Free Dictionaries and Thesauri for your school and students


No, there’s no catch. You’ll be pleased to know that it’s all completely above board.

Even in our digital age the use of a dictionary can help students by encouraging independent study and developing literacy skills.

A thesaurus can be particularly useful in developing a wider range of vocabulary for essays, articles and reports than otherwise might be the case.

The Webster’s “Wordpower” dictionary has a clear, easy to read typeface, 384 pages and a database of approx. 15,000 words. It’s the usual paperback size and is an excellent choice for your KS 3, 4 and GCSE students.

There are two particular benefits associated with these titles that are currently available to schools and colleges………

  1. Although the cover price is £5.99 if you order on behalf of a school or college the Webster’s dictionary may be obtained for just £1.99…. that’s a substantial saving on every copy.
  2. What about the free copies?

Simple. Just order 100 or more copies and you’ll get 50 % extra free.

e.g. Order 200 and you’ll get another 100 copies free….order 500 copies and get an extra 250 completely free. There’s no limit to the quantity you can order and you’ll always get 50% extra free with orders of 100 or more copies.

What’s more you can get the same deal with the Webster’s thesaurus which is also £ 1.99 (cover price £ 5.99). In fact you can combine your orders and your free copies to include both dictionaries and thesauri.

You can view the Webster’s dictionaries and thesauri on the website of Signpost Educational Ltd.

You can order direct from Signpost Educational Ltd and contact them via or phone 020 7515 1797 or fax 020 7515 4420.

Ready-made lessons for ‘types of business organisation’

Business Studies Multimedia Workpacks Issues 1-5

Business Studies Multimedia Workpacks, from Holdsworth Associates, are effective, easy-to-use resources for teachers of GCSE and A level. They use films and case-studies to explain the meaning and advantages/ disadvantages of each type of business organisation, together with worksheets and PowerPoint templates to consolidate and test understanding. These flexible and lively resources are easy to adapt to suit your teaching style.

Each Workpack has been developed to provide a self-contained unit of work. They contain short explanations of the key points, questions to test understanding, notes for guidance and suggestions for extension work.

The materials can be used in the classroom but are also appropriate for homework, cover lessons, revision, and to help students who have missed lessons. Worksheets can be given to students electronically (and completed on-screen), printed or photocopied as needed.


Issue 1: Sole Traders – Garden Designer and Kitchen Fitter

Issue 2: Partnerships – Antonio Couture – wedding dresses

Issue 3: Private Limited Company – Paperfeel – manufacturers of plastic products

Issue 4: A Public Limited Company – Anglian Water plc.

Issue 5: Franchises – River Nene Vegetables

Great value at £35.50 each (plus VAT). P&P is included in the price. If you wish to put the resources on a school-wide network, you will need a site licence for each product priced at £30.50 (plus VAT).

Visit, telephone 01954 202789 or email for further information and to order.


Holdsworth Associates
Century House
Market Street
CB24 4QG

Record your school CD for free and claim £175 to spend on your choice of drums

Percussion is perfect for teaching KS1 and KS2 music. As playing music is fun for children, it makes teaching rhythm, structure and ensemble skills easy.

We’ve teamed up with the award winning Drums for Schools to help you, by giving you £175 to spend on your choice of instruments or resources, or one of the percussion sets above, for free.

There is no catch, you just need to register your interest over the next week and book a free CD recording with us between January and March 2015.

Our professional recording engineers come to your school with studio recording equipment, and spend a day recording your CD with you, for free. Our Interactive Recording Guide shows the huge educational benefit in the project for the children, and makes planning the project really simple with everything set out for you.

All you need to do is decide what you’d like to include on your CD – a performance or event, instrumental groups, the whole school singing, each class singing their favourite song or even your drumming. The CD is a treasured memento to be proud of, a great showcase for the school’s talents, and the recording is an amazing day for the children. You can even raise funds for your school from the sales of your CD.

To get the free CD recording for your school and your free percussion set or voucher, all you need to do is send me an email to the address below, or give me a call with your school details, when approximately you might like to record your CD, and of course whether you would prefer the 30 player or 14 player percussion set or £175 to spend with Drums for Schools.

