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January/February 2014 Issue 15



Inside: Nurseries

How to pick the right one, and help with the costs

What’s On Education Clubs & Classes The really useful magazine for parents



Issue 15 | January/February 2014 | Families Warwickshire

In This Issue


Happy New Year!

Regular Features

3 News t What’s On 6 Clubs & Classes news 8 Nurseries feature w Education




Contact details

Call: Gabrielle Starkey on 01789 764667 or Claire Jones on 01926 335004 E: Design by Caroline Smith Cover by Linda Scannell All content © 2014 Families Warwickshire Families Warwickshire is a bi-monthly magazine for parents, covering Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick Districts with 21,500 copies. Towns covered include Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick, Leamington Spa and Kenilworth, plus Studley, Alcester, Bidford, Henley-in-Arden, Wellesbourne, Welford-on-Avon, Shipston-on-Stour, Southam and lots of the smaller villages in between.

Advertise with us and reach 40,000+ local parents and carers from just £30 a month! Next issue: March/April2014 Main features: Easter/Prep Schools Deadline: Friday 7 February Families Warwickshire is part of the Families Group, established in 1990 and headed by Families South West. All franchised magazines in the group are independently owned and operated under licence. We take every care in preparing this magazine but the publishers and distributors cannot be held responsible for the claims of the advertisers, nor for the accuracy of the content, nor for any consequence.


I hope you had a fantastic Christmas and are looking forward to new adventures in 2014. Families Warwickshire certainly is! Sadly, I am having to step down as editor, due to illness, but I am passing on the baton to Claire Jones, a mum of two from Leamington. I am sure she is going to take Families Warwickshire onwards and upwards! Over the past two and a half years I have had a wonderful time launching and running this magazine. I’d like to say thank you to all of our advertisers, contributors, distributors and readers for making Families Warwickshire a joy to make. I hope your support will continue in 2014 and into the future. I’m really proud that Families Warwickshire has fulfilled many of the goals I set for myself, including to make a magazine that would promote community in Warwickshire, and let familes know how many great things there are to see and do here. It seems fitting, somehow, to be stepping down at a time of year when new goals are set. Please do get in touch with any comments, via email or phone (see contact details), or go to our Facebook page or Twitter (see below). All best wishes for the future, Twitter: @familieswarks familieswarwickshire Tel: 01789 764667

Who? What? When? Why? Where?

News & views

New Year Resolutions for all the family The secret behind keeping your New Year’s resolutions is not to aim too high – the more realistic and do-able the resolution, the easier it’ll be to keep. This year, resolve to make one or more small changes that will bring your family together and give you a stronger, more positive outlook as a group. Here are a few of our favourites:

Eat together

There are so many proven benefits of eating a regular family meal together, from better manners to happier kids. Turn off the TV and mobile phones and concentrate on talking, laughing and sharing – even if it’s only once a week, for Sunday lunch.

Make one night of the week Family Games Night

The humble board game has many benefits - it brings the family together, it teaches sharing, counting and turn-taking, and most of all it’s fun! Wean the children off their screens for one night and get them around a table, and you should soon see an improvement in everyone’s mood.

Stop shouting!

No-one likes to be shouted at, and no-one likes to live in an angry atmosphere, so make the change yourself. Resolve to keep your cool and talk out any problems. Anger only breeds resentment, which can lead to long-term family rifts – talking, in contrast, leads to better understanding and closer families.

Focus on the positive

Resolve to look on the bright side in 2014 – it’s better for you and sets a great example. Seeing the silver lining to every cloud helps people cope and doesn’t need to be unrealistic.

Get out in nature

It’s been proven that playing and learning outdoors has profound benefits for children, but most of them don’t have the freedom that was taken for granted just a generation ago. Get outdoors as much as you can (why not join the National Trust and take advantage of their gorgeous grounds?), and improve your family’s health and wellbeing. You could even take a leaf out of the book of Tim and Kerry Meek, from Nottingham, who set their two daughters (aged 8 and 10) 100 challenges, such as canoeing down a river and sleeping under the stars. Their inspirational blog is at

Take on a charity challenge

Give any fitness goals a boost by getting the family involved in a team challenge for charity. Not sure what to do or who to support? Try or The idea of raising money for a worthy cause will help you all pull together through the tough bits.

Fingerprint Fairy

Order now for Mother’s day in March!


National Storytelling Week This February brings seven days of reading, sharing and listening with the 14th Annual National Storytelling Week. From 1-8 February, schools, drama clubs and performance groups across the country will hold events to celebrate the joy of storytelling.  Over the past decade National Storytelling Week has gone from strength to strength, with all areas of the community taking part in creating and enjoying storytelling – in fact, Storytelling Week is estimated to reach an audience of 17,000 this year!  Storytelling enriches lives everywhere, in nurseries and schools as well as community centres and theatres, and during Storytelling Week there will be a whole host of storytelling events near you, so why not join in?

Your library needs YOU! Do you have time to help your local library flourish? Warwickshire Library and Information Service is on the look-out for volunteers to enhance the library experience for customers. Imelda Cooke-Cannon, Volunteer Co-ordinator for Warwickshire Libraries and Information Service, said: “We’re looking for all kinds of different people and skills to bring something different to many of our libraries. We’d love to hear from as many people as possible, who want to offer as much or as little time as they can spare.” The roles include a Children and Young People’s Volunteer at Warwick Library; Survey Volunteers at Alcester, Leamington Spa and Wellesbourne; Publicity and Promotions Volunteers at Lillington, Whitnash and Wellesbourne; Computer Volunteers at Rugby and Wellesbourne; and a Silver Surfer Volunteer at Warwick, among others. For more information visit www. or for volunteering information contact Imelda Cooke-Cannon on 01926 410410, or email libraryvolunteering@ For the latest information on what’s happening in libraries, follow or like

Tel: 01789 764667


News & views

Who? What? When? Why? Where? continuously by sensors that capture the light reflected by his eyes. Meanwhile, in a different room, we can see Ella’s brain activity while she is enthusiastically communicating with a researcher. Centrally located in London, the Babylab is part of Birkbeck College and has, for the past 15 years, been busy figuring out how babies talk and walk and, more importantly, why some babies and children struggle with reaching these milestones. Researchers at the Babylab have shown that even at 6 months of age, infants that later develop symptoms of autism have difficulties interpreting another person’s gaze direction. This may explain why they later struggle with language, as gaze direction often tells infants what it is we are talking about. For more information on this research see:

Baby Science Babies with autism in the family are invited to help in vital research at Birkbeck College’s Babylab The Babylab at Birkbeck is always welcoming new recruits and they are now specially inviting all those babies who have an older brother or sister with ADHD and/or autism: Harry (above) is 14 months old and, like many babies of his age, he’s busy toddling around, rolling cars down a chute and smiling towards mum and dad in excitement every time the cars reach the floor. But how did he learn to recognize mum and dad, and to correctly say the word “car”? Why did it take him 12 months to attempt to say this word, while Ella took 14 months? Harry and Ella are helping to answer questions like these during their visit to the Babylab. Harry is taking part in an eye-tracking study. We can see what grabs his attention when watching short movies or cartoons, because his gaze is “tracked”

