• Dealing with the Demand for School Places

    Date: 2014.12.11 | Category: Education | Response: 0

    school-class-401519_1280One of the biggest problems in the education system today is the demand for places. According to the National Union of Teachers (NUT), Britain is facing the worst shortage in decades; the ten-year increase in births between 2001 and 2011 was the highest since the 1950’s, which means that every year more and more pupil places will be needed.

    The struggle for school places this summer highlighted the issue; a Sky News report indicated that nearly one in seven children missed out on their preferred secondary school, while nearly one in eight failed to get the primary school placement sought.

    The two biggest factors which restrict the number of school places are physical classroom space and the number of trained teachers. Combined, these shortages lead to classes with over the accepted limit of 30 children, and mean that school children are not getting the attention they need for a first class education.

    For schools where the issue is simply having enough physical space to provide school places, the ideal solution is of course to expand or build new schools. However, funding is not always available or sufficient, leaving schools trying to find more space in their existing buildings. Many have turned to converting storerooms and other spaces into classrooms. Mobile classrooms are, of course, another option – companies like Flintham Cabins even offer used units for resale, making it a more affordable route for hard-pressed local authorities.

    In schools where the number of teachers is an issue, many authorities are turning to supply agencies such as Simply Education. However, in many cases the issue is not simply numbers, but finding teachers with the right specialist training. David Cameron recently announced a new programme to boost maths, science and technology teachers, offering substantial sums to fund school leavers through maths or science degrees in return for becoming a teacher after graduation, and sending 15,000 teachers back to the classroom for retraining.

    Of course, this is not a problem that has cropped up overnight, and it is not one that is likely to be solved quickly either, leaving many parents facing uncertainty over their children’s education. Both issues could be solved in time with the correct funding, and as we leave the financial crisis of recent years behind it’s hoped that a long-term solution can indeed be found.

  • The Importance of Early Education

    Date: 2014.10.14 | Category: Education | Response: 0

    The early years of a child’s life are essential for their social, emotional, physical and intellectual development. Their education and learning experiences during this time play a pivotal role in this process. From birth, infants display an amazing capacity for learning, in fact the period between 0-3 years is particularly crucial for brain development, and by the age of two years a child’s brain is, remarkably, already around 80% of its adult size!

    Childcare and education

    Attending nursery can play a significant role in a child’s early education. In fact, some research has even suggested that children starting nursery by the age of two may be up to a year ahead in key subjects such as maths and English by the time they begin full-time schooling. Furthermore, according to The Telegraph, attending nursery can also help children to develop their social skills, enabling them to form better relationships once they start primary school.

    However worryingly according to some reports not all nurseries may be taking adequate steps to prepare children for entry into school and to aid their development during these crucial early years. Indeed, according to the BBC too many nurseries are failing to ensure children are equipped with the skills they need to learn when they get to primary school.

    Currently childcare providers in the UK, such as nurseries, have to be registered and inspected by Ofsted and must follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) frame-work, which sets standards for the learning, development and welfare of children from birth to five years. Whilst some providers may find it challenging to follow and implement these policies, assistance and advice can be sought from specialist services such as Janus Early Years Services Ltd.



    The importance of Play

    Play is important for people of all ages, however it has a particularly vital role in a child’s early development. Play should form an essential part of childhood and there’s much evidence supportive of the fact that play can have a hugely positive role in both children’s learning and education. Indeed, it is through play that children are able to develop a number of key skills including language, social skills, imagination, intelligence and even motor abilities. For example, playing with wooden blocks, such as these from the Early Learning Centre, can help improve a child’s fine motor skills and aid cognitive development. Early age reading can also have significant cognitive benefits for children, aiding the development of their literacy skills.

    Ultimately, when it comes to children’s education the early years of a child’s life are vitally important. Indeed, providing children with access to good quality education and learning experience, both at home and in childcare settings, during these years is essential to ensuring they get the best possible start in life and should not be overlooked.

  • Inspiring The Next Generation of Scientists

    Date: 2014.09.26 | Category: Education | Response: 0

    According to a recent report by the BBC, the government is desperate to get more young people interested in scientific subjects. Indeed they believe that if we want the UK to remain a world leader in research and technology we will need a future generation that is passionate about, and skilled in, areas such as the sciences. This is true at both the school and university level, and according to reports, there is a lack of individuals graduating in subjects such as the sciences.

    In light of the perceived lack of interest from young people in science, the government have developed a number of initiatives to increase participation in the sciences. For example The Big Bang Fair is designed to educate young people about the exciting and diverse range of careers available in science. The fair is held once a year and includes a number of talks and demonstrations to try and capture the interest of the young people in attendance. Back in September 2013 the Government also announced that science and engineering teaching at English universities will receive a £400 million boost.

