Organised classrooms promote independent learning

As the school year comes to an end many teachers find out which class or year group they will have next year and so begin to think about the new classroom they may be in or how to refresh their current classroom if they are not moving.

Seating arrangements, resource storage and access to materials and equipment that the pupils will need all have to be decided albeit on paper for now. A well organised classroom may help the pupils to learn more effectively and aids the independent learning of the pupils in the class.

How children are seated in the classroom whether it be for work or for listening to instructions should be carefully planned as this can be essential to how well the pupils complete their work.

Everyday resources such as pencils, pens, rulers and erasers should ideally be some sort of container on the desk which is then easily accessible so that pupils will not need to ask the teacher for this equipment, and it prevents lots of movement around the classroom during lessons. It is also helpful to have spelling lists or dictionaries on the desks to encourage children to use them independently when completing their work.

Don’t leave it too late when shopping for school shoes

Many parents will have to get new school shoes for their children at some point in the year but often this coincides with the start of the autumn term but as some parents have discovered leaving this until a week or two before school starts means lack of choice in the shoes and possibly limited availability in certain sizes.

As children have growth spurts at different times of the year there is nothing more frustrating than buying a pair of shoes only for the child to have outgrown them in a couple of months however this is a risk that will need to be taken. The dilemma about whether to choose cheaper shoes and replace them more often or pay more in the hope that the shoes will last longer is one that should be kept in mind if your child has been the same size for a while because the chances are they are going to have a growth spurt soon. Choosing a style of shoe that will fit your child now but allow for some growth is a good idea and generally lace up, buckle or Velcro fastenings are better for younger children rather than slip on varieties.

As soon as school ends in July it is sensible to start the school shoes search so that you do not get caught out in late August when demand is high.

Buying new books doesn’t have to break the bank

If you are an avid book reader you may find that the increasing price of new books is costing you a small fortune however there are a few handy hints for keeping your reading collection up to date without breaking the bank.

Always look out for multi-buy offers – many of the large high street book retailers will often have discount offers on if you buy more than one book so its often worth stocking up when the offers are on. 

Buy pre-loved books – this could be from a charity shop. Charity shops get loads of books donated everyday and tend to sell them on very cheap. You can find all sorts of books from fiction to non-fiction and even recipe books.

Make use of your local library – these hidden gems are often forgotten about but you can usually join your local library for free and have access to thousands of texts on various subjects. You can either read them at the library or rent the book out for a period of time to take home with you. To avoid any late fees ensure your book is returned on time and in good condition.

In some towns they also offer a free book exchange, have a look online to find your nearest drop off point and get rid of your old books to borrow new ones.   

The role of the supply teacher unpacked

There are many qualified teachers who are going down the supply teacher route as they are unwilling to sacrifice the amount of time full time teaching requires. Supply teaching allows the teacher to choose their own days of work and although not paid during the school holidays the rate of pay when working is good.

Most schools have an expectation that a supply teacher will be well organised, punctual and conscientious and will follow the school’s policy and procedures and so it is important that any supply teacher should be aware of these especially concerning rewards and disciplines.

Some teachers will leave work for the children to do and expect this to be conducted according to their instructions. This is especially the case with older children who often have a fixed curriculum to cover in a given timeframe. If this is the case it is important to follow the teacher’s instructions as much as possible. A brief note to the teacher outlining how the day went is an important way to communicate but should focus on the positive aspects of the day.

Occasionally a supply teacher is needed to cover for an unexpected absence in which case work may not have been allocated so it is a good idea to have generic lessons prepared that can be easily adapted to the age group you are required to teach.

Paying for extra tuition for your child, is it worth it?

With so many students missing out on valuable time at school, it should come as no surprise that many have fallen behind where they need to be. Although this is nothing to worry about as all students are in the same position, it does mean that by the time they come to leave school they may not have learnt what they needed to. It also means that if they have exams coming up they may not do as well as they normally would. As a parent you may want your child to do as well as possible and if you feel they have fallen behind or are struggling to catch up then you may consider paying for extra tuition for them. Sometimes the school may offer catch up classes that are either free or very low cost but if you want something a little more then you want to look at hiring a professional tutor.

Private tutors often charge between £30 and £60 per hour depending on their experience. They may be able to reduce their fees slightly if they are doing the lessons remotely but you need to access whether this is the best thing for your child. Often one on one tutoring is the best way to help your child catch up as they tutor can tailor the lessons to suit their way of learning rather than having to do it for a whole group.