Education

THE GOOD SCHOOLS GUIDE: LONDON

The ‘Educational equivalent to Michelin’ launches latest edition of The Good Schools Guides for London

 

 

The Good Schools Guide, long favoured by parents to help them see the wood for the trees when choosing schools, launches its latest publications today. The Good Schools Guide: London North and London South cover the best state and independent schools north and south of the river. The Good Schools Guides: London offer in-depth and straight-talking reviews to give parents an invaluable insight into the competitive world of London schooling. The new editions include the latest exam results and articles on many aspects of the London education scene. The aim is to help parents choose the best school for their child.

At this point it’s worth noting that The Good Schools Guide is the only impartial guide to London schools. Each school included in a guide has been visited by a writer who has interviewed the head, spoken to pupils and parents and analysed results and marketing hype. Schools can’t can’t buy their way in, there are no mates rates, advertisers don’t get a free pass. A school is only included in the pages if the writers think it worthy. It’s why schools are desperate to be included, and why The Good Schools Guide has been established and respected by parents for over 30 years. Apart from asking around, posting in Facebook groups, where else can parents get unbiased information about a school, its values, ethos and contribution to a community?

London North is a hefty tome of 220 schools, with London South feeling slimmer but still offering hundreds of reviews. Expect to see comment on junior and senior, independent and state settings as well as information and advice on fees, entry requirements, school atmosphere, academics, SEN and more.

In addition to the London guides, The Good Schools Guide also offers a consultation service, and The Good Schools Guide 22nd edition is available with a free month’s subscription to the website. The guide includes 1200 in-depth reviews of leading state and private schools for children aged 3 to 18 in the UK.

Find out more about The Good Schools Guide here

 

You may be interested in our Mini Guide to Berkshire

 

EDUCATION IN BERKSHIRE

The City Kids Mini Guide to Education in Berkshire

 

Image: St John’s Beaumont

 

Country residence to the queen, George Clooney and the Middletons, the Royal County of Berkshire has much more to offer than castles, celebs, Royal Ascot and the Reading Festival. In 2019, 12,610 Londoners relocated to Berkshire, according to the Office for National Statistics. Commutable from London, even quicker with Crossrail arriving in 2022, Berkshire provides space, rural communities, market towns, Michelin stars, racecourses and much history. There are also excellent schools in the state and independent sector. Here’s our City Kids Mini Guide to Education and living in Berkshire.

Where to Live

You will be spoilt for choice in Berkshire. The latest UK Quality of Life Index ranked the county number six in the UK’s best places to live.

Windsor

Windsor is often popular, being only half an hour by train to the capital. Its abundant history, the river Thames and schools are also a huge draw. Don’t forget Windsor Castle, with changing of the guard when the Queen’s at home, The Savill Garden and Virginia Water on the periphery. Plus across Windsor Bridge you’ll find Eton, home to Eton College.

Ascot

Horse racing fans know ascot for the Royal flavour in June, but it’s also close to great golf at Sunningdale.

Reading

The largest town in Berkshire lies on the River Kennet, with plenty of riverside restaurants and attractions. Not only does it have great shopping (John Lewis, The Oracle shopping centre, a Vue cinema, it’s also a huge commercial centre, with many international businesses putting down roots in its business parks. Reading also has an ancient abbey which, although now in ruins, has a museum displaying Norman carvings.

Bracknell

According to a Yopa’s Happy Family Home Guide, Bracknell is the 34th most attractive place to raise a family (out of 200). It has good schools, 25 parks and low crime rates.

Newbury

At the far west of the county is Newbury, home to the famous racecourse and a short hop from Downton Abbey or as it’s otherwise known, Highclere Castle. The countryside around this bustling market town is part of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. A day’s walking will see you experience woodlands, streams and heritage sites.

Hungerford

On the edge of the county is historic market town, Hungerford with its antique shops and fairs as well as independent shops and boutiques. There’s an annual Food Festival as well as Tutti Day which takes place on every second Tuesday after Easter.

Riverside towns and villages

As the Thames meanders it’s way through the county, historic market towns and villages are hubs for those seeking a rural way of life. Wargrave, Bray with its Michelin stars and great pub grub and Sonning, Pangbourne and Maidenhead all offer something slightly different. They’re all connected via some beautiful walks, bike rides and rural views.

Berkshire outdoors

The River Thames bisects the county so inevitably there are plenty of water-based activities to get involved with. There’s also the Kennet and Avon canal if you prefer. Legoland Windsor, Windsor Castle, Cliveden and the site where the Magna Carta was signed are just a small number of places to visit within Berkshire’s borders. Here’s a few activities to whet your appetite on a house-hunting trip.

Go Ape, Bracknell

Cliveden House

Beale Wildlife Park

Pinewood Miniature Railway

The Nature Discovery Centre

 

Education in Berkshire

State

Top 10 rated State Schools by The Real Schools Guide in 2020.

Primary

Whiteknights Primary School, Reading
Khalsa Primary School, Slough
Willow Primary School, Slough
St Dominic Savio Catholic Primary School, Woodley
Castleview Primary School, Slough
Holy Trinity C of E Primary School, Cookham
Lowbrook Academy, Cox Green
The Godolphin Junior Academy, Slough
Woolhampton CE Primary School, Woolhampton
Iqra Slough Islamic Primary School, Slough

Secondary

Kendrick School, Reading
Reading School, Reading
Upton Court Grammar School, Slough
Herschel Grammar School, Slough
St Bernard’s Catholic Grammar School, Slough
The Holt School, Wokingham
Langley Grammar School, Slough
The Piggott School, Wokingham
Maiden Erlegh School, Wokingham
Newlands Girls’ School, Windsor & Maidenhead

Grammar

Within Berkshire there are a number of grammar schools. The Slough consortium of schools work together with one paper for entry to four schools: Herschel, Upton Court, Langley and St Bernard’s Catholic Grammar School. Registration for these schools is normally open for a six-week period between May and June the year ahead of entrance. In 2021 the 11+ registration for entry in September 2022 will open on 1stMay and close on 13th June.
Testing will take place in September with results expected mid-October 2021. For links to each school and their admissions criteria:
sloughconsortium.org.uk
There are also three grammar schools in Reading: Kendrick, Reading and Reading Girls (a bi-lateral school which means it is only partially selective with approximately 25% of places offered following exams).

Independent Schools

Berkshire is blessed with some of the most famous, and most established independent schools in the land.

Pre-prep & Prep

sjbwindsor.uk – boys 3-13yrs, day & boarding

Priest Hill, Old Windsor, Berkshire SL4 2JN 

01784 432428 sjb.admissions@sjb.email

St John’s Beaumont lies within a 70-acre country estate, a stone’s throw from historic Windsor. With space for play and learning, St John’s has extensive facilities to keep the boys busy. For London parents, it’s also a world away from the big smoke, without being a mission to get there.

To find out more, read our piece on Boarding ‘Hogwarts style’.

 

Cheam School – co-ed 3-13yrs, day & boarding
cheamschool.com
Headley, Newbury, RG19 8LD
01635 268 242

Eagle House – co-ed 3-13yrs, day & boarding
eaglehouseschool.com
Sandhurst, GU47 8PH
01344 772 134 | info@eaglehouseschool.com

Elstree School – co-ed 3-13, day & boarding
elstreeschool.org.uk
Woolhampton, Reading, RG7 5TD
01189 713 302 | office@elstreeschool.org.uk

Horris Hill – boys 4-13yrs, day & boarding
horrishill.com
Newtown, Newbury, RG20 9DJ
01635 40594 | registrar@horrishill.com

Lambrook School – co-ed 3-13yrs, day & flexi boarding
lambrookschool.co.uk
Winkfield Row, Nr Ascot, RG42 6LU
01344 882717 | info@lambrookschool.co.uk

Ludgrove School – boys 8-13yrs, fortnightly boarding
ludgrove.net
Ludgrove, Wokingham, RG40 3AB
0118 978 9881 | office@ludgroveschool.co.uk

Sunningdale School – boys 7-13yrs, boarding
sunningdaleschool.co.uk
Sunningdale, SL5 9PY
01344 620159 | headmaster@sunningdaleschool.co.uk

The Marist School – girls 3-18yrs, day
themarist.com
Kings Road, Sunninghill, Ascot  SL5 7PS
01344 624291

Senior

Bradfield College – co-ed 13-18yrs, day & boarding
bradfieldcollege.org.uk
Bradfield, Reading RG7 6AU
0118 964 4500

Downe House – girls 11-18yrs, day & boarding
downehouse .net
Cold Ash, Thatcham, RG18 9JJ
01635 200286

Elstree School – co-ed 3-13, day & boarding
elstreeschool.org.uk
Woolhampton, Reading, RG7 5TD
01189 713 302 | office@elstreeschool.org.uk

Eton College – boys 13-18yrs, boarding
etoncollege.com
Windsor SL4 6DW
01753 370 100 | enquiries@etoncollege.org.uk

Leighton Park – co-ed 11-18yrs, day & boarding
leightonpark.com
Shinfield Road, Berkshire, RG2 7DE
0118 987 9600

LVS Ascot – co-ed 4-18yrs, day & boarding
London Rd, Berkshire, Winkfield Row, Ascot SL5 8DR
lvs.ascot.sch.uk
01344 882 770 | enquiries@lvs.ascot.sch.uk

The Marist School
(See Prep above for details)

Pangbourne College – co-ed 11-18yrs, day & boarding
pangbourne.com
Pangbourne, Reading, RG8 8LA
0118 984 2101 | reception@pangbourne.com

Queen Anne’s School – girls 11-18yrs, day & boarding
qas.org.uk 
6 Henley Rd, Reading RG4 6DX
01189 187 300 | office@qas.org.uk

Reading Blue Coat School – boys 11-18yrs (girls 6th form), day
rbcs.org.uk
Holme Park, Sonning Ln, Sonning, Reading RG4 6SU
0118 944 1005 | reception@rbcs.org.uk

Shiplake College – boys 11-18yrs (girls 6th form), day & boarding
shiplake.org.uk
Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, RG9 4BW
0118 940 2455 | info@shiplake.org.uk

St George’s School – girls 11-18yrs, day & boarding
stgeorges-ascot.org.uk
Wells Ln, Ascot SL5 7DZ
01344 629900

St Mary’s School Ascot – girls 11-18yrs, boarding
st-marys-ascot.co.uk
St Mary’s Road, Ascot SL5 9JF
01344 296614 | admissions@st-marys-ascot.co.uk

The Oratory – co-ed 11-18, day & boarding
oratory.co.uk
Woodcote, Reading, RG8 0PJ
01491 683522 | registrar@oratory.co.uk

Wellington College – co-ed 13-18yrs, day & boarding
wellingtoncollege.org.uk
Duke’s Ride, Berkshire, Crowthorne RG45 7PU
01344 444000 | info@wellingtoncollege.co.uk

 

Useful resources:

goodschoolsguide.co.uk

11plusguide.com

schoolguide.co.uk

For more education news click here>>>

 

This article contains some sponsored content

BOOKS FOR KIDS – THE GREEN EDIT

GREEN BOOKS FOR KIDS

It’s never too early to help children to understand the world around them and the impact they can have on its future. Sharon Jones reviews three super books that make a great starting point. Her full edit can be found in our Spring issue here

1. WHEN WE WENT WILD by Isabella Tree, illustrated by Allira Tee 

Printed in the UK and made with 100% recycled paper this wonderful story tells the tale of Nancy and Jake, two farmers who use harsh chemicals to raise their cows and pigs. Upon noticing the animal’s sadness, they decide to make a drastic change, much to the disapproval of the neighbouring community. Loosely based on the experiences of the author who is also a farmer and has real-life rewilding experience, this book will definitely get young minds thinking about their surroundings. 

 

2. FORESTS by Jess French, illustrated by Alexander Mostov (Ivy Kids)

Why do forests matter? Because without them the world would struggle to function. This coffee table book explores the power of trees, their importance to two-thirds of the world’s animals who need them and how their destruction is having a devastating impact on the planet. Including great tips on what you can do to change your habits in order to help the forest, this book is simple for young children to understand and empowers them to take action. 

3. CLIMATE CHANGE by Tom Jackson and Cristina Guitian (QED)

For teenagers with an interest in the environment, this book aims to answer the broad questions around the topic of climate change. Not only that, it helps with critical thinking using history, science and social considerations to explore the subject from a range of angles. Engaging graphics by Cristina Guitian bring arguments to life like: Who is responsible? How do we move to a circular economy and discussions to help young people form their own opinions. Informative, engaging and tackling big theories in a way that makes you want to find out more. 

 

Head to page 37 of our SPRING issue to find even more great green books for kids. 

 

FRIDAY FIVE

EASTER WEEKEND FRIDAY FIVE 

We’ve rounded up five of the best things to do on and around Easter Weekend – other than eat chocolate (of course). Parents, ditch the devices and get stuck in too, this one’s a true family affair. 

LONDON CITY ISLAND’S OUTDOOR EASTER CHOCOLATE TREASURE HUNT

Enjoy some sweet treats while keeping the kids active this Easter with London City Island’s outdoor chocolate treasure hunt.

Find out more here

 

CHELSEA PHYSIC GARDEN EASTER TRAIL

CHELSEA PHYSIC GARDEN EASTER TRAIL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get back to nature and connect with loved ones with a self-led Easter trail in Chelsea Physic Garden. The trail, which celebrates gardens and nature, will lead you around the 4-acre grounds. And you will discover all about the amazing world of plants at London’s oldest botanic garden. 

Find out more here

 

OLDILOCKS AND THE 3 BEARS ONLINE SHOW AT NORDEN FARM

oldilocks and the 3 bears

Set off on a virtual adventure to the woods and watch a funny take on a classic tale with Oldilocks and the 3 bears, streaming live with Norden Farm arts centre.

Find out more here

 

VIRTUAL DISCOVERY WEEKS: EGG-CITING EASTER

EGG-CITING EASTER

Enjoy the spring air and some interactive Easter activities with Virtual Discovery Weeks: Egg-citing Easter. 

The free Royal Parks event runs over two weeks and is jam packed with activities – both online and outdoors.  

Find out more here

EASTER LINDT GOLD BUNNY HUNT AT HAMPTON COURT PALACE

 

Easter Lindt GOLD BUNNY HuntCelebrate the arrival of spring with the Easter Lindt Gold Bunny Hunt at Hampton Court Palace.

Discover famous historical characters when you join in the hunt around the palace gardens. Using a trail map, solve the clues to find the Lindt gold bunny statues. Explorers who find all the bunnies will win a chocolate reward and bunny ears.

 

Find out more here

 

For more great ideas for the rest of April (and beyond) do head over to our What’s On page. It’s filled to the brim with genius ideas to keep babies, toddlers and kids of all ages entertained. 

 

Looking for extra curricular classes and camps – there may be some places left, check out our Easter camps roundup here

TEACH YOUR KIDS ABOUT EQUALITY

5 fun activities to teach your kids about equality

 

 

When I look back at lockdown I think I will remember a time where more of us became activists and minority voices, which had previously gone unheard, were loud and proud and gaining traction. At City Kids we’re advocates of equality and we promote equality from every corner of the brand.  Diversity and inclusion expert, Esther Marshall, has compiled five fun activities to teach your kids about equality.

 

Equality as a concept is one that you wouldn’t necessarily think a child would understand. However, in today’s society it is critical children grow up understanding what equality means and how it can affect them and others around them. Behavioural studies show us that by the time children are as young as 1 they can understand the world around them and by 3 they know the difference between genders. Small actions such as showing children non-stereotypical and non-limiting characters found in books, films and any other media, or ensuring that the cooking and cleaning of the house is divided up equally and calling out discrimination when you see it can redefine behaviour patterns for this and the next generation creating a more equal society and economy.

So how can we make this concept of equality something fun to learn for children? Here are 5 ways which will make the conversation about equality fun, authentic and exciting to talk about with your children.

Activity 1

You will need a globe, either one you have at home or a world map on a screen or you can print it off. Ask children to close their eyes and spin them round and then point to a country. Each time they pick a country you can talk about topics such as access to school, access to food and water, access to toys like them and access to opportunities like them. It’s a great way to show children that not everything is equal in the world and also a great way to teach children about other cultures. Each time they point at a country it’s good to look up the culture of the country and learn something about the children in that country. It can therefore be a game where both parents and children are learning about the world, in turn making them more worldly and culturally aware which will in turn seriously help them in understanding equality.

Activity 2

Get two sheets of paper. Label one Girls and one Boys. Then proceed to ask them to put the following words listed below into either the girls or boys side or both. Of course, add in any others you can think of.

  • Different jobs e.g Police, firefighter, hairdresser, lawyer, doctor, nurse, pilot, zoo keeper, teacher, scientist, Dentist, Cleaner, Builder, Bus Driver etc
  • Different sports e.g Football, ballet, tennis, swimming, basketball, netball, cricket, darts, hockey, rugby, rowing,
  • Different emotions e.g sad, happy, anxious, crying, strong, smart, brave, afraid, nervous, confident
  • Different objects e.g Bikes, Dolls, Scooters, trains, balloons, butterflies, cars, dogs, cats, comic books, reading books, cuddly toys, drums, fairies
  • Different house work jobs e.g washing up, laundry, cooking, baking, cleaning, food shopping

Ask them why they put certain words on each list and let it lead naturally into a conversation as to why both genders can do the same things.

Activity 3

Go outside and get children to pick up as many different colour objects as they can find e.g. leaves, flower petals, sticks etc. Then get them to stick them down on a piece of paper creating their own garden. Explain that everything they picked came from the same soil and garden but grew in different ways and needed different elements e.g. sun/water to grow but if we didn’t have all of that in the garden or park then nature wouldn’t be as amazing as it is. It’s the same in society. Many people may come from different places and grow up with different cultures and customs but we all need to live together to make up the best society we can be – an equal one.

Activity 4

Get white card/paper and makes stripes of the rainbow. Then colour it in and stick it together. Take away one colour and then two colours.  Explain that without all the colours we don’t have a lovely rainbow and that that is the same in society. We need all races, ethnicities and genders to be part of society in an equal way in order to get the desired outcome of a beautiful rainbow.

Activity 5

Diversify your book shelf. Only 7% of the children’s books published in the last 3 years have featured characters from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic Groups. Ensure that you take time out in your day to read to your children which show non stereotypical characters and characters that don’t look the same as your child. It will help to bring up the conversation and start to build up positive stereotypes to ensure your child grows up wanting to be part of an equal society. Some examples of books to get are Sophie Says I Can I Will, The Proudest Blue, Look Up, The Mega Magic Hair Swap, Ruby’s Worry, Ravi’s Roar, Pink is for Boys and All are welcome.

 

 


Esther Marshall
 is a Diversity and Inclusion expert, mental health activist and the author of the The Sophie Says children’s books series – which make life’s most important lessons fun to learn. For more educational content follow Sophie Says on Instagram @sophiesaysofficial

 

For more articles on equality and inclusion head here>>>

BOARDING AT ST JOHN’S BEAUMONT

Boarding ‘Hogwarts style’ at St John’s Beaumont in Old Windsor

 

 

Sprawling grounds, extensive facilities and a period building all lend themselves to a bit of Harry Potter boarding magic at St John’s Beaumont.

Nestled in the historic countryside near Windsor and Eton, just off junction 13 on the M25, you will find St John’s Beaumont Preparatory Day & Boarding School for boys aged 3 to 13 years set on a 70-acre country estate.

The vast grounds provide endless space for exploration, sports and play; a place where boys can be boys. Since 1888, the school has developed the environment, pastoral support and learning tools that enable young men to flourish.

St John’s is a very special place for boys to learn and live. They are offered every possible opportunity to excel in a wide variety of areas, both academically, but importantly also in the wider curriculum as well.

Whether in art, sport, music or drama, the school’s aim is to open a boy’s mind to his innate potential. The results are prevalent in the large amount of scholarships St John’s boys achieve at some of the most prestigious schools in the country, including Eton, Harrow, Winchester, and Charterhouse, just to name a few.

St John’s Beaumont provides the perfect home away from home for those who chose to board through either a tailored, weekly, or full-boarding programme from Year 4 onwards. Boarding at St John’s has a little bit of Hogwarts magic; with nooks and crannies, secret stairways and woods to explore, the school is the perfect place for imaginative adventures.

Boarders enjoy the full use of the school’s extensive facilities as they go for an early morning swim, a jog with the Headmaster or beat their dormitory master at a game of tennis. In their spare time, the boys love activities like; den-building in the woods, cooking on the campfire, stargazing and glow-in-the-dark hide-and-seek.

 

 

Find out how your son could benefit from an education and boarding at St John’s by contacting sjb.admissions@sjb.email or visit www.SJBWindsor.uk.

 

For more education news head here>>>

 

This article contains sponsored content

 

 

 

EASTER CAMPS AND COURSES

Easter holidays are here (already!) But so are London’s Easter camps and courses

We may not have been let loose by Boris completely, but Easter camps and courses are ready to take your nearest and dearest. Whether you need a break or they need to get out,  socialise, and learn some new skills, London’s activity sector has been chomping at the bit to share their expertise once again. Here’s our 2021 guide.

 

Role Models

Like many businesses, Role Models pivoted to online last year, and what a success they’ve made of their superb life skills classes! While in-person camps are returning, there is an Easter offer which should grab your attention, but you’ll have to move fast!
Get your hands on an Easter bundle of online Life Skills sessions for children aged 5-7 & 8-11. When booking 3 x 60 minute sessions for £49, children will also be able to bring a friend for FREE (Usual price for 6 ‘Plus’ online sessions is £143.75).
Life Skills sessions focus on confidence, collaboration, creativity, resilience and leadership which Role Models firmly believes are fundamental for good mental health, future job prospects and academic attainment. There are 80 sessions to choose from, each one fun and interactive and designed to fit around family life during both the holidays and term-time.
Use coupon code rm3for49 to purchase 3 x ‘Plus’ online Sessions for £49. Once you have purchased your 3 sessions you will be provided with a coupon code to share with a friend so their little bunny can also join 3 x ‘Plus’ online sessions for Free. Coupon expires on 10th April 2021

For more information on Role Models: call +44 (0)20 3637 7107 | email info@rolemodels.me | rolemodels.me

 

Will to Win Tennis Camps

Tennis is back! Whether you’re in Chiswick, Ealing (Lammas Park, Pitshanger Park), Hyde Park and Greenwich, children from 4 years can take part.
JUNIOR age 7 – 16; 4 or 5 days;
Camp 1: 10am – 12pm
Camp 2: 1pm – 3pm
Taught in age and ability groups. Camp continues in all-weather with creative indoor learning as necessary. Each Friday is a tournament day, where players will play matches against players in their age group.

MINI age 4 – 7; 4 or 5 days; 12pm – 1pm
All abilities are taught using varied teaching styles to retain interest and enjoyment of sports. Bring a drink and snack.

Select your venue here willtowin.co.uk

 

Lycée International de Londres Winston Churchill Spring Study Week

Need to improve some grades? If French is a bit too franglais in your household, why not get the experts in.

lyceeinternational.london

Fire Tech

One of the few camps to offer courses for older kids, Fire Tech run STEM based camps which include coding, VR, digital design and video game design. Students learn from the ground up, and there’s even a girls only camp for teens.
City, Dulwich, Notting Hill, Camden, South Kensington | 9 yrs+
firetechcamp.com

 

The Little Gym

Another activity provider that went online last year, The Little Gym, is opening its doors once more. Bringing their expertise in movement, child development and gymnastics, children will have the chance to run wild, socialise, learn and have a tonne of fun within their purpose-built gyms. There are now five The Little Gyms in London: Chiswick, Hampstead, Hampton, Wandsworth and Westfield London, each running camps for various ages up to 12 years. Mornings, afternoons or full days available with Covid-19 measures in place.

For more details on camps and where to find them thelittlegym.co.uk

 

Cypher Coders

Coding and tech-inspired camps which touch on themes such as music, robotics, nature, oceanography and art.
Various locations are now open for in-person camps but there are also virtual offerings.
5yrs+

cyphercoders.com

 

Little House of Science

Curious minds encouraged to explore, experiment and play via live online classes.
4-11yrs

littlehouseofscience.com

 

Fit for Sport

Activity camps which have been running for 25 years to give children the opportunity to try a variety of sports and activities.
4-12 yrs all over London.

fitforsport.co.uk

 

Shooting Starz

Choose from multi-sports, football, netball or mini skills and book half, full or extended days or weeks at camp.
Club Des Sports Acton.
3-13 yrs

shootingstarz.co.uk

 

The Strings Club

Every day is different with musical The Strings Club! Ofsted registered and available in Islington, Hackney, Greenwich, Tooting, Hampstead and Brockley. Mornings begin with  ‘Learn Together, Play Together’ sessions. Afternoons are interactive and creative workshop. Each Holiday Camp ends with a grand concert – so children and their new friends can proudly show what they’ve learnt! By the end of their time, children will have experienced musical adventures, made new friends, and developed skills for life.

thestringsclub.org

 

London Academy of Gymnastics and Dance

Active kids have lots of fun in store at this year’s Easter Activity Camp from London Academy of Gymnastics and Dance. As well as gymnastics, there’s also juggling, circus skills, obstacle course, aerial skills, dance, vault, hoops and games. The camp is running from 12th to 16th April 2021 for children from Reception to Year 6. It is supervised by qualified coaches, following the latest Covid safety guidelines. It is taking place in Chelsea SW3 and in Muswell Hill N10.
For more information, visit lagad.co.uk

SPARKS Movie Making

Fun movie making camps which aim to inspire young imaginations and build creative skills. Camps take place in school holidays and during the summer. Each camp offers children and teenagers the chance to unlock their creativity, gain new skills and discover the fun of filmmaking.

Easter Camps:

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire (Ages 5-7)

Codename Confidential (Ages 7-11)

Web of Lies (Ages 11-14)

We will be running our workshops in Balham, Dulwich, Highgate and Kensington.

April 12-16th 2021 from 9am-3pm.

sparksarts.co.uk

 

Upbeat Music Courses

Monday 12th – Friday 16th April. 10.00 – 4.00   for 5 – 12 yrs

Pop and Rock Easter Holiday Camp including singing, dance, guitars & drums, songwriting and recording.

Drum in the garden, dance on the lawns, make the most of our amazing outdoor and indoor spaces this Easter. Make friends, be creative, write and play.

 

Et Patati Patata

Immerse your kids in French between 6-16th April with Et Patati Patata’s award-winning classes. The online classes are small – restricted to six- meaning your child will get the attention they need. Split into three age groups 4 -6 years, 7-10 years and 11-15 years.

etpatatipatata.com

For more ideas head to our Directories or our What’s On pages.

FRIDAY FIVE – 12 March

WHAT’S ON THIS WEEKEND

And just like that, as every parent readjusted to having the house to themselves again, the weekend happened! Add a touch of magic, music and heaps of creativity at the shake of wand (or click of a button).

1. FIRST PIANO ON THE MOON LIVE ONLINE WITH PERTH THEATRE

FIRST PIANO ON THE MOON

Join half-man half-piano Will Pickvance for First Piano on the Moon, a live online show about Mozart, music and the moon. Written and performed by pianist and storyteller Will, the show combines storytelling with music and is suitable for ages seven plus.

