All our children are working hard in their club sessions so please stay unflinchingly positive at home.

Here we offer constructive advice to tackle any concern you might have. Over the years we’ve gathered tricks and tips for everything, so if you can’t find what you’re looking for, please do get in touch…

Records Explained

How do I read the termly report?

A report will be emailed to you three times per year (December, March and July). The document sets out the content of our curriculum. Each subject is broken into a number of topics, and each topic is broken into a number of sub-topics.

For each sub-topic we give a rating based on performance in club sessions.

Ratings are:

  • secure (achieved)
  • improving (almost there, needs a little more practice)
  • developing (struggles with this and needs more support)

We indicate ‘missed’ if a piece of work hasn’t been recorded on our system. If your child has completed the work please let us know and we will update the records accordingly.

The note ‘not yet covered’ is given to all curriculum areas we have not yet taught. Please don’t worry, we are always on track and all content will be covered by the end of the course.

How do I address an area of weakness?

Use the information under the headings on this page, where I have described the best approach and the most appropriate resources.

Is my child on track?

The report will give you an idea of how your child is performing against our expectations. Plenty of ‘secure’ sections show all is well, and most children have a handful of ‘improving’ sections and the odd ‘developing’ section to show a weakness in a particular area. If your child’s report is mostly ‘improving’ and ‘developing’ then it should suggest to you that they are not on track at the moment.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch and book a meeting with me if you would like to discuss your child’s academic progression.

How do I know if my future plans for my child are appropriate?

Book a meeting with me to discuss plans for the future. I will come armed with your child’s report and fresh from a conversation with their club teacher. For years now our children have gone to pretty much every school in the area and many that are further afield. We have also prepared children successfully for a whole raft of independent schools and will be able to discuss those too if they are on your radar.



For your child to feel good about their maths they need to:

1) Be told that they can do it. Try to avoid saying how tricky maths is and how rubbish you feel about it yourself in front of your child. 

2) Sharpen their mental calculations for single-digit numbers. The app Quick Maths by Shiny Things is brilliant for this. Start with tables to 12×12 and then look at addition, subtraction and even division. Just single digit numbers and speed-based work is best. 3-5 minutes per weekday will have a positive impact.

3) Revise the fact-based content. For special numbers it’s best to buy fridge magnet numbers and put one sort up on display for a few weeks. Start with square numbers: 1,4,9,16 etc and play with them over the weeks – separating even and odds, or those that are too high for a person’s age. Then swap for a few prime numbers and later for the first six cube numbers. Buy a pack of shapes and chat about them too.


Revision of calculations

Mental calculations are key – introduce a 3 minute maths gaming session before reading each night for quick results:

  • Tables speed test (app link)
  • Quick Maths (app link) – I love this one. They draw the answers with their finger on the screen and it is really fast moving on all 4 rules (adding, subtracting, multiplication and division).

Apologies for the lack of android links. If you google ‘Quick Maths by Shiny Things’ an android link does come up but doesn’t show on my devices.

Just search for any fast-paced mental calculation game and keep varying the offerings when you feel they need to move on. Fast calculations are at the root of maths confidence.

Short multiplication:

Quick video explaining how to do it
Scruffy notes to accompany the video (1st page)
Example questions 

Long multiplication:

Quick video explaining how to do it
Scruffy notes to accompany the video (2nd page)
Example questions 

Multiplying decimals

Short multiplication with decimals video

Example questions


Consolidation of knowledge-based content

Children learn best through doing maths, not reading about it.  Here are a couple of ideas to give your child a boost:

1) Shapes – buy the sets recommended here and use the correct maths terminology to discuss them together.

2) Vocabulary – rather than wading through huge vocabulary lists, I have created a quick crossword (answers) of key words. Google any you need to and stick unknowns on the fridge until they are secured.

3) Place value writing long numbers blog with video

4) Multiplying and dividing by 10, 100 with video

5) Familiarity with measures around the house is an important step in measure confidence. 

Appropriate support materials

In the calculations and knowledge sections above, there are links to some wonderful, reasonably-entertaining, speed games and activities.

Please don’t introduce workbooks at home.

In the Kent Test students are given 25 problems to solve in 25 minutes. The ISEB Common Pre-test is problem-based too.
In December/January the most useful revision is to click this link for free SATs content. Just focus on the topics (below) we have done already – don’t start anything new.
The subjects to work on from this link are these:
*Place Value
*Addition and Subtraction
*Multiplication and Division (but not order of operations or negative numbers as we’ve not done those yet)
If you put ‘Measurement’ into the filter on the right hand side you will find –
*Money problems




We are focusing on 4 main areas that match the style of the Kent Test/ISEB Common Pre-test:

1) Comprehensions

2) Spelling exercises

3) Punctuation exercises

4) Sentence-completion (missing word) exercises 


Is your child’s reading strong enough?

At this stage in the year, please don’t introduce comprehensions from workbooks. They often don’t match our exam closely enough and are usually very boring. Boring your child now will have a negative impact on their momentum going forward.

To lift reading to the next level, take the responsibility for reading away from your child. Let them enjoy any text they like in their own time – but ideally 4 to 5 nights a week (Sunday to Thursday) you should read aloud to them. We run a friendly reading club – click here for more information. You will find our recommended reading list linked in the content of the page.

Stick with one book and don’t share the reading with anyone. Allow your child to see the text as you read. Discuss the story in a relaxed fashion – it’s often easier to do this before you start each evening, rather than afterwards. How does the main character feel? Why? What triggers can you spot? How are their feelings changing? What might happen next?

Your child’s fluency, reading for meaning and higher level inference and deduction will gain a tremendous boost.


Start with the word families from the Year 4 curriculum (prefixes and suffixes) before moving on to the Year 5/6 words. Best to chat about a small set at a time. Pick out a handful and put them into the Squeebles Spelling app (google it please – it is aimed at younger children but is a wonderful mechanic for any vocab learning). I have a spelling exercise booklet of my own you can email me for.


Most children find these exercises tough, even though they are comfortable with punctuation generally. When errors are made in sentences they need to take their knowledge to the page – rather than expecting the errors to jump out a them waving a flag. General revision over the year in our clubs will tackle this. I have a punctuation booklet of my own you can email me for.

Sentence Completion (Missing word)

They have only tried one or two of these exercises at the moment. At home please correct their speech – these are the issues that come up:

1) would’ve, should’ve, could’ve being short for HAVE not OF

2) different goes with from and similar goes with to: different from, similar to

3) fewer is used with individual items, less with those that can’t be counted: fewer people, less sugar

4) we were, not we was

The exercises also focus on apostrophe usage and there are exercises set up for this in the General section above.

Verbal Reasoning


There are around 25 types of verbal reasoning we prepare for the exam. They can be broken into:

1) Alphabet and letter pattern codes

2) Vocabulary familiarity and meaning

3) Spelling patterns

4) Numerical reasoning – we do this at the end of the summer term, just in case…

To revise this content please click on the lessons in the Year 5 lesson base. A strong reading programme (see comprehension) and a clear understanding of the work we have covered will set your child up for success. Please don’t work from off-the-shelf workbooks. If you are keen for extra content please click the Vocabulary tab below.



VR Type 1 worksheet (video explaining method) 

VR Type 2 worksheet (video explaining method)

VR Type 3 worksheet (video explaining method)

VR Type 4 worksheet (video explaining method)

VR Type 5 worksheet (video explaining method)

VR Type 6 worksheet  (video explaining method)

In the Autumn term we have only covered Types 1 and 4 from the set above. There is no need to tackle the others until later in the year.


If your child has struggled with any of the other types then vocabulary work is needed.

Here is a set of multiple-choice synonym sheets. Ideally break each set in half and work on them aloud together, picking up on any new words and working them into your conversations over the break. Aim for covering no more than one full set over a week. 

Synonyms 1

Synonyms 2

Synonyms 3

Synonyms 4

Synonyms 5

Synonyms 6

Synonyms 7

Synonyms 8

Non-Verbal Reasoning


There are just seven types of non-verbal reasoning we need to cover for the exam. Even if your child is not a natural at the subject (like me) you will find that familiarity is all that is needed to answer the questions successfully. Our club sessions focus on these seven types for the first two terms. Spatial reasoning is introduced in the summer.


Examples of individual types

All the non-verbal curriculum teaching is in this book.

Stephen Curran Non-verbal Reasoning Workbook 2 

Spatial Reasoning


This is a relatively new subject in the Kent Test and ISEB Common Pre-test. It was first introduced in 2014, whereas the other subject areas have been assessed in various formats for many years. 2D and 3D images are manipulated – and recognising the difference between reflection and rotation is key.

Please don’t buy a spatial book to work from. Often the content isn’t well matched to our specific exam. We will be teaching the content in depth in the Summer term.

Examples of individual types

We teach spatial reasoning in the summer term of the club programme. This book is useful later in the summer term as a revision aid. 10-minute-tests are not usually something we recommend, but in this case the book sticks to one type at a time and they are well matched (if a little smaller) to the real exam content. 

CGP GL 10-Minute-Tests Spatial Reasoning