Please enable javascript in your browser to view this site!

Update #6 - 20th October

Weekly Update #6!

Hi all,

Well, what do you know? Most of you will now have completed your first half term as yipiyap tutors- by far the hardest term and you have all done it so brilliantly! Congratulations! I know there will have been times when you have thought ‘what on earth am I doing?’  and even perhaps ‘I wish I’d gone travelling!!!’ - there will be times this year when all of you feel like that. But then again this year was never going to be easy and that’s why you all chose to do it. It is a challenge and all of that grappling will be building vital experience, skills and confidence. Just think what you have gone through and achieved since our Induction Days. Now times that by 6 and just think where you will be by July!! Brilliant work all!
So, this week I am going to turn this update upside down and put my little bit at the end first. The reasons for this will hopefully become clear.

Look Away (but not just yet!!)

I recently read an article on how checking your smartphone with one eye closed in the dark nearly blinded two women recently. It really shocked me as I frequently check the time on my phone at night if I wake up (one eye closed!) and I imagine this is something you may do too. As such I thought it was important to look into this and relay anything useful on. 

Basically, the two women were suffering from extreme digital eye strain which is caused by starting at phone/ laptop screens for too long during the day, something which we all guilty of. 

There are really shocking statistics about just how long we are all looking at screens. On average, nearly 9 out of 10 adults (88 percent) spend more than 2 hours each day using a digital device, with 1 in 10 people spending at least three-fourths of their waking hours on a digital device. This constant exposure to technology is a shock to our eyes with an ever increasing percentage of the population reporting symptoms of digital eye strain, such as dry, irritated, eyes, blurred vision, eye fatigue, neck and back pain and headaches.

So, what can we do about it? Here are some top tips:

  • Never look at your phone in the dark with one eye, always open both eyes;
  • Our eyes are not meant to focus on the same point for long so remember the 20:20:20 rule- for every 20 minutes spent looking at a device, spend 20 seconds looking 20 feet away.
  • Stay well hydrated- you should drink at least 1.2L of water each day
  • Eat well- there are certain foods that really help preserve your vision. They are: broccoli; fatty fish; eggs; garlic; onions; tomatoes; carrots (of course!!!); blueberries and tomatoes.
  • Our blink rate reduces by 2/3 when we are looking at a screen so make sure you blink to lubricate eyes every time you click or swipe. Make sure it’s a full blink though, a quick slick won’t do.
  • Screen users who wear lenses are four times more likely to have dry eyes. Make sure you wear contacts with a high water content or wear your specs more if you are online.

Here are some healthy ergonomics:

For mobile devices:

  • Viewing angle should be slightly below eye level;
  • The device should be at a comfortable distance from your eyes;
  • Screen resolution, contrast and brightness should all be adjusted to eye comfort;
  • Font size and browser settings should be enlarged for eye comfort.

Desktops and laptops:

  • Overhead lighting should always be dimmed;
  • Viewing angle not more than 35 degrees from the monitor;
  • Viewing distance should be between 50-100cm;
  • The top of the monitor should be at or just below eye level;
  • The monitor should be positioned flat or directly in front of the user;
  • The keyboard position should be so that upper arms hang vertical;
  • Your chair should support your spine and body in the upright position.

So, are you all reading this in the recommended way? Any slight adjustments necessary? OK, so now we are all hopefully sitting and reading comfortably, here we go! 


So, what’s been going on this week?

Catherine's News

This week has been busy, not just because it’s been full of the usual yipiyap fun but because my daughter has been on an unusually early half term break so I have had my little PA ‘helping me’ through the week. As such, I would like to apologise if anyone has received an early morning or late at night email due to the adjustment to my working hours! I would also like to formally thank Hatty for all of her ‘help’!!! The highlight of the week was our Regional Director meeting which was the usual hotbed of ideas and brainstorming which I love. It’s always great to hear all of the positive comments your Regional Directors have about you all!

My weekly reminder that if you know of anyone who may be taking a gap year after their A levels this summer who would make a great tutor remember there is a £50 finders fee if you recommend them and they work successfully for us!

Mock Interviews – Saturday 11th November

If you haven’t done so already, please ensure you confirm your place for the interview practice by TODAY via the following link:

Anne's News

The run up to the first half term (my children are off next week) always feels like one of the busiest weeks of the year as we try and contact schools before they break up.  One thing to mention at this stag is about INSET days.  Please remember that, if you are usually in school on a day which is allocatd to be an INSET day then you should check with your RD to confirm whether school wish you to come in that day.  If they do then it’s a great professional development opportunity and general good all round team-building so make sure you make the most of that!

Regional Directors' News


I can't quite believe it's half term already (for the majority of my team)! As I mentioned in the last update, I had a few visits in Oldham this week (North Chad, Failsworth, TOAN) and then I also headed to SPH in Derbyshire on Thursday. If I haven't visited yet then don't worry, I'll be visiting after half term as soon as I can get something booked in. Also, a request for extra support came on Thursday evening so I'm really excited to discuss this with the school and see what we can put in place!


Norwich, Peterborough and Derby

I’ve been so impressed by the team this week overcoming a number of adversities - Niamh and her temperamental bike being a regular saga!  Well done Niamh for getting in on time each day and a note for all cyclists - go really carefully on the wet roads with slippery leaves all over the place at the moment.  Also, Humaira’s languages groups continue to settle down nicely and thanks to Humaira for keeping me up to date with how this is going.


