Monday, 31 March 2008


The Daily Mail reports on the most tragic phobia. I am definitely a sufferer and perhaps you are too: 'Nomophobia' - the fear of being out of mobile phone contact. Millions apparently suffer from "no mobile phobia" which has been given the name nomophobia. They have become so dependent on their mobile that discovering it is out of charge or simply misplacing it sends stress levels soaring.

More than 13million Britons fear being out of mobile phone contact, according to research. Keeping in touch with friends or family is the main reason why they are so wedded to their mobile. More than one in two said this is why they never switch it off. One in ten said they needed to be contactable at all times because of their jobs, while 9 per cent said that having their phone switched off made them anxious. Experts say nomophobia could affect up to 53 per cent of mobile phone users, with 48 per cent of women and 58 per cent of men questioned admitting to experiencing feelings of anxiety when they run out of battery or credit, lose their phone or have no network coverage.

The Post Office questioned more than 2,100 mobile phone users.

How on earth did we all cope before mobile phones. I remember being able to memorise phone numbers. I knew all my friends' numbers off by heart. I never had a written record of them, they were just all in my head. Due to having a mobile phone I think I know two - my own and my mum and dad's. There's just no need to memorise them any more. But what would I do if I lost my phone? This is a potentially life-ruining problem. That is why I have nomophobia!

Online SATs papers

You can find rich text format versions of past SATs papers at St. Josephs' RC Primary School's website. Very useful at this time of year!

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Proper reading

A report on the BBC website describes the results of a survey of favourite reading material of children aged 11 to 14. The National Year of Reading report shows that more youngsters are choosing online sites as a reading source. Not all parents are comfortable with this shift and many have told off their children for choosing material that is not "proper reading", says the survey.

Anything set for homework, and Shakespeare, come out as the least favourite reading materials. The Read Up, Fed Up report is an insight into the reading habits of young people and the conclusion of a month-long research project co-ordinated by National Year of Reading and online teen community Piczo. In the Read Up section of favourites, Heat magazine came first with Bliss magazine and online song lyrics joint second. Other favourites in the top 10 were the Harry Potter series, Anne Frank's Diary and the BBC website.

The Fed Up column had homework in first place, followed by Shakespeare and books with more than 100 pages. Others in this list of 10 least favourites included "reading about skinny celebrities in magazines", "the books I am made to read by school/my teachers" - and the Financial Times.

More than 1,300 young people took part in the survey, which found that 45% of youngsters had been reprimanded by parents for reading something that was not "proper reading".

National Year of Reading director Honor Wilson-Fletcher said: "Young people are web natives - exposed to a wider variety of reading material than any previous generation through the explosion of digital media. It seems not all adults are comfortable with this shift, and are often discouraging teens from taking advantage of this new reading landscape. Accessing the digital universe is absolutely central to life's opportunities for teens. We may be only just starting to understand the dynamics of online reading, but adults need to feel more positive about it and to learn more about it."

The research found a gender divide to reading with 31% of boys saying they love reading because it helps them become better at their hobbies, like sport, films or music. On the other hand 39% of girls said they loved it because it is an escape - quiet time they can enjoy on their own.

Schools Minister Jim Knight said: "It is vital that young people have the opportunity to read widely. It is wonderful that 80% of the teenagers surveyed write their own stories and keep up-to-date with current affairs by using sites like BBC Online. It's wonderful that Anne Frank's Diary is still proving so popular among teenagers 60 years after it was written."

Compiling their own online blogs came fourth in the Read Up rankings and 80% of those taking part said they had written their own story, film, play or song.

I guess what we can learn from this is that reading habits are evolving - children prefer short blasts of reading rather than reading in depth long books. Also, as reflected in the new literacy framework, on screen reading is becoming more frequent.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Numeracy World

Numeracy World: there are lots of free Maths worksheets at this site. Not the most inspiring of maths sites, but one which could be useful every now and then.

Children's Poetry Archive

I must admit that I am not a fan of poetry - reading it or teaching it. But maybe this website will help enthuse me. The Children's Poetry Archive is a dedicated poetry site for children. It is brimming with heartfelt, humorous and quirky poems about all sorts of things. Children can read wonderful examples of poetry and also listen to poets performing their work. Sound like fun!

