Blog


Dear Teachers. We love you - but please cull the craft homework at Christmas
11 December 2019
School DIY projects send parents over the edge at the end of the the busiest term of the year says Victoria Bond, Founder of School Guide   It came in last night. The One. Like a lot of families across the UK, my two senior school boys and I are limping through Christmas productions, end of...
Why Estonia is Europe's newest education powerhouse
04 December 2019
The small country on the Baltic sea outperforms all the major European economies, including the UK who sits at number 22 in the influential global education tests, and ranks sixth in the world. How do they do it?    The results of the international education league tables are published...
What is ‘sharenting’ and should we be doing it?
28 November 2019
  Think twice before you post pictures online of your children, experts warn.   Proud parents sharing pictures of their darling children sounds like the most natural thing in the world. But experts are warning about the perils of ‘sharenting’ – the practice of parents sharing images...
Are A grades at A level easier to get than they used to be?
24 August 2019
The stats don't lie. New evidence shows pupils are three times more likely to get an A at A level in 2019 than in 1989 A level results were critised last week after it was revealed that candidates taking one maths paper could achieve an A grade with only 55% of the marks. This means pupils...
How To Boost Your Child’s CV On Holiday
21 August 2019
Having a flourishing CV is as important as getting good exam results says School Guide's Founder Victoria. Here's how to help your child get ahead while you are all on holiday   GSCE and A level results are just out and, for many, the piece of paper with their grades will be the most...
SATs week 2019. How watching BGT might help
13 May 2019
SATs week 2019. We thought long and hard about what to say to help all the wonderful pupils – and, you, their tremendous, hard working parents – as they face fronted adverbials against the clock. We decided to put the politics and pressure to one side and just share 5-minutes of pure...
How To Boost Your Child's Happiness In The Classroom
03 April 2019
Give pupils these tools to help them look after their own mental health and wellbeing, says this deputy head  It is a worrying time to be a parent. We are told that we have an epidemic on our hands: an entire generation of young people who cannot cope with setbacks, failure or disappointment;...
Google: the map snatcher. Internet giant takes school maps away from parents
06 September 2018
     *** Update December 2018. We are very grateful to Mapbox for supporting School Guide with a new mapping system and allowing us to return the pupil heatmaps to the site ***   We are so sorry to announce that due to huge hikes in the cost of using Google maps we have had to...
Baffled by school league tables? School Guide is here to help
21 February 2018
It's no wonder many parents find official league tables harder to read than ever when one of the most senior school leaders in the country recently branded the new GSCE performance tables "potentially baffling".  Parents are "struggling to keep up" and most of us would need a Grade 9 in...
Secondary Data Jargon Buster for Parents
15 February 2018
Parents: welcome. You are among friends here. If you've read our blog about what school leaders have called the "potentially baffling" exam results published in 2018, it's okay to not be okay when it comes to deciphering school data. It isn't like the old days (circa 2015) when the...
Primary Data Jargon Buster for Parents
04 January 2018
  Scaled scores Scaled scores replace the old levels – pupils used to be expected to reach Level 4 by age 11. Scores come from the marks on each of their test papers and are combined to show what percentage of pupils meet or exceed the expected national curriculum standard. We...
How To Have A Screen-Free Summer Holiday With Your Kids
20 September 2017
It's possible – as School Guide's Founder Victoria discovered on her first ever family activity holiday. Here's how she ticked the screen-free family holiday box at Mark Warner's Levante Beach Resort in Greece   We’ve all read (and probably eye-rolled at) the newspaper stories about reversing...
Schools issue Snap Map warnings
06 July 2017
Snapchat, the social media app loved by teens, recently added a new location-sharing feature called Snap Map.  Snap Map lets users share their exact location in real time with people on their "friends" list.  Schools, however, are issuing warnings to parents over serious concerns about the...
SOS: A parent’s survival guide to the start of secondary school
05 September 2016
7 tips to get YOU through the start of Year 7   When I discovered I was pregnant for the first time, I was over the moon when a friend passed me a well-thumbed copy of What To Expect When You Are Expecting. The book is as close as it gets to a baby bible, and helped me get to grips with the...