To qualify for the free percussion set, you have a week to register your interest to complete your recording before the end of March 2015.

Kind regards,

Ann-Marie Lawrence
My School CD

Tel: 01925 321 800

A silly but effective way of getting low attainers working with algebra

Dear Colleagues

I hope you enjoyed the wonderful weather over the half term break. I did.

In this email I’d like to talk about teaching algebra to low attainers. I have used material like this for many years with low ability pupils. It gives them a sense of order; a chance to practice a lot of arithmetic skills and it heightens their self-esteem. They love it.

I am sure you will agree with me that in algebraic expressions each letter represents a number. But, at first, I am going to forget that fact, in order to get low attainers working with algebraic expressions.

I tell the class that I am going to give them some expressions for them to simplify. They are to write down each expression and simplify it. They may use any abbreviations or shorthand if they choose. I start with some simple ones like “7 pence + 3 pence”. Most students will write down the whole form of the expression and its simplified form: i.e. 7 pence + 3 pence = 10 pence.

However, as I make the items longer and/or more complex like “3 xylophones + 2 xylophones”, I keep stressing the fact that they can use shorthand, as I walk round the class. If some are not using shorthand, I just speed up the delivery, so that they are forced to. By the time I get to use pterodactyls and hippopotamuses, they are all using some form of shorthand, and chuckles start to be heard, as they have worked out what I am doing.

The following practice exercises in simplifying algebraic expressions are done with ease, without further explanations or instructions.

Then they meet “the common mistake” that frequently occurs when simplifying expressions involving two or more different letters and both + and – signs. Their confidence is high. They sail over this hurdle. By the end of this section they are simplifying quite complex expressions with ease.

Now, I know that what I did was a con. By starting with something slightly silly, I avoided the need for explanations and debate. Once they were involved and successful, they were prepared to tackle ‘anything’.

‘Anything’, at this point, is entitled “Rules for functions”. It starts with this example:
Each number on the left is changed to the number on the right using a simple rule.
6 ––> 5
4 ––> 3 read 6 ––> 5 as ‘6 becomes 5’
2 ––> 1
Rule: Take 1

Students are asked to find both the rules and missing numbers in tables of this form. The tables slowly become more difficult and involve positive and negative numbers, eventually involving 2-stage rules. This extends to completing tables with algebraic rules written at the top (eg N ––> N+1) and, eventually, to finding the rules in this format for increasingly complex tables.

This idea was developed some years ago as an introduction to algebra for low ability students. But other students saw it on the board and spent their lunch break having a go at it. Now, polished and extended, it is enjoyed as a series of challenging puzzles by all students and gets them using algebra in a very natural manner.

Go to if you wish to download this topic
for use with your students. The topic pack includes teachers’ notes and answers

If you’d like to find out more about The ‘Maths is…’ Jugglers textbooks, you are always welcome to get in touch – you can reach me at or on 01428 717113.

Kind regards,

Barbara (maths enthusiast, teacher, writer and director of The ‘Maths is…’ Jugglers)


FREE Citizenship teaching resource exploring responsible advertising in the UK

There is no escaping the fact that we live in a commercial world. This brings with it the potential risk of children viewing harmful or inappropriate material.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) regulates UK ads to ensure that they are truthful and socially responsible. A crucial part of that process is putting the protection of children and young people at the heart of its work.

Ad:Check – Understanding Advertising Regulation is the ASA’s teaching resource which explores the big issues surrounding advertising and the impact ads can have on young people.

Launched in 2012 and newly revised to reflect curriculum changes, the resource provides a supportive framework for the development and delivery of effective Citizenship through:

Exploring different kinds of rights and obligations and how these affect both individuals and communities.

Questioning and reflecting on different ideas, opinions, assumptions, beliefs and values when exploring topical and controversial issues and problems.

Helping students to explain their viewpoint, drawing conclusions from what they have learnt through research, discussion and actions, including formal debates and votes.

