Ways to make sure infant free school meals serves up value for money. Part 4 of 4 – Words by Paul Aagaard.


Readiness for learning will improve if behaviour polices are consistently applied at lunchtime.

My final blog in this four part series on how to make UIFSM value for money, is about how Midday Supervisors engage with the children and how they manage behaviour at lunchtime. What they say and how they say it is a key factor in whether or not children will eat their dinner. If it’s not done right all the solutions I proposed in my earlier blogs on getting the dining room right,engaging with parents and the relationship with caterers just won’t work properly.

Behaviour at lunchtime

The problem The solution
The ethos and values of a school are easy to evidence in the classroom but even if their Ofsted rating for behaviour is outstanding it often all goes a bit pear-shaped at lunchtime. There are two key problems here which need to be addressed.

  1. Midday Supervisors
    Whenever I speak to school councillors they usually say that Midday Supervisors (MSAs) are kind and lovely. However, when you dig a bit deeper they will say their problems aren’t sorted out at lunchtime. This is because MSAs aren’t trained teachers and struggle sometimes to deal with poor behaviour. As a result, they often end up using inappropriate language such as “come on, hurry up finish your dinner” or, if the child answers back, replying with “how dare you argue with me” will put most children off eating their dinner. Interestingly even Teaching Assistants (TAs) who often work as MSAs at lunchtime have the same problem. How the children treat them in the classroom is often very different to how they treat them at lunchtime.
  2. Behaviour policy
    Many schools I visit have behaviour policies which work well in the classroom but not at lunchtime. Children will often complain that they have been too harshly dealt with by MSAs/TAs or those who were really causing problems got off too lightly. I was running some MSA trainingat a school in Herts recently. When I asked the MSAs about the excellent set of “rules in class and rules out of class” in their behaviour policy (written by KS2pupils), they were not aware of them. Once children know the MSAs don’t know school rules they can play one off against the other. This then leads to very unkind and disrespectful comments like “you’re just a dinner lady, you can’t tell me what to do.” If lunchtime starts to feel a little hostile and unfriendly children are less likely to eat their dinner and they definitely won’t be ready for learning in the afternoon either – one of the key benefits of the UIFSM policy.
Here are my evidence based solutions to these two problems.

  1. Midday Supervisor training
    MSAs need training on how to manage challenging behaviour and assert authority. They need to understand that a focus on what you want a child to do rather than what you don’t want them to do is much more effective. So if a child is shouting the response shouldn’t be “will you stop shouting”, it should be something like “I need you to listen to me”.Once MSAs start talking to children in this way it becomes much easier for them to engage positively with children. I observed one young boy, in tears, saying he didn’t want to eat his shepherd’s pie because the potato topping was burnt. One MSA calmly talked to the boy and said “don’t worry I can make this pie look lovely”. She then simply removed the burnt topping to reveal the white potato underneath. Because the MSA had listened to the boy and then solved his problem he happily started eating it. This is a simple example but if this situation hadn’t been resolved the child wouldn’t have eaten his dinner and gone back into class miserable and not ready to learn.

    The other reason for investing in MSA training is to give them a voice and make them feel valued. There is a perception, rightly or wrongly, by MSAs that school leaders don’t support them and don’t listen to what they have to say.

    And when you ask MSAs what they want from school leaders and how the relationship can be improved the answers are clear, constructive and very easy to implement. “We want a child wellbeing book” said one MSA in a training session I ran in a Herts school. “We want teachers to let us know which children in their class are being challenging so we can keep an eye on them at lunchtime”. It’s a combination of giving MSAs a voice as well teaching them about how to promote positive behaviour that makes the training outcomes sustainable. As one MSA from Croydon wrote in her written evaluation of my training: “[I was] made to feel important and heard”.

  2. Lunchtime charter
    Here’s how to make sure the behaviour policy is effective and consistently implemented at lunchtime.

    • Invite MSAs to work with school council and create a lunchtime charter identifying rules they are happy to follow.
    • Prominently display the charter in the dining room and playground.
    • Ask MSAs to wear laminated cards on lanyards summarising the rewards for good behaviour, all the agreed lunchtime rules and consequences for bad behaviour.

    So how will this help with UIFSM? The lunchtime charter will include very specific rules that relate to eating and socialising. Here’s two which are currently being used by a Kent school.

    We want our dining hall to be like a restaurant where we talk to our friends and wait for them to finish eating.

    We learn to use a knife and fork properly and talk to each other politely and kindly.


Ways to make sure infant free school meals serves up value for money. Part 3 of 4. Words by Paul Aagaard.


Good caterers help create lunchtime systems designed for children, not adults.

I have talked in my first two blogs about getting the dining room right and engaging with parents.

This blog is all about working with caterers. The vast majority do an excellent job and are extremely good at providing healthy and tasty school meals which are child friendly and comply with the school food standards. However, it’s the working relationship that they have with the school and how they communicate with the children which determines whether or not the UIFSM policy will become successful.