In the New Year, the Babylab is launching a new study! STAARS (Studying Autism and ADHD Risk in Siblings) will follow the development of children that are at genetic risk for two common developmental disorders – autism and ADHD. Families from all over the country that have an older child with autism and/or ADHD and a new baby are welcome to join this study at any point between finding out they are pregnant and until their baby is 14 months of age. The babies will visit the Babylab a few times until their 3rd birthday. At every visit they will take part in a variety of studies very similar to the ones Harry and Ella have done. If they are tired they can have a nap while their parents fill in questionnaires or discuss their child’s development with the team of researchers. At the end of each visit children will receive a Babylab participation diploma and a very fashionable t-shirt (like the one Harry is wearing in the photo)! The Babylab reimburses all travel costs. By studying these babies’ development early in life we will better understand how autism and ADHD develop, and this will help to diagnose these disorders earlier, and provide earlier and more effective interventions. Researchers at the Babylab work hard to design clever and fun studies but, ultimately, it is the babies that are of most help! If you are expecting a baby or have just given birth please do not hesitate to contact the Babylab about the STAARS Study if you have an older child with autism and/or ADHD. Tel: 0207 079 0761

small range of toys, books and of course the ‘Super Jack’ train in the Children’s Corner.

A warm welcome awaits at The Open Door Café The Open Door is a café located in Hampton Magna (Warwick) and is known as a venue where people of all ages can visit and enjoy a menu of freshly cooked food and drinks. Also a registered charity, The Open Door holds people and community at the heart of everything it does. Popular with local families, the café provides a relaxed and social meeting place for parents and carers with children who can enjoy the

The café stocks and sells a range of Fair Trade goods and there are a number of small independent retail concessions selling gifts and homeware too. In addition, The Open Door also supports local businesses, community organisations and initiatives in the region, including: The Fruit and Veg Co-op Scheme, run by South Warwickshire Fresh Food Co-op; local artisan bakery Bread & Co, who operate an order and collection scheme; a second-hand book stall; Darning Green, a local dressmaker and alterations service; and Caterpillar Crafts among others. The café is also available for hire at evenings and weekends for meetings, birthday parties and other family celebrations. A new programme of events and activities will be available in the New Year, contact Manager Holly Nixon for further information on 01926 410446 The Open Door Community Café is open weekdays 8am-4.30pm. 3 Slade Hill, Hampton Magna, CV35 8SA. Facebook: Website:

See all the latest news online at 4

Loser wins in comedy book awards I Am Still Not a Loser by Jim Smith has been crowned the funniest book for children aged 7-14, with Monkey Nut by Simon Rickerty winning for children aged 6 and under in this year’s Roald Dahl Funny Prize. Smith and Rickerty were awarded £2,500 each. I Am Still Not a Loser, the second book in the Barry Loser series, is a comic illustrated diary which follows the unfortunately named Barry Loser as he battles against school bully Darren Darrenofski and documents his daily life with best friend Bunky. Monkey Nut is a unique picture book that tells its story in just 41 words, with the bold illustrations providing visual humour as two creatures battle it out to claim a monkey nut as their own. The winner was decided with a combination of votes from the panel of judges, chaired by the prize’s creator Michael Rosen, and votes from over 400 school children from across the country.

Young musicians celebrate Benjamin Britten and get brassy! Warwickshire County Music Service (CMS) had a very busy and successful November, celebrating the centenary of Benjamin Britten on Tues 26, along with musical groups up and down the country. Choirs and string groups made up of young people aged 8-18 performed three of the composer’s works in a “Britten Big Birthday Sing” concert at All Saints Parish Church in Leamington Spa. Earlier in the month, on Sun 17, more than 80 young brass players gathered at Warwick School for the 2nd Jaguar Land Rover Day of Brass. Split into three bands – at junior, intermediate and senior level – they rehearsed separately during the day and came together later to play The Eye for the Tiger, from the film Rocky, for friends and family. Both events were judged a huge success. If you’d like to get involved in singing or playing an instrument, call 01926 742630, email or visit the new Music Hub website

OrangeAid: a brighter way to fundraise Now in its 2nd year, OrangeAid just got bigger and juicier! This fantastically fun day is aiming to brighten up your day at a really dismal time of year, and helps raise money for Practical Action, a charity that helps poor people in the developing world. So what do you do? Go to work, school or wherever you’re going dressed in orange and pay £1. It’s on Tues 21 January (the perfect antidote to Blue Monday), so go to the website and get your school, work, college, scout group or any other group involved now!


Clubs and Classes New Youth Dance company forming in Leamington Spa Local international touring dance company Motionhouse is calling on young people aged 8-19 years to join their new dance classes in Leamington Spa.

New Twirling Toddlers classes in Leamington There are now even more opportunities for your toddler to go twirling, with new classes starting on Saturdays at The SYDNI Centre in Sydenham. Boys and girls are welcome at these fun preschool dance classes, which progress into ballet and tap, boosting musicality, co-ordination and balance. Free trial classes are available for new students, but booking is essential. 9.30-10am – Oopsy Daisy Waddlers (1-2years) 10-10.30am – Twinkle Toes Ballet (2-3 years) 10.30-11am – Tapping Tots (2-3 years) 11-11.30am – Bouncing Ballerinas (3-4 years) 11.30am-12noon – Tapping Tots (3-4 years) 12noon-1pm - Mini Groovers (4 and above) For more information, call Michelle on 07552 770774 or see http://www.

Motionhouse Junior, a brand new company, will run on Thursday evenings, 5.30-6.45pm, for 8-13 year olds at the company’s studio in Spencer Yard. The exciting weekly sessions will lead to a performance at the end of each term. Meanwhile, 11-19 year-olds are invited to join the existing Motionhouse Youth classes on Tuesdays, 4.45-6.15pm. The classes are fun and welcome 11-19 year olds who are looking to learn dance technique, the basics of lifting and working with a partner, along with developing new skills and confidence through performance. Motionhouse Youth company was one of five Midlands companies selected to perform at the MY Dance Festival in Nottingham in April in 2013 and have been invited back to perform at the 2014 platform. Motionhouse, whose artistic director Kevin Finnan MBE choreographed the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, is committed to developing an exciting programme of dance for young people in the local area and has begun to host dance and administration apprenticeships. For further details visit motionhouse. email or call 01926 887025

Stagecoach open day On Sat 11 January, children are invited to come and have a go at Stagecoach’s classes for free! The event is 10am1pm at Trinity School, Leamington Spa, CV32 6NB. During the event children can take part in free dance, acting and singing workshops, and see the party room in action. Parents can meet the teachers and Principal Jacqui on the day, and refreshments are provided.

To book call Jacqui on 07976608574 or just turn up on the day. 6 Tel: 01789 764667

Clubs and Classes New after-school film club to be launched in Leamington Spa to boost creativity Hidden Gem’s Films and Heartbreak Productions have teamed up to open a new film club called Glittering Stars Film Club. Students will learn all aspects of film making, from the theory and history, to the practical elements of making short films and animations. This will culminate in a special end of term film screening.