Webbli World

WebbliWorld is an exciting, stimulating, virtual world that kids can explore, inhabit, belong to and share. It is a world that promotes caring, responsible behaviour and gives kids the opportunity to voice their opinions on topics that matter.

The site says that, "WebbliWorld mirrors the real world and guides children through the mind-boggling maze of the internet. Our friendly characters introduce important topics such as the environment, climate change and recycling in an accessible and memorable way. Here, kids will learn without even knowing it! We are working in partnership with WWF to make sure that all our environmental messages are accurate and educational."

Friday, 28 March 2008

Read Write Think

Read Write Think has an online comic creator. Really good for helping children to storyboard or for considering the most important messages in a piece of writing. Or just for having fun!

E-safety should become part of ICT lessons

I wholeheartedly agree with a report in the TES today. A government-commissioned review found that parents' lack of awareness about the interent was leaving pupils vulnerable.

Dr Tanya Byron, a TV child behaviour expert, was asked by Gordon Brown to look at the risks internet and video games posed to children. She found that parents did not have the confidence to deal with them. Many parents seemed to believe that leaving their children surfing the internet was similar to them watching television. She said in fact it was more like opening the front door and letting a child go outside to play unsupervised.

Her report asks ministers to look at how e-safety could be applied to the PSHE or ICT curriculum.

A phrase I've often heard used by adults is, "You can find anything on the Internet." It's so true - you can. But unfortunately, a lot of what you find is not what you were looking for. Regarding children's safety, this is a very worrying situation - they could be exposed to something completely inappropriate. The fact that now, in 2008, it's just occurred to the government that this is a problem, once again highlights their failings in moving along the quality of the ICT curriculum. Sort this out quickly!

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Brenden Is Teaching

Brenden Is Teaching is a really useful site with loads of resources and ideas which he has very kindly added for free! There are generators for various classroom games and activities, resources for English, Maths, Science and Art and ideas for displays. One fantastic resource is the unit plan repository. After uploading at least one resource you can access other medium term plans. Very helpful indeed!

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Shakespeare 4 Kidz

There are lots of free resources at Shakespeare 4 Kidz for bringing the plays to life. Some of these are quite advanced for KS2, but lots are usable with Year Six. There are general resources about Shakespeare and his plays. The plays included are A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest and Twelfth Night.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Maths Playground

Math Playground is an American website created by teachers who are passionionate about math and technology. The site has lots of interactive activities for use on IWBs or for the children to work on individually. There are also videos which can be used for demonstrations. Very useful...

Monday, 24 March 2008

It's not ok to be "useless at maths"

The BBC reports that according to a government review, every primary school should have a maths specialist and parents should have a less negative attitude to the subject. An interim report by Sir Peter Williams says the UK is one of the few developed nations where it is acceptable to say you are "useless at maths". Such attitudes will not help children see maths as an essential and rewarding part of their daily lives, it says.

The study criticises the amount of maths training teachers receive. Most teachers had the basic requirement in maths for teacher training - one GCSE in the subject.

The report said parents needed to have a "can-do" attitude to maths and to learn the modern techniques their children were using to help them and give them a love of maths. "Social issues surrounding the subject affect learners at all levels, including the very young," it says. "The United Kingdom remains one of the few advanced nations where it is socially acceptable to profess an inability to cope with mathematics. That is hardly conducive to a home environment in which mathematics is seen by children as an essential and rewarding part of their everyday lives."

That view was endorsed by schools minister Jim Knight: "Why is it that this is one of the few countries where it is acceptable, fashionable even, to declare that you are useless at maths. Maths is central to giving children the best start and the right skills for life. If children can't add up, and if maths isn't valued or seen as being important, how can we expect them in secondary school to understand science, or manage their own finances when they go to college."

The report recommended that every primary school should appoint a "maths champion" within the next five years to improve numeracy. These maths champions would be paid more and be expected to work towards a masters degree in education.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Cutting class sizes

The BBC reports that the National Union of Teachers (NUT) is to vote on a proposal to limit classroom sizes in England and Wales. Schools Minister Jim Knight provoked teachers' anger this week when he said classes of 38 and even 70 pupils could be managed with teaching assistants. The NUT's annual conference will vote on whether to demand limiting class sizes to 20 by the year 2020. There is a call for industrial action if Westminster and the Welsh Assembly refuse to implement the policy.