School's out; Theresa's in. Our post-Brexit guide to 5 key changes in the world of education
18 July 2016
What a term. What a time. What to make of it all?  Summer 2016 and the end of the school year coincides with one of the most turbulent times in recent political history. Post-EU Referendum, we barely digest one piece of news and another seismic change hits the headlines.  Here at School...
School Guide teams up with TutorMapper 
23 March 2016
We've shined our School Guide shoes and straightened our ties this week to welcome a new partner to our fast-growing Tutor Directory. School Guide has joined forces with TutorMapper to offer parents an additional tried and tested resource when looking for tutors and a new badge scheme that...
2016 Schools White Paper: six key points for parents
17 March 2016
A white paper is an authoritative report or guide that informs readers concisely about a complex issue and presents the issuing body's philosophy on the matter. It is meant to help readers understand an issue, solve a problem, or make a decision. Wikipedia The government published its...
Every school an academy by 2022: the pros and cons
16 March 2016
It's budget day and parents across the land are waking up to the news that all state primary and secondary schools in England will become academies by 2022.  Words like 'forced' and 'no choice' are being used in the news and it's hard as parents to grasp whether or not these changes will be...
Tried and tested: The Maths Factor – online primary maths practice
29 February 2016
School Guide's Founder Victoria and her son, Billy, 8, give Carol Vorderman's maths website the thumbs up It’s just gone 7am on a Saturday morning and my 8-year-old son, Billy, is pestering to switch on the laptop. The object of his screen time affection is not an episode of Pokemon or a new...
Tips for parents worried about their child's mental health
14 February 2016
This week is Children’s Mental Health Week and, according to a new survey published by oganisers Place 2 Be, one in five children are now experiencing mental health problems before the age of 11. Place 2 Be is a national counselling and support network and their patron, the Duchess of Cambridge,...
New GCSEs: a guide for parents
01 February 2016
The government releases its official GCSE results each year in January for secondary schools in England and it's always an exciting time for School Guide. We pull in the new performance data and watch the GCSE dials on our school pages go up and down. For the first time we display our...
All 11 year olds to face on-screen times tables tests
04 January 2016
On the 11th day of Christmas, the government announced plans to crackdown on “innumeracy" and introduce a new computerised test to ensure that all 11-year-olds know their times tables by the time they leave primary school. Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said today that a pilot scheme will be...
Why all entrepreneurs should go back to school
05 November 2015
It’s back to school in the UK this week but it’s not just pupils who have been returning to the classroom. Increasing numbers of successful business leaders are also going back to school thanks to a fast-growing initiative called Founders4Schools.  Founders4Schools connects teachers and...
Early government GSCE league tables published for parents
16 October 2015
The Department for Education has this week published early league tables for state secondary schools in England, based on provisional data from this summer's GCSE results. The aim is to give parents a taster of 2015 GSCE data to help those families frantically completing application forms for...
The new primary national curriculum: a parent's guide
05 October 2015
Now that the last minute dash to the shoe shops and the late night labelling sessions are fading to a distant memory, we thought it was time for School Guide to take a look at the new national curriculum and give parents a beginners guide.  As of September, all children aged between five and...
"Do this one simple thing to transform your child’s maths." New Expert Help video
29 September 2015
“The very word – maths – can evoke a lot of emotion, and much of that emotion is wrapped up in anxiety. Anxiety from the pupils who know they needs this golden ticket – this maths GCSE – but also anxiety from parents who often have negative feelings about maths themselves from their own childhood...
Would you hire a tutor to help your child do their homework?
16 September 2015
"OK so tomorrow we have swimming; Wednesday it's drama; Thursday, tennis; and Friday we have gymnastics. The weekend is pretty jammed with ballet and tap and then we're back to Monday with Tilly's tutor... hmm maybe we should schedule a play date for half term?" This was the conversation I...
Too young to teach? What one NQT wants to say to parents as they hand over their children this term
14 September 2015
A big brown envelope arrived through my letterbox in July. It contained a certificate stating that I was now officially a teacher. My dedication and perseverance throughout the rollercoaster of my PGCE had paid off and, thanks to a gruelling round of interviews, I was fortunate to have my first...
Summer born children to have the right to start school at 5. 'I'm jealous!' says this Mum who packed off her son to school at barely 4
09 September 2015
This week has been an emotional rollercoaster in our household. Less for my daughter, Alice, who has just started primary school, but more for me as I come to terms with my youngest and last child leaving the golden preschool years behind and stepping into the time machine of our school...