Working with caterers

The problem The solution
Here are the problems I have had to deal with on numerous occasions over the last ten years with caterers.

  1. Systems designed for adults not children
    School cooks aren’t paid much and have little time left after service to wash up and clear away dining room equipment. So if they can serve all the children as part of a continuous service they get to finish the job earlier. That’s why so many school dining rooms end up becoming feeding stations. This is a system designed for adults, not children and it’s why there is a reluctance to introduce my proposed restaurant style lunchtimes I talked about in my first blog based on a series of set sittings.
  2. Not enough cutlery
    Schools seem too often to run out of cutlery. Despite repeated requests for more schools often don’t get any. Furthermore, as caterers have benefited financially out of UIFSM this shouldn’t be a problem. Not having enough cutlery may seem insignificant. However, it does compromise on the effectiveness of UIFSM. I was watching service recently in a school which I knew needed a lot more cutlery. There were four members of staff in the kitchen. Two were serving and the other two were busy washing up what little cutlery they had left. If all four had been serving the children everyone would have got served much quicker. But, because there was only two serving it took twice as long. So even if schools bother to create lovely restaurant style lunchtimes and engage with parents to increase uptake, the lack of cutlery compromises all the good work done.
  3. Performance management
    School leaders can’t line manager their kitchen staff unless they are employed in-house. This can often lead to major relationship problems which can really put children off eating a school dinner. In one school I worked with recently some of the Midday Supervisors said the school cook sent a young boy to the back of the queue for accidentally spilling his dinner on the floor whilst looking to see if he had got a spot under his plate to win a prize. This creates a very negative association with school meals and will encourage that child to ask for a home packed lunch instead. The school had to then spend time meeting with the caterers and discussing performance management. This takes time and often doesn’t result in either the inappropriate behaviour improving or the member of staff being replaced.
Here are my proposed solutions to the three problems I have talked about based on my experience of working with caterers.

  1. Kitchen staff working patterns
    Changing from a continuous service to a series of sittings doesn’t necessarily mean kitchen staff hours need to be increased. It’s often just a change in working patterns. If a school moves from a one sitting service to three there will be gaps in between each sitting which can be used to collect dirty crockery and then washed up. By the end of service they will have a done a lot more washing up than they would have done when they were running a continuous service. The workload is likely to be the same – it’s just done in a different way. One school I worked with recently wanted to move from a two sitting service to three but with no changes to the service time. The school were told if they wanted to do this it will cost them almost £1,000. Apart from maybe a few more food containers to deal with the extra sitting there is no other costs involved. It should be perfectly feasible and possible therefore for school leaders to negotiate an increase in the number of sittings without incurring much additional cost.
  2. Getting more cutlery
    If school are working with a large catering company the provision of extra light equipment such as cutlery, plates, bowls and beakers should be no problem. Whenever I have been asked by a school to deal with this issue the caterers seem quite happy to provide the extra equipment.
  3. Whole school consultation
    Employing a third party expert who is knowledgeable about catering and understands how to create a good school food culture may be necessary to solve staff performance problems. I have been employed to do this on several occasions. My approach is to conduct consultations with the children, the teachers and the Midday Supervisors so they can have their say about lunchtimes. This gives the school valuable feedback about exactly why the school cook or one of her assistants is upsetting people and what impact this is having on the children and on other members of staff. This evidence based information when presented to the caterers is usually enough to trigger a much more effective solution. At one school I worked with I was asked to chair a meeting with the headteacher, business manager, the school cook who was causing problems and her line manager. This resulted in the school cook changing her whole attitude and approach. Having a quick chat with her line manager just doesn’t seem to work. But a professional performance management meeting with evidence based information about the problem is much more effective.


Ways to make sure infant free school meals serves up value for money. Part 2 of 4. Words by Paul Aagaard.


A recent survey suggests that 95% of parents of the children taking up infant free school meals are recognising the benefits.

In the first blog in this series, I talked about getting the dining room right. But lots of schools have already adopted some of the best practice principles I proposed and uptake still remains very low. Consequently many pupils aren’t benefiting from the policy.

This second blog looks at parent engagement and what schools can do to improve uptake.

Parent attitudes to school food

The problem The solution
Clearly the UIFSM policy won’t work at all if children opt for a packed lunch.

UIFSM uptake
The government target for UIFSM is 87% (PDF, 289 KB). That’s a reasonable target bearing in mind the meals are free. In reality, many schools I have visited are reporting an uptake which is way below this target – in some cases less than 60%. That means thousands of children who could benefit are not. As a result they are eating a home packed lunch which often includes food that is high in fat and sugar. Even if they include some fruit and vegetables we know from previous research that only 1% of packed lunches meet the school food standards (PDF, 1.7 MB).