The Times adds that teachers are trying to force a reduction in class sizes in state schools to a maximum of 20 by 2020. They are seeking to improve the academic achievement of pupils and give teachers a better work-life balance. Steve Sinnott, the NUT's general secretary said, "This is not just about reducing workload for teachers. It's about saying to parents that we have class sizes that will give your son or daughter the individual attention that they need."

The paper also publishes some facts about class sizes, taken from 'The Class Size Debate: Is Small Better?' published by Open University Press.

  • Average class size in state primary schools in England fell from 27.8 pupils in 1998 to 26.2 in 2007.
  • As class size increases, achievement decreases.
  • Being taught in a class of 20 versus a class of 40 gives an advantage of ten percentile ranks.
  • Children in large classes spend more time interacting with each other, but there is no sign that social relations are better in small classes.
  • Class size reductions alone do not necessarily bring about change. Smaller class sizes bring about greater enthusiasm on the part of the teacher.

Let's face it - an average class size of 20 is just going to be impossible to achieve. The cost implications are huge! Schools are still adjusting to the introduction of PPA. In a 2-form entry primary school, employing 2 full-time teachers for each year there are 14 teachers with 60 children in each year group. It would mean employing an extra teacher for each year group - 7 additional teachers. And then 7 additional classrooms would be required for each new class. There's no chance...

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Gertie Grumbles

There are lots of English SATs papers and Maths and Science SATs questions to download at this excellent free site. The questions are grouped into the area of the curriculum, making this ideal as a source for SATs revision.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Tests will put mental health of pupils at risk

The Times reports that children will face a battery of tests under a “lighter touch” assessment regime that could be every bit as stressful for their mental health as the national curriculum SATs test they are designed to replace, teachers were told yesterday. Instead of being drilled for “high-stakes” SATs at age 11 and 14, pupils face the prospect of testing at least twice a year under the Government’s new system of single-level tests. Mary Bousted, the general-secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, told delegates at the union’s annual conference that SATs were already responsible for poor mental health among many young people and that this could get worse. “Children suffer stress and anxiety as the test looms and the rise in children’s mental health problems cannot be divorced from their status as the most tested in the world,” she told the union conference in Torquay. “The tests label young people as failures, and this leads to one of the lowest rates for staying on post16 of any industrialised country.”

The new tests are designed to show the progress that children are making rather than to find their absolute standard. Teachers are expected to use their knowledge of children’s achievements to judge when they are ready for testing and what level they should be tested at.
While welcoming this approach in principle, Ms Bousted said she feared that the new system would create as many problems as SATs. While high-achieving students face the prospect of continual testing as they progress swiftly past each attainment level, lower-achieving students would become demoralised because they would be less able to make the progress at the expected rate. “The danger is that schools with disadvantaged intakes will continue to be penalised because their cohort of students will not make the same progress as those schools with more advantaged intakes,” she said. There was also a danger that the continual assessment of pupils progress could be “degraded into assessment for covering the teacher’s back – reams and reams of recording of levels with very little focus on the individual student’s understanding of key concepts in the subject”. Ms Bousted, who sits on the government-appointed group overlooking pilots of the new single level testing system, said that teachers needed to be on guard to make sure that what replaced SATs did not make things worse.

She also made a passionate plea for teachers to be given more freedom from the national curriculum so that they could concentrate more on teaching students skills of independent thinking rather than on rote learning and drilling children in lines from Shakespeare or historical battles.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Stories from the Web

Stories from the Web is a fun site all about reading. The 7-11 section has lots of online stories and extracts from popular authors. Children can add book reviews and their own stories. A well produced website.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Darwin's Footsteps

Darwin's Footsteps is an interactive game where pupils can follow Darwin’s voyage of discovery around the world. This would be very useful when learning about how animals and plants are adapted to their environments.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

The Science of Rotting

The Science of Rotting is a website that... well it's just what it sounds like - photos of lots of items rotting away!! Great for a study of micro-organisms!

