Update #16 - 18th January

***** Timesheets are due in today*****

Hi there,

We are over half way through January and well into this half term so I hope you are well and truly back into the swing of things. But it is just not any ordinary January week. With everything that is happening in our country with Brexit at the moment, this week will be one that future generations will learn about in history lessons. I am sure that you completely all over this but just in case you have been living on the other side of the moon for the past 2 years, see our super simple guide to Brexit (courtesy of the BBC!) at the end of the update.



So, what’s been going on this week?

Catherine’s News

It has been another week of presentations at schools this week and arranging follow up interviews to start the ball rolling with our offers for September. I have had super positive receptions from every school I have presented at so far with lots of interested candidates all eager to do something worthwhile in their gap year. I met a student in North Wales on Tuesday, who had clearly done her homework before the talk, who said she loved our tutor blog! So, a big thanks to George, Jake, Alice and Niamh for their wonderful blogs! If you haven’t read them, they are a must!!! I’m back on the road for more presentations next week and am hoping for much of the same.

You will have all by now received an email from me about the prospect of staying on a second year with Yipiyap and I really hope that many of you will be interested in this as we would love to have you back.

Finally, thanks to you all for letting us know about your offers. We are just so pleased to hear all of your good news! Keep it coming!

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 finder’s fee if you recommend them and they work successfully for us! Thank you Zak for your recommendation this week!!!!

Anne’s News

At this time of the year, there’s only one thing I love more than the JJOTD and that’s everyone else’s reaction to the JJOTD!!! It’s been fantastic this week, not only to have tutors say they enjoy the jokes each morning (yes, really, and especially when I get them right!), but to have so many tutors contribute their own jokes is quite exceptional. I think all future tutors are going to have to live up to the 2018/19 cohort in terms of their enthusiasm for the initiative and remember when you all start your own businesses in a few years, what a lovely effect the simplest ideas can have!

Regional News

Norwich, Peterborough and Derby

It’s been a buoyant week in the NPD camp and I’m really pleased to see my team settling straight back into the new term with such a professional approach. I’ll be heading down to Derby next week for a review of the Virtual School support and am planning to visit Millie in David Nieper while I’m there – looking forward very much to my visit as always!


It’s been a crazy week here in Manchester. Every corner we turn there’s a new support request and we’ve even had our first query about support for September. No wonder we start our recruitment drive so early! In terms of recruitment this week, Ruwaydah kindly offered to go back to Loreto College to help answer questions about what we offer here at Yipiyap (thanks so much for helping, Ruwaydah). I’m really looking forward to starting interviewing so don’t forget to tell friends in the year below about us!


Denbighshire and Cheshire

Another week down and gearing up for our next round of recruitment. New interview checklists to match some additional questions applicants will face, and an updated application form in response to the influx of applicants who are university graduates. I've also got my first interviews of 2019 coming up soon, and more presentations over the coming weeks. January comes around quicker every year!

Flintshire and Wrexham

It’s amazing how quickly everybody has got back into the groove of the new term. Recruitment has been my main focus again this week. I’ve been working to bring a new member of the team on board for this year and am delighted to say that Harrison will be joining us in the next couple of weeks as a Maths tutor. I’ve also been on a tour of the South Wrexham & Shropshire Sixth Forms to spread the word about Yipiyap which included a positive conversation at Ysgol Morgan Llwyd and a slightly awe-inducing visit to the stunning grounds and site of Ellesmere College. I’m looking forward to getting into lots of those establishments soon to recruit tutors for next year.

London, Yorkshire and The Humber

Great week! All going on! Interviews all over (me interviewing new tutors for this year and next as well as current tutors interviewing for Universities), university places being announced, recruitment presentations starting to pop up and conversations beginning for support in September. Not only that, but we’ve still got new places settling in this week and new tutors coming forward based on recommendations from the current cohort. Really well done to everyone who’s started something new this week – the feedback has been excellent across the board. Looking forward to a visit with Adilah at SRS next week – see you soon!

Wall of Happy

This week Alan starts us off with his special mentions

A couple of birthday wishes for my tutors this time - one for last weekend and one for today. Birthdays around the weekend are always a nice bonus, so happy birthday to Emma! And, of course, April enjoy your birthday today, I hope you have a great weekend to celebrate!

Next to Richard

It’s always lovely when people spread the word about Yipiyap and recommend others to find out about us – don’t forget about Catherine’s weekly reminder of a finder’s fee! I was delighted that following my presentation at Ysgol Maes Garmon last week their head of Sixth Form took it upon himself to ring around some of his ex-Y13s who he knew this may suit to let them know about us and I’m delighted to have received applications on the back of this. I’m looking forward to meeting new applicants in the next week or so.


