Shakespeare’s enduring influence on the English language
23rd April 2017 marked 453 years since the birth of Britain’s most famous literary icon, William Shakespeare. Shakespeare is considered by many to have been our nation’s greatest wordsmith, and his influence on the English language is still being felt today. […]Read Blog
Does practice really make perfect?
As children develop and improve their cognitive abilities, they are expected to become less reliant on supervised learning and develop self-learning skills. Although there are some self-learning tools taught within education-psychology textbooks, educators are not always given the evidence to […]Read Blog
The BBC 500 Words story writing competition is now open!
The BBC 500 Words competition is giving your child the chance to have their story read live on air by a celebrity on BBC Radio 2. To find out more follow the link below: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00rfvk1Read Blog
Celebrate National Storytelling Week with 10% off our Creative Writing series
National Storytelling Week begins on Saturday 28th January and, to celebrate, we are offering a 10% discount on any books purchased from our Creative Writing series from now until 7th February. To obtain the discount, just click the blue ‘Add […]Read Blog
Primary education needs an overhaul if we’re to succeed on the global stage
When I was asked to advise the government three years ago on the new maths curriculum, I was hoping for a return to more traditional teaching methods – and to a time when we used to lead the world rather […]Read Blog
The IPS/EPEG ranges – now available from our bookshop
The AE Publications (AEP) range of books is constantly evolving to meet the needs of parents and tutors. We aim to provide you with an educational toolkit which can be used in the home to help enable your child to […]Read Blog
How teaching a child delayed gratification can improve test scores
In the 1970s, an American psychologist, Walter Mischel, conducted an experiment with 4-year-olds. He presented them with a marshmallow and told them if they ate it immediately they wouldn’t get another. However, if they waited ‘a few minutes’ (15 in […]Read Blog
The School Library – An Institution in Danger
Many of us with a passion for literature have fond memories of the school library as a place that nurtured our love of the written word. This is why I read with disappointment the findings from a recent survey by […]Read Blog
Introducing Asha, our charity partner
AE Publications makes a donation from every book sold to Asha, a charity that works to help improve the lives of the urban poor in India. ‘Asha’, which means ‘hope’ in Hindi, gives hope to people living in slum areas […]Read Blog
Save 50% on our Times Tables Workbooks
In response to government plans to introduce compulsory times table testing, we are offering a 50% discount on our Times Tables workbooks. The individual books are available for £6.50 (usual price £13.00) and the set of both workbooks is available […]Read Blog
Baseline testing plans to be scrapped
I am pleased to hear the Department for Education has announced that it will be scrapping its plan to introduce baseline testing of four- and five-year-old schoolchildren. Assessing children’s ability at these ages is extremely difficult due to the fact […]Read Blog
Schools minister wants pupils to read a new book every week
Schools minister Nick Gibb has said that he wants every primary school pupil in the UK to read at least one book a week. As part of his speech to mark National Storytelling Week, Mr Gibbtold an audience at St […]Read Blog
Today is World Book Day!
Children across the UK and Ireland will be taking part in book-themed festivities today (Thursday 3rd March) to mark World Book Day 2016, a celebration of books and reading taking place in 100 countries across the globe. The aim of […]Read Blog
How the ability to tell stories develops in children
Storytelling skills were highly valued long before literacy became a norm in Western civilisation, not only as a form of entertainment but also as a way of passing on historical, cultural and religious knowledge to successive generations. Today, the art […]Read Blog
Changing Times – Compulsory times tables testing at primary schools
In primary school, when a child is first developing an understanding of mathematics, I believe a structured emphasis on learning the foundational skills is key. Without a thorough understanding of basic principles such as times tables, a child will be […]Read Blog
Times tables – the key to a child’s development in mathematics
The way in which mathematics is taught to children has been the subject of much debate in recent years, with many parents raising concerns about the teaching methods in UK schools. The new maths National Curriculum, which was introduced in […]Read Blog
Removing the ‘un’ from ‘unfair’ in the allocation of grammar school places – giving poorer children a brighter future
In February last year Graeme Paton, the Education Editor at The Telegraph, posted an article on the high number of applications per grammar school place.(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10668618/School-admissions-up-to-12-pupils-compete-for-each-place.html). He states that grammar schools are seeing up to twelve children sit the 11+ exam […]Read Blog
National Poetry Day 2015
Do you have a passion for poetry? National Poetry Day on 8th October is the annual celebration of all things poetic. To mark the occasion, poetry will fill the airwaves and eloquent readers will wax lyrical in public spaces across […]Read Blog
Library Cards – The Key to a Treasure Trove of Possibilities
Libraries are institutions which many of us hold great affection for. Having grown up with a passion for literature, to me libraries will always represent a treasure trove of possibility. Around each corner of a library lies the prospect of […]Read Blog
Making the step: Primary to Secondary School
Moving from primary to secondary school can be a daunting time in any child’s life, with the prospect of a completely new routine looming large over the summer holidays. Secondary school poses a whole new set of challenges, which can […]Read Blog
Can Chinese teaching methods work in UK schools?