Monday, 17 March 2008

Like Beckham

A report in the Daily Mail writes that David and Victoria Beckham are the leading icons in a damaging celebrity culture that encourages children to believe they can become rich and successful without working hard at school, teachers warn today. Pupils who dream of becoming pop stars and footballers are neglecting their studies and emulating the worst excesses of their idols' language, behaviour and raunchy clothing, they claim. A survey of more than 300 teachers found that Posh and Becks are the celebrities most widely admired by schoolchildren, although more than 20 others were also named as role models.

These include socialite Paris Hilton, "famous for being famous", and Russell Brand, who confessed to a sex addiction. Sports stars include Frank Lampard, Lewis Hamilton, Dame Kelly Holmes and Andy Murray. The Sugababes, Leona Lewis, Nadine Coyle from Girls Aloud and Lily Allen were among those named as pupils' favourite pop stars.

But teachers warn that celebrity adulation is hampering their efforts to convince children they must try to do well at school. The findings were released as members of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers prepare to gather in Torquay next week for their annual conference. Delegates will debate a motion condemning a "cult of celebrity" for "perverting children's aspirations and expectations". It will call on the Government to take action to promote positive role models of ordinary people across the media.

Members who responded to the survey warn that a growing celebrity culture is contributing to underage drinking and anti-social behaviour, because some teen idols are foul-mouthed and yobbish. They also say provocative behaviour by scantily-clad celebrities is increasingly robbing young girls of their innocence.

One teacher, Julie Gilligan, from a primary school in Salford, said: "I have seen and celebrity footballer/pop star language and behaviour in the playground and in school - including disturbingly age-inappropriate 'acts' by young girls in school talent shows."

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Transition projects more important in Science

According to a report in the TES, projects aimed at improving pupils' transition between primary and secondary schools are more important for science than maths or English, according to a new study.

The report also found that, to be successful, the schemes should run from Year 5 to Year 8, rather than just in Year 6 and Year 7.

Martin Braund, a lecturer in science education at York University, examined the drop in achievement in science between primary and secondary school. He found two in five pupils failed to make the progress in KS3 suggested by their results in KS2. This is four times the drop in maths and five times that in English. And classroom observation indicates that, between 11 and 14, pupils' concentration levels decline more in science than in English or maths.

Mr Braund suggests that this may be becuase secondary teachers often introduce scientific terms and concepts that pupils have already covered at primary level. Repeating the same work, with no additional challenges, merely alienates pupils. And, while secondaries often appoint transition co-ordinators in maths and English, this rarely happens in science.

I find this all a little surprising. Whilst English and Maths in high school should offer more of a challenge to pupils than in in primary school, the subjects do not particularly alter. Writing is still writing, reading is still reading and maths is still maths - allbeit at a higher level. But science? Science, as I thought, is the one subject that should be dramatically different in high school. High schools have incredible facilities - Bunsen burners, gas chambers, electricity boxes, chemicals, metals, etc - all of which primary schools simply do not have the facilities to offer. To me, the transition in science should be an amazing one - to go from the uninspiring QCA schemes of work offered in Year Six to the possibilities offered by specialist teachers should be a truly memorable experience.

Useful Games

Sandfields Comprehensive has a range of useful games that you can customise and use in the classroom. Lots of fun!!

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Brain Training

After trying Brain Training on the Nintendo DS on the way to France on our recent residential, I am not at all surprised by this report in the Times. I am only surprised that it hasn't happened sooner.

Primary pupils are being encouraged to play on Nintendo DS consoles in class to boost their cognitive skills. Under a scheme being tested on 900 pupils in 16 primary schools in Scotland, children are being given the hand-held computer games devices for free and encouraged to start their day by doing “brain training” exercises. Trials of the game, Nintendo’s More Brain Training from Dr Kawashima, found that an early morning 20-minute daily session, involving reading, problem solving and memory puzzles, could boost maths attainment as well as improving concentration and behaviour levels.

Derek Robertson, of Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS), the body responsible for the development of the curriculum, said that children in the trial were given a maths test at the beginning and the end of the ten-week experiment. Their scores showed a 10 per cent average improvement. “Game-based learning can provide dynamic and culturally relevant contexts that engage, motivate and challenge today’s young learner,” he said.