    There are also a number of different ways schools and teachers can encourage pupils to get interested in science subjects. For example investing in scientific laboratory supplies is not only a great way to increase pupils understanding, but can also help get them involved and really bring science to life for pupils. Many teachers are already aware of the importance of practical work, and for example how it can help students to further their understanding and develop skills.


    Parents can also take steps at home to encourage their children to take an interest in science. For example this fun article from the Guardian has some great tips for films that help parents bring science home to their children. Encouraging children to read about science is another great way parents can help to inspire their children, and numerous retailers such as Waterstones have a wide range of science books, suitable for a variety of different age groups. Science museums and exhibitions are also a great way to get kids inspired, and there are a number of great ones to visit across the UK, including the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester and the Science Museum, London.

    Ultimately it is vital that the government, schools, and parents work together to help inspire the next generation to explore science, so we can ensure the continuance of important scientific research and developments.

  • The Student Guide To Moving To London

    Date: 2014.08.28 | Category: Higher Education | Response: 0

    September is nearly here, and that means every fresh-faced and ready-to-party fresher will soon be heading off to university to complete their first year in the big wide world of education.

    Whether you live in the North, South, East or West, moving to any city can be a little daunting, no matter how far away from home you are going. Although, if you’re moving to London – you’re in luck! Here’s a quick checklist of everything you need to know for going to uni in the capital.


    Note: Here’s to hoping you’re a little more together than the other unorganised 450,000 first years that probably haven’t even applied for their student finance yet… Ah, student finance!

    Sort your accommodation early!

    It may seem obvious, but with everything else to arrange, your student accommodation can often get forgotten about. The key to living happy at uni is actually bagging the accommodation you want, and avoiding the risk of ending up in that overpriced box room with a shared toilet between 12 in the worst block of student flats, ever! Your university should send you plenty of information and leaflets on how to sort out your accommodation nice and early, but if not – check out Accommodation For Students to find the right accommodation for you!

    Try not to over-pack (although you definitely will!)

    When you move away from home for the first time, it is inevitable that you will over pack and convince yourself you need every item of clothing you have never worn (just in case!) and every item you have ever bought from your local charity shop to make your uni room the coolest room in the flat. Wrong! Tip: Try to avoid packing your entire life. You’ll never wear it and you will definitely never use it.

    However, if you are a bit of a hoarder and you manage to convince your parents to let you take, well, everything – consider hiring a removals company to do the hard work for you. After all, is it really going to fit in your parents car? And you may as well enjoy your last car journey for awhile in comfort. (Because from now on, you’ll be getting the bus, A LOT!)

    By hiring a removals service, you can take as much stuff as you wish with you and it will be safely packed, moved and delivered to your new student digs in time for your arrival. Perfect. The capital offers plenty of fantastic and affordable removals services such as Golds Removals in North London to make sure your belongings are taken care of and delivered to you as you packed them.

    The checklist!

    Here’s a lovely guide on what to pack, kitchen equipment included! Nobody likes that person who uses everybody else’s stuff and never washes up. So make sure you bring your own kitchen, bathroom and shared living area items. Here’s a quick student checklist of what to take to university to make sure you have everything for peaceful living and happy flatmates!

    If you don’t have time for whatever reason to go shopping and buy all your university essentials yourself; order everything you could possibly need to kit your university room, kitchen and bathroom out with MyUniPack. They offer a stress-free way to preparing for uni!

    Explore the city!

    Before moving in, why not take a weekend trip to London with friends or family to explore your new surroundings? It’ll make you feel a little more confident in getting around your new city, and you can even be tour guide to your new flatmates once you get your bearings! Check out Secret London to find out all the latest goings-on and secret spots to visit in and around the capital.

    Your university years will be the most enjoyable of your life, so don’t get too stressed before you even get there. Make sure you fully explore your surroundings and enjoy every opportunity that living in London will provide you with! Good Luck.

  • Top Tips to Encourage Your Pupils

    Date: 2014.08.13 | Category: Education | Response: 0

    As a school teacher for pupils of any age, you’ll want to encourage your students to be the very best that they can be. Grades aren’t everything, but you’ll typically find that, if your pupils are being encouraged as they should be, then the success of your teaching strategy will soon become evident. Whilst there’s no one way to do this, there are some methods that are pretty much universal, so here are a few thoughts for you to bear in mind.