With China leading the way in academic achievement, it makes sense for us in the UK to observe the Chinese schools’ methods of teaching and see what, if anything, can be learnt from the Chinese education system. The first episode […]Read Blog
The benefits of reading for fun
Reading forms a central part of the English curriculum in schools and the benefits that children receive by encountering a range of different texts in an academic setting are varied and many. Spelling, grammar, creative writing ability and comprehension skills […]Read Blog
Do not take a six-week break from learning, education expert warns
An education expert has called on families across the UK to keep their children’s minds active during the long summer holidays. We all have fond memories of those idyllic childhood summers that seemed to last forever. However, anecdotal evidence from […]Read Blog
AEP’s Verbal Activity Series – We’ve got 11+ exams covered
At AE Publications we aim to equip children with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the 11+ examinations and beyond. Because the 11+ exam papers sat by children around the country are written by two different exam […]Read Blog
Why is teaching comprehension skills to children so important?
The Oxford English Dictionary defines comprehension as simply ‘the ability to understand something’. More specifically, the term ‘reading comprehension’ can be understood as the process of simultaneously extracting and constructing meaning through interaction and involvement with written language. It is […]Read Blog
The most important things to know about non-verbal reasoning
Many grammar schools require applicants to sit non-verbal reasoning tests. If your child is sitting a CEM (Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring) test, it will have a non-verbal reasoning component. GL (Granada Learning) Assessment non-verbal reasoning tests are also used […]Read Blog
You only need to Google ‘revision tips’ in order to discover a plethora of advice on how to tackle revision and find strategies to help optimise what has been taught during lessons. Revision always involves a combination of memorisation and […]Read Blog
Why does non-verbal reasoning form such an important part of many eleven plus examinations?
The University of Kent defines non-verbal reasoning (NVR) as ‘the ability to understand and analyse visual information and solve problems using visual reasoning’. It also states that the development of this particular skill ‘enables students to analyse and solve complex […]Read Blog
Words are the ammunition of writing, speaking and thinking.
The development of a child’s spelling and vocabulary skills is crucial for all aspects of learning across the curriculum. As I mentioned in my last blog post, knowing words, and being able to use them in context, not only helps […]Read Blog
How many words do you know?
April 23rd is United Nations English Language Day. This date was chosen because it is Shakespeare’s birthday (thought to be 23rd April 1564). Shakespeare’s plays and poems have had an enormous impact on the development of the English language. The […]Read Blog
Thursday 2nd April is International Children’s Book Day
Since 1967, International Children’s Book Day has been celebrated on 2nd April every year. This also happens to be the birthday of Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875), the great Danish writer of fairy tales, such as The Little Mermaid. AE Publications […]Read Blog
Saturday 21st March is World Poetry Day
In 1999, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) declared that every year the 21st March was to be World Poetry Day. Why would they want to draw our attention to poetry as a literary form? One reason […]Read Blog
What is Semantics and why is it important?
A number of us may be familiar with the term ‘semantics’ when used in an idiomatic sense, i.e. ‘that’s just semantics’. This kind of statement is often used as a put-down when someone is trying to complicate an argument with […]Read Blog
Kent Primary in Academy status row
Governors of Twydall Primary (Gillingham) voted on Friday on whether to convert the school to an academy run by the Thinking Schools Academy Trust (TSAT) – against the vast majority of parents wishes expressed in a consultation. The school has […]Read Blog
Are your children prepared for the potential ‘war on illiteracy and innumeracy’?
You may have read the Sunday Times article this weekend (a front page commentary written by Tim Shipman and Sian Griffiths), about the ‘war on innumeracy’ that could take place over the next few years. The article states that ‘at present […]Read Blog
What can Alice’s Wonderland teach my child about creative writing skills?
‘Alice in Wonderland’ is a delightful story written by Lewis Carroll (a mathematician whose real name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson). The story originated from an experience when Carroll was out rowing with three daughters of a friend of his, Henry […]Read Blog
What value does Creative Writing add to my child’s ability to pass the 11+ exam?
In December, I posted a list of 15 classic book titles that I suggested children should add to their reading lists. A few parents have asked why their children should read these books, as an old fashioned style of writing […]Read Blog
How can I help my child with their school maths?
Parents often comment on how they have either forgotten the maths they learnt at school, or they did not learn maths the way their children are now taught in school. They have said that maths scares them and they do […]Read Blog
What is ‘Semantics’ and why should my child know how to use it?
Semantics is a branch of linguistics concerned with the meanings of words and their relationships with other words of similar or different meaning. Children have to learn that a word may have a similar meaning to another word (a synonym), […]Read Blog
Is ‘creativity’ genetically determined or can it be learnt?
There has been much debate about whether or not creativity is learnt or inherited. This has been researched from many viewpoints including both sociological and medical. Recent studies (2013) at the University of Queensland, Australia, conducted by Social Psychologists, suggest […]Read Blog
What classic children’s books should my child read?
Last week, I posted a list of 15 classic book titles that I suggested children should add to their reading lists. As these books are classics, they are available at a really reasonable price if bought as a paperback version […]Read Blog
Should classic books be included in my child’s reading list?
