Free Play park meetup, all ages, various Nottingham parks, Thursdays

Date: Thursdays throughout the year.

Time: Late morning through afternoon – typically starting about 12ish, and finishing whenever the last few people decide it’s time to go. If it doesn’t rain, some people are usually at the park till at least 3pm.

Venue: Various green parks around the Nottingham area, especially the ones with good playgrounds, good public transport and toilets.

Age range: All ages welcome. There are plenty of “regulars” in the 1 to 7 age range and several around 8 to 12. Presence of teens is a bit more random – maybe ask first who’s coming, or look out for one of the “teens-ish meetups” instead.

Price: Free. (Exception: if it’s the cold part of winter, then we might decide to meet indoors a few times, and people would chip in a quid or two to pay for the space.)

Organisation: To get announcements of the week’s meeting point without being on Facebook, join the EMHE email list. Or if you prefer Facebook, join the Home Ed Free Play Facebook group. There isn’t one organiser responsible for these meetups – it’s more of an evolving tradition, with suggestions of “how about ____ next week?”

Booking: No need to book. However, if it’s at a park big enough to have different areas, and you don’t have a phone number for someone else there that day, it’s worth turning up within an hour or so of the start. That way, it doesn’t matter if people move on from the original meeting point after a while.

What to bring: Water bottles and snacks, plus sun hats, sun cream and/or umbrella! People often bring picnic food, and a blanket to sit on. Parents may want an extra jumper, in case it turns out the children don’t want to stop playing as the day cools down.

Access: Wheelchair access and toilet situation depends on the park. The Forest and Wollaton Park each have a “Changing Places” toilet. If you have a favourite park which you know works well for your family, feel free to suggest it.

What to expect if you’re new, and tips:

  • There might be a dozen families that week… or there might be more, or fewer.
  • Where you see parents sitting around or standing around, come and say hello. We’re a friendly bunch. If in doubt whether it’s us, just ask “Home ed free play?”
  • Some children run off straight away to play. Some take a while to settle in, and join in more as the time goes on. Some children stay close to their parents, e.g. if it’s their first time at this group, or they were tired that day, or if they’re just enjoying the conversation with the nearby adults. It’s fine for each child to socialise as much or as little as they want to.
  • If your child wants to join in with something but feels shy getting started, you’re welcome to ask around, to find a child who’s happy to include them and introduce them to others.
  • If you’re bringing a teenager who specially wants to meet other people their age, it’s worth checking beforehand whether it’s a week when other teens are planning to go. Other than that, don’t worry too much about whether there’ll be other children the same age and same gender. Compared to school, home ed socialising typically has a lot more mixing across ages.

Against a background of woodland, the words "Home Ed Free Play / All ages park meetups / Nottingham area".

GCSEs etc for home ed teens: info event, Nottingham city centre, Wednesday 26 April

Note that New College Nottingham (NCN) and Central College are in the process of merging as Nottingham College – so although the venue this time is NCN, the courses being discussed here include the ones pioneered by Central College in recent years.

Date: Wednesday 26 April 2017.

Time: 6pm to 7pm. Recommendation: allow extra time at the end for possible chatting.

Venue: NCN City Campus, The Adams Building, Stoney Street, Nottingham NG1 1NG. Main entrance is up a flight of steps from Stoney Street; there’s also a back entrance from St Mary’s Gate. Either way, go to reception, and someone from the team will be around to direct you.

Area: East side of Nottingham City Centre, in between Lace Market Square and Stoney Street.

Price: This info event is free, and the courses are also free (government-funded).

Booking: Please book in advance for this info event if possible. You can email centralchoices@centralnottingham.ac.uk, or call 0115 884 2278. This is also a good way to express initial interest in the courses. However, extra people turning up on the night wouldn’t be turned away.

Age range: The various courses are for young people age 13 up. The info event is open to all. (Some parents will probably bring their children to hear the info first-hand.)

These courses are all ones which young people can do while keeping their status as “home ed”. In that way, it’s different from registering at a school.

Courses for 2017-2018 will include:

Year 9 is the academic year where you start age 13 & finish age 14.
Year 11 is the one you start age 15 & finish age 16.

If you already know what you want to do, you can download an application form (PDF) online already.

(For more description of all the options, look out for another post which we hope to do soon. Here’s the explanation from last year to be going on with; that’ll be useful to explain the jargon terms and overall framework, even though some of the details are out of date.)

Photo of Adams Building, New College Nottingham. It's a large brick building which used to be a lace mill. In front of it is a courtyard. The view is across the courtyard, showing a little bit of nearby buildings as well.

Map showing the Adams Building:

Bigger version of map showing the Adams Building

Page about NCN City Campus.

Nearest tram stop: “Lace Market”, about 100 yards away. All trams running through the city centre stop here. Tram information.

Nearest bus stops: “Fletcher Gate” and “Broad Street” are probably the nearest, each at around 200 yards away; the Victoria Centre is about 500 yards away.

Parking: Lace Market car park is run by the City Council. Stoney Street car park is run by NCP. They’re both pretty close, within 200 yards; Stoney Street is maybe a little bit closer, but also more expensive.