    Lower School

    Prioritise Praise

    If a child’s failings are continually majored upon, they will naturally come to believe that they are a failure, and will produce work in accordance with this sort of mindset. Because of this, praising a pupil wherever possible should be your priority. Go to every length to track improvement, and set realistic goals for each child to aim for. This doesn’t mean fostering low standards so ‘everyone is a winner’, but it does mean being realistic for each individual pupil. Nothing will bolster a child’s confidence more than realising that they are steadily bettering their school results.

    Offer Variety

    Variety is hugely important for children. Different people learn in different ways, and so you should include a range of teaching methods in your curriculum. Take into account the preferences of auditory, visual, kinaesthetic and other kinds of learners, and so do what you can to help each sort. You can use school trips to these ends as well, and as well as giving a varied learning environment they will also serve as a ‘reward’ for a pupil to aim for; especially if you use resources like Travelbound to organise some ‘dream’ outings for your pupils.

    As well as the aforementioned variety, don’t be afraid to switch between teaching materials. Certain types of curriculum can put certain pupils off, and sometimes even those who grasp the methods well can become too ‘settled’. Injecting some change can give others a chance to shine, and will ensure that nobody gets too comfortable in their ways.

    High School

    Give Responsibility

    Pupils like to have some measure of control and responsibility. This might be having some input into lessons, or it might be assigning select duties to individuals who are showing an interest in these areas. This could be as simple as a ‘monitor’ rota, although you could also go to greater lengths with older students to ‘train’ pupils to excel at these tasks. Prefect training from Westwood Training would give interested children a concise introduction to the prefect system, for example, and pupils will often be more prepared to step up to the plate if they feel that they’ve been properly equipped. Similarly, drawing from a life coaching service like The Kids Coach will make younger pupils feel more comfortable when dealing with a range of ‘real life’ issues, and this will inevitably give them a greater sense of security in their educational environment.

    Provide Competition

    Competition is healthy, as long as it isn’t used to publically embarrass pupils. But aside from this, teaching methods like games and team exercises are highly recommended. Nothing will serve to motivate a pupil more than a spirit of friendly competition, although remember to vary the sort of competitive exercises you are using, as you don’t want to be leaving someone without a chance to excel in the areas that form their strengths.

    Pupils who are supported and encouraged to be the best that they can be will usually be a pleasure to teach, and will also yield invariably positive results from an educational sense too. Like so many things, variety is the key to success, and although teaching in this manner may require some creativity, you certainly won’t regret taking the time to do so.

  • Newcastle: Top Student City

    Date: 2014.05.20 | Category: Higher Education | Response: 0

    800px-Newcastle_upon_TyneWith a student population of over 40,000, Newcastle upon Tyne is a fantastic place to study – vibrant, exciting and offering a great standard of living. It’s no wonder that it’s frequently voted the best student city in the country. Whether you’re going to Newcastle University or Northumbria University, you’ll find yourself part of a welcoming student community with plenty of extra-curricular activities to complement your course. Both are well respected universities, with the Complete University Guide ranking them 20th and 58th respectively on their university league tables for 2015.

    Although both universities offer their own on-site accommodation, many students prefer to live off-campus; you still have access to all your university’ facilities, but it feels less restrictive. There are disadvantages as well, though – off campus you don’t always have the same support or security, and it can be a bit daunting.

    ustudent newcastle

    The new U-Student accommodation in Newcastle which opens for the 2015 academic year offers a great balance between the two – it’s off campus, but with ensuite rooms in a shared flat environment and a 24/7 security package, you’ll get the same kind of community environment that you would with campus dorms. The location is right in the city centre, within easy reach of all the shops, bars and clubs – and the university campuses, of course! As an added bonus, since it’s brand new you’ll have all sorts of modern advantages like free super-fast broadband. Because it’s built on the ground once occupied by the Tyne Tees TV studios, it’s called The Studios U Student Village.

    BALTICThe city itself is a big draw for many students; it’s famous for its nightlife, its shopping and its sport, so that you’ll never be short of something to do – after your essays and revision are done, of course! This article by a student at Northumbria University lists ten of the top things to do in the city, and it’s an excellent place to start. For students on a budget, many of the attractions in the city, including museums and galleries, even offer free entrance.

    The city centre is really easy to get around, either by foot or using public transport, and if you want to get out of the city you’ll have plenty of convenient transport links with the railway and motorways nearby. You can even get a ferry to Amsterdam for a cheeky holiday!

    Whether you’re heading to Newcastle or Northumbria, Newcastle upon Tyne is sure to provide you with a memorable and interesting student experience.