Back to school – hello backpackitis! Why are our kids carrying up to 15% of their bodyweight to school?
08 September 2015
Last week my 11-year-old son went off to big school. I know the definition of big school depends on your own family perspective. It's starting nursery if you have a 3-year-old, primary school for the nearly 5s and, for the thousands of pupils who joined Year 7 like my son, secondary...
The great ‘school’s out’ debate: should kids switch off or swot up over the summer holidays? Both – says our undergraduate intern
07 August 2015
I am 20 and about to go into my second year at Durham University. I have had seventeen summers of trial and error under my belt. I’ve seen both sides of the great school’s out debate. There have been entire summer months when I have not written a word and definitely suffered the consequences when...
CEM 11+ exam: 5 questions you need to ask to help your child pass
02 August 2015
Is your child taking the CEM 11+ exam in the new academic year? We've helped millions of children pass their 11+ exam and have prepared this guest blog for School Guide to highlight the five key questions parents need to ask to make sure their child has the best shot at success.  1. Is my...
Choosing a school for your child? Don’t just read the inspection report says Lead Ofsted Inspector in a rare insider interview for School Guide
11 June 2015
 Highly experienced Lead Inspector talks exclusively to School Guide and reveals flaws in system "I can't believe anyone would send their child to a school on the basis of just reading an Ofsted inspection report" "Often the report is out of date and therefore you cannot set great store by...
HRH The Duke of York chooses School Guide as The Entrepreneur of the Week
08 June 2015
It's not every week we get to kick-start Monday with a royal seal of approval. So School Guide was thrilled to be selected as #DOYEntrepreneur of the week by HRH The Duke of York today.  The Duke has a very keen interest in education and technology and is the driving force behind several...
NEW! Expert help video. How to help your children be happy at school by our expert in positive educational psychology
05 June 2015
Welcome to our new Expert Help series. School Guide is proud to be home to the UK’s most comprehensive schools dataset. We know that exam results and performance data tell an important story for parents but we also know that there is another side to school life: a softer side that celebrates...
Why I took my son out of school during SATs week. Leading Educational Psychologist takes a personal stand against one-size-fits-all testing
01 June 2015
I have three degrees and a Doctorate in Education. Understanding how children learn is not only my job, it is my passion. I was a teacher myself for many years and know how hard the job can be. It is the second hardest job in the world – after being a parent.  On reflection, I think I shocked...
Are erasers in school 'instruments of the devil?' One scientist thinks so and says they should be banned
28 May 2015
Every now and then a news story related to schools really catches my eye. This morning there was a cracker on BBC News: Are erasers in school instruments of the devil? The story revealed that a leading cognitive scientist has suggested rubbers be banned from classrooms. In some schools,...
School Guide launches new Open Day Calendar. Putting key dates to visit the best schools at parents’ fingertips
27 May 2015
School Guide prides itself on making key school statistics easy to find online but there's no substitute for visiting a school on Open Day if you want to get a true sense of a school, it's ethos and community.  That's why School Guide has launched it's new Open Day Calendar; a new destination...
School Guide announces exclusive data partnership with Rightmove
19 May 2015
School Guide and Rightmove are today announcing an exclusive partnership to bring together two of the most important areas of British family life: school and property.  School Guide now shares our market-leading schools data set with Rightmove, the UK’s largest property website, and enables...
Floating ‘school run’ mums key to election. Still undecided? Check out our breakdown of the top five party’s education policies
29 April 2015
Education, education, education. Tony Blair’s early Noughties election mantra may seem old school in an era when the political focus has shifted to the economy, NHS and immigration. But a recent poll saw education firmly back at the heart of the election for many ‘school run’ mums. 13,000...
School Guide's top 5 tips for stress-free Year 2 SATs. Practical ways to support your child through their first set of tests
25 April 2015
I feel as though we are preparing for the 7+ exams #SATs #stressful #parenting So read the tweet posted on @SchoolGuideUK's Twitter feed last week by a worried parent. For many, the start of Key Stage 1 SATs on Monday marks their child’s first encounter with proper performance testing. SATs...