Find out more

2. CURSE OF THE CRACKLES ONLINE AT SHOREDITCH TOWN HALL

CURSE OF THE CRACKLES

 Go on an audio adventure with interactive show Curse of the Crackles, streaming online with Shoreditch Town Hall. Riff the puppy needs your help. The world is in chaos after all the sounds in the universe got mixed up. Now it’s up to you and Riff to put them back and save the day. The immersive sonic quest is suitable for ages 7 to 11 and features three-dimensional sound technology.

Find out more

3. WATERCOLOUR CLASS ONLINE WITH BEARS ICE CREAM COMPANY

BEARS ICE CREAM WATERCOLOUR CLASS

 Get arty and enjoy a relaxing watercolour session at the free online art class from Bears Ice Cream Company.

Join artist Michelle, the founder of design studio Roxwell Press, learn a new skill and enjoy the effects of watercolour.

Find out more

 

4. WHERE THE BUGABOO LIVES ONLINE WITH THE LITTLE ANGEL THEATRE

WHERE THE BUGABOO LIVES

Get ready for a spooky adventure with the interactive made-for-Zoom show Where The Bugaboo Lives from London’s Little Angel Theatre.

Find out more

5. MAGIC AND STORYTELLING WITH PATRICK ASHE ONLINE FROM NORDEN FARM

MAGIC AND STORYTELLING

Enjoy interactive stories with a special magic twist with this online storytelling session from Norden Farm Arts Centre. 

Alongside his stories, magician Patrick Ashe will teach the class a trick or two and reveal some magician’s secrets. But don’t tell anyone what you learn within the magic circle!

Find out more

For more great ideas and inspiration browse through our NEW Spring Issue which you can read online HERE and in print.

A LOVE OF BOOKS

Instilling a lifelong love of books is on the parenting tick list. St Benedict’s Librarian, Emma Wallace tells us how to get our children reading

 

What were your favourite books as a child?

The first series that I remember really loving was the Secret Seven by Enid Blyton.  This was about seven friends who formed a detective club and went on various adventures trying to solve mysteries.  I loved the sense that they could roam free in woods, hills and manor houses and investigate mysteries together, from train robbers, car thieves and mail heists.  And then when I got a bit older it was Judy Blume’s novels, when I read every one of her books, from Deenie to Tiger Eyes. These books were about real-life problems that we face growing up, at school, home and in relationships. I was such a massive fan that I wrote to Judy in America and she posted me a signed poster!

Your favourite children’s author?

My favourite children’s author is Neil Gaiman.  He has a wonderful imagination, writing both novels and graphic novels that evoke fantastical and intriguing scenarios, coupled with often terrifying and obscure characters, much like Roald Dahl.  I particularly love his book Coraline, which has been turned into a comic and film as well.

A new book that will stand the test of time?
The 2019 Kate Greenaway picture book award winner The Lost Words: A Spell Book by Jackie Morris.  This book of enchanting illustrations celebrates the natural world we share the planet with and can be enjoyed by any age.  It focuses on the loss of words on nature from children’s language (such as bramble, dandelion and acorn), and also their imaginations, while helping to remind us of the magic and importance of these wild things still today.

What is your all-time favourite book?
It’s got to be Madam Bovary by Gustave Flaubert! I read this over ten years ago and nothing has taken its place as my number one favourite novel since then.  While reading it, I couldn’t get over how modern, realistic and even contemporary it seemed, even though written in 1857!

If you could invite any author to St Benedict’s – living or dead – to meet you and your students, who would you choose, and why?
I think Mary Shelley, who died in 1851, would be a fascinating person for our pupils to meet! Her book Frankenstein, named the first ever science-fiction story, still captures the imagination of children today over two hundred years later and is such a brilliant read.  The Frankenstein monster has had a massive impact on popular culture, but there is so much more to this tragic character and I would love to know more about Mary’s thoughts behind this. I also think she would have provided many insights into what it was like to be female in the nineteenth century, going against many social conventions to publish a book.

Tell us why you think reading is a valuable thing for children to do:
Aside from the many academic benefits to reading, there are the huge social and emotional benefits, from better sleep, improved memory to lowered levels of stress. It is through reading fiction books that the unique, wonderful and transformative experiences can occur, helping children to feel happier and more connected in their lives.  A novel can transport us to an exotic island or magical land, allowing us to escape into our imagination, away from the day to day worries and stresses of our lives.  We may discover a character who is going through a similar experience to us, something that is life affirming and makes us feel a little less alone and isolated.

In recent online library lessons during lockdown, we have been talking about how reading is a brilliant way to help develop empathy skills, as we put ourselves in a character’s shoes and imagine what they’re thinking and feeling.  This immersion into a book character helps pupils’ build understanding and compassion towards others, something that is more important than ever in these difficult times.

What are your top tips for encouraging young teens to read?

  • Choose a book that you want to read.  Reading for pleasure is all about making our own choices and reading books that you think you will enjoy, by authors, genres and in formats that you love or want to try.
  • If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book” as JK Rowling says. It’s absolutely fine to stop reading a book you’re not enjoying and try something else. Reading a book is an investment and it’s important to keep trying different authors and genres until you find something that you really enjoy.
  • Make it a regular habit to read, setting aside a certain time each day or weekend to read – ensuring it becomes part of your weekly routine.
  • Put your phone down (or use a setting on your phone to turn off the Apps for a certain period every day!).  It’s important to have time away from the screen, without any distractions, so you can just relax and focus on the story.
  • Find a quiet space to read, away from other sounds or music, such as the TV or people having a conversation. It is really important your imagination is fully engaged whilst reading (see phone point above)

What makes a really good school library?
So many things! But I think the most important thing is the school librarian. Without a librarian, the school library is really just a room with books in. It is the librarian who brings the space to life, creating inspiring displays, collating contemporary print and online resource collections, recommending and discussing novels with pupils, running inspiring book events, competitions and craft activities, along with teaching library skills to ensure pupils are effective independent learners, both now and in the future.

Do you have a favourite library event in the school year?
At St Benedict’s, we have a rolling programme of library events throughout the year to mirror the school curriculum and to support the annual book celebrations and national awareness days. I try to make sure that we’ve got an exciting programme scheduled for different year groups and interests, to ensure everyone finds something to enjoy and get involved with. But I must admit that my favourite event is World Book Day in March! As a school librarian, this is always a big focus of the year and really allows me to experiment and be creative with the authors we invite in to talk to pupils and the events we run on the day. Past events include a murder mystery in the library, read dating, Drop Everything and Read, a ‘Short Story in a Day’ and redesign your favourite book cover.

Describe a typical day in the life of the St Benedict’s librarian:

No day is the same for a school librarian.  Whilst we follow the school day timetable we can perhaps be more flexible than teachers, ensuring that the whole school community is supported and engaged in the library. My day might start with brainstorming ideas and activities for the year 8 library lesson programme, checking the library catalogue for a certain topic area a teacher may have requested, locating these books on the shelves or perhaps placing an order for more books on this topic. I may look at the most recent pupil book suggestion forms and bestseller lists to update and buy for our own collection. At break and lunchtime, it is usually direct involvement with the students, checking out and returning books, discussing and helping pupils find books, answering information enquiries about research or homework topics, or sorting problems with a computer or printing. In the afternoon I might research the latest digital collection of resources to see if it is something that would support our pupils and curriculum and teach a lesson to a class to help with their understanding of how to use the library. There is also the need to create new displays, update book promotions and generally tidy up the library ready for the next day!

 

stbenedicts.org.uk

 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE EDUCATION NEWS

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY BOOK EDIT

International Women’s Day Books for kids

International Women’s Day is round the corner, not that we need a dedicated day to rave about the bravery and strength of girls! We’ve curated a list of books that are a great starting point for teaching young girls and boys why we celebrate women, drawing in on great female figures as well as books which feature a strong female lead. Each book has a valuable story to tell.

Women in Sport: Fifty Fearless Athletes Who Played to Win 

By Rachel Ignotofsky (Author and Illustrator)

Wren & Rook

Women in Sport celebrates the success of the tough, bold and fearless women who paved the way for today’s athletes. The sportswomen featured include well-known figures like tennis player Serena Williams and broadcaster Clare Balding, as well as lesser-known pioneers like Gertrude Ederleand Keiko Fukuda.

£9.24, Amazon

 

Dreams for our Daughters – Songs and Dreams 

By Ruth Doyle (author), Ashling Lindsay (illustrator)

Andersen Press Ltd 

This lavishly foiled, inspiring picture book is the perfect gift for every key moment in a child’s life, from birth to graduation.

£12.99, Muthahood 

 

Women in Art: 50 Fearless Creatives Who Inspired the World 

By Rachel Ignotofsky  (Author and Illustrator)

Women in Art is an EMPOWERING and INSPIRATIONAL celebration of some of the most iconic and fearless women who paved the way for the next generation of artists. From well-known figures such as Frida Kahlo and Dame Vivienne Westwood to lesser-known artists including Harriet Powers and Yoyoi Kusama, this charmingly illustrated and inspiring book highlights the achievements of 50 notable women in the arts.

£9.25, Amazon

The Little Girl or Boy Who Dared to Dream

“You really are remarkable – more than you’ll ever know!” The Little Girl or Boy Who Dared to Dream is a dazzling personalised story based on the letters of your child’s name. Send a child on a magical journey to discover nothing’s impossible, if they dare to dream.

£21.99, Wonderbly 

Little People Big Dreams: Greta Thunberg

by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara (Author), Anke Weckmann (Illustrator)

Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

From the empowering Little People, Big Dreams series, the Greta Thunberg edition is about the inspiring school girl from Sweden who started a global movement against climate change, and how she even made politicians listen. It’s a very child-friendly biography, with quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline, great for inspiring kids that they too can make a difference.

£8, Kidly

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World 

By Rachel Ignotofsky  (Author and Illustrator)

Wren & Rook

A gloriously illustrated celebration of trailblazing women. Women in Science highlights the contributions of fifty notable women to the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, from both the ancient and modern worlds. The book also contains fascinating infographics and an illustrated scientific glossary.

£8.71, Amazon

 

The Proudest Blue

By Ibtihaj Muhammad (author), Hatem Aly (illustrator), S. K. Ali (author)

Anderson Press

Asiya’s hijab is like the ocean and the sky, no line between them, saying hello with a loud wave. It’s Faizah’s first day of school, and her older sister Asiya’s first day of wearing hijab – made of a beautiful blue fabric. But not everyone sees hijab as beautiful. In the face of hurtful, confusing words, will Faizah find new ways to be strong? This is an uplifting, universal story of new experiences, the unbreakable bond shared by siblings and of being proud of who you are, from Olympic medallist Ibtihaj Muhammad.

£6.49, Waterstones

Little People, Big Dreams: Malala Yousafzai

By Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara (Author), Manal Mirza (Illustrator)

Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

When Malala was born in Mingora, Pakistan, her father was determined she would have every opportunity that a boy would have. She loved getting an education, but when a hateful regime came to power, girls were no longer allowed to go to school. Malala spoke out in public about this, which made her a target for violence. She was shot in the left side of her head and woke up in hospital in England. Finally after long months and many surgeries, Malala recovered, and resolved to become an activist for girls’ education. Now a recent Oxford graduate, Malala continues to fight for a world where all girls can learn and lead. This powerful book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the activist’s life.

£8.19, Amazon

HerStory: 50 Women and Girls Who Shook the World 

By Katherine Halligan  (Author), Sarah Walsh  (Illustrator)

Nosy Crow

Instead of just studying history, let’s think about HerStory too! In this uplifting and inspiring book, children can learn about 50 intrepid women from around the world and throughout history. Telling the stories of their childhood, the challenges they faced and the changes they made, each gorgeously illustrated spread is a celebration of girl power in its many forms. 

£12.11, Amazon

Little People, Big Dreams: Emmeline Pankhurst

By Lisbeth Kaiser  (Author), Ana Sanfelippo (Illustrator)

Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

Meet an inspiring women’s rights activist who changed the world for future generations of women. As a child, Emmeline Pankhurst was shocked at the inequality of men and women that she saw all around her. When she grew up, she never stopped fighting for women to get the vote, inspiring other women to demonstrate, go on hunger strike and protest for the cause.

£7.99, Amazon

 

Have you read your child a book that you’d like us to share with our readers? Do get in touch via our Instagram page and we’ll add to this list! 

BACK TO SCHOOL EDIT

Back to school edit

With the school gates opening up once more, we couldn’t be MORE excited at CKHQ. So we’ve put together a top of the class back to school edit so that you and the kids can get back to schooling from school again!

Bigjigs Puzzles from Scandiborn

Covering everything from regional and world maps to fractions and times tables, their wooden puzzles may just be the missing piece in your child’s study set up… 

Do check out their World Map, Times tables and Fractions puzzles. 

Vegan School Shoes from Start Rite

A new pair of school shoes that won’t cost the earth. These stylist vegan school shoes not only look good, but are soft, lightweight and breathable – perfect whether you’re a vegan or simply want an alternative choice to leather. See the vegan collection here.

The City Kids Family Meal Planner PDF 

Family mealtimes sorted. Because we’re all really rather bored of our own cooking. And taxi-ing the kids to and from school and all the extra curriculars means we’ve little to no time to plan meals on the spot. We worked with CK friends Lizzie King and Jo Pratt to throw together a bunch of flexible, balanced and family friendly meals to enjoy from breakfast through to supper. For the mother of all mealtime planners, click here. 

 

Pachee Kids collectable reward patches 

We want them all to ourselves. There’s a badge for everyone, from Pequeno Picasso to Science Whizz, Skillz on Wheelz and more. Check out their super cool selection of badges and bags here. 

Micro Scooters 

Scoot to school and back while helping to keep the oceans clean- the deck of the Micro Scooters’ Eco Mini Micro Deluxe, is made from recycled fish nets! Plus eco accessories to match, of course! Scoot on over to their website for more info. 

Petit Ferdinand 

We have NOT missed the accidental swapping of gym kits and sweatshirts. We’re in need of labels for absolutely everything and we’re big fans of Petit Ferdinand’s easy to use stick on labels. Don’t get stuck without labels, shop Petit Ferdinand here. 

 

Bloom & Blossom’s The Enormous Crocodile’s Bedtime Gift Set

A good night’s sleep is as important as a ruddy good breakfast. We’re looking to Bloom and Blossom’s super bedtime giftset to help secure all the zzzzzs! Click here for a sound night’s sleep. 

 

 

Collins Preparation books and flashcards 

The new Collins series of 11+ books has everything you need, from clear and concise study notes to lots of realistic practice and test papers to help build confidence for the tests.

WIN a set worth £70 here

Water bottles

We take hydration seriously, we dedicated an entire edit to it. Read more here.

    Spacemasks

 

Interstellar relaxation for parents. Because you’re out of this world. Find your chill here. 

Don’t forget ample supplies of face coverings and hand sani. Looking for more ideas and inspo? Make sure you’re subscribed to our weekly newsletter, you can sign up here

FLASH GIVEAWAY WITH COLLINS

Enter our flash giveaway with Collins to win £70 worth of 11+ learning resources

 

 

As we brace ourselves with all the fun stuff that comes to prepare the kids for school once more, we’ve created a flash giveaway with Collins to offer one lucky City Kids reader a chance to WIN the new Collins series of 11+ books.
Whether it’s maths, English or reasoning, the new Collins series of 11+ books has everything you need, from clear and concise study notes, to lots of realistic practice and test papers to help build your child’s confidence for tests.

 

 

ENTER YOUR DETAILS FOR A CHANCE TO WIN £70 worth of Collins 11+ preparation books and flashcards.

+ We’ll give you an extra entry for every interaction on the social post here

 

Good luck. Giveaway ends at 11.59pm on Monday 15th March at midday. Winner to be chosen at random and contacted within 48 hours. No cash alternative available. UK only. Decision of City Kids is final.

 

PICTURE BOOKS WITH A MESSAGE

We’re lucky to be sent a lot of beautiful picture books each week. A few have caught our eye recently, so we thought we’d share them with you.

We’re suckers for good, old-fashioned stories and beautiful illustrations. Our picture book edit includes debut books, experience story-tellers and some timely messaging.

 

THE PARLIAMENT

 

This debut book kicks off a series created to tackle words that children find difficult. Parliament tells the story of Eddie, a cheeky, young owlet who is helped on his journey by a wise parliament of owls.

 

www.wildcollections.co.uk

 

SAIL

 

 

Illustrator Dorien Brouwers’ picture book explores the notion of finding lessons in challenging situations, touching on subjects like helping children with their mental health, building resilience and adopting a growth mentality. Available from April 15th.

hachette.co.uk

 

DOG GONE

 

 

If he wasn’t already, Rob Biddulph has become a household name during this pandemic (one of the positives!), and his 10th picture book will be another favourite. Teddy loses his human and worries about him being on his own.

Harpercollins.co.uk

 

CALMNESS – Big Words for Little People

 

 

The mental health of our children is top of our priorities right now, and this series from Oxford aims to give kids tools to navigate their emotions. Calmness explores words for children to use to describe how they are feeling as well as offering activities to invoke calm.

www.oup.com

 

THE DUCK WHO DIDN’T LIKE WATER

 

 

Steve Small’s illustrations in this funny fable celebrate friendship and acceptance. Duck isn’t like other ducks. He doesn’t like water, but strikes up a friendship with a water-loving frog.

Simonandschuster.co.uk

 

THE INVISIBLE

 

 

One for the heart strings and a social consicience, The Invisible is the story of a young girl called Isabel and her family who don’t have much, but they have what they need to get by. The key message is to care about everyone in society, especially those who are overlooked and made to feel invisible. We all belong.

Simonandschuster.co.uk

VIRTUAL SCHOOL OPEN DAYS


VIRTUAL SCHOOL OPEN DAYS & TOURS

 

 

While schools are closed to visitors, open days are still going ahead. Here’s our list of virtual school open days and resources to help you with your school search.

 

ACS SCHOOLS

acs-schools.com

COBHAM

acs-schools.com/cobham

2-9yrs (Early Years & Lower School) – 1100 & Tuesday 11 May 1500

10-18 years (Middle & High School) – Thursday 25 February 0930

HILLINGDON

acs-schools.com/hillingdon

10 -18 years (Middle & High School) – Tuesday 11 May 1600

 

ARTSED

artsed.onlineopendays.com

Recordings of Q&A and other resources via the link above.

 

BEDALES PREP SCHOOL, DUNHURST

bedales.org.uk

Open Morning – 15 May

 

CALDICOTT PREPARATORY SCHOOL

caldicott.com

Online appointments with Headmaster Jeremy Banks booked via admissions@caldicott.com.

 

COLLÈGE FRANÇAIS BILINGUE LONDRES

cfbl.org.uk

Bilingual International school from Nursery to Year 10

Virtual Open Days – Friday 14th May 2021 in English. 23rd April & 11th June in French.

Enquiries to admissions@cfbl.org.uk or via our website link above

Virtual tour here

 

COTTESMORE SCHOOL

cottesmoreschool.com

 

DITCHAM PARK SCHOOL

ditchampark.com

 

DOWNSEND SCHOOL

downsend.co.uk

Virtual tour

 

DURSTON HOUSE

durstonhouse.org

Virtual Live Open Morning – Saturday 22nd May. Sign up at visit.durstonhouse.org.

 

EATON SQUARE

eatonsquareschool.com

 

EDGEBOROUGH SCHOOL

Tour – Contact Admissions Registrar, Mrs Christine Davis, at admissions@edgeborough.co.uk. or call us on 01252 792495

 

FALCONS GIRLS & PEREGRINES NURSERY

falconsgirls.co.uk

Private in-person tours on weekdays.

 

FRENSHAM HEIGHTS

frensham.org

Pre-recorded tour available in the link above.

 

FULHAM SCHOOL

fulham.school

Complete a booking form via the form in the link above.

 

HALL SCHOOL WIMBLEDON

hsw.co.uk

Book for February and March via link above.

 

HIGHFIELD PREP

highfieldprep.org

To book a private virtual tour contact Registrar, Laura Chell, on 01628 624918.

 

IBSTOCK PLACE SCHOOL

ibstockplaceschool.co.uk

Follow the link above for recordings.

 

LEH SCHOOL

lehs.org.uk

Full details of events and how to register can be found under the Admissions section of the website.

Junior School 7+ Virtual Open Event – Wednesday 28th April
Senior School 11+ Virtual Open Event – Tuesday 27th April

 

LYCEÉ INTERNATIONAL DE LONDRES WINSTON CHURCHILL

lyceeinternational.london

Open Day – 12 June

 

MARLBOROUGH HOUSE SCHOOL

marlboroughhouseschool.co.uk

Book above for virtual open days.

 

MOULSFORD

moulsford.com

 

ORLEY FARM SCHOOL

orleyfarm.harrow.sch.uk

Remote live open morning  – 21st May

 

PARSONS GREEN PREP SCHOOL

parsonsgreenprep.co.uk

Follow the link above to recorded videos.

 

PORT REGIS

portregis.com

Virtual Open Day –  Saturday 15 May, 9.30-11.30am

Virtual tours available year round.

 

QUEENSWOOD

queenswood.org

 

ST BENEDICT’S

stbenedicts.org.uk

Virtual Open Day – Senior School – Thursday 6th May
Virtual Open Day – Nursery and Junior School – Thursday 20th May

 

ST CATHERINE’S, BRAMLEY

www.stcatherines.info

In person whole school open day – Wed 28 April

Reception entry 4yrs+ – Friday 11 June

To Register contact prepadmissions@stcatherines.info Registrar Sally Manhire on 01483 899757 or click to book here.

 

ST GEORGE’S ASCOT

stgeorges-ascot.org.uk

 

ST JAMES PREPARATORY SCHOOL

stjamesschools.co.uk

 

SHIPLAKE COLLEGE

shiplake.org.uk

Recorded Virtual Tour

 

SOUTH HAMPSTEAD HIGH SCHOOL

Recording available by emailing senioradmissions@shhs.gdst.net

 

TASIS

tasisengland.org

Follow link above for recordings and to book an online appointment.

 

THE FALCONS PRE-PREP

falconsboys.co.uk

 

THE MANOR HOUSE BOOKHAM

manorhouseschool.org

Recorded Tour

Open Day – 12 May 2021

 

THE ROCHE SCHOOL

therocheschool.com

 

THE VILLAGE PREP SCHOOL

thevillageschool.org.uk

 

TORMEAD SCHOOL

tormeadschool.org.uk

Senior School Virtual Open Days –  28 April 0930, 9 June 0930

 

WETHERBY PREP

wetherbyprep.co.uk

School tour available at here.

 

If you would like your school to be added to the list, please email editor@citykidsmagaine.co.uk.

Feature image: St Benedict’s Junior School

For the latest news from schools head to our Education page >>>

THE PARENT’S CORNER

Things for parents

As parents we spend much of our time weathering the storm, diffusing arguments between siblings and juggling homeschool with work. From morning til evening, it’s all go. So, it’s only fair that we take a little moment to reset. We’ve picked out a few of our favourite things that help us to remain zen, anytime of day.

 

Start the day right

1. Iittala Nappula Plant Pot, Dark Green, from £53, John Lewis & Partners.

2. Squiggly Vegan Soy Candle, Black, £19.99, Ajouter Store on NotOnTheHighStreet

3. Bistro Tiled Margot Monogram Mug, £10, Anthropologie

4. Bang & Olufsen  Beosound Gen 2 Waterproof Speaker, £200, Selfridges

Daytime pick-me-ups

5. Biscuits of the Gods, Chocolate Pillow Biscuits, from £12.95 Hotel Chocolat

6. Paper Gang Stationary Subscription Box, from £14, Oh Deer

7. Calathea Rattlesnake Plant, £15, Urban Tropicana **Exclusive** 15% discount with code: CityKids15 

8.  From Every Angle Notebook in Sea Green, £44, Smythson

Late night comforts

9. Onaie Slippers, from £29.99, Onaie

10. Essential Oil Wellness Diffuser set, £150, Neom

11. Malfy Italian Rosa Gin, £28, Waitrose

12. Leopard and lightning Print Hoodie in Pale Grey, £55, Scamp and Dude

 

Looking for more ideas? Check our roundup of the best Water bottles here and follow our INSTAGRAM for more ideas and inspiration.

Please note, prices correct as of time of publishing. Prices may go up or down.

VALENTINE’S DAY GIFTS FOR ALL THE FAMILY

VALENTINE’S DAY GIFTS FOR ALL THE FAMILY

Ultimate Valentine’s Day Gift Guide 

Roses are red, violets are blue, no messing around… we know you’re strapped for time so we’ve done our research. From babies to grown ups and fur babies too. DO HURRY and get ordering, Valentine’s Time Day is CLOSER than we thought! 

For kids 

  1. Konges Slojd – Cloud Lamp in Off White, Scandiborn
  2. LOVE OUR PLANET sweatshirt – Caramel, Miley and Moss
  3. Vans, Red Old Skool Trainers, Alex and Alexa
  4. Stella McCartney Kids, Pink Heart Patch Sweatpants, Alex and Alexa 
  5. Mini Albino Whale – Handmade plush toy, Big Stuffed

For grownups

  1. Scented Candle Graphic Collection Roses by Diptyque
  2. Choose from a great selection of glorious gift boxes, blithe brownies and charming cakes & cookies, Konditor
  3. DARLING – Screen Print, Daisy Emerson
  4. LIPS PENDANT CHARM, Rosie Fortescue Jewellery 
  5. Converse All Star Hi Trainers, Black Vintage White Egret Love, Office Shoes

 

For furry friends 

  1. Personalised pet accessories from Yappy. Pick from hundreds of breeds to match your pet. See their selection of Valentines gifts and cards here.
  2. A fresh take on dog food with Butternut Box. Build your box here
  3. Dog Harbour Top, Joules
  4. Catit Butterfly Chaise Patterned Cat Scratcher, Lords and Labradors
  5. Blush Pink Vegan Leather Dog Collar, Barc London

Check out our  Feb half term survival guide here. As ever, follow us over on our Instagram for the latest City Kids scoop. 

FEB HALF TERM SURVIVAL GUIDE

Feb Half Term Lockdown Survival Guide 

While we’re armed with toolkits to survive term time, we thought it’d be equally (if not more) useful to share 12 useful resources for families this feb half term. Consider it an early Valentine’s Day gift! As if that wasn’t enough, we’ve even thrown in a couple of freebies and exclusive discounts to the mix. 

Activities

  • Firetech Camp. All the greatest courses PLUS we’ve an exclusive 25% discount for you. Simply use code: CK25
  • The Little Gym has created a brilliant YouTube channel dedicated to providing kids with positive, fun and engaging classes on demand to keep them healthy and happy during this unprecedented period. Learn new skills, perfect handstands and even learn how gymnastics helps with classroom learning.
  • Role Models is hidden away in our little black book but everyone should have them on speed dial. Life skills courses and hourly sessions for kids aged 5-7 and 8-11 which are engaging and fun and will help them with confidence and resilience.
  • Banjo Robinson’s letter subscription is great screen-free lockdown activity which encourages reading, writing and creative play, all delivered straight to your door. If your little one loves Banjo’s backstory, you can sign up to receive any of his letter subscriptions with a 50% discount, applying the code: MAGIC50 at checkout on their website. Limited time offer. You can also purchase the hardback picture book here.
  • Improve your tennis skills any time, any place, with our LTA Youth Home Activities hub, it’s full of activities for the whole family.