Calypso Kids Pre-school Music Classes for children aged 6 months - 4 years Classes are held at Townsend Hall, Sheep Street, Shipston on Stour CV36 4AE Wednesdays at 9.20am, 10.15am & 11.00am Fridays at 10.00am & 11.00am What’s in the lilly pad today? £3.50 per class when paying for a half-term block in advance or £4.50 a class to pay-as-you-play. Discounts are available for siblings.

Book a FREE Taster Class. Tel: 07890 399162

If you want to be the next Steven Spielberg this may be just what you’re looking for to release your creative juices. This unique film club will provide each student with the tools you need to realise your dreams in film production; writing a screenplay, or editing, you will get the opportunity to be a part of something special. The club’s ethos is to engage and enrich students with the knowledge and confidence to explore creative learning in an exciting environment. Glittering Stars Film Club will be held at North Hall on Tuesdays at 3.45-5.15pm for 5-10yrs, and Wednesdays at 4-5.30pm for 11-16years. £5 per session, with a free taster session. Starting on the 7th January for the younger ones, and 8th January for the older group. For applications please email to book your place NOW!

New! Sing and Sign Babes Classes

A special offer from Monkey Music Monkey Music is celebrating the New Year with a special offer! The first 20 families to book classes in January will get membership of Monkey Music for £1 instead of the usual £18!

The curriculum will cover concentrating on eye contact and varied facial expression, attention and anticipation, understanding the value of repetition, a few selected signs, smiles and humour, rhythm & intonation of speech and rhyme, gentle rocking/ tickling play, response to and enjoyment of music, baby-led conversation...and developing communication between baby and parent in a calm, gently stimulating environment.

Members can log in to the Little Monkey Club to take advantage of special offers from Monkey’s friends in the High Street – with discounts from the likes of Joules, JoJo Maman Bebe and TOMY. Classes cater for babies from 3 months to children of 4 years, and run in Alcester, Alveston, Stratford, Warwick, Leamington and Kenilworth.

To book a place for January 2014 contact: for more details or call 01789 415591.

Book quick! Call 01789 415526 or email stratforduponavon@

H T U O Y NCE DA Motio

Delivering Dance for over 30 years Small classes ensuring good pupil-teacher ratio Students from 18 months to adults Qualified CRB checked teachers Performance opportunities To join the Intadance Family please call Geraldine for a free trial lesson at our Kineton studio

01926 640452

Even the tiniest of babies can now get in on the Sing and Sign action with new classes launched for parents and babies from birth to around 6 months. The classes build the framework for communicating with your baby and prepare you for the Stage One baby signing class.  

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For the budding star in your family! Sparkle tots performing arts and ballet classes, 2 years plus Boyz Only Street Dance class, 4 years plus Musical Theatre, Ballet Contact Natalie on 0845 017 0825 or and Street Dance classes, 4 years plus email:

to book a free trial session.

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DANCE CLASSES FOR BABIES AND TODDLERS Classes from 4 months and upwards 07552 770774


Nurseries How to choose your child’s nursery

Your nursery checklist

What are the most important things you’re looking for in a nursery? Here are some things you need to think about:


Looking round It’s one of the most important decisions you’ve made for your child in his or her life so far. So which nursery is the right one – and how do you know? Joanna Moorhead shares some tips There are all sorts of different nurseries out there. Big ones, small ones; ones run by the local council, and ones run by independent companies. There are nurseries attached to primary schools, and there are stand-alone nurseries. When you start out looking for one, the plethora of what’s out there can make it all seem very daunting. But here’s the first, the most important, and possibly even the only thing you need to know about how to make your choice. Listen to the voice inside your head, heed your instinct about what’s right for your child, and you’ll almost certainly make the ‘correct’ choice. Because the truth, of course, is that there isn’t a ‘right’ nursery or a ‘wrong’ one; there is, however, a nursery that will suit your child best, because it will mesh in with your own and your partner’s ideas about how to raise a child, and what matters most in his or her life. All of which is why what you feel inside you about a nursery will give you the biggest guide as to what to go on.

To kick the process off, you’ll need to put together a list of nurseries in your area (or perhaps in the area where you work, if you’re thinking your child can be cared for at nursery while you work nearby). Have a look at the nurseries featured on page 9, and comb through the nurseries in your area online; look at the Ofsted reports for any you think sound promising. Think about what factors matter most to you in a nursery (see our checklist) and then make appointments to look around a selection of those that have, or might have, vacancies. When you look round, don’t be too anxious about all the questions you need to ask or whether you’re going to miss something vital. Instead, switch on all your ‘vibes’ and take in the holistic sense of the place. Does it feel friendly and welcoming, and a fun place to be, from what you can see of it? Do staff treat you warmly – are you convinced by what they’re telling you? Do you, in a nutshell, feel a sense of confidence about the place; would you feel confident about leaving the most important person in your life, your child, here in the care of the people you’ve met? If the answer is yes, the nursery you’ve just seen is a possible one for you; if you have any doubts whatsoever about this most crucial thing – whether you’re confident about leaving your baby there – cross it off your list at once.

: Is it important, to you, that he food is organic? Do you like the idea of nursery children eating alongside staff – ie, the family model – which some nurseries practice? What is their policy on children refusing to eat certain foods?

Outdoor play space:

this varies hugely from nursery to nursery. Think about how important outdoor play is to your child, and decide how much importance you’re going to attach to whether the nursery has a garden, how big it is and how many activities take place in it. You might also want to consider how close it is to any busy roads, if traffic pollution is a concern.

Wifi: do you have worries about

wifi and its potential impact on young children? If so, make sure you ask about whether there’s a wifi network at the nursery, and how extensive it is. See for more on this issue.

Routine v Freedom:

How much of a daily schedule is there? Some nurseries are quite structured, while others prefer to be child-led, with children moving between activities as they please. While freedom may seem preferable, if your child is very sensitive, he or she might prefer the security of a more calm, structured day. For more stories on choosing a nursery see For another useful list of questions to ask a nursery, see the Childcare page of Warwickshire Direct: http://www. Need more help in choosing the right place for your child? Call the Families Information Service on 0845 090 8044.

Nursery inspections get tough Ofsted are to toughen up their inspections of nurseries, day-care facilities and pre-schools, as figures show that more than 150,000 children are enrolled in substandard settings. In future, all nurseries will be expected to achieve an outstanding or good rating, while those with lower ratings will potentially face closure. Nurseries will now be in line with schools, in that there will no longer be a ‘satisfactory’ category.  Instead, nurseries considered to be under-performing must improve dramatically within two years, while


those rated as inadequate will be reinspected in a matter of weeks, with the prospect of being de-registered and ultimately closed. ‘I wouldn’t have wanted my child to go to an inadequate nursery and I don’t believe that any other parent would either,’ said Sir Michael Wilshaw, chief executive of Ofsted. ‘So we’re going to be less tolerant.  When we go back to re-inspect an inadequate setting and it hasn’t improved, it’s likely that we may take steps to cancel the registration.’

