footee screenDespite England's abysmal performance in this summer's World Cup it's not all sackcloth and Ashleys in the world of football. Well, not in the world of virtual football, anyway., the innovative and lively online football education resource continues to thrive and now has more than 100,000 registered members and 300 schools within a year of its launch.

MotivatEd, the developers of Footee, have added new functions, allowing teachers to create their own football teams which can compete in a league against other teams from all over the world in genuinely engaging league tables – the Footee School League Tables. And it tackles science literacy and maths as well as the sport.

Some claim it outsources maths teaching, but Chris Drage sees BrightSpark as common sense

BrightSpark EducationBrightSpark Education's online tutoring serviceWith 30-plus students in class, most teachers, even those with teaching assistants, struggle to provide help on an individual basis.

Teaching in ability groups can help but at some point in a child’s school career she or he will require individual assistance and finding that extra one-on-one ‘quiet’ time can prove problematical. Enter BrightSpark Education with online maths tutoring.

Synthetic phonics is central to government policies. Ray Barker explains why, and the role of ICT
screenphonics1CrickOf course, the critics say synthetic phonics can’t possibly work. English is basically an ‘unphonetic’ language; there are so many exceptions to any rule.

Just think about the opening to a child’s story: ‘Once upon a time there was ...’. How do you teach a child the sound of ‘o’ in once? It’s not the same as the ‘o’ in dog or in blood or in enough. What about the sound of ‘a’ in was? It’s more like an ‘o’ definitely not like the sound of ‘a’ in cat. Because it’s the sound of letters we are concerned with here. It’s about learning the 44 sounds in English and their corresponding letters or letter groups

Chris Drage discovers a way for teachers to step back from learners and give them a cool reading space
Fluency Tutor Version 2Readers get their own space with 'Fluency Tutor v 2'When I was a primary school teacher I was always aware of the intrusion children must have felt when I was ‘hearing’ them read. Inevitably I would interrupt a learner while correcting, explaining or encouraging them to practice oral reading.

Fluency Tutor V2, an online service from Texthelp Systems, aims to allow teachers to monitor progress without intruding on learners' private reading time while helping them practise oral reading, independently and at their own pace.

ICT is fuelling the growing momentum for parental engagement. Gerald Haigh explains how

Parent supporting child's workParents are key to learning (pic: James Hallybone)It’s growing fast and on its way to a school near you. Parents want it, and schools know it drives achievement. Yes, folks, it’s online parental engagement, and it’s a challenge that’s throwing up some important questions for school leaders.