A blog for students on the FDLT and BALT courses at the University of Northampton

at Leicester and UN

February 23, 2015
by Jean

Get Creative! (part 1 of 2)

Last week creativity was in the news as the Warwick Commission launched their report ‘Enriching Britain: Culture, Creativity and Growth’ and the BBC launched their ‘Get Creative’ celenration of the arts, culture and creativity across the UK.

warwick‘Enriching Britain: Culture, Creativity and Growth’ is based upon a year long investigation by people working in the arts and culture, supported by academics at the University of Warwick.

It was chaired by Vikki Heywood, CBE, who said:

‘The key message from this report is that the government and the cultural and creative industries need to take a united and coherent approach that guarantees equal access for everyone to a rich cultural education and the opportunity to live a creative life. There are barriers and inequalities in Britain today that prevent this from being a universal human right. This is bad for business and bad for society.’ (p8)

The report can be downloaded here – Final Report You can read tweets about the report and join in the discussion here #enrichinggb

For those of us working in education and schools it is interesting to note that  the report calls on the Government and Ofsted to ensure all children up to 16 receive a broad cultural education and urge that no school should be designated “outstanding” without evidence of an excellent cultural and creative education.

Goal 3 (of five goals) is focused upon fully harnessing the importance of creativity in education and skills development.  Goal 3 states:

A world-class creative and cultural education for all to ensure the wellbeing and creativity of the population as well as the future success of the Cultural and Creative Industries Ecosystem. Education and skills development are essential in order to maximise our nation’s full creative and cultural potential. The key to enriching Britain is to guarantee a broad cultural education for all (through arts skills acquisition, participation in arts and cultural events and enhanced appreciation), an education and a curriculum that is infused with multi-disciplinarity, creativity and enterprise and that identifies, nurtures and trains tomorrow’s creative and cultural talent. The English education system does not provide or encourage either of these priorities and this will negatively impact not just on the future of the creative industries but on our capacity to produce creative, world-leading scientists, engineers and technologists. As the evidence in this report demonstrates, children born into low income families with low levels of educational qualifications are the least likely to: be employed and succeed in the Cultural and Creative Industries; engage with and appreciate the arts, culture and heritage in the curriculum; experience culture as part of their home education and have parents who value and identify with the cultural experiences on offer from publicly funded arts, culture and heritage. (p15)


If you are seeking to preserve and enhance and culture in your setting this report contains powerful evidence and arguments to support you.

February 19, 2015
by Jean

Congratulations to our graduates!

Last Sunday many of attended the School of Education graduation ceremony at the Derngate in Northampton. As

Tina, Kim, Helen, Janet, Siobhan from the UN group (FDLT)

Tina, Kim, Helen, Louise, Janet, Siobhan from the UN group (FDLT)

tutors we are lucky to sit on the stage and watch as our students receive their FDLT and BALT awards. This is such a proud moment for them, their families and for us.

As Admissions Tutor for FDLT I have met all of the students at the very beginning of their plans to do a degree – to see them achieve this is wonderful. As tutors we know that this represents a huge amount of work and changes to their family life to make it possible.

The students in this photo said “we’re happy to say it was extremely worth it and a good end to the FDLT. Coming to the FDLT graduation was a good boost to finish BALT, and we’re determined to finish now. It was such an enjoyable day and lovely to spend a proud day with all the family: they have to put up with so much throughout the year and we couldn’t do it without them.”

Lianne Lever, a student from the BALT group , gave the address from students at the end of the ceremony and acknowledged the support from their families which has been such a vital part of the experience.

If any of you have photos you’d like to share do send them to me and I will add them here.

February 16, 2015
by Jean

TA event

Teaching assistants from Leicestershire, Northants and Derby took part in a great day of workshops on Friday 13th February at Beauchamp College, Oadby.

The morning workshop led by Eva Cartwright, Principal of the Teaching Assistant College, focused on creative strategies to support learners and explored how to help children get the best from learning opportunities.

The afternoon session, led by Julie Jones, Course Leader of the Foundation Degree in Learning and Teaching at University of Northampton, focused on the teaching assistant’s role in developing children’s speaking and listening skills. It involved the participants in evaluating how they could contribute to environments that encourage speaking and listening and in evaluating activities that would encourage and engage children in speaking and listening.

TA Workshops photoComments from the participants highlighted what a great opportunity it had been to learn new ideas about engaging children. As one participant said; ‘It was an opportunity to engage with other T.A’s and learn new ideas and think about what I do every day.’

February 9, 2015
by Jean

TV recommendation – The Secret Life of 4 Year Olds

On Tuesday evening (10th February) at 8pm on Channel 4 there is an interesting TV programme – The Secret Life of 4 Year Olds.

secret lifwe


It is an observational documentary that follows ten four-year-old children at nursery – the nursery is rigged with cameras and microphones to capture all their play and interactions. You can read an interview neuroscientist Dr Paul Howard-Jones about the programme here.

You can also see some clips from the programme here – clips. (teaching a song, the chocolate cake test and den building)

I’m sure this will be an interesting to watch for all of us involved in education, whether in early years or in other age phases.

February 6, 2015
by Jean

A recommendation from Dom…

Dom Murphy has recommended this blog as a useful and inspiring one to follow and read:


You can access it at this link.

Tim Rylands is an experienced primary school teacher who uses digital technology to support and inspire learning. He now works with teachers, schools and children to help them enhance learning. As you scroll through his site you can see how enthusiastically adults and children join in and you can also see some of the ideas, apps and other resources he uses.

I like this post where there are lots of links to explore – did you sir? did you miss?

trThere are lots more and you can click on each one to a brief write up then if it catches your interest you find it and explore it more fully.




I was interested in this one by the Children’s University of Manchester.

Its part of a bigger site based around learning at Key Stage 2, focusing on History, Languages, Art and Design and Science. In the languages section you can choose ‘words’ or ‘French’. In the words section you can explore a variety of areas such as a world languages map, a timeline of the English language, some specific activities based on adjectives, eponyms, idioms, word classes and play some games.


adjdetHere you can see the opening screen for ‘adjective detective’.

If you have a recommnendation of a site, blog or other online resource do add it to the comments below.