Parental choice
Parents reserve the right to decide what their children eat. And this is a very emotive topic. If schools dare to ban chocolate in packed lunches then to quote one headteacher in Kent I spoke to recently: “parents go absolutely ballistic”.

Why some parents opt for packed lunches
So what’s the problem here? As a parent, why wouldn’t you want to save over £400 a year and give your children a healthy school lunch? There are a number of problems:

  1. What children want to eat and what they need are quite different. Lots of parents claim that their children don’t or won’t eat green vegetables, oily fish and salad. Parents prefer to provide them with a packed lunch that includes foods they know their children like.
  2. If parents opt for school meals they have no idea whether or not their child has actually eaten it. Because packed lunches come home again what has been eaten can be monitored.
  3. Parents claim the portion sizes are far too small and their children are really starving when they come home.
Make UIFSM compulsory
This sounds really radical but the solution to making sure UIFSM becomes a value for money policy is to make it compulsory at least for a term.Schools I have spoken to that have introduced this policy in Herts, West Sussex and Kent all say it has been successful. Average uptake is about 95%.

So why didn’t parents complain in the same way they often do when banning chocolate from packed lunches?

Parent attitudes to a compulsory UIFSM policy
Parents I have spoken to where UIFSM is compulsory or they are considering making it compulsory said they were relieved. “Now we don’t have to battle with our children anymore about packed lunches versus school meals. It makes it much simpler and easier”. When I asked parents about children not liking some of the meals and not eating them they said. “We are sure some children won’t like it at first. They may feel a little hungry if they don’t eat their dinner. However if they aren’t given a choice they will soon get used to eating it”.

A recent survey commissioned by the School Food Plan and carried out by Optimum Research, suggests that 95% of parents of the children taking up infant free school meals are recognising the benefits. Almost one quarter (23%) say the main benefit to their child is the greater variety of food they will now eat. The same proportion says they most value their child eating a proper meal at lunchtime whilst almost one fifth (19%) say their child has enjoyed trying new foods. The opportunity to eat together and socialise was identified as the most important aspect by 15% of parents which is why it’s so important, as I explained in my first blog, to create a restaurant style lunchtime.

Encouraging children to eat their dinner
To tackle the issue of whether or not children actually do eat their dinner, it’s important to make sure Midday Supervisors give regular feedback to parents. Some schools have gone to the trouble of completing food diaries for those who are particularly fussy.

Many other so-called fussy eaters are only fussy because their mates say the food is yucky so it puts them off. Inviting a few children to become food heroes is a good solution to this problem The food heroes are invited to try all the meals on the menu and then give feedback to everyone else. If the food heroes say: “it’s yummy” then this positive peer pressure is all it takes sometimes for children to give new foods a try.


Ways to make sure infant free school meals serves up value for money. Part 1 of 4. Words by Paul Aagaard.


Restaurant style lunchtimes help improve readiness to learn.

It’s just over one year since Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM) was first introduced and there have already been reports that the policy could be scrapped. David Cameron has said he is very proud of UIFSM and after the money spent on implementing the scheme, he is firmly committed to it.

So should the policy be cut by George Osborne as part of his spending review in November or not? It all boils down to value for money. The rational for giving all infants free school meals was based on pilot research that suggested they made between four to eight weeks more progress than similar pupils in comparison areas (PDF, 1.8 MB). If the policy does have such a positive impact on pupil progress and helps ensure less children end up being obese, then you could argue it is money well spent. In fact Diabetes UK, the National Obesity Forum and the British Medical Association feel, “with one in three children leaving primary school overweight or obese, ensuring a nutritionally balanced school lunch has never been so important.”[1] A free school meals policy could end up paying for itself many times and reduce the spiralling costs to the NHS of treating obesity and other diet-related illnesses.

But is this policy having a positive effect on improving progress and helping to reduce the number of children who are overweight?

I have identified four key problems that schools face which, if they aren’t tackled, will mean this won’t become a value for money policy. However, I firmly believe that UIFSM can improve readiness for learning, improve concentration and as a result, improve progress if my proposed evidence based solutions to these problems are adopted.

This first part of this series is all about getting the dining room right.

Getting the dining room right

The problem The solution
Dining room environment
If children end up queuing for a long time, they can’t sit with their friends and the dining room is noisy, the UIFSM policy will have no impact whatsoever on readiness for learning and progress because they are unlikely to eat it. Feeling rushed and friends not waiting for you to finish just leads to children dumping their meal in the bin irrespective of whether they actually want to eat the meal or not. As a result children will go back into afternoon classes talking about unresolved lunchtime incidents. That means lost curriculum time and that means children’s progress may actually get worse, not better! Sadly this is what’s happening in lots of schools.What headteachers are saying to me
I recently spoke to two headteachers both from East Sussex. One of them, who had just started as headteacher at a new school this academic year, said: “I decided to join the Y5 & Y6 queue for school dinners to see how long it would take to get served. It took me 20 minutes.” The other headteacher said she timed how long it took for a Midday Supervisor to notice a pupil who was patiently waiting with their hand up. It took 8 minutes.

