Why should teachers be published?

How being a published author can have a significant impact on your career development

Being a published author of a book that is used in schools has always been a matter of pride for those who have achieved the status. But there is more to it than that.

For one of the problems with job applications in recent years is that quite a few applicants for a post might well have CVs that look similar to each other. The suitable qualifications, experience appropriate to the post, some interesting background on out of school activities… such applications do tend to look a little similar at times.

But the applicant who has written materials that are now in use in a number of schools around the country immediately stands out. It is not just that the individual has written the book or teaching materials, but rather that other teachers are using it. That really does make the CV look different.

First and Best in Education has been publishing school texts for over 20 years, and has been involved in producing some highly innovative works in a variety of areas throughout secondary education.

From the start we have focussed on producing books that can be copied by teachers, either being put on the school’s learning platform or printed out and copied for individual classes or specific students.

Our range covers a multiplicity of topics from volumes that deal with troublesome topics in an A level syllabus through to volumes on specific special needs, from manuals on school improvement which can be copied and shared with colleagues throughout the school to starter texts for year seven pupils.

If you have an idea for a book that will appeal to teachers in secondary school we’d love to hear from you. Please email your details to: anne@firstandbest.co.uk and attach:

  1. A brief outline of the book
  2. Who the book is intended for
  3. A short extract – preferably not the opening chapter
  4. A table of contents.

We’ll take a look and let you know what we think.

I do hope you’ll get in touch.

Anne Cockburn
Senior Editor

Topical Resources first ever summer sale

Topical Resources first ever summer sale –
up to a 40% discount on all teaching resources

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If you order any of our teaching resources before midnight on the 9th August 2015, you can get as much as 40% off your order by following the instructions below:

Get a 25% discount by quoting hh1010 when you place an order at


Get a 40% discount by giving our Facebook page a ‘Like’ and by sharing
the post – 40% discount on all teaching resources.*

*Once you’ve done this, simply email your Facebook name to jenny@hamilton-house.com and she’ll respond with the discount code to be entered at checkout when you place the order. Please note that only one code can be used at one time.

If you would like to know more about our teaching resources, or indeed, our summer offer, please call 01772 863158 or email sales@topical-resources.co.uk.

As always, you can order any of our resources in the following ways:

How inclusive are your pupil assessments?

With the rise in the expected level of attainment for primary schools and the hike in GCSE grades in secondary, the new assessment landscape means that many more children could be slipping below required progress.

However, the Climbing Frames assessment framework, with its unique Pre-levels, means that schools can track progress for children who will be below the new National Curriculum attainment levels.

These Pre-levels make the system a truly inclusive system.

Achievement for all

In fact, leading education charity Achievement For All has given Climbing Frames assessment framework its seal of approval, calling it the “best of breed” of the new pupil progress assessment frameworks.

Professor Sonia Blandford, CEO of Achievement For All says:

“We have seen a large number of systems, and Climbing Frames is by far the best of breed. Its Pre-levels – for those children caught below the start of the new National Curriculum – and its cognitive development framework show how well thought out it is. We would recommend our schools to subscribe.”

Here’s why you too should choose Climbing Frames:

  • It’s the only inclusive scheme, reaching pupils working below NC levels, and is recommended by Achievement for All
  • It covers all NC subjects and Key Stages 1, 2 and 3
  • It’s more sensitive than its forerunner, APP, for triggering interventions and evaluating impact
  • The cost has been kept low to support the future of assessment for learning
  • It works on paper and as an App, and all this is part of the price
  • It provides a full range of management information for school leaders
  • It assesses cognitive development and links to expert teaching strategy

6 ways we’ll help you track progress

You can read up on the six ways that Climbing Frames will help your school track pupil progress, as well as place an order, here: http://www.teachingtimes.com/articles/climbingframeshh

If you would like to ask me a question about Climbing Frames, please feel free to drop me an email at climbingframes@imaginativeminds.co.uk, or call me on 0121 224 7599.

I look forward to hearing from you

James Mason
Climbing Frames

Don’t let the students’ H&S restrict their learning

How can you ensure that your students are safe
from harm when learning in a hazardous environment?

Education is a highly popular and ongoing topic of debate, but there is one thing that everyone will always agree on, and that is keeping students’ safe from harm no matter what.

It is therefore important that there is always plenty of protective clothing available for when learning is taking place in hazardous environments, such as a workshop. For without this clothing, they are restricted to what they can learn.