This is all part of Ofsted’s overhaul of the early years inspection system, amid fears that too many young children are languishing in inadequate and substandard care. But is this move as positive as it sounds?  Davina Ludlow, director of daynurseries., said, ‘While we believe that every child deserves the very best education, we are concerned about the impact this ‘downgrade’ could have on nurseries and hard-working staff members.  The change being brought in by Ofsted risks adversely impacting staff motivation, resulting in more harm than good.’ Tel: 01789 764667

Nursery News


Help with paying for your child’s nursery

For more information on this, see

The Childcare Element of Working Tax Credits

If your employer doesn’t currently run a childcare voucher scheme, why not suggest it? There are lots of providers (including KiddiVouchers, Childcare Vouchers and Computershare Voucher Services) and it shouldn’t cost your employer anything. Another thing to note is that childcare vouchers don’t stop working when your children leave nursery – you can claim them until your child is 15, and pay for holiday camps as well as other childcare providers. For more on this, see our article at http:// Warwickshire/Articles/Money-andShopping/Save-on-summer-fun-withchildcare-vouchers/




For your 2-year-old to be eligible for free early education, you must be claiming one of a number of benefits and, from September 2014, the number of benefits will increase, so more 2-year-olds will be eligible.

Ask your employer if they are part of a childcare voucher scheme, as they can potentially save you £1,000s per year! It’s a salary sacrifice scheme, which means you pay for your nursery (or holiday childcare) costs out of your pre-tax wages and National Insurance contributions, saving you lots of money. For instance, if both parents are working, paying basic rate tax and claiming the maximum amount of childcare vouchers (£243 per month each), they can pay for £486 of their monthly childcare costs with vouchers, and save up to £930 each per year.


All children aged 3 and 4 are entitled to 15 hours free “early education” per week (for 38 weeks of the year), and some 2 year olds are, as well. This can be in a Children’s Centre, nursery, in some play groups, nursery schools, nursery classes in schools and academies or with a child minder. Once your child is 3 you can start claiming their free place after the following dates: 1 September, 1 January or 1 April (so if your child was born on 5 August, they could start nursery on 1 September following their 3rd birthday).

Childcare vouchers

Tr u s t

Free nursery places

who are both working 16+ hours a week, check your entitlement at taxcredits/. If you’re earning less than £41,000, you should be eligible.



The Daycare Trust’s 2013 survey of childcare costs found that the average price of 25 hours of nursery per week in the West Midlands was £98.26. That’s just under £4,000 for part-time childcare for the average 38-week year – a significant amount in anyone’s book. Overall, nursery costs are rising at a rate above inflation, while most wages are stagnant. This recently led to a lot of debate about whether it was actually worth going back to work or not. Thankfully, there are a number of things that can cut the cost of nursery provision.

Free 2 year old and 3 year old places available! Based at Thomas Jolyffe School

Come and See

01789 269360

You actually need to be in work to claim these tax credits, and they can make a significant difference. If you’re a single parent or a couple

Tel: 01789 764667


Local nurseries Monkey Puzzle Day Nursery, Stratford-upon-Avon For more than 30 years Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries have been working closely with parents, staff and Ofsted to deliver childcare of the highest quality, providing children with unlimited opportunities to learn, develop and grow within a safe, secure and caring environment. Our settings are specifically designed to meet the needs of your children, with large, bright, open-plan rooms, creative outdoor play areas and a variety of equipment providing children with a stimulating environment in which to thrive. Our aim is for every child to be happy and healthy, enjoying their early years at the Nursery, and for parents to have peace of mind that their children are in excellent hands. Monkey Puzzle Stratford-upon-Avon has benefited greatly from the support and experience of the Monkey Puzzle group, while still offering the care, love and attention offered by an independently owned nursery. As the owner (writes Stuart James), I attend the nursery each day and work closely with Michelle, an experienced and dedicated nursery manager. We are proud of our team here at Stratford, and would be delighted to meet any prospective parents who would like to visit our nursery. Please call Michelle on 01789 414 220 to book a viewing and share the Monkey Puzzle experience. Monkey Puzzle Day Nursery, Trinity House, Aintree Road, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 9FL. www.monkeypuzzle

Catherine House Day Nursery, Leamington Spa Catherine House Day Nursery is a private nursery situated in a converted terraced house. At Catherine House we believe “Children come first” and that they will flourish in the safe, homely environment we maintain. Additional security includes an effective door entry system, ensuring senior staff can check on all those that enter the nursery. There is also CCTV in operation in all the nursery playrooms and garden. The children in our care receive a hot lunch each day, freshly made on site by our resident cook. Also provided are morning and afternoon snacks and tea. The nursery is made up of several playrooms, enabling all children to play and learn in small groups. Our highly experienced committed and caring staff team provide safe, stimulating and nurturing environments to support all children to develop self confidence and independence. Children attending the nursery also benefit from weekly dance sessions led by a qualified teacher. We have a spacious rear garden allowing for all the children to continue their learning outdoors on a daily basis. Their outdoor experiences are further supplemented by walks to local parks and surrounding areas. We pride ourselves on building strong, positive and caring relationships with parents as well as their children from their first visit to the nursery.

Clopton Nursery Trust More Free Nursery Places For 2 Year Olds Soon!

Did you know? That all 3- and 4-year-olds are entitled to 15 hours free nursery per week for 38 weeks a year. And now 20% of 2-year-olds are entitled to the same! But from September 2014 about 40% of 2-year-olds will qualify too!



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So, visit your local Children’s Centre, access all the great services they supply and ask the question, “Can my 2-year-old get free childcare?” For one in five of you the answer will be YES!


The next question is which nursery is best for your child and do they have funded places? Most nurseries limit the number of free places they offer and some offer none. A few nurseries though, welcome all children. Take Clopton Nursery Trust, for example, Stratford’s charitable nursery. Based at Thomas Jolyffe Primary School on the Clopton Road, this 40-place setting is actually expanding its number of places especially for funded 2-year-olds during 2014.



So how do I find out if I qualify for 2-year-old funding? The easy answer is to visit your local Children’s Centre, they are there to help and can start the ball rolling right away. Tel: 01789 764667

Education News GCSE shake up Will we see a revival of Charles Dickens and Jane Austen in Michael Gove’s new GCSEs?  In the latest in a number of moves to make GCSEs more demanding, the Education Secretary has announced the introduction of a new curriculum.  Under these more challenging examinations, students will be expected to memorise maths formulae and concentrate more on spelling, punctuation and grammar, as well as studying more pre-20th century authors.

An Independent Day School and Nursery for boys aged 3-7 and girls aged 3-11

The new curriculum, beginning in September 2015 with the first exams being taken in English and Maths in summer 2017, has the aim of improving pupils’ achievement, compared with their contemporaries in other countries.   While the maths syllabus will include ratios, vectors and conditional probability amongst other topics, the new curriculum for English literature demands students study at least one Shakespeare play, one 19th century novel, a selection of poetry, and British fiction or drama from 1914 onwards. In English language, the emphasis will primarily be on ‘unseen’ texts. “The new mathematics GCSE will be more demanding and we anticipate that schools will want to increase the time spent teaching mathematics,” the Education Secretary said.  “On average, secondary schools in England spend only 116 hours per year teaching mathematics, which international studies show is far less time than that spent on this vital subject by our competitors.  The new GCSEs in English and mathematics set higher expectations. They demand more from all students and provide further challenge for those aiming to achieve top grades.” The exams will also end the use of A* to G letter grades in favour of a numbered scale from nine to one, with nine being the highest grade.  Plus, course modules and assessments will be dropped, with grades determined by only one exam for most subjects. The new curriculum for the rest of the GCSE subjects will be announced this spring.

