Month: January 2014

Essex schools perform better than the national average

Something for the people of Essex to be proud of today! Essex County Council has revealed that our schools performed above average in A-level and GCSE exams last year. Cllr Ray Gooding, the county council’s cabinet member for education and lifelong learning, said: “I would like to congratulate all pupils and teaching staff on excellent results at Key Stage 4 and 5 last year. “I’m delighted to see we are making improvements in GCSE performance and that we continue to have a higher average point score per student than the national average at A-level. “Improving education and ensuring every child in Essex goes to a good or outstanding school is of utmost importance and we are dedicated to ensuring we invest in education, through supporting schools to make improvements and deliver the best outcomes for children and creating new school places and new schools across the county.” Key statistics were: A-level 82.^% of students obtained 3 or more A-levels at A* to E 12.2% of students get grades AAB or higher in two more subjects 83.1% achieved at least 3 academic qualifications GCSE 5% increase in the number of students achieving five or more GCSE’s at A* to E Source: http://www.hertsandessexobserver.co.uk/News/Uttlesford/Essex-County-Council-delighted-by-schools-after-league-tables-reveal-excellent-results-20140127121115.htm What is your experience of the education system in Essex? Have you moved house to get your children into your preferred primary or secondary school? Please share your...

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Tips for Stimulating Imagination

Do you find it hard to be creative when playing with children? Let go of your inhibitions and step into the world of a four year old. Read our article on creativity, which includes a ‘Top 10 tips for stimulating imagination’. Brits feel they are losing their imagination as they become older (65%) according to research from toy brand Chad Valley*, with a third citing ‘pressures of life’ as the main reason they lack a creative spark. Apparently, four is the magic number, as this is the age when we truly discover the delights of imagination. Aged four, we love to create different scenarios with toys (60%), pretend to be an entire range of characters (55%), and invent games with toys that don’t have ‘real world’ boundaries (56%) – who says a teapot and a cat can’t get married? Toys that fuel this imagination are much loved by children and parents throughout the UK, with four to seven year olds favouring drawing and art sets (63%), getting muddy with footballs and bikes (56%) and travelling to imaginary worlds with cars, trains and planes (45%). ‘Play Expert’ Dr Richard Woolfson, commented: “With a strong sense of imagination but lack of knowledge about the boundaries of the world, it’s easy for a four year old to imagine a dinosaur can sail on a boat across the kitchen to reach the safety...

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Breastfeeding in the Sistine Chapel

Pope Francis has encouraged mums to breastfeed in the Sistine Chapel. During a baptism service for 32 babies, the pope told mothers they should not be embarrassed to feed their hungry children in the chapel. He said: “Today the choir will sing but the most beautiful choir of all is the choir of the infants who will make a noise. “Some will cry because they are not comfortable or because they are hungry,” he said in a familiar, relaxed tone to the parents. “If they are hungry, mothers, feed them, without thinking twice. Because they are the most important people here,” he said.* Lovely! We are keen to hear from you on this topic. Have you always been made to feel welcome when breastfeeding in public? Have you ever been asked to stop breastfeeding? Are there particular places you go because they make you feel comfortable? Or does breastfeeding in public make you feel uncomfortable? Share your thoughts by commenting below. *Source:...

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Staff shortages could help kill maternity unit

Staff shortages could help kill maternity unit according to councillor. MAJOR concerns have been raised that “constant” staff shortages at Harwich’s maternity unit could seal its future and see it closed. A consultation is to be carried out during 2014 to decide whether Harwich’s maternity unit should be closed or downgraded to a birthing unit. Town councillor Ivan Henderson said: “It has been closing at night because staff have been moved to Colchester, taking away the choice which mothers are entitled to,”. A report has been published revealing that a similar birthing unit setup in Halstead, has only had 3 births in the past 3 years. source:http://www.essexcountystandard.co.uk/news/localnews/10959567.Staff_shortages_could_help_kill_maternity_unit_according_to_councillor/ What do you think about this? Do you think it is right to close the maternity unit? Please share your comments/thoughts below.  NB. There is no need to login to make comment, simply type your comment in the box below and then click back to return to...

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Do first time mums enjoy motherhood?

A survey carried out by Nurofen for Children has found that the average first-time mum doesn’t enjoy motherhood until their baby is six months old. Rather than being excited and enjoying the first few months with their baby, many mothers feel exhausted, stressed and struggle to cope with the demands of their newborn baby. The mothers surveyed said they did not understand many aspects of motherhood, including health, feeding, safety and illness. Did you feel prepared for motherhood when your first baby arrived? When you arrived home from hospital, were you like many of the mothers in this survey;...

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