Tuesday, 23 December 2008

The benefit of a bedtime story

Study finds that being read to and taught the alphabet means a promising start for children.

From the Guardian

Children who are read to daily are likely to do better when they start school and be better behaved, according to a government study.
Researchers at the Institute of Education found a correlation between mothers who believe it is important to teach their toddler the alphabet and to count and read to them regularly and the child's achievement at the age of five.
The government-commissioned study looked at the foundation stage profile - teachers' assessment of a child's achievement after one year at school - and evaluated the cognitive abilities of just over 8,000 five-year-olds.
They also assessed each child's behaviour using a questionnaire.
The study focused on which factors are associated with achievement at the age of five, and took into account parental variables such as how much time is spent with the child reading, teaching the alphabet and counting.
It concluded: "Reading to the child every day and having a mother who thinks it is important to stimulate young children are positively associated with all cognitive outcomes and negatively with problem behaviour."
Children who were read to daily did better in the naming vocabulary cognitive test, which involved the children being shown a picture and asked to identify the object.
They also performed better in the foundation stage profiles and had higher behaviour scores.
Youngsters whose mothers thought it was important to talk to them and teach them the alphabet also did better than their peers in tests where children were shown a picture of an object and asked to identify a similar object among a number of other pictures, and when asked to reproduce patterns using coloured blocks.
These children also had better foundation stage profiles, whereas children who watch three or more hours of TV a day, on average, achieved lower scores on the tests.
The findings echo the results of research by the universities of Bristol and Columbia, in the US, that found poor parenting meant children were ill-prepared for school.
Analysis by Prof Jane Waldfogel at Columbia and Bristol's Dr Elizabeth Washbrook of British and American children's ability test scores showed that the poorer their families, the less well prepared they were for school. In the US, half the differences were because of poor parenting and home environment, the study found.
It suggested that early years programmes such as Head Start in the US, which Sure Start in the UK is based upon, could help close the ability gap.

Friday, 5 December 2008

North East Digital Awards

The Digital Awards celebrate the achievements of businesses and organisations across the North East of England that have recognised, developed and practiced digital techniques to best effect.
This region clearly has some very innovative businesses with strong digital elements. Last year we recognised the fantastic achievements of 44 regional businesses, chosen from over 250 award entries. This year the profile of the Awards and the level of participation from the region's businesses will be even greater and more prestigious.

Education Takeaway have once again entered the awards and needs your help. Please vote for us.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Jolly Phonics Whiteboard Software


The software provides a full and extensive year's programme for teaching Jolly Phonics thoroughly on an interactive whiteboard. It enables teachers to deliver lessons in a fun and engaging way to children using a wide variety of activities for whole class and individual use. With all the resources a teacher requires at a touch of a button, the programme is fun and easy to use.

Structured daily sessions for teaching each of the letter sounds, letter formation, blending, identifying sounds in words, tricky words and alternative spellings of vowels.

Handy step by step teacher's notes are available for every session. These can either be viewed on screen or printed off if required.

Interactive lessons with lots of blending, spelling and writing practice, ideal for whole class or independent use. Audio option for hearing the letter sounds, Jolly Jingles and Jolly Songs. Lots of printable worksheets, templates and games that can be used in class to reinforce the teaching. These can also be given as homework for the child.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Tests scrapped for 14-year-olds

There will be no Sats tests for 14-year-olds next year, announces Ed Balls
National tests for 14-year-old school pupils in England are to be scrapped, following this summer's Sats marking "shambles".
Children's Secretary Ed Balls said an expert group would develop a system of assessment by teachers.
But the tests taken by 11-year-olds, and used for the primary school "league tables", will remain.
A new system of report cards showing schools' academic attainment and pupil well-being is also to be introduced.
Mr Balls said that the decision to stop Sats tests for 14-year-olds was "not a u-turn" - and that the wider principle of the need for testing and accountability remained.
"But if you ask 'are we abolishing half of the national tests?', the answer is 'yes'," said Mr Balls.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Social Bookmarking

In an attempt to get our site ranked higher in Google we have gone down the line of Social Bookmarking. So follow me on my adventure of Social Bookmarking and if you have any suggestions I am more than happy to listen to them. Visit our Squidoo lens with info on Jolly Phonics. Add yourself as a fan of our Facebook page, Stumble us or Digg our site. We will be watching over the next few months to see what kind of resluts we are getting. We look forward to getting to know our customers and learning all about Social Bookmarking.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Sats Test

