Update #23 - 15th March

Hi there,

So, how have you all been this week? Full of the joys of spring but not blown away, I hope!

It was around this time last year that I interviewed many of you for your positions with us here at Yipiyap and what really struck me was just how clear your hopes and goals were for the coming year- you all had a real purpose. You may have even set these goals out in your planners! Given that we are now half way through the second term, I thought it might be worth reminding you to take a look at those goals and evaluate how you are getting on. Many of you had ‘improving communication skills’ and ‘gaining confidence’ as your priorities and I just wonder how you would evaluate yourselves now. Hearing about the recent successes at University interviews, it would appear that you have all nailed those skills. But just check those lists and see what else is on them. You have plenty of time to tick all the boxes and walk away from this year feeling that you have accomplished everything you set out to achieve and more! Here are 5 steps to help you achieve your purpose:

  • Dare to dream – and dream big

  • Know your talents and strengths

  • Examine your needs and values

  • Decide what your goal is

  • Create and plan and make it happen

So, as S-Club 7 would say… Reach for the stars!


So, what’s been going on this week?

Catherine’s News

Well, it’s been another week of ‘everything’ at Yipiyap. This is why I love my job, I start the week with a list of things to do, by 9.10am on Monday that list is pretty much rewritten and it never stops evolving! No week is ever the same, no minute is ever empty and I am never bored! The highlight this week was definitely my inaugural trip to Rotherham. Despite it taking twice as long to get there as it did to get home being stuck in the aftermath of 3 accidents along the way, it was great to plant the flag firmly in the ground in another new town for Yipiyap. Now only Doncaster, Barnsley and Stoke to conquer!!

My usual reminder about the £50 finder’s fee if you recommend a friend and they work successfully for us until July! Lots of schools are looking to pick up last minute support for the build up to exams so if any if your friends have come back from travelling, for example, and need something to do until July, please send them through!

Anne’s News

As you know I usually use this section to write about work-related news but I’m going a little off-piste today with some news (recommendations?) for 2 films I’ve watched this week (not in work I hasten to add!!) First, eventually got round to watching The Imitation Game – Oscar winning film about Alan Turing starring Benedict Cumberbatch. If you’ve not see it, well worth a couple of hours of your weekend! Less well known but utterly compelling was Man On Wire – a documentary following the story of Philippe Petit, whose dream was to walk a tightrope between the twin towers in New York. Not only heart in the mouth stuff but the drive, creativity and dedication to fulfilling a seemingly impossible dream is absolutely inspirational. Gloves advisable if you value your nails! 5 stars and then some!

Regional News

Norwich, Peterborough and Derby

Another week and another trip to Derby meeting with the Heads at 2 of our DANCOP schools but most importantly visiting Hannah at Hardwick PS and seeing her at work with the Y6 pupil she specifically helps in her role. I got put straight to work helping some children with literacy and they were so keen to do their writing that it was a real pleasure. Faboulous to see Hannah being such a support to the young man she supports and to the class teacher – they are going to miss you next year, Hannah!


I’ve been a little under the weather to put it mildly this week but it’s great to know that I can really trust my team when I’m not 100% so thank you everyone for being so helpful. It’s great to have two new members of the Manchester team starting next week – Olivia and Ben. Can’t wait to see how you get on in Lostock College - one of the first schools to work with Yipiyap back in 2012!

Denbighshire and Cheshire

Two more college visits this week - one to Winstanley and one to Knutsford Academy. I'm enjoying chatting to new people about how they can spend their gap year and it's been great talking to people in careers departments about how we can get the message out more widely. Hoping for a nice influx of applicants coming through from this. I've also lined up some school visits next week - planning on checking in with April, Lois and Elliot to start, then some more to come in the following week.

Flintshire and Wrexham

This week for me has been mainly spent following up on leads and trying to get new schools and other education providers to come on board for next year with at least two hopeful new leads. I was also able to go and meet with a former tutor who may be interested in coming back on board with us for next year and was delighted to put my first contract offer for Wrexham & Flintshire 2019/20. I also had a chance to get over to Hawarden to see Harry in action with a group of Y11 students and to start to plan a new tutor enrichment competition (see Richard’s Wall of Happy).

London, Yorkshire and The Humber

Great week this week! Tons of opportunities for next year, loads of great interviews, another presentation in a London school and continued great comms from the team all week! Excited to possibly have a new placement for Ramsha at one of her old schools from last year in the next few weeks - just goes to show the impression she had! Also delighted to have had Georgia make such a wonderful start in Bradford. All feedback from both UAK and DCA excellent so very pleased! Can't wait for her to meet the rest of the Y&H team in the coming weeks.

Wall of Happy

This week Richard starts us off with his special mentions

Having seen so much good practice when I’m in schools I thought it would be great to hear more from the national team about how you have put some of the ideas from Pedagogy corner into practice in your own settings. So I’m pleased to announce in my Wall of Happy a ‘Pedagogy Corner’ competition which will be coming to you just before Easter. There will be prizes for the best entries which will test your recall about some of the ideas shared in Pedagogy Corner so far this year. Assuming you are all super-geniuses and get everything right there will also be a tie-breaker asking for your examples of where you have taken an idea from one of the posts and put it into action, so now would be a good time to start thinking back to some of your finest moments! For those whose finest moments are still to come (which is all of us surely!) I’ve attached all of the posts for the year to date to this Weekly Update.

Next to Jess

My wall of happy this week has got to be the lovely art work that we now have on our office walls. Being really arty myself I really appreciate the creativity and just how much time and effort everyone put into their pieces. Well done all of you!

