Student Exercise Books

Reading time: 2


Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
Read more about @TeacherToolkit

How can exercise books support teaching and learning consistency?

In this post I share a collection of images that showcases our new exercise books for students. They are not compulsory to use and will evolve and adapt according to the needs of departments. This won’t work for every school, department or student, so it is posted here to share what we are developing. Note, not every department will use this format. For example, the Art department will continue to use their own sketchbooks with better quality cartridge paper and examination courses will of course be bound by syllabus and specification requirements.

Over the past 12 months, we have wanted to create a ‘school-specific’ exercise book for students. This has been bottom of the priority list, but now I have copies in my hand I can see the significance of the task being completed.

There have been many asking for close-up images of the exercise book contents, so for the purposes of providing a rationale and how the decisions have been made, here is the book from front-to-back.

Front Cover:

There were opportunities to include famous quotes, school values or something else that was suitable to inspire. Instead, we kept it simple for our first print. Ideally I would have preferred the school logo to be bigger with the school values (Aspiration, Resilience, Community) at the bottom of the cover.

n.b. Not every department will use this format. For example, the Art department will continue to use their own sketchbooks with better quality cartridge paper.

Inside Cover:

Inside the front cover, we have included the marking policy and yellow box explanation included to communicate ‘feedback’ to parents and students. These both feature in our Teaching and Learning Policy.

QK Quintin Kynaston Student Exercise Book

Throughout Book …

Currently there are 5 variations on the inside, altered to suit the needs and requests of various departments. We also made the decision to remove the constant need to have ‘check list’ and ‘further question’ boxes on every page. Why?

… we were making a clear statement to teachers, parents and students, that every page did NOT have to show feedback, or the expectation that every page would be marked. This was supporting our Learning Policy and teacher workload.

Here are the department variations:

  • Art: – opted out
  • Business Studies: lined paper
  • Computing: squared
  • English and Media: lined
  • Humanities: lined followed by plain paper.
  • Maths: squared
  • Languages: lined
  • Performing Arts: variation for music bars, then lined
  • PE: opted out
  • Science: designed their own books
  • Technology: lined then plain

Inside Back Cover:

There are a number of pages available that allow students to record keywords, spellings and drafted work at the back of their books.

QK Quintin Kynaston Student Exercise Book

Back Cover:

Inside the back cover, we wanted to include a plastic wallet for students to add ‘loose sheets’. Although this was possible, it delayed the printing and availability of books for teachers and students to have them at the start of term. On the whole, the printing company delivered what we wanted, but they did not have a template for ‘presentation expectations’, so we had to quickly generate this (see below) before they were sent to production.

The turnaround is 2-3 weeks and the costs are approximately 60 pence per copy.

QK Quintin Kynaston Student Exercise Book

I will feedback how they are used and how we modify them before our second print run. Ultimately, we will evaluate how teachers and students will use them and how it improves standards of teaching and learning.


7 thoughts on “Student Exercise Books

  1. Lovely idea and great to see that departments have had their own input. This may have already been spotted but is there a word missing in the third bullet point in the yellow box?

    1. Just for information in case no-one replies with more specific details, we looked at these a couple of years ago (having been wow’d by them at a local high school) but they worked out at being over twice as much as normal exercise books. I was heartbroken as I’d LOVE to introduce them at my school!

  2. Where is the yellow box idea originally from as I have seen a few schools using it? Are you asking teachers to draw a yellow box in every exercise book after each piece of work or do the book come will yellow boxes already pre printed?

    1. Yellow Box comes from another school – I first discovered from George Spencer Academy – found this here.

      Feedback must be regular and proportionate to curriculum time. And yes, it is hand drawn where improvement is needed.

  3. I would be interested if there is any feedback with regards to the impact using these personalised exercise books have had upon the standards of teaching and learning?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.