From BBC Website

The Sats tests could end next year, Schools Secretary Ed Balls has hinted.
They may be replaced by assessments tailored to the ability of each child, he told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show.
The national tests are taken by about one million children aged seven, 11 and 14 across England each May, but this year's marking was a "fiasco", he said.
A five-year contract with ETS Europe was scrapped after it failed to get papers marked in time, and the next contract will be for one year only.
"The current system is not set in stone," said Mr Balls.
"We are looking currently at a way in which we could assess progress child by child with individual level tests where the tests would be chosen in a way which was right for the child, rather than everybody doing the same test on the same day.
"For 2009, we are going to do the same kind of tests as in previous years before the problems with ETS, but for the long term I am really keen to get this right, to listen."

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

New pupils have to stay until 17

From the BBC Website

Children starting secondary schools in England this week will be the first to be legally required to stay in education until they are 17.
The rise in the age at which pupils can end their studies is just one of several changes taking effect in English schools this term.
New diplomas for subjects such as engineering and construction are also being phased in.
Head teachers say too many initiatives are being introduced at once.
The increase in the education leaving age is the first such change since 1972, when it was raised from 15 to 16.
There are also major changes to the curriculum for 11 to 14-year-olds and to GCSEs and A-levels. The latter will have a new A* grade to help distinguish the very best exam candidates.
But the head of the Association of School and College Leaders, has warned that too much change is happening all at once.
The rise in the leaving age is part of a previously announced government policy to have pupils continue in some form of education or training education to the age of 18. This will take effect for school leavers from 2015.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Do you Know your child's Learning Style

What do we mean by learning styles? It is the way a child concentrates on, absorbs, processes and retains what they are learning. We all have a preferred way of, learning not just children. For example, do you prefer to read instructions or would you just get on with something and figure it out as you go along.

Learning Styles fall in three primary categories.


Auditory - children can often follow directions very precisely after being told only once or twice what to do. Some auditory learners concentrate better when they have music in the background, enjoy talking and something may even talk to themselves, they may prefer listening to a story rather than reading one.

Kinesthetic - children usually like to play games and are very active. When learning anything new they will want to get on with it rather than read instruction or listen. Hence they may also fidget and won't be able to sit still for long periods.

Visual - children will prefer to see pictures, colours, maps and drawings. They will enjoy watching a demonstration rather than listening to a story or even just talking about something. They will enjoy drawing and especially doodling.

Knowing your child's learning style can help you, not only when they start school but at home when you are looking for things to do to keep them occupied. Sitting them down to watch the TV when playing a board games would be more appropriate, or going to the cinema when they would prefer to play in the park, can make parents life a little easier.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Sats Results

From the BBC Website

The company behind the late delivery of England's school test results faces penalties that could cost it "tens of millions", the exams watchdog has said.
Giving evidence to MPs, Ken Boston of the QCA, revealed that at one point there were 10,000 e-mail enquiries from markers unanswered by ETS Europe.
Some 70 staff from the National Assessment Agency (NAA) went in to help and a second call centre was set up.
ETS has apologised already and says the situation will not be repeated.
Dr Boston told the children, schools and families select committee that there had been weekly meetings involving the NAA and ETS since last September and daily meetings since the beginning of May.
But ETS repeatedly assured the regulator that it would deliver the results by the 8 July deadline, despite the widespread anecdotal evidence that all was not well.
It was not until 26 June that it had formally notified him that it would not do so, he said.
Onscreen marking
A concern now was next year's test series.
"And the clock is ticking - it's a two-and-a-half year development cycle," he said.
He suggested the answer was on-screen marking, now used for more than half of GCSE examinations and many of the A-levels - but not these "key stage" tests.
"We need to move as quickly as possible to on-screen marking for key stage tests: fast, reliable, secure."
This was the one aspect of what he famously described on his appointment as the "cottage industry" of England's exam system that had not changed in recent years.
But it would not be possible to implement this for 2009.
He stressed that ETS had been responsible for the logistics of the operation.
The people doing the marking were essentially the same as in previous years and there was no reason at the moment to believe the quality of the marking was in doubt "despite the stories and fears that are abroad".
The watchdog was asked whether it was true that the reason many of the big exam boards had not bid for the test contract was that they regarded it as having been badly drawn up - and had written to tell him so.
He said he would have to look back over his correspondence from 2006.
But there had been five "very solid" bidders, shortlisted to three from which ETS had been selected after a highly thorough procurement process.
Dr Boston chose his words carefully but said there were "very significant penalty clauses" in the contract and the QCA would be seeking commercial and legal remedies from ETS.
He said there was "reputational damage" in relation to "a failure at this level" that would concern any large company.
"That probably is as significant as the financial penalties which could run into the tens of millions," he said.
Ultimately ETS could lose the three-year contract, he said, but the QCA's approach at present was to work with it to solve the problems.
The committee also asked Dr Boston to send it his own contract of employment.
He was asked by the committee chair, Barry Sheerman, whether he was saying the blame for what had happened lay with the private sector company's shortcomings.
Dr Boston said there were three parties involved:
The government, which in 2006 had determined what it wanted from the tests
The QCA may well have made mistakes too which might have caused problems
ETS may also have made some very significant mistakes
He said his staff had been "very hands on" in dealing with problems as they had unearthed them.
All these matters would be investigated by the inquiry into the failure, to be led by former Ofsted chief Lord Sutherland.
The marking of the Key Stage 2 tests (taken by 11-year-olds) was complete, he said, and almost all results would be published on Tuesday.
The Key Stage 3 results (14-year-olds) were substantially complete in maths and science but English took longer to mark and it could be into the school summer holidays before all are available.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Reception Year Words

Sometimes called High Frequency Years Words. Numeracy and Literacy are vial skills which every child needs to learn properly. The National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy is at the heart of the drive to raise standards in schools. If your child is coming to the end of their first year in school, they should be albe to recognise the 45 High Frequency Words. Avialable in 2 sizes, standard or large from our website or as a free download that will be emialed to you. Knowing these word will help your child as they progress into their next year at school.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

SATs, Revision and homework help

My daughter has recently done her year 6 Sat's. As parents we were keen to give her as much help and encouragement as we could. Her school provided us with some workbooks that she completed as part of her homework. We found them very helpful and have contacted the company to see if they would supply us with their range. We are now in the process of stocking this range. The range is very large and I am keen to find out what help other parents feel they need to help their children. Here is a link to the site of workbooks we will be stocking very soon. Please let us know what you would find helpful, what you are more interested in and just your general thought on this range of workbooks. In the meantime we do have in stock Jolly Phonics Workbooks and also The At Home range from Oxford Reading Tree

Monday, 5 May 2008

Awards Update

Well we didn't make it through to the next round of The North East Digital Awards. But we had lots of support from all our customers. So I would just like to say a big thank you to everyone that voted for us. It did help with getting our name know and we did get hits to the website, which is good news. So it just leaves me one thing to say, I'll be doing it all again next year so watch out!!

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Starting School

Is your child starting school in September. Are you getting a little anxious, does the thought fill you with dread? Remember these fellings are normal and you won't be on your own. Most of the other parents at the school gate will be having the same worries. We have put together a list of things you can do to help your child settle into school as pain free as possible and also help you with the transition.
  • Plan Ahead - Get organised with uniform, don't leave it till the last week in August, sizes will be getting short and the shops will be crowded with other parents doing the same thing.
  • Find out the school terms for the year ahead, you don't want to find out that you have booked a holiday when your child should be starting school.
  • Talk to your child about starting school. Tell them what they will be doing, making new friends, playing with exciting new toys and learning lots of new things.
  • Most schools offer a transition day, make the most of this. Show your child where to hang their coat, which will be their classroom and where the toilets and playground are.
  • Encourage your child to get into a good routine by setting a bedtime. The first few weeks they may be very tired.
  • Get organised with everything they will need the night before they start. Lay out their clothes, encourage them to help with this.

These are only a few things you can do to help your child in the first few days of their school life. There is lots more information on the internet. We have listed a few sites for you.

  1. Parentscentre - helping you to help your child
  2. Raisingkids - if it's about raising kids it here
  3. Directgov - public service all in one place

Enjoy your childs first years at school, it goes by so quickly.

Fun Cubes From Zoobookoo

Fun Activities with a difference

We have now uploaded our new stock from Zoobookoo. Is it a book or is it a cube? You decide. Available in Time Tables, Human Body, Word Forming, Addition & Subtraction, Numbers & Alphabet. They make a great gift and keep children entertained, ideal for car journeys and getting them away from the television.

Jolly Phonics Hand Puppets & Jolly Stories

Jolly Phonics Hand Puppets

Jolly Phonics Puppets are plush, soft, full-size, hand-puppets of the main characters in Jolly Phonics, to bring life to the teaching. Inky who teaches her friends how to read and write. Snake who is quick to learn and always hungry and Bee who finds reading very hard but keeps on trying.

Join the adventures of Inky Mouse and her friends. Follow them through seven stories as they learn the 42 letter sounds. This beautifully illustrated board book has 40 spreads, each covering one or two letter sounds. A large letter is embossed on each spread, so that formation can be felt by little fingers. Each spread has a number of words for reading and for spelling, along with the Jolly Phonics action.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

North East Digiatal Awards

The North East Digital Awards celebrate high-quality innovation, media professionalism and technical excellence in the digital world. We have entered our site for this award and hope you will vote for us. Visit our entry now and please cast your vote.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

About Key Stage

A Key Stage is a stage of the state education system in the uk setting the educational knowledge expected of students at various ages.
  • Key Stage 1 Age 5-7 (Years 1 & 2)
  • Key Stage 2 Age 7 - 11 (Years 3 to 6)
  • Key Stage 3 Age 11 - 14 (Years 7 to 9)

The Key Stages were first defined in The Key Stages were first defined in 1988 Education Reform Act to accompany the first introduction of the National Curriculum. The precise definition of each of the main 4 Key Stages is age-related, incorporating all pupils of a particular age at the beginning of each academic year. The Key Stages were designed to fit with the most prevalent structures which had already grown up in the education system over the previous 100 years of development.to accompany the first introduction of the National Curriculum. The precise definition of each of the main 4 Key Stages is age-related, incorporating all pupils of a particular age at the beginning of each academic year. The Key Stages were designed to fit with the most prevalent structures which had already grown up in the education system over the previous 100 years of development.

The National Curriculum was introduced as a nationwide curriculum for primary and secondary state schools. The purpose of the National Curriculum was to ensure that certain basic material was covered by all pupils. In subsequent years the curriculum grew to fill the entire teaching time of most state schools.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Coming Soon Bananagrams and cubes from Zoobookoo

I have been busy visiting the Spring Fair at Birmingham looking for new and exciting items for you all. We will shorly be taking stock of Bananagrams and some great products from Zoobookoo We still have a few items left in our sale so hurry along and grab yourself a bargain.
Our first newsletter went out last week, to receive updates just register on our site and opt in to receive newsletter.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Parents urged to read to children

Children in England are not reading enough outside of schoolParents are being urged to make a New Year's resolution to spend more time reading to their children.
Schools Secretary Ed Balls is spearheading the initiative ahead of the National Year of Reading 2008, which officially starts in April.
Mr Balls said reading a child a bedtime story every night could have a huge impact on their development.
"Reading can bring fun to their lives, feed their imagination, and develop their curiosity about the world."
Too many children today are not reading for pleasure - and this is harming not just our children's reading skills, but also their imagination and general knowledge
Ed Balls, Children, Schools and Families Secretary
"As parents we need to make reading a part of everyday life for our children - whether that is reading stories to younger children or talking about books and magazines with older kids," he said.
A recent survey found the reading performance of children in England had fallen from third to 19th in the world.
The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, published in November, highlighted significant increases in the proportion of English 10-year-olds with the "least positive" attitudes to reading and who said they very seldom read stories or novels outside school.
Mr Balls said it could make "all the difference" if parents set aside 10 minutes a day before bedtime to read with their children.

Reading tips

"Too many children today are not reading for pleasure - and this is harming not just our children's reading skills, but also their imagination and general knowledge," he said.
The National Year of Reading is being run by the National Literacy Trust, which has some ideas to encourage reading in different age groups.
These include:
For babies to 3-year-olds - make a scrapbook about your child full of pictures and words. Read the words with your child and get them to say what else should be in their story.
For three to five-year-olds - cut out pictures from catalogues or magazines of objects that all begin with the same letter, plus a few that do not. Write down the names of the objects and get your child to match the picture to the name.
For five to eight-year-olds. - find your family's top five reads. Ask everyone in your family to name their favourite reads - it could be a book, magazine, comic or newspaper. Involve grandparents, cousins etc. And see if the neighbours agree.

Source http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7163172.stm