Using and interpreting different media and ICT both as sources of information and as a means of communicating ideas.

Ad:Check is FREE to download from the ASA website, where a library of advertisements is also available to support the resource.

For further information about the ASA’s school resources and engagement work, please contact Priscilla Owusu at

Sibelius Software in your School or College

To Heads of Music in Schools and Colleges
November 2014

We offer the best music software Multi Licenses for UK Schools & Colleges at the guaranteed lowest prices. Call SOFTPLANET LTD to order on 01334 461244.

Sibelius 7.5 Academic

Sibelius 7.5 – the very latest and best from the masters of notation software!

Upgrades from Sibelius 7 to Sibelius 7.5 Multi License Seats – £16.00 each

Upgrades from Sibelius 6 or earlier to Sibelius 7.5 Multi License Seats – £36.00 each

Sibelius 7.5 New Seats – £67.00 each


Purchase orders accepted – 1 month net.

Order by email –

by phone 01334 461244

By post:

SOFTPLANET LTD, Greenbank House, Prior Muir, St Andrews, KY16 8LP

Music in Independent Schools, an insight into best practise.

How has music changed in schools? Specifically, independent schools? The high standard of musical work in such schools has long been known but now Andrew Morris and his team have provided up-to-date information.

Bringing together historical debates from the late 19th and early 20th Century, the book discusses how best to practice the teaching of music. What makes a good music teacher? Is it their technical excellence or enthusiasm?

There are contributions from seven individual schools – Bedford, Dulwich, Eton, Gresham’s, St. Paul’s, Uppingham and Worksop – as well as chapters about Girls’ Schools, Preparatory Schools, Choir Schools and Specialist Schools.

The book looks at each of these schools and the challenges they have faced in the current day and over the last sixty years. Music and teaching of music remains relevant and fruitful across class divides. Music in Independent Schools will be of interest as a reference point for all music departments.

ANDREW MORRIS taught in secondary modern, grammar and comprehensive schools in London before becoming Director of Music at Bedford School for thirty-two years. He was President of the Music Masters’ and Mistresses’ Association from 1996-97 and President of the RAM Club at the Royal Academy of Music 2005-06. He has examined for the ABRSM for over thirty years.

The Bernarr Rainbow Trust, under the chairmanship of Professor Peter Dickinson, is now responsible for some forty books based on Rainbow’s extensive historical research into music education, mostly within his Classic Texts in Music Education series, published by Boydell.

Contributors include Catherine Beddison, Elizabeth Blackford, Timothy Daniell, Richard Mayo, James Peschek, Alastair Sampson, Graham Smallbone, Jonathan Varcoe, Myfanwy Walters, Nathan Waring, Robert Weaver and Hilary Webster.

Music in Independent Schools edited by Andrew Morris & Bernarr Rainbow, with introduction by Peter Dickinson
Boydell Press
978 1 84383 967 5, August 2014

Be sure to quote reference: HAMHOUSE14 when ordering. Online this will be at checkout.

To order you copy please phone, mail or online:
01394 610600
Boydell & Brewer Ltd, PO Box 9, Woodbridge, Suffolk, IP12 3DF
Please note that our usual postage rates will apply:
£3 UK, £7.50 Europe, £13.50 International

Helena Quarmby, Marketing Assistant, Boydell & Brewer Ltd
01394 610606

We are all products of our past

How honours boards are helping schools to transmit their values to students and their parents

Honouring members of the school community is the most obvious and direct way of generating a sense of civic and personal pride, as well as ensuring that parents fully appreciate that the school has values about which it cares passionately.

Having an honours board also helps the school to face the problem that its members move through the school and then leave to enjoy the rest of their lives. It ensures that the fundamental principles that lie behind the school are not taken for granted and are clearly and overtly expressed.

What’s more, such boards commemorate the work of the school and the individuals that have made it what it is, recording the names of those who have served notably as students or teachers.

Likewise the board can record the triumphs and achievements of the school across the years, be it the names of those who have generously donated to the school or the triumph of the under 12s football team in winning the county cup.

