Monday, 28 December 2009

Teacher cutbacks 'short-sighted'

Scotland's largest teaching union has attacked "short-sighted" cuts in teacher training numbers.
The EIS predicted a third of Scotland's teachers were set to retire in the next few years.
It added that cutting back on training new teachers could create "a massive problem" in the future.
A Scottish government spokesman said it was working towards getting the right number of teachers for future generations of pupils.
Four out of five teachers who qualified this summer have not found full-time jobs.
The government has said it had cut the number of training places in response to that, falling school rolls and education authorities cutting the number of posts in schools by almost 2,500.
Reducing student numbers will create more jobs for those teachers already qualified
Scottish government spokesman
But it said there was no point in educating teachers for the dole queue and it planned to build up student numbers in future.
The union said schools may struggle to fill vacancies and training institutions may struggle to produce more new teachers because of job losses among those who teach the teachers.
EIS general secretary Ronnie Smith said cuts in the number of new teachers being trained was bad news for Scottish education, both at school and university level.
"These cuts are hitting the budgets of teacher education departments in universities, and forcing them to reduce their numbers of lecturing staff," he said.
"Cutting back on the number of trainee teachers and the number of university education lecturers is remarkably short-sighted, and runs the risk of creating a massive problem in a few years' time.
'Stimulating demand'
"The Scottish Government has adopted the easy answer to the problem of lack of job opportunities for new teachers by slashing the future student intakes.
"But their focus should be on stimulating demand for new teachers, not cutting the supply."
A Scottish government spokesman said: "We took the difficult decision to reduce student teacher intakes to deal with teacher unemployment.
"Reducing student numbers will create more jobs for those teachers already qualified.
"Furthermore, ministers have also asked Graham Donaldson to conduct a thorough review of teacher education in Scotland, from initial teacher education through induction and continuous professional development."

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Young people's writing: Attitudes, behaviour and the role of technology

Writing is an important issue in the UK today. While children’s and young people’s writing standards steadily improved until 2006, levels have not increased in recent years. Writing is much more than just an educational issue – it is an essential skill that allows people to participate fully in today’s society and to contribute to the economy.
Relatively little is known about young people’s views about writing in the UK. The key objectives of this survey were therefore: to explore how much young people enjoy writing, what type of writing they engage in, how good at writing they think they are, what they think about writing and what the role of technology is in young people's writing.This report outlines the findings from 3001 pupils aged 8-16 from England and Scotland, who completed an online survey in May 2009. It explores gender and age differences, and examines the link between socio-economic background (in terms of free school meals) and writing. Furthermore, it explores young people's writing with respect to mobile phone ownership, having a blog and having a profile on a social networking site. It concludes with practical and policy implications.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Bananagrams come to Facebook

The latest news is that Bananagrams has joined forces with one of the largest international gaming software companies – Majesco Entertainment – and is in development for use on various electronic platforms, initially launching on FACEBOOK in early October. Facebookers will be able to compete against friends in one of two multiplayer modes - the Classic Multiplayer Game, or the Banana Café, where they can race against the clock (posting their best times on a leader board) and play in real time against each other, having the ability to chat online the entire time! There will also be a Solitaire version for those who want to hone their speed and word making skills! Development for the iPhone, DS and Wii follow shortly! The entry into the electronic world is a wonderful compliment to the original games continued success, just making it easier for Bananagrams fans to play with family and friends around the globe!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Friendship in Networking Durham

Friendship In Networking Durham is a local networking group set up to help Women in Business in and around County Durham - providing a central hub to access business information, education, support and guidance.
Focused on developing relationships, friendships, growing businesses and participating in networking events – FIND is here to help local women reach their full business potential.
Our aims are to:
Provide a valuable network of contacts and to encourage trade, information sharing and support between Members
Provide access to seminars and workshops for professional and personal development
Inspire and encourage women to develop professionally and drive them forward for success in business
Encourage and support new enterprise by providing support to those women looking to set up their own business
Provide a central hub for like-minded individuals to share information, ideas and knowledge and develop friendships and team spirit
Raise the awareness of local women and the talents and resources they have to offer to County Durham
FIND is fast establishing itself as leading resource for North East women in business.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Phonics Flashcards

Phonics Flashcards from Oxford Reading Tree are a fun way for children to learn the initial sounds and letters of the alphabet. Playing the alphabet games will help children to : develop memory and concentration skills, learn to recognise individual letter shapes and sounds, read simple words, spell simple words.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Maths Wrap

For children, learning their times tables can be repetitive and boring – now thanks to the Maths Wrap, counting numbers is a whole lot of fun. The kinesthetic element aids memory and could be used at home or as a great mental warm up to a numeracy lesson.

Maths Wrap looks like an ipod and feels like a game, yet is a powerful tool for building confidence and helping children to understand the process of multiplication. The ipod-sized device has numbers notched down one side, and a cord attached. It comes with 12 cards to test different tables.

