MAKE YOUR WORLD BIGGER’ THIS SUMMER: DIGITAL DRIVE TO KEEP CHILDREN LEARNING DURING SCHOOL HOLIDAYS

Primary school pupils across the UK are being encouraged to continue their love of learning this summer, by taking part in an exciting new digital initiative.

The ‘Make Your World Bigger’ campaign is being launched by Discovery Education and Discovery Channel, giving children free access to attainment boosting resources during the school holidays.

Schools are being asked to sign up for the initiative, which will allow pupils to use Discovery Education Espresso’s digital learning service at home over the long summer break. The award winning multimedia content —  which includes clips from Discovery Channel, Discovery Science and Animal Planet — will help parents and carers to keep children’s learning alive, while igniting their curiosity about the wider world.

With over 19,000 cross curricular resources including interactive games, ebooks and short videos, Discovery Education Espresso has something to spark interest in every child. From exploring the limits of outer space to diving to the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, there’s plenty to keep young learners engaged — and to inspire them to continue to discover and learn new things.

Pupils taking part can also enter a special competition, by sharing how they’ve made their own world bigger this summer. A trip to London’s Discovery HQ is on offer for the winning entrant and their classmates.

Susanna Dinnage, Managing Director of Discovery Networks UK & Ireland, said:

 

“‘Make Your World Bigger’ is an invitation to everyone to get the most out of life. We passionately believe in exploring the world around us, whether that’s physically or mentally —  and what better time to experience more and find new knowledge and inspiration than over the summer holidays. We would love to hear how you have made your world bigger this summer.”

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

“‘Make Your World Bigger’ will allow pupils to do just that. We want to encourage children to keep learning and achieving once they leave the classroom, and to inspire them to try something different during the holidays. We’re looking forward to hearing the summer stories of our Discovery Education learners as part of our competition.”

Primary schools wanting to be part of Make Your World Bigger are encouraged to download the pupil packs from http://www.discoveryeducation.co.uk/make-your-world-bigger before the end of the summer term. Pupils at participating schools will receive free home access to the Discovery Education Espresso service until 16th September, when the Make Your World Bigger competition closes. Full terms and conditions can be viewed on the Discovery Education UK website.

Those taking part are encouraged to Tweet about making their world bigger using #MYWBiggerChallenge.

Lack of Sex and Relationships Education creating ‘safeguarding crisis’ for young people

75% young people not taught about consent and 95% not taught about LGBT relationships, according to new survey by Terrence Higgins Trust

 

Sex and Relationships Education is infrequent, low quality and almost never covers LGBT sex and relationships or consent, according to a major new survey by Terrence Higgins Trust.

 

The UK’s leading HIV and sexual health charity has warned that the failure of the government to make SRE compulsory could leave children vulnerable to abuse, bullying and poor sexual and mental health.

 

The survey, released today to launch the charity’s SRE: End the Silence campaign, shows that, where it is happening, SRE is usually limited to biological topics like reproduction, body parts and heterosexual sex.

 

Meanwhile, 75% had not been taught about consent, 95% had not learned about LGBT sex relationships, 89% were not taught about sex and pleasure and 97% missed out on any mention of gender identity.

 

 

 

Three out of five respondents either didn’t remember receiving information on HIV in school (32%) or didn’t receive information on HIV in school (27%).

 

In February, the government refused to make SRE compulsory in schools, against the advice of parents, educators and the Education Select Committee.

 

Currently, SRE is only mandatory in state-maintained secondary schools, which means private schools, primary schools, academies and free schools are under no obligation to provide it.

 

Ian Green, Chief Executive of Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “In this report, we’ve seen the stark reality of SRE in this country and heard saddening stories of how one generation of young people have been exposed to low self-esteem, homophobia, bullying, unhealthy relationships and poor sexual health, as a result of the lack of quality SRE in our schools.

 

“The government’s quiet blocking of compulsory SRE will condemn another generation of young people to leave school armed with little to no information on anything other than the biological basics of heterosexual sex.

 

“We must end this silence and make SRE mandatory in all schools if we are to tackle this safeguarding crisis. This would mean teachers would get allocated time, resource and training so the quality of SRE would improve. This in turn would help students make positive and informed decisions, and to have healthy relationships with themselves and others  – wherever they go to school, and whatever their sexuality.”

 

The survey of 900 people aged 16-24 revealed that one in seven respondents had not received any SRE at all. Over half (61%) received SRE just once a year or less.

 

Meanwhile 99% of young people surveyed thought SRE should be mandatory in all schools and 97% thought it should be LGBT inclusive.

 

 

 

Half of young people rated the SRE they received in school as either ‘poor’ or ‘terrible’. Just 2% rated it as ‘excellent’ and 10% rated it as ‘good’.  The results reflect the realities of a recent Ofsted report that found 40% of SRE was requiring improvement or inadequate.

 

Terrence Higgins Trust believes one issue is that the most recent guidance on SRE has not been updated for sixteen years.

 

“It is shocking that the government guidance offered to schools on SRE is older than nearly all of the students themselves,” said Ian Green.  “Young people are getting information about sex and relationships in a world before social media existed, before smartphones, before equal marriage or Civil Partnerships. It is wholly unfit to prepare them for the realities of sex and relationships in 2016.”

 

Paul Bishop, Assistant Headteacher and Director of Sixth Form at St Cecilia’s School in South West London, said: “It seems everyone thinks SRE is someone else’s job. The result is an information vacuum which leaves children and young people reliant on inaccurate or unrealistic depictions of sex and relationships from alternative sources, such as their peer groups and social networks.

 

“This has strong implications for young people’s wellbeing. If we neglect issues like consent and LGBT relationships, it will inevitably lead to safeguarding issues, particularly given young people’s easy access to social media and the internet, and the wider context of sexting, pornography and cyber-bullying. Ignoring this can have a detrimental impact on people’s ability to have healthy relationships and to have realistic expectations of sexual behaviour.”

 

Read the full findings in the ‘Shh… No Talking’ report, and find out more about the ‘SRE: End the Silence’ campaign at www.tht.org.uk/endthesilence

Identifying excellence in education

i2i Events Group and BESA call for entries for 20th annual Bett Awards

 

The Bett Awards partners, i2i Events Group and BESA (The British Educational Suppliers Association), announce the launch of the education sector’s 20th annual Bett Awards. Considered the most prestigious accolade in the industry, the Bett Awards bring together developers, suppliers and educational practitioners each year to recognise, reward and celