Learn while you burn - Mundesley couple devise GCSE revision guide set to fast-tempo music

Former teachers Emily Bird, 40 and Jeff Thomas, 46 of Mundesley who've launched a revision guide for

Former teachers Emily Bird, 40 and Jeff Thomas, 46 of Mundesley who've launched a revision guide for GCSE pupils while they exercise.Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

We know that exercise tones the body, but now there's a way for pupils to tone the mind at the same time.

The idea to learn as you go for the burn is a project to help PE students improve their academic skills while they are working out.

It's the brainchild of a husband-and-wife team of former teachers who live on the north Norfolk coast.

Jeff Thomas and Emily Bird have already produced a string of revision guides using song and spoken word, and now they have put an entire syllabus on to a single album.

The result, Revisercise, is for GCSE PE pupils who enjoy their exercise but who may be somewhat less enamoured with the more academic side of the subject.


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It's a collection of 27 tracks that cover the whole GCSE syllabus, set against a backdrop of fast-tempo music.

'The idea just came to me that if you are a brilliant sports person, you'll probably like doing PE, but you might not be quite so keen at revising,' said Mr Thomas.

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'What we have done is come up with something that you can listen to while you work out at the gym or go out for a jog.

'Revision can be really boring. Some people are very good at using revision guides, but there are others who should be doing really well but who are, in all honesty, lazy.

'We think this sort of guide is appealing to them.'

The revision material covers a key part of the GCSE programme. Only 60pc of the PE syllabus is practical, with the rest consisting of a written exam. Revisercise is designed to complement all the main exam boards.

'The music is predominantly guitar-based with a strong beat,' said Mr Thomas, who added that he had received positive feedback from his contacts within the world of teaching, including from a chief examiner.

Mr Thomas and Ms Bird were history and English teachers respectively in Brighton before leaving the South Coast for Norfolk earlier this year.

Of Mice and Men, Romeo and Juliet, and Macbeth and are among their English revision guides, while students of Weimar Germany or the Cold War can also enjoy musical revision.

The couple write, record and produce all their own music, and their Revision Rocks business has now become a full-time venture for them.

'When we moved to Mundesley, we deliberately bought a house that had a study we could convert into a recording studio,' said Mr Thomas.

'Years and years ago, it was a case of taking the guitar in the classroom.

'When I came to mark their mock exam papers, I realised that the children had remembered all the facts. So I then put together a couple of songs, and it all went from there.

'Music can be very powerful, and people seem to remember song lyrics. Parents use it in the car on the school run, and it does seem to work.'

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