Access: Flat access to reception is available from the St Mary’s Gate / Lace Market Square side of the building. At time of writing, the room for the event had not yet been finalised, so please check with the organisers that the room they’re booking would also meet your access needs.

GCSE & other courses for non-school teens at Central College, Nottingham

Update 2018: please note that this writeup is about the 2016-2017 academic year, so OUTDATED by now. Central College has since merged with New College Nottingham to form Nottingham College, and the GCSE courses are now at Stoney Street in the city centre, not in Beeston. Also, the assessment process has changed: to get onto a GCSE course you will have to pass a maths and English assessment comparable to what you’d have learnt in school by the end of Year 9. However, the overall structure is likely to be similar, so if you’re looking into exams & courses for non-school teens, it might still be useful in helping you get your bearings.


This write-up is about free (government-funded) courses available to “electively home educated” teens at Central College, Nottingham. It’s based on an info event which was held at the college on Thursday 5 May 2016, plus some follow-up conversations.

Thanks to Jo Edgerton, Choices Team Leader at Central College, who was immensely helpful in explaining the practicalities of all this and decoding the jargon!

Overview by school “Year”

Central welcomes home ed teens from Year 9: that is, age 13+.

This translates as: To start in autumn 2016, you’d have to have been born before 1 September 2003.

And if you want to start one of the GCSE courses in autumn 2016, you’d normally1 have to have been born before 1 September 2002.

(Likewise, the people starting in autumn 2017 would’ve been born before 1 September 2004, or 2003 for the GCSEs.)

Here’s a summary of what’s available for 2016-2017:

Age group Age at start Age at end Current options at Central For autumn 2016 start, birth date before
Year 9 13 14 Pre-GCSE Programme

In exceptional cases, GCSEs1

1 Sept 2003
Year 10 14 15
  • Pre-GCSE

  • GCSEs

  • Art & Design

  • Possibly an ICT course, only if enough people interested

  • For those with learning difficulties/ disabilities, “Horizons”.

1 Sept 2002
Year 11 15 16
  • Everything that the Year 10s can do.

  • Various other vocational courses, along with non-home-ed students from older years. These are known as “infill placements”.

1 Sept 2001

Each of these courses is one year long – or, really, about 9 months, from September to June. How many days a week varies depending on the course(s).

Once you reach “Year 12“, there’s a huge amount available, and nothing to stop you continuing on at the college then, or indeed at another college! But this explanation will focus on ages 13 to 16, as that’s when these options will be especially useful to home ed families.

Geography & travel

Central College has multiple sites across Nottingham.

View college sites on OpenStreetMap. (If you’re on a computer with a mouse and can do “hovering”, hovering over each pin shows which subjects take place there. Or see static screenshot version further down this page.)

The home ed GCSE and pre-GCSE courses are all at the Beeston centre, which has a tram stop and orange/Indigo bus stop outside its front door. (Shown slightly brighter pink on OpenStreetMap page.)

Vocational courses may be at Clifton, Highfields, Beeston, or in the city centre, depending on the subject – list of subjects and locations are summarised below.

Central’s page with info on public transport to each of the sites.

Where we fit in to the college

Most of the college’s 4,500 students are between 16 and 19. A small proportion, only about 230 students in total, is younger than 16. Older adults are also welcome.

Within the college, the “Choices” team runs both the home ed courses and some other ones. (A school might pay for a young person to come to the college instead of to school.)

As the college overall is “a post-16 environment”, the Choices team people have thought a lot about what adjustments to make for supporting and including under-16s. For example, if a young person doesn’t arrive at their class, the parent gets a phone call. There’s a pre-course questionnaire to help identify special educational needs and any particular social needs.

There’s a large team of pastoral support people (for all students, not only the younger ones). A key person for this side of things is Vicki Stockdale, Behaviour and Safeguarding Manager.

The home ed courses are now going into their third year. In the academic year that’s recently completed, 50-odd home ed children age 13 to 16 were studying there.

Home ed teens can take part either in the courses specifically set up for them, or, for Year 11, in selected other courses around the college.

In principle, you can mix and match the different bits available to your age group, although not every combination will work. The timetables are organised centrally by the college, not by the “Choices” team.

You can take part in any of these courses and still retain your status as electively home educated – as you’re not registered with a school.

Levels

You’ll hear talk of “Levels”, so here’s a handy guide.

Level Roughly equivalent to…
Level 3 ‘A’ level, though more practical, not as academic.
Level 2 A* to C old-style GCSEs, 9 to 5-or-4 (approx) new-style GCSEs.*
Level 1 D to G old-style GCSEs, 3-or-4 to 1 new-style GCSEs.
Entry Level 3  
Entry Level 2  
Entry Level 1  

* Apparently the “old” GCSE ratings are being abolished soon, and there’s going to be a new scale of 1 to 9, where 9 is best. There are more divisions in grades in the new system, and new-style 9 is intended to be even better than old A star.

To start a course at Central, except for the Horizons ones, you’d need to be at least at Entry Level 3 or above, in both Maths and English, as shown by the initial assessment. Or more, depending on which course you wanted to do.