Many children learn best when they are physically engaged and doing something with their hands as it helps them to process information. The ‘doing-and-seeing’ method also helps children recognise patterns of numbers in the tables they are learning. Chilren, who are confident with multiplication, may find it easier to master complex problems such as division and algebra.

Friday, 26 June 2009

End of National Straegies

The government is to abandon the most significant education reform of the New Labour era in order to end the centralised control of schools and grant headteachers more powers, the Guardian has learned.
In a totemic break from the Blair years, next week's education white paper will signal the end of Labour's national strategies for schools, which includes oversight of the literacy and numeracy hours in primaries. The changes will strip away centralised prescription of teaching methods and dramatically cut the use of private consultants currently employed to improve schools.
They will give schools more freedom and establish new networks of school-to-school support to help drive up standards in what will be described as a "new era of localism".

Tuesday, 12 May 2009


Flashcards or Flash Cards. Either way they can be a great way to encourage children to learn and lots of fun for children and adults to play together. The Oxford Reading Tree Read at Home Flashcards are a fun way for children to learn common words used in English. Playing the word games will help children to:

  1. develop memory and concentration skills
  2. match letter and word shapes
  3. recognise many common words by sight
  4. build sentences

FIRST SKILLS FLASH CARDS introduce young children to letters of the alphabet, common colours and shapes, numbers 1 - 20 and maths symbols, important concepts which are the foundation of their future learning.

SAY AND SPELL FLASHCARDS are a fun way for children to develop their early reading skills.

Using the cards will help children to:

  1. Match letters to picture
  2. Match letter sounds to letter shapes
  3. Sounds out letters in words
  4. Blend letters to make words

Saturday, 9 May 2009

All school Sats tests 'might go'

Experts looking at testing in England's schools have said formal Sats tests might eventually be replaced by teachers' assessments of their pupils.

As taken from the BBC website

Friday, 17 April 2009

Wear Valley Food Festival

The Wear Valley Food Festival is the largest food festival in the North East, attracting in excess of 20,000 visitors last year. This award winning event is held at the historic Auckland Castle, the ancestral home of the Prince Bishops since the 12thC.
Enter the grounds through the Clock Tower Gate and you will find an avenue lined with a wide selection of stalls. As you wander further into the grounds, there are more stalls waiting to be discovered, selling quality local and regional food and drink. In the Kitchen Marquee you will see numerous cookery demonstrations. The Northern Rail Marquee is full of all kinds of Arts & Crafts. Inside the Castle itself, take a moment to visit St Peters Chapel, one of the largest private chapels in Europe, before entering The Gentleman's Hallway, lined with more stalls.
Meander up the staircase and into The Throne Room that has been transformed into a magnificent Tea Shop serving a wide range of refreshments to tempt the palate, before finally reaching The Long Dining Room, lined with even more stalls and of course the home of the world famous Francisco de Zurbaran paintings.

Come and visit me in the marquee, where I will be exhibiting with Phoenix Cards and lots of educational resources from Education Takeaway. Ann Clement from Bush Essentials, a traditional skincare range developed using the age-old recipes of generations of pioneering Australian women, will be exhibiting in the castle so why not stop by and say hello to both of us.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Shortlisted for The North East Digital Awards

Imagine my surprise when I opened an email on Monday evening entitled Did You Make it? I nervously opened the attachment and scrolled down the page to the catergory I had entered. I had been shorlised, along with another two, in the catergory Best e-commerce Website. The others shortlisted in the same category are The Card and Gift Company and FiFieFoFum.
So on Wednesday 25th March I'm off to Newcastle for the Awards ceremony. Not being a native Gordie and wanting to kill two birds with one stone so I'm doing some networking over lunchtime, followed by shopping and then off to the awards a 6.00. So all in all a fun packed day, wish me luck.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Jolly Phonics for the Whiteboard


The software provides a full and extensive year's programme for teaching Jolly Phonics throughly 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 the wholde class and individual use. With all the resources a reacher requirew at the touch of a button, the programme is fun and easy to use.

  • Suitable for use on Promethean, Smart and all other whiteboards.

  • Structured daily sessions for teaching the five skills for reading and writing.

  • Handy step-by-step teacher's notes for every session are available on screen or for printing.

  • 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 teaching. These can also be given as homework.

