Category Archives: textbooks

Are your children watching the Europa League Final tonight in Baku?

Football is fun for so many children and it provides rich resources for reluctant readers. No matter who wins tonight, Arsenal or Chelsea, for many people it will the source of fun, discussion and disagreement. Sheila Blackburn has written a series of stories about football specifically designed for reluctant readers in promote schools. As you will know, one of the challenges with reluctant readers is capturing their attention and imagination. Stories about football are one solution to this, particularly when as well written as these ones and at a time when UK teams will win the Europa League and the Champions League.

Sam’s Football Stories are specially written to stimulate and motivate slower learners and reluctant readers. Written by Sheila Blackburn, an experienced primary school teacher, the six compelling stories in Set A, tell the story of Sam, a football crazy boy. Let your pupils follow this dream come true for Sam and his friends. Join in the fun and excitement as they begin training, pick a team, join a league and enter a tournament.


These books:

  • provide stimulation and motivation especially for slower learners and reluctant readers
  • have gripping story lines make children want to read the next book
  • are compatible with the Primary Literacy Strategy category of everyday stories
  • are designed to look like books more able readers are reading with attractive covers and black and white illustrations inside
  • have carefully controlled vocabulary and sentence structure for easy reading
  • have an increasing number of words per book as you progress through the series
  • have a clear font and print style

To extend the stories further, use the Teacher’s Guide – Your Chance to Score!, a photocopiable teacher resource linked to the stories in Set A.

Like to try before you buy? Request your free copy of the e-book Football Crazy, the first story in the series, now by emailing

Click here to find out more about the books

Click here to see a sample page.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, Key Stage 2, lesson plans, National Curriculum, Primary school, Reluctant reader, reluctant readers, slow reader, Teaching Ideas, textbooks

Nick Gibb’s speech to the Educational Publishers Council

Here is a link to the speech that Nick Gibb (Minister of State for School Reform) gave at a conference last Tuesday, organised by the Educational Publishers Council of the Publishers Association, in partnership with the British Educational Suppliers Association.

As you will see, Nick Gibb is strongly in favour of getting more high-quality textbooks into classrooms. In the question and answer session after his speech, he did say that there was room for other high-quality resources (and as a publisher of ‘other high-quality resources’ I sighed a big sigh of relief!)

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Stop photocopying and buy textbooks?

Schools would have money to buy textbooks if they stopped all teachers from photocopying.


Nick Gibb, Minister for Schools, made this assertion when he came to talk to publishers at a conference organised by the Educational Publishers Council of The Publishers Association in partnership with the British Educational Suppliers Association.

I looked up the price of one of the maths schemes the Minister said he liked. The textbooks were £10 each and the workbooks £8.50. This means that, if you were a one-form entry school with 30 children in each class, the scheme costs £1800 for the textbooks, with ongoing annual costs of £1530. I know the publishers probably give a discount for bulk sales, but that is just for one subject.

I would be really interested to know from schools how that compares to your photocopying budget.


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Should all textbooks be the same?

No one would disagree that raising standards in mathematics is important. However, there is lots of disagreement on what the best way to do this. Nick Gibb, the schools minister, is convinced he has the answer: Chinese and Singaporean-style textbooks.

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