The rise of the Get Ahead Get Away. Welcome to the world of Easter holiday breaks that boost grades
22 April 2015
Whether the Easter holidays are already a chocolate-filled memory or your child is returning to school this week, the annual April break is fast-becoming the ultimate time for families with children facing exams in the summer term to take a Get Ahead Get Away.  These days B is rarely for break...
The school uniform debate: dressed for success or a shame they all look the same? One parent explores the pros and cons
11 March 2015
The school uniform debate would appear to be a very British affair. The Europeans are able send their children to school quietly without a monogrammed jumper fuss. Finnish secondary school children, the European darlings of the international performance league tables, do not wear blazers or ties...
Aren't you supposed to be helping parents? School Guide speaks out about the gaps in new Department for Education performance tables
29 January 2015
Today is just another ordinary Thursday for the hundreds of thousands of school pupils across England. But today's also the day that the hard work and exam results produced by GSCE and A level pupils last summer are published by the Department for Education. The new performance tables are out,...
11+ success: last minute tips for your child's entrance exam
18 January 2015
So last weekend our little family did The Thing. My eldest son sat the assessment tests for a local selective secondary school. The school in question is one of his options for entry in September 2015 and we had discussed, long and hard, whether he wanted to go through the entrance exam...
Solutions not resolutions. Help your children switch on and be happy at school in 2015. A simple exercise from a top educational psychologist. Note: it works for adults too!
05 January 2015
In Roman times, craftsmen would cover the imperfections of pots and statues with wax. The derivation of the word sincere comes from two Latin words: sine (without) and cera (wax). As the cracked waxed pots looked similar to the naked eye, it became important to test the quality of the pottery....
My journey through the complex landscape of school admissions
10 November 2014
I have two daughters under the age of 11 but I have already been through the school application process five times. I applied for their first primary school place, and then applied again when we moved area. I have most recently also pressed send on an application for a senior school place for...
New TripAdvisor-style parent reviews. Add your feedback today
03 November 2014
Hands up if you have an opinion on your child's school? Thought so. It's as easy as ABC to add star ratings for local schools on School Guide. Sharing your parents-eye view on a school is a great way to share knowledge and help other parents find the best schools. Every school on School...
School Open Days: how to find your light bulb moment
29 September 2014
So, here I am. The morning after my first secondary school Open Day. High on PTA squash and easing myself in to the decision hot seat. My eldest son is in Year 6 of primary school and I find myself in the peculiar position of attempting to follow my own advice.  Last year I wrote Maximise your...
School Guide welcomes new sponsor Galore Park
22 September 2014
We're shining our shoes and straightening our ties today to mark the arrival of our new site sponsor Galore Park. Galore Park is the UK's number one publisher of learning materials for pupils studying at independent schools and have helped thousands of children unlock 11+ and 13+ Common...
Too cool for school? Study proves classroom design does matter
16 September 2014
One of the most shared images on the School Guide Facebook page in the last few months features this super stylish maths corner in a primary school classroom. Colour co-ordinated and stimulating, the bright design aims to stimulate bright little minds. Stylish and maths may not often be words...
New! Tutor Directory launches in association with Bond 11+
23 July 2014
Our new School Guide Tutor Directory launches today. It makes it quick and easy for parents to find the best tutor for their child. Many of you read our recent blog on the dilemma parents face about hiring a tutor and told us it was a useful tool. Read the article here. But those of you who...
This chart shows the government is 100% right to be strict about school attendance
08 July 2014
Read your child's end of school report yet? Don't skip the attendance section. This data proves that school attendance has a direct impact on how your child will perform in school. This chart, compiled using data from the Department for Education by School Guide, the data-driven site aimed...
School Guide joins forces with Mumsnet
28 May 2014
New partnership creates one-stop education information for parents School Guide and Mumsnet are today announcing a partnership to provide clear online school information combined with Mumsnet users’ first-hand experience of schools. School Guide’s bold infographic style and no-nonsense...
​Should siblings go to the same school? Two sisters explore the pros and cons of keeping it in the family
23 May 2014
'Oooooh... so you are Sophie's sister!' This could be the best or worst sentence to hear when you start a new school. My siblings and I can’t even decide on the same film for film night, so how can we be expected to conform to the same education system? My sister,...