Why the problem persists
So why do some school dining rooms end up becoming feeding stations where children are literally herded in and herded out again? There are two key reasons. Firstly, headteachers know all about good classroom provision and what teachers should and shouldn’t be doing. But they don’t have a clue about what good dining room provision looks like and what caterers should and shouldn’t be doing. Secondly, as and when a headteacher does decide to communicate with their school cook the response to making any changes is often – “we can’t do that or we haven’t got time or it will cost more money”. As a result the lunchtime problems persist and nothing gets changed.

Restaurant style lunchtimes
Schools have to create a dining room that children actually want to go to and not just some corridor to play. This will help improve school meal uptake and more importantly make sure most of them actually eat it.So how is this achieved? By creating a restaurant style lunchtime which, like any good restaurant, is conducive to both eating and socialising.

In the classroom children know what is expected of them, what they can and can’t do, who they will be sitting with and where. Although the dining room isn’t a classroom the same principles need to be applied. One of the evidence based ideas I have used for years is to create a series of set sittings where children sit with their friends on the same table each day. Knowing who you will be sitting with, where you are sitting and at what time immediately creates a much calmer environment and reduces noise because there is no rushing around trying to find your friends. This is particularly effective for those with special educational needs who thrive on routine. Just like the classroom the dining room needs rules such as waiting for your friends before leaving the dining room, and not being able to leave for at least 15 minutes to encourage fast eaters to socialise with slow eaters.

The impact on UIFSM
So how will these changes make UIFSM value for money? Firstly, it will improve readiness to learning because children are much less likely to go back into class and talk about unresolved lunchtime incidents. Secondly, no curriculum time will be lost because lessons aren’t disrupted so progress therefore should improve. And thirdly, school leaders won’t have to spend loads of time in the afternoon sorting out lunchtime problems.


Award Winning School announces exciting new Parent & Child initiative.

Canterbury Steiner School has today announced that it will be expanding its outdoor group “Brambles” for parents and children across Kent. Brambles brings together the unique Waldorf kindergarten experience with the chance to explore the natural environment.

Brambles outdoor group was first started in 2011 as part of an outreach programme to the community by Canterbury Steiner School. The group has been a great success with many families enjoying a unique experience in Blean woods each week.

The school has now appointed Ms Danika MacLellan to expand the Brambles programme across Kent with the intention of opening another 5 groups at specific locations around the county.

“I am really excited about this opportunity” said Ms MacLellan “Parents really appreciate being able to bring their children to an outdoor group and to experience the richness a Waldorf Kindergarten offers”.

Hour of Code™: UK Schools take part with Discovery Education

Discovery Education is encouraging schools across the UK to take part in Hour of Code – a global computer science initiative which takes place between 7th and 13th December.

Now in its third year, Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. The initiative encourages children to dedicate just 1 hour to learn how to code during Computer Science Education Week. Last year over 3 million UK students took part, and Discovery Education is continuing to encourage pupils, parents and teachers to join in.

As the UK’s leading provider of digital content to schools, Discovery has produced special Hour of Code learning packs, which present coding in a fun and accessible way to students and teachers of all ages and abilities. The digital resources cover a range of themes including dinosaurs, space exploration, and marine biology, helping schools to easily integrate coding into other parts of the curriculum.

James Massey, Educational Consultant at Discovery Education said:

“ This is a fantastic initiative that allows pupils to put their teacher hat on and show someone at home how to code! The Discovery Education modules have been carefully designed to demonstrate how coding is not a discrete skill and has real world meaning and relevant cross-curricular applications. Any experience like this that extends learning beyond the classroom, whilst motivating children to take the leading role, is very powerful for child personal development as well as strengthening ties between school and community.”

Discovery Education supports a number of UK schools in teaching coding, and recently ran a competition to encourage students to put their coding skills to use in history lessons. Pupils were encouraged to create games to demonstrate their knowledge of significant women in history, and two children were chosen as the winners from over 100 entries. 6 year old Amelia, from Holy Cross Prep School in Kingston, designed one of the winning games. ICT Coordinator and computing teacher, Magdalena Fernandes said:

“Our pupils have really enjoyed taking part in the Discovery Education coding competition and the school was delighted to hear that Amelia’s work was selected as the winning game. Since we introduced our pupils to coding, they have embraced the coding challenges with enthusiasm and are now working at a very impressive, high level. The Discovery Education Coding modules are well designed and allow for creative engagement and high achievement. I would recommend them to all schools including the non-specialist because the lesson plans are very detailed and easy to follow. Coding is an essential skill for children of today.”

