Empowering Professionals Uncategorized

Wandsworth Schools Need You: Governors Share Their Experiences

Wandsworth Schools need governors! And Wandsworth Governor Services is rethinking its approach to recruitment in support of our schools. To gain insights into what motivates people to become governors and what the role entails, we asked two highly regarded governors a series of questions. A video featuring the interviews with Andrea McDermott and Mark Holliday will be available soon. 

Mark is the chair of governors at a primary school in Wandsworth. He became a governor because he wanted to have a connection with his local school and make a difference to the lives of children in his community. He also had some previous experience of being a co-opted governor.

When Mark first started as a governor, he felt overwhelmed by the amount of preparation and reading he needed to do. However, he found the support from Wandsworth Governor Services invaluable. He also enjoyed networking and learning from other governors.

Now, as chair of governors, Mark is able to set the tone of the governing board. He has led a restructure of the committees to reduce the bureaucratic side and focus more on the children and their families.

Mark says that the highlights of his experience as a governor have been visiting the school to meet staff, pupils, and parents, as well as attending events and celebrations. He also feels a great sense of pride and privilege in being able to make a difference to the lives of children and their families.

Here are some of the benefits and rewards of becoming a school governor:

  • Making a positive difference to the lives of children and their families
  • Feeling proud and privileged to be part of the local community.
  • Gaining valuable skills and experience, such as leadership, decision-making, and teamwork
  • Networking with other governors and professionals in the education sector
  • Attending school events and celebrations
  • Seeing children learn and grow.

If you are interested in becoming a school governor, Wandsworth Governor Services can help. They offer a variety of support and training to support governors in their roles. Visit the Wandsworth Governor Services website to learn more about becoming a Governor. If you need any support with governor recruitment,  please book a Head-to-Head meeting to discuss how we can help.

Book your
Head to Head

If we have piqued your interest in Smart School Services, why not meet with our head team to see how we can work together. To arrange your Head to Head, or for any other enquiry, simply fill in the contact form and we’ll be in touch shortly.
Intelligent Operations

Andre & Agnieszka: Importance of Contractor Safety 

The Law

All schools have a duty to take reasonable care to ensure that all their staff and contractors are not injured whilst working and that members of the public aren’t injured in accidents connected to work. This is a legal obligation under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 sections 2 and 3.


  • Company prosecuted by HSE and issued £126,000 fine as worker was left paralysed after falling from height via an unguarded window.
  • Company fined £1.4m following death of contractor when crushed by falling equipment.
  • Responsible Person(s) receives prison sentence following the death of a contractor who fell from height. The defendants had failed to plan the work at height or to employ competent contractors to carry out the work.

There may be compensation to pay and other legal penalties.

What is a contractor?

A contractor is anyone you get in to work for you who is not an employee.

Examples could be:

  • Cleaners
  • Fire Alarm Engineer
  • Painter & Decorator 
  • Plumber
  • Catering Services

What could go wrong?

Accidents happen more easily when the contractor’s job is excluded from your usual methods of safe working.

Accidents with contractors can be caused by poor communication – when staff don’t know there is a contractor working nearby and when contractors don’t know the dangers on site or local emergency procedures.

Contractors are subject to greater hazards and risks than your own employees because they are not familiar with your environment and potentially due to the nature of works, they will be performing for you.

What should you do?

Both you and the contractor you use have responsibilities to implement safety measures. Make sure everyone understands the part they need to play in ensuring health and safety.

Additional duties:

  • Identify all aspects of the required job and consider the health and safety implications. 
  • You need to satisfy yourself that the contractor you choose can do the job safely and without risks to health (competency) – You must check for things such as Risk Assessments/Method Statements (RAMS), appropriate insurance cover, qualifications, and professional accreditations etc.
  • With the contractor ensure a suitable and sufficient risk assessment is in place for intended work.
  • Communicate with contractor throughout to ensure everybody, including your own employees are clear on risks present, control measures and emergency procedures.
  • Cooperate and coordinate with contractor to ensure work can be done without risks to health and safety.
  • Consult with your own employees on proposed works and how they should raise any concerns about contractors and their work.
  • Ensure adequate supervision is in place whilst contractor operates on your site. 