Class sizes swell Department of Education figures have revealed a significant rise in the number of children in classes of more than 30 students. The number of five-to seven-year-olds taught in classes of more than 30 pupils has risen dramatically in the past year, with figures showing that over 70,000 children are taught alongside 30 other pupils in 2013, compared with around 47,000 last year and 28,000 four years ago.  This has prompted claims from teachers that the government is failing to address a serious shortage of school places, with critics adding that the government’s new free schools have not always been opened in areas with the greatest need for extra places.  “They are opening new secondary schools in areas where there are surplus places,” said Stephen Twigg, shadow Education Secretary, “whilst the need for primary places couldn’t be greater.”  However, the Department of Education said, “Children are only permitted to join classes of 30 pupils in exceptional cases, if for instance they are in care or from military families. Classes often fall back naturally to 30 over a year or two.”  The increase is largely the result of a baby boom, with the situation looking like it will only get worse – the birthrate in the UK in 2011-12 was higher than in any other year since 1972.

Radio 2 star Simon Mayo backs literacy drive for boys Broadcaster Simon Mayo, author of the Itch series, is supporting a new drive to get boys reading and writing, as National Literacy Trust research shows boys are half as likely to enjoy writing and reading than girls. The trust calls for a renewed focus both at school and at home on ways to get boys into writing.  “It’s so important for boys to find a topic that interests them before they pick up a pen and start writing,” says Simon Mayo, whose protagonist is a 14-year-old boy obsessed with science.  “I wasn’t particularly interested in writing at school but I was hampered by being fantastically slow.  When I started writing the first Itch book it was as a short story for my son, but then I was completely captivated by the plot and characters, and the story took over.  If you can grab a child’s imagination in the same way, getting them to write about a hobby or something they really enjoy doing, then the whole story writing world is open to them.” Tel: 01789 764667


Open Day Saturday 1 February & Entrance Assessments Monday 24 February Register now for entry in September 2014 for girls aged 7+

See website for further information or scan the QR code with your smartphone

Warwick Preparatory School, Bridge Field, Banbury Road,Warwick CV34 6PL Call 01926 491545 or email Warwick Preparatory School is part of the Warwick Independent Schools Foundation, together with King’s High School and Warwick School, providing high quality education for boys and girls aged 3-18.

I can already see an improvement in their confidence, ability and approach to their english work. I only wish that I’d found you sooner! Mrs Ward mother of 8 & 5 year olds (Leamington Spa)

Maths & English Tuition Centre üFollows the national curriculum from 4-15 year olds üTailor-made learning programme üThe only external learning programme to be adopted in schools Centres in Leamington Spa, Kenilworth & Balsall Common

Tel: 01926 259 644 11




Ed’s Reading Room

Mon 3 February: Final date for families moving into the area (proof of address must be provided by this date) Mon 3 March: National Offer Day for applications to secondary school

The books are all available online from Ed’s Reading Room at



My Hamster is a Spy by Dave Lowe (Templar £5.99) ED SAYS: ‘When Ben Jinks’ house is burgled his super-brainy hamster decides they need to do some surveillance – or at least snooping, like in their favourite television programme Spy Gang. Ben soon finds that spying isn’t as cool as he first thought. But they think that Ben’s scary teacher meeting the school bully’s brothers may be a good lead and the unusual pair hatch a plan to catch the criminals. ‘Will Ben be able to explain that his hamster is a genius and able to talk? This is a very funny story for boys and girls to enjoy reading on their own or reading together.’ Claude on the Slopes by Alex T Smith (Hodder £7.99) ED SAYS: ‘Claude, the most charming dog you could ever meet, and his best friend Sir Bobblysock are amazed to see a blanket of snow covering the street. They soon realise that they are going to have an exciting day with a snowball fight, sledging, building a snowman, skiing – oh… and causing an avalanche. ‘Curl up in the warmth and be amused by this super snowy story and laugh out loud at Claude’s latest hilarious adventure. This book, with its fantastic illustrations, is a delight from start to finish.’


Layla Queen of Hearts by Glenda Millard (Phoenix Yard Books £5.99) ED SAYS: ‘Griffin Silk’s best friend Layla is like a gift to the Silk family after Griffin’s little sister Tishkin went out of their lives – and Layla delights in the time she spends with them all. For Seniors’ Day at school, Griffin says Layla can share his grandmother Nell but, much as she adores Nell, Layla longs for someone special of her own to invite. This is when Miss Amelie comes into their lives and brings something unique to the children. ‘This is a wonderful tale about the power of friendship and a small but life-changing miracle. The warm-hearted story is accompanied by lovely thought-provoking illustrations.’ Stay Where You Are and Then Leave by John Boyne (Doubleday £10.99) ED SAYS: ‘The hard times and struggles of the First World War are seen through the eyes of young Alfie Summerfield, whose father has gone to fight for his country. As time passes and with no more letters home, Alfie thinks his father must be on a secret mission. By chance he gets a lead as to where he might be and, troubled and bewildered, he is determined to find out what has happened to his father. ‘This moving story is brilliantly written and will be appreciated not only by older children but also by adults. It is sure to linger in your heart and mind, particularly as WW1 is commemorated this year.’

Princethorpe College Rugby CV23 9PX. Tel: 01926 634201 e: Thurs 9 January: Open Morning Sat 18 January: Entrance Examination Day Crackley Hall School and Little Crackers Nursery St Joseph’s Park, Kenilworth CV8 2FT. Tel: 01926 514444 e: Tues 14 January, 10am-3pm: Open Day Stratford Preparatory School Church House, Old Town, Stratford upon Avon CV37 6BG. Tel: 01789 297993 e: Tues 14 January: Open Day Bablake Junior School Coundon Rd Coventry, CV1 4AU. Tel: 024 7627 1260 e: Sat 18 January: Open Morning Warwick School Myton Rd Warwick, CV34 6PP. Tel: 01926 776400 e: enquiries@warwickschool. org Sat 18 January: Open Morning Warwick Preparatory School Bridge Field, Banbury Road, Warwick CV34 6PL. Tel: 01926 491545 e: admissions@warwickprep. com (Mrs Webster, Admissions Secretary) Sat 1 February: Open Morning Mon 24 Feb: Year 3+ Entrance Assessments Thurs 27 March: Open Afternoon King Henry VIII Senior School Warwick Road, Coventry CV3 6AQ. Tel: 024 7627 1111 e: Tues 4 February, 9.30am-12.30pm: Open House

Are you a budding sports reporter? The official sponsor of the famous Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Race, BNY Mellon, has launched a competition to find two budding sports reporters. Aspiring writers in Key Stage 2 (aged 7- 11) and Key Stage 3 (aged 11-14) must write an engaging and exciting sports report about the 2014 BNY Mellon Boat Race, to be in with a chance of being crowned The BNY Mellon Young Sports Reporter of the Year 2014. One winner will be selected from each age group, based on a mixture of public votes and a final decision from a panel of judges including Ed Coode (a gold medallist in the coxless fours at the Athens Olympics 2004), and BBC sports broadcaster Jonathan Legard. The two winners and their families will be rewarded with a VIP day out at The BNY Mellon Boat Race, which takes place on Sunday 6 April. There’s plenty of information and helpful tips on the website, so why not give it a go? The competition closes on 28 February.