Organised by US not-for-profit organisation Code.org, Hour of Code has introduced over 100 million students across the globe to computer science, and has the backing of some of the world’s most prominent figures. Last year, Barack Obama became the first US President to program a computer by writing JavaScript, and UK Prime Minister David Cameron hosted the 2014 Hour of Code UK launch event with schools at 10 Downing Street.

Susanne Thompson, Vice President and Head of Schools Partnerships at Discovery Education said:

“ Today’s pupils are tomorrow’s engineers, astronauts and computer programmers. It’s absolutely vital that we equip our children with the skills and the enthusiasm for coding, by providing learning resources which are both accessible and fun to use. Discovery Education is delighted to be involved in supporting Hour of Code for a third year running. We hope that we can encourage as many schools as possible to take this opportunity to experience the power and creativity of coding.”

Discovery Education empowers teachers and captivates pupils by providing high-quality, dynamic, digital content to primary and secondary schools across the UK. Through its award-winning digital content, interactive lessons, virtual experiences with some of Discovery’s most talented presenters and contributors, classroom contests and challenges, professional development and more — Discovery Education is leading the way in bringing learning to life. Part of Discovery Communications, the world’s leading non-fiction media company, Discovery Education is one of the fastest growing providers of educational services in the UK.

Goffs School’s partnership with PET-Xi Training boosts the attainment of disadvantaged pupils

Goffs School in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire has won national recognition for demonstrating and sharing best practice in spending its Pupil Premium Grant. Here Tom Sparks, assistant principal and the lead for pupil premium, outlines the most effective strategies his school has put in place to help close the gap between pupil premium and non- pupil premium students.


About the school

Goffs School in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire is a thriving and oversubscribed mixed comprehensive, for 11- to 18- year olds, with approximately 1300 students on roll. Its successful approach to supporting its pupil premium students led to success in the Department for Education Pupil Premium Awards for 2014, where it was the East of England Regional Winner and a National Runner-Up.  The Pupil Premium Awards celebrate schools that use the pupil premium to achieve a measurable advance in the attainment of their disadvantaged pupils.

The challenge

Introduced in 2011, the pupil premium is extra funding which all schools in England receive for every disadvantaged pupil they teach. It currently amounts to £2.5bn nationally.

The amount each school receives is determined by the number of children who are entitled to receive free school meals (FSM) during the last six years, or are looked after children (LAC).  Each school can choose how that funding should be allocated in order to support the academic success of these pupils.  In the Academic Year 2013/2014 we were allocated £188,100 for our 201 pupil premium students – which amounts to £935 per person.  It’s a lot of money so it’s obviously vital to get the provision right, both to do the best for our pupils and to ensure that we get best value for money.
The solution


We have used a combination of different strategies to improve outcomes among our pupil premium students and many of them have been researched by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) to calculate the impact on the number of months’ progress that could be gained.


We began by creating a team specifically to monitor and track our pupil premium students, the spending on them and the impact that this has on outcomes. Through this, we know, to the pound, how much each individual pupil premium has had spent on them and, for many, this has been significantly more than the allocation. This concept of systematic tracking of expenditure has been shared with many local schools as best practice.


A large proportion of the pupil premium money has been used to expand staffing in key areas, which in turn led to smaller class sizes for our more vulnerable students. For example, in Year 11 Science, some of the classes operated with as few as six students and in Maths, the smallest classes were operating with 10 in the class. Calculations by the EEG show that this strategy of smaller class sizes achieved a gain of +3 months and that the increased feedback had a gain of +8 months (EEF).


Another key factor in our success has been the work we have undertaken done in partnership with PET-Xi Training. We used PET-Xi’s High-5 booster sessions for pupil premium students in both English and Maths for our pupil premium students from Year 7 up to Year 11. High-5 is a five-day motivational boot-camp style revision intervention programme designed to take students from a grade D to a Grade C in GCSE.

Motivational, inspirational and fast-paced, its Foundation level programme involves a process of repeat, repeat, review, and is a proven, highly effective tool for teachers to use to boost results.

Every day begins and ends with a confidence test in a particular topic and homework is set daily. Building on the excellent work carried out by our teachers, the high energy of the PET-Xi team is used to inspire self-belief and get each child to start believing that the Grade C is within their grasp. The team comprises a motivational lead, a subject expert, and support worker, and focuses sharply on confidence building, exam technique and on manipulation of essential exam material. The course is highly structured, the pace is fast and expectation is high.

One of the things PET-Xi does very well is to deal with any issues which may arise during the course. So if the students are not getting something, they’ll work on it overnight and come in the next day armed to try another way. They are very responsive.

The feedback from students was very positive and the majority of students made measurable progress during the sessions. Of the students in Year 11 who undertook the course, approximately 80% of them went on to achieve their target grades in Maths.


Another useful intervention strategy we used included a comprehensive Beyond Study Leave Programme which prepared students for final exams. EEF research showed that this had a gain of +2 months (EEF).