Food 

  • Combat that endless snacking conundrum with our roundup of fave snacks here
  • Little Cooks Co. Feed the kids and make them cook! Doubles up as a home economics class. We call it… genius! Find out more.
  • Order your Pancake Day Ultimate Kit now for a flipping great Shrove Tuesday thanks to Joe and Sephs! Lockdown might be here for a while but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate pancake day in gourmet style! Order a kit here, quick! 
  • TOP secret TASTY PROJECT ALERT. We’ve been cooking up something really rather spesh! THE CITY KIDS FAMILY MEAL PLANNER! If you’re not already signed up to our newsletter, then you’ll have to wait around another day. Otherwise, sign up to our newsletter here.

What’s on 

  • Build a den and enjoy an exciting night at the museum with the Dino Nights at Home sleepover at the National Museum of Wales. Find out more here
  • With the guidance of a professional illustrator, create your own superhero at this online drawing workshop from Imperial College London. Find out more here.
  • Get on board the world’s first bus powered by song with online play Rolling Down the Road, live-recorded at the Half Moon Theatre. Find out more here
  • Mama G is back on tour (virtually this time) with live online show Telling Tales on Telly, sure to get the whole family laughing and singing along this February half term. Find out more here.

Find more Feb half-term events and things to take part in here. As ever, follow us over on our Instagram for the latest City Kids scoop. 

FRIDAY FIVE – 22nd JAN

Friday Five: things to do with the kids this weekend

The shows must go on! We’re all at the end of our tethers, and there’d be nothing better than visiting the West End to experience a theatre show. TRUTH! So with aims of helping to keep the creative world going while we’re in lockdown, we’re sharing the magic of theatre to you.

Each ticket you buy, show that you watch and share keeps the spirit of the creative arts alive in these trying times.

1. The Unicorn Theatre’s Anansi the spider re-spun online.

ANANSI THE SPIDER RE-SPUN

The high-energy show about the antihero Anansi is inspired by classic West African and Caribbean tales and was filmed at the cast member’s homes. There are 3 episodes, each 10-15 minutes long and perfect for children aged 3-8.

The series is available to watch now until March 31 for free. Find out more here.

2. Charlotte Holmes: an adventure in a box

CHARLOTTE HOLMES ADVENTURE BOX

Solve puzzles by watching online videos and, at the same time, opening up the parcels inside the box. Along the way, there are lots of fun activities, games and puzzles to keep children entertained during the week’s game. The box is designed for children aged 7 to 12.

Find out more here

3. Balthazar Snapdragon in a world full of mystery and magic

BALTHAZAR SNAPDRAGON

With a box delivered right to your door, each day for a week you will open a package full of treats and access hidden online content.  Join Balthazar Snapdragon in a world full of mystery and magic as he tries to avert disaster before it is too late.

There are activities with video tutorials, props, games and puzzles and, over the course of the week, you will uncover all the clues you will need to help Balthazar on his whirlwind adventure. And along the way, you will learn some cool magic tricks to impress your friends.

The box is designed for children aged 7 to 12 and can be enjoyed by the whole family.

Find out more here

4. Hey Diddle Diddle Online

HEY DIDDLE DIDDLE

The weekly play session uses music and dance to encourage imagination and creativity and is perfect for babies and children under 5. Traditional and modern songs are covered and a range of instruments are used to keep little ones engaged.

Find out more here

5. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show

THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR SHOW

Reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar must be a rite of passage for all young children and their parents. Now you can stream the show online and enjoy the caterpillar’s foodie adventures all over again.

The hit show was filmed at the Hertford Theatre last December and that recording is now available to stream online until February 28th. The 50 minute show is recommended for ages 1 to 6. Tickets start from £14.50 for a 3 day pass.

Find out more here

Looking for more ideas to fill the family calendar? Check out our What’s On pages here and of course, we churn out daily bites of inspo over on our Instagram page.

Sailed through all of the above already? We’ve compiled your go-to list of homeschooling resources for lockdown 3.0. 

 

DOWNSEND OFFERS SITE FOR VACCINATIONS

Downsend School joins national campaign to get teachers vaccinated and children back in school

 

 

Downsend School in Leatherhead, has joined forces with other schools to offer their facilities for vaccinations. In a letter to the Prime Minister, the school’s parent company has outlined plans to bring forward the vaccination of school and nursery staff across the country and in turn, allow children to return to a normal and full education.

As increasing pressure mounts on the UK government to prioritise school staff in order to get children back in school, Downsend’s senior leadership team has been working with parent company Cognita to come up with a feasible implementation plan to get schools fully operational and physically open to students as quickly as possible.

 

In an open letter to Boris Johnson, together with other leading independent school bodies, Cognita CEO Chris Jansen wrote, “Our plan is to establish local “hub” schools dedicated to administering the vaccine to teachers, childcare workers and school support staff, starting with workers in nurseries and special schools so that these establishments can remain open over the coming weeks.”

Headmaster at Downsend, Ian Thorpe commented, ““Her Majesty’s Government has reiterated the importance of keeping schools open throughout this period of national crisis. The current scenario represents a race against time to ensure that schools are safe places, where the viral transmission rates are reduced, not increased. Vaccinating teachers is an obvious solution to help with this aim. Our larger schools represent perfect vaccination hubs – they have extensive parking, refrigeration facilities in which to store vaccines and close links with healthcare professionals. Downsend is happy to play its part in this national effort and it is inspiring to see Cognita, HMC and MATs collaborating to take the lead in support of this concept.”

downsend.co.uk

 

For more education stories click here>>>>

 

 

HOUSEPLANTS FOR KIDS

The jungle look with Urban Tropicana

 

By now, it’s likely that you’ve packed up all the Christmas decor and things may be looking a little bare. Fear not, we’ve a great way for you to fill your space thanks to the lovely lot at Urban Tropicana. And right now, we couldn’t need houseplants more. Did you know that they have psychological benefits that could all go some way to helping us all through a grey and locked down January? Amongst them are improved mood, increased worker productivity, improved attention span, reduced stress levels and increased speed of reaction in a computer task. We asked the team to give us a rundown of houseplants for kids that can be looked after by your budding gardeners.
PLUS read on for our exclusive discount code. 

 

1.Succulents

 

Houseplants for kids

  • Succulents are one of the easiest houseplants to look after – and they’re a pretty cool too.
  • Succulents do best in a sunny spot in very well-drained soil. Their chunky leaves are designed to store water, so they’re able to cope with periods of drought.
  • It is best to allow the soil to dry out between watering.
  • When you do decide to water, it is best to soak them, this will replicate a torrential down pour.
  • They need a lot less water over winter.
  • Urban Tropicana have put together a supercool box containing three baby succulents. Succulents will be selected at random – but we’ll make sure the trio is as varied as possible.

Shop Baby Box Succulents here
Pot Size: 5.5cm. Non-toxic

 

2. Christmas Cactus 

 

 

These cacti will bloom just in time for Christmas (hence their name), and they’re pretty stunning too. The hanging branches, which are made up of flat, glossy green segments, can grow to up to 3 feet long.

Flowers in red, white, yellow, pink, or purple appear at the tips of these branches and measure up to 3 inches long with several tiers of petals. This variety has white flowers.

In order to keep these plants looking beautiful, you need to follow all
the steps involved with proper Christmas cactus care.

Shop Christmas Cactus here
Pot size: 12cm. Non-toxic

 

3. Snake Plants

 

 

  • The Moonshine is an absolute stunner and one of our personal favourite snake plants. The foliage is the most delicious shade of silvery green. Easy to care for and looks amazing. What else could you ask for?
  • If you’re one of those people with a history of killing houseplants (we see you at the back) then the ‘Snake Plant aka Mother-in-laws tongue is for you. It doesn’t need much attention at all so if you forget you own it for a week or two – it will forgive you. They’re pretty indestructible – so totally safe for the ‘plant assassins’ amongst you.
  • They are also one of the best plants for removing harmful toxins from the air. Winner winner.
  • While it tolerates low light, snake plants will grow fastest in bright conditions.
  • Take care not to overwater. We water ours every 2 weeks or when the soil is totally dry.

Shop Snake Plants here 

Pot Size: 12cm. Mildly toxic if ingested.

4. The String of Hearts

 

 

  • The String of Hearts has gorgeous, mini, heart-shaped leaves. They grow pretty quick given the right conditions so you’ll have a stunning display in no time.
  • Keep your string of hearts in bright light, with some direct sun (but not all day) for the best colour and plenty of leaves.
  • If you notice large spaces between leaves, the chances are the plant is not getting enough light.
  • The string of hearts is a semi-succulent plant, which means it is more tolerant of dry soil than wet soil and is prone to rotting in wet soil – allow the soil to dry out completely between watering.

Shop String of Hearts here

Hanging Pot Size: 11cm. Non-toxic

 

5. Spanish Moss

 

 

  • This is one for those of you looking for a plant with maximun impact for not much effort. Spanish moss doesn’t need soil to survive, just keep it in a bright spot and mist or soak once a week. That’s it.
  • It’s native to Mexico, Central America, South America, the U.S., and the Caribbean. In the U.S. it grows from Texas to Virginia, staying in the moister areas of the South. Its preferred habitat is a healthy tree in tropical swampland.
  • Spanish moss grows on trees but it doesn’t put down roots in the tree it grows on, nor does it take nutrients from it. The plant thrives on rain and fog, sunlight, and airborne or waterborne dust and debris.

Shop Spanish Moss here

Approx length: 60cm. Non-toxic

Urban Tropicana launched in the midst of lockdown and their mission is to fill homes with plants, whatever your budget, do show them some love by following them on Instagram and by picking out a plant or three. They’ve kindly offered us an exclusive 15% discount. Simply use the code: CityKids15 at the checkout. You’re welcome! 

Looking for more interior inspo? Check out our Rainbow Edit here

 

 

FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five: things to do with the kids this weekend

Hurrah fellow parents, we’ve made it through the first week back to business; school, work, piles on piles of laundry plus everything else we’d put on hold over the Christmas break. Here’s your usual mix of things to do over the weekend. With temperatures plummeting and tightened lockdown restrictions, we’re keeping it cosy. Think virtual panto and kids’ food subscription boxes. 

1. Kipper’s Snowy Day, Watermans Online. On demand through to 31st Jan. Friday Five

2. Call it science, home economics, nutrition or life class, get the kids cooking with a fab Cook School Subscription. Boxes from £20. 

3. GirlGuiding x Join the Dots’ Sisterhood in the wood. Virtual panto. 

 

4. Cinderella online brought to you digitally by the Fairy Godmother that is Nottingham Playhouse. Final call, available until 16th Jan. 

5. Chickenshed Theatre presents Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Available to download online. 

Sailed through all of the above already? We’ve compiled your go-to list of homeschooling resources for lockdown 3.0. 

Do check back every Friday for our up-to-date round up of family activities, what’s on and more. Follow us on our Instagram for the latest updates.

 

THE BEST HOME LEARNING HELP

The City Kids guide to the best resources on and offline to help us all through lockdown

 

Is it Groundhog Day? April Fool’s Day? Friday 13th? Nope, just another Lockdown. We’ve been here before but will it be harder trying to work, run a house, educate, feed and entertain the kids in Lockdown 3.0?  We’ll let you know, but in the meantime, we’ll do our best to share what we think are the best resources to help with home learning. Good luck!

 

Online help

Depending on where you live, the age of your children or the type of school they’re at will make a big difference to how much time they’re expected to be online each day. But online doesn’t necessarily mean bad. There is plenty of great online help and tips for kids (and their parents) which you can take advantage of pronto.

The Little Gym

 

 

Move over Joe Wicks there’s a new PE teacher in town! With over 40 years experience coaching children in their purpose-built gyms, The Little Gym’s expert teachers are sharing some excellent, age-appropriate classes on their YouTube channel. Whether you have a baby or a bored 12-year-old, you’ll find sensory play, fundamental gymnastics skills, boot camps and more.  They’re big on child development and their classes are backed by teachers, doctors and occupational therapists. It’s all free and their latest How to…Guides might even persuade you to cartwheel through lockdown! 4 months+

Joe Wicks

Ok, he’s a living legend and some of you have bonded. Tune in Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 0900 for PE with Joe on his YouTube channel. KS1+

The Study Bunny: Focus Timer

There’s no point flogging a dead horse, and there’s no point trying to make little ones study when they over it.  The Study Bunny app helps time studying. You can hit pause when focus has flown out of the window, earn coins and aim to be more productive. KS1+

Role Models

If you’re worrying about their emotional development minus play-dates, a social life and general life skills, it could be worth looking up these guys. They’ve got bags of experience and focus on promoting social & emotional wellbeing and dynamic thinking. Check out their online courses here. KS1+

Mathswatch

This one was new to us but it’s a revelation, no wonder schools and teachers are using it. Plenty of free video explanations for Primary, KS3 and up. Explanations were so good that we can now solve questions on probability using Venn diagrams. And for a small payment you can sign up to get feedback and even more quality teaching. KS1+

Brain Pop

Animated videos across the arts and sciences. KS1+

Dr Chips

Got a coder or engineer at home, or indeed someone who needs some inspiration, then guide them towards Dr Chips’ Daily Doses. Easy to follow and required tools are always outlined in advance. Lava lamps, slime and chocolate rocks are just a taster. KS1+

Memrise

Need to swat up on languages, this one has clips of real native speakers as well as fun and effective games to practice skills. KS2+

CBeebies

If Hey Duggee can’t focus minds then we should all give up! Starting on 11 January, pre-schoolers up to those studying for GCSEs will be catered for daily across their channels. Every morning, CBBC will host a three hour block for primary aged children, with two hours of daily content for secondary aged kids on BBC Two. Early Years+

Offline help

 

Got it Games

Got it games support and reinforce teaching in the classroom, while boosting their reading and spelling. In each pack of Got it cards, there are five, quick to learn 10-minute games: Word Race, Word Pairs, Word Switch, Word Sets and Word Match. In line with the National Curriculum and suitable for children aged five and over, the games cover important, frequently used words. Developed by an experienced teacher, the games are multi-sensory and dyslexia friendly.

Collins

Best known for their dictionaries, Collins have a tonne of experience in workbooks for several key stages of learning. They’ve set aside free resources and have some helpful tips to help when home learning becomes overwhelming for the untrained teacher in all of us. KS1+

30 Day Lego Challenge

Great for problem solving and improving fine motor skills, That Brick Life has created a 30 day calendar with a different task to complete each day. Kids will need to channel their inner Emmet for this one and you’ll have to do your best not to become President Business. Early Years+

Mrs Wordsmith

We’ve always loved the illustrations that these guys provide and they’ve got some free downloadables on their site now. They’re US focussed but we’re told there’s a 100% UK English version coming very soon! KS1+

Story Starter

You’ll need a screen to get started, but you can write to your heart’s content after spinning the wheel which decides your task. Topics include adventure, fantasy and sci-fi. Early Years+

Story Cubes

If you’re dead set on time away from the screen, Rory’s Story Cubes give you prompts for all manner of exciting fables. Early Years+

Cook School

Subscribe to these boxes and you’ll not only have a lovely meal, but your child will have prepared it for you. This nationwide, not-for-profit organisation wants to help children to understand food by teaching them to cook it. Their new recipe boxes are suitable for children and young adults, making it the way to encourage kids into the kitchen, and start them on their cooking journey. KS2+

BBC Bitesize

They’re good. And they have lots of support for stressed out parents. KS1+

TTS

Supporting the national curriculum, TTS have provided free downloadables to help with Early Years, KS1 and KS2. They’re created by teachers so cover everything from grammar tools to guided reading and can also help with English as a second language. Early Years+

Fun Phonics

Janna White set up Fun Phonics in 2015 and teaches over 300 children per week. Her website has plenty of materials to help parents and pupils of pre-school and primary school. Early Years+

Twinkl

Last, but my no means least is Twinkl. They came into their own in March and they’ve got all topics covered. Download, print and off you go! Early Years+.

 

For more lockdown things to keep them busy head here

 

HEALTHY SNACKS FOR FAMILIES IN LOCKDOWN

Healthy snacks for families in lockdown

So it’s official, schools won’t be open for the foreseeable here the UK. Which means that us busy parents must keep on top of the snack cupboard stock take. PLUS with very little time to even sip a warm cuppa between Teams calls, we know that busy parents like us will need a steady supply of healthy snacks to produce in front of the little snackers quicker than you can say “lockdown three”.

TOP TIP for those on a New Year health kick, we suggest substituting the usual snacks for something healthier. So we’ve picked out a bunch of  organic, gluten-free, vegan friendly alternatives. All tried and tested – your resident snack monsters are in for a treat (or 8).

Team sweet

healthy snacks for kids - Bear Paws
1. Bear Paws Strawberry and Apple Bear Nibbles, Farmdrop, £2.75 for a pack of 5. Vegan friendly.

Fruit bowl healthy snacks for kids

2. Fruit Bowl Unicorn Flakes, Tesco, £2 for a pack of 5. Gluten free. Veggie friendly.

3. Snackzilla Cookies, Snackzilla, from £3. Low Sugar.

4. Biona Pomegranate Hearts, Planet Organic, £1.99. Vegan friendly.

Team savoury


1. Proper Chips Sea Salt Lentil Chips, Waitrose & Partners, £2. Vegan friendly.

2. Eat Real Hummus Chips, Holland & Barrett, from 99p. Vegan friendly.

3. Abakus Salt and Vinegar Seaweed Crisps, Holland & Barrett, 99p. Vegan friendly.

4. Ape Really Cheesy Puffs, 99p. Vegan friendly.

 

Wash it down with a big gulp of water. Check our roundup of the best Water bottles here

Follow our INSTAGRAM for more ideas and inspiration.

Please note, prices correct as of time of publishing. Prices may go up or down.

FIRST FRIDAY FIVE OF 2021

FRIDAY FIVE

Regardless of which tier you find yourself in, the show must really go on. We’ve found five fab theatre productions that’ll help bring the magic of a storytelling and the creative arts to your own home. ⁠

 

⁠ 1. National Theatre’s I want my hat back [online]⁠

2. Unicorn Theatre’s Christmas Huddle Show [online]⁠

3. Tall Story’s The Gruffalo [online]⁠

4. Peter Rabbit Activity Trail with National Trust [various locations]⁠

5. Creation Theatre’s Wonderful Wizard of Oz [online]⁠

Looking for more New Year’s Resolution inspo, how about volunteering this Christmas break? Follow our INSTAGRAM for more ideas and inspiration. We’ll be bringing you a weekly dose of inspo with our Friday five roundups.

PLUS to improve your inbox, we highly recommend subscribing to our fortnightly emails. Link for that is also in bio. ⁠ ⁠ Happy New Year and thanks again for your continued to support! CKHQ x ⁠

 

THE HOMESCHOOL EDIT

The Homeschool Edit

It’s official. Most school kids won’t be going back to school just yet. But this doesn’t halt our ability to keep up with their studies. While we all brace ourselves for another bout of homeschool/remote learning/stress, we’ve an edit that may help to get you top parent points. And most importantly, make this round of homeschool that little bit better, easier, exciting and rewarding.

 

 

The homeschool edit

 

  1. Stickers. Loads of them. Meri Meri Reward Stickers from Kidly, £6.50 
  2. Personalised Kids Star Reward Jar by CRAFTLY LTD from NotOnTheHighstreet.com, £25
  3. Keep a record. Journal their progress and feedback regularly to their teachers. We LOVE the selection from Papier. Fruit Stickers Notebook by Bodil Jane on Papier, from £14.99
  4. Set timed tasks to test their learning. Use your handy home automation buddy, it’ll save you from having to yell for their attention later. Try out the small but mighty Apple HomePod Mini, £99

 

 

  1. Pocket money. Older kids may appreciate this one more. We’d rather not call it bribery, but instead, incentivising them for their hard work. Try out one of the cool Pocket Money apps such as Go Henry. They’ve recently launched an eco card too! 
  2. How about getting the whole family kitted out in matching shirts? No? We’ll you’ll have to create a rota so you don’t all clash wearing the Home S’Cool T Shirt, Annual Store, £18
  3. Anything with cute cats and or dogs, how about this totally smashing it notebook, Paperchase, £10

Get them involved in decorating their own learning space,  LEGO® DOTS 41907 Desk Organiser set, Selfridges, £18

 

 

  1. Break up small bursts of learning with a fun activity. How about a spot of colouring in? We love everything about these crayons and all they stand for. Colour Me Kids Crayons, from Acorn and Pip, £4
  2. Encourage them to explore their emotions. Abrams & Chronicle Books Mindful Kids Cards, from Kidly, £11
  3.  Be sure to order ample rewards for pupils and teachers too. A guilt free treat from Play in Choc, from £2.50
  4. The Happy Self Journal, £19.90

Looking to refresh their room with some inspirational tidbits, find the perfect pop of colour from our rainbow edit here.

How’s your New Year’s resolutions going? Check our roundup of the best Water bottles here

Follow our INSTAGRAM for more ideas and inspiration.

Please note, prices correct as of time of publishing. Prices may go up or down.

THE RAINBOW EDIT

The Rainbow Edit

We’ve gone in search for all things bright and beautiful for those hoping to give their kids’ room a new lease of life for 2021. With varying budgets in mind, read on for a showcase of wonderful products PLUS a TOP TIP on how you can share positive vibes outside of your own home.

When we came across this gorgeous image on Coral Atkinson’s Instagram feed, it ignited all the rainbow interior feels. The rainbow symbol has always been a fave here at City Kids HQ. The year 2020 has renewed our love for all things rainbow vibes. The rainbow symbolises hope, resilience and the togetherness we’ve displayed throughout the pandemic. 

 

The Rainbow EditPhoto Credit: Coral Atkinson on Instagram

 

  1. Rainbow print, Lorna Freytag, £13.99
  2. Droplet garland- Made to order, Velveteen Babies, £39,
  3. Loved pennant flag, House of Hooray, £24
  4. Mustard Storage Trunk, Beautify, £37.99

 

The Rainbow Edit - Save

 

  1. Leopard Print Gold Foil Rainbow Art Print by Susie Cutie Designs, NotOnTheHighStreet.com, £12.50
  2. Good Morning Sunshine linen flag, Etsy, £12.25
  3. Multicolour Star Garland, Meri Meri, £9
  4. Rainbow Bedding Set – Single,GLTC, £28
  5. Magnetic Space Rocket Construction Wooden Toy, Retro Kids, £18
  6. Short 1 Door 2 Shelf Locker – Mustard, Argos Home, £60
  7. Personalised Modern Rainbow Money Pot Piggy Bank by Funky Laser, Notonthehighstreet.com, £18.99
  8. Lines for All Seasons Vertical Poster, London Transport Museum, £10

 

Splurge - The Rainbow Edit

 

  1. Little Lights – Rainbow Lamp, Scandiborn, £104.95
  2. Royal Aero Hot Air Balloon Rainbow, Blue Almonds, £88
  3. Play Teepee, Space Explorer, GLTC, £63.75
  4. Mustard Made – Skinny Locker in Berry, Scandiborn, £228.95
  5. Personalised Peeping Bear Print, Buddy and Bear, from £18
  6. Reversible Gingham reversible Bed Linen Set, The White Co, from £35
  7. JOX Set of 2 Blue Metal Trunks, Alex and Alexa, £87.00
  8. Dipped Tassel Garland, Meri Meri £18.75

TOP TIP: Give back. While throwing together a rainbow edit inspired room for your kids, how about mixing and matching between the spend and splurge items and using some of your budget towards giving a small donation to a charity such as NHS Charities Together, Rainbow Trust or The Trussell Trust.

 

Looking for more New Year’s Resolution inspo, how about volunteering this Christmas break? Follow our INSTAGRAM for more ideas and inspiration.

Please note, prices correct as of time of publishing. Prices may go up or down.

STAYING HYDRATED IN THE NEW YEAR

Staying Hydrated this winter

We’ve rounded up some of our favourite water bottles for kids (and grown ups too) that are bound to help keep on top of staying hydrated and healthy this winter. Funny how by changing up your bottle motivates you to drink more water. From neon reds to frozen blues, antibacterial and to suit all budgets, we have got your family’s hydration goals covered! 

A splash of redWater Bottles

  1. Done by Deer First Meal Set – Sea Friends in Powder, £16.95
  2. Neon Red, Chillies bottle in Original, £15
  3. Tinc Mallo Pink Drinks Bottle, 500ml, £10
  4. Garage Station Print Kids Drinking Bottle, £5.50

A pop of yellow

  1. Liewood Neo Water Bottle – Mustard / Sandy Mix , £26.95
  2. Monbento, Positive 330ml Bottle, £12
  3. Wigiwama Water Bottle, £22
  4. VIIDA, Soufflé Antibacterial Stainless Steel Cup, £20

Four green bottles

  1. Frugi Splish Splash Steel Bottle – Whale
  2. Budz Slimline Stainless Steel Drink Bottle
  3. Hip Jade Green Water Bottle
  4. One green bottle curvy stainless steel bottle

A drop of blue

  1. S’ip by S’well Disney Frozen Elsa Vacuum Insulated Drinks Bottle in blue, £14.99
  2. Dopper Original Drinks Bottle in pacific blue, £12.50
  3. Sports Stainless Steel Drink Bottle, £10.50
  4. Transparent drinking bottle with a LEGO knob lid and removable silicone strap, £10

Follow our INSTAGRAM for more ideas and inspiration.

Looking for more New Year’s Resolution inspo, how about volunteering this Christmas break?

 

Please note, prices correct as of time of publishing. Prices may go up or down.

Saving Christmas with these last min gifts

Last minute gifts for all the family

 

Things took an unexpected turn this weekend, so for many – the closure of non-essential stores will have thrown a great big spanner in the works. Lucky for you, we’ve a roundup of super last minute things to get for all the family. You’re welcome.

last minute gifts for all the family

 

Last minute gifts for kids 

  1. Don’t worry if you missed the Noodoll delivery deadline. Hand them a Noodoll voucher and a whole load of choice. Anyone else got their eyes on the sprouts?!
  2. Cass Art vouchers for the budding Picasso.
  3. PlayStation vouchers for big and little kids lucky enough to get their mitts on a PS5.

Last minute gifts for her

  1. SPACENK vouchers. The more the merrier!
  2. 3 months of flowers deliveries from Bloom & Wild. A great way to brighten someones day while we ride out this lockdown.
  3. A bottle of Mirabeau Gin AND/OR Malfy. Does this even need an explanation. Get both for extra brownie points!

Last minute gifts for him

  1. Support a lockdown business such as Urban Tropicana while also gifting green this Christmas. We LOVE their selection of plants.
  2. The promise of a meal box. Have them drooling over the Lyle’s Menu Box.
  3. Another great one for the foodie. Doughnut Time vouchers. YUM!

Click here for ideas on how your family can give the gift of volunteering at Christmas.

FRIDAY FIVE GOLDEN THINGS TO DO

Friday Five: things to do with the kids this weekend

 

Regardless of tiers or lockdown restrictions it is totally possible to make it a truly magical Christmas at home. Here’s our Friday Five things to do to keep ‘em busy.⁠

d

Christmas Markets at home

Create a pop-up Christmas Market at home, we love this imaginary Shopfront Banner by Little Doodle House from Holly and Co. 

DIY Baubles

Use the Noodoll’s super cute DIY Ricemonster Baubles activity template. We also made an attempt to create their wreath. Find more creative Christmas projects here.

Ping a message to the North Pole

Send Santa a letter with Meri Meri’s wonderful letter template. 

Bake some biccies!

Bake a Christmas Biscuit Wreath with Biscuiteers recipe

Show time

Miss going to the cinema? So do we. Create your own cinema at home with Twinkl’s role play cinema activity pack. 