Contractors and ‘Construction’ Works 

If the task involve construction works, the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 will apply. (CDM 2015)

Key Points:

  • All construction work under CDM 2015 requires planning, but the plan for smaller jobs should be simple, short and proportionate to the risks.
  • The definition of maintenance work has not changed. If the task in hand looks like construction work, requires construction skills and uses construction materials, it is construction work.
  • CDM 2015 makes the Client accountable for the impact of their decisions and approach to H&S/Welfare


H&S Support?

The Health and Safety Team is available to provide support and guidance on any matters that could impact on your health and safety arrangements. 

Book your
Head to Head

If we have piqued your interest in Smart School Services, why not meet with our head team to see how we can work together. To arrange your Head to Head, or for any other enquiry, simply fill in the contact form and we’ll be in touch shortly.
Intelligent Operations

Matthew Lugton: HSE Inspectors to assess the management of Asbestos in Schools

The HSE will be carrying out a programme of inspections in primary and secondary schools from October 2023. The inspections will be assessing how sites are managing the risks from asbestos within their buildings.

During their 2022/23 inspections, the HSE found significant failings in management systems – leading to enforcement action being taken – in 7% of schools.

To assist sites, the HSE have published a revised Asbestos Management Checklist.

All sites that have Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs) present must ensure they have:

  • an asbestos register
  • an up to date asbestos management plan
  • records of periodic monitoring of the condition of any ACMs (as suggested by the asbestos survey) records of
  • communicating the presence of ACMs to contractors (where necessary)  

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR) place duties on those with responsibility for the maintenance of work premises to manage the risk from asbestos.
HSE inspectors will contact sites in advance to arrange a suitable date and time for an inspection. They will need to speak to someone with knowledge of how asbestos is managed by the site, and may also ask to see certain documents in advance of the visit e.g. your asbestos register and management plan.
Sites should review their current arrangements and check that they are meeting their duties under CAR:

  • take reasonable steps to find out if there are ACMs in the premises – and if so, the amount, where it is and what condition it is in, i.e. an asbestos survey has been conducted by an approved contractor
  • make – and keep up to date – a record of the location and condition of any ACMs (or materials which are presumed to contain asbestos), i.e. the asbestos register
  • assess the risk of anyone being exposed to fibres from the materials identified
  • prepare an asbestos management plan (AMP) that sets out in detail how the risks from these materials will be managed
  • take the necessary steps to put the plan into action
  • periodically review and monitor the plan and the arrangements, and act on the findings, so the plan and arrangements remain relevant and up to date
  • provide information on the location and condition of the materials to anyone who is liable to work on, or disturb them – contractors should be shown the asbestos register, and it is good practice to maintain a record of this communication

Should you require guidance in relation to your management of asbestos, this is available at and , or you can get in touch to have access to our school’s health and safety team.

Book your
Head to Head

If we have piqued your interest in Smart School Services, why not meet with our head team to see how we can work together. To arrange your Head to Head, or for any other enquiry, simply fill in the contact form and we’ll be in touch shortly.
Brilliant Learning

Steve Preston: Super School Profiles

At the end of September we uploaded Super School Profiles to the Research & Evaluation Unit (REU) website for all Wandsworth schools buying into Traded Services. Most schools will now be very familiar with these profiles – we originally launched them way back in 2010, though we continue to develop and improve each year. It’s our way of drawing together analysis from across the wide range of data we collect including attainment and progress, cohort analysis absence, exclusions, finance and workforce.

Each analysis section is visually presented with information on pupil groups, trends over time and comparisons to local authority and national averages. The profiles include analysis of Year 1, 3, 4 and 5 TA and NFER tests if you submitted them – note that schools providing data for Year 3, 4, 5 for a test other than NFER do not have analysis included in the Super School Profile as we were unable to calculate the percentage of pupils at expected or higher.

The profile this year followed the familiar format, but with some notable improvements including:

  • The Vulnerable Groups Summary (Section 1j) has been updated this year and should be quicker and easier to understand. The values are still coloured vs pupils different to the England data, but we’ve moved away from using the dot to indicate cohort size, to showing the count of children in brackets. We think it really helps to pop out things like subject-specific good practices across the year groups!
  • We’ve freshened up the IDACI and Absence maps – and also moved the latter to focus on persistent absentees, rather than all children.
  • The Absence section now shows a five year trend – this is important as it shows how absence levels are still well above the levels pre-pandemic in Wandsworth and across England.
  • The Workforce section show the ethnicity profile of your pupil cohort alongside the staff profile, so you can easily see how comparable they are

The new ethnicity comparison for school workforce:

The new vulnerable groups summary:

And remember, you will have more detailed analysis on the REU website that provides even more depth to the analysis in the profiles, for example contextual reports that break down achievement of pupil groups by individual subject, and question level analysis for year 3, 4 and 5 optional tests.