Year 9s who aren’t yet at that level would be advised to come back a year later.

Year 10s or Year 11s who aren’t yet at that level could access the Horizons “LLDD provision”, where LLDD stands for “Learners with Learning Difficulties & Disabilities”.

Assessments, discussions, decisions

When you start, the decision of which course(s) to start on would be made by the young person, the parents/carers and the college, together.

The process goes like this:

  1. You put in an application form.

    Choices programme page, inc link to application form.

  2. The Admissions team put your details into their system and send you a letter. This letter is an invitation something like “Come and do your assessment at this time and date and place”.

  3. Everyone does two online assessments at a computer at the college, one for English and one for Maths.

    There’s no time limit; you work at your own pace. You can choose whether to do English or Maths first. Most people complete both within one to two hours.

    The type of assessment is referred to as “Functional Skills”. The questions are meant to be similar to something you might encounter in real life: for example, how much it would cost to buy your tickets for a day out, or whether a sentence makes sense. Usually it’s easy questions to start with, then getting harder as you go through it.

    For the maths, you might use the calculator that’s on the computer. You don’t need to bring anything.

    (College policy is that everyone takes the English and Maths assessments when starting a new course, whether or not they’ve got existing qualifications – even if they’ve already been at the college a previous year.)

    You get your results on the day, and a chance to discuss your next steps with a member of staff from the Choices team.

  4. Within a couple of weeks, you get another letter. In most cases, this will be to invite you for an interview.

    (For Year 9s who aren’t yet at Entry Level 3, it would only be to say “Please come back next year”.)

  5. At the interview, the young person, the parent(s) and the college staff discuss which course(s) will suit them best, taking into account…

    • Level of your English and Maths skills.

    • Age, because of age limits for some of the courses.

    • Social maturity – if a course would involve being put in a group with people older than you.

    • General readiness for the new learning environment, e.g. study skills / habits / experience.

      For example, some people could jump straight into GCSEs in terms of their age and academic level, but prefer to spend a year doing pre-GCSE to get settled into the college routine.

    • Where you’d like to be headed in future. For example, if you want to continue to ‘A’ levels in future, you’re likely to need five GCSEs at grade C or above, including your future-‘A’-level subjects.

    • Funding rules from the Government.

      A key factor is that the Government’s very keen for everyone to get English and Maths qualifications. The funding rule in that area is: If you do more than 150 hours at the college over the year, your programme of study at the college has to include English and Maths, unless you already have the GCSE certificate at C or above.

      In practice, that means you can do one GCSE at a time without going over the 150 hours. Two GCSEs, or one and something else, and the rule kicks in.

    • Timetabling – as some combinations could clash.

    • Available places. At Central, English and Maths GCSE have a maximum class size of 20. For the other GCSEs, and the pre-GCSE course, it’s 15.

  6. If you’re doing one of the vocational courses, you might also have another meeting, this time with someone leading that particular area, to decide which level class you’d start in.

  7. [I’m not sure where the “pre course questionnaire” comes in this process – to be confirmed!]

As some options will be irrelevant to some people purely because of age, let’s take it year by year…

Year 9 options

If you’re Year 9 age, you have one main option: the Pre-GCSE Programme, described in the next section. This takes three days a week.

In exceptional cases, it might be possible for a Year 9 student to instead start GCSEs alongside the older ones. The Choices team would only consider this if (a) the young person were already at Level 2 in both Maths and English Functional Skills, and (b) they were socially ready to join the older classes.

Pre-GCSE Programme

From the leaflet (PDF):

This one year programme is for students in Year 9‑11 and will provide students with the skills that they need to progress on to a GCSE or vocational full time programme.

  • Level 1 & 2 Functional Skills in English and maths

  • BTEC Level 1 Certificate in Applied Science

  • Tutorial Programme that includes: Personal and Social Development and Employability and Progression skills

For this one, you can’t pick and choose among the different bits. It’s either do the whole lot, all three days a week, or don’t do it.

For example, in the 2016 to 2017 year, the draft timetable said Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, starting at 9am and finishing at 2.30pm, or 3.30pm on Thursdays.

Although everyone’s in the same class, they’re not necessarily doing exactly the same activities. A typical pathway would be to do Level 1 Functional Skills over the first half of the year, then Level 2 over the second half. But if, say, it took you all year to do Level 1, or if you were better at maths than English or vice-versa, that’s fine too.

Year 10 options

In Year 10, you can choose from:

  • The Pre-GCSE Programme described above.

  • GCSE courses.

  • BTEC Level 1 Certificate in Art and Design.

  • Possibly an ICT qualification, if there’s enough take-up.

  • In future years, possibly an “Automotive” programme. The web page for this is still up at the time of writing, but apparently there hasn’t been enough interest to run it in 2016-2017.

GCSEs

The current GCSE options are:

  • GCSE English

  • GCSE Double Science

  • GCSE Maths

  • GCSE Psychology

  • GCSE History

Over the year, each GCSE equates to approximately three hours a week in college. Double science is six hours and gives you two GCSEs at the end.

