Why testing for dyscalculia is so important

What is the benefit of testing pupils for dyscalculia?

One of the great problems in working with dyscalculic pupils and students is that there are many different ways in which dyscalculia affects individuals.

Because of this there is no such thing as a “typical dyscalculic person” or indeed a single method for helping the dyscalculic pupil or student.

In short, when faced with a dyscalculic individual what we have to do is try to find out the areas in which the pupil has problems and the specific difficulties that the pupil has.

Finding such information out can be made more difficult by the fact that many dyscalculics evolve their own methods of handling maths over time, making it appear as if they know what they are doing in certain situations.

In such situations, although the pupil or student can get an answer right, he/she often has no understanding at all and is instead just going through a mechanical and essentially (for them) meaningless process.

It is because of this sort of problem that in 2011 the Dyscalculia Centre introduced its on-line test for dyscalculia, suitable for pupils aged 8 and above.

Hundreds of individuals now take the test each year, and many schools have found it helpful to test several pupils in the course of a year, which is why we are now introducing a special price for schools that use our test with three or more pupils.

The aim of the test is not simply to say “this person is dyscalculic,” although it does give that result. It aims primarily to find out where the specific problems for that individual are and then suggest how these problems can be overcome.

For example, the test seeks to unravel situations where the student seemingly knows how to undertake mathematical computations without having any idea what is going on. It also looks for associated short term / long term memory issues, problems with understanding the very concept of number, and difficulties with the notion of time and of shapes.

The Dyscalculia Test is taken on-line, and results in a detailed report (usually around five pages of A4) identifying the problem areas and the actions that can be taken to help the pupil overcome these issues.

What’s more, the Centre also then provides free teaching materials that can be used with the pupil to help deal with the most important areas of difficulty in a multi-sensory way, thus allowing the pupil or student to start moving forward in terms of mathematical knowledge.

There is more information about the Dyscalculia Centre’s on-line test for dyscalculia at http://www.dyscalculia.me.uk/testing.html

Testing costs £59.95 per individual or £49.95 each where three or more tests are booked together (although these tests do not all have to be taken at the same time). This price includes taking the test, receiving a specific report in relation to the individual taking the test, and being provided with resources relevant to that individual which can be used to help them progress in maths.

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

Please click here to order one test at £59.95
Please click here to order 3 tests at £49.95 each

However if you wish to use a school order number you can do this by phoning 01536 399 011, or by fax to 01536 399 012. In each case we will need your email address so that we can email you a link to the on-line test. There are more details about payment for schools on http://www.dyscalculia.me.uk/teacher.html

If you have any enquiries please do call 01536 399 000 or email admin@dyscalculia.me.uk
The Dyscalculia Centre
Hamilton House Mailings
Earlstrees Road
NN17 4HH

Website: www.dyscalculia.me.uk
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

Charm and wit are at the heart

What is the single most effective way of enhancing children’s engagement with story-telling?

If there are two factors which above all others ensure that a story will truly engage a group of children, then those factors must be charm and wit.

For charm and wit are to be found within all stories that the vast majority of children will engage with. Of course, there are many other factors, but without charm and wit stories invariably lose some of their ability to take the children into a new world.

And there is always more than one way to tell a story. One can read the story to the children or engage a professional story teller. Or one can do what we do, which is to bring in actors from London’s West End to perform the story to the children.

Of course, because we only use West End actors there is a limit to the number of schools that we can visit, but even so, last year we were able to present our productions to around a quarter of a million children, using many different forms of theatre to engage the children in the magic of the story.

And once again last year we found that, beyond any doubt, one of the most popular of all the forms of presenting a story is the pantomime. Which is why this year we have extended our autumn and winter tour of the genre.

As you might expect, because of the background and quality of our actors West End in Schools offers something beyond a standard pantomime, something rather different from that which you may have experienced before.

For in our work not only are the actors West End professionals, but the level of engagement with the children is particularly extensive throughout the show, which inevitably heightens the impact of the story telling.

This year we are offering a choice of Cinderella (with a Fairy Godmother unlike any you have seen before), Aladdin (“you can’t say genius without saying Genie!”), and Jack and the Beanstalk (where Jack-ueline saves the village from Giant Blunderbore and celebrates by dancing the Milk Shake with Muriel the cow.)

You can find more details of all our performances in school on our website.