The Kingsley School Beauchamp Hall, Beauchamp Avenue, Leamington Spa CV32 5RD. Tel: 01926 421368 e: Sat 1 March: Taster Morning for Year 7 entry in September 2015 Tues 11 March: Taster Day for Reception and Year 3 entry in September 2014 The Croft Preparatory School Alveston Hill, Loxley Rd, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 7RL. Tel: 01789 293795 e: Sat 22 March: Early Years Open Morning

12 Tel: 01789 764667

King Henry VIII

Prep & Senior School | T: 024 7627 1111 • A first class education from 3 to 18 years of age • Superb academic results and small class sizes • Outstanding pastoral care and extra-curricular activities • Easily accessible next to Coventry Railway station • Bursaries and scholarships available

Please call us to arrange a visit

Senior School Open House: 9:30am - 12:30pm, Tuesday 4th February 2014: Parents and pupils are warmly invited to visit the school on a normal working day

King Henry VIII School, Warwick Road, Coventry CV3 6AQ

A leading co-educational day school, since 1545

Maths & English tuition centre For 5 to 14 year olds of all abilities • Courses mapped to the National Curriculum. • Adapts to the individual needs of your child. • Convenient for families - Open 7 days a week. • Award-winning tuition - voted Education Investor Supplementary Education Provider of the Year. “Explore Learning members’ improvement in maths was 30% higher than that of the comparison group after controlling for gender, age, year group and special educational needs.” Independent Efficacy Study by the Institute of Education at Reading University (2013). See

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Tel: 01789 764667


Family Shows Wendy and Peter Pan Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Riverside, Stratford-uponAvon CV37 6BB. Weds 1 January-Sun 2 March The Royal Shakespeare Company brings a magical adventure for all the family to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre stage this winter. Winter 1909. Snow is falling across London. Wendy Darling and her brothers sleep peacefully in their bedroom, as their parents bicker downstairs. In a sudden flurry of snow the window blows open, and into their lives tumbles a mischievous boy called Peter, shortly followed by a very fractious fairy by the name of Tink. Join us this winter for a magical family adventure as we fly to Neverland… For rehearsal photos, wordsearch and colouring in sheets, trailers, cast photos and much more visit Grisly Tales from Tumblewater The Bridge House Theatre, Myton Road, Warwick CV34 6PP. Sun 19 January, 3pm Welcome to Tumblewater – not that it’s a welcoming place unless you’re an undertaker or an umbrella salesman. Caspian Prye, the twisted land owner, controls everything and everyone, even the police. Into this world stumbles fearless orphan Daniel Dorey, armed only with his wits and a satchel of spine-chilling stories. Can he bring down Caspian Prye? Can he rescue the girl in the distant room? Can he even stay alive long enough to tell his tales? Dickens meets Dahl via Horrible Histories with laughs, frights and live music for all ages 8+. Tickets: £5, family of 4 tickets £15. Crash! Bang! Wallop! Family Concert The Bridge House Theatre, Myton Road, Warwick CV34 6PP. Sun 2 February, 11.30am Family music concert featuring percussionists O Duo: Owen Gunnell and Oliver Cox. Owen and Oliver whiz round the stage in a wild and high energy performance. On stage will be a marimba, vibraphone, glockenspiel, drum kit, African and Brazilian drums and lots of handheld percussion. Includes audience participation and a special superhero medley written by O Duo themselves. Suitable for ages 7+. Tickets: £8 Adults & £3 Children Stalls / £6 Adults & £2.50 Children Gallery. To book tickets please call 01926 776438 or go online: Macbeth: Blood Will Have Blood Studio, Warwick Arts Centre, Gibbet Hill Rd, Coventry CV4 7AL. Sat 8 February, 6.30pm A macabre porter invites us into Macbeth’s castle, taking us right into the dark heart of Shakespeare’s play. Razor sharp storytelling, eerie projections and a heart-stopping soundtrack take us on an immersive, break-neck journey through the blood-soaked world of Macbeth. Reinvented for young audiences (ages 9-13 years), Macbeth: Blood Will Have Blood is an accessible and unforgettable introduction to Shakespeare’s shocking story of ambition, greed and the abuse of power. £14 (£10) Under 26s £10. www. Mouth Open, Story Jump Out Helen Martin Studio, Warwick Arts Centre, Gibbet Hill Rd, Coventry CV4 7AL. Sun 9 February, 1pm & 3.30pm Polarbear makes things up; stories, jokes, adventures – a master maker-upper. But where did it all begin? Mouth Open Story Jump Out is about the moment that started it all, and how one little decision set off a chain reaction that changed his life forever. International assassins, secret codes, dog-eating boa constrictors and much more fill the hole left when a father disappears and a boy discovers a talent for telling tales. A vivid and absorbing show about


the craft of storytelling that looks at how language is crafted to shape meaning by one of the UK’s most exciting spoken word artists, Polarbear. Suitable for ages 9+. Tickets: £9.95 (£6.95) Stan and Mabel Family Concert The Bridge House Theatre, Myton Road, Warwick CV34 6PP. Sun 16 February, 11.30am Music-loving dog and cat, Stan and Mabel, set off to find their neighbour who’s gone to judge ‘The Best Orchestra in the World’ competition. Little do they know, they’ll be forming an amazing animal orchestra of their own! Paul Rissmann, Music in the Round’s Children’s Composer in Residence and BASCA British Composers’ Award 2012 winner, has created yet another irresistible piece of music based on the book written and illustrated by Jason Chapman. With companion pieces by Rossini, Mozart and Delibes this hour-long concert is a perfect introduction to classical music and features lots of audience participation and illustrated projections. Download your free audience participation pack from Recommended for ages 3+. Tickets: £8 Adults & £3 Children Stalls / £6 Adults & £2.50 Children Gallery. To book tickets please call 01926 776438 or go online Beauty and the Beast Helen Martin Studio, Warwick Arts Centre, Gibbet Hill Rd, Coventry CV4 7AL. Sun 23 February, 10.30am & 4pm An old woman who claims to be a princess and a reluctant security guard use music, song, puppetry and projection to play out the traditional tale of Beauty and the Beast. Nothing is quite as it seems in this lively and inventive version of the hugely popular story. Suitable for 5-11 years. £9.95 (£6.95).