Indeed, once the history of the school is on display for all to see, it becomes more real, both to those within the school as well as to parents and visitors.

In this way placing such an honours board in the assembly hall or school entrance proclaims to one and all that these past events and the individuals who created them are important and will not be forgotten.

Likewise for the school that has had the good fortune to be rehoused in new premises in recent years the honours board can establish the connection between the exciting new building of today and the previous premises that have been used.

Greenbarnes has a long history of creating and supplying honours boards for schools across the UK. There are examples of such boards on our website.

You’ll also find links to other aspects of our work at the foot of the honours board page – or you can call 01280 701093 for a copy of our catalogue, or to discuss individual projects.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Michael Barnes

Short Scripts for the Stage

What is it that every drama course needs, but which is so hard to find?

The answer that many drama teachers have given us, when we have posed this question is, “short plays for the students to perform”.

And so that is what we have produced under the (rather precise) title: “Short Scripts for the Stage”. This copiable volume contains eight “Modern Fairy Tales”, six “Shorts with a Twist” and three “Stand Alones”.

Each of these plays is written specifically for school performance and are all designed to appeal and be used all the way from Year 7 through to Year 11. Of course in each case the outcome will be different depending on the age and experience of the students, but all are accessible and usable by all Key Stage 3 and 4 students.

All the plays are short, and together they allow a number of plays to be put on as a production in one night, as well as giving the students something which they can attempt and from which they get a feeling of completion once the play is completed.

Throughout, the characters are a little larger than life, and there is a sense of humour in every play. But at the same time, some of the topics are very serious, including war, violence, family break up and death. Thus within the complete selection of 17 plays, there is great variety not only of subject matter but also underlying emotion.

As a result self-esteem, confidence, collaboration and team work, movement and spatial awareness are all incorporated in the range of advantages offer by rehearsing these plays within the school and then (if desired) acting the plays out in public.

The volume is available in photocopiable form or on CD, so that only one copy is needed by the school. Each student will thus be able to have his/her own copy of the script of the play that is being developed.

There are sample pages from the photocopiable book at

Publisher’s reference: T1802EMN ISBN: 978 1 86083 806 4


  • 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: T1802EMN

More than a teacher

What is the most effective way of observing your teachers’ performance without losing their personality and natural teaching style?

Some of us thrive on the idea of being centre stage. We don’t necessarily admit it, but we get a buzz out of being the focus. So being observed while we teach is no special deal. The more the merrier.

But some of us don’t feel that way at all. Observation means an enhanced pulse rate, a racing heart, and all the other signs of anxiety. Not anxiety that sends us off for medical attention, but unwelcome anxiety nonetheless.

The problem is that in the end anxiety has an effect on the way we teach – our individuality, our personality, and even our smile. The tension changes our focus from being at one with the class to being on display, the person in front of the camera.

So how can we prevent teachers from letting their anxiety get the better of them during observations?

The first approach is to bring a video system into the classroom, turn it on so that the class think it is working – but you the teacher know that no matter what, you will never watch the video. It may seem an odd approach but it acclimatises us to the situation.

Next have the view that one might, or might not, watch the video depending on how the lesson went. When a good lesson has been recorded, one watches not to criticise oneself, but to ask, “What can I spot in this lesson that really made it go well?”

Step three gets to the stage of saying, “No matter what, I will watch this one,” while step four moves on to finding a video that can be shared with colleagues.

This process, which overcomes anxiety in front of the camera and which helps the teacher’s personality and teaching skills shine through when the camera is present, is increasingly being used in numbers of schools across the country.

The Classwatch video system not only enables teachers and students to get used to video in the classroom, but also allows school leaders to review and discuss a teacher’s performance. Colleagues can observe and share each other’s teaching methods, techniques and lesson ideas to improve their own teaching performance.

It also gives teachers the opportunity to carry out self-evaluation, enabling them to learn from their mistakes without criticism or judgement from others.

You’ll find more information on our website. Alternatively you can call us on 0800 043 9510 or email us at

I look forward to hearing from you.

Andrew Jenkins

Daily information for teachers in the UK