Workshop details

We have just published a new flyer with details of our most popular workshops. All available for schools, home educators or other groups. Take a look and let us know if you would like further information or to book a workshop. Click here to view the flyer: Gather & Sirius workshops

My summer holiday: writing a book!

So, what have we been up to over the summer? Well, the answer is: quite a lot. You may have noticed the more streamlined website. Well that was thing number one. Do let us know what you think. The new website was designed in part to help promote a new project: Gather Round. Gather Round offers workshops and training to schools, with storytelling at its heart. Tuition has continued and Ruth and Paul have worked with West of England Homestays, tutoring French students in English for the 3rd year running. We have also done a bit of relaxing fun with … Continue reading

6 tips for writing an essay introduction

“How do I write a good essay introduction for my exam?” I have been working on essay writing with many students in the run up to the exam season and if there is one piece of information that I could give students writing essays for exams, be they GCSE, A level or even degree it is that the introduction is key. A good introduction is perhaps the most important element for an exam essay. It does not need to be long. It does not need to be complex. It does not need to be ‘clever’, but there are a few key things … Continue reading

30 second tips: its or it’s?

The first of our 30 second tips went down well, so now it is time for a second. Today, we are looking at its and it’s. This is one which often confuses people. Hopefully this little clip will give you a way to remember which one you use in which situation.  The first series of our course ‘The mechanics of English’ which gives you more strategies for improving your spelling as well as looking at grammar and application of language, is up and running now. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter or contact us, if you want to be … Continue reading

30 second tips: Spelling

This is the first of our 30 second tips; and that’s just what they are. 30 second films which give you a mini lesson in something that you might find useful. Today, we are looking at spelling and a strategy you might want to employ to help you improve your spelling. This is a variant of the ‘look, cover, write, check’ method, but really helps you to commit the letter order to memory. If spelling is something you’d like help with, don’t forget our upcoming course, ‘The mechanics of English’ which will give you more strategies for improving your spelling … Continue reading

How to study poetry: enjoyment or analysis?

As I come towards the end of my first set of online English sessions, I was asked a question by one of the parents about poetry and how to encourage an appreciation of poetry in children.  The parent acknowledged that this was a difficult question and that there is probably a different answer for every child.  It did get me thinking however, and here are my musings! Poetry – is it interesting? Due to the age of the students I usually work with, when I study poetry with them, they have usually already formed an opinion of what poetry is … Continue reading

Analysis group gets underway

Thanks to a great response to our small group, online English sessions we have been able to offer two groups a week. We are now in our second week and it is going really well. Our first session was: What is analysis?  What does it mean to analyse? Why do we analyse in the study of English? How is analysis useful in real life? The second session was: Media analysis – print media What are purpose and audience? What are connotation and denotation? Analysing adverts Our next topic will be: Media analysis – moving image How and why does the media categorise … Continue reading

Science inspiration

A friend asked today about science experiments they could do with their child and I reeled off a few, but it got me thinking about where I have got my ideas for science experiments which are easy to do at home.  Today’s mini blog, therefore is a list of some of the books, websites and other inspiration from which many of our science experiments at home come. Books 1) A great book we have used for years is Usborne’s 50 science things to make and do. The activities range from things that young children can do unsupervised to more complex activities … Continue reading

Cooking – an incredible teaching tool

Cooking is a life skill, an educational tool and also just great fun. It is an excellent way to help children of all ages learn. Cooking enables children to work in a variety of curriculum fields simultaneously. From maths to English, science to geography, history to PSHE, cooking can be the tool which helps children practically explore many areas of education and life, often without even noticing they are learning. I used to teach in a special needs secondary school where cooking was taught both as a subject and as a social activity.  They ran ‘foody-Friday’ where the students planned, budgeted, purchased, … Continue reading