Britain's next top (role) model. The schools helping girls find a hero
12 May 2014
Last month a university in New York State announced it was launching a course on the sociology of Miley Cyrus. According to its teaching professor, the singer provides the perfect subject for exploring the cultural conflict many of our girls face today. Miley appears to be both in-your-face...
Mum’s gone to Finland. One parent's lesson in why Finnish children excel at school - and love it too
07 April 2014
No formal tests until 18 and hair brushing during lessons. So how do Finnish children manage to put their UK counterparts in the shade? Maths teacher and mum of three Naomi Sani visited Helsinki to find out I was a young teacher in a secondary school when I first came across this quote from...
​To tutor or not to tutor, that is the 11-plus question
27 February 2014
ON MONDAY, hundreds of thousands of children will find out whether they have a place at their chosen secondary school. For some this will be at a school that required them to sit the 11-plus or Common Entrance Exam. How did they get there? Increasing numbers will have had a private tutor. 1 in...
School Noticeboard - free for all schools to add news and photos
24 February 2014
School Noticeboard gives every UK school the opportunity to create their own login and add news, photos and information about their school events. Register today and tell the parents who visit your page about: School Open Days New awards or school prizes Special trips or...
School Guide's A-Z Jargon Buster
11 February 2014
Modern school terminology can be confusing. Like Key Stage. Or SATs. Or the difference between the English and International Baccalaureate. Even school years are unrecognisable for many parents. Forget O levels in the fifth year; now it's GCSEs in Year 12. Parents need an -ology just to navigate...
It's good to let kids be bored. The rise and rise of the Kick Back Parent
14 January 2014
January: the season of stopping. Abstinence rules and the dark winter days are spent making amends for the sparkling excesses of Christmas. This year, however, not all the red light headlines have been related to rationing the Rioja. Since the start of the new school term, there has been an...
School's out for Christmas! Here's our special festive review of North Pole Primary
23 December 2013
FESTIVE BREAKING NEWS! 80% of pupils at North Pole Primary have seen Mummy kissing Santa Claus SOURCE: Headmistress Mrs Carol Singer As children break up from school for Christmas across the UK, annual performance data from a small school at the northernmost point on Earth, North Pole...
Bully proof your child for school
19 November 2013
This week marks Anti-Bullying Week (18-24 November) an annual event organised by the Anti-Bullying Alliance to encourage schools, clubs, individual children and young people across the country to band together with one mission: to make bullying unacceptable – for everyone, everywhere. The NSPCC...
​School Guide’s Victoria quizzes Education Secretary Michael Gove
31 October 2013
Earlier this week School Guide’s Founder Victoria Bond had the opportunity to put some questions to the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove. Victoria, the mother of two school age children, wanted to discuss the issues that affect many of the thousands of parents who...
School Application Anxiety? Try putting 'the best' to the parent test
18 October 2013
You've known about the deadline for secondary school applications for months. So why, with just ten days to go, are you still angsting about pressing send? You may need to separate the best school from what is best for your child The average child in the UK will spend eleven years of their...
If you LOVE books, LIKE your school page and win books for your school library
10 October 2013
To celebrate Children's Book Week (7-11 October), we're giving away £100 of book tokens to the school with the most LIKES on their School Guide page. All you have to do is follow these three simple steps: 1. Search for your child's school via name, location or postcode on School Guide 2....
School Guide's heatmap of the best and worst schools in the UK
30 September 2013
We're sitting on a vast amount of data here at School Guide and we've recently opened our Data Lab to experiment with plotting trends and visualising data with the official statistics we hold on over 35,000 schools across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Our first test was to...
Top Ten Tips for Parents Attending School Open Days
23 September 2013
1. MAKE LIKE A CUB SCOUT: BE PREPARED Visit schools a year before you have to submit a school application. This takes the pressure off and means you can re-visit your shortlist just before you have to make a decision. Start in Year 5 (age 9 or 10) for secondary schools and look at primary...
Do you have Obsessive Catchment Disorder? Why it's school first, house second for many UK movers
18 September 2013
So house prices in England are at a record high according to a new report from the Office for National Statistics this week. But moving home is still one of life’s most stressful experiences and a positive shift in house price tags will only go some way to compensate for the anxiety of moving....