As always, please get in touch with the REU if you have any questions about the profiles or any other aspect of the REU service, and indeed if you have any suggestions for future developments – we are always keen to learn.

Book your
Head to Head

If we have piqued your interest in Smart School Services, why not meet with our head team to see how we can work together. To arrange your Head to Head, or for any other enquiry, simply fill in the contact form and we’ll be in touch shortly.
Intelligent Operations

Grace McLeod: St Joseph’s Marketing Investment

How do you make your school stand out from other good local primary schools? With falling pupil numbers across London, St Joseph’s Primary School realised that having a distinctive ethos wasn’t enough to attract new students, they need their community and neighbours to know them. Not just as one of the nearby competitive Wandsworth primaries, but as ‘St Joseph’s school’.

After hearing a presentation by James from West Creative at Wandsworth Council School Business Networking meeting, bursar Grace McLeod was interested in using marketing to help get more parents choosing St Joseph’s. 

“I’ve only been at the school for about a year and a half. It’s a lovely school and I’d love everyone to portray it that way. Pupils really thrive and the Headteacher and senior leadership team are really lovely. But I don’t think families feel that we stand out as one of the best Catholic schools or as one of the best Wandsworth schools, and word of mouth plays a big role,” says Grace.


The next meetings, which included the Bursar and Head Teacher, were on-line video calls.

“James is very warm and easy to talk to. Sometimes you might not know how to describe what you want, but just by talking to him he understands, verbalizes and puts it down in the way you envisage it to be,” says Grace happily. 

The result is a branding campaign that Grace is confident will help people recognise St Joseph’s. 

“West Creative also helped us redesign our newsletter, and messages for our website. They gave us a template for a poster so we can use that to advertise the school. That campaign brand will be consistent throughout all our communications. The hero messages look so good and just go so well with all our other marketing materials,” she adds.


“I’d recommend working with James and the West Creative team, they’re easy to talk to, made the process really simple, and was definitely value for money. James understands that school funding is really low at the moment. Schools shy away from marketing because they know it can be expensive, but I feel that West Creative was fair and good value for money,” adds Grace.

“I like to strategically plan and think about the ways our school can develop,” she explains. “That’s what business managers will get out of marketing – it can play a big role in thinking about the future and development of a school. That way the school can better plan and budget for resources, trips, education and wrap-around-care.”

Schools Marketing & Design Service 
A collaboration with West Creative Ltd

Your incredible learning experiences deserve to take centre stage, in everything you say about your school. 

At West Creative, we offer much more than flashy websites and punchy prospectuses. We combine our deep knowledge of working across the education sector with straight talking, pragmatic solutions that meet the needs of even the most modest budget. 

We can help you find your story and tell it in a way that brings parents, pupils and community partners closer to your learning environment. 

Everything starts with a conversation. To find out more about how we can help your school, book in a free 30-minute consultation using the date picker.

Brilliant Learning

Francis Gerard: The Global Storyteller

The Arrival of the Drakons

Conceived on VE day (family legend!), Francis Gerard, 77, was born in London and then moved to South Africa at 10 months old where he grew up steeped in stories. This was partly because his father, who has the same name, loved to tell stories to his children and their friends. He also wrote around 30 novels between the two world wars – one famous fan was the actor Christopher Lee (known for portraying Dracula) who employed book hunters to search secondhand shops for the titles he hadn’t read.

Growing up in South Africa was complicated. “My father was very anti-apartheid and I loathed the whole process of apartheid. I refused to learn Afrikaans, so it meant I couldn’t go to university.” Instead, Francis, “walked across Africa in the late 1970s….”. When the six-day war broke out between Israel and Egypt he couldn’t, “continue as I was in the Sudan, so I went back and took a boat to Calcutta then travelled across India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.” Eventually he arrived, “pretty ill” at Istanbul where “I took a train directly into London.”