Do check back every Friday for our up-to-date round up of family activities, what’s on and more. Follow us on our Instagram for the latest updates.

Click here for ideas on how your family can volunteer at Christmas.

KINGS TUTORS CLUB

London education provider Kings Tutors has launched Kings Tutors Club

 

Kings Tutors Club provides focused, flexible and fully interactive educational courses; all uniquely designed to enhance both academic education and twenty-first century skills for children and young adults. This new educational platform has been launched in response to identifying four modern-day realities:

1) The unprecedented success of online learning.

2) The need for consistent, reliable and entirely flexible education.

3) The ever-growing demand for vital life skills (from confidence to communication, resilience to critical thinking) in the modern workplace.

4) The unavoidable knowledge gaps generated by the pandemic.

By identifying and embracing all of these, Kings Tutors Club is aiming to enrich a child’s immediate academic requirements with wider life skills. Courses span from targeted workshops (including ‘Coding’ and ‘Creative Writing’) to broader programmes such as ‘Calm Clear & Confident’ and ‘GCSE Christmas Preparation’. A range of one-to-one and group formats are available, enabling parents to choose the teaching style best suited to their child. Each course is hosted by one of Kings Tutors’ expert mentors or tutors selected from a team of specialists recognised by the Good Schools Guide for always going “the extra mile” to ensure “children reach their full potential.”

All courses are held on Kings Tutors’ popular interactive learning platform. This is a free service, easy to use and named one of “the best online tutoring resources 2020″ by Mumsnet. It is likewise compatible with all devices (phone, tablet, laptop and desktop), enabling access wherever you are, whenever you need.

“True education is not – and never has been – confined to exam knowledge. Now more than ever, it is critical to recognise this from early years,” says Emily Jack, Founder of Kings Tutors, a qualified teacher and director of The Tutors’ Association.

This belief is enforced by robust global research, with reports from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and World Economic Forum identifying transferable skills such as creativity, communication, digital literacy and critical thinking as imperative for the future workplace.

The  Top 3 Courses for Christmas 2020:

• CALM. CLEAR. CONFIDENT – The ultimate 2021 exam preparation for both child & parent. Includes dedicated educational consultant, mentor and tutors. Available from 11+ to A-Level.

• GCSE CHRISTMAS COURSE – Set of 5 online group lessons in key subjects with specialist tutors. Available for Maths, Physics, Biology, Chemistry and Geography.

• CODING – Fun, focused workshops to instil the basics of this career-enhancing skill. Put into the context of building a text-adventure game, the course also boosts aptitude for critical thinking and problem-solving.

For more information on 2021 courses please head to: www.kingstutorsclub.com

 

For more education news head here.

 

START-RITE REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

We’ve a Start-Rite review PLUS an opportunity for you to WIN a pair of of shoes of your choice in our giveaway. Read on to enter.

As experts in little feet, Start-Rite is forever our first port of call when it comes to selecting shoes for the kid. Whether it’s a new pair for school shoes or muddy-puddle proof boots, they’ve certainly got it all. We jumped at the chance of testing out their newest collection and in true Christmas spirit, we’re giving away 1 pair of shoes to a very lucky winner. Read on for a review and a chance to win our giveaway.

We went for their dazzling Multi Metallic Patent Girls Zip-up Ankle Chelsea Boots. They’re daring but are the boot of dreams for most 6 year olds. Their Chelsea boots are available in 5 other fab colours. We love that the patent material can be wiped clean should they come into contact with any dirt (very likely). 

Here’s a number of seasonal looks to go with Start-Rite’s Chelsea Boots.

Girls

Dress up(1) Girls Grey Felted Coat, Mayoral at Child’s Salon. (2) Rhubarb Smoking Dress, Smock London. (3)Marie Curie Blouse with Liberty Print Detail, Smock London.

Dress Down(1) White branded scarf, Burberry at Alex and Alexa (2) Black denim multi coloured star dress, Stella Kids at Alex and Alexa (3) Black denim multi coloured star trousers, Stella Kids at Alex and Alexa

Boys

Here’s how we’d style the Boy’s Chelsea boot with Space print:

Dress up

(1) Pea Coat in navy, Trotters (2) White Thomas Brown Shirt, Trotters (3) Jamie Jumper in burgandy, Trotters

Dress Down
(1) Navy Pom Pom Beanie, Moncler at Alex and Alexa (2) Yellow Kind Cub the Lion all weather winter Jacket,Dinoski at Alex and Alexa (3) Navy Fairisle Jumper, Rachel Riley

TOP TIP: We used Start-Rite’s free printable measuring gauge which is a lifesaver when ordering online. It’s fairly straight forward and it’s great that you can beat the queues this time of year. In a nutshell, once you’ve got the width and length, you tap the measurements into their shoe size calculator and ta-da, you can start picking out your fave style. 

Giveaway time!

For a chance to win ENTER YOUR DETAILS BELOW: 

 

Fill out my online form.

 

T&Cs apply. Good luck!

  • 1 x winner to choose any pair of Start-Rite Shoes up to the value of £50.
  • Ends 11.59pm on 18th December. Winner to be drawn shortly after.
  • Our decision is final.

 

 

 

Do check out Start-Rite’s wide range of shoes and boots for kids here. AND their fantastic tool for measuring them up from home here

 

 

CHRISTMAS BOOKS

9 great Christmas Books for little kids and big kids

If you haven’t already, now’s the time to swap the usual bedtime stories for something a little bit more Christmassy.

As with the rest of our usual Christmas traditions, all things 2020 and COVID have crept their way into some of the storybooks. Here are some of our favourite Christmas Books which we think will suit a range of ages. 

 

The Ickabog By JK Rowling

 

 

Merry Christmas, Baked Potato By Matt Lucas

 

 

There’s an Elf in Your Book (Who’s in Your Book?) by Tom Fletcher

 

 

Horrible Histories: Horrible Christmas By Terry Deary

 

A Very Corona Christmas: Santa Stays Home By Kelley Donner

 

 

Draw with Rob at Christmas By Rob Biddulph 

 

 

I Love You More Than Christmas By Ellie Hattie

 

 

A Christmas in Time By Sally Nicholls

 

 

A Christmas Snowflake By Wonderbly

 

 

For more Christmassy ideas:

Stocking Fillers

Green Gifts

Educational Toys

 

FALCONS SCHOOL FOR GIRLS CRICKET

Falcons School for Girls Teams Up with Leading Cricket Clubs

 

Falcons School for Girls has partnered with Roehampton and Fulham Cricket Clubs to provide pupils with best-in-class girls cricket training. Students  from Years 3 to 6 at the Putney-based school have already enjoyed a series of training sessions, which were led by industry professionals from the two London clubs. 

The sessions gave the girls the valuable opportunity to build upon and put their existing skills to the test, while also learning new techniques. The coaches  thought the girls displayed huge potential and hope to see some more of them at future training sessions at the clubs. 

The girls thoroughly enjoyed the sessions, with Year 6 pupil Maelys commenting: “I really enjoyed cricket training. It was super fun and the coaches were passionate about teaching us cricket. The aim of the session was to learn new batting techniques such as front and back drive and develop bowling skills”.

 Dash, a Year 5 pupil added, “We did lots of running, team work games and the group had lots of team spirit. The aim of the session was to focus on running fast, throwing and catching a ball well, and to think quickly when fielding”

 PE and Games Lead for Falcons School for Girls, Amber Walters commented, “We’re grateful to Roehampton and Fulham Cricket Clubs for providing our girls with a taster of cricket. It’s been fantastic to see the girls gain expert knowledge and understanding of the sport, which is new to most of them. It’s never been more important than it is now for pupils to have the opportunity to enjoy sport together in the fresh air, so it’s no wonder the response was so positive!”

 About Falcons School for Girls

Falcons School for Girls, incorporating co-educational Peregrines Nursery, is a prep school enjoying a convenient location within the leafy conservation area of Woodborough Road, Putney. It is a small, family school; the children are confident, cheerful and motivated, the staff knowledgeable, kind and creative, with high expectations.

From the moment pupils join the school, they are encouraged to be academically ambitious, take responsibility for their behaviour and learning and be curious, positive and resilient, qualities that will accompany them through life if they are embedded at a young age.

Reaching far beyond the national curriculum, the school strives to strengthen and enhance the pupils’ learning pathways through carefully planned lessons and activities, supported by a rich co-curricular programme. The school has very clear academic goals, proven by an outstanding history of 11+ results.

 For more information on Falcons School for Girls, call Chetna Kava, Admissions Officer, on Tel: 0208 992 5189 or email admissions@falconsgirls.co.uk

www.falconsgirls.co.uk

 For more education news>>>>

FALCONS PREP NEW RECEPTION CLASS

Falcons Prep – Richmond is opening its doors to boys aged 4+ from January


Following a successful Department of Education inspection, Falcons Prep – Richmond will begin welcoming boys into a new Reception Class from January 2021.

Located just a 5 minutes’ walk from Richmond station, Falcons Prep prides itself on providing a happy, safe and nurturing environment where every boy belongs. From day one, reception boys will join a thriving school community, where they will be encouraged to learn through hands-on experiences, to explore, discover and to deepen their own understanding of the world around them.

With a clear focus on academic achievement, staff make it their priority to understand the boys as individuals, helping them reach their potential and ensuring they emerge as intelligent, resilient boys who are well prepared for whatever opportunities lie ahead.

Pupils at Falcons Prep identify with, embody and model the values and characteristics set out in the five learning habits (creativity, curiosity, independence, resilience and risk-taking). They are reflective, energetic and committed to growing and changing as learners, whilst also being critically curious, asking questions that get beneath the surface, and are able to think laterally, making connections across subjects and life contexts. Falcons boys learn to be creative and imaginative, resilient when faced with setbacks and they make the most of all the many learning opportunities they will be presented with in life.

Beyond the classroom, all boys take advantage of the fantastic open green spaces provided by Old Deer Park and Richmond Athletics Association, creating a space for the boys to be immersed in all aspects of Forest School and Sport.

For tours (virtual or in person), contact the Registrar: registrar@falconsprep.co.uk

www.falconsprep.co.uk

THE GOWER SCHOOL POETRY COMPETITION

 

The Gower School celebrates poetry with a competition

Children from The Gower School choose their entry for the ISA Poetry Competition with their own internal contest.

 

 

Children from Forms One to Six were invited to take part in the school’s competition using the title ‘Everything All at Once’. Each Form declared a deserved winner and the judging panel were seriously impressed by the children’s writing skills. The overall winner was Oscar Mellows-Facer, age 7, who will now represent the school in the national Independent Schools Association’s Poetry Competition 2020.

The Gower School judging panel chose Oscar’s poem as “It was the most memorable poem! We loved the clever repetition within each verse and the short, punchy verses which reflected the hectic, stirring and action-packed nature of the events leading up to the American election. It was also laced with humour!”

The Gower School Librarian, Scarlet Pykett, age 10, was on the judging panel and chose Oscar’s poem saying: “Oscar’s poem was an amusing way of discussing current events. My favourite line was ‘says the guy with crazy hair’, as I liked the rhyming.”

School Principal Emma Gowers said: “It’s great to see children getting so enthused about poetry. They especially loved hearing the poems recited at assembly. Huge congratulations to all our winners for their incredible poems and best of luck to Oscar at the national finals!”

For more information about The Gower School in Islington:

thegowerschool.co.uk

EDUCATIONAL CHRISTMAS TOYS GUIDE

Our Educational Christmas Toys Guide gets top marks for fun and entertainment.

The selection of play driven educational toys and puzzles we’ve curated for our guide will keep them occupied as well as growing their brains!

 

 

PlayPress

Fire up their imaginations with this interactive playset with 44 pop-out pieces. If you’re not Gruffalo fans (pardon?!) you can choose from farmyard, house, astronaut and many more worlds. £14.99
playpresstoys.co.uk

 

My Busy Bots

 

This bundle focuses on literacy, looking at letter sounds, CVC words and then compound words. Lots of fun, hands-on activities to enjoy for children who are in (or going in to) reception upwards. £26.99
www.mybusybots.com

 

Edx Education

 

Learn to sort, stack, make patterns, identify colours and create pictures. Also includes an activity guide for learning ideas.£22.99.
amazon.co.uk

 

Wee Gallery Large Floor Puzzle

 

This 24 piece puzzle teaches about nature and encourages problem solving. £30.
kidly.co.uk

 

Galt Marble Glow Run

An old favourite toy but great for motor skills, organisation, planning and STEM basics. £19.99
johnlewis.com

Turing Tumble

 

Take inspiration from Turing himself to build mechanical computers powered by marbles to solve logic puzzles. Use ramps, crossovers, bits, interceptors, gears, and gear bits to build marble-powered computers that can generate patterns, do logic, count, add, subtract, multiply, divide, and much, much more.
turingtumble.com

Lego Make Your Own Movie

 


Christmas isn’t Christmas without some Lego, but this gets them thinking beyond the prescriptive instructions. £14.99
brightminds.co.uk

FAO Schwarz Discovery Construction Fort

 

With 72 pieces to connect, this should keep them occupied and test their STEM learning.£22
selfridges.com

Earth and Constellations Globe

 


Earth by day and space by night. In daylight, the 22.8 cm world map shows geographical features and by night the illuminated star map shows 88 different constellations. A light sensor automatically turns the globe to the illuminated night view when it gets dark.£39.99
brightminds.co.uk

 

Leapfrog Number Lovin Oven

Some toys just make you smile. Yes, it’s plastic, but we reckon it can be enjoyed by several families over a few years. There are 30+ songs and phrases for counting, sharing and vocabulary skills. Little ones can move the number slider to learn about time and temperature, cut food into 2, 3 or 4 equal pieces to build maths skills, and press the chef’s hat to count and sing along to lively songs. £22.
next.co.uk

Who Do I See in the Mirror?

This colour-illustrated book contains a strong message that it’s what is on the inside that counts. A wonderful finishing touch is that it ends with a certificate that each child can hang up on their wall.
phillyandfriends.com

 

 

Kids Can Cook

Once they’ve got the hang of pretend cooking, introduce them to the real thing with this book of wondrous nostalgia by Esther Coombes. £11.99.
blackwells.co.uk

>>>>>>For our Green Gift guide, head here >>>>>>

Follow us on Instagram

 

HOW TO DISCUSS DIVERSITY WITH KIDS

Toys and books to use to discuss diversity with kids

Vese, the brains behind Philly & Friends took over our instagram to discuss her challenges with finding toys and books that represented her daughter and how it inspired her to build her own brand. She recommends four fab toys and books to use to discuss diversity with kids at home.

Super Sapiens – 3 in 1 card game

Vese, the brains behind Philly & Friends took over our instagram to discuss her challenges with finding toys and books that represented her daughter and how it inspired her to build her own brand. Here's four fab toys and books to use to discuss diversity with kids at home.

The Super Sapiens 3 in one is the perfect pocket-sized empowerment game. It can be played 3 ways: Snap, Memory, and Super Guess? It’s a fun way to encourage conversations on real-world issues.

Etsy.com

Rosa and Bo – Nesting Babies 

Vese, the brains behind Philly & Friends took over our instagram to discuss her challenges with finding toys and books that represented her daughter and how it inspired her to build her own brand. Here's four fab toys and books to use to discuss diversity with kids at home.

These Rosa & Bo Nesting Babies offer interactive play but also make a gorgeous decorative piece in any nursery. Babies and toddlers will be drawn to the bright colours as well as the friendly and diverse faces.

Rosaandbo.com

Eeboo – I Never Forget a Face Board Game

Vese, the brains behind Philly & Friends took over our instagram to discuss her challenges with finding toys and books that represented her daughter and how it inspired her to build her own brand. Here's four fab toys and books to use to discuss diversity with kids at home.This memory game is a smart way to teach kids about diversity, culture and traditions from around the globe. We also rather love that it’s made from 90% recycled cardboard!

johnlewis.com

Philly and Friends – Who do I see in the mirror?

Vese, the brains behind Philly & Friends took over our instagram to discuss her challenges with finding toys and books that represented her daughter and how it inspired her to build her own brand. Here's four fab toys and books to use to discuss diversity with kids at home.

Vese’s book ‘Who Do I See in the Mirror?’ is a simple yet powerful book about Philly, who goes through a journey of discovering what makes her truly special. This gorgeous, colour-illustrated book concludes with a strong message that it’s what is on the inside that counts. As well as this empowering message, the book ends with a lovely finishing touch – a certificate that each child can hang up on their wall.

Phillyandfriends.com

We’re big on amplifying voices as well as educating our kids about the struggles of the past and how much further we need to go. See our Anti-Racist Books edit here.

Watch Vese’s takeover over on our IGTV here.  Follow us on Instagram.

FREE SCHOOL MEALS: HOW YOU CAN HELP

Petition to extend free school meals over the holidays until Easter 2021 rejected by a 322 – 261 vote majority.Child Poverty

According to the Child Poverty Action Group, “In every school class of 30 children, on average, nine will be living in poverty”. Beyond the numbers and figures, the decision not to extend free school meals beyond easter will impact thousands of vulnerable children in the UK. To you and I, that could be our children’s classmates, a neighbour, a relative or friend. 

So, here’s how we can work together to take action NOW and stand in solidarity with the families that rely on free school meals for their kids. In Rashford’s own words, “This is not politics, this is humanity” and we couldn’t agree more. 

  1. Write to your MP asking for free school meals and child poverty to be a priority in his or her plans. Regardless of how your MP voted, they represent you, so you are entitled to have your say.
  2. Contact your local council. Some London councils have promised to provide free school meals during the Christmas holidays. Check in with yours and see if it can do the same.
  3. Sign a petition like this one by 16 year old Christina.
  4. Volunteer at the Food bank nearest to you
  5. Check on those that you know who may be struggling at this time. 
  6. Make a financial donation to any of the organisations listed on this page. No matter how big or small, it will make a difference. Seek out those close to home like The Childhood Trust in London or Alice Charity which serves the Newcastle and Stoke area.  
  7. Educate yourself. Educate your kids too. Did you know that 67% of children in poverty have at least one parent who works. There’s so many stories, facts and figures that you can find via the following sources: 
  8.  Don’t Judge

Here at City Kids HQ, we’re always on the lookout for new initiatives to shout out and support. Do get in touch if there are any useful resources that you think we should highlight.

WIN A YEAR’S SUBSCRIPTION TO ANORAK

We’re celebrating Anorak’s 14th anniversary by offering you the opportunity to win a year’s subscription to Anorak.

 

With a circulation of over 20 000 worldwide, Anorak and sister publication Dot (now 5 years old) have carved a niche that is internationally acclaimed and recognised. Not bad for a magazine that distributors said would never last. As fellow print lovers, we’ve decided to celebrate this momentous milestone by offering City Kids readers the chance to win a year’s subscription to Anorak.

THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED

 

Their latest iconic issue features artist Mugariah and is all about imagination. It’s also available both as a paper edition and as a digital one.

Cathy Olmedillas launched Anorak 14 years ago without any real strategy in mind. Alongside its sister publication DOT, it’s become an integral part of family life and inspired many children and parents to learn through creativity. This effect has been especially prominent during the turbulent times of the Covid-19 lockdown, in which homeschooling had become necessary.

After 14 years, Anorak has not only launched many great illustrators’ careers but also brought back the notion of creativity in childhood.

Following Anorak’s mission, the publication created a Little Editors scheme helping to raise the next generation of creative doodlers through drawing missions that are sent out every month! Although Anorak and DOT have been spreading joy and creativity over the past years with their uniquely themed issues, there is still much more to come with books and podcasts during the planning stage!

Don’t miss out on other giveaways, news or offers. Sign up to our newsletter here

How to enter:

All you need to do is complete the contact form below and we’ll draw a winner on Monday 5 October 2020.

 

 

Ts & Cs
The decision of City Kids is final.
No cash alternative.
If the winner does not claim the prize pithing 24 hours of notification, City Kids reserves the right to draw a new winner.
UK entries only.

TACKLING RACISM IN THE CURRICULUM

The Black Curriculum aims to shake up history taught in schools. Based on personal experience, Lavinya Stennett explains where the syllabus fails and how change will help us tackle racism in the curriculum.

 

The world seemed to finally notice the Black Lives Matter movement, following the murder of George Floyd. Global demonstrations gave rise to long-overdue conversations about racial history. This was the case of many parts of the world, including the UK, where cities have prospered on the foundations of the slave trade. It is a history rarely told in detail at school. The Black Curriculum is a social enterprise. It aims to revolutionise the history syllabus in this country for eight to 16 year olds. Its CEO, Lavinya Stennett, explains how she’s tackling racism in the curriculum.

System failure

Students are not being taught Black British History consistently. That is despite numerous findings which demonstrate its importance. Latest Home Office figures show that in 2017/18, there were 94,098 hate crime offences recorded by the police in England and Wales, 76% of which were racially aggravated.

The reality of racism operates in many ways, particularly through the lack of education and understanding of Black British history. The Macpherson Report showed that a culturally diverse curriculum is a way to prevent racism. Similarly, The Windrush Review recommended that colonial and migration history should be taught. So why are we still here today?

How racism in the curriculum impacts young people

When young people are not taught their history within Britain, their sense of identity is impacted. Social relations are hindered. A 2007 report on the over-representation of young Black people in the criminal justice system showed the link between these shortcomings as causing underachievement.

A proposed remedy suggests the ‘government should ensure history lessons are relevant to all young people in Britain’. The Black Curriculum recognises that Black history is British history.

The current curriculum and exam board specifications are limited in providing Black British history. Black history is not mandatory in schools that have their own curriculum. Without the resource, time and understanding, we are still going to face the same problems. We can not simply rely on parents and carers to provide this material.

Black British history is not merely a theme for October. It started hundreds of years before Windrush. It pre-dates European colonial enslavement. Our work aims to overcome these limitations. It provides a contextual and globalised history. Rooting the Black British experience in histories of movement and migration – 365 days a year.

We want to prepare students to become fully rounded citizens. Ready for an increasingly globalised world. Our curriculum is grounded in the arts, this allows them to engage with history imaginatively. It encourages satisfaction and critical thinking. Through our holistic approach we aim to remedy a wider issue.

About Lavinya

Lavinya is a historian, writer and First-Class graduate from SOAS.

The vision to create The Black Curriculum came from her firsthand experience in British education. She saw the impact of exclusion. Learning ‘Black history’ in the lone month of October was not enough. Studying abroad, she found the Indigenous and colonial history in Aotearoa was part of their everyday. It was accessible to everyone. She is determined to challenge the Eurocentricity of the school curriculum at a nationwide level in the UK. She believes in the power of education, and the arts to ultimately transform the lives of people.

www.theblackcurriculum.com

 

Many, many thanks go to Misan Harriman for use of his amazing image of Lavinya for Vogue’s September issue.

 

For more content around the subject of anti-racism, see our suggested books for children here.

 

 

BACK TO SCHOOL: BAGS

10 of the Best School Bags

When the kids go back to school each Autumn, parents are faced with requests for new bags, stationery, shoes, coats etc. At City Kids we aim to make parenting less painful, so we’ve rounded up some of the best bags around. Whether you want colour, neutral, big or small, we have 10 great school bags to take you through the winter.

 

 

Mini Backpack in Navy Colourblock

£17.95

babymel.com

Vans Black and White Old School iii

£30

schuh.co.uk

Smiggle Illusion Reflective Access Backpack

£26.25

smiggle.co.uk

Personalised Blue Tribal Design Infant Backpack

£20

my1styears.com

Galaxy Attach Rucksack

£26.25

smiggle.co.uk

Engel Zipper Backpack

£32

kidly.co.uk

Mini Rodini Beige Notes School Rucksack

£90

alexandalexa.com

 

Allan Backpack Cat Mustard

50 euros

Liewood.com

Kids Eco Backpack

£39

jemandbea.com

Kids Leopard Print School Backpack

£20

marksandspencer.com

For some back to school shoes, take a look at our Start-Rite review here. 

BACK TO SCHOOL: START-RITE REVIEW

The countdown has started and back to school chat is on the agenda. As we get ready to go back to school, we’ve a review of Start-Rite shoes from Ivy-May and her mum.

 

Words: Jenny Estacio, Digital Marketing Guru at CK HQ

The lovely lot at Start Rite were kind enough to send us a brand new pair of school shoes to get the ball rolling on our back to school journey here at City Kids HQ. This was a perfect opportunity for 6 year old Ivy-May to give them a whirl and get started on back to school prep. She’s excited to go back to school where she’ll be reunited with her class. We hope you find this first Back to school review of Start-Rite shoes really helpful!

Measuring up 

We used Start Rite’s free printable measuring gauge to scope out just how much Ivy-May’s feet have grown over lockdown. Turns out she’s a whole half size bigger! Their measuring gauge is a lifesaver. It’s fairly straight forward and it’s great that you can beat the queues, especially with social distancing and if you’re in a hurry. In a nutshell, once you’ve got the width and length, you tap the measurements into their shoe size calculator and ta-da, you can start picking out your fave style. 

TOP TIP 1: We had to do this step twice. Please be warned, don’t assign this task to grandparents, as they’ll suggest a S13 for someone that’s actually an S11.5! That’s our lesson learned. I certainly did get flashbacks of having to wear my high school uniform 5 sizes too big at year 7. 

TOP TIP 2: If using Start Rite’s handy measuring gauge, double check your printer settings and be sure you print the measuring gauge to scale. A lot of printers will be set to “fit to page” which will make it pretty much useless. 

Picking styles on site 

For 6 year old Ivy-May this was one of the most exciting parts of the process. They had the loveliest styles for both girls and boys. From their classic Mary Janes to slightly more fun and playtime suitable looks. We filtered it down to the Patent Spirit, a modern twist on the Start Rite classic that I used to wear as a child. 

TOP TIP 3: Get the kids involved when it comes to picking the styles! Back to school prep, especially following lockdown can help to spark some excitement.

The Start Rite Patent Spirit Girls School Shoes

They arrived nice and quickly – we’re giving Start Rite a gold star for packing them in an eco friendly recycled box too. Having things delivered certainly beats heading to the shops and being met by the queues of other last minute shoppers. Of course, the shoes fit perfectly. The measuring gauge factors in room for growth too, so there really is no need to go a size (or two and a half) up! The Start Rite Patent Spirit is super smart, comfortable PLUS we love the patent shiny finish as this means it’ll look new for longer. 

Do check out Start-Rite’s wide range of school shoes here.

For more of our back to school bits, we’ve got a great round up of hand sanitisers etc here, and check out our roundup of lovely lunchboxes here. And in case you missed it, our back to school checklist here. Bring on the new school year, we are so ready!

 

 

TEACHER GIFT IDEAS

We’ve all learned a lot about teaching children this year so now’s the time to give thanks with our teacher gift ideas.

 

 

Lockdown has strengthened our respect for our kids’ teachers. FACT.  One key learning for us all over lockdown was that they really are super. From quickly adapting to digital classrooms, hours of marking all those assignments and remaining flexible at a time of uncertainty and helping to put their students (and parents) at ease. We owe a lot to our teachers for doing all they can to give our kids the best possible experience of learning from home. So here’s the City Kids roundup of teacher gift ideas which you could also access to give yourself a pat on the back!

PAPIER

 

A gift that’ll brighten up any teacher’s desk. We love that these Papier notebooks can be personalised PLUS  Papier is donating 50% of profits to AKT, the brilliant charity dedicated to providing safe homes and better futures for LGBTQ+ young people.