Typically, each subject would be scheduled as a three-hour chunk with a break in the middle, one morning or one afternoon a week. (There are pros and cons to this scheduling: they’re aware that students aren’t always keen on the long session, but the up side is it’s then easier to schedule the rest of the typical non-schooler’s busy week.)

GCSE exams for “external candidates”

At the moment, the five subjects listed above are the only GCSEs on offer. The main limitation to offering more different ones would be having staff to deliver the courses, as most of Central’s provision isn’t GCSEs. It’s not very likely to expand in the near future.

However, the college does also offer a paid service for “external candidates”, i.e. people who’ve done the learning elsewhere and want somewhere to take an exam.

That’s known as the “Exam only service“.

Art & design half-day

New in September 2016 for Years 9 & 10 is the Art & Design course for home educated students. It’s a BTEC Level 1 Certificate in Art and Design.

You can do this course by itself. It would be one half-day a week, at the Clifton site. Or you can do it together with another course, as long as the combination meets the Government’s funding rules and doesn’t clash in the timetable.

Year 11 options

In Year 11, you can choose from:

  • Any of the things from Years 9 and 10 described above, if they’re at the right level to suit you, and/or

  • Joining in with older students on a selection of “intensive vocational learning” courses across the college.

The jargon word for becoming part of the older ones’ courses is “infill“. So that option is known as the “Year 11 Infill Programme”.

Year 11 Infill Programme

Here are the “Infill” options:

Subject Where?
Art & Design Clifton
Automotive London Road
Business & IT Maid Marian Way
Care & Early Years Maid Marian Way
Construction Beeston
Engineering Highfields
Photography Maid Marian Way
Science Maid Marian Way
Sport Clifton
Travel & Tourism Maid Marian Way

Map showing central college sites in Beeston, Stapleford, Clifton, Highfields and the city centre. Based on a screen shot from OpenStreetMap, as linked elsewhere in article.

(Click on map to see it full-size. Or to zoom in for local details, use original map from which this screenshot was taken.)

Each of these courses would be about two-and-a-half to three days per week.

They can run alongside GCSEs and/or half-day add-ons, if the timetables don’t clash.

The qualification could be e.g. BTEC, City & Guilds, CACHE, IMIAL or another industry specialist one, depending on the course you’re doing. For more about each specific course, click through from the list at Central’s page for people age 14 to 16.

These courses are divided by “levels” (as discussed above), where Level 2 is meant to be roughly equivalent to GCSE A* to C, and Level 3 is roughly equivalent to ‘A’ level.

Home ed students could potentially do Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3. Which level you started at would depend on a combination of…

  • English & Maths levels from your initial assessment.

  • Other qualifications you’d already done.

  • Maybe a portfolio, e.g. if the course were art or photography and you already had work to show.

  • Discussion with the course leaders.

  • Whether you’re 16 yet, for some Level 2 and Level 3 courses. (Level 1 would be available to all Year 11s.) There are various reasons why the organisation running a qualification – known as the “awarding body” – might set a minimum age for Levels 2 or 3. The Choices team have sometimes been able to get exceptions where a 15-year-old could participate, by talking to the awarding body for that particular course – depending partly on why the limit was there in the first place.2

Even within the same level, on these vocational courses there can be several alternative classes running at different times of the week. So if you apply to these ones together with a friend, you could find yourself in different classes. But if you were at the same level, you could put in a request to be in the same class – no guarantees.

Finding out more

If your question isn’t answered here…

  • You could ring the Choices team on 0115 884 2278.

  • You could email them: centralchoices @ centralnottingham . ac . uk (without the spaces).

  • You could comment here (anonymously if you like) and we’ll invite the college people to comment back. This would be especially useful if you think other people might be wondering the same thing.

  • It’s also possible we’ll schedule another meeting.

Possible meet-and-chat

Brendan from the college kindly said that if there were enough of us – say 5 or 6 families – he or one of the team would be willing to travel to us, and do another little presentation and chat and answer our questions.

Subject to weather, this could be in a park, e.g. Wollaton or Highfields, so that children not very interested in the grownups’ chat can play. In that case, we would probably schedule a fall-back date in case of rain.

This possible meet-and-chat could also be a nice opportunity for some of the potential future-year-classmates to say hello.

If we do a meetup like that, it’ll be open to all current and potential home edders, and mentioned again on the blog. However, to find out whether enough people would be interested, please comment here (anonymously if you like, but including an email address) if you’d like to be invited.


Footnotes

1. Starting GCSEs in Year 9: As discussed later on in the explanation, a young person who’d already got far enough both academically and socially could possibly start GCSEs in Year 9, but this would be exceptional.

2. Minimum age 16 for some Level 2 & Level 3 courses: These age limits exist for varying reasons.

  • When it’s primarily because the government wants to discourage specialising at an early age, this likely wouldn’t apply to non-school students.

  • If it’s because of the content of the course, this would be a case by case basis, possibly depending partly on where the young person’s 16th birthday falls in the academic year.

  • If it’s because of health and safety, it’s unlikely to be varied.