  • Being a Student in Birmingham (Tips & Tricks)

    Date: 2013.08.23 | Category: Language Courses | Response: 0

    Birmingham is a huge city; you could live your whole life here and not know all its secrets. To leave the house is to be bombarded with interesting people, images, atmosphere, history, and culture. Birmingham has so much to offer. However, at the same time it can be a bit of a nightmare, especially if you are a new student in town. So, follow these tips and find out how to survive in Birmingham as a student.


    Birmingham has a very integrated travel system. This is no surprise seeing as it is the second biggest city in England. It has a vast array of travelling choices including the bus, train and metro system. So travelling across the city is quite simple. According to ‘The Complete University Guide’ rail links are excellent and a journey to London takes only 1 hour 15 minutes.


    Looking for somewhere to live? Well, there are literally thousands of student flats and properties located in and around Birmingham. There is a huge selection in nearly all parts of the city. Check ‘Belvoir Birmingham’ for great deals. Also, don’t forget that many current students recommend looking to live in the central part of the city, as you have access to everything that you want and need on your doorstep.


    In Birmingham there are a whole host of great nights out to be had. According to ‘Visit Birmingham’ entry rates can vary from being free, £3-5 or up to £15 depending on what sort of club you are going to. However, if a good meal out is your preferred way to spend an evening, Birmingham will not disappoint you – it has everything from Mexican to Mongolian cuisine.

    Health and Fitness

    Whether you’re interested in sport as a participant or a spectator, activities like ten-pin bowling, golf, go-carting, ice-skating, squash, tennis and swimming are all on offer at various locations around the city, including high quality sports facilities at the universities themselves.


    Birmingham is a shoppers’ paradise, with shiny, modern shopping centres, restored Victorian arcades and a range of markets offering everything from designer labels to second-hand bargains. The usual high street shops and many designer boutiques can been found in the city centre. The Bullring Centre is the UKs largest city centre shopping mall – with over 500 shops and outlets, and it’s only a five minute walk from the three train stations.

    In summary, leaving home for university can be a daunting task for anyone. Especially, if like many University of Birmingham students, you are travelling from all over the country. However, to be a student in Birmingham is to be active, lively and happy person.

  • The Quality of On Campus, Off Campus!

    Date: 2013.04.17 | Category: Higher Education | Response: 0


    Being a student can often have its downsides. As much fun as it is, there are some things about student-hood that I’ve found difficult! Soon after finishing my second year at Lancaster University, I thought it was time to take stock of the previous two years – what I’d enjoyed, what I’d hated, and what I’d like to do in my final year at university before going off to try my hand at being a proper adult. I cast my mind back over my university career so far, over the drunken nights, hungover lectures and my brief and rather embarrassing membership to the university Glee club, and realised that what had caused me a lot of grief over the last two years was the accommodation predicament.

    Everyone’s heard tales of woe about student accommodation. Whether there’s cockroaches climbing the walls, water dripping down them or a strange tapping sound that only sounds late at night, terrible student accommodation is a well-known problem that many undergraduates face. I certainly had my fair share of bad accommodation in my second year. After having spent my first year on campus, I couldn’t wait to live in the centre of town and be in the heart of it all – the nightclubs (my favourite club, the Sugarhouse, was not far from me. Check out their website for a decent Lancaster night out!) the pubs, not to mention the McDonalds situated just a street away. It was all set to be a fantastic year – that is, until I moved into my house. The place was, to be frank, a dive. It had transformed from the clean, bright and airy house it had seemed a few months ago since we had looked round. It looked like it hadn’t seen a dust-cloth in months, and the carpet seemed a distinctly darker, murkier colour than it had done before. I moved my stuff into my room (after giving it a thorough clean) and hoped things would look better in the morning.

    They didn’t. In fact, the longer I lived in that house, the more I noticed its various drawbacks. It wasn’t just dirty – some of the wood panelling had rotted from damp, while the bathroom tiles had turned from a bright white to an off-yellow. The toilet clogged every time it flushed and although it may have been our weakening nerves, we kept imaging that we could see something wriggling in one of the sofas. By the time summer rolled around we packed our things and shot out of that house faster than you can say ‘terminated contract’. I certainly wasn’t going to miss my single bed with the frequently snapping springs or the TV that would occasionally become overcome and simply turn itself off. I even had a look on the student room for advice on how to get some of my money back – their website is really helpful, click here to have a look for yourself!