Friday, 6 February 2009

"How to Find the Best Method for Teaching Your Child to Learn to Read"

How to Find the Best Method for Teaching Your Child to Learn to Read
According to some reading experts there are four methods proven effective in teaching reading. These methods are phonics, look and say, the language experience approach, and the context support method. However, a newer method, syllabics, might be gaining ground as a viable, even preferred, method for teaching children to learn to read. Each method warrants a closer look.
Teaching Reading with Phonics
The use of phonics to teach reading is perhaps the most widely used and most easily recognized method in play today. Teaching children to read using the phonics method begins with teaching the alphabet and the sound associated with each letter. Reading begins with short, two-letter, words and blends which are easy for the child to "sound out". After mastering two-letter words, children move on to three-letter words, then four-letter words, and more.
The main criticism of teaching reading using phonics is that the method gives children the introduction they need to letter sounds so that they can manage words that can be read phonetically, but does little to prepare them for words that are not phonetically regular (such as vowels). This method also requires that children be provided with sufficient phonetic reading material. Creative teaching formats also have to be used to keep children from getting bored with the method.
Look and Say Reading
The look and say reading method is also known as look-see or the whole-language approach. With look and say reading, a child learns the whole word at once rather than as a series of letters or sounds. To teach whole words, the teacher often uses flashcards and/or pictures to represent the word. The teacher might sound out the word for the child and ask the child to repeat the word rather than sound it out for himself/herself.
Look and say reading has been criticized as not giving children the tools they need to sound out words for themselves. In essence, the child is required to memorize words as opposed to really learning how the letters and sounds work together to form words. Some educators believe, however, that combining phonics with look and say reading can help children tackle more difficult words, compared to the first two methods.
The Language Experience Approach to Reading
The language experience approach to reading uses the child's own life experiences to teach words and reading. For instance, if a child draws a picture of his or her family, a teacher might ask the child who each person is in the drawing. As the child says such words as "mom", "dad", "my brother Rob", the teacher writes those words under each person in the picture. If a child draws a picture of a cat in a tree, the teacher writes the words "a cat in a tree" under the drawing.
As the child gains a better understanding of words, teachers can talk about and write more complicated sentences such as "This is my family. I have a mother, a father, and a brother named Rob".
Some educators like to make a sort of book out of the child's drawings. This personalized book would then obviously be filled with pages that the child can automatically "read" since that child is the author of the book. Teachers can also encourage students to trace over the words they've written to begin early writing experiences.
Many educators use this method as a way to introduce children to reading even before they begin teaching reading using phonics, the look and say, or any other reading method. It's a great way to help children understand the connection between the pictures and words that appear on the pages of a book and to help them begin simple word recognition. Unfortunately, the method seems to be limited to teaching children only how to read concrete nouns—those that represent physical objects that can be drawn or photographed. Verbs, adjectives, adverbs, articles, prepositions and nouns that have no common physical representation can't be accommodated by the language experience approach for learning to read.
The Context Support Method
Much like the language experience approach to reading, the context support method uses the connection between pictures and words to attract and hold the attention of the reader. Some educators believe that holding a child's attention might be the single most important factor in learning to read. This makes sense because a disinterested child is less likely to pay attention long enough to learn the material. Obviously, an interested child is likely to be more interested in learning.
Many parents complain that, especially once their male children move past the early reading stage, there is little material available for them to read. Toddler boys and girls are often presented with reading material geared toward their particular interests, such as boats and balls for boys and dolls for girls. However, some educators insist that the relative disinterest that boys eventually develop in reading might be due to the lack of sufficient reading material that interests them. Therefore, after the initial boost that boys get in the early reading stages, there might not be nearly enough context support for them to continue to read for pleasure.
Using Syllabics to Teach Vowel Sounds
One of the major criticisms of using phonetics to teach reading is that the method addresses consonant sounds far better than it does vowel sounds. For instance, the letter "b" makes the same sound regardless of whether the word it is used in is "bite" or "bit". However, using those same two words, the letter "i" can be either "long" or "short". This discrepancy in sound "rules" can make it difficult for early readers to understand how vowels are to be addressed.
Syllabics teaches both consonant sounds and vowel sounds so that children can master them both properly. Syllabics teaches children the consonant sounds and the main consonant blends, and then teaches children how to tackle the sounds made by vowels. Syllabics uses what it calls "letter codes" to teach children how to read just about any word except those that do not follow general word pronunciation rules and foreign words.
The bottom line on reading methods is that, in general, no one method is yet viewed as being the cure-all, end-all for teaching reading to all children. Most educators currently use a combination of methods geared toward the specific needs of the child. Choosing the program that is best for each child requires an understanding of the strength and weaknesses of the methods available as well as an appreciation of what works best for the child.
Michael Levy has published more than 250 articles and books on learning and memory. Recently, he developed Reading Buddy 2.0 to teach children to learn to read English using a remarkably easy and effective syllabics method. Would you like a free copy of this innovative computer program to teach your child to read using this modern method? Claim your free copy of Reading Buddy 2.0==>

Saturday, 31 January 2009

Parents teaching children at home rather than send them to failing schools

Parents are being forced to educate their children at home after being told to send them to a failing school.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Featured on Stallfinder

Education Takeaway have been asked to feature on Stallfinder. It is with great pleasure we have offered. is the UK's first one-stop shop for information on stallholders, events, fundraising and direct selling or party plan businesses. If you're one of the million plus people selling independently in the UK, an event organiser or fundraiser looking for new and interesting stallholders or you're promoting an event.