Other external support, specifically around social and emotional learning, had a gain of +4 months (EEF) and included providing access to two youth workers to support the school’s pastoral care programme.

We also employed external markers for our formal mock examinations, to ensure accurate and reliable data, and used staff to provided one-to-one tutoring and additional numeracy and literacy support during form time.

We also know that students across the school benefit from the professional development training teachers receive to develop the quality of teaching in the school. This training is always focused on outstanding learning which includes excellent feedback.


Finally, pupil premium funding has also supported students to undertake activities that perhaps they might not have previously been able to do, including accessing curriculum trips and extracurricular activities


The benefits

The outcome of this has been fantastic. The gap between our year 11 pupil premium students and non pupil premium students for 5 A*-C now stands at just 10%, with our pupil premium students achieving 65% in this measure – significantly above the national average for 5 A*-C of 58%.

For English, expected progress for pupil premium students of 68% is 12% above the national average and the gap between pupil premium students and non-pupil premium students has remained at 8%.

For Maths, expected progress for pupil premium students of 65% is 11% above the national average.

In other measures, the gap between pupil premium students and non pupil premium students has again narrowed across key measures. In science, 2 A*-C the gap has reduced to 9% from 11% and for humanities the gap is 12%. For languages, the performance of pupil premium students at 84% is 1% above the performance of non-pupil premium students.


Based on their final Year 10 mock examinations, we are predicting that the gap will decrease further for this cohort. For 5 A*-C we are predicting a gap of 6%; for English progress, 9%; for Maths progress, no gap at all.


It was of course extremely gratifying to have our hard work celebrated when we became East of England Winners and National Runners up in the Pupil Premium Awards 2014. These Awards reward schools which are able to provide evidence of effective strategies to improve the achievement of disadvantaged pupils and show sustained improvement in raising their attainment.


We were particularly pleased when Goffs was the only school invited to present at the 2015 Pupil Premium Awards in March. Two of our year 11 pupils wrote their own speeches and presented them perfectly to the audience of 250, which included the then Schools Minister, David Laws and then Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg.


During this current academic year, we are continuing much of the best practice that we completed in 2013/2014. However, we are also looking to develop further parental engagement of our pupil premium students, along with developing the access our students have to IT both at home and in school. Finally, we will continue to drive forward our work on raising aspirations for our students.


A critically acclaimed new film by Academy Award winning director Louis Psiyohos (The Cove) will be used in science and geography lessons in classrooms across the UK from this month.

Racing Extinction – which receives its global TV premiere on The Discovery Channel today, 2 December – documents the plight of endangered species across the globe, and exposes the link between the human footprint and mass extinction.

With breath-taking cinematic photography, and never before seen images of the natural world, the film was screened to critical acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and launched in London last week.

From today it will form part of Discovery Education’s leading digital content service to Secondary schools – bringing the subject of biodiversity to life for secondary school pupils across the country.

Lewis Bronze MBE, Founder and Director of Content at Discovery Education said:

“We are delighted to be able to provide exclusive teaching resources to incorporate this provocative and important film into secondary teaching. With its beautiful cinematography and gripping storylines, Racing Extinction will help students of all ages to confront and understand the environmental challenges that we face.”

Interactive lesson plans and video clips from Racing Extinction have been added to Discovery Education’s digital content service to schools – inspiring the teaching of biodiversity in geography and science subjects at KS3 and KS4.

Racing Extinction’s London launch, held at London Zoo on 25 November, was attended by a number of Discovery Education’s partner schools, including teachers from Hitchin Girls’ School, Hertfordshire. Speaking after the screening, Head of Biology Maria Dixon said:

“It was an honour to be there and to hear from the director. The film has an incredibly important message and the fact that Discovery Education are making available teaching resources incorporating Racing Extinction is particularly useful and inspiring for our Year 10 students who have just started their coursework on extinction. The film gives us a message of hope and ideas on what we can do to make a difference. We are promoting the “Start with one thing” message to all of our students.”

Racing Extinction will be aired in 220 countries today, with the UK screening taking place on The Discovery Channel at 9pm, Wednesday 2nd December.

Discovery Education empowers teachers and captivates pupils by providing high-quality, dynamic, digital content to primary and secondary schools across the UK. Through its award-winning digital content, interactive lessons, virtual experiences with some of Discovery’s most talented presenters and contributors, classroom contests and challenges, professional development and more — Discovery Education is leading the way in bringing learning to life. Part of Discovery Communications, the world’s leading non-fiction media company, Discovery Education is one of the fastest growing providers of educational services in the UK.


The London Early Years Foundation has received a second stage of acquisition financing worth £1.5 million from leading social impact investors Big Issue Invest (BII) and Bridges Ventures (BV)’ Social Entrepreneurs Fund. This latest instalment forms part of a £2.75m financing package from the two investors.