Quick links to sections
GCSE & other courses for non-school teens at Central College, Nottingham
Overview by school “Year”
Geography & travel
Where we fit in to the college
Levels
Assessments, discussions, decisions
Year 9 options
Pre-GCSE Programme
Year 10 options
GCSEs
GCSE exams for “external candidates”
Art & design half-day
Year 11 options
Year 11 Infill Programme
Finding out more
Possible meet-and-chat


Note on anonymity when commenting:

If you put your email address in the “email” bit of a comment box here, it won’t be published. But blog admin people can see it, and (in this case) use it to make sure you know about the meetup.

The name you fill in would normally be shown, so if you don’t want your real name to be visible either, just write “Anonymous for this” in the “name” box, or use a made-up online name.

(All comments are pre-moderated to avoid spam, so don’t be surprised if your comment doesn’t pop straight up.)

Drumming, free taster session, Sherwood, Friday 12 August

Date: Friday 12 August 2016.

Time: 11.30am for up to an hour.

Venue: Pirate’s Play Centre, 41 Rowley Drive, Sherwood, Nottingham, NG5 1GD.

Area: off the Hucknall Road about 2 miles north of the city centre, on the western side of Sherwood, towards Basford. Brown Line buses go nearby.

Age range: All welcome at taster. In future, possibility of multiple groups for different age ranges.

Price: This taster is FREE. Please email to book, as places are limited.

Price for the possible future sessions is not yet set, but could be about £6 per person.

Bookings and enquiries: Katy is the parent who’s putting this together. To make the email address, put “Katywwebb” in front of “hotmail.com” with the “at” sign in between. Please do still put your name down if you’re interested in later sessions but can’t get to the taster, so that Katy can assess the level of interest.

I am a home ed mum with 2 boys. We did a workshop with “beatfeet” African drumming which was amazing so I’m now trying to organise weekly classes.

Taster is free, but email to book a place, as space is limited.

From September a weekly advanced booking system will be in place, amount tbc, around £6pp.

I’m hoping to get enough interest to split into age groups of around 4-7, 8-11 and 11+.

A child's hands can be seen playing an African-style drum. Part of the child's t shirt can be seen. The t shirt has in colourful letters "BeatFeet". Below the "BeatFeet" logo is the phrase "Rhythm For Life".

BeatFeet homepage – this is who’ll be running the drumming session(s).

OpenStreetMap showing Pirate’s Play Centre.

Pirate’s Play Centre web site – the page with maps on.

Nearest bus stop coming from the north: “Leonard Avenue“.

Nearest bus stop coming from the south: “Perry Road” – but there’s not much in it. Leonard Avenue is nearly as close.

Both are on the Brown Line along Hucknall Road. There are frequent buses throughout the day; the 15, 16, 16C or 17 all go there. In town, these buses go from stops T1 and T2 on Milton Road just north of Trinity Square, opposite the Victoria Centre.

Alternatively, if you’re coming from out of town along the Yellow Line along Nottingham Road, your nearest bus stop is called “Haydn Road”. Or if you’re coming from out of town along the Purple or Lime lines, your nearest stop would be a different one called “Haydn Road”. Compared to getting a Brown Line bus, these options mean a bit more walking.

On the map, it looks as though if you’re walking up from the west (e.g. from a yellow line bus), you might be able to turn down some kind of footpath just before the Free School, to take a shortcut to Pirate’s. However, it has gates, so if they’re locked, maybe not. Updates welcome if you’ve been there!

Cars & parking: Note that vehicle access is only along Kelham Drive. There is usually plenty of parking at Pirate’s.

Free tap dance workshop with live music, Wednesday 10 August, New Art Exchange

Date: Wednesday 10 August 2016.

Time: 6.30pm to 7.30pm.

Venue: New Art Exchange, 39-41 Gregory Boulevard, Nottingham, NG7 6BE.

Area: Forest Fields / Hyson Green. It’s just round the corner from the Forest tram stop / Forest park & ride / Goose Fair site. By tram, 10 mins north of city centre.

Age range: All ages and standards, including beginners, including adults. Tap shoes available to borrow, from child size 10 to adult size 13. Smaller children can wear their own shoes – ideally with a hard sole.

Price: FREE! because it ties in with the Dissonance exhibition, with Beverley Bennett’s art, which is currently on at the NAE.

Booking: via event info page at the NAE site, or by ringing NAE reception on 0115 924 8630… or just by going there before the day and talking to the reception people. Places limited.

Text: "tap dance workshop, beginners welcome, free - please book, tap shoes available to borrow. Inc tapping on the tangram floor - each shape a subtly different sound!" Behind the text, a photo shows the "tangram floor": various triangles and squares of different-coloured wood, arranged together in a pattern.

This isn’t a non-schoolers’ event as such – it’s open to anyone – but Jess and Stickman are the same people who did some workshops for us earlier in the year. They’re great at the kind of relaxed, flexible leadership style which home ed families tend to like 🙂

Later that same evening, 8pm-9pm, they’ll be playing at NAE in their trio “Untold Rhythm”, a combination of tap dance, spoken word and melody. This performance is not really aimed at children, but children who are old enough to sit still and listen for an hour are very welcome. Again, free and please book tickets in advance, same link & phone number.

