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.
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.
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 email@example.com | rolemodels.me
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.
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
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.
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+
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
The only way to improve the mail to your inbox is to sign up to our newsletter!
Sign up to our newsletter:
Our newsletters are sent every two weeks and include exclusive content, early access to competitions and mood-boosting articles. You’ll also find the latest ideas for things to do (whatever tier you’re in) plus events and parenting tips. In recent months, we’ve included shopping edits, competitions with Start-Rite, Piccolo Foods, Anorak Magazine, Micro Skates and even Father Christmas so there really is no excuse to not sign up to our newsletter!
We hope that you find our newsletters as much fun to read as we do to put together.
What are you waiting for? Sign up to our newsletter here!
When it seems like 2021 has already lasted 2556 days, and you feel like you’ve prepared 907975 meals, Jo Pratt and Lizzie King have responded to our SOS by working together on a free family meal planner to save our sanity. All you have to do is sign up below to receive it!
Jo regularly provides recipes and ideas for City Kids readers and she’s drawn on her fantastic wealth of knowledge and numerous cookbooks to help create our planner. Her most recent publications are all about flexibility (The Flexible Vegetarian, The Flexible Pescatarian, The Flexible Family Cookbook), as we try to cater for different dietary needs and tastes, never more apparent than in the family home.
Lizzie is another friend of City Kids whose most recent venture, Lizzie Loves, has brought all her nutritional expertise to the fore. She’s shared recipes from her recent Wellness Week campaign and from Healthy Family Food. There’s nothing like a pandemic to focus our minds on eating well and boosting immunity.
Lizzie and Jo’s recipes work together for daily, stress-free goodness.
Our family meal plan includes all meals and snacks plus the added benefit of some of Lizzie’s Be Well and Be Sleepy remedies sprinkled amongst the goodness. We’ve made it as nutritionally balanced as possible and easy, as we know time is like gold dust at the moment. Some can be made in advance so that all you have to do is reheat ahead of lunch or dinner.
Finally, don’t stress if your food delivery missed an item and it’s not available for the recipe. You’ll see these meals can be flexible!
There’s no getting away from it – it’s wet weather season and time to find some waterproof clothes for the kids.
It’s grey, it’s wet, it’s cold and there’s nothing worse than wet, cold and miserable children. But as many a grandparent has been heard to say: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.” To prove it’s still possible to stomp in muddy puddles this Autumn and Winter, we’ve put together and edit of some of the most stylish, yet practical, waterproof clothes for kids. From wellies, rain resistant coats and all-in-ones, we’ve got you covered.
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+