Though Francis now mostly lives in Tooting with his wife and two of his five children, he has had many stints working in South Africa. In 2006 he oversaw the setting up of the Origins Centre Museum at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, which reveals the history of early humans in Africa going back more than 2 million years ago. It’s where we all come from.

Chinese Culture

As a filmmaker Africa and China have both often been in his lens.

In 1992 Francis produced and directed the BBC documentary on Chris Patten’s time as The Last Governor of Hong Kong which was presented by Jonathan Dimbleby. This led to a number of TV documentaries and films covering the Forbidden City; ways China has changed the world and revolutionary art, some made with his wife, Haiyao. See  

“My wife is Chinese and is a fairly well-known as a writer in China. She’s called Zheng Haiyao, as the Chinese have their surname first,” he says explaining how the pair were approached by a publisher in China who for nearly 40 years had been selling a set of books, that needed bringing up-to-date. “I have a company that designs exhibitions and museums in Africa, so my key designer Renay Kneale and I took the illustrations and remade them for a worldwide English audience, and we then translated all the material and I rewrote it.”

Recently, Francis has been working with Wandsworth LRS visiting schools to read from these six illustrated books about Chinese myths and folk tales. He’s also donated more than 40 books to school libraries including the Legend of Nezha, The Lotus Lantern, Monkey King (the early years), The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl, Houyi and the Ten Suns and The Flame Emperor’s Daughter – for around eight to 10-year-olds.

At the readings Francis asks the children, “What kind of book would you like me to read as there are so many different stories? Monkey King the early years is my favourite. Everyone knows the story of the Monkey King, except they don’t – he’s so naughty as a child, gone is the responsibility that he has on his back when he’s an adult, it’s a wonderfully witty story.”

As well as introducing these classic stories Francis loves to help the children explore Chinese culture as a “way of getting children and adults excited about reading.”

“I go into libraries and find they had nothing about China or books to understand the great stories of the world, except those limited to Britain,” says Francis whose home is packed with books from a lifetime of reading.

Interestingly Francis’ most recent book, The Arrival of the Drakons, YA fiction for teens, was inspired by the story telling tradition. Just like Watership Down it began as a bedtime story that he spun for his two youngest children, now 16 and 21, and weekly Zoom calls with his grandchildren who live in New Zealand. This story is partly based on his knowledge of the San (Khoisan) bushmen from the Kalahari who use trance to access the spirit world, whom he has lived with, filmed and are a key part of the Origin Museum. But The Arrival of the Drakons also brings in his love of sci-fi.

“Drakons are what the aliens call themselves, we got it wrong and we call them dragons,” explains Francis who is taking some books to South Africa on his next trip. “I had a continuing story that went on and on, and the children kept saying ‘what happens then’? That story was about Zade, the young half-bushmen, half-English child and his adventures, who has a drakon as a friend. The drakons arrived when a colossal meteorite wiped out the dinosaurs. So, it’s a story about ancient entities dealing with a young individual who solves one of the big problems that they have…”

Although you may not find Francis’ adventures in any library yet, you may already share his passion for books, Chinese culture and stories about the big changes in South Africa reaching right back to the DNA of the San bushmen. Indeed, the San are such a key part of our human story that they are the centre part of the South African coat of arms redesigned in 2000. Even so The Arrival of the Drakons is one of the first sci fi books to feature the San – and all thanks to a continuing bedtime story.

Book your
Head to Head

If we have piqued your interest in Smart School Services, why not meet with our head team to see how we can work together. To arrange your Head to Head, or for any other enquiry, simply fill in the contact form and we’ll be in touch shortly.
Brilliant Learning

Alex Purssey: Harnessing ECT energy to deliver Creative Digital Tech Days in your school

As part of the Ravenstone Early Career Teachers professional learning, three new teachers, Lauren, Jack and Rory, were asked to help plan and organise a student Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Day. Some creative discussions and stimulating ideas workshops with the energetic ECT’s and consultants from the CLC ensued to plan an exciting day of interactive labs for staff and students at the Balham school.

Educators often search for professional learning experiences that explore how STEM concepts and tools can be embedded into the classroom in meaningful, intentional and academically engaging ways. Teachers know their students want more technology in their classrooms and so are always seeking to integrate STEM into learning opportunities, but sometimes suffer a lack of confidence, resources or time to experiment with innovative interactive tools. Partnership, collaboration and sharing are all in abundance through the CLC and their tutors are on hand to come into schools to support staff in delivering and embedding engaging digital transformation into the schools’ curriculum.