This workshop ties in with the “Dissonance” exhibition, where Nottingham-based artists (dance, spoken word etc) take inspiration from Beverley Bennett’s beautiful abstract drawings.

As part of the exhibition, artist Chiara Dellerba created the “tangram floor” and Jessica Murray of Untold Rhythm improvised dances upon it, at three different locations around Hyson Green. A video of the dance expedition forms part of the exhibition, along with a spoken word video from Dave “Stickman” Higgins of Untold Rhythm.

At this workshop, Jess will introduce you to some tap dance moves, Stickman will provide live music, and the tangram floor will be out for everyone to explore its various subtly different sounds!

To get the most out of the workshop, you might like to visit the exhibition first. But if you don’t, that’s fine too – the workshop will still make sense without the rest of the exhibition.

Parents may like to note that as part of a parallel exhibition, there’s currently a lovely “children’s art” room at the NAE, with paper, pens, stickers, dressing-up clothes, electronic screens with a drawing app, etc. Access to the children’s art room is free and no need to book.

Aimed at: everyone who enjoys exploring dance, of any age or standard! Children must be accompanied by an adult.

(Tap shoes will be available to borrow, from child size 10 up to adult size 13. Children with smaller feet can wear any shoes of their own, ideally with a hard sole.)

Map showing New Art Exchange.

Nearest tram stop: “The Forest“. All trams going north out of the city pass through this stop. Tram information.

Nearest bus stops: Coming from town, the tram is more convenient than any of the buses. However, if you want buses anyway…

The L14 runs every half hour to “Hyson Green Asda” stop.

Turquoise Line buses (77 78 79) head west from town to “Player Street” bus stop. From there, you can cross the road, walk down Oldknow Street (with Bridlington Street playground on your left), turn left into Birkin Avenue, turn right onto Gregory Boulevard, for a total of about 600 yards’ walk.

Yellow, Brown, Purple and Lime line buses head north out of town and stop by the Forest, at stops named “Forest Recreation Ground” or “ncn Clarendon College“. From there, you can walk west along Gregory Boulevard or across the Forest, around half a mile.

Parking: There is usually parking at the Park and Ride site at that time of day.

Access: The New Art Exchange has flat access, proper wheelchair-accessible toilets, and lifts to all floors. The only inaccessible space is the actual staircase; this sometimes has artwork on display, but isn’t the location of the Dissonance exhibition. There are two “Blue Badge” spaces next to the building. For more info, see the New Art Exchange access statement (PDF), or contact info@nae.org.uk or 0115 924 8630.

Tap & percussion, three sessions FREE, Meadows, Thursdays

Date: Thursday afternoons 16, 23 and 30 June 2016. It’s up to you how many of them to come to.

Each person can choose between tap and percussion, or do a bit of both.

Against a colourful background, the words "Tap dance & percussion / 3 x FREE for non-schoolers / starting Thursday 16 June". Above the words is the "Tap Rhythm Project" logo. At one side is the National Lottery logo and the words "Lottery Funded".

Time: Take note, the time is not the same every week!

Date Start Finish
16 June 2pm 3.30pm
23 June 12.30pm 2pm
30 June 2pm 3.30pm

(We asked for timing preferences: some families were busy earlier, and some later, so this timing is to give as many people as possible the chance to join in and try it.)

As these free sessions are drop-in, we don’t know exactly how many people will come. If it turns out there’s more than about 30 to 40 of us, then some people might have to wait a little while before they get a go, depending on space and available tap shoes. Info below on likely timing plan, plus soft play area and café.

Venue: St Saviour’s Church Hall, Arkwright Walk, Nottingham NG2 2JU. Update: Apparently that postcode doesn’t work very well in satnavs, so maybe click through to the map, or have a look at the church’s “how to find us” page – see below.

Area: The Meadows, on the Navy and Green bus lines. Portland Leisure Centre is about 200 yards away.

Age range: All ages! including parents!

Price: FREE for these three sessions, supported by National Lottery funding.

These sessions have been specially set up for non-school families. Those considering non-school education for the future are also welcome!

(If enough of us wanted it, we might subsequently set up a regular group where we chip in to pay session leaders.)

There will be tap shoes available to borrow, starting at around a child size 13 and going up to adult size. For children with feet much smaller than size 13, maybe see if there are some shoes with a hard sole that you could bring.

Booking: There’s no need to book, just turn up. However, if this is your first visit to a home ed event and you won’t know anyone, do drop us a line via email first, so we know to look out for you and say hello!

Enquiries/contact: tapdance at non-school-nottingham dot org dot uk.


Nearby Soft Play and café: Eden Soft Play is in the church itself, in the same group of buildings, along with a community café.

Photo: interior of a church, with pillars and arches visible. Instead of pews, there are chairs and round tables set out café style. In the foreground is a toddler play area, a sort of gigantic soft tray with soft shapes in it. At the far end is a large play structure, with four tiers of blue framework. A ladder can be seen at the front, and a curving tubular slide can be seen inside it.

The 4-tier soft play area is open to children under a height limit of 5 feet / 148cm, as measured by their sign, and has a separate toddler area. (It’s advertised as “under-10s”, but in fact that’s a guideline; the real cut-off, for insurance & safety reasons, is the height limit.)