LEYF is a charitable social enterprise that runs 36 community nurseries; employing over 300 staff across 9 boroughs, in some of London’s most disadvantaged areas.

With its roots dating back to 1903, LEYF has developed an innovative social enterprise model ensuring that children, regardless of background, can access high quality day care provision. Surplus from LEYF’s more profitable nurseries is reinvested in fulfilling its social aims, which enables the organisation to support many of London’s most impoverished children and their families.

The £1.5m of extra finance will be used to drive LEYF’s expansion through the acquisition of new nurseries across London, and to fulfil its goal of doubling in size to reach 5,000 children.

Encouragingly, LEYF also received offers of finance from a number of other organisations including mainstream institutional investors which highlights that there is significant interest in high impact ventures from the wider market. This is excellent news not only for LEYF, but also for other high-impact enterprises and charities in the UK.

Last year, LEYF successfully raised an initial £1.25m with the support of ClearlySo, an impact investment intermediary that provides advisory and capital raising support to organisations that generate high social and/or environmental impact. This work was supported with a capacity building grant through the pioneering Investment & Contract Readiness Fund, managed by SIB Group and funded by the Cabinet Office. Both ClearlySo and LEYF took the decision to work with the existing investors, BII and BV, who were keen to continue to support LEYF in scaling up and improving the lives of more children.

The entrepreneur, June O’Sullivan explains “We are delighted to have negotiated this second social investment deal. We can now continue to scale up our business and increase our social impact.  More LEYF nurseries mean more high quality childcare places, sustainable apprenticeships and more employment opportunities in areas where there is poverty and unemployment. We are particularly proud that the LEYF childcare model is recognised and supported by so many important investors.”

Stuart Ferguson, Investment Director at Big Issue Invest said: “We are delighted to be able to extend our partnership with LEYF, to enable June and her team to significantly expand over the coming years.  LEYF is a great example of a commercially driven social enterprise that is making a real difference to people’s lives principally through the quality of nursery provision available but also in their commitment to colleague development and wider integration into the local community”

Caroline Tulloch, Investment Manager at Bridges Ventures, said: “LEYF is a great example of what an ambitious social business can achieve with the help of patient, mission-aligned capital. Since our investment, it has seen a step-change in its growth, adding eleven new nurseries to its portfolio – while continuing to improve the quality of the service it provides to young children and families in some of the most disadvantaged areas in London. We are delighted to support LEYF in the next phase of its growth.”

Rod Schwartz, Founder and CEO of ClearlySo, said: “It has been a privilege to work with LEYF over the past few years and to help them map out and begin to achieve their ambition.  Their cross-subsidisation model is brilliant and their potential for scale is enormous.  The need for their excellent nurseries has never been so urgent as today as income gaps widen, budget cuts deepen and the need for reliable provision surges.  On a more personal note, working with June O’Sullivan, Neil Fenton and the rest of their team has been a pleasure.”

UK’s top teenage code breakers battle it out in Cyber City games

  • UK’s top seven school code breaking teams fight to become UK cyber champions
  • Futuristic ‘Cyber City’ themed competitions will challenge contestants to infiltrate networks, stop criminals from causing damage to infrastructure, learn how to gather intelligence and find criminals
  • Cyber-battles designed by leading industry employers including National Grid, BT, Airbus Group, Raytheon, GCHQ, the National Crime Agency, CompTIA, Birmingham City University, University of Warwick, The Antisocial Engineer Ltd and Jenny Radcliffe Training               

Wednesday 2nd December 2015, Warwick University – Seven teams of the UK’s best 13-18 year old code-breakers from schools across the country will today compete in an ‘I, Robot’ style cyber competition to become the ultimate young cyber security defenders. The competition, created by industry giants and government organisations, will task amateur sleuths to intercept messages and infiltrate networks in order to defend the fictional ‘Cyber City’ from criminals.


The winning school team will receive a £500 prize from AFCEA (Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association) Academic Trust which will go towards bolstering technology skills in their institution, as well as a range of cyber and educational rewards.


The final, dubbed Cyber Games, which will take place in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Warwick, is the culmination of months of online competitions and coding exercises, where teams designed and submitted their own ciphers, then played against each other to climb to the top of the scoreboard. The final seven are the highest scoring teams and comprise some of the most prodigious young cyber talent in the country today.


The ‘Cyber City’ is fictional city of the near future, where all aspects of the city are digitally integrated and accessible via the Internet of Things. The city is under threat from a mysterious group of criminals and the teams will have to race against time to repair damage, solve problems and investigate the perpetrators in order to save the city from destruction.


The 28 finalists will be challenged to demonstrate their code breaking skills in front of industry experts in a series of live timed tests which will test their technical skills under pressure. Importantly, a strong emphasis will be placed on teams to adhere to the strict ethical and legal checks that law enforcement must abide by, for example when setting up wiretaps. They will also be tasked to analyse rubbish left in a hotel room to socially engineer passwords to their computer systems; overpower attacks on robotic arms within energy facilities; protect defence barriers in the waterways to block their escape route and perform digital forensics on networks in order to block malicious attacks.