Ravenstone Lead Science teacher, and brainchild of the day, Richard Ingham enthused;

“STEM day was amazing! The children had a great time exploring the Virtual Reality world of NASA and taking a trip in a helicopter. Others had the chance to ‘touch coronavirus’ and look at other viruses up close and personal. The overwhelming response was of positivity and learning across both Key Stages. Dave, the facilitator from the CLC, was great, and the day went off with smiles and laughs.”

The stimulating activities included using Artificial Intelligence to allow students to explore a galaxy in the palm of their hand. Learners could hold a 3D object, explore a DNA molecule, enabling an entirely new way to learn and interact with the digital world. Using the fully integrated VR goggles provided students with virtual and augmented reality content to explore and investigate complex scientific topics in a safe and absorbing way.

Pupil engagement and excitement was clearly evident, with the activities triggering incredible discussions and motivation for further future workshops. “I enjoyed the lesson because I don’t get to do those things normally…it was fun to have the opportunity to do different things!” stated one learner, with another adding, “We looked inside a human body through an iPad, it was cool to see the body in a different way!”

The enjoyment and interest from the pupils was matched by the eagerness of other staff wanting to incorporate the digital tools in their own curriculum areas. The exhilarated ECTs, clearly pleased with their accomplishments, chimed about their learners “They loved it…they were fascinated by the technology but it was interesting to see how familiar the

students were with the terms and use of the devices, they were constantly engaged and it was lovely to see.”

Ravenstone skilfully harnessed the energy and enthusiasm of their new teachers Lauren, Jack and Rory to deliver an inspiring and refreshing day of creative practical sessions to promote STEM, and not only motivate pupils but re-energise staff into wanting to integrate tech into their subject areas!

Wandsworth City Learning Centre can deliver specific projects in your school to enhance teaching and learning, and introduce innovative digital tools to motivate and engage staff and students, making difficult topics exciting and fun. Please do get in touch via the form below to discuss how the CLC can bring subjects alive and challenge your learners in the classroom.

Book your
Head to Head

If we have piqued your interest in Smart School Services, why not meet with our head team to see how we can work together. To arrange your Head to Head, or for any other enquiry, simply fill in the contact form and we’ll be in touch shortly.
Empowering Professionals

Diana Stovell: Money Worries 

Inflation is high – so mortgage interest rates and rents are rising, along with food and utility costs. Are you struggling to make ends meet? Are you worrying about how to manage your finances?

If your school is buying into the Employee Assistance Programme you can talk to an expert in relation to money worries, debt advice etc. The online portal can also direct you to ‘Ask Bill’ for free and impartial help, advice and tips on how to reduce your energy bills, manage your money and deal with debt issues, as well as support for tackling these problems in emergency situations.

Ask your Business Manager if your school accesses the EAP and if so, what the details are for the online portal as your first stop and telephone helpline if you need further assistance.

There are also some helpful websites offering guidance:

Money Helper

Citizens Advice

Money and Mental Health

Universal Credit and Other Financial Support

Early Intervention is important so take action now to try and keep your finances on track.

If money pressures are affecting your mental health i.e. increased anxiety, low mood etc – try talking to someone. You can look at what your local MIND offer and/ or talk to your GP.

Interested to find out more about the benefits of Wandsworth’s Employee Assistance Programme for your school? Book a Head to Head below.

Book your
Head to Head

If we have piqued your interest in Smart School Services, why not meet with our head team to see how we can work together. To arrange your Head to Head, or for any other enquiry, simply fill in the contact form and we’ll be in touch shortly.
Brilliant Learning

Wanda Gajewski: What price progress?

A few weeks ago, I attended a webinar with Andy Jones. The author talked about his latest book ‘Bob vs the selfie zombie: a time -travel comedy adventure.’ The children were asked to travel in time, and it was interesting to hear that some pupils wanted to be transported to pre -technology era and others to Tudor times, for instance. If the children travelled back in time to the 16th century, what would they miss the most? I am personally in favour of new technological developments and that what inspired me to investigate what technology is coming out in 2023 and link with the topic for KS2 ‘What price progress’. The list of tech inventions to kick off 2023 is impressive; green hydrogen, nuclear fusion, quantum computing and the artificial intelligence to get even smarter, just to mention a few. 