At the soft play area, accompanying adults and under-1s go free. For the children in the paying age ranges, we will have some vouchers to get into soft play for half price. We plan to give out these vouchers when people arrive. This allows for parents to collaborate and take some children into the soft play area if they’re not interested in the tap and percussion, or if they have to wait a little while for their turn.


More on what will happen at the tap and percussion…

Leading the tap session, we have Jess Murray, “a leading artist in the UK’s rhythm tap community… musicality, improvisation and self-expression at the heart of the tap dancer’s craft”.

On percussion, we have Stickman, “world class, multi-disciplined, drummer and percussionist, also a poet, actor, educator, conceptual artist and father”.

The flavour will be informal and there will be a fair bit of “see what everyone wants to do on the day” – perhaps especially at the first session when the group is new.

We shall have two rooms, so that it’s possible for the tappers to go in one space and the percussionists to go in another.

What we might do is have three stages: a first go, a break, a second go which gives priority to anyone who hasn’t yet tried what they wanted, another break, then come together for the last part.

Or we might just be all together all the way through.

Map showing St Saviour’s Church Halls.

St Saviour’s “How to find us” page.

Nearest bus stop: “Ryehill Street“, on the Navy and Green Lines. All the bus numbers from 1 to 10 stop here. It’s about 250 yards from the venue.

Nearest tram stop: “Queens Walk”, about 650 yards from the venue (i.e. the bus stop is closer). You’d need to be on a Clifton tram. Tram information.

Parking: some by the venue, lots at Portland Leisure Centre about 200 yards away.

Maths & Science age 4 to 8, free taster session, Sherwood, Monday 6 June

Availability: this taster session is now full, but you can ask to go on the waiting list or find out about future classes!

Date: Monday 6 June 2016.

Time: 2pm to 3pm.

Venue: Pirate’s Play Centre, 41 Rowley Drive, Sherwood, Nottingham, NG5 1GD.
to the front.
Area: off the Hucknall Road about 2 miles north of the city centre, on the western side of Sherwood, towards Basford. Brown Line buses go nearby.

Age range: 4 to 8.

Price: This taster is FREE. Future class price to be confirmed, probably about £4 per session. It includes a free go on the soft play area as well, either before or after the class.

Enquiries: Bekky is the organiser.

Email: bekky_robinson at yahoo dot com.

The foreground says "maths & science age 4 to 8". The background is an old diagram showing the orbits of the planets in our solar system.

An hour of hands-on experiments and mathematical discovery aimed at young children, to develop mathematical and scientific thinking skills, and learn more about how the world works.

This is a taster session with the intention of a four week block of classes to follow if there is enough interest.

The taster session will be on the theme of Floating and Sinking with hands on experiments, group work and learning through directed play and fun!

It will take place at the Pirates Play Centre in Sherwood, and the owners have very kindly agreed to let those attending the class have a free play before or after the class.

If a child with autism or a learning disability wishes to attend, then if they let me know in advance I can adjust those parts of the class to make it more suitable to their needs.

Map showing Pirate’s Play Centre:

Bigger map showing Pirate’s Play Centre

Pirate’s Play Centre web site – the page with maps on.

Nearest bus stop coming from the north: “Leonard Avenue“.

Nearest bus stop coming from the south: “Perry Road” – but there’s not much in it. Leonard Avenue is nearly as close.

Both are on the Brown Line along Hucknall Road. There are frequent buses throughout the day; the 15, 16, 16C or 17 all go there. In town, these buses go from stops T1 and T2 on Milton Road just north of Trinity Square, opposite the Victoria Centre.

Alternatively, if you’re coming from out of town along the Yellow Line along Nottingham Road, your nearest bus stop is called “Haydn Road”. Or if you’re coming from out of town along the Purple or Lime lines, your nearest stop would be a different one called “Haydn Road”. Compared to getting a Brown Line bus, these options mean a bit more walking.

On the map, it looks as though if you’re walking up from the west (e.g. from a yellow line bus), you might be able to turn down some kind of footpath just before the Free School, to take a shortcut to Pirate’s. However, it has gates, so if they’re locked, maybe not. Updates welcome if you’ve been there!

Cars & parking: Note that vehicle access is only along Kelham Drive.

There is parking at Pirates which should be ample during the day when it’ll be mostly us using the venue.

Home Ed Fun Sports Day & picnic at the Forest, Wednesday 8 June

Date: Wednesday 8 June 2016.

Time: 11am to 2pm.

Venue: Forest Recreation Ground, Nottingham.

Area: This is the Goose Fair site, about a mile north of Nottingham City Centre, next to “The Forest” tram stop and “Park & Ride” car park.

Age range: All ages welcome.

Price: FREE, and please book in advance so that the organisers know how many people are coming.

Booking, or finding out more: To make the organisers’ email address, add “shineeducationltd” to “gmail.com” with an “at” sign in the middle. Or book via the Facebook event page.

Event page on Facebook.

HOME ED Annual Fun Sports Day Event. 3rd year!

This is a family day with lots of sports and activities to participate in. All ages welcome. Bring a picnic.