The Cyber Games competition forms part of the Cabinet Office backed Cyber Security Challenge UK schools programme, which provides bespoke teaching resources, designed by its sponsor consortium and partners, to help address the critical cyber security skills gap by sparking interest student interest in cyber security.


The games have been created by some of the leading names in the cyber security industry including: National Grid, aeronautics specialist Airbus Group, defence giant Raytheon, national communications company BT, global IT trade association CompTIA, Birmingham City University, University of Warwick, GCHQ, the National Crime Agency and social engineering experts The Antisocial Engineer Ltd and Jenny Radcliffe Training.


Jason Stanton, Schools Programme Manager at the Cyber Security Challenge UK said: “There is a critical cyber security skills gap in the UK and in order to address this once and for all, we need to spark an interest in cyber security as a career at a young age. We work with our sponsor community to design fun, practical and realistic challenges that teach the core skills in an exciting way and can be delivered by any school in the country. Our aim is for the pupils to leave today feeling inspired and seriously considering a career in cyber. By offering a pathway to future employment, this helps prevent gifted children drifting into cyber-crime, providing a positive outlet for their talents.”


Competition details and free teacher packs are available to schools across the country by signing up on the Challenge website: www.cybersecuritychallenge.org/education or by contacting schools@cybersecuritychallenge.org.uk


Sponsor quotes


“We are delighted that together with Warwick’s Computer Science Department we are jointly hosting the 5th Cyber Security Challenge UK Schools’ Competition Live Final and providing one of the cyber security challenges. With the UK’s high-profile focus on cyber security, as outlined in the Chancellor’s recent speech at GCHQ, it is essential that we help to create the next generation of cyber security professionals. Cyber Security Challenge is providing an inspirational lead in talent spotting and is raising the profile and attraction of a career in cyber security within schools and universities. We are proud to be supporting their work.”

Professor Tim Watson, Director of the WMG Cyber Security Centre at the University of Warwick


“It is vital that we act now to build the UK’s cyber security talent base at grassroots level. The UK cyber security industry will soon be worth £3.4 billion a year yet many children have never been told about the wide array of career opportunities in this field. The enthusiastic response to the competition that we have seen from teenagers across Britain demonstrates the huge pool of gifted youngsters that our economy could be tapping into.”

Rob Partridge, Head of the BT Security Academy


“It’s great to see Social Engineering as part of the Cyber Games this year.  It’s very important to include the human element of cyber crime in this type of challenge because in the real world forgetting about it can be a huge mistake. Most crimes contain an element of social engineering and humans will always be vulnerable to manipulation, hacking the people is often easier than hacking the tech!”

Jenny Radcliffe, Creative Director and Head of Social Engineering, Jenny Radcliffe Training


“Events like the Cyber Security Challenge competitions are essential to encourage the next generation of security professionals. With recent breaches seeing involvement from adults as young as 15, now is the time to actively encourage the good in our youth – not just publicise the bad.”

Richard De Vere, Principal Consultant, The AntiSocial Engineer Limited


“To ensure the long-term sustainability of the UK’s cyber security industry, we must engage the next generation in cyber security and research.  Events such as the Cyber Games are a fantastic way to encourage young people into the sector and develop the talented cyber professionals of tomorrow.”

Dr Kevin Jones,‎ Head of Cyber Operations Research Team, Airbus Group Innovations


“CompTIA recently published research showing that 63% of UK Executives believe the cyber security threat is increasing, with almost half listing human error as a growing factor in security incidents including the use of social media and failure of to follow security procedures. It has never been more important to ensure that people starting work have some knowledge of the cyber security threats out there and understand how best to act. By raising the profile of cyber security through the use of interesting and fun competitions we are switching on a new generation of tech savvy kids to the vast opportunities, within the fast paced world of IT.”

Graham, VP Skills Certification, Europe and Middle East, CompTIA


“As a leader in cyber security, Raytheon has a long history of supporting and growing talent in order to ensure business growth. There is a critical skills requirement in the cyber sector and through our STEM engagement programme we are committed to addressing the shortfall to this requirement. These Cyber Security Challenge UK  games are designed to illustrate how the higher education sector can play a role in solving ‘real-world’ cyber security issues on a global scale. Not all cyber security professionals come from the same backgrounds; there is a great deal of variety within the talent pool. From our experience, we found  the best analysts can range from software developers to postmistresses and researchers, through to server engineers and helpdesk workers. Each fresh mind brings a new dimension and potential, and it is the responsibility of companies like Raytheon to steer and guide those careers.”
Graham Le Fevre, Head of Business Development, Intelligence & Security, Raytheon UK


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