To reserve the best dates or to ask any questions about our work and our productions, please either:

Complete our quick enquiry form
Call Nigel Godfrey on 020 7395 7525
Email office@westendinschools.org.uk
Nigel Godfrey


What is it that makes some people want to store everything, while others want to throw it all out?

Why is it that in many families, family businesses, and indeed businesses in general, there are some people who put stuff away in boxes and push the boxes into corners, on tops of cabinets, and the like, while there are others who constantly feel the urge to dispose of past documents, materials, etc?

It is almost as if there is are three species at work here – those who tidy up and pack away in the belief that the items might be needed again, those who feel the urge to tidy up and throw away, and those who never tidy up at all.

And curiously it turns out that the actual behaviour of tidying up – with its divergent results – is probably down to evolution.

For it became clear early on that the people who tidy up as they go tend to be able to get up and leave more readily (largely because there are fewer things to fall over on the way out).

And so in the Stone Age, when mankind lived in caves, if the cave came under attack, the tidy members of the clan could get up and exit via the carefully prepared (and utterly uncluttered) escape route.

Thus whether the attack came from a rival tribe, a sub-culture within the tribe who felt that its approach to living should the dominant style, or indeed a passing woolly mammoth, the tidy clan could leave.

Additionally they discovered that by tidying up they could order some of the tribe to stay behind and pick up the weapons (all neatly stored in one place) and fight the invader. And since it was invariably the men who had to do this rather dangerous job, men became less and less inclined to tidy up.

As a result men started to put forward the notion that they too could use their habit of not tidying up to save their skins when under attack, as long as they were untidy in the entrance to their habitat. Carefully left branches, rocks, tangled weeds, and other similar odds and ends would slow down the attacker trying to get into the cave.

Thus mankind split into two branches – those who defended themselves by staying tidy and having an escape route round the back (leaving some out front to fight) and those who deliberately left a mess at the front entrance (ensuring that everyone could get out the back).

Over time evolutionary behaviour tends to become entrenched behaviour, and it is the patterns of behaviour that are remembered, while the reasons for the behaviour are forgotten.

So, slowly tribes developed in such a way that they had within their habitat members of what became the two main tendencies – the “leave it all about” approach and the “tidy it away” clan.

Each justified its vision of life – but not necessarily in the way that was first intended. The “leave it lying around” group began to speak less of the benefit of tripping passing beasts and enemy tribes as they entered and more of the fact that whatever was left lying around “might come in handy” one day.

The “tidy it up before I fall over it” select committee, however, spoke of the dangers to the residents inherent in having bits and pieces left around, and, because they never had to do the fighting, tended to ignore the unknown elements within the future.

So these ideas have continued to evolve. One interesting variation occurred when men realised that they could use the situation to their advantage by tidying up a little, and thus allow the women to leave the cave first, alerting the tribe to any animals or enemies hiding nearby) while claiming that they were, at long last, about to do the tidying up that the “tidy up as you go” group had been demanding.

The result was that men tended more and more to the “leave it around” approach – something that we can still see today, especially when they prevaricate before leaving the house.

However, ultimately, even the largest business facility runs out of space, and the issue of throw it away or store it reaches a crisis point.

The great problem today is that there is a need to store past records on paper – be they VAT invoices, original copies of copyrighted manuscripts, or confidential documents for pending court cases.

Such items can be put on disk and stored, but there is always the danger of corruption, and the danger of on-line theft or deliberate damage.

Hence, one can see the Admiral Storage Facility as being of evolutionary importance.

If you have materials that you want stored, we are here, ready now to take them in, and with a fulsome understanding of how we got to this point.

You can find more information on our facilities on our website at https://admiralstorage.co.uk/. Alternatively you can call us on 0800 810 1125.
Admiral Self Storage Ltd
Bloxwich Lane
Tel: 0800 810 1125

Email: info@admiralstorage.co.uk


Free action pack for schools to support the forgotten victims of conflict

Learn and take action this term for the
forgotten victims of conflict

Could your students take action this term to support the forgotten victims of conflict? The Forgotten 10 Challenge is 10 days of action from 1st to 10th December, when your students can explore the impact of conflict on young people and show their support for the victims of explosive weapons.