We live in a time filled with modern technologies and are excited about the novelties that global corporations provide us with and are still waiting for more. Your pupils will learn that many inventions that only yesterday seemed revolutionary and forward-looking, today are almost obsolete. However, there are also those that have changed our lives forever and become milestones in the history of the world. 

This IPC (International Primary Curriculum) unit gives you and your children the chance to explore lots of amazing developments that have changed the world. It is a great topic for children to develop their history skills and learn about different brilliant inventors and inventions. The resources will also help your children in developing critical thinking skills and build their knowledge about the effects that the inventions had on their lives. 

Kickstart a discussion by asking what earlier technologies and devices have been replaced today by computers and the Internet?

The dynamic development of the entire electronic and IT sector meant that the man was no longer required to perform many activities. The number of professions that have been dismissed thanks to this revolution is growing with each passing decade. The internet, on the other hand, has made it possible for everyone to have access to things that our ancestors would not have been able to imagine within a few clicks. Fax machines are now completely replaced by smartphones, for example.

Facilitate a discussion which inventions are the 5 greatest of all time? 

The wheel

Some people consider the wheel to be the greatest invention of all time.  The Sumerian people in Mesopotamia  are widely believed to have invented the wheel around 4200-400 BC. The wheel led to other innovations, including wheelbarrows and chariots, and changed the way people lived, worked, and travelled. Other advances such as mills, steamboats also owe their creation to the basic but incredible wheel.

The elevator 

Mechanisms for vertical transport date back thousands of years. In 236 BC, Greek mathematician Archimedes designed a rudimentary elevator operated with the use of ropes, pulleys, and a capstan. In ancient Rome, wild animals kept beneath the Colosseum were delivered to the arena through a series of up to 28 lifts — each one of which could carry 600 pounds and took as many as eight men to operate. The elevator as we know it was created in 1854, when Elisha Otis produced an elevator with a safety device. His company’s designs were ground-breaking at the time, and the Otis company continues to be the leader in the elevator industry today.

Printing press

Although Johannes Gutenberg is synonymous with the printing press, he was not the first to use a press to create printed material. The oldest known printed text was a Buddhist scroll made in China, using block printing. However, in 1436, Gutenberg refined printing in a way that forever changed history. His crowning achievement was using his press to produce 200 copies of the Bible within three years, which was astoundingly fast at that time. 


The concept of inoculation is an old idea. It goes back to Buddhist monks who drank snake venom and people in 17th century China who purposely exposed their skin to cowpox in an effort to protect against smallpox, a related but far deadlier disease. But it was British doctor Edward Jenner who pioneered the field of vaccinology with his development of the smallpox vaccine in 1796. From there, Louis Pasteur made advances in the field, developing cholera, anthrax, and rabies vaccines. By 1970, there were separate vaccines to address deadly measles, mumps, and rubella. The invention and evolution of vaccines have saved countless lives around the world. 

The Computer

It is hard to think of an aspect of modern society that has not been affected by the computer. Although many people contributed to what we call a computer, several great minds are especially noteworthy. The idea of an automatic digital computer dates to mathematical prodigy Charles Babbage. His idea, named the analytical engine encompassed elements of current computers. A huge leap forward came in 1946, thanks to John William Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert. These two scientists  created the first general-purpose computer — the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC).

Resources to borrow

The top ten Inventions that changed the world, by Chris Oxlade

In 1903, two brothers achieved the first controlled flight of a heavier than air machine. The Top Ten from thousands of inventions that have undoubtedly changed our world. The children will find out why have these ten made it and not others and what the other top nine inventions are that changed the world! 

Inventor’s secret scrapbook, by Chris Oxlade

Inside this book you and your pupils will find pages of scraps from the notebooks of some of the world’s greatest inventors. Your class will also discover how the inventors came up with their incredible ideas- from the humble light bulb to a fantastic flying machine. 

Machines and Inventions, by Ian Graham

Humans are clever creatures. For thousands of years, they have found ways to make life easier, from lighting fires to building robots. This book, with special acetate pages, will help you and your pupils to explore some of the most ingenious devices that the human mind has created. 