Nintendo DS consoles are already used in Japan as an aid to teaching children the “alphabet” of more than 2,000 Kanji characters. Primary school children are each given a device and provided with software that tests their ability to remember the characters and write them correctly on the lower screen. Schools that have started using the consoles – devoting about 20 minutes at the beginning of each “koku-go” (Japanese) lesson to the tests – report substantially higher test scores when the children take mainstream exams. A few mathematics teachers in Japan’s high-intensity cram schools have adopted the Nintendo DS as a way of testing mental arithmetic speed.

The Japanese games software industry has responded quickly to the growing demand, churning out dozens of titles that could practically be used by teachers, though the Ministry of Education has been slow to endorse national adoption of the idea.

In Scotland, LTS said it was providing 480 Nintendo DS consoles for the project, with 30 going to each school. They will remain in the schools during the trial. Once the scheme is over, LTS will use the consoles for other educational projects over the next few years.


My MGL is a resource for ICT Co-ordinators and teachers to find up-to-date information about the latest thinking surrounding ICT in teaching and learning, management and organisation and creativity. There are ideas about embedding ICT in the curriculum and some useful documents for co-ordinators.

Friday, 14 March 2008


Zamzar is site which you can use to convert files or download videos from YouTube without having to buy software.

Wordplay Grammar Clinic

Wordplay Grammar Clinic is a really concise way to explain how to use grammar. It will be useful for Year Six pupils and also, of course, Year Six teachers who need to have a good grasp of this!

Sustainable schools

There is a report in the TES Magazine about sustainable schools and the government's target to improve schools' carbon footprints with a £7 billion fund to refurbish primaries. I found it particularly interesting as one of the schools, Kingsmead Primary, is not too far from where I live.

The carbon footprints of three schools is compared:
Leigh Primary School (1890s) - carbon factor of 51
Michael Faraday School (1974) - carbon factor of 66-71
Kingsmead Primary School (2004) - carbon factor of 48.

The Carbon Trust regards good practice as 31.5. Isn't it interesting that all three schools are nowhere near this. In fact, typical practice is 44.5 - not even Kingsmead beats this.

I think there's a lot of progress required if the government's targets are to be met.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

"No more homework!"

In the news today is a call from the ATL to ban homework in primary schools. Wow! Just think what this could mean... No more nagging... No more phone calls to parents regarding missing homework... Less marking... This could be a really good move. Sadly, as Year Six teachers, I don't think this news would ever affect us. I can't believe many primary schools would abandon homework in Year Six. Year Six is often seen as preparation for high school. "You'll get lots more homework in high school," is something often said to try to encourage children to bring in their homwork. I really don't believe that it's fair to go from no homework in Year Six to getting lots of homework in Year Seven.

A survey by ATL says that nearly all teachers say they set homework, despite scepticism about its value. Most teachers say school policy and parents require them to assign homework. But many children do not complete the homework set for them - 87% blame that on a lack of support at home.

Richard Row, head of Holy Triniy School at Guildford, Surrey, said he would happily vote to abolish homework but had been unable to persuade parents. "I genuinely think that if children of primary age are taught well and do a good day's work, there should be no need for homework. They should be allowed to have a childhood," he said.

This story should be interesting to watch as it develops.


Topicbox is a fabulous website run by teachers where all the web links have been sorted by topic. You can find online activities and resources for every curriculum subject and every aspect of that subject.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Scrapblog likes it could be a good way for communicating with parents, or even as a project for the children in Year Six. It is a way to combine photos, videos, audio and text to create a multimedia scrapbook.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008


There are lots of Lemonade Stand games available on the net to test the children's entrepreneurial skills.

The Lemonade Game
Lemonade Stand


The Daily Mail reports on a primary school where children are learning 41 languages. Pupils at Newbury Park Primary are a little more ambitious than most. Children there learn key phrases in more than 40 languages - all spoken fluently by one or more pupils at the school. By the time they leave for secondary school, they boast far more than a mere smattering of French or Cantonese. They can say something in everything from Afrikaans to Hebrew, Japanese to Norwegian.