    Over the summer I pondered my predicament. I had been put off private accommodation for life – trusting a landlord who you know nothing about is quite a silly idea, I realised. But I didn’t want to live on campus again – being Lancaster, the campus is over a mile out of town, and there were no McDonalds to satisfy my midnight cravings. So I needed to find a happy medium – the trustworthiness of student accommodation combined with the convenience of student lets in town. It was only when someone pointed me to CityBlock that I found it! Their accommodation is specifically for students, which means they understand exactly what my friends and I are all about. The accommodation was clean, comfortable and at a very agreeable weekly price, and by signing up for a CityBlock privilege card I could get all the best deals on the city’s pubs, clubs and restaurants. Click here to have a look at their website – they also offer accommodation in Leicester.

    Living in student accommodation in town gives me the best of both worlds. I can get a McDonalds, hop on a bus and be on campus in time for my first lecture! Third year is going swimmingly – it’s great to be able to get on with my dissertation without having to cling to a cricket bat in case I get an unwanted visit from a rat!

  • Out of the Classroom

    Date: 2013.04.16 | Category: Education | Response: 0

    Traditional teaching methods are the bedrock of the British education system and have seen this nation develop as one of the leading standards in international education. But effective teaching doesn’t always have to take place in the classroom, indeed many would argue that the best teaching constantly pushes the boundaries. Take a look at some of the things you can do to inspire the next generation in new and exciting ways.

    School Trip
    The school trip has long been a staple of the British education system and that’s because getting students engaged outside of the classroom is just as important and effective as doing so inside it. Recent headlines have often demonised the value of school trips, but if you take a look at this article at http://www.teachsecondary.com/outdoor-learning/view/school-trips-effective-learning-outside-the-classroom then you can really begin to see the benefit of outside learning. For some fantastic ideas and helpful hints, check out http://www.ukschooltrips.co.uk/ to begin reaping the rewards of school trips.

    A classroom doesn’t have to look like a classroom. Just have a quick read of this article to see that learning can take place anywhere: http://www.guardian.co.uk/teacher-network/zurich-school-competition/teacher-blog/outdoor-learning-ideas. By being creative about the environment that students are taught in you can really begin to engage them in different ways. Teach pupils about nature whilst being embedded in that natural environment reinforces their learning in a very immediate way. If you’re looking at investing in an outside classroom then take a look at http://www.pentagonsport.co.uk/outdoorclassrooms/ for some great ideas.

    Mod Cons
    The word ‘modular’ might sound futuristic but in fact we’ve been using modular buildings for quite some time now, even as classrooms. Modular buildings are quick to erect, relatively cheap and portable too, making them a great option for a temporary learning environment. This means you can really go to town when it comes to styling their interiors, leaving your main classroom intact as a working environment. Check out http://www.excelmodular.co.uk and start thinking up ideas about how to decorate your room. One month it could be a Tudor Court, the next it might be Paris!

    There’s a lot of options when it comes to making learning as engaging and different as possible, without ever sacrificing the quality of the teaching given. Changing the environment in which students learn can have a positive effect that can also teach them that not all learning happens in the classroom. For more great reasons, visit http://www.creativeeducation.co.uk/blog/index.php/2011/06/learning-outside-the-classroom/

  • Not Sure Why You Should Learn German? Consider These Benefits!

    Date: 2012.12.26 | Category: Language Courses | Response: 0

    As globalization and communication brings the world closer and closer together, being fluent in other languages becomes a priority for world citizens. First of all, learning a foreign language gives the learner the ability to explore other cultures. In addition, learning other languages can expand your knowledge of a country’s history, literature, art and monumental heritage. What is more, being able to speak and understand other language opens many more job opportunities in the competitive world. Moreover, it also brings about social and cultural benefits. If you already have some good reasons for learning a foreign language, why not learn German?

    According to the Guardian newspaper, German language is very interesting and easy to learn. For instance, German language is a phonetic language, which means that German words are usually spelt exactly as they are pronounced. Also, German is the most widely spoken language in Europe. Not only do inhabitants of Germany speak German, but German is also an official language in Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein. Also according to the BBC, German-speaking communities can be found in Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Czech Republic and Northern Italy.

    Another good reason why you should study German language is the ability to find employment with greater ease.  For example, knowing German language can give you great advantages if you are looking for a job in the United States. In addition, many world renowned companies such as BMW, Bosch, Siemens and many others are always looking for international partners with excellent skills in German language due to a business collaboration between Europe and the United States.  So, it is evident that knowledge of German language increases your global career prospects, improves your relations and your chances for effective communication and success.

    You should note that it is never too late to learn a foreign language. You can always find great help from academic books, Internet resources and language professionals. For example, if you are looking for professional German Tuition in London you can find many great specialists who are willing to share their excellent language skills with, one recommendation can be found by following the link. So, if you are really interested in learning German language do not hesitate and try!