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 learn about the topic, fundraise for the victims and campaign to stop explosive weapons destroying lives. It includes a wide range of free teaching resources to order and suggestions for getting your class, year group or the whole school involved.

Tens of thousands of civilians are killed and injured every year by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. In Syria alone, more than 2 million children are at risk – living in areas highly affected by the use of explosive weapons. Urgent action is need to protect civilians, particularly children.

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

If you would like to find out more about how your school could get involved, please email schools@hi-uk.org or call me on 0870 774 3737.

We’re looking forward to working together this term and having a big impact!

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

A Level Computer Science (2015) resources from ZigZag Education

With the new A Level Computer Science specifications finally upon us, you may be looking to add more options to your bank of resources, in preparation for the year ahead.

ZigZag Education are developing a fresh range of new resources for AQA, OCR and Eduqas to support your teaching and your students’ learning – see details of available resources below.

Course Companions

Detailed yet accessible student notes covering the theory of each specification. Supported with examples, images and diagrams to engage students, with questions and tasks to test their understanding and application of knowledge (plus answers). All code examples are given in VB, C#, Python and Pascal (plus pseudocode).

Order now for: AQA | OCR Coming soon: EDUQAS

Topic Tests

Short tests covering every topic of the new AS and A Level specifications. Includes a variety of question types to engage learners, combining short and long answer questions with questions requiring the completion of tables, and construction of diagrams and pseudocode. With clear mark scheme.

Order now for: AQA Coming soon: OCR & EDUQAS

Presentations and Worksheets for Technical Topics

Animated presentations (in PowerPoint & HTML5) and follow-up worksheets designed to reinforce the mathematical and logical concepts of the new specifications. Use in class or for homework; to support teaching and revision. Includes easy answers for self/peer or teacher marking.

Order now for: AQA | OCR Coming soon: EDUQAS

Practice Exams

3 original practice papers and mark schemes for the AS written exam. Covering every spec topic between them, these papers use the same structure and questions types as the real exam. Mark schemes combine exemplar answers with guidance on how to award marks.

Order now for: AQA | OCR | EDUQAS

Revision Guides

Comprehensive yet concise revision guides covering the essential theory in manageable chunks. Tables, diagrams and keyword boxes are used effectively throughout, to present information in a structured, logical way for revision. Revision questions (with answers) test understanding.

Order now for: AQA Coming soon: OCR & EDUQAS

Click here for the most up-to-date list of A Level resources! (Tip: add a bookmark for future reference)

ZigZag resources are provided as a photocopy master with site licence. Also available in:

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


ZigZag Education, Unit 3, Greenway Business Centre, Doncaster Road, Bristol BS10 5PYt: 0117 950 3199 | f: 0117 959 1695 | WT34@zigzageducation.co.uk

Give your promotional code WT34 to get free postage!

Dance in schools – we’d like your views

We would love your help in conducting the first ever survey of dance in primary schools.
The first ever School Dance Week will happen between 12 and 16 October 2015, with a view to promoting dance in primary schools.

We hope to foster relationships between primary schools and professional dancers and dance companies, to encourage as many children as possible to explore the benefits of dance, and to offer teachers pathways to developing their confidence and skills in dance.

As part of this first ever School Dance Week we are undertaking a survey of the level of primary school involvement in dance to help gauge the feeling among people such as yourself as to whether dance is something that is considered important in primary school education.

We don’t think such a survey has ever been conducted before, and we really would like to have your help by completing this short questionnaire. The survey that follows contains just nine simple tick box questions and will not take more than two minutes to complete.

The results will be completely anonymous, but you have the option of adding your email address so that we can send you a full analysis of the results of the survey.

Also, if you have any personal observations about dance in primary schools we would really welcome your comments and thoughts, and we will build these into our planning for the second School Dance Week next year, which we anticipate will be a much larger affair.

The survey is on the School Dance Week website at www.schooldanceweek.org.uk/survey

Thank you so much for your help.

The School Dance Week team


This resource has been extensively revised and rewritten to cover the new AQA Entry Level Certificate Mathematics, (AQA – 5930), for first examination in 2017.

It follows the format of the previous editions but there are changes to the content and the outcomes expected, to match the new ELC Mathematics 5930 specifications. As well as additional content some of the outcomes have been modified to bring the examination into line with the new National Curriculum Mathematics courses. Most of these changes are in the first three components, placing a greater emphasis upon number skills. The remaining components are similar to the previous specification but also have modified outcomes.