Now over to Jess

Firstly, a huge congratulations to George for passing his driving test this week! When I first passed I listened to this song and it somehow made me EVEN happier about passing... https://youtu.be/rV1_7R_3cXA

It’s more good news for Team Manchester as Lewis humbly announced that he has been offered an unconditional offer to study Physics at Birmingham, his first choice!! We couldn’t be happier for you, Lewis.

And finally a huge well done to Charlotte for starting at her placement this week. I had a lovely email back from Sue saying that Charlotte had made a great start and gave extra credit for her confidence in the staff room. Great work!


Now to Anne

My wall of happy goes to Alice this week as she had a lovely comment that arose because of her shrewd observation of a particular student. He had tried really hard in her lesson and Alice gave him a sticky note showing that she’d noticed and appreciated his effort. The next lesson one of the teachers fed back that they’d seen the sticky note with the words ‘ I finally got one :)’ underneath. You gave him such a boost, Alice, and I’m sure made his day!

Also, I have to mention and thank Halyna for bringing both flowers and fruit into the office to brighten up our week - so thoughtful. Thanks, Halyna!


And, finally to Joss

Wall of happy – been absolutely delighted for Both Zak and Gaurav this week who’ve been offered great places for uni. Zak off to Cambridge (I’m not sure he really believes it yet!?) and Gaurav off(ered?) to King’s. Both great places thoroughly well deserved by two outstanding members of the team.

Pedagogy Corner

Inspired by some of the work I’ve observed Rebecca doing in Ysgol Bryn Alyn where she often takes students out of lessons to listen to them read I thought that a strategy linked to reading would be useful to share. It’s called ‘Think Alouds’.

  • ‘Think Alouds’ help students learn to monitor their thinking as they read an assigned passage by directing them with a series of questions to think about and answer aloud while reading. By slowing down reading, this process reveals how much they understand a text. As students get better at this technique they learn to generate their own questions to guide comprehension.

  • Initially you should model the Think Aloud technique and discuss how good readers often re-read a sentence, read ahead to clarify, and/or look for context clues to make sense of what they read. Model your thinking as you read. Do this at points in the text that may be confusing for students (new vocabulary, unusual sentence construction). Then introduce the assigned text and discuss the purpose of the ‘Think Aloud’ strategy. Then develop a set of questions to support thinking aloud (some examples you could use are below).

  1. What do I know about this topic?

  2. Do I understand what I just read?

  3. Do I have a clear picture in my head about this information?

  4. What more can I do to understand this?

  5. What were the most important points in this reading?

  6. How does it fit in with what I already know?

  • You should then give students opportunities to practice the technique, either in pairs, small groups or individually; and offer structured feedback to students. Initially, you could read the selected passage aloud as the students read the same text silently. At certain points, stop and "think aloud" answers to some of the pre-selected questions. Again, model how good readers monitor their understanding by re-reading a sentence, reading ahead to clarify, and/or looking for context clues. Students will learn to offer answers to the questions as you lead the ‘Think Aloud’ strategy. As students become familiar with the process, they may work individually or in small groups. You may choose to have students write down responses to the Think Aloud strategy which provides a record of learning.

Skipiyap and YipiArt

Only 12 days to go for our brilliant skippers and artists to get going!!! Here is a little reminder of what it’s all about…

Skipiyap 2019

The challenge runs through January and the aim is to either skip as many skips with a rope as you can in one minute flat or create a funny / quirky video of you skipping. To enable us to officially count/ judge the competition you need send me a video so we can adjudicate. You can do this easily via your phone. The prize for the most skips in one minute is £50 and the prize for the best video is also £50. This challenge will run right the way through January so plenty of time to get your entries in and winners will be announced at the end of January!

We have skipping ropes for anyone who would like to take part and does not have one of their own so if you are interested please just let your Regional Director know and they will provide you with a rope.

Before you get going there are some Health and Safety steps you need to be aware of but when you register your interest we will advise you of these.

So, happy skipping everyone! Good luck and we can't wait to see just how skippiyappy you can be!!!

YipiArt 2019

As we have mentioned previously, we have some really bare walls in our office and so we thought we would launch our very first YipiyArt art competition to give you budding artists a challenge and exhibit your masterpieces!

Much the same as Skipiyap this challenge runs through January and we invite you to produce a picture in whatever medium you choose. The topic is quite simply ‘inspiration’. The prize for the best work will be £100 with a runner’s up prize of £50. An independent panel of judges will choose the winners to ensure fairplay. This challenge will run right the way through January so plenty of time to get your entries in and winners will again be announced at the end of January! Please ensure the maximum size of the picture is A4 for ease of posting to the office (we will cover your reasonable costs of postage).