A plethora of new children’s story books are written and published every year. Like any books that are published, some are brilliant, others are mediocre and still others are dismal. Parents often ask us what books children should read to […]Read Blog
Why is reading so important to improving my child’s reading and spelling and vocabulary skills?
I have spoken in a number of previous blog posts about the disproportionate focus that the CEM exam gives to a child’s skill and ability with the English language. English is the one subject where a child cannot ‘cram’ for […]Read Blog
What does ‘without excessive preparation’ really mean?
In previous blog posts I have spoken about the CEM claim that their exams are difficult to prepare for and ‘tutor proof’. I have written a lot about this claim – disputing it as ‘false’. It seems now, however, that […]Read Blog
Why have we changed the name of our series from Verbal Reasoning to Verbal Activity?
CEM terminology has been rather confusing for parents because they have introduced a new category of testing known as ‘verbal ability’. Is this traditional verbal reasoning or something else? It is in fact a combination of some elements of the […]Read Blog
Why did it take AEP so long to respond to the CEM 11+ exams?
One of the fundamental underlying principles of AE Publications is that we are passionate about education. In light of this, every educational book we produce and sell must be of the highest standard educationally. We will not use ‘writing teams’ […]Read Blog
Why AEP have changed their Verbal Reasoning series of workbooks to Verbal Activity?
We have decided to add three more workbooks to our original series of verbal reasoning workbooks. Workbooks 1 and 2 will still cover all the techniques required for the GL Assessment verbal reasoning exam and workbooks 3 and 4 (which […]Read Blog
What is the difference between Verbal Ability and Verbal Reasoning?
A number of local authorities that retain the 11+ and a significant number of individual grammar schools and grammar school consortia have changed their entrance examination from the GL Assessment to CEM. GL Assessment tests are single subject (verbal reasoning, […]Read Blog
Is the CEM exam really ‘tutor proof’?
CEM claims that this test assesses children’s academic ability without them putting in ‘excessive preparation’. Ironically, this test now requires more excessive preparation than ever, and parents will not be put off from paying for extra tuition by these claims. […]Read Blog
The media take up the outcry against the claim of ‘fairness’ in the CEM 11+ Exam
In previous blog posts, I have spoken about how the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring have indicated that their 11+ exam could be viewed as ‘tutor proof’ and very difficult to prepare for. In recent articles released by Bucks Free […]Read Blog
How to Prepare Your Child for the CEM 11+ Exam
Preparation for the CEM exam is certainly possible, despite the claims that this is the ‘unpreparable exam’. The test has no special or unique elements. After all, there are a limited number of activities an eleven year old can be […]Read Blog
The truth about ‘the Unpreparable Exam’
The CEM 11+ Exam has been dubbed, by some, as ‘the unpreparable exam’. Its Durham University originators have certainly devised an exam that is more difficult to prepare children for. However, the question that nobody seems to have answered is […]Read Blog
How will the new Maths National Curriculum affect my child?
Back in the 1960s Maths changed. A new, more progressive form of mathematics was introduced. It arose out of a focus on pupil-centred learning and an attempt to adapt teaching styles to how it was believed children actually learned things. […]Read Blog
What is changing in the Maths National Curriculum?
The new Maths curriculum is on its way, promising to ensure children have a greater understanding, ability and confidence with numbers from an earlier age. Elements of it may seem familiar – that is because in many ways it is […]Read Blog
Why is the Maths National Curriculum changing?
The way Maths is being taught in our schools is changing. The new curriculum is being implemented in the new 2014 Academic Year. It is designed to give children a much greater understanding, ability and confidence with numbers from an […]Read Blog
What are ‘Short Maths’, ‘Long Maths’ and ‘Numerical Reasoning’?
These ‘new’ terms are being used as part of the introduction of the new CEM 11+ Exam. ‘Numerical Reasoning’ is probably a more familiar term but the use of terms like ‘Short Maths’ and ‘Long Maths’ may cause some confusion […]Read Blog
What is the difference between IQ and AQ?
In the history of intelligence testing, a distinction has been drawn between IQ (Innate quotient – the natural dormant intelligence which a person is born with) and AQ (Acquired quotient – ability that is acquired via study and application). There […]Read Blog
Is the misuse of the apostrophe the beginning of the demise of the English Language?
Many argue that the incorrect use or omission of the apostrophe to indicate possession in the English Language does not matter. They say its use is antiquated and its loss signifies little in sentence construction. I would beg to disagree. […]Read Blog
Are the CEM tests as ‘fair’ as they are reported to be?
With the introduction of the CEM 11+ tests, there is a much greater focus on English than in previous entrance exams. Although this form of exam claims to be a more ‘balanced’ approach to testing a child’s skill and knowledge, […]Read Blog
Are the CEM tests really impossible to ‘prepare’ for?
In our conversations with parents, we have found that the new CEM tests are making parents a lot more anxious than other 11+ testing regimes for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the tests have taken on a much greater focus […]Read Blog
Why have the new CEM 11+ Tests been developed?
The aim of CEM (Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring) based at Durham University is to provide standardised 11+ assessments which allow all children to ‘demonstrate their natural ability and achievement without excessive preparation’. In a Market Research Review we conducted […]Read Blog