Now over to Anne

WOH this week goes first to the 10k runners in the Derby team who made me laugh out loud with their communications over expected running times especially Ahkin(“An hour!! Surely not?!”) and Louie (“We should be aiming for 5 minute miles. We are representing Yipiyap.”) Can’t wait to see what happens!

Also to Faye in Norfolk who has steadily been building up 1:1 in her role providing GCSE resit support to the point now where her timetable is a sea of green. Says so much about you, Faye, and the impact you’re making with those young people.

Finally, as always, Carla has something out of left field and this week it’s a comment from one of her Y8s who thought she was 39!! I’d have loved to see your face, Carla!!

Now to Joss

Wall of happy this week - Fiona and Ramsha both deserve a massive shout out for helping me with the upcoming TEP social. Really appreciate your help here as there's so much to get done and great to share the load. Look forward to solidifying plans in the next few days and meeting up with everyone soon! Details to come!

And, finally to Alan

After last week's welcome from Anne and Catherine, I'd like to highlight Adam from my team who is joining us as a regional director from September! This is an obvious next step for someone who has done incredibly well in his last two school placements. I'm looking forward to seeing you in the office over the next few months and getting you on board as part of the team here. It might seem like a long way until September's induction days but trust me, it goes by quickly!

Pedagogy Corner

After the excitement of announcing the ‘Pedagogy Corner’ competition, this week’s post is about how to use praise effectively. You’d think that telling someone they’d done well would be easy enough but there are some things to consider when using praise in the classroom.

  • Everyone values being praised and having their efforts recognised and without it classrooms would be cold, sterile places so do praise your students.

  • Don’t use praise if it is not deserved. Students know when they haven’t tried hard and will know when praise is undeserved so make sure they earn it.

  • Too much praise or praising all the time can seem disingenuous and can make students lazy and unresponsive as you may appear to be valuing work of a substandard quality or mediocre efforts.

  • Be specific about what you are praising rather than just saying good or well done. Being specific in your praise means it is more likely that students will reflect on their learning and think about how to improve further. e.g. Well done for the way you set out your solution to that problem-solving question and made your methods clear.

  • Don’t praise achievement (i.e. getting 10 out of 10) as it can have a detrimental impact when students don’t achieve as highly next time. Instead praise effort, improvement, resilience and perseverance which are far more important qualities than any individual test score.

  • Praise good behaviour! Its likely to lead to more good behaviour and much more rewarding for all involved than criticising bad behaviour.

  • Use 5:1 ratio as a rule of thumb. 5 praise comments for every 1 which is critical or negative.

Emotional Literacy

OK, did you know your generation is being called ‘Generation Me’, also known as Generation Narcissus, the most inward-looking generation yet? Don’t blame me, this is what the US academic Dr Sara Konrath’s has called you! I was reading an article this week about this and apparently you are the generation that even when you are all together you’re not interacting. So what’s so wrong with that, I hear you cry?! I love my phone/ my iPad/ my laptop….. Well, apparently what’s wrong with it is Generation Me’s huge “empathy deficit”. Apparently you are scientifically proven to be the most “self-centred, competitive, confident and individualistic generation in recent history (again, not me!). Dr Konrath’s report concludes that teen empathy levels are shrinking faster than an Antarctic iceberg. Indeed, the study shows that American college students display 40% less empathy than those born 30 years previously. (I am intrigued as to how they measured this- I have some rather unscientific image in my brain of a big old ‘empath-o-meter’ pinging furiously like a frantic alarm clock!). But apart from my mental wanderings, this clearly doesn’t bode well if you do lack empathy because basically it means you are so self- centred you can’t join in, leaving the world with a band of unhelpful, solitary outsiders.

So, what can be done about this? A forward-thinking headmaster and dad of two, Andrew Halls, is doing something about it — he is going to teach empathy lessons at his Wimbledon private school, King’s College and he is calling for other schools to do the same. Halls says that alongside excessive screen time, lack of empathy could also be down to increasing divorce rates, creating a reluctance in some children to show emotion.

So what does he suggest to combat the empathy gap? First, he says, reduce screen time (obviously!), second read more books because books talk about feelings. Thirdly, do more things together with family and friends, and finally he strongly recommends you join a team!

Hall says “Technology has cut the threads between us… we need to engage in life beyond the screen’. I could not agree more! I literally have to wrestle the ipad out of my daughter’s hands which become herculean in strength in that particular battle!


I, for one, don’t actually think this empathy gap is the sole preserve of your generation. I feel that as a consequence of all the demands and the pace of today’s world we are all afflicted to some extent by this inward obsession. So, what am I going to do about it? Well, I am going to aim to do one kind thing (for someone else- not me!) everyday! I want to see the gauge of that empath-o-meter ping off that scale at least 7 days a week and do my bit to make sure that at the very least my daughter knows there are other people in this world apart from her and her mates on the iPad!

Jake and Ruwaydah’s Top 20 Tunes

This week it is our seasoned tutor Jake and HQ resident Ruwaydah’s turn to spin the decks and they do not disappoint. There is a really eclectic mix here, especially with some of Jake’s choices, and I know you will all enjoy listening to them. Definitely give ‘Complex’ on Ruwaydah’s playlist a listen. This song was written and sung by Ruwaydah’s friend Nadia. How amazing is that?? Thanks both for these absolute smashers!!!

Enjoy listening folks...

Thanks for reading all and have a great weekend!


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