BLOOM & WILD

 

Flowers through the letterbox. Genius! We’ve got out eyes on the summer collections at Bloom & Wild.

BISCUITEERS

 

Hand-iced gifts from none other than Biscuiteers.

THORTFUL

 

Pop a card in the post along with a choice of chocs or something to add to their questionable sock collection! 

ARTISAN DU CHOCOLAT

 

Apple or chocolate? An easy decision to be the teacher’s pet. Dubbed “The Bently of chocolate” by Gordon Ramsay – it’s got to be good.

COTTON TWIST

 

 

A favourite for any personalised gifts, these tins are lovely for teachers and have room for a special message.

NOT ON THE HIGH STREET

 

And finally. Leave them with a fun task to do over the summer hols with this Rainbow Teacher Gift Bag With Seeds from Notonthehighstreet.

 

ANTI-RACIST BOOKS FOR KIDS

Black squares and hashtags are all well and good. Promising to educate yourself, also. Actioning those promises is what’s needed, and knowledge is going to help you and your kids take action. That’s why we’ve put this edit of anti-racist books for kids together.

City Kids has put together a collection of books for children and their parents who are committed to making a positive change. Our anti-racist book list for kids features stories with black characters in central roles as well as highlighting leaders of colour and those who have stood up against prejudice through the years.

“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength”. Maya Angelou

This small list of what’s available is just the beginning…

 

AN ABC OF EQUALITY
By Chana Ginelle Ewing
0-5yrs (Board book)

THE MEGA HAIR SWAP
By Rochelle Humes
3-5yrs

LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET
By Matt de la Peña
3-5yrs

THE NEW SMALL PERSON
By Lauren Child
3-6yrs

LOOK UP!
By Nathan Byron & Dapo Adeola
3-7yrs

LITTLE PEOPLE BIG DREAMS
Featuring Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, Josephine Baker, Ella Fitzgerald, Harriet Tubman, Jesse Owens, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Evonne Goolagong
4-7yrs

ELLA QUEEN OF JAZZ
By Helen Hancocks
4-8 yrs

THEA LEMON AND HER SUPER SPORTY FAIRY GODMOTHER
By Mark Lemon
4yrs+

LEON AND BOB
By Simon James
5yrs+

ADA TWIST’S BIG PROJECT BOOK FOR STELLAR SCIENTISTS
By Andrea Beaty
5-7yrs

THE SILENCE SEEKER
By Ben Morley
5-7yrs

SOMEDAY IS NOW: CLARA LUPER AND THE 1958 OKLAHOMA CITY SIT-INS
By Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
6-9yrs

DEALING WITH RACISM
By Jane Lacey
6-8yrs

40 INSPIRING ICONS: PEOPLE OF PEACE: MEET 40 AMAZING ACTIVISTS
By Sandrine Mirza
7-10yrs

LITTLE GUIDES TO GREAT LIVES
Featuring Nelson Mandela and Maya Angelou
7-11yrs

YOUNG, GIFTED AND BLACK: MEET 52 BLACK HEROES FROM PAST AND PRESENT
By Jamia Wilson
7-10yrs

40 INSPIRING ICONS: BLACK MUSIC GREATS
By Olivier Cachin
7-10yrs

THE POWER BOOK: WHAT IS IT, WHO HAS IT, AND WHY?
By Claire Saunders, Georgia Amson-Bradshaw, Minna Salami, Mik Scarlet, and Hazel Songhurst
7-11yrs

LESSONS FROM HISTORY, ELEMENTARY EDITION: A CELEBRATION IN BLACKNESS
By Jawanza Kunjufu
7yrs+

LITTLE LEADERS: EXCEPTIONAL MEN IN BLACK HISTORY
By Vashti Harrison
8-12yrs

LITTLE LEADERS: BOLD WOMEN IN BLACK HISTORY
By Vashti Harrison
8-12yrs

BLACKBERRY BLUE
By Jamila Gavin
9-11yrs

THE YOUNG MAGICIANS AND THE THIEVES’ ALMANAC
By Nick Mohammed
9-11yrs

WHO ARE REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS? WHAT MAKES PEOPLE LEAVE THEIR HOMES? AND OTHER BIG QUESTIONS
By Michael Rosen & Annemarie Young
9-17yrs

IGGIE’S HOUSE
By Judie Blume
9-12yrs

SPEAK UP!: SPEECHES BY YOUNG PEOPLE TO EMPOWER AND INSPIRE
By Adora Svitak
10yrs+

THIS BOOK IS ANTI-RACIST: 20 LESSONS ON HOW TO WAKE UP, TAKE ACTION, AND DO THE WORK
By Tiffany Jewell
11-15yrs

THE HYPNOTIST
By Laurence Anholt
12yrs+

WATCH US RISE
By Renee Watson & Ellen Hagan
12yrs+

NOUGHTS AND CROSSES
By Malorie Blackman
12yrs+

THE LIFE OF STEPHEN LAWRENCE
By Verna Allette Wilkins
13yrs+

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
By Harper Lee
13yrs+

THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR
By Nicola Yoon
14yrs+

THE HATE YOU GIVE
By Angie Thomas
14yrs+

DEAR MARTIN
By Nic Stone
14yrs+

BookTrust Recommendations

Our friends at BookTrust have shared a link to more books collated as part of their BookTrust Represents campaign created to promote children’s authors and illustrators of colour.

For teens

For Primary

Picture books

Book shops:

We Need Diverse Books

Blackwells.co.uk

Whsmith.co.uk

Amazon.co.uk

hive.co.uk

pagesofhackney.co.uk

 

 

Find out how one woman is changing the way the black curriculum is taught in schools

WIN A SET OF EDX RAINBOW PEBBLES

With the kids at home, we’re all longing for toys and entertainment which is fun and educational. Step up EdX Rainbow Pebbles and your chance to win!

 

THIS COMPETITION HAS NOW CLOSED

 

Following the widespread closure of schools and nurseries, parents and caregivers have been thrown into the daunting world of homeschooling. The role of teacher, caregiver, school lunch provider, after school club and screen police officer is stressful! So, finding toys which tick the educational and play time boxes are a definite winner. We have a giveaway running with your chance to win a set of Rainbow Pebbles from Edx. But first….

Dr Cindy Hovington gives an insight into how they can assist in the home learning environment using EdX Education’s Rainbow Pebbles. Find our entry form to win at the bottom of the article. 

Early Development in Toddlers, Play or Miss Out

At birth, humans have the least developed brain compared to other mammals. While, genetics plays a major role in brain development during pregnancy, the interaction between genes and a childs environment will literally shape a childs brain after birth.

We all know that a childs environment should include building a secure home where the child is safe, well fed and plays a lot.

One type of play does more for development than others. Its play with open-ended toys. An open-ended toy is one with no specific purpose. Of course, there is no need for an abundance of toys to help our childrens brain develop.

A child will grow with an open-ended toy.

18 Months – Cognitive Development

1-step instructions: We can place an empty tissue box in front of the child and ask them to place a pebble inside the box having demonstrated it first. We can also sort by colour, together with the child, naming all the colours as we go.

2 Years Old – Social/Emotional development

Children start to play independently at this age. The Rainbow Pebbles come with activity cards that include ways to play with the pebbles developing the ability to remain focused for longer spells. We can present the pebbles in an inviting way by laying them out on a shelf that is at a convenient height. This way the child can independently start to play with them rather than asking.

We can see how children at this age respond to two step instructions. For example, we can place a pebble on a wooden spoon and race around your home, where the instruction could include, place the pebbles on your spoon and walk up the refrigerator”. The objective of the game is not to drop the pebble.

 

2 Years Old – Cognitive Development

At this age a child begins to sort shapes and colours: We can ask the child to sort the pebbles either by colour or by size. Or we can place a sheet of paper on the floor that matches the colours of the pebbles, where we have a yellow and a red paper, and ask the child to place all the yellow pebbles on top of the yellow paper.

3 Years Old – Cognitive development

Before turning three we can start to practice 2-3 step instructions. Simply we can add one more rule to the wooden spoon game above. And we can start playing pretend. Open-ended toys such as these pebbles can become anything with our imagination. You could play a bank manager a restaurant owner or a grocery store manager and pretend the pebbles are money, pancakes or various items from that bank, restaurant or store.

Edx Education have 30 years’ experience providing educational toys to schools in over 90 countries. Their range has been designed and developed in conjunction with educational experts to cover all areas of learning – from maths to arts & crafts, and from sensory play to activity play.

Resources:

Taken from an article “Play and Milestones Development” in curiousneuron.com

To see the Edx Education range: www.instagram.com/edxeducation/ 

 

FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN SIMPLY DO THE FOLLOWING:

Make sure you’re following @citykidsmagazine on Instagram and Facebook.

 

TERMS & CONDITIONS

One winner to be chosen at random.This giveaway is not associated, affiliated or endorsed by Facebook or Instagram in any way. Competition ends on Wednesday 22 April. The exact prize model is to be determined. Open to UK entrants only. Good luck!

 

 

For more parenting stories head here.

FREE DOWNLOADABLE CORONAVIRUS BOOK ILLUSTRATED BY ALEX SCHEFFLER

Alex Scheffler, well known for his work in The Gruffalo, has illustrated a free information book for children about the coronavirus. Alongside expert advice from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the aim of the publication is to reach every child around the world.

 

The book answers key questions about the pandemic in simple language appropriate for 5 to 9 year olds:

  • What is the coronavirus?
  • How do you catch the coronavirus?
  • What happens if you catch the coronavirus?
  • Why are people worried about catching the coronavirus?
  • Is there a cure for the coronavirus?
  • Why are some places we normally go to closed?
  • What can I do to help?
  • What’s going to happen next?

You can download a copy of the book here.

The Kindle version is available here.

And a readable online book version is here.

Publishers, Nosy Crow suggest that families might make like to make a donation to help our health service if they find the book useful: https://www.nhscharitiestogether.co.uk/.

Axel Scheffler, illustrator of The Gruffalo, said:

“I asked myself what I could do as an children’s illustrator to inform, as well as entertain, my readers here and abroad.  So I was glad when my publisher, Nosy Crow, asked me to illustrate this question-and-answer book about the coronavirus. I think it is extremely important for children and families to have access to good and reliable information in this unprecedented crisis, and I hope that the popularity of the books I’ve done with Julia Donaldson will ensure that this digital book will reach many children who are now slightly older, but might still remember our picture books.”

Professor Graham Medley, Professor of Infectious Disease Modelling at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said:

“This pandemic is changing children’s lives across the globe and will have a lasting impact on us all. Helping children understand what is going on is an important step in helping them cope and making them part of the story – this is something that we are all going through, not something being done to them. This book puts children IN the picture rather just watching it happen, and in a way that makes the scary parts easier to cope with.”

FIVE FUN VIRTUAL DAYS OUT

 

We are all really missing the fun outings we would usually have with the kids during the Easter holidays. Normally we’d be off here, there and everywhere on adventures that both we are our children love. But instead of getting too fed up about our current lock down state, we are finding different ways to entertain our little ones without leaving the house with fun virtual days out.  Here’s a round up of five we think everyone will enjoy.

 

Visit the Zoo

Explore one of the world’s best zoos and meet the animals close up with amazing animal cams. From the live Baboon Cam to Polar Bear Cams, the San Diego Zoo has something for everyone with a passion for wildlife.

Their dedicated educational site contains pre-recorded videos of the animals alongside extensive craft tutorials, downloadable colouring sheets and recipes. See the Live Cams here; pre-recorded videos here; and activities for younger kids here.

A trip to the theatre

It might not have quite the same feel as taking it all in from the dress circle, but it is possible to watch live recorded theatre shows on on your computer or iPad. Productions including George Stiles and Anthony Drewe’s musical version of The Wind in the Willows and The Habit of Art starring Matthew Kelly are available online, as theatre companies find ways to keep performances alive while venues close.

Older children may enjoy checking out Digital Theatre where they will find recorded versions of productions such as Twelfth Night, Hamlet and into the Woods.

Musical fans will love the news that Andrew Lloyd Webber is going to be streaming his hit shows for free. This will be done from his YouTube channel entitled ‘The Shows Must Go On‘. The series starts with the 2000 adaptation of Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. A new show will be shown every Friday night at 7pm.

Explore a museum

The British Museum is one of the most famous and now you can have a virtual tour of the building’s many treasures. Visit the Great Court, discover the Egyptian mummies and the controversial Rosetta Stone as well as viewing hundreds of artefacts. Simply click on the time line and follow links to view a fantastic selection of what the museum has to offer.

>

The Tate and The Tate Modern are packed with inspiring masterpieces that any budding young artist will love to see. Take a magical online tour with children’s novelist Jacqueline Wilson and then have fun playing games, doing quizzes and creating your own works or art on the gallery’s website which has a section completely dedicated to kids.

tate.org.uk

Home cinema

The cinema has always been the go-to rainy day outing as while we can access lots of films on TV, kids love a brand new movie. Now thanks to Sky they can have that treat at home. The broadcaster has announced a number of movies will be available to rent at home on the same day as their cinema release dates.

As Odeon, Cineworld and Picturehouss across the UK close, Sky has partnered with Universal to release films on its box at the same time as their global premieres.

It will begin on April 6 with DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls World Tour, the sequel to the 2016 hit film, starring Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake.

Originally due in cinemas during the Easter break, families will now be able to watch it from their living room. Just make sure you add popcorn to your food delivery order.

 

 

 

5 FUN ART RESOURCES FOR KIDS

So it seems like we’re in this for the long haul, so we’ve had a look at some of the best and fun art resources for kids.

There’s so much information out there at the moment, so we’re going to break things down into bite-sized chunks. Enjoy!

 

Melissa and Doug – Not only sell many toys (listen to the podcast How I Built This to hear their business journey) but they also provide free printables.

 

Create an art selfie – download the app, take a selfie and it will match your facial features to one of the thousands of worldwide portraits stored. Then you tap on your match and learn about the artwork.

 

 

Art for Kids Hub – YouTube channel with online tutorials following a family and their kids developing art techniques.

 

 

Glued to my Crafts – great ideas to do at home with tutorials.

 

 

Rob Biddulph – the official World Book Day illustrator provides a draw-along video every day so parents and kids can make nice pics. Tutorials so far include sausage dog, Fred bear and Gregosaurus.

 

 

A PARENT’S GUIDE TO HOMESCHOOLING

One week down, who knows how many more to go? We asked one seasoned homeschooling parent to give us her guide to teaching and parenting at the same time.

 

Words: Kate Blackwell

So homeschooling has begun. This is the third time I’ve homeschooled the girls (they were seven, nine and 11 first time around, then nine, 11 and 13 last time). I’ve learnt a few things that I thought I’d pass on. They might be useful to you or maybe not, but I’m all for learning from each other right now.

1) I am not a teacher, I am a mum who is doing her best. One of the reasons why I respect teachers and schools is because I have tried to teach our girls and found it very hard. I am not good at it!

2) You will see lots of posts of people doing an amazing job. Don’t compare yourselves to them, but instead pick up good tips. Everyone will be finding this very challenging.

3) Don’t worry that your children will fall behind during this time. No one is expecting you to produce a genius, and their whole cohort is going through the same thing. If you google how much time you need to spend homeschooling compared to the school day you’ll realise that actually a couple of hours a day of homework is plenty.

4) Affection, nutrition and exercise are just as important as schoolwork. You can exercise in a very small space and it will really help their mood. Learning how to make a healthy dinner might be messy, but it’s short term pain long term gain. I’m as proud of the fact that Sukie made dinner last night as any school test she’s ever done (yes it was pretty messy to clear up, but that’s not important).

5) Let go of some things. The house is going going to be messier. Give them the opportunity to be in charge of their own space – they can mess up their room, but before bedtime, it needs tidying away.

6) Don’t beat yourself up for putting the tv on to have some breathing space.

7) Our first attempt at homeschooling started with lots of big ideas and plenty of school books. It boiled down to nailing times tables and spelling bees in impromptu places (they became fun). Plus, we rolled with it – hearing a James Brown song on the radio then became a few hours learning about him, his music, his story. Making a meal can become a history or geography lesson. Kids love learning, let them lead it sometimes and it can go off on wonderful tangents.

8 ) Our girls missed their friends while we were away. They love school, probably because they love learning with their friends. I am relaxing my rules on phone use as I know it’s going to be very hard for them to adjust to not chatting to them all day. But I’m giving it some structure so a catch up with their friends is something they can look forward to rather than reacting to their phones during the day.

9) This is a chance to pause, and to give them the opportunity to work out what interests them the most. I know a couple of people who became successful after an accident – they were forced to sit still and think about what they really wanted to do. Looking back I don’t know how many of us really had that pause.

10) Ultimately this is a time of a big unknown. Our children will be looking to us for reassurance and love most of all. The last thing we need is to put pressure on ourselves that we are not doing a good enough job in homeschooling. We are spinning enough plates right now, and no one will be marking our teaching skills.

If anyone else has any tips, please do share them. Hopefully, we will come out of this with a respect for schools, and as happy and well-adjusted children as we possibly can. One day, this will be a time we will tell our grandchildren about.

 

 

 

MEET YOUR AWESOME NEW ONLINE PE TEACHER

One of the biggest challenges facing all parents during the Coronavirus outbreak will be how to keep their children entertained while they are off school. With no date set for a return to classrooms, teachers are preparing remote learning and online lessons to cover academic work from home, but this just isn’t possible for PE and sport.

We all know that no exercise is not a good thing for any child and can lead to boredom, frustration and bad behaviour, not to mention the negative effect on their physical and mental health and well being. Almost all kids need to be active in some way every day.

But never fear as fitness national treasure Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach, is here to help out. As of next week he will be holding free live PE lessons at 9am Monday to Friday on his YouTube channel for children of all ages.

Social media sensation Joe has a loyal following of over 3 million on Instagram alone and is responsible for changing the lives of thousands of people for the better with his amazing exercise and nutrition plans.

Now the dad-0f-two plans to help children all over the UK stay active and healthy while off school during the Coronavirus outbreak. No equipment is needed for the kid-friendly workouts and if you can’t join in live then you’ll find them online to watch at a time that suits. Plus there are already loads of workouts on his YouTube site already. All can be done in your living room so even if the weather is rubbish you can still get moving.

“Parents are going to be under pressure next week and for 30 minutes a day I can take over and inspire and energise the kids to get active, bounce around and have fun. You can even join in with the kids,” says the fitness guru.

During this crazy, difficult time when so many parents are juggling the demands of working from home and looking after their kids, a fun half our session with Joe that enables youngsters to use up some energy is something all mums and dads will be incredibly grateful for.

Joe you are an absolute star and we will certainly be joining you with our kiddos!

To find out more click on youtube.com/user/thebodycoach1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FIVE TIPS FOR MANAGING CORONAVIRUS LOCK DOWN WITH KIDS

Every day the Coronavirus seems to throw something different at us. We have all been told to maintain social distancing and many families are now self-isolating.

Easter holidays we know will not be the fun, active break most of us had planned as travel plans are cancelled. Full on lock down similar to that going on in Italy and Spain may be only a few days away and no one yet knows if children will return to school as planned at the end of the the planned Easter holidays.

These are surreal and worrying times when so much seems uncertain. However, the one thing us parents can be sure of is that when our children are no longer in school, but are unable to take part in normal activities, we will have to come up with other ways to entertain them, very possibly without leaving our own houses or gardens.

Here are some ideas of how to structure and plan the days ahead that will helpfully help to create a sense of normality and calm for all family members.

Stick to a routine

As yet we have no way of knowing how long our children will be a home when and if schools are closed. But sticking to some kind of routine will help both parents and kids. The normality of this will help to keep kids calm, especially older children who will be aware of the severity of the situation around them.

Consider getting up at roughly the usual time, get dressed, eat breakfast and start your day as if you were going to school. Ask the kids to help you draw up a timetable for the day that includes variety of activities. While you don’t have to stick to a rigid regime, planning out the day will make it run more smoothly for you and the kids.

We all know that bored, frustrated kids can play up and misbehave making this difficult time even trickier. With a plan to keep them engaged in a range of activities we can hopefully reduced that happening.

Break up the day by creating a timetable

In your new daily schedule, block out a set amount of time for each activity. This will depend on your child’s age, but for example you could plan for an hour of schoolwork followed by a 15-minute snack and then an hour of art and craft. Then reading and some time in the garden before lunch. You don’t have to follow it to the exact minute, but at least everyone will an idea of what the day is going to look like.

Consider what your children enjoy doing. That could be anything from baking and painting to building lego or playing board games. Have a dig through cupboards and you’ll know doubt find a range of games and toys that are both fun and educational. Trivial pursuit, scrabble and monopoly are great options.

Definitely have a few 15- to 30-minute blocks of dedicated child-led play. The more a child plays, the more they learn to play and keep themselves amused.

Ask your school for advice

Schools up and down the county are preparing to for children to take part in remote learning. From internet-based lessons to worksheet packs. These will provide a very useful structure, particularly if any lock down period extends beyond the planned Easter holidays.

While school is still open make sure that you have what you need to access all that is available such as login details and the necessary books. Speak to your teacher or email them. Ask if you can keep in touch with teachers during isolation and any period of lock down. This will be especially beneficial for older children who may be studying for exams.

Set up a suitable place to work from. That could be a desk or a kitchen table. Create a little classroom and make that fun for your kids by asking them how they would like it to set up. Are there things they have at school that they could also have at home? Maybe they could set their pencil cases and books our they way they would on their classroom desk? These little actions will encourage children to get on board with the new way of learning in this new environment.

Keep kids active

If at all possible, make sure your children are still getting exercise. Despite the limitations there are still things you can do. If the weather forces, you to stay inside then consider trying out a kid’s online exercise class. Think star jumps, squats and running on the spot. Sure-fire ways to let off some steam. You’ll find lots of videos on youtube.com if you need some inspiration.

If you have a garden, even a small one, encourage the kids to get out and play in the fresh air. Ideally let them do things like play football, cricket, ride their bikes or jump on their trampoline – whatever helps them burn of some energy – but remember old fashioned games like skipping and hopscotch don’t need much space. Or how about a little toy obstacle course? Easy to set up and fun to do.

If you do have a garden, then let children explore it. What bugs can they find? How about doing some digging or looking for and identifying different types of plants.

As the weather gets warmer and drier the garden is going to be a very valuable resource.

Screen time can be a good thing

If your children love playing on the PlayStation or iPad, then factor in some time for that during the day. Make screen time predictable: have a set time in the schedule so children know when to expect screen time and what they have to do to earn it such as tidying their bedroom or an hour of reading or schoolwork.

When that scheduled time is over switch the screens off. Don’t leave TV on as background noise and therefore constant distraction from other things. Possibly turn on some music instead.

Remember that screens can be your friend. If parents are working from home while also looking after their children, then frankly letting kids have some time on gadgets can buy you valuable l time to make work calls. No parent wants their kids to be on screens too much but sometimes we all have to compromise a bit to keep juggling everything which is absolutely fine.

Use screens as learning tools too. See our list below of some great websites that are both fun and educational for kids of all ages.

 

Fisher Price Play

Games to practise alphabet, numbers and shapes. More suitable for EYFS

 

Shaun’s Game Academy

Shaun the sheep website which teaches children how to make online games.

 

Cbeebies Games

A variety of educational games. More suitable for Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 2

 

National Geographic Kids 

A great resource packed with information and games for kids of all ages.

IXL 

Maths and English practice suitable for all ages from Reception upwards

 

Oxford Owl

Website with lots of educational games. Suitable for all.

 

The School Run

Great resource for parents home schooling

 

BBC Bitesize

Website with lots of educational games. Suitable for all.

 

Reading Eggs:

Register for a free trial and get 2 weeks free access to reading resources. Suitable for all.

 

Nasa Kids Club

Children’s website about all things space. Suitable for all.

 

Education Quizzes

Education quizzes on different subjects. Suitable for all.

 

Year 6 practice tests

Practice tests for Year 6 children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TALKING CORONAVIRUS WITH KIDS

News about Coronavirus and how to wash hands is everywhere but many parents are wondering how to discuss it with their children.  The Parent Practice has this advice to help us communicate without causing anxiety.

 

 

 

A hot topic in our classes this week was, not surprisingly, Coronavirus. You would have had to be extremely isolated indeed not to have been aware of the general panic setting in as the Covid-19 virus which originated in China at the end of last year has spread around the world. As panic stockpiling of toilet paper and other basics indicates, even the adults are becoming very anxious so it’s no wonder if our children are worried about what they’re hearing.

The first thing we can do to help is to be aware of what they ARE hearing. Never assume that your children aren’t listening to your adult conversations even if they seem to be preoccupied and not bothered. If you’ve been talking about it within earshot of your children or they’ve heard radio or TV reports about it or it’s being discussed at school then you need to address it with them in a way that they can process.

The spread of this virus is something that is still unfolding and we don’t know what the scale of it will be. It will probably have some effect on the lives of ordinary families even if they do not contract the disease themselves.

Be informed.

As usual in the internet era there is misinformation swirling about so do make sure you get your facts from a trusted source such as government websites. At the time of writing there have been over 100,000 cases worldwide with 460 confirmed cases in the UK and 8 deaths. While this is a serious public health emergency it is worth putting it into perspective by comparing the number of cases of influenza each year (about 600 deaths a year – Oxford Vaccine Group) and the number of deaths on the road (1,794 in 2018) which we are very used to. Researchers estimate that about 1% of cases of Covid-19 result in death and those who are elderly or who have immune system issues or underlying health problems are more at risk. Very few children have died from the virus. The risk of contracting the disease is higher if you have recently travelled to China, Italy, Iran or South Korea although the number of countries at risk is increasing.

Ask the children what they know about it already and give information according to their age. The questions they ask will help you to make what you say relevant for them. 

Listen to your children’s concerns.

Obviously one of our main concerns is not to make our children needlessly worried. They need to know that the adults can and will keep them safe. But it will not help any anxiety they are experiencing to dismiss their concerns. Don’t tell them not to worry.

When –if your child brings it up do respond to them there and then if at all possible. If your child has brought it up at an inconvenient moment such as when you’re dropping them off at school or at bedtime (very common, in my experience) then bear in mind that if you put off the discussion they may be carrying around their concerns so will not be able to focus at school or get to sleep. If it’s just not possible then assure them that you will talk about it as soon as you can. If they don’t raise the subject it might still be a good idea for you to introduce the subject calmly so that you can set the tone before they hear rumours elsewhere which worry them. Choose a time when things are calm and you will be uninterrupted.

How –stay calm. We know that anxiety is very contagious so it’s important that you get your own feelings in check before having a conversation with the children. This is particularly important if you know your child is of an anxious disposition. If you’re aware that you seem stressed acknowledge that and let them know that you are handling your feelings by getting proper information and by using your usual stress-busters such as going for a walk, listening to music, taking a bath or meditating. Give your children hugs and accept hugs from them too.

What to say –acknowledge their fears and don’t make false promises. If your child is worried that people they care about might die acknowledge that some people might die from the disease but that it is rare, less likely when people are healthy and that there are things people can do to protect themselves. Explain that most people who experience symptoms will get better on their own. “I can see this is really bothering you. Of course you don’t want anyone to get sick. I’m glad you care. Mummy and Daddy and Gran and Grandpa are all fit and healthy so we should be ok. Papa and Nana are old but they are generally well and they are keeping themselves at home mainly so there is less chance of picking up the virus. If any of us do get sick the doctors and nurses will take good care of us.”

Give control.