Teachers say Newbury Park's "language of the month" programme has also helped tackle the sense of alienation felt by newcomers to the school in Redbridge, East London. In little more than a decade, the proportion of pupils at the school who do not speak English at home has doubled to 80 per cent. The biggest ethnic group are Tamils who have fled the civil war in Sri Lanka.

"You have 250 Tamil children in the school. It is just polite to greet them in their own language and recognise their culture," said teacher Joe Debono, who runs the language scheme. "And it is a way of celebrating the ethnic diversity of the school and not seeing it as a problem."

Languages covered under the programme - and spoken by at least one pupil - include Spanish, Swahili and dialects originating in India and Africa. Some of the pupils already speak more than one language. Many came to Britain via other European countries including Norway, France and Germany, adding to the diversity of the "language of the month" list.

The school is even considering adding Latin to the list since it is thought by many experts to help children master any language.

Under the scheme, a child is selected every month to present lessons in their native tongue. Seven-year-old Aneeka Bhatturai, whose family is from Nepal, is the current "language teacher". Mr Debono researches the language with the pupil's parents and films the child speaking it. This can then be used in every class in the 850-pupil school, which accepts children aged from four to 11.

Classes start by greeting each other in that month's chosen language. With help from pupils, Mr Debono also draws up a list of a dozen or so useful phrases. "It's the sort of language that would be useful if you were holidaying in the place," he said. "It gives the children a lot of self-esteem and they are quite proud they've done it."

The classes are in addition to languages studied as part of the national curriculum.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Rainforest Maths

Another of Jenny Eather's brilliant websites is Rainforest Maths. The Year Six level is excellent and would be ideal for children to use independently or as a whole class warm up. I plan to use the measurement activities this week. Fantastic!

Sunday, 9 March 2008


Visual site has PowerPoint presentations for various subjects for sale. they are reasonably priced and of good quality. They are always useful for a starting point in lessons. Maths, English, History, Geography, RE and Science are the subjects available. A selection of free resources have recently been added with more to follow later in the year.

Saturday, 8 March 2008


Ictopus (ICT online primary user support) is a free support service for ICT in primary education which was launched on 1st September 2007.

Each week registered members of the service have access to a six page printable magazine (Sharing Good Practice) and a set of activity suggestions (lessons2go).

There are also frequent news postings and a variety of other resources and projects.

Friday, 7 March 2008

Is it a woman's world?

A report in the TES magazine writes that one in 10 primary schools in England has no male teachers. A third of primary heads are men, fewer than one in eight classroom primary teachers are male.

I found it interesting that there is such a shortage of male primary teachers compared to other countries. In Greece, 37% of primary teachers are men and 35% in Japan. In France the figure is 18% and USA 11%.

The Daily Mail adds that the decline in the number of men joining the teaching profession has occurred at the same time as the salaries for graduates in private sector firms have risen.

Heads' leaders also warn that fears over false allegations of abuse and 'hysteria' over paedophiles are driving men away.

The trend has reignited concerns that a generation of boys is growing up with few role models of male authority.

The Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) says campaigns to attract more men into teaching are beginning to show results. Chief Executive Graham Holley said, "Both male and female authority figures play an important role in the development of young people, and we want the teaching workforce to reflect the strengths of our diverse society."

Primary Ideas

Primary Ideas is a very useful site with free resources and planning. The main aim of this site remains the same which is to provide resources that the Internet doesn’t currently provide or prove difficult to find. The site has again been updated with brand new resources which have been kindly submitted by visitors to the site.

Thursday, 6 March 2008


The Daily Mail reports that a primary school has been accused of being alarmist for covering up the faces of pupils on its website – apparently to protect them from paedophiles. Bizarrely, the images have been altered with the type of smiley faces popular during the Acid House dance craze of the 1980s. The decision was taken at Cann Hall Primary School in Clacton, Essex.

Headmistress Clare Reece said yesterday: "The public nature of the internet is an issue we feel strongly about. "Not all parents want their children's picture on there. You can't say what is going to happen with any of those pictures." She said that the photographs were printed unaltered in the school newsletter which was sent to parents. But on the primary's website, the children's faces are obscured. The school guarantees the content of the site is "child friendly", adding: "In order to protect our children, we have made the decision not to include any photos of our pupils on this website."