I wonder why Zips have teeth, by Barbara Taylor

Colourful and full of information book is the perfect introduction to inventions, featuring the first computers, robots on Mars, eBook readers and much more. The pupils will learn that the Inventors try to solve problems and they think about people’s needs, and then try to come up with an answer. 

Inventors who changed the world, by Angela Royston

Discover the amazing brains behind the inventions we could not live without! This book brings together fascinating facts and information, from how phones became mobile to the World Wide Web   made available on the Internet. 

Book your
Head to Head

If we have piqued your interest in Smart School Services, why not meet with our head team to see how we can work together. To arrange your Head to Head, or for any other enquiry, simply fill in the contact form and we’ll be in touch shortly.
Brilliant Learning

Wanda Gajewski: Using  topic boxes in the classroom

‘’I cannot wait to get your box for this next half  term as there are ALWAYS so many rich learning experiences – it truly is magical! ‘’

Teacher from Griffin Primary School

School Library Services across the UK provide excellent , tailor-made topic collections to schools to support their projects. Our topic boxes help teachers with their planning and delivery of the National Curriculum within a framework which is both interesting and flexible.

As a librarian, I am a great enthusiast of the topic box as it seems that all syllabus of the National Curriculum  nestled within it and just waiting to be released. Themed boxes are a wonderful way to support class projects and topics. Each box contains engaging and interesting resources, including  original and replica artefacts of outstanding quality as you would normally find them in the museum,  and they will bring history  lesson to life in the classroom.

Topic boxes provide additional resources in the classroom to enhance the independent learning. The collections may be fiction and non-fiction, supporting specific curriculum areas and literacy. In most cases , schools are usually fortunate to have some teaching materials within the school to help with their learning. However, for example the history topic boxes help the teachers and pupils understand how others lived and the resources assist pupils when they conduct their historical research. 

Starting point for a topic box compilation for me is the clarity of the request. We receive wonderful feedback from our loyal teachers so  we  cannot afford to misinterpret the teachers’ requests even though some of the requests are bizarre or ambiguous. Teachers evaluate the impact of the learning resources and what it adds to the overall learning experience. It is , therefore, imperative that I am clear what the teacher is expecting to receive in their topic box. Key thing that I have learnt over the 20 years is the value of instilling and maintaining curiosity. 

“I look forward to seeing what is in the box for the children to explore”

Teacher from Brandlehow School

With the slimming down of the National Curriculum and the increasing  autonomy of schools in curriculum matters, schools need to access a wide range of materials. Without the SLSs schools would struggle to gather enough resources to cover all subjects they want to teach.  We get it. School Library Services’ librarians will use their extensive knowledge and provide teachers with the best new and quality topic books available at the time of your request. We are constantly evolving and improving our services to ensure that all changes in the National Curriculum have been reflected in our stock. The curriculum celebrates differences and diversity which enabling a better understanding of current issues. The SLSs support the teachers by recommending high-quality fiction so that children can find themselves in books and stories as well as use the story to learn about the experience and lives of others. 

Our topic box collections not only  focus on the core subjects, we ensure that emphasises are also placed on a broad range of topics and that we offer a selection of the best diverse and inclusive  texts for the children. BAME and diverse perspectives are at the core of our collections. We recognise and appreciate the importance of educating children about human rights, justice and equality in the society. 

Why request a topic box?

  • It offers an abundance of resources focussed on subject and learning goals.
  • The teaching materials can be adapted to children’s interests and level of understanding.
  • The materials are designed to stimulate and  enrich learning. 
  • In the topic boxes your pupils will find a fascinating variety of artefacts to handle , investigate and use for re-enactment.  
  • The contents in each box  make a fabulous colourful and informative display.
  • The topic box will be delivered and collected from your school by the SLS’s couriers.

It is always incredibly positive to hear from the  teachers how they feel supported and react to the topic boxes and to think more of how the teachers would make use of the topic boxes.

“It is so easy to order your topic box. All you need to know is what want to teach and ask their advice and they will send it out to you.”

Teacher from Ronald Ross Primary School

“The box I received for this half term was AMAZING, thank you! The children have loved examining the Great Fire of London  artefacts and looking at all the books about History.”

Teacher from Granard Primary School


Book your
Head to Head

If we have piqued your interest in Smart School Services, why not meet with our head team to see how we can work together. To arrange your Head to Head, or for any other enquiry, simply fill in the contact form and we’ll be in touch shortly.