You can find a range of specialist protective clothing and footwear, among that of safety glasses, safety helmets and safety boots, from Granite Workwear at: www.graniteworkwear.com/

On the face of it, it seems easy to tell if a student has dyscalculia.

But testing can still be incredibly beneficial.

In one sense it is often not difficult to be fairly sure that some young people suffer from dyscalculia – their sense of number seems to be haywire and their ability to handle simple mathematical processes is nowhere near that of their peers.

However, some dyscalculic students can slip through this “common sense” analysis because, on the face of it, they appear to be able to answer a fair range of maths questions. It is just that as they progress on to more complex mathematical topics their understanding falls apart and they find it hard to make any progress at all.

Such students are known as Type 2 dyscalculics,

These students are in the curious position of being able to getting quite a lot of basic maths right, and yet still have the most strange gaps in their knowledge while also often taking twice as much time (or more) to answer a maths problem as their non-dyscalculic colleagues.

If asked they also tend to have a deep concern about their own mathematical ability and seem instinctively to know that their strategies for understanding and coping with basic maths are different from everyone else’s.

It is because there are in fact five different types of dyscalculia that testing for dyscalculia is so essential, since it means that students who are dyscalculic are not only identified, but also the particular variation of dyscalculia is identified. As a result remedial action becomes much easier.

To help resolve this issue, earlier this year the Dyscalculia Centre produced an analysis of the five types of dyscalculia for SEN Magazine, and a copy of this report is now published on the Centre’s website http://www.dyscalculia.me.uk/articles.html. Just click on the final link “Five ways to understand dyscalculia”.

What’s more the Centre is able to test students online from the age of 8 upwards online. The school not only receives a detailed report of the nature of the problems found, but also a set of materials that can be used to help the pupil or student overcome his/her problems.

Testing costs £49.95 per pupil (approx A$106 at current rates). This price includes taking the test, receiving a specific report in relation to the individual taking the test, and being provided by email with resources relevant to that individual which can be used to help them progress in maths.

The test is set up for payment by credit card on-line

If you have any enquiries please do call +44 1536 399 000 or email admin@dyscalculia.me.uk

Practice makes it better

According to a survey by the Institute of Education, handwriting practice across and inside schools is inconsistent. A quarter of schools had no policy on teaching handwriting at the time of the survey, and over half of the teachers questioned felt that they had not received sufficient training in the teaching of handwriting.

“Unless children learn to write legibly and at speed their educational achievements may be reduced and their self-esteem affected,” commented Professor Rhona Stainthorp, one of the researchers who carried out the survey. “Handwriting is an essential skill for everyone, even in this age of computer technology.”

Why is handwriting so important?

Being able to write legibly, fluently and quickly is essential in order to cope with tasks such as essay writing and note taking. And speed handwriting is important, too. It allows the child to concentrate on thinking through their ideas and arguments rather than on the effort to write.

With this in mind take a look at our Reusable Handwriting Notebooks.

http://www.magicwhiteboard.co.uk/product/a4-reusable-whiteboard-handwriting-notebook-8-pages/ – useful for literacy and letter formation

Don’t forget to use discount code HAMILTON10 to get your 10% discount, schools quoting an order number can be invoiced just email sales@magicwhiteboard.co.uk or fax 01905 451552

If you have any questions email sales@magicwhiteboard.co.uk
or ring us on 01905 451552.

Best Wishes

Neil Westwood
Managing Director

Magic Whiteboard Limited

A cumulative approach to handwriting

What to do when students haven’t yet grasped the fundamental techniques of cursive handwriting

There are many reasons why a student may not have grasped the fundamental techniques of cursive handwriting: missed education, poor fine motor skills, poor handwriting habits (including posture and pen grip)… to name a few.

And while the majority of students will accept all that they are taught, others will question the concept of cursive handwriting and, without explanation, can be reluctant to adapt their handwriting technique.

But whatever the reason for poor handwriting, the Handwriting Rescue Scheme offers a solution through its cumulative approach to developing handwriting skills.

It is a complete programme for fully cursive handwriting, containing over 300 structured exercises. It has been designed to establish the correct cursive letter formation, concentrating on how and why letters are formed in this way.

It is also particularly effective at encouraging an automatic response to frequently used spelling choices and presents multiple opportunities to correct poor handwriting habits.

