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Teacher Jane Chappell shares teaching tips for parents in new book 'Staffroom Secrets'

A school teacher from Paddock Wood has written a book set to become a lifeline for parents wanting to know more about their children's education.

Mother-of-three Jane Chappell retrained as a teacher when her children left primary school. She started her career at Culverstone Green Primary near Gravesend in 2015 and has spent the last two years putting pen to paper to help answer the questions she had as a young mum.

Jane Chappell, author of Staffroom Secrets
Jane Chappell, author of Staffroom Secrets

Mrs Chappell hopes her expertise will help other parents navigate the 'minefield' that comes with their child's education.

The 46-year-old said: "I wrote this book because when I trained as a primary school teacher, I spent a lot of time saying, “I wish I’d known that!” I felt compelled to reveal all I had discovered with parents, who I knew like me wanted the best for their children.

"It's for twenty-two-year-old me, who had aspirations for her daughter but nowhere to go for solid, comprehensive advice. This is for parents whose children go to state schools, faith schools, independent schools, boarding schools, rural schools and inner-city schools.

"I know trying to navigate your child's education can be a minefield full of jargon, unfamiliar methods and ever shifting targets and expectations and hopefully this book makes sense of some of it."

The book titled 'Staffroom Secrets, A Teacher's Guide to your Child's Primary Education' explores everything from classroom games and mnemonics, to the complexity of the curriculum.

Jane Chappell from Paddock Wood wrote the book Staffroom Secrets, A teacher Guide to your child's education. Picture: Jane Chappell
Jane Chappell from Paddock Wood wrote the book Staffroom Secrets, A teacher Guide to your child's education. Picture: Jane Chappell

Mrs Chappell added: "It also talks about how stressed our children are and how we can relieve that as parents.

"My experience has taught me that parents are the single most significant differentiating factor in their children’s educational progress - not teachers. The book’s emphasis is on creating a supportive learning environment at home, not about grilling children or hothousing."

Mrs Chappell, who used to run her own theatre in education company, hopes it will bring clarity to parents especially now some have taken on the challenge of homeschooling.

She added: "Reading the book during lockdown, will be like having a teacher in your pocket - somewhere to go for ideas on how to support learning and a handy reference tool.

"During lockdown, parents have been flooded with free resources - from schools and businesses with an abundance of materials. What to learn at home is not the problem - it’s the how to learn at home that is causing parents problems.

"The arbitrary age-related learning goals of the classroom don't need to apply at home. Go with the flow - introduce new ideas and concepts gently and logically. Be led by your children not a mandate set by someone who’s never met them.

"If all else fails at the moment, just read together. If you can’t face anything else, share a book and you are winning."

Mrs Chappell also has her own YouTube channel where she responds to parents and teachers' concerns by posting online lessons.

She added: "The maths ones have been really popular - they show the traditional way of solving equations and the newer methods, side-by-side. Parents like them because it helps them communicate better with their children."

Staffroom Secrets is available now. For more information, click here.

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