Events Playful Journeys Baddesley Clinton, Rising Lane, Baddesley Clinton, B93 0DQ. Every day throughout January and February Follow the horse shoes to find your way along the winding maze and see what you can find from the lookout. Build dens, play ‘woodland musical instruments’, peep at wildlife and discover new habitats in the woodlands at Baddesley. For more information call 01564 783294 baddesleyclinton Take Your Own Victorian Photograph Baddesley Clinton, Rising Lane, Baddesley Clinton, B93 0DQ. Every day throughout January and February In the house you can be inspired by the Victorian Artist and take your own photographic portrait in the Moat Room – don’t forget to try out the hats! For more information call 01564 783294 baddesleyclinton Mirror Trail Baddesley Clinton, Rising Lane, Baddesley Clinton, B93 0DQ. Every day throughout January and February How many mirrors can you spot at Baddesley? Children will be able to look at their reflection in the mirrors and will be prompted to question what they think it would have been like to live at Baddesley from different viewpoints. For more information call 01564 783294 baddesleyclinton

Playmaking Workshop: Beauty and the Beast Helen Martin Studio, Warwick Arts Centre, Gibbet Hill Rd, Coventry CV4 7AL. Sun 23 February, 1-3pm The accompanying afternoon workshop to Multistory’s Beauty and the Beast, for 7-11 year olds. Tickets £4. Jack and the Beanstalk Studio, Warwick Arts Centre, Gibbet Hill Rd, Coventry CV4 7AL. Sun 23 February, 12 noon and 3pm This classic fairytale now gets the Lyngo treatment, so expect lots of surprises, a gripping story and beautiful images as Jack sells his cow for some magic beans and finds himself in the land above the clouds. This is a show for the over 3’s (and their giants) with something for everyone – enormous shoes, tiny houses, showers of silver and gold and a big, leafy explosion! £9.95 (£6.95) Grandpa’s Railway Studio, Warwick Arts Centre, Gibbet Hill Rd, Coventry CV4 7AL. Sat 8 March, 1pm & 3pm From the team behind the highly acclaimed Sunflowers and Sheds and Mavis Sparkle, comes M6’s brand new original production for children and families. Featuring live music, a working model railway and a coachload of surprises, our playful characters embark on an evocative journey that explores the past, illuminates the present and lays new tracks for the future … Recommended Age: 5+. £9.95 (£6.95).

*Free* Welly Walk Packwood House, Packwood Lane, Lapworth, Solihull, West Midlands B94 6AT. Every day throughout January and February, within Packwood’s opening times Don those wellies and let your children run wild in the woodlands. Pick up a child friendly map and a ‘Doodle your dream day’ sheet, and head off on a journey together through ‘a Woodland Dream’. Along the walk children get stuck in to activities like den building, tree trunk hopping, building a tower of wood and seeing what inventive minds can create from natural resources. The welly walk and guiding map are free (and visiting the property is free too, if you are a National Trust member). For more information call 01564 782024 Tel: 01789 764667

Things to do and places to go in Warwickshire ‘Spot the’ Trail Packwood House, Packwood Lane, Lapworth, Solihull, West Midlands B94 6AT. Every day throughout January and February Children can look in every crook and cranny of the house as they hunt down the hidden ‘spot the’ item. How many can you find? For more information call 01564 782024

Shakespeare’s Blog Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Henley St, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6QW. Fri 14 February Come along on Valentine’s Day and film yourself performing Romeo and Juliet in the garden. All footage will be uploaded on our Blog, http:// and the winning couple will receive a copy of Shakespeare’s Sonnets.


SCHOOL HOLIDAYS? For more information on venues and courses visit our website

WWW.SUPERCAMPS.CO.UK or call 01235 467300





Half Term Events Family Fun Days Baddesley Clinton, Rising Lane, Baddesley Clinton, B93 0DQ. Sat 15-Sun 23 Feb, 12noon-3pm Bring your wellies and try out our Playful Journeys on the estate – follow the horse shoes to the labyrinth, clamber over logs and pause in the rest-a-while shelter. For more information call 01564 783294.

*Free* Art Takeover Day The Herbert Art Gallery & Musuem, Jordan Well, Coventry, West Midlands CV1 5QP. Friday 3 January, 10.30am & 3.30pm Start the New Year creatively by joining our Art Takeover Day. Featuring a selection of our best loved make and take workshops from the past few years, get out of the house and create your own works of art inspired by the Herbert’s collection. Drop in throughout the day. Activities will take place in the Covered Court area of the museum. *Free* Stagecoach Open Day Trinity Catholic School, Guy’s Cliffe Ave, Leamington Spa CV32 6NB. Sat 11 January, 10am-1pm Children can take part in free dance, acting and singing workshops, and see the party room in action! Parents can meet the teachers and our Principal Jacqui on the day, refreshments are provided. To book call Jacqui on 07976608574 or just turn up on the day. leamingtonspa.html_ *Free* Early Years Play Days The Herbert Art Gallery & Musuem, Jordan Well, Coventry, West Midlands CV1 5QP. Thurs 23 & Fri 24 January, 10.3011.30am & 1-2pm Continuing our work with early years, Play Days give children aged 1-3 an opportunity to explore and investigate through sensory play. Using a variety of recycled materials, fabrics and tactile objects we will create a relaxed play space that will encourage creativity in children and adults. As an explorative session, the aim is to let the children lead the play rather than the adult. Drop in, no booking required.

Tel: 01789 764667

The International Model Tractor, Plant & Construction Machinery Show Warwickshire Exhibition Centre, Fosse Way, Nr Leamington Spa, CV31 1XN. Sun 16 February, 10am-4pm A major exhibition for all tractor, plant and construction machinery enthusiasts. Tickets £6 (Children under 16 free). www.warwickshireexhibitioncentre.

Family Fun Days Packwood House, Packwood Lane, Lapworth, Solihull, West Midlands B94 6AT. Sat 15-Sun 23 Feb, 12noon-3pm Pull on your wellies and head off on the Welly Walk through the woods – build a den, play hoop-la, splash in the puddles and have your own family adventure. For more information call 01564 782024. February Half Term Trail Kenilworth Castle, Castle Green, Castle Rd, Kenilworth CV8 1NE. Sat 15-Sun 23 February, 10am-4pm Young explorers needed! Put your skills to the test and search the castle grounds to find all the clues and claim your tasty treat! kenilworth-castle/ Auto Science Live Half Term Family Fun Heritage Motor Centre, Banbury Road, Gaydon CV35 0BJ. Sat 15-Sun 23 February Come and join us for a fun packed week of Auto Science Live! The event features a range of free family-friendly activities bringing automotive engineering and the science behind it to life. The programme includes family story-telling sessions, an interactive auto science trail as well as drop in sessions and workshops to inspire children of all ages. Workshops are free, but usual entry charge applies.

*Free* Early Years Play Days The Herbert Art Gallery & Musuem, Jordan Well, Coventry, West Midlands CV1 5QP. Thurs 27 & Fri 28 February, 10.3011.30am & 1-2pm Continuing The Herbert’s work with early years, Play Days gives children aged 1-3 an opportunity to explore and investigate through sensory play. Using a variety of recycled materials, fabrics and tactile objects we will create a relaxed play space that will encourage creativity in children and adults. As an explorative session, the aim is to let the children lead the play rather than the adult. FREE. Drop in, no booking required.