Previously, faces were simply blurred, but newer pictures, including action shots of the athletics tournament, use the smiley faces. However, one child in a line-up of medal winners has been singled out – he alone has been given a sad face.

Children's charity NCH yesterday said that schools were right to be cautious about putting children's pictures on the internet if they were vulnerable or in care. However, spokesman Shaun Kelly added: "The images shocked me, actually. What message is it giving? It looks very, very odd. If you want to obscure children's faces you can obscure them with pixels. We need to be cautious about taking images of children out of the media."

Frank Furedi, a sociology professor at the University of Kent, said the school was being alarmist.
"Every time a school takes silly measures, it says we see the world through the eyes of a paedophile. They think that any innocent picture of school children will somehow be subverted and manipulated. These pictures serve a very important purpose of giving children clear images of their experiences, something they can remember later in life. Depriving ourselves of these experiences is not only irrational but serves no purpose whatsoever."

How silly. I really worry that paedophiles and all the undesirables in our society will win if we deprive children the pleasure of seeing their successes reported on in the local newspaper or on the internet. Let children have their moment without being told that they could be put at risk for simply enjoying their success.

Learning Curves

Learning Curves has lots of brilliant History resources for KS2. The resources are categorised into exhibitions, snapshots, focus on and hands on.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Trinity Educational

Trinity Educational is a fab site with lots of reasonably priced resources available to purchase and some free resources are included.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Disney Clips

You can download free Disney clipart from This really is a great site, with loads of choice for every Disney cartoon or film you can think of, and a few others as well!

Monday, 3 March 2008

They Think It's All Over... By 11

The Daily Mail reports that research suggests that childhood is over by the tender age of 11. Parents admit giving in to "pester pressure" and allowing their children an array of grown-up privileges. Increasingly, youngsters can stay out late, drink alcohol, have sex and watch inappropriate films. Little girls in particular are growing up faster than ever. They abandon playing with dolls past the age of six and go on to pierce their ears, dye their hair and wear make-up.

Researchers for Random House publishers who surveyed 1,170 parents with children under 18 found that 55 per cent believed children were "young adults" by 11.

Almost three quarters allowed their youngsters to drink alcohol at home before they turned 18, even though their own parents had reserved it for adults only.
Just under half of parents let their 16-year-olds stay the night at a boyfriend or girlfriend's house, although they themselves had been banned from doing so until 18.

Other findings show that 35 per cent of parents allow their under-12s to pierce their ears, 54 per cent let their daughters dye their hair and wear make-up by the age of 14, and 57 per cent let children watch 18-certificate films before the legal age.

Almost three-quarters admitted their children had "scant" regard for their authority and regularly acted against their will.

The survey was commissioned to coincide with the launch of popular children's author Jacqueline Wilson's book My Sister Jodie. She said that youngsters act like adults at an "alarmingly early age". "I know girls are desperate to look cool, but I wish they didn't all want to wear very high heels and inappropriately tight trendy clothes," she said. "I'm not saying all under-12s should wear puff-sleeved dresses and little white socks and tee-strap sandals as I had to, but at least you could run about and play properly in them. I wish children did still play with dolls past the age of six. I played all sorts of elaborate games with my dolls until I was at secondary school."

Miss Wilson said her Fifties childhood had been very different. "For the most part, children did as they were told," she said. "We might have privately disagreed with our parents or teachers, but we didn't dare argue too much. It's good that we listen and want the best for our children nowadays - but perhaps we should remember that they are only children and need a little loving guidance."

Schools Links

Schools Links is a site that I have recently discovered. It was founded in April 2005 with the aim of providing links to relevant educational websites for primary school teachers in the UK. Since then it has expanded and now also provides educational resources and classroom display material. Most of the content on is free.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Online Maths Dictionary

A Maths Dictionary For Kids is a superb website by Jenny Eather. It is an online Maths Dictionary. It covers everything from the very simple to the more complicated. Perfect for introducing new concepts to Year Six.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

On this website you can make up your own games for use in introductions or plenaries - or just to have fun! Very useful!