Much anxiety comes about from feeling we can’t influence events so it will help to empower children as much as possible and let them know how you as a family plan to deal with things in the event that someone gets sick or if you need to be quarantined or if their school closes. Let them know that the government has put in place plans for dealing with the situation. What they can do is follow basic hygiene procedures. Revisit proper handwashing and how to catch a sneeze or wipe a runny nose properly in a tissue and throw it away. Remind them about coughing into their elbow rather than their hands.

Dispel racist views.

Although the virus originated in China this does not mean that Chinese people are at fault. Challenge any racist views you hear and encourage your children to be compassionate and respectful. Depending on their age you may want to make them aware that there are racist views circulating and let them know that in your family you don’t subscribe to these and that they are based on misinformation.

About The Parent Practice

Established in 2004, The Parent Practice draws on the latest thinking in psychology, neuroscience and psychotherapy. The team is trained in parenting and facilitation skills and has vast experience in parenting training. They work with parents and carers, schools and nurseries, corporate and business clients.

“Everyone at The Parent Practice is a parent and encounters the everyday challenges that all parents face. Our own family lives have been enriched and transformed with the parenting skills we teach, so our aim is to pass on our skills to help parents bring up children to be happy and the best they can be.”

theparentpractice.com

020 8673 3444

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

KONNIE HUQ GOES BACK TO SCHOOL

Konnie Huq returned to her old school to curate a science-fuelled workshop `Science, Explosions and Scribbling’, to tie in with the launch of her first book Cookie!… and the Most Annoying Boy in the World.

Konnie, who attended Notting Hill & Ealing High School between 1986 – 1993, shared her fascination and self-confessed obsession with science with current students via her curated science workshop.

“Science is super cool. Science is the reason the tech all works. The reason we can fly planes, drive cars. That the floor doesn’t fall down”.

All girls from NHEHS Junior School in Years 3-6, along with children from neighbouring school, Christ the Saviour, C of E Primary School, were treated to an uplifting hour of fun and games. Konnie started the session with an imaginative draw-along, creating a comic strip story with input from the 200 children gathered in the School Hall. This was followed by a brainbusting quiz, which had hands straining to provide answers and an uplifting reading from her book. An experiment with mints and lemonade created an explosive finale.

 

Recognising the importance of reading, Huq commented:

“Reading books is so mega important. Books give people empathy, which makes people good kind people and become amazing adults, which makes the world a nicer place.”

She added:

“Notting Hill & Ealing High School has a special place in my heart. I remember doing English in Room 24 and I fondly remember the Science block – which is still there. My English and Science lessons have come full circle now that I’m introducing current students to my new book”.

nhehs.gdst.net

Cookie!… and the Most Annoying Boy in the World (Piccadilly Press, £10.99) is the first of a series for young readers (aged 8-12) and introduces the world to Cookie Haque – nine years old, obsessed with science and ready to take on the world.

FALCONS GIRLS UNVEILS ITS CREATION STATION

 

Putney-based Falcons School for Girls has unveiled its latest investment – a new state of the art technology suite.

 

Thanks to the newly opened, and aptly named, ‘Creation Station’, pupils in Years 1 to 6 will now benefit from being able to hone their IT and Music Technology skills, allowing their practical and creative learning to blossom as they access the latest Apple Macs, all equipped with advanced software.

Headmistress at Falcons School for Girls, Sara Williams-Ryan said: “The pupils have loved experimenting with the new Music Technology software and are extremely excited to try lots of different ICT skills! The ‘Creation Station’ complements the use of iPads and laptops in their other subjects.

“We are keen to ensure that our pupils have access to the very latest technology, to support our belief that children will flourish if we engage and challenge learners at every opportunity”.

The new area compliments the multiple specialist spaces for the teaching of the more creative and scientific subjects including; a well-equipped Science laboratory, a spacious and inspiring Art room, a Drama studio complete with a plethora of props and staging and a stimulating Music room.

Falcons Girls strives to strengthen and enhance the pupils’ learning pathways through carefully planned lessons and activities, supported by a rich co-curricular programme. The school also works closely with parents and guides them through entry to senior school, helping to prepare each pupil for entry into the senior school which best meets their learning needs and future development.

For more information on Falcons School for Girls, or to register for an Open Day, call Harriet Stokes, Admissions on Tel: 0208 992 5189 or email admissions@falconsgirls.co.uk

falconsgirls.co.uk

 

CITY KIDS BACK TO SCHOOL GUIDE

Back to School guide labelling stationary

We love September and the excitement of that ‘back to school’ feeling. Summer is fantastic, but as the holidays reach an end we love looking forward to the new term and Autumn.

But with the new school year comes the need to sort our uniforms, pencil cases, sports kit and a million other things. So here’s our Back To School Guide with a few great stores and websites to help you get your little ones ready for the first day of term. Let’s make the transition back to routine all a bit easier.

Get their name on it

Back to School Wonderlabels labelling

There is something nice about getting all the shiny new uniform ready for the new school year. What is less enjoyable is making sure everything from blazers to socks is labelled with your little one’s name.

Take the hassle out of the process with Wonder Label. They make personalised stick-on name labels designed to be extra resistant. Their labels are washable and heat resistant making them suitable for washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, microwaves. Thiss makes them perfect for everything from sports kit and shoes to water bottles and lunch boxed.

wonder-label.com

New kit

Back to School guide personalised stationary

Sticking with the labelling theme, check out gettingpersonal.co.uk for a great range of back to school kit you can personalise.

From schoolbags and pencil cases to notebooks, pens and lunch boxes, you’ll find everything kiddos need for their school day and you can have their name printed on all of it. Making it much less likely to vanish in lost property.

The site has tons of great designs that are perfect for boys and girls of all ages.

 

 

 

 

Healthy snacks

Back to School guide healthy snacks

Packed lunches can be tricky. Trying to find tasty healthy snacks isn’t easy. So, we love the delicious, but also healthy snack, from Muchachos.

Their nutritionists have created a selection of yummy treats, each one inspired by flavours from around the world and all are made with natural flavours, no added sugar or salt.

Each box has a combination of 5 snacks that are ideal for lunchboxes or after-school hunger pangs including crispy pitta bread dipped in creamy tzatziki and paella inspired rice cakes. Simply order as many boxes as you think your hungry little people will need. And maybe have a nibble yourself – they are seriously tasty.

munchachos.com

Staying organised

storage ideas

During the first week of term, you will get precisely 387 letters home from school all containing ‘vitally important’ information about games kit/clubs/homework. Some will find their way to the ‘pile of doom’ in the corner of the kitchen (we all have that every growing stack of post don’t we?!). Others (usually the genuinely necessary ones) will somehow end up in the recycling.

Well not any more we say. It’s time for a bit of new term organisation. Be it a box file, a plastic folder or a storage tray, we all need a designated place to keep the school correspondence – add certificates and party invitations to the letters over the course of the year too. So, when it comes to that form you need to fill in for the school trip, you’ll know exactly where to find it.

Check out aplaceforeverything.co.uk and theholdingcompany.co.uk for some great storage solutions.

 

 

City Kids School Food Awards Winners

We’ve visited, tasted and deliberated and now we have the winners of the City Kids School Food Awards 2019

When launching awards, one never really knows how they will be received. It seemed obvious to us that celebrating school food would be popular. After all, what’s the first question you ask your child when you collect them from school? The chorus of “What did you have for lunch today?” can be heard every afternoon up and down the country.

But while we know a lot about our children’s academic progress, school league tables, and reputation, we don’t know much about what’s going on in the dining room. By launching the School Food Awards, we wanted to shed some light on the school day which parents are never part of.

One of our aims was to celebrate the dedication of school catering teams who work tirelessly to provide healthy, nutritious meals on tight budgets. More importantly, we wanted to continue the discussion around healthy eating and healthy attitudes to food which we all hope to instil in our children from a young age. School has a huge part to play in this.

Taking in entries

And so, in the Autumn, we invited schools in London and the South East to enter three categories: Best Vegetarian Menu, Best School Menu and School Dinner Hero. The response surpassed our expectations and we whittled the entries down to a shortlist of schools to visit for lunch. Tough gig (let me tell you, three lunches in a day is actually quite difficult).

We’re indebted to the team of judges who munched their way through various menus and who asked many questions of the catering teams we met. Thank you to (l to r) Jo Pratt, Beverley Turner, Kathryn Bouldrey-Chourio and Lizzy King for joining the first City Kids School Food Awards.

On meeting with our finalists, we were all delighted to see how passionate they were about their school food provision, about making improvements where necessary, about catering for different diets and allergies and about their impact on the local environment. And all schools, crucially, were listening to their pupils’ feedback while also trying to push the boundaries of their developing taste buds. Our finalists were all strong, but our votes have been counted.

WINNERS

School Dinner Hero sponsored by As Nature Intended: Brian Turner at St James Preparatory School

Runner Up: Philippa Frederick and Maggie Watkins at Notting Hill & Ealing High School

Highly Commended: Mayuri Tokekar and Ria Rattan at The Holmwood School, Mike Waters at Fulham Prep, Suzanne Hemchaoui at Shiplake College

On the winner: Judges found Brian to be a “passionate, inspirational leader” of the kitchen, devising many different ways to engage the children with food.

Best Vegetarian Menu: St James Preparatory School

Runner-up: Notting Hill & Ealing High School

Highly Commended: Fulham Prep

On the winner: Judges were impressed by the “well-balanced and creative menu”, “the outstanding food quality and the low cost per head”.

Best School Menu Primary: Edgeborough School

 

Runner Up: Falcons Pre-Preparatory School

Highly Commended: Notting Hill & Ealing High School, Fulham Prep, St James Preparatory School

On the winner: Judges loved the variety of adventurous food on offer including moules marinières and prawn cocktail as well as the wonderful, sociable dining room.

Best School Menu Secondary: Lambrook School

 

Runner Up Secondary: Notting Hill & Ealing High School

Highly Commended: Heathfield School, St George’s Ascot

On the winner:Judges were wowed by the quality and selection of food on offer as well as the thought that went into every menu.

Thank you to all the schools that entered. We’ll be going again in September!

Our finalists:

stjamesprep.org.uk

lambrookschool.co.uk

edgeborough.co.uk

NHEHS.gdst.net

Falconsboys.co.uk

Fulham.school

stgeorges-ascot.org.uk

heathfieldschool.net

Museum Week: Best family friendly museums in London

With it being Museum Week and all, we wanted to share with you our top family friendly museums to visit in London.  The best bit…they are all FREE!

 

National Army Museum

This museum, located in Chelsea, had a major refurb in 2017 and wow did they do an incredible job in upping their family appeal.  The museum explores British Military history from the English Civil War up to modern day and with the continuous interactives throughout, there is really, never a dull moment for the little ones.  The subject matter is a little raw but they do a great job at addressing it well to children.  From marching in a drill, climbing under tanks, dressing up, playing the drums, to sorting your rations, the galleries do a wonderful job of engaging the kiddies. They provide activity backpacks for different age ranges that are an excellent addition when exploring the galleries and there is also the super Play Base area, an immersive experience for ages 8 and under, which includes a soft play assault course, climbing aboard an army truck and preparing food in the cookhouse.
Top Tip
If you want to make it a totally free day, take a picnic.  Battersea Park is just a 12 minute walk away.

National Maritime Museum

Ah Greenwich, what a wonderful place to visit and it is home to this brilliant free museum to boot.  Be sure to get in full on sailor mode as you explore fascinating stories of explorations at sea.  The museum is full to the brim with family friendly exhibits and information, from the Great Map with boats the kids can sit on, a boat simulator and a chance to come face to face with the greats, Cook, Nelson and Columbus.  There is literally something for everyone.  The AHOY Children’s Gallery for 0-7’s is a little haven for the smalls (just be aware it is only free weekdays, there is a very small fee on weekends and bank holidays) and the All Hands Children Gallery aimed at ages 6 – 12 is great fun too even for slightly younger children.
Top Tip
They are always running really good family friendly events so totally recommend checking online before you go so you don’t miss out on any.

Horniman Museum

The Horniman Museum can be found in Forest Hill and includes displays of anthropology, natural history, musical. It houses the private collection of Frederick Horniman, a Victorian tea trader who filled up his whole house with fascinating objects such as stuffed animals, Egyptian mummies and musical instruments.  The totally eclectic mix of exhibits is its major appeal and with a wide range of galleries there is always something new to explore.  We love the hands-on space in the Music Gallery where the children can make as much noise as they like with various instruments and the World Gallery, that celebrates life all over the world. Then there are the gardens which are just beautiful on a sunny day.  There is a little Animal Walk for the kids and plenty of space for picnics.  On top of that there are regular activities on weekends, such as Hands on Base, where children can touch and explore objects and Art Makers, where you can explore art techniques as a family.
Top Tip
Don’t miss the Walrus!  It’s also worth noting there is an aquarium and they always have family friendly exhibits running. The current exhibition is Brick Wonders, which is perfect for any little Lego lovers out there, unfortunately both this and the aquarium require a small fee.

Museum of Childhood

Ahhh so much nostalgia in one place, this East London museum does a fantastic job in appealing to not only children, but adults too.  From My Little Pony, to Care Bears you will be in reminiscing heaven in this museum that houses the largest collection of childhood objects in the UK ranging from the 1600’s to the present day.  With plenty for the little ones to get their hands on, you can happily run around for a couple of hours lapping it all in alongside your child.  It is the perfect balance of not being too big that it is over powering or too small that you get bored quickly.  Interactives include a sensory area, building blocks, rocking horses and a sandpit. They run daily activities such as storytelling and arts and crafts and family friendly events in the holidays. They are also in the process of having a major redevelopment with an aim to becoming a world-leading museum of design and creativity for children and families.  Watch this space!
Top Tip
Make sure you grab one of their free family backpacks and trails from the helpdesk.

Museum of London Docklands

Canary Wharf is not only home to some of the tallest buildings in London but also to this fantastic little gem of a museum, which explores the history of London’s River Thames.  For some reason this museum always seems a little quieter than most and that alone makes it more enjoyable as a family.  The Mudlark’s Gallery, an interactive space for children up to 8 is fantastic.  In this gallery children can load a tea clipper, tie nautical knots and weigh cargo whilst learning museum facts in a fun and engaging environment.  Babies and toddlers are also well catered for with their soft play area and with recent interactives added to the galleries such as fancy dress, drawing and building a bridge, it has become an even bigger family friendly attraction.  To top it all off their regular family events are amazing from family raves, pirate takeovers and a beautiful Santa’s Grotto at Christmas.
Top Tip
Don’t miss Sailor Town, a recreation of the old docks from the 19thcentury.  You are instantly transported back in time as you wander through the atmospheric streets.

Tate Britain

And last but by no means least, we are huge fans of Tate Britain, well both Tate’s actually but this one for us is more accessible.  This art museum is the home of British art from 1500 to the present day and is a great space for those little legs to run around in.  We love the easels in the 1840 display, where anyone can pick up a pencil and paper and draw to their hearts content.  They also do a brilliant ‘Explore the Gallery’ session for under 5’s on the first Saturday of every month, such a fun and creative way for children to explore the gallery.
Top Tip
The ‘Explore the Gallery’ sessions get booked up super quick so be ready to book as soon as the tickets go up or alternatively do what we do and sneak in on the day, they generally let you in…at your own risk though of course.

 

Sally Webb blogs at milkatthemuseum.com and can be found on Instagram @milkatthemuseum

ADVICE ON PRIMARY SCHOOL PLACES DAY

On the day that primary school places are announced, City Kids gets advice from one Headteacher about how to tackle disappointment.

Today sees the announcement of the primary school places for September 2019.  Many of us go to drastic measures to ensure that our little ones get into our preferred choice of school, but there are no guarantees.  Though there are many fantastic primary schools in your local area, competition is high.  Hopefully, you will be thrilled at your offer.

But what do you do if that is not the case? We caught up with Sophie Baber, Headteacher of Brookham School, in Liphook to see what advice she had to offer parents.

Don’t panic!

“First and foremost, don’t panic and don’t let your child see that you are upset. The last thing you want is to transfer any stress or anxiety on to your child.

Once you have processed the offer and collected your thoughts, it is time to accept the school place you have been offered.  While this may seem counter intuitive, it is important that your child has a school to go to in September.  If you don’t, the chances are that you could lose your place and be offered an even less desirable option. Don’t worry, this will not affect your right to appeal.

Get on the phone

After you have done this, I would advise phoning your preferred choice of school.  If you think it’s brilliant, the chances are so will lots of other parents.  As a result, the phones are likely to be busy and the waiting list may be long. However, there is always movement, places come up all the time and it’s not uncommon to be offered a place on the first day of the new school year.

Consider appealing

Now your child’s name is securely on the waiting list; it is time to consider appealing. If you are to be successful, you need to have a solid case.  Your reason could relate to a mistake in the admissions arrangements or the suitability of a school to meet your child’s needs.  It is important to note that each local authority will have a slightly different process, so it is imperative to check out your local authority’s website.  Most will have an online form to complete and you will have to complete a new form for each school you wish to apply to.  Don’t forget to have all your supporting evidence in a digital format, so that it can be uploaded and submitted all at the same time.  You may want to consider employing a solicitor or a member of a schools appeals organisation to help.

Going to appeal can be extremely stressful and the chances of success are limited, but there is another option to consider. There are some truly outstanding independent schools in our local area.  With nurturing smaller class sizes and an enviable breadth of curriculum, delivered by specialist teachers, this a brilliant back up plan.  If you are in the fortunate position of being able to afford this option, you will find that many independent schools will be open for admissions all year round.  If financially this seems an impossibility, it is worth picking up the phone and asking about the bursaries on offer.

With all of these options there is no magic wand, but if you don’t ask…”

Sophie Baber is Headteacher at Brookham School in Liphook, Hampshire.
highfieldandbrookham.co.uk 
01428 722 005

If you’d like to visit, you can join one of the open days held throughout the year, or organised a personalised visit with Sophie.

REDROOFS WORKSHOP IN MAY HALF-TERM

Redroofs School for the Performing Arts shares expertise during two-day workshop in May half-term

 

Redroofs School for the Performing Arts, which has helped to secure life changing careers for hundreds of children in West End shows, are coming to London to share their expertise to your children.

During a two-day musical theatre workshop, girls and boys aged 8-13 will work with industry professionals from West End shows such as Wicked, Matilda, School of Rock and Mary Poppins to create an informal presentation of show-stopping songs and routines.

The workshops also give the children an opportunity to ask lots of questions about how to land a part in a West End show, life as a young performer and how to achieve your ambitions.

This is very definitely suitable for all levels of experience from a keen novice to experienced young performers, with or without a dance background. This workshop promises to enhance your theatre skills and to increase your contacts and introduce you to like-minded stars of the future.

About Redroofs

The School was founded in 1947 in North London, and moved to the home of the late Ivor Novello in leafy Berkshire in 1964. One of the earliest pupils was Rula Lenska and alumni now include Kate Winslet CBE, Lucy Benjamin, Joanne Froggatt and Kris Marshall.

The school has trained and also launched the young careers of Oscar, Bafta, and Golden Globe nominees and winners, musical theatre performers, film stars and familiar faces. Children from a variety of backgrounds and abilities are welcomed. Its Gold Teams currently work with some of the UK’s finest talent, in workshops and children’s masterclasses.

Supporting Young People

The building of confidence, teamwork, transferable presentation skills, and of course friendships through secure and assured Performing Arts training and expectations are evident in the Redroofs story and have supported young people into wide ranging careers, as actors, dancers and singers, directors, writers, producers, lawyers, teachers and more.

Redroofs pupils have most recently starred in West End Shows such as Matilda, Mary Poppins, Annie, School of Rock, Joseph & The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof, Nativity!, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child while more pupils are notching up TV & Film credits including The Kid Who Would Be King, Tolkien, Almost Never (CBBC), Picasso, Music, War and Love and many more.

MAY HALF-TERM WORKSHOP

KIDS IN THE MUSICALS
Mayfair, London
Tuesday 28th and Wednesday 29th May 2019

Venue: Danceworks, 16 Balderton Street, Mayfair, London W1K 6TN
Ages: 8-13+ years

Time: 10-3pm daily

 

Easter Holiday Camps

Easter may be a month away, but the holidays aren’t! We’ve picked our favourites amongst the many holiday camps now available in London

 

RICHER EDUCATION
One of London’s leaders in science and STEM learning, Richer Education provide camps for all levels of knowledge and ability. They have now also included debating and public speaking on their skills list.
Chelsea, Kensington | 4-14 years.
richereducation.co.uk

WILL TO WIN
At centres across London, Will to Win provide tennis, netball and multi sports camps for youngsters 4-7yrs and also full day camps for 7-16 yrs. All take place in beautiful London parks.
Chiswick, Hyde Park, Greenwich Park, Ealing, Regent’s Park
willtowin.co.uk

THE LITTLE GYM
Whilst you may think may only be open to members, The Little Gym opens its doors to everyone for their holiday camps. Some of The Little Gym centres also offer dance and karate camps. Register for full or half days. Gyms in Chiswick, Hampton & Teddington, Wandsworth & Fulham and Westfield White City | Ages 3-12 yrs
thelittlegym.eu

ROCKS LANE
With venues in Chiswick, Barnes, Bishop’s Park and Hurlingham Park, Rocks Lane offers football, multi-sport, tennis and netball camps for kids from the age of three (shorter hours).
rockslane.co.uk

SUPER CAMPS
Want to try something a bit different? Super Camps offer Lego Play, Bushcraft, Cookery, as well as football and multi-activity.
Various school-based locations |4-12 yrs
supercamps.co.uk

MOTHER NATURE SCIENCE
Book a day or a full week at these camps designed to have fun with science. Themed days include Rocket Launch, Powerful Air, Starry Light and Outer Space.
Kingston, Richmond, Sutton, Harrow, Southgate, St John’s Wood, Hampstead, Kensington, Herne Hill | 5-12 yrs
mnature.co.uk

THE STRINGS CLUB
Packed with fun-filled, unmissable musical experiences, our multi award-winning Ofsted registered Holiday Camps for children aged 4 – 11 bring together the very best of childcare and music education to engage and inspire your child – every holiday.
Islington and Hampstead | 4-11 yrs
thestringsclub.org

FIRE TECH
One of the few camps to offer courses for older kids, Fire Tech run STEM based camps which include coding, VR, digital design and video game design. Students learn from the ground up, and there’s even a girls only camp for teens.
City, Dulwich, Notting Hill, Camden, South Kensington | 9 yrs+
firetechcamp.com

IOI
Bricks and Code, Robot Zoo and Game and Code are just three of the themed days which are part of Lab Liftoff this Easter. The Institute of Imagination’s mission is for kids to explore ideas, invent new products and build new skills.
Lambeth | 7-12 yrs
ioi.london

CHELSEA YOUNG WRITERS
Whether you’re at your wits end with your child’s creative writing skills, or you have a David Walliams on your hands, Chelsea Young Writer could help this Easter. Writing workshops are designed by award-winning children’s authors and led by experienced practicing writers and educators.
Notting Hill | 6-12 yrs
chelseayoungwriters.co.uk

KITE STUDIOS
Head to this oasis of creativity in West London to enjoy arty workshops for kids of all abilities. The classes will cover printmaking, painting and drawing during themed days such as Hobby Horses and Fabric Puppets and Brush Work and Painting Fur.
Shepherds Bush | 4-10 yrs.
kitestudios.org

THE MUSIC HOUSE
This Easter you can immerse yourself in a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory week-long camp. There’s also The Lamb Who Lost Her Jump at Bush Hall and an Instrumental Extravaganza where children can try out any instrument they like!
Shepherds Bush | 5 yrs+
musichouseforchildren.com/whats-on

NET-IT CAMPS
Love netball? Junior netball camps aim to improve netball skills, maximise personal development and have fun!
Holland Park, Wandsworth, Fulham and sleepover camps at Woldingham School | Reception to Y8.
net-it.org

DUKES MEADOWS
A favourite with locals – wonder if it’s that hot lunches are also provided for those staying all day? Do tennis or golf, or both, multisports or even add skiing, yes skiing to the mix.
Chiswick | 5 yrs+
dukesmeadows.com

SPARKS
This Easter your kids could make a fantasy movie, exploring how to produce epic battle scenes, master stunts and fight choreography, not to mention full-on production design, cinematic camera skills, special effects and all the behind the scenes magic it takes to make a movie. Phew!
Balham, Highgate, Dulwich, Kensington, Hampstead | 7-11years
sparks-ignite.com

 

VOTE FOR YOUR SCHOOL DINNER HERO

Voting is now CLOSED for the City Kids Magazine School Food Hero

 

 

AN ANNOUNCEMENT WILL BE MADE TOMORROW….

Schools across London and the South East have been sending in their entries to the School Food Awards. Our judges have deliberated and they have spoken. Here is our shortlist:

Notting Hill & Ealing High School

“Philippa Frederick and Maggie Watkins are the “sweet and savoury” of Notting Hill & Ealing’s in-house kitchen. Maggie has been creating daily sweet treats for 41 years! Philippa has been with NHEHS for 19 years. With her team she produces over 1000 meals daily and knows just how to excite the palettes of our girls.”

www.nhehs.gdst.net

Shiplake College

“Suzanne Hemchaoui has been our Catering Manager at Shiplake for the last year and in that time, we have seen a transformation in the quality and creativity of the food that we eat daily. She goes the extra mile to make sure that the menu is healthy, innovative and inspirational which encourages our pupils to eat responsibly.”

www.shiplake.org.uk

St James Preparatory School

“Brian Turner has utterly transformed the menu and introduced Tasting Tuesdays as a way to encourage them to try new food. He enhances topics taught in the classroom through themed meals like Space Lunch or French Breakfast; he loves decorating the lunchroom and a favourite was a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.”

www.stjamesschools.co.uk

Fulham Prep

“Mike Waters sets up tasting tables for new dishes, so that children can try a sample of the dish the day before it’s served. He focuses heavily on fruit and vegetables and plant-based foods, setting the children up for good habits and has invited a nutritionist into the school to teach children about nutrition and its health benefits.”

www.fulham.school

The Holmewood School

“Mayuri Tokekar and Ria Rattan, Occupational Therapist and OT Assistant, established a small ‘OT cafe’ project which initially involved just one or two students that were struggling to engage in learning and helped them to find motivation and to start to enjoy success at school once more. The cafe project has now expanded to include more children and they regularly cater for special events at the school.”

www.thsl.org.uk

All the schools have been given a mark by the judges and the public vote which has taken place over the last week will make up 25% of the final score. Good luck!

PET THERAPY AT BRENTFORD SCHOOL FOR GIRLS

Brentford School for Girls provides new therapy thanks to a furry friend

Brentford School for Girls’ latest staff member comes from the canine world. With a lower salary than her human colleagues, Lillie the 3-year-old Cavachon is happy to be paid in treats and cuddles. Brentford School or Girls recognises the importance of positive mental health and the school has developed a mental health strategy. As part of this they are trialling Lillie to work with students who have a variety of needs.

Improving outcomes for kids

Pet Therapy has proven benefits and Brentford School for Girls is hoping Lillie can help with reducing anxiety, improving pupil motivation and developing social skills and confidence. Marais Leenders, the school’s Head Teacher, has been very impressed with her new member of staff. “Lillie has settled really well into Brentford life. She is very popular with the girls and is doing an excellent job. Students have commented on how friendly she is and how well she interacts with them.”

