SHAPES for Schools

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Welcome to the education blog from SHAPES. We'll be looking at all things schools – from news to classroom resources and curriculum changes, to what teachers want and how you can help provide it.

Children's books and resources

We recently got a couple of our teacher friends together, both Primary and Secondary, to talk about teaching the latest children’s books in the classroom. We asked them which resources work and which don’t. We asked them what they want, what they don't. Here are a couple of points that came out from the discussion, as well as a list of a few good resources to download before Christmas (eek, Christmas?).

1. Reading lists. More of them please. It's a running theme that teachers want to share the best children’s books with their kids, but don’t necessarily know what they are.

2. PSHE resources. This is a growing area, particularly in primary schools, and there isn’t enough support to enable a fulfilling, interesting PSHE curriculum. The themes in children’s books provide a nice way in to topics like bullying, identity, gender – if only there were more resources dedicated to these things.

3. Teachers as readers. Teachers as writers. The general consensus is that, contrary to popular belief, teachers are not just teachers. They’re also human beings who like to be creatively stimulated. Resources that recognise the needs of teachers, beyond the classroom, are much appreciated.

4. Objectives that motivate and incentivise kids. For example, it’s nice to have a final outcome, or an overarching goal, that children can work towards. This might be a national competition, or even a local one, or an event – just something that everyone to get into and invest in.

5. Picture books. More of these too. And don’t forget, picture books are not just for kids in KS1, they’re also very effective as far up as KS4 – they prompt debate, discussion, and are perfect resources when delivering Philosophy for Children (P4C) sessions.

For more information, or to receive the full focus group transcript, email us at In the meantime, here are a couple of new books to read and resources for you (teachers, you!) to download and enjoy before Christmas.