’ memories and enable them to remember key grammatical points and vocabulary.

Handy exercises mean you can check your students’ understanding of each memory trick as they progress through the book. 

The memory tricks are presented in a highly illustrated format to help the students to visualise the language better. The sheets can be enlarged to make mini-posters or used as “aide-mémoires”. 

What’s more, we have now updated the resource to ensure that it meets the requirements of the 2014 National Curriculum for England for foreign languages. 

The contents pages, introduction and a number of sample pages are available to download on our website

You can orderUnforgettable French (2nd edition) in any of these ways: 

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

website: www.brilliantpublications.co.uk
email: orders@tradecounter.co.uk

phone: 01449 766629
fax: 01449 767122


40 lessons with warm ups for drama for years 7 to 9

What is the most effective way of getting each year 7-9 student to be relaxed and join in?

The dual aim of helping the students feel relaxed and making them willing to join in is at the heart of key stage 3 practical drama activities.

And this includes helping them to overcome any self-consciousness they may have and encouraging every student, particularly those who had limited exposure to drama in primary school, to be part of the exploration.

Successful lessons should leave all the students feeling both relaxed and supported – and more aware of who they are and what they could be.

This is exactly the aim of Drama Depot which provides forty lessons for years 7 to 9, complete with warm ups and preparatory activities.

The assumption throughout is that everyone taking part has little previous dramatic knowledge. Indeed it is also possible for teachers with limited or no experience of drama to be able to use these lessons should the need arise.

Thus drama becomes a totally practical subject. Texts are occasionally used within the book to enhance the nature of the work, but they are never fundamental to each lesson.

It is also assumed that the average drama lesson lasts between 40 – 60 minutes (although the lessons can be adjusted for longer or shorter sessions).

Beyond that the idea is that the lessons should not have an overtly academic basis. They provide a chance for the students to expand their knowledge of what drama means and will make students always want to come back for more.

The students can work in pairs, in threes and occasionally in larger groups in order to ensure that the whole class is occupied all the time.

The forty lessons should provide more than enough material to last a whole school year – or the lessons can be spread over three years and interspersed with other materials.

Cat No: 978 1 86083 836 1 Order code: T1816emn – please quote with order.

Sample pages can be viewed at http://www.pdf.firstandbest.co.uk/drama/T1816.pdf

  • 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 from the publisher:

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