Fit For Future - SAVE THE DATE- Saturday 15th June

Please can you all put Saturday 15th June in your diaries for our ‘Fit For Future Day’. This is a whole day packed with workshops that we hope will be useful to you in anticipation of you heading out into the big wide world after your year with Yipiyap. We are planning a cookery/ nutrition workshop, an emotional intelligence talk, a first aid for university workshop, a basic sign language course, and finally, coming full circle from our induction course in September, a follow up self defence course. It’s just a day of useful workshops focused on taking you forward positively so we would love you to come and join us!

Olivia and Jemima’s Top 20 Tunes

Thanks to Olivia and Jemima we have another brilliant TT20 this week. I’ve really enjoyed drafting the update tapping away on the keyboard of my laptop to these tunes!! It is the first time a tutor (that’s you Olivia!) has devoted all 10 songs to musicals too! It amazes me that every week we get another great and unique selection- and this playlist will certainly not disappoint! Make sure you tune in for some audio pleasure! Thanks for these great selections both!!

Well that’s all for another week in the world of Yipiyap folks! Have a brilliant weekend and see you all next week!


Brexit: Your simple guide to the UK leaving the EU


Feeling a little lost on Brexit? Never really got your head around it in the first place? Don't know what the "meaningful vote" was all about? Here’s a simple guide to what it’s all about.

What is Brexit?

Brexit is short for "British exit" - and is the word people use to talk about the United Kingdom's decision to leave the EU (European Union).

What is the EU?

The EU is a political and economic union of 28 countries which trade with each other and allow citizens to move easily between the countries to live and work. The UK joined the EU, then known as the EEC (European Economic Community), in 1973.

Why is the UK leaving?

A public vote - called a referendum - was held on Thursday 23 June 2016 when voters were asked just one question - whether the UK should leave or remain in the European Union. The Leave side won by nearly 52% to 48% - 17.4m votes to 16.1m - but the exit didn't happen straight away. It's due to take place on 29 March 2019.

What has happened so far?

The 2016 vote was just the start. Since then, negotiations have been taking place between the UK and the other EU countries. The discussions have been mainly over the "divorce" deal, which sets out exactly how the UK leaves - not what will happen afterwards. This deal is known as the withdrawal agreement.


What does the withdrawal agreement say?

The withdrawal agreement covers some of these key points:

  • How much money the UK will have to pay the EU in order to break the partnership - that's about £39bn

  • What will happen to UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU, and equally, what will happen to EU citizens living in the UK

  • How to avoid the return of a physical border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland when it becomes the frontier between the UK and the EU

A length of time, called the transition period, has been agreed to allow the UK and EU to make a trade deal and to give businesses the time to adjust. That means that if the withdrawal agreement gets the green light, there will be no huge changes between 29 March 2019 and 31 December 2020.

Another, much shorter, document has also been drawn up that gives an overview of what the UK and EU's future relationship will be in the longer term. This is the political declaration. However, neither side has to stick exactly to what it says - it is a set of ambitions for the future talks.

How did MPs vote on the deal?

They voted overwhelmingly against it - by 432 votes to 202 (a majority of 230), which was the biggest defeat for a government motion since 1918. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn promptly tabled a "vote of no confidence", which the government won by 325 to 306 - a margin of 19.

Why did people oppose the deal?

There are a broad range of complaints, many of which claim the deal fails to give back to the UK control of its own affairs from the EU.

One of the biggest sticking points has been over what happens at the Irish border. Both the EU and UK want to avoid the return of guard posts, so something called the backstop - a sort of safety net - was included in the deal. However, that would mean that Northern Ireland - but not the rest of the UK - would still follow some EU rules on things such as food products.

The backstop is meant to be a last resort and the prime minister insists that if all goes as planned it will never be used. But it has annoyed some MPs, who are angry that the UK would not be able to end it without the EU's permission and so EU rules could remain in place for good. Other MPs would prefer to stay closer to the European Union - or even still in it


What happens now Parliament has rejected the deal?

It's still not very clear. Now that Mrs May has won the no confidence vote, she has up to three days to come up with alternative options to put to MPs. Mrs May said she would do this on Monday 21 January. Possibilities include the prime minister being allowed to have a second go at getting her deal accepted by Parliament, a renegotiation or another referendum.

Mrs May herself said she would hold meetings with the opposition parties and Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party to see "what would be required to secure the backing of the House". If nothing changes, the default position will be for the UK to leave the EU without a deal on March 29.

So, will the UK definitely leave on 29 March 2019?

It is written into law that the UK will be leaving on that date at 11pm UK time. But it is impossible to say with any certainty what will happen next. The deadline of 29 March could be extended - and the European Court of Justice has said the UK could even cancel Brexit altogether without the agreement of other nations.


What happens if the UK leaves without a deal?

"No deal" means the UK would have failed to agree a withdrawal agreement. That would mean there would be no transition period after 29 March 2019, and EU laws would stop applying to the UK immediately.

The government has started planning for this potential situation. It has published a series of guides - which cover everything from pet passports to the impact on electricity supplies.

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