London, Reading and Leicester

Congratulations everyone on reaching the end of HT1 (bit late for Muhammed!) I can just never believe how quickly we get to this part of the year. Trust me when I say it'll be Christmas before you know it! My guys have all had a great week this week, whilst the RDs have all been up to Manchester for a particularly long meeting - never want to hear about data protection regulations ever again!!! I've been doing a big recruitment/growth push before the school's close for a week - hoping for big news soon!! Muhammed I hope you've enjoyed the week and everyone else enjoy the break - you deserve it!!


Cheshire and North Wales

I've mostly been on the road this week as many of you will know - the bulk of my first school visits are done and I've now checked in with almost everyone on my team, with the exception of our newest tutors. More on that in my wall of happy! Beyond this, I really haven't been in one place much this week. Our latest RD meeting on Tuesday was a lot of fun and we reflected on the first half term we've all had, which I think has been very positive. Quick mention about timesheets too - thank you to everyone for getting them in on Friday! We did have a couple of stragglers so please make sure you come to me if you have any issues getting them submitted - I'm more than happy to help with this.


Yorkshire and the Humber

Hi everyone, my week has flown in the blink of an eye, I’ve had lots of things to get back to everyone on and been out of the office a fair bit dealing with various things so a funny old week for me! I’m still chasing up potential new roles in the region for those of you waiting for extra days and have new tutors waiting in the wings too so I’ll be focussing hard on pushing for those new roles! I’ll keep you posted!

Wall of Happy

Joss is first off the mark this week

Wall of happy this week - really proud of Ramsha this week who has volunteered at one of her school's open days. It will mean so much to the school and is just a fantastic display of the can-do attitude that we recruited you for! Well done, Ramsha!


Followed closely by Jess!

Firstly, I just had to mention Mo this week. I surprised him with an 'observation' at Failsworth but, in true yipiyap tutor style, I couldn't help myself and ended up refereeing the game that the students were playing. The two students that Mo was working with were so engaged with the game that they didn't even realise they were learning about positive and negative numbers! Well done Mo - hope I didn't scare you too much!

Happy Birthday for Thursday Farzana. I hope you had a great day!
Finally, a huge well done to Linda for completing the 3 peaks challenge in 12 hours - a true triumph! I've asked Linda to write a blog post on this so do take a look at the website to read all about her experience.


Then there's Anne

First ..Congratulations to Heidi who passed her driving test this week - Woo hoo!  Bet you can’t wait to get out there on your own tearing up the highways and byways of Peterborough!

Then second is to credit Halyna who has done THE MOST AMAZING job of setting you up on all our systems over the last 2 months.  it’s a huge job and Halyna is so incredibly thorough that you wouldn’t know because it all goes so smoothly.  Thanks for all your hard work, Halyna!

And finally to Maaria who got her Timesheet in first last week and always uses the app, even on her days off – excellent commitment to the yipi – app, Maaria. 


Next to Alan

In light of the number of visits I've been doing recently, I wanted to say a big thank you to all on my team. I cannot be happier with the feedback I've received from staff during my visits. Schools have been blown away with the support you have been providing above and beyond your roles in the classroom; from lunchtime sessions, to out-of-school trips, to extra-curricular activities, to Saturday boosters, you have really embraced the can-do spirit of yipiyap. For that, I'd like to say thank you and well done. Keep it up!


And, finally to Carrie

I’d like to give Julian Plunkett a mention this week, as a late comer he’s completed his first day at WHA and thoroughly enjoyed it although, most impressively he travels quite some distance from across the Humber Bridge and across Hull for the role so massive well done Julian, a great can do attitude indeed! Also, to my Leeds tutors, next week is half term so I hope you really enjoy your first break! 

What's on...

... in London

For What's On this week Joss is going to share his biggest and favourite London life secret - free drawing classes at the National Portrait Gallery!! This is on every Friday at the NPG - just turn up and get given loads of materials and a chair - pick your favourite portrait and get sketching - top tips available from their resident artists. It's such a fun event and totally different from his normal routine – Joss will definitely be enjoying this over the half term!

... in North Wales and Cheshire

Thanks to Alan for spotting this brilliant event on his patch! Liverpool's annual Music Week runs from October 26th to November 4th, and features dozens of artists performing across the city. Full-access tickets are £65, but you can get tickets for individual performances from the LMW website:

Congratulations to Linda!

Amazing achievement Linda! 1 down, 11 to go!!! Looking forward to hearing what comes next!!! If anyone else is doing something interesting over the year, we would love to know!!!

Top Tips for Successful Support...

If you are helping a teacher support in class, always ask them what they would like you to do to help support them in the best way possible. Avoid just standing about in the class and be a proactive and positive presence.

Nilam and Patrick's Top 20 Tunes

Just love the tunes this week. Mr Brightside my fav song featuring in Patrick’s mix along with a new favorite Feel it Still by Portugal. The Man. Not heard of this one before but love it! Nilam, but for Niall Horan you have completely flummoxed me with all those new artists but they are all great. I’ve really enjoyed listening to this selection! Thanks for sharing both!


So, have a brilliant weekend and week ahead folks!

Best wishes,


I will bring positivity into school by greeting everyone with a smile.

I will be proactive, looking for ways to help teachers and students and asking for help if I need it.

I’m a role model and will show children how to conduct themselves.

I will be professional at all times, respect staff and value the responsibilities I am given.

There will be times when I make mistakes but I will never stop learning!
— The Yipiyap Mantra