A more varied questioning style within the resource is used which will help to familiarise students with the style of questioning used in the ‘Externally Set Tests’ provided by AQA. Some questions require a simple ‘justification’ of an answer suggesting a need for evidence of ‘working’ which has not been necessary in some of the previous specifications. Elements of Functional Maths and Problem solving, all at an appropriate level, are included to match the changes in the specification and again this will help to prepare students for the ‘Externally Set Tests’. The worksheets for all three levels have been written and clearly annotated to match the new syllabus. A student may benefit from working through all of the worksheets in a given component but when time is short, successful completion of the Level 3 sheets will ensure coverage of the necessary outcomes. The resource has been written based on the new assessment outcomes listed in the syllabus and all worksheets are clearly annotated to indicate the component and outcome(s) covered.

This volume covers all 8 of the components in the new specification, at all three levels. The collection has been developed so that it can be used in a very flexible manner, catering for the needs of individuals and groups. The task sheets can be used singly, grouped together in booklets or bound as a whole resource depending on your need and preferred way of working. Answer sheets and a student record are included to support teacher assessment, recording and reporting. The resource is being widely used by schools and has received considerable feedback for its clear, easy to use structure, ability to develop individual skills and test students on all areas of the new specification.

170 copiable worksheets and answers on CD – £69.99 (£83.99 Inc VAT)

Order Code 10136

Once purchased, the CD can be freely copied and networked throughout the school.

To see sample pages please email info@classroom-resources.co.uk

You can order;

By Phone on 01179406409

By Fax 01179406408

By email (Including a school Purchase Order No) to info@classroom-resources.co.uk

By Post to Classroom Resources, 9 Logan Rd, Bristol BS7 8DU


Cleopatra – not just a Hollywood myth!

Who was the real Cleopatra?

In contrast to other historical figures whose names may be less familiar, many of your students will come to study the life and influence of the last Egyptian pharaoh with many preconceptions about her – in terms of her appearance, her behaviour and her place in history.

This new textbook provides an easy way into the life and times of Cleopatra for students of OCR Ancient History GCSE. It offers a factual account of her life from first coming to power to her death after the suicide of Antony and is written in an easy-to-read narrative style so is accessible for all your students, and not just those with high reading skills.

However, Cleopatra goes much further than just outlining the bare facts but also sets out for your students a clear insight into the historical context in both Eqypt and Rome, with analysis of the facts and synopses of the interested parties and their possible motives and influence on Cleopatra’s life.

The textbook also outlines the various sources of information on Cleopatra, giving guidance on the interpretation of such sources as well as pointers as to how best to answer exam questions on them.

Each section of the book includes a glossary of terms with which your students may not be familiar, activities to complete and an exam skills section, with sample questions, which sets out clearly how the exam scheme works – so your students will know what is required of them to get the best grade they can.

This book is fully photocopiable so you need only buy one copy which can then be shared with your students and colleagues.

There are sample pages from this photocopiable book at http://www.pdf.firstandbest.co.uk/history/T1826.pdf

Publisher’s reference: T1826EMN ISBN: 978 1 86083 881 1
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: T1826EMN
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 http://shop.firstandbest.co.uk/product_info.php?products_id=799

You can now follow us on Twitter and Facebook

Do you use and waste lots of manuscript paper in your lessons?

Our new reusable music manuscript notebooks are wipeable and reusable (http://www.magicwhiteboard.co.uk/product/a4-reusable-whiteboard-manuscript-paper-8-pages/).

8 reusable whiteboard pages with 8 staves per page.

Write on with any dry marker, wipe clean and reuse.

It’s quick and easy to erase notes and you don’t waste paper. Photocopy your final piece then you can wipe clean and use again.

Only £1.99 each, next day delivery or a class pack of 30 reusable manuscript notebooks for £1.38 ex vat each (£41.40)

Order at http://www.magicwhiteboard.co.uk/product/a4-reusable-whiteboard-manuscript-paper-8-pages/

or email purchase orders to sales@magicwhiteboard.co.uk

Best Wishes

Neil Westwood

Managing Director

Magic Whiteboard Limited

Create a whiteboard from a roll anywhere, in seconds!

tel: 01905 451552



Daily information for teachers in the UK