Nearby: The Forest has three children’s playgrounds, including the one with the ship climbing frame, plus an outdoor gym. It also has a café, “Homemade Café At The Pavilion“, and a Changing Places toilet. The New Art Exchange is a short walk away.

Map showing The Forest.

Nearest tram stop: “The Forest“. All trams heading north of the city stop here. From the railway station, the journey takes about 11 minutes. Tram information.

Nearest bus stop: All Yellow Line, Brown Line, Lime Line and Purple Line buses go past the Forest on Mansfield Road. The closest stop is called “Forest Recreation Ground“. If your bus doesn’t stop at that one, just get off at the next one. In town, those buses all leave from near the Victoria Centre. Bus information.

Postcode for sat nav: NG7 6ND is a nearby one on Gregory Boulevard. The Forest itself might not have one.

Parking: The Forest “Park and Ride” site is adjacent on the west side of the Forest, in between the tram stop and the green area. There are also small car parks on the east side of the Forest.

GCSEs etc for home ed teens: info event at Central College, Beeston, Thursday 5 May

Date: Thursday 5 May 2016.

Time: 6pm to 7pm.

Venue: Central College, Beeston Campus, High Road, Chilwell, Beeston, Nottingham NG9 4AG.

Age range: The various courses are for young people age 13 up. The info event is open to all. (Some parents will be bringing their children to hear the info first-hand.)

They ask that you book in advance – see contact info below.

Event info page at the College web site

Photo: A large building. The right hand end is curved. In front is a sign where the word "Central" can be read, along with some smaller lettering.

Central College will be holding their annual information evening for local parents and carers of Electively Home Educated students.

The event will offer the opportunity to find out more about Central’s

* Post 16 offer for students over 16 by September 2016

* Programmes for 14-16 year old students

Central is one of the only FE colleges in the country that offers bespoke GCSE and pre-GCSE programmes for 14-16 year old Home Educated learners (equivalent of Years 10 and 11) as well as full time infill placements for Year 11 students.

The pre-GCSE programme for Years 9, 10 & 11 is designed to offer further development in English, Maths and Science before progressing onto the GCSE programme or a full time vocational course the following year.

The GCSE programme for Years 10 and 11 provides EHE learners with an opportunity to gain GCSE qualifications for progression post-16 and beyond.

Infill placements on a variety of vocational full time college courses for Year 11 students only.

If you would like to attend the event please confirm by emailing centralchoices @ centralnottingham . ac . uk (without the spaces) or calling Central Choices 0115 884 2278

Map showing Central College Beeston building.

Tram and bus stops are right outside.

Nearest tram stop: “High Road – Central College”. You need to be on a Toton tram, not a Clifton tram. Tram information.

Nearest bus stop: “Central College”, on the 36 route, Orange Line and Trent Barton Indigo.
(don’t mix up this stop with the one on the Green Line which is also called Central College – different building.)

Parking: the Central College page about parking at its sites says “No on-site parking for students (07:00 – 17:00)”. This sounds as though perhaps you can park there after 5pm, for evening events such as this. If anyone has better info about local parking, please add a comment below.

Children’s Tap Jam, Netherfield, Wednesday 4 May

Dance participation event mainly for children, with live music, at Loco Youth Centre in Netherfield, Nottingham, on Wednesday 4 May 2016, free. Tap shoes available to borrow. Dance, or watch and listen.

Flyer for the children's tap jam. For text, see blog.
(click on flyer pic for bigger view, or see below for transcript of text.)

5pm till 6pm. Maybe arrive slightly early if you need to find yourself some tap shoes.

This is actually the last in a series, but you don’t need to have been to the previous ones to come to this – beginners still welcome.

Parents & carers are welcome to join in.

Here’s a page about it. (The page says 5pm till 5.45, so please note that for this final one it’s a slightly extended format, 5 till 6.)

Venue: Loco Youth Centre, 139A Victoria Road, Netherfield, Nottingham, NG4 2PD.

Tip from someone who’s been there: “From Colwick Loop Road, go over the old railway line and it’s the next building on the right”.

Youth Centre home page including a map.

Nearest bus stop: seems to be “Victoria Road” on the red route 44, about 500m from the Youth Centre. If anyone knows different, please comment.

Here’s a photo of the Youth Centre (possibly an old one, so it might not look exactly like this now).

Loco Youth Centre, Netherfield, Nottingham NG4 2PD

As with the all-ages Tap Jam last weekend (much enjoyed by those who went!), this isn’t a home ed event as such, just a cool thing which some of us will probably go to 🙂

Copy of flyer text:

Tap Rhythm Project
FREE Tap Jam for Kids
Loco Youth Centre
139 Victoria Road, Netherfield, Nottingham, NG4 1PB
Wednesday 4th May 5 – 6pm
Tap dance freestyle with live music
Tap shoes provided
Parents and carers welcome to join
Hosted by Jess Murray with Ben Martin (sax),
Andy Tytherleigh (bass) and
Jonathan Curtis (drums)
www.tapproject.com
Lottery funded
For more info:
www.tapproject.com
info [at] tapproject.com