Back To School: baked beans, Gove and the high cost of shorts
26 August 2013
It was always the Woolworths window that did it for me. There it was – first day of August, sun blazing – and the poster screamed, ‘BACK TO SCHOOL’. Smart shirts, itchy jumpers and innumerable pencil case/A4 binder combinations were displayed for all to see. I remember as a girl of nine or ten...
New school tests. 63% of parents already confused says survey
17 July 2013
TODAY Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg unveils plans that could see children as young as five face “baseline” tests when they start reception as part of a new push to support pupils. According to a new survey, 63% of parents of school age children are not satisfied with school data that is...
School Guide wins Nominet Internet Award
07 July 2013
SchoolGuide.co.uk, the UK’s best school guide, was awarded a prestigious Nominet Internet Award at a ceremony held at The British Library in London on 4th July. Celebrating the internet as a force for good, these annual awards recognise UK businesses, charities, individuals and public and private...
Why it's okay for your child to come last on school Sports Day
27 June 2013
There’s a whiff of de-mob happiness in the air. Exams are coming to an end and schools are all set for the one day of the year when our children actually wear their daps: sports day. I’ve noticed a few blogs and stories popping up over the past week or so that got me thinking about the...
The Great Homework Debate: are you a Too Much or a Not Enough?
14 June 2013
As one UK secondary school is set to ban homework we ask whether work should stop at school It’s Friday and, for most, it’s the end of the working week. As I write, I can see it’s approaching 3pm and our children will be in the last lesson of the day. Pencil cases will be tantalisingly close...
School Guide wins a #WOW award
12 June 2013
It’s not every day we get our School Guide smalls in a twist. But when top entrepreneur and chief executive of Knickerbox and Anne Summers Jacqueline Gold announced our parent-friendly school information site had won one of her sought-after #WOW awards, we were all in a flutter. Jacqueline...
A is for August: should summer-born children get their grades boosted?
04 June 2013
My Leo ears pricked up recently when I heard about a new report that says summer-born children should have their exam results boosted to compensate for being almost a year younger than some of their peers. Born on a long hot August night in 1970, I started school a matter of days after my...
Look Mum... we're on telly! School Guide featured on the BBC
03 June 2013
There was a lot of cheering at the TV this weekend by the School Guide team. No, we're not talking about the Britain’s Got Talent Semi Finals but an appearance by our website built for parents on the BBC, Webscape reporter Kate Russell fronts BBC Click, the guide to all the latest gadgets,...
The UK's best School Guide launches
14 May 2013
A free website that puts essential school information at parents' fingertips launches today. School Guide brings key school statistics together in one place from several official websites including the Department of Education and Ofsted and makes it quick and easy for parents to choose the...
When is a qualification not a qualification? When it’s an EBacc
26 March 2013
In 2012, English schools were on course for the biggest shake up of the 16+ examination system since O-Levels were abolished at the end of the 1980s. The English Baccalaureate Certificate was set to replace GSCEs. It was a shiny new qualification engineered to end grade inflation and see a return...
Does your child need to go on a Media Diet? It could boost grades say educational experts
03 March 2013
Parents are familiar with the 5-a-day message but a growing number of children are being put on a different kind of health regime to get ahead at school. Welcome to the world of the new Media Diet. The Media Diet – or Digital Rationing as it is also known – involves slimming down kids’ use of...
Tiger Mum Maths: How the Chinese make doing sums super easy
03 March 2013
My pre-school son loves Judith Kerr's classic The Tiger Who Came to Tea and, as a maths teacher, I often find myself referring back to Amy Chua's book about Chinese parenting, Battle Hymn of The Tiger Mother. The term Tiger Mum was coined by Amy Chua. Tiger Mums believe in hard work and...
Why it could be chips for the school Breakfast Club
17 September 2012
Government funding cuts mean that many valued school breakfast clubs have not re-opened this academic year raising fears that the children who need the facilities the most may be left hungry. One newspaper labels some cuts "severe" and reports: "Essex County Council said they had provided 219...
New cash for Academy converts
05 July 2012
The government is to offer money for primaries who do the Academy deed from June 2012. The Department for Education has created the Primary Chains Grant (www.education.gov.uk/schools/leadership/typesofschools/academies/primary/a00210101/primarychainsgrant) to help primary schools that decide to...