What’s more, the Handwriting Rescue Scheme is available in Ring Bound format which can be easily photocopied and on CD ROM format so multiple copies can be printed of each activity that you require.

You can place an order in any of these ways:

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

What is the most effective way of supporting pupils in developing their writing skills at levels two, three and four?

The educationalists at Topical Resources have found that the most effective way of supporting pupils in developing their writing is by structuring literacy lessons using 9 simple steps.

Target → Equip → Warm up → Introduce → Remember → Try → Apply → Secure → Review

In order to progress, everyone should be aware of what it is they are aiming to achieve by the end of the lesson.

The pupils should be equipped with a wealth of resources that are going to help them in achieving the target. This might be relevant worksheets, paper, pens…

Warm up
Warm up activities ensure that everyone is engaged, increasing proficiency among learners and thus higher attainment.

By introducing the objectives of the lesson beforehand everyone knows what it is they are expected to do at any given time. It also breaks the target up into smaller, more manageable expectations.

Reinforcement of key learning from the previous lesson (if applicable).

Putting the lesson into motion using the body of the lesson plan and resources with which the pupils have been equipped.

The pupils should now be able to put the skills that they have learnt previously in the ‘Try’ part of the lesson into practice.

The pupils should read through the work they have completed and highlight where in their work that they have achieved the lesson objectives.

Giving the pupils a chance to write down, discuss, and ask any questions about what they have learnt in the lesson.

As a result of these findings, Topical Resources has produced the Developing Skills for Writing (levels one, two and three) photocopiable resources.

It contains a wealth of lesson plans and activity worksheets which follow the above steps in order to best support pupils in developing their writing.

You can find more information about the book, including sample pages, on our website. Or alternatively, you can call 01772 863158 or email sales@topical-resources.co.uk

As always, you can order the Developing Writing Skills resources in any of these ways:

Topical Resources
P.O. Box329
PR3 5LTwww.topical-resources.co.uk


Tel: 01772 863158

How fast can a new synthetic pitch be installed?

What is the fastest and lowest cost way of installing an environmentally friendly, synthetic sports pitch?

Installation of a new synthetic sports pitch will always raise three questions. You’ve probably heard the first two before: “How long does it take to install?” and “Is it environmentally friendly?”

The third question is one that invariably follows from the answers to these two questions and it is this: “How come I have never heard of this approach before?”

The fact is that the very latest development in synthetic sports pitches means that we can now offer a huge reduction in construction time and, as a result, installation during the summer vacation (or any other time of year) is now perfectly possible.

ShockWave pitches cost no more than other pitches to install because of the use of modern techniques and materials and the reduced need for aggregate – and they bring with them both environmental and reduced injury benefits.

In a unique approach to shock absorption the amount of aggregate which has to be laid underneath a Shockwave pitch is halved, thereby not only cutting costs but also offering significant environmental savings and benefits.

ShockWave naturally meets the performance criteria of the FA, RFU, Gaelic Football and Rugby League Football and is seen as a cost effective solution for facility providers looking to hire out their pitches to as many users as possible.

Plus, a ShockWave pitch is guaranteed for 20 years.

There is more information on Shockwave at www.shockwave.nottssport.com

To find out more about the various pitch surfacing systems designed and developed by Notts Sport, click here. We work closely with schools to make the installation of multi-use sport facilities an affordable option, providing advice on funding where it is needed.

There is further information on our website at http://nottssport.co.uk/ or if you would like to arrange a free review of your sports facilities do please call us on 01455 883 730 or email us at info@nottssport.com

Why not relax over the summer knowing you have sorted your September Sushi lesson

Purchase your sushi kit now and we will deliver it direct to your school ready for the start of the new school year.

Log in to the members zone for your free resources to teach your pupils how to make sushi – you could even purchase a Make Sushi at Home kit and practice making your own sushi at home in the holidays.

Long shelf life products means you can order now and use when you go back to school in September.

With our sushi kits you’ll receive all the basic food ingredients and re-usable equipment needed to teach a class of 30 children how
to make sushi – delivered straight to your door!

PLUS you’ll have access to a wealth of online teaching resources and telephone support from the Make Sushi In School team.

To order your kit NOW go to:


or email us at

info@makesushiinschool.com to raise an invoice

QUOTE: HOUSE5 when you place your order

Make your lessons an experience everyone will remember!

Make Sushi In School

Daily information for teachers in the UK