Half Term Fun at the Shakespeare Houses Sat 15-Sun 23 February Love Struck at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage Cottage Ln, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 9HH. Follow the ‘Love Struck’ trail to find love tokens. The Mirth o’ the Feast at Shakespeare’s Birthplace Henley St, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6QW. We have laid out the table for lunch! Can you spot the items of food which William Shakespeare and his family would not have eaten? The play’s the thing! at Hall’s Croft Old Town, Stratford upon Avon CV37 6BG. Come and test your knowledge of Shakespeare’s plays with our quiz. The Week of Love and Frenemies at Nash’s House and New Place 22 Chapel St, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6EP. Visitors can hang their favourite sonnets to the trees around the Knot Garden. A quiz for children is also available. For more information see Warwick School Holiday Courses Mon 17-Fri 21 February Short courses including wall climbing, kayaking, cookery, indoor multi sports, art, mad science and jewellery making for ages 6-12 years boys and girls. All welcome. For more information and booking see Play in a Day Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre, Gibbet Hill Rd, Coventry CV4 7AL. Mon 17 February, from 10am It’s that time of year again – when young imaginative minds come together to create and perform their own play, in just one day! Led by the Warwick Arts Centre Youth Theatre leaders, who knows what stories you’ll tell, what strange and wonderful characters you’ll create and what weird worlds you’ll transport your audience to? The day’s workshop will be followed by a performance for friends and family at 7pm. Tickets £1.50. Suitable for ages 8-14 years.


Half Term & Competitions *Free* Guide Dogs are coming! Leamington Library, Royal Pump Rooms, Parade, Leamington Spa CV32 4AA. Monday 17th February, 10.30am-12 noon Meet a Guide Dog and learn about what they do! In conjunction with the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. *Free* Build a City and Light It Up! Warwick Library and Alcester Library Monday 17th February, 10am-12noon (Warwick) and 2-4pm (Alcester) Exciting workshop for children aged 7-12. Free, but pre-booking is essential in the library concerned. The Femtinos are four little aliens who have travelled to planet Earth and are inspired by the amazing buildings. They want to design their own city! But they don’t know how to power it up with lights. In this Science Workshop, Young Earthlings learn about electric circuits, how they are constructed and how they work. We then work together to creat lots of different building models and light up our city with mini light bulbs! Finish off with creating lamps and cars also powered by electric circuits! *Free* Meet the Romans Rugby, Alcester and Leamington libraries Mon 17 February, 10.30am12noon (Rugby) Thurs 20 February, 2.304pm (Alcester) Fri 21 February, 2.30-4pm (Leamington) Discover what everyday life was really like in Roman Warwickshire – what sort of things did Romans wear, eat and do in their spare time? Also discover more about the Roman lead coffin Archaeology Warwickshire have recently helped to excavate and the artefacts they have found inside. Make your own Roman jewellery and use tesserae to create a Roman mosaic to take home.

*Free* Half Term Workshops The Herbert Art Gallery & Musuem, Jordan Well, Coventry CV1 5QP. Mon 17-Fri 21 February Discovering Modern Masterpieces During February half term we will be diving into our art collection to discover all about the styles and techniques used by artists, from sculpting and graffiti art to Lowry figures. Mon 17 February: George Shaw collages 10.30am-12.30pm & 1.30-3.30pm Inspired by the painting of Tile Hill by Coventry artist George Shaw, create a mixed media collage. Tues 18 February: Crazy Teapot Sculptures 10.30am-12.30pm & 1.30-3.30pm When does a teapot become something to put on display in a gallery? When it becomes a sculpture of course! Create a crazy craft sculpture inspired by our abstract object on loan from the V&A. Tues 18 Feb: Family Musical Storytelling Session 10.30am & 11.30am Come and take part in the story of The Selfish Giant, brought to life by Annamation Storyteller Anna O’Brien and CBSO musician, Helen Edgar. The session will take place in front of the paintings in our “Art Since 1900” gallery which inspired the story. Storytelling lasts 45 minutes approximately. Weds 19 February: Lowry figures 10.30am-12.30pm & 1.30-3.30pm Create a 3D character in Lowry’s unique style. Thurs 20 February: Street Art Stencils 10.30am-12.30pm & 1.30-3.30pm Create your own ‘tag’ using stencils, and see how your work can be a piece of art, not just graffiti! Fri 21 February: Shadow Sculptures 10.30am-12.30pm & 1.30-3.30pm Using modelling materials create a miniature sculpture that appears to cast a permanent shadow. *Free* Meet the Romans: LIVE! Market Hall Museum, Market Pl, Warwick CV34 4SA. Weds 19 February, 10.30am-12noon and 2-3.30pm Find out what everyday life was really like in Roman Warwickshire – what sort of things did Romans wear, eat and do in their spare time? Discover more about the Roman lead coffin Archaeology Warwickshire have recently helped to excavate and the artefacts they have found inside. Make your own Roman jewellery and use tesserae to create a Roman mosaic to take home. Includes a chance to meet a real Roman soldier at Market Hall!

Stagecoach Half Term Workshop Trinity Catholic School, Guy’s Cliffe Ave, Leamington Spa CV32 6NB. Thurs 20 February, 9am-3.30pm Children will have an intensive full day workshop focusing upon advanced singing, acting and dance techniques, for just £20 per child! Contact Jacqui on 01789 263 464 or email for more information and to book your space. www. Musical Madness St John’s House Museum, St Johns, Warwick, CV34 4NF. Fri 21 February, 10.30am-3pm Discover your musical talents and have a go at making your own musical instruments. Follow the musical trail around the museum and discover musical instruments from the museum stores. Tickets £2.50 per child to take part in make and take craft activities. No need to book, just drop in. The Gaming Project St John’s House Museum & Market Hall Museum, Warwick Friday 21st February Sign up to have a go at a range of games on Xbox 360 consoles at Market Hall and St Johns Museums throughout the day (different games at both venues). Sessions last an hour, individuals or groups may sign up to one session per venue. There may be more availability on the day for additional sessions. Sessions start at 10am, 11am, 12noon, 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm at both venues. Cost £1 per person, per session. Pay on the day. Spaces are limited – to book your place in advance call 01926 412501/412132 during museum opening hours. Family Day Warwick Arts Centre, Gibbet Hill Rd, Coventry CV4 7AL. Sun 23 February A jam-packed day full of activities and workshops, food and drink, sporting fun and performances of Jack and the Beanstalk and Beauty and the Beast (see Family Shows listings for full details).




Tickets to The National Homebuilding and Renovating Show and The Home Improvement Show at the NEC in Birmingham, 27-30 March 2014  

Tickets to The Baby Show at the ExCel London, 21-23 February

A bespoke story book by a local author

Celebrity experts such as Piers Taylor, copresenter of the BBC Two series ‘The House that £100k Built’, and Charlie Luxton, presenter of More4’s ‘Building the Dream’, will be at the NEC in March, helping the public to build their dream homes.

We have 5 pairs of tickets to give away. Enter now at

The Baby Show continues to be the UK’s number one pregnancy and parenting event. Returning to ExCel London from February 21st to 23rd 2014, this well-established show is an essential part of the parenting experience, and a sanctuary for all expectant parents, and mums, dads and grandparents of young children.

Rachael Clayson has spent more than 15 years reading to children in her job as a nanny, and has now created a brand new range of personalised children’s books.

We have 5 bespoke books to give away, which will be tailor-made for you and your child. To win one, enter at

With more than 200 exhibitors showcasing innovative baby and maternity products and services, as well as all of the leading brands for mums, babies and toddlers, The Baby Show is the nation’s most exciting and informative family experience.  Visitors will also have access to exclusive offers and fantastic savings that can’t be found on the high street.

We have one pair of tickets to give away. Enter now at

16 Tel: 01789 764667

Families Warwickshire January-February 2014  

Warwickshire's most useful bi-monthly guide for parents, for January and February 2014