Helping with Autism

The school has an Autistic Spectrum Unit onsite and Lillie has been a hit here as well. Students have reported feeling comfort and joy from Lillie interacting with them. Lillie has also been working with the school Librarian Jane O’Sullivan to engage reluctant readers. Ms O’Sullivan has been bowled over by the engagement in reading when Lillie is working with this group.

Lillie currently attends Brentford every Monday and although she can’t speak for herself her owner reports she is certainly getting a very good night’s sleep on Monday evenings!

BEST BOOKS THIS SPRING & GIVEAWAY

There are some fantastic books being released this Spring. Here’s six of the best books for kids of all ages. And we’re giving all of them away to celebrate our 5th birthday issue!

PRE-SCHOOLERS

THE WALL IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BOOK
THE WALL IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BOOK
by John Agee (Scallywag Press) £12.99
This is the story of a little knight who is very happy that his wall protects him from the dangers that are sure to lurk on the other side. However, he is too busy mending a hole in his wall to notice the mounting dangers on his own side.
This is funny and has plenty to keep readers occupied when they read the book over and again. And I wonder how many books for children are endorsed by Amnesty International?

ALL THE WAYS TO BE SMARTALL THE WAYS TO BE SMART
by Davina Bell illustrated by Allison Colpoys (Scribe) £11.99
A picture book for children who worry about tests or school performance. “Smart is not just ticks and crosses, smart is building boats from boxes, Printing patterns, wheeling wagons, being mermaids, riding dragons”. This is the third book from Bell and Colpoys, celebrating what makes children who they are.

LITTLE KIDS

THE LEGEND OF KEVIN: A ROLY-POLY FLYING PONY ADVENTURETHE LEGEND OF KEVIN: A ROLY-POLY FLYING PONY ADVENTURE
by Philip Reeve illustrated by Sarah McIntyre (OUP) £6.99
Plenty of humorous illustrations and a story that had our not-so-keen reader engrossed until he’d finished. Characters Kevin, a rotund pony, and Max, share a love of biscuits and embark on an adventure to save Max’s home town, soon to be submerged by water. Funny and high-spirited.

THE MEGA MAGIC HAIR SWAPTHE MEGA MAGIC HAIR SWAP
by Rochelle Humes illustrated by Rachel Suzanne (Studio Press) £6.99
The first book from The Saturdays star Rochelle Humes celebrates differences and how to love yourself just the way you are. Inspired by her daughter who asked why all princesses had straight hair, Rochelle has written a story about two friends (one with curly hair, and the other with straight) who think the other has perfect hair.

BIG KIDS

FERDINAND MAGELLAN: LITTLE GUIDES TO GREAT LIVESFERDINAND MAGELLAN: LITTLE GUIDES TO GREAT LIVES
by Isabel Thomas illustrated by Dàlia Adillon (Laurence King) £8.99 (April 2019)
Ferdinand Magellan led the first expedition to sail all the way around the world, encountering lands and creatures that he could never have imagined. This, and Anne Frank, are the latest in the Little Guides to Great Lives series, accessible guides introducing children to inspirational figures from history.

THE CLOSEST THING TO FLYING THE CLOSEST THING TO FLYING
by Gill Lewis (OUP) £6.99
Award-winning author, Gill Lewis, tells the story of two young women, one in the present day and one from the nineteenth century. Semira is an Eritrean refugee, and Hen is a repressed Victorian girl, but they both find courage to fight for what they believe in. The Closest Thing to Flying covers discrimination, friendship and empowerment set against a backdrop of women’s rights.

 

To win all of these books, simply use our clever widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

UNDERSTANDING NON-VERBAL REASONING

Understanding non-verbal reasoning can seem an impossible task. We asked Rob Williams from School Entrance Tests for help.

More and more secondary schools across West London are using non-verbal reasoning (NVR) tests as an admissions criterion. The recent overhaul of The London Consortium (formally the North London Girls’ Consortium) has seen traditional maths and English papers replaced by a bespoke cognitive ability test, lasting 75 minutes, plus an interview where problem-solving, critical thinking and creativity are assessed.

And it isn’t just private schools using non-verbal reasoning tests. Many grammar school entrance tests incorporate a non-verbal reasoning test as part of the 11-plus exam. Even comprehensive schools, such as Sacred Heart High School and Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School, use a NVR test to ensure a mixed ability intake.

For many Year 6 pupils this will be a new type of test, and their parents will want to do everything possible to boost their child’s chances of being admitted to the school of their choice. We asked Ealing-based practice test specialists, School Entrance Tests, to provide some introductory points and practice tips.

What are NVR tests?

NVR tests measure general intelligence by assessing the ability to identify the inherent patterns in a series of shapes/figures. The figures may be regular geometric shapes like triangles, squares and triangles. However, sometimes they are just dots. Or just crosses.

NVR tests come in many different formats, but here are some common characteristics:

    1. Diagrams are used – instead of numbers or words. NVR tests do not rely on any knowledge of either English or maths. This is what makes them a fairer assessment than, ‘pure’ English or Maths tests.
    2. Questions are based on a sequence involving several sets of figures.

For example:

Figures are arranged in a sequence, series or matrix format.
The next figure in the sequence must be found amongst the answer options offered.

Four- step strategy

This four-step strategy is useful for identifying visual sequences and patterns:

1. What are the key similarities and differences between the shapes and figures?
– Does any pattern standout immediately? If so, how is it changing across the sequence?
– What is the sequential change at each step?

2. There are some commonly encountered pattern changes in the sets of figures and shapes. Look-out for the these…

  • Shape – There will be one or more figures shown.
    What shape are these? What shape are the next in the series?
    More difficult questions may have several figures but the principle is the same. Check the grouping of each type of shape.
  • Size – one of the easiest patterns to find first. Hence some of the first, easiest questions in a NVR test may be based on size changes of the figure(s) shown.
  • Position and Movement – Many questions involve at least one or two movement patterns. Often of a triangle, square, circle etc. For example, does the black shape move around from the top right-hand corner to the bottom right-hand corner?
  • Colour and Shading – Colour or shading are often a determinant in the solution. For example, does the same shape shift between being black and white? Or does the shading go from white to grey, then to black, and back again through this same shading sequence?
  • Number – Questions with many figures will invariably have number as the changing pattern. Count the figures at each step to check for a sequential change in the number of the high frequency figure(s).
  • Rotation – Do any features rotate clockwise or anti-clockwise? By 90- or 180-degrees at each step?

A few less commonly encountered changing patterns are: embedded figures; and reflection / mirror images.

3. If the shapes are irregular you can rule out shape as being part of the solution. The shapes and figures that are presented in each question block will become increasingly complex. Finding one pattern is then just part of the solution. Once you have done this, you will need to find a second, different pattern that also changes step-by-step. The very hardest questions may even have a third pattern change!

4. Review the answer options with these three considerations in mind:

  • Once you have found the first pattern, you can eliminate any answer options that do not meet this first pattern.
  • Then, narrow down the solution further by “removing” the number pattern from the question and seeing what other patterns then reveal themselves.
  • Finally, the changing pattern must be found in the answer options too. Be careful not to make your selection too quickly – often one answer option will be almost correct!

For the easiest questions you only need to find one changing pattern. The NVR questions will gradually increase in difficulty, however. By the end of the test your child will have to find two or three pattern changes. In other words, one part of the central figure may change shading/colour. A different part of the same central shape may rotate clockwise or anti-clockwise. Both these changes occur together at each step in the sequence.

Timing is everything

To the uninitiated, NVR tests look like nothing more than random shapes and squiggles. However, the more practice your child does, the more adept they will become at spotting the changing patterns. Taking practice tests won’t just help your child become more skilful at non-verbal reasoning, they will also help with time management – an important factor in exam success.

Encourage your child to work through the easiest questions quickly, though of course taking care to avoid careless errors.

Sometimes seeing the one, two or three patterns required can happen very quickly. However, with other questions, it may take a lot longer to identify the patterns. Your child

should avoid spending too long on the NVR questions they find most difficult. If they encounter a sequence that has them scratching their head in frustration they should move on and return to the tricky question if time permits.

Familiarity with the different question formats will help your child learn when to skip a question, and how long to spend on each question. And, of course, being familiar with the test format in advance will help your child feel more calm and confident on exam day, allowing them to perform to the absolute best of their ability.

You can find free practice NVR papers on the School Entrance Tests website: https://www.schoolentrancetests.com/11plus-grammar/non-verbal-reasoning-practice/
https://www.schoolentrancetests.com/private-9-10-11-exams/

schoolentrancetests.com
E: rrussellwilliams@hotmail.co.uk
M: 077915 06395

 

Cover image: Element 5

Kumon centre opens in Ealing – Education News

Kumon centre opens in Ealing: Dickens Yard is the venue

 

Kumon centre opens in Ealing

A new Kumon Centre has officially opened in Ealing, Dickens Yard.

The Worshipful the Mayor and the Mayoress of the London Borough of Ealing cut the ribbon of the UK and Ireland’s largest supplementary education provider. They were kindly assisted by young Kumon students.

Guests included parents, children and students from other local Kumon centres, members of Ealing Council, local schools and businesses. St George, the developers behind the Dickens Yard development were also there to join in the fun.

Maths and English help

A Kumon centre offers children the opportunity to develop their maths and English skills. The program offers a daily study programme of individualised worksheets and Kumon centre visits up to twice a week.

The flagship Kumon centre in Ealing is one of more than 250 more across London.

In the UK and Ireland, more than 70,000 children of all ages and abilities study the Kumon Method of Learning, which also celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.

Kumon study helps children of any age and any ability to shine. We aim to give our students the tools they need to enjoy learning. Our programmes establish strong foundations in maths and English, helping your child to feel confident enough to tackle challenging work.

Kumon Instructors guide their students through work that is set at just the right level for them. They keep them engaged and make progress. They support and encourage students to work out answers by themselves. Also, they help them to become self-sufficient, successful learners for the future. By studying little and often through daily worksheets and twice weekly study centre visits, our students steadily increase ability and fluency, building their skills in small, manageable steps.

For more information: www.kumon.co.uk/dickensyard

 

CITY KIDS SCHOOL FOOD AWARDS

 

STILL TIME TO ENTER!

We are delighted to announce that we have extended the deadline for our City Kids School Food Awards #CityKidsSFA19. The response from schools and parents has been so overwhelmingly positive that we want to include as many entrants as possible.

The School Food Awards are a unique opportunity to win an award that recognises the great work of schools and their kitchen teams. All schools are operating on budgets, and some are very tight budgets, yet many catering teams manage to provide nutritious, hot lunches for the kids. We think this should be celebrated!  But we also need to continue the discussion surrounding around free school meals and healthy eating.

With these awards we aim to recognise those schools who are providing catering excellence and thinking beyond meat and potatoes. The awards will become a well-regarded accolade amongst parents and educators alike. Winners will be handpicked by the City Kids editorial team and a host of well-known and passionate foodies, to be announced shortly.

The award categories are as follows:

State Sector
  • School Dinner Hero (Primary/Secondary)
  • Best School Menu (Primary/Secondary)
  • Best Vegetarian Menu (Primary/Secondary)
Independent Sector
  • School Dinner Hero (Prep/Secondary)
  • Best School Menu (Prep/Secondary)
  • Best Vegetarian Menu (Prep/Secondary)
Why Enter?

What’s the one question that kids ask when they visit a school? “What’s the food like?”
And what do parents ask on a daily basis when they collect their kids from school? “What did you have for lunch?”
School food is top of the agenda for kids and parents and what better way to show your school’s catering brilliance than with these awards.

Apart from the obvious positive PR, there are plenty of benefits to nominating your school for a City Kids School Food Award. All shortlisted schools will be mentioned in print and online and will be featured in our Spring Education issue. Winners will feature in our Summer issue. You will also receive a digital logo for use across your marketing assets to include: Vote for Us!, Shortlisted, Winner, Runner-up. This will contribute to the multi-media brand exposure across our platforms and yours.

How to enter

For more information about the entry process, categories and judging please click on the link below. Make your application by completing the online form on this page or by email. If you have any questions please email editor@citykidsmagazine.co.uk. Good luck!

CityKidsSFA2019 rules and entry form



Entries close on Friday 31st January 2019. 

#CityKidsSFA2019

ARTSED CHISWICK TO BE REFURBISHED

 

ArtsEd has received planning permission to refurbish the building at Cone Ripman House in Chiswick which will bring facilities up to date at the outstanding school for performing arts.

 

Artist’s impression: De Matos Ryan

ArtsEd in Chiswick has received planning permission to create a new studio theatre, as well as additional rehearsal and teaching spaces. The plans for Cone Ripman House will optimise the existing buildings and unlock the potential of currently empty courtyard space. The project will cover all aspects of ArtsEd’s provision and will see significant improvements in the facilities of the Day School and Sixth Form as well as the Schools of Acting and Musical Theatre.

ArtsEd was originally built as Chiswick Polytechnic in the 1950s and adapted for the schools’ use on arrival over thirty years ago. The refurbishment will bring long-awaited world-class facilities to the site in line with its world-renowned reputation for conservatoire training.  Included in the development will be a new state-of-the-art Studio Theatre to complement the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation Theatre which opened in 2013 and was the first significant addition to the school’s facilities since first making its home in Chiswick.

Principal Chris Hocking said:
“We are delighted to be able to move forwards with our refurbishment plans and provide our students with facilities that match the exceptional quality of our teaching – ensuring that future generations continue to leave ArtsEd as outstandingly confident and creative young performers.”

Once the refurbishment is complete, ArtsEd students will all be hosted in one location, ensuring that they all enjoy the best possible performing arts environment. ArtsEd will also be able to share these new facilities with the wider community through its continuing programme of evening and weekend courses.

www.artsed.co.uk

BOOK REVIEW WINTER 2018/19

For any special occasion, a beautifully designed book or a classic story is a great gift and keepsake. Victoria Evans has a selection for kids big and small.

PRE-SCHOOLERS

THE STORY ORCHESTRA: SLEEPING BEAUTY
THE STORY ORCHESTRA: SLEEPING BEAUTY
illustrated by Jessica Courtney Tickle (Lincoln Children’s Books)
The follow-up to the bestselling The Story Orchestra: The Nutcracker. With beautiful, full-page illustrations from Jessica Courtney Tickle. It tells the classic story of Sleeping Beauty, brought to life with music from Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty ballet. Hear 10 famous pieces of music from the ballet and be transported into this wonderful fairy tale.

STORY BOX: CREATE YOUR OWN ANIMAL ADVENTURESSTORY BOX: CREATE YOUR OWN ANIMAL ADVENTURES
(Laurence King)
Let imaginations soar with these animal themed storytelling puzzle pieces which can be matched in all sorts of ways, for multiple storytelling combinations. Great for the classroom, or as an alternative to traditional bedtime stories.



LITTLE KIDS

NOW MAKE THISNOW MAKE THIS
(Phaidon)
For the young makers in the family is Now Make This, a beautifully designed handbook offering unique and exciting DIY projects for kids. This unusual and engaging book of activities grants children access to world-class design in their very own homes, and may even inspire a few to become designers themselves!








A TREASURE TROVE OF MYTHICAL WONDERSA TREASURE TROVE OF MYTHICAL WONDERS
chosen by Michael Morpurgo (Oxford Children’s Books)
From brave heroes and battling beasts to mighty gods and magic spells, these are timeless tales to treasure forever. An enchanting selection of classic myths and legends, chosen by the UK’s best-loved storyteller. This is a great choice for shared reading, and for more confident readers to read-alone.







BIG KIDS

THE INK HOUSETHE INK HOUSE
by Rory Dobner (Laurence King)
An acclaimed artist, Rory Dobner has created a cast of lovable and magical animal characters, inspired by the objects he collects around his home and on his travels. His ink illustrations have been commissioned by MTV, Disney and Nike, and his distinctive homewares range is available in stores including Liberty and Fortnum & Mason.








POETRY FOR A CHANGEPOETRY FOR A CHANGE
by Kimberlie Birks (Otter-Barry Books)
This anthology features new poems by National Poetry Day Ambassadors such as Deborah Alma, Joseph Coelho, Sally Crabtree, Jan Dean, and also a poem chosen by an ambassador to share. Look out for classics by Chistina Rossetti, WB Yeats, Shakespeare and Keats, among others.

BOOK REVIEW AUTUMN 2018

BOOKS

With our Autumn issue focussed on getting back into the swing of studies, we’ve chosen books to compliment and inspire learning, whatever the age of the children.

by VICTORIA EVANS

PRE-SCHOOLERS

A PILE OF LEAVES
A PILE OF LEAVES
by Jason Fulford & Tamara Shopsin (Phaidon)
The third in a series of ground-breaking books from the author-artists Tamara Shopsin and Jason Fulford created in partnership with the Whitney Museum of American Art.
This clever book of collage features see-through acetate pages with beautiful autumnal elements, playfully designed to invite young readers to dig through a pile of leaves and uncover the surprises throughout. The clever design also presents the opportunity for children to add their own images between the book’s clear pages.

 

A YEAR IN NATURE - A CAROUSEL BOOK OF THE SEASONS A YEAR IN NATURE – A CAROUSEL BOOK OF THE SEASONS
by Hazel Maskell, illustrated by Eleanor Taylor (Laurence King)
This is a fascinating introduction to the seasons, following a family of foxes through the year. The book opens out into a stunning four-part carousel, revealing intricately detailed pop-up scenes of spring, summer, autumn and winter. Follow the boxes as the tiny cubs grow up through the year, and explore the woodland scenes to discover animals, trees, plants and owners.

 

LITTLE KIDS

THIS IS NOT A MATHS BOOK THIS IS NOT A MATHS BOOK
by Anna Weltman (Ivy Kids Books)
Discover how maths can be artistic and art can be mathematical with this awesome activity book, full of fun drawing challenges with a mathematical basis. Amazing patterns with a mathematical essence will be revealed as you follow the simple activity instructions. Learn incredible maths facts as you draw the beautiful designs.

ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING: A HISTORY OF EARTH, DINOSAURS, RULERS, ROBOTS AND OTHER THINGS TOO NUMEROUS TO MENTIONABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING: A HISTORY OF EARTH, DINOSAURS, RULERS, ROBOTS AND OTHER THINGS TOO NUMEROUS TO MENTION
(October 2018, What on Earth? Books)
An up-to-date history of the world covering topics from dinosaurs to robots and everything in-between. Jam-packed with illustrations, photos, timelines and a glossary, index and reference material, Jacqueline Wilson calls it ‘absolutely amazing’ and it gets the thumbs up from Horrible Histories author Martin Brown: ‘from the Big Bang to yesterday’s breakfast, this BOOK OF FUN AND DISCOVERY makes sense of it all’.

BIG KIDS

LEARNING TO LEARN – A GUIDE FOR KIDS AND TEENSLEARNING TO LEARN – A GUIDE FOR KIDS AND TEENS
by Barbara Oakley PhD & Terrence Sejnowski PhD with Alistair McConville (TarcherPerigee Trade Paperback)
If you can remember your least favourite subject at school, it’s probably the one that you also found most difficult. This book aims to teach kids to train their brains to learn the hard stuff, instead of just assuming they can’t do it. One of the book’s authors and a professor of engineering, Dr Barbara Oakley, struggled with maths at school, until she learned how to learn.

DESIGN FOR CHILDREN - PLAY, RIDE, LEARN, EAT, CREATE, SIT, SLEEP DESIGN FOR CHILDREN – PLAY, RIDE, LEARN, EAT, CREATE, SIT, SLEEP
by by Kimberlie Birks (October 2018, Phaidon)
This is a book for older, design-savvy and style-conscious kids or those interested in product, lighting and furniture design. It showcases work by contemporary superstars such as Marcel Breuer, Jean Prouvé, Nanna Ditzel, Philippe Starck, Nendo, Marc Newson, Donna Wilson, Kengo Kuma, and Marcel Wanders. It also pays tribute to those who have shaped children’s design and pioneered products for kids.

SCHOLARSHIPS AND BURSARIES

“I think he might be even cleverer than his brother,” said Monika, “so I’d like him to try.” She meant tto ry for a place at Latymer Upper. Peter’s brother was at a good comprehensive and would have done well anywhere. Monika worried that Peter was unconfident and, at his brother’s school, might lose interest and drift. Just before I was due to meet Peter to test his English and maths, Monika called. “Forget it,” she said. “I’ve lost my job. And his dad’s on zero hours.” “Bring him anyway,” I said. “We might as well take a look.”

Peter turned out to be a natural. He grasped how to approach a comprehension exercise without being told and wrote a beautiful essay. His maths was swift and accurate. He tried for Latymer Upper on the understanding that he could only take up the place with hefty assistance from the school with the fees. He was awarded a bursary which covered 100% of the fees plus additional help with extras.

This does not happen every day but a third of children attending independent schools now get some help with the fees in the form of scholarships and bursaries.

Since the government’s Direct Grant and Assisted Places schemes were abandoned, schools have built up their own funds in order to offer places to the bright children of broke – or semi-broke – parents. Why? They need pupils who will bring them top results and sporting glory so that they attract more of the same.

School fees have gone up out of all proportion to average wages and even to house prices in the last ten years.

In 2007, Westminster School charged just under £16,000 for a day place. Today you’d pay £26,130 – a rise of nearly 64%, whereas average salaries have risen only around 15% in that time. Godolphin and Latymer charged just under £12,000 in 2007. Now it’s just under £21,000 – a rise of 75%. For most professional families independent schooling in London is no longer affordable.

So, what help is available?

Most London independents offer at least some fee assistance in the form of scholarships and bursaries. These days, few scholarships are worth a major chunk of the fees, though some – awarded for promise in e.g. academics, sports, art, music, drama etc. – can cover up to 50% of the fees in some cases. Schools now channel most of their available funds into means-tested bursaries. These go to children who, like Peter, would not be able to attend the school without financial help. 100% bursaries are relatively rare (though University College School had 52 pupils on this level of assistance when we visited) but many schools will offer 25% or 50% to those pupils they really want and the bursary can be supplemented by a scholarship for able children. You can have both.

You have to be prepared to reveal your home circumstances every year – with complete honesty.

But you can have a joint income of a surprisingly high amount (up to £120,000 at St Paul’s Boys’) and still qualify for some help. And it’s not just your income that is scrutinised but your essential outgoings and lifestyle. So, if you have elderly parents to support that would be taken into account. But if you take four holidays a year, have two homes and a yacht, you can probably forget it.

Not all schools have much to give away but some have lots. If you want to give this a go, you need to educate yourselves on what could be available to you so as to give it the best shot.
The Good Schools Guide holds up-to-date information on the fee assistance offered by more than 700 schools and is the only centralised source of such general information.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
www.goodschoolsguide.co.uk

by SUSAN HAMLYN, Director at The Good Schools Guide Education Consultants

EDUCATION – SCHOOLS OUT!

Catchment areas? Oversubscribed prep? Think again…

By Susan Hamlyn, Director at The Good Schools Guide Education Consultants

St Catherine’s School, Bramley

The arrival of a baby these days produces less unalloyed joy than in earlier times. Along with the multipacks of nappies come bucketfuls of stress. This is especially true of new parents in London who think wistfully of their own, often far less pressured, childhoods. They look around their chic – (or less chic) – London borough and see queues of exhaust-emitting traffic, crowded buses, unsupervised parks and schools, which are either good and over- subscribed or unacceptably poor.

Not that many London schools aren’t good these days. But few have much space – especially outside. Staff turnover can be high. The best state primaries have catchment areas the size of an exercise book and good preps are highly competitive and expensive. Then there’s the pressure. Schools are expected to pack more and more into a short day. A common sight is a child on his way to school, heavy rucksack on his back, instrument case in one hand and sports bag – bootlaces and cricket bat perilously tipping out of one end – in the other. Can this be the only way?

Well, it isn’t. Recent years have seen a change of thinking in both parents and schools. Increasingly, London parents are sending their children against the commuter traf c to schools in the Home Counties. Hazel and Chris Tomkins are typical: ‘Alba is a lovely child. But she was getting lost in the local school – there were simply too many children who needed more attention than she does. She is sporty and needs a lot of space. Since she went to her country prep, she’s got into the borough athletics squad and is much happier.’

Likewise, doctors Nour and Shazia Mahmood, enthuse about the change in their twins: ‘Their new
school has a minibus that collects from a couple of streets away and brings them back in the evening. They did have to sit entrance exams, but it was far less competitive than preps in London – three children for each place rather than 12! And the teaching and results are just as good.’

Schools within commuting distance see London as an excellent new market. Papplewick, a boys’ prep in Ascot, Berkshire, reports: ‘Since our transport service to and from Chiswick was launched, we have experienced a 100% rise in interest, resulting in a second service to and from Brook Green.’ And they confirm what parents say:

‘We offer a huge range of extra-curricular activities and sport in a rural environment. This all takes place within a school day, rather than parents having to ferry their children to after-school activities around London. All prep is done at school here, so there’s no homework. Parents report that their sons are less stressed, happier and working harder. They also achieve good academic results.’

Papplewick School, Ascot

Senior schools also now offer weekly boarding especially tailored to professional London families. A key influence is the lack of space in London schools and the necessity of ‘bussing’ to local sports grounds. St Catherine’s School in Bramley, near Guildford – headed by the highly-experienced Alice Phillips – tells us: ‘Interest is high – we see about 90-100 families at every open morning, of whom about 20% are looking at weekly boarding.’ This is partly because St Catherine’s offers: ‘Space. Green vistas. Outdoor facilities, which include floodlit netball and tennis courts, lacrosse pitches, athletics track, plus a huge sports hall, swimming pool, fitness suite, gymnasium and dance studio. And outstanding on-site facilities – we offer musicians an auditorium with superb acoustics. Actors have a state-of the-art theatre and technical box.’

But it’s not just facilities. Many parents worry about the intensity of an urban childhood. St Catherine’s says: “Here their daughters can develop at a pace less dictated by the media and peer pressure. We are not isolated – we are located at the heart of a village community with Guildford on our doorstep. St Catherine’s girls are very busy and are more likely to be in a club, in an orchestra rehearsal or doing sports after school, rather than kicking their heels around a city centre.’

So – another sleepless night worrying about catchment areas or oversubscribed preps? Perhaps it’s time to look outside …?

www.goodschoolsguide.co.uk

 

For more news on schools and education take a look here.

NAVIGATING THE 11+

If you’ve decided to go private for secondary school, by the time your child reaches Year 5 you’ll be contemplating the start line of the 11+ marathon. Having just been through the process myself, I decided that those Year 5 parents, as well as those closing in on application deadlines in November, might want to hear what it was REALLY like, straight from the horse’s mouth. I’ve spoken to parents to gather their perspective on the process, and how they think it could be improved, in addition to bleeding them dry of proper, useful advice and the lowdown on some of London’s most sought-after educational establishments. I think it’s worth noting that the parents I spoke to have children in a range of schools: Putney High, Harrodian, Latymer Upper, Francis Holland, Arts Ed, Ibstock Place and Kew House. So, you will be getting a decent overview.

11 plus advice

THE 11 PLUS PROCESS

General feedback from the parents I spoke to was that the process is ‘pretty awful’, ‘tough on parents and children’, ‘frustrating’ and ‘a bit like childbirth – you eventually forget the worst bits!’ One parent told me that their new headteacher recently congratulated the parents and pupils for having made it through the 11 plus process in West London, begging the question of whether it is better dealt with out of town (more on that in our Schools Out piece, p29).

One thing is certain, it’s a competitive business and applying for only one school would be foolhardy. Spreading your bets and applying for eight schools is equally daft. It just adds stress and is exhausting for your child (and really, are there eight schools you really love?). Be grown up and make some decisions!

The schools don’t exactly discourage applications; as one parent put it, ‘they can make serious money from the registrations, so they’re not going to turn people away!’ Emmanuel School in Clapham is the only one we know of that caps applications each year.

Beware, the cut-off is getting earlier and earlier.

Blink, and you’ll miss it. And don’t rely on other parents to let you know. It’s every man and woman for themselves in this game.

Part of the process involves creating a shortlist. Be ready for some schools to host open evenings that are like ‘bun-fights’, where they don’t control numbers. This results in some parents not being able to get a good feel for the school. Others require a ticket, so you need to book well in advance or you won’t get a look-in.

Try to get to as many open days and evenings as you can, even though it becomes a drag in the final stages. It will give you the opportunity to form a better opinion about what is important to you: single-sex, city, out of town, sporty, musical, all-rounder, religious.

Once the choices are made, be prepared for the interview. Some schools only interview candidates that reach a certain exam standard, but most will interview all pupils who apply, sometimes before the exam.

Recent questions included:

  • Tell me how a Fitbit works?
  • Describe this object. To this day, I still don’t know what it was my daughter had to describe.
  • What is time?
  • Rank the schools you have applied to in order from favourite to least favourite (yes, really, a child was asked to do this).
  • What was the greatest invention of the 20th century?
  • Who do you think should be on the new £10 note and why?
  • If you could be anyone for 24 hours, who would you choose & what would you do?

So, now you’ve prepped the questions, you’re ready, right? Wrong. You’ve got the environment to contend with. Some schools rip your loved ones from you at some distance from the exam centre, others provide a welcoming talk, tea and biscuits while you wait. Some interviews are one-on-one with senior management, others are in groups (when, inevitably, one over-confident chatterbox talks over everyone else), and often there will be many interviews taking place in one room at the same time. And then there’s the speed-dating type of interview. Oh yes, not just something for adults. The most important tip here is for you to give your child the confidence they need to be themselves. We have to trust that these schools know what they’re looking for and which child will fit in.

HOW COULD THE 11 PLUS PROCESS BE IMPROVED?

This is a difficult one. Some of the best schools in the country happen to be within a two-mile radius of West London. So, it naturally follows that it’s competitive. We all go into this with our eyes open. It’s a selective approach to education, so how is it best to select?

Kew House is regarded very positively by local parents as it puts a lot of emphasis on the interview with the headmaster (who, by the way, puts nervous children at ease in seconds).

The interviews are also all finished by the end of the Autumn term, meaning it’s one less thing to worry about in January.

A parent I spoke to suggested that there should be a limit to the number of schools that parents apply to. She said:

‘I think this would mean people categorised their choices better. The more academic kids would apply for the more academic schools, with maybe one fall-back. Instead, the less academic kids would apply for the middle/lower ranked (academia-wise) schools, with maybe one hopeful. This would stop the more academic kids being offered loads of places in schools they are unlikely to accept, therefore stopping so many kids having to go through the wait-listing process. It would also make the numbers applying to the schools more realistic.’

Another idea was to put co-ed schools together, like the North London Girls’ School Consortium. So,

‘one maths and English paper are taken by each child, and all schools consider these papers. The mixed schools, such as Ibstock, Harrodian, Kew, Radnor House & St Benedicts, could form a West London Consortium. If they want to do their own verbal/non-verbal tests, then they can, but the main exams would be cut down considerably.’

SOME 11 PLUS ADVICE FROM OUR PARENTS…

  • Get a tutor.
  • Don’t get a tutor. The debate will go on.
  • Get a folder & get organised! Buy stamps and envelopes now. Few of the schools use online applications. You’ll need photocopies of your child’s passport & passport-sized photos of him/her. The admin around applying and each exam day (whether your child needs to wear a certain sticker, take a card with them, etc) is surprisingly full-on, but you need to be calm and in-control so they don’t feel your stress as well!
  • Focus on your child and what they need from a secondary school, not what others think or which are the most popular schools of the moment.
  • Some people go completely bonkers through the process … ignore them.
  • When you look around a school, try and look for the reason you might not want your child to go there. These schools are all excellent!
  • Try to get to as many open days and evenings as you can, even though it becomes a drag in the final stages. You will form a better opinion about what is important to you: single-sex, distance from home, the journey to school, sporty, musical, all-rounder, religious.
  • Many schools host more than one open day at different times of the year. When trying to narrow things down, going to a second open day is a good way to help finalise a view. You may well see a school in a very different light the second time around, especially if you only saw it once, right at the beginning of the process.
  • Believe in your own judgement regarding your child’s potential, and be realistic about where they will get in. There’s no point putting them through the stress of a highly academic school just because you really want them to go there when the reality is that they will probably achieve more in the long term if they went to a school that was more academically appropriate for them.
  • Listen to your child. Having gone through this process twice now, both my children have been very clear about which school is their favourite, even if it may not have been my first choice. They are the ones who have to spend the next five to seven years at that school. So, it’s better they make the decision with you, rather than you deciding for them.
  • Don’t cross-examine your child after each exam. Chances are, they will have made some classic errors and it’s very difficult to pretend not to care! Best not to know.
  • Be ready for rejection. Getting offers from all their schools is for the very few. Knowing how to be positive is an important skill here.
  • If you’re on a wait-list, call the school immediately and express your 100% desire to be part of their intake in the Autumn. One headmaster joked that this is the time to send flowers and chocolates to the registrar concerned. Joking aside, begging letters, expensive gifts and stalking have been known.
  • Alternatively, take the view that if the school doesn’t want your child, you don’t want them to go there!
  • Relax, do not stress. It does work itself out in the end. Easier said than done. Take it from one who knows!

With thanks to Cherry Wood, Claire Rimmer, Sharon Hart, Maria Viader, David Ewen and Sarah Norman-Taylor.

STEAMING READS

Here’s a selection of great books for all your budding scientists to get their brains whirring over the holidays.



Big book of stars and planets

BIG BOOK OF STARS AND PLANETS


by Emily Bone
Age 4+

A large interactive picture book with fold-out pages featuring art based on images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

£9.99 Non-fiction Hardback



Ada Twist, Scientist

ADA TWIST, SCIENTIST

by Andrea Beaty
Age 6+

The latest rhyming offering from the New York Times bestselling author of Rosie Revere, Engineer and Iggy Peck, Architect. Meet Ada, another classmate asking curiosity-led questions, who loves to experiment. In the book she has to solve a household smell problem using science. A beautifully illustrated tale of perseverance.

£10.99 Fiction Hardback


Astronaut's Handbook

THE USBORNE OFFICIAL ASTRONAUT’S HANDBOOK

by Louie Stowell
Age 7+

Shortlisted for The Royal Society’s Young People’s Book Prize 2016 and published in association with the UK Space Agency, this book is a step-by-step, how-to guide for budding astronauts and space scientists. With a foreword by Tim Peake, this is a fun read with fab illustrations.

£6.99 Non-fiction Paperback





Lego chain reactions

KLUTZ: LEGO CHAIN REACTIONS

by Pat Murphy
Age 8+

What is Christmas without Lego? Grab some Lego bricks and use in conjunction with this great book of instruction and inspiration. It comes with its own Lego pieces to help young engineers create moving machines which can be used together to create chain reactions.

£12.99 Non-fiction Paperback/Box



Fun Science

FUN SCIENCE: A GUIDE TO LIFE, THE UNIVERSE AND WHY SCIENCE IS SO AWESOME

by Charlie McDonnell
Age 13+

By You-Tuber “charlieissocoollike” comes new Fun Science, a journey through science, written and illustrated with humour by a geeky science fan. It is designed to inspire even the least scientifically inclined teen!

£14.99 Non-fiction Hardback

STEAMING ALL THE WAY

With Christmas around the corner, we know your attention will be turned to trees, tinsel and Christmas lists in no time. If you’re keen on your kids having a little education thrown in there’s a host of STEM/ STEAM-inspired toys and gifts on offer. Ahrani Logan has selected her favourites.


XTRONAUT, THE GAME OF SOLAR SYSTEM EXPLORATION

For 2-4 Players Age 7+
Xronaut
Xtronaut, released in September 2016 to coincide with the launch of NASA’s inaugural asteroid mission OSIRIS-REx To Bennu And Back, is the first board game grounded in actual NASA missions. The mission will only be complete when the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft brings a sample of the Bennu asteroid back to Earth in–wait for it–seven years! In the meantime, the asteroid mission’s lead scientist Professor Dante Lauretta has created Xtronaut to keep us busy on Earth whilst we wait. The game’s attention to detail and scientific accuracy are thanks to him and his highly experienced team. Dante told CITY KIDS that he hopes this game will enthuse and inspire children (and parents, too!) to delve more into space and STEM subjects.

Amazon price: £51 (variable)

VIEWMASTER VIRTUAL REALITY (VR) PACK

Age 8+
Viewmaster
Virtual reality has really taken off in 2016 and this toy, released earlier this year, offers a great entry point for kids. For those of you who remember your old Viewmaster, be ready to upgrade! Using a smart phone app, the new Viewmaster offers a kid-friendly VR experience with 360-degree immersion into a range of scenarios through the Viewmaster VR “Experience Packs,” which include Wildlife, Destinations, and Space. Although Viewmaster VR works with most phones, check your phone’s compatibility first. Experience Packs need to be purchased separately. A delightful upgrade from Google Cardboard VR. Happy immersion!

Amazon price: £14.99 (variable) RRP £22.99
Experience Packs: £3.99 (variable) RRP £7.99


OIDROIDS

Age 5+
Oidroids
These cards are perfect stocking fillers: they will distract your little ones on Christmas morning whilst you get the lunch on, or provide for a little relaxing quality time after lunch over a box of Quality Street. The robots, made of high-quality, pre-cut cardboard with colourful designs by graphic designer Jonathan Klemenze, will satisfy the artistic makers in your family. No cutting or sticking required. Winner of Brand Licensing Europe 2015 License This! Competition.

Amazon price: £5.25 for a pack of 15




BBC MICRO:BIT

Age 3+
Micro:Bit
Inspiring a new generation of coders, the BBC released the micro:bit first into schools, and then from July, to the general public. Sized at 4×5 cm, it’s a fun and easy-to-use pocket-sized computer. Kids can create games, animations, and scrolling stories using this nifty programmable piece of kit. Bluetooth Smart technology means you can connect your micro:bit to other devices. USB and battery power box need to be purchased separately.

Amazon price: £14.80 (variable) RRP £14.97

HAPE DISCOVERY SPACESHIP AND LIFT OFF ROCKET

Age 3+
hape discovery spaceship
Not your average doll’s house, this toy is designed to look like a real space shuttle. It even contains a treadmill for budding astronauts who want to recreate Tim Peake’s London Marathon in space! With 37 birch wood pieces, it requires some easy assembly, which you might want to do ahead of Christmas morning so your child can take off immediately!

Amazon price: £78.99 (variable) RRP £104.99
Also available at the Science Museum

THE STATE OF BOARDING

World Book Day at SexysI’m often surprised to hear that so few parents have heard of state boarding schools; but they are often recognised as the UK education’s ‘best-kept’ secret. Given that state boarding can offer a stable, caring environment and provide high-quality education, state boarding schools seem to offer the Holy Grail – all at a reasonable cost.

Any student with a UK passport is eligible for state boarding. The costs are limited to the boarding element. The educational provision is, like community-based state schools, free. Therefore, state-funded boarding school fees are typically around a third of the cost of the independent sector. A state boarding school costs, roughly, £10,000 a year; a number that compares positively to private school fees, which have increased by an average of 20 per cent since 2010 – four times the rate of growth in average earnings, according to Lloyds Banking Group. That’s not a small difference, especially for London parents struggling with rising living costs, and juggling the demands of the school run and extracurriculars, while working long hours or with travel expectations.

Of course, cost isn’t everything. Our children’s education is worth every penny, but pupils at my own school, Sexey’s in Bruton, Somerset (and, no doubt, at the other 37 state boarding schools up and down the country), are also involved in their local communities. They have an understanding of how the breadth of society works, and most importantly, can converse easily with people from all walks of life. Simultaneously, they also benefit from many of the elements often valued in independent education: excellent facilities, pastoral care, and a range of extracurricular activities that promise a tailored, unique experience for each child, from music, sport, art, and drama to horse-riding and debating.

Boat Scene at SexysBut, what about the level of education? All state boarding schools follow the National Curriculum, and pupils take the same exams as they would in a state day school. Whilst the exams are the same, the performance typically exceeds that of many other state schools, with state boarding schools frequently featuring at the top of league tables. For example, Sexey’s achieved the best state school GCSE results in the South West this year. It was also listed as being in the Top 50 state schools across the country for their GCSE grades. The school’s A Levels this year were also strong: over 34 per cent achieving A*-A (versus 25.7 per cent nationally); and over 86 per cent reaching A*-C (versus 75 per cent nationally). A survey of parents by the State Boarding Forum found that over 80 per cent choose state boarding schools due to their high academic standard, and the opportunity for children to fulfil their potential.

Of course, boarding isn’t for everyone. If it is something you would consider for your child, there are 37 different state boarding schools around England – from selective to comprehensive, from co-educational to single-sex, from primary, secondary and sixth-form.

Parents usually find a school that meets their requirements, no matter how specific they are. For further information, please take a look at the State Boarding Forum website www.stateboarding.org.uk.

BOOK REVIEW SUMMER 2016

by SHARON FRIED-JONES

PRE-SCHOOL

Animals are Delicious
Aimed at the pre-school age Animals Are Delicious, illustrated by Dave Ladd and Stephanie Anderson (Phaidon), is a collection of beautiful fold-out board books that focus on three animal food chains – land, sea and air. With the premise that ‘Everyone is hungry’, we learn that all creatures are somebody’s lunch somewhere down the line.
Curious children everywhere will love these books as they’re illustrated in both colour and black and white, and give easy to remember facts about the plants and animals that inhabit the Earth.

PRIMARY

Harold's Hungry Eyes
Harold’s Hungry Eyes by Kevin Waldron (Phaidon) is just a big win on so many levels. It tells the humorous tale of Harold, a Boston terrier (move over pugs) who spends his days dreaming about food and sleeping on his favourite chair.

Except one day his world is rocked with the rude awakening that his chair has gone missing, and when he sees it being taken by the refuse collectors, it leads to a mission to find it. He ends up getting lost in the city, which not only makes him miss home, but makes him hungry! Bicycle tyres become pretzels, doorsteps become wafers, lorries look like cheese and before long Harold is absolutely insatiable. All is not lost as he eventually finds his way home, and there’s a lovely surprise waiting for him…

This is the fourth picture book from Dublin-born artist Kevin Waldron who shares his studio with Oliver Jeffers and Jon Bergerman. Visually arresting with a zingy colour palate, this will firmly become a favourite. My only warning is I guarantee your audience will be hungry once hearing this story.

Goodnight Tiger
Goodnight Tiger by Timothy Knapman and Laura Hughes (Little Tiger) is an endearing story of a young girl called Emily who cannot get to sleep. Why? Because the jungle animals on her wallpaper keep waking her up. Now, that’s an excuse I’ve never heard before. Still, they’re making a racket because they, too, can’t get to sleep, so it’s Emily job to get them all back to the land of nod.
So as she encourages them to have a bath, hot chocolate and sings them lullabies she finds her efforts are fruitless until she reads them a bedtime story. A fun tale that reinforces the bedtime routine. A must for the little sleep thieves in your house.

JUNIOR

The Bubble Boy
For those who enjoyed the hugely successful Wonder by R J Palacio, The Bubble Boy by Stewart Foster (Simon & Schuster) is a natural choice. Joe is eleven years old and can’t remember a time when he wasn’t in hospital. He has a rare disorder called SCID and his life is spent living in a bubble. Even those who visit him carry the risk of contaminating him with life-threatening germs.

As depressing as this book sounds, it’s an absolutely cracking read. You’ll experience just about every emotion possible as we’re introduced to Joe’s world., which goes from being lived in his dreams, to dealing with extreme loneliness. With only his sister for family, he finds friendship in the form of Henry, who has the same condition but they’ve only Skyped because Henry lives in America, and his new nurse Amir who is a striking character.

Big Nate Blasts Off
Fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid will love Big Nate Blasts Off! by Lincoln Pierce, and as it’s had the seal of approval by Jeff Kinney himself that surely must mean it’s a hit. Big Nate has been around since the early nineties as it started off as a comic strip. Clearly Pierce has stuck true to his roots as there are illustrations on every page, meaning the jokes come thick and fast.

When Nate gets a job on the school newspaper it’s a chance to showcase his artistic skills, that is until he makes fun of Randy, the toughest kid in school and then of course it’s no laughing matter. With most of the action taking place in a school setting most older children will find the various scrapes that Nate gets into funny even if shamelessly American but don’t let that put you off, it’s an easy read with plenty of chuckles along the way.

SECONDARY

Red Witch
Red Witch by Anna McKerrow (Quercus)
13+
It’s 2047, and Devon and Cornwall have voluntarily split themselves off from the rest of the UK to form the ecopagan Greenworld, a peaceful and self-contained counterpoint to the dystopian Redworld, governed by private security and at war for the last scraps of fuel left in the world. However, all is not as harmonious as it might be in the Greenworld, and after cursing a boy and girl for murdering the boy she loved, 17 year old witch Demelza Hawthorne runs away across the border to the Redworld in search of a new life.
In once-magical Glastonbury, she meets the enigmatic and criminal Bran Crowley, who introduces her to the beauty and riches that the Redworld can offer to the right person; he’s looking for power, and Melz certainly has it. But will Melz be comfortable making a deal with the King of the Underworld?
Demelza is a fabulously feisty yet sensitive protagonist as we see especially from her journal entries. The story is packed full of rounded characters that leap off the page, as well as the vivid portrayal of dramatic Cornish scenery, and the powerful vision of a dystopian Glastonbury. This book has it all – adventure, romance and real world magic. Anna McKerrow is a rising star in the UK YA scene – an absolute must-read.

Rebel of the Sands
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton (Faber) 12+
Amani lives in Dustwalk, a violent and corrupt wild west-esque desert town she’s desperate to leave. Yet the desert plains are full of danger, and the Sultan’s enemies are on the rise. Yet when Amani meets the mysterious Jin, she finds a way out of the oppressive and threatening Dustwalk, only to find that running away from trouble brings her into contact with some terrifying opponents – and magical new friends – in her search for the Rebel Prince.
Rebel of the Sands is an original and thrilling fantasy novel full of adventure, myth and magic. Amani is a fantastic heroine: brave, bold and witty. It’s a joy to immerse yourself in the fully developed world that Hamilton creates – a blend of the Wild West and Arabian Nights, with some killer comebacks and sharp dialogue between the sharpshooting, street-smart Amani and the hero and love interest Jin. The original mythology and legends woven into the world building are fascinating. It gives the story depth and authenticity, and the politics of Amani’s world are both familiar and foreign. Highly recommended.

Sharon Fried-Jones is a west London mum, who by day is the Head of Marketing and Digital for the charity BookTrust which inspires a love of reading in children, and by night is an aspiring children’s author with a love of clashing clothes, picture books who longs for a good night’s sleep.

SATURDAY SCIENCE

Richer education

If your child is curious about science, or in fact, if they find their school classes a touch dull, then why not seek out a place where they can get involved in real life experiments. Every Saturday, Richer Education runs workshops in science, robotics and civil engineering, taking their learning to the next level.

Courses take place at Imperial College and each workshop is designed to inspire and motivate primary aged children into learning about science in a hands-on, practical way. A typical science workshop might be anything from dissecting a real heart, turning wine into water, to literally holding fire in their hands. In robotics, children can learn to write code, build a robot with robotic arms, that can grasp objects and how to synchronize multiple robots to make them dance. In Civil Engineering, children learn to find solutions to real life engineering challenges, in a child friendly way.

Science Saturday workshops are 9.30 – 11.30, whilst Robotic Saturday workshops run from 12-2pm, and Civil Engineering classes are at 2-4pm. All classes take place at Imperial College.

For more information go to www.richereducation.co.uk

THE GREAT SCHOOLS DEBATE

Schools – is there a more hotly discussed topic amongst parents? We don’t think so.
Rebekah Hall sat down with Toby Young, Catriona Sutherland-Hawes and Tony Ryan to determine whether the fear and paranoia perpetuated by some parents is justified.

The Great Schools Debate

We’ve all heard the stories and some of us have seen them in action. Stand-up fights between mothers outside school gates over waiting lists; lying about tutoring and keeping those tutors names a well-guarded secret. This inevitably creates stress and apprehension… creating tension and paranoia. It’s little wonder that some families move away from the West London bubble.

However, even out of town, you can’t escape the facts. There is pressure on school places as pupil numbers grow. Data from the Department for Education (DfE) predicts an extra 900,000 children in English schools over the next 10 years, and statistics from the Local Government Association report that this will cost £12 billion. Private school fees have trebled since 1990 to £286,000 per child over 14 years of day school according to The Killik & Co Private Education Index. So yes, parents do have reason to worry. Maybe that’s why it is impossible to avoid those draining school discussions, especially in West London.

REALITY CHECK

A six-year-old has a creative writing tutor, maths tutor and must do 100 sums before he is allowed to play. A father is angry with the head teacher because his son failed to get into Oxford, despite his son’s average marks. Urban myths or a reflection of the competition for places at West London private schools?

As registrar for the past nine years at Latymer Upper School, Catriona Sutherland-Hawes says she often sees a lot of worry revolving around a parent’s desire for their child to attend a specific school. Unfortunately, she admits to seeing trophy hunting, with some parents unable to bear the thought of their child… failing. “The difficulty comes when parents think the best place is actually the wrong place; aspirational parents don’t always accept that,” says Sutherland-Hawes.

In these competitive times, what is her advice for parents? “I genuinely think there is a right school for everyone and there is a lot of choice. Parents are not always willing to accept that what they might think is the best place is not somewhere that will suit their child.”

STATE DOESN’T ESCAPE

While state schools continue to improve, (and private schools up their fees) they are included in the discussion too. Parents worry about catchment areas and consider moving house to within metres of their preferred school. League tables play their part as competition across the board increases.

As Chiswick School achieves better results, head teacher Tony Ryan says he’s seen more anxiety from parents due to the current entry waiting list. “Parents are now concerned about … the possibility that they might be just outside the catchment area,” says Ryan. “For some parents in certain geographical areas, there is huge anxiety because we are their first choice.”

To help alleviate some of the pressure, Chiswick School increased its intake from 215 to 240 pupils. While this means increased class sizes, Ryan is confident the school can manage without impacting the classroom. “We have a … moral purpose to try and provide a place for as many local parents who want it,” says Ryan.

During exam time, Ryan sees more parents at his door and receives many more phone calls. His advice for parents is to stay informed
throughout their child’s schooling. “The more information you give parents, the less anxious they are likely to be with [their child’s] results,” Ryan says.

Toby Young, CEO of the West London Free School Academy Trust, says parental anxiety in primary school is a combination of things.

“Parents with pre-school children are concerned that their children won’t get a primary place due to the national shortage, or concerned that their child won’t get a place at their first or second choice of primary,” says Young.

If you’re in the first situation, he suggests moving, going private, or urging the local schools to expand or start a free school. If in the second group, then Young says to “send your child to your third, fourth or fifth choice of school and supplement what they’re learning at home.” To supplement learning at home, he naturally points to his book What Every Parent Needs to Know.

TO TUTOR OR NOT TO TUTOR?

Tutoring. Perhaps the hottest topic of all. To alleviate worry and keep up with the Joneses, parents often turn to tutoring to help ensure
entrance into a top school or to achieve better test results. Analysis entitled Extra-curricular Inequalities [2014] by The Sutton Trust and Ipsos MORI states that, of 2,800 11 to 16 year-olds, 23 per cent of young people nationally and 37 per cent in London, say they received private or home tuition. The national figure was 18 per cent in 2005 and 24 per cent in 2013.

But what we all want to know is, are tutored kids better off?

Sutherland-Hawes knows tutoring is rife, and has become an industry. “If you need to be tutored to get into a school, then it’s not the
right school,” she says, adding that Latymer is only interested in a child’s natural ability on entrance exams. “If you are not at the right academic level for that school … you will then struggle. Three years ago, we stopped doing verbal and non-verbal reasoning, as it was being over-tutored. It wasn’t giving us an idea of the child’s natural potential.“

However, she does believe some exam preparation is a good idea, but warns not to the point of memorising an entirely irrelevant story for the English exam. She tells of one particular year when children from the same prep school wrote the same answers in the English section. However, the answer had no bearing on the actual question, and their tests were marked down. In another instance it was obvious that many children in one postcode had had the same tutor. “Exam preparation is different,” she says. “I fully support sitting down, doing exam papers to time, and getting used to that technique … Being tutored adds artificial intelligence; preparing for the exam is being aware of what is coming and having your timings right.”

Young suggests that the decision to tutor or not depends on where a child falls on the ability spectrum and parents’ ambition for their child. “Children with exceptional ability are going to do well in public exams … without any need for private tutors,” Young says. Those children most likely to benefit [from tutoring] are those on the pass/fail border.”

At Chiswick School, tutoring seems to be used as it was originally intended. Ryan says he rarely meets a situation where a child is being over tutored. At his school, tutoring is used instead as a healthy top-up. Outside of school Ryan doesn’t believe that a tutor should be a requirement for any parent, but if used, should complement what is being taught in the classroom. However, the school does bring in tutors to help give students more individual attention. “We employ tutors [to] work with small groups,” he says. “A tutor [will] come in and diagnose where [students] are and work with them … before we put them back into lessons.”

THE GOLDEN RULES

We can all agree to some basic ground rules, like do your research, read Ofsted reports, visit every school, meet with heads, ask tough questions and listen carefully to the response. Walking into a school, every parent should have an instinct as to whether the school is the right fit for their child, and this is far more more important than simply accepting a school as being a “top” school. Schools should also be a good fit with a family’s educational values because, frankly, you will be attending that school too.

When asked for some golden rules, Sutherland-Hawes provides sound advice. At the top of her list is for parents to listen to head teachers because they have special knowledge of a child’s abilities. Also, she says, at secondary level ask your child what they think because it’s just as much up to them. “Ask yourself, will my child be happy here? Don’t be over aspirational. Be sensible about your choice,” Sutherland-Hawes says. “Keep [children] calm.”

Young’s advice is two-fold. He feels that children likely to benefit the most from going to a good independent school are those from very disadvantaged backgrounds who have high IQs. “If any parent reading this thinks their child falls into that category, they should find out what the eligibility criteria is for full bursaries”. He adds that, unless your child is one of a handful who would really benefit from going to an independent school, send your child to the local state school. “Take the money you would otherwise have spent and put it in a savings account. You can then use that nest egg to help them buy a flat when they leave home. That flat represents far better value for money than a private education,” says Young.

Ryan says he works closely with parents. “We constantly check the progress of students at school, and we [bring] that back to parents,” says Ryan. “You want them to go to a school you trust, where they can get the right education, the right mould. It’s not just the exams you are buying into. You’re buying into a much bigger deal.”

Still need a last word of advice?

“Don’t listen to anybody,” says Sutherland-Hawes. “It’s about your child. Trust your own instincts and judgements; there is a right place for every child.”

And by the way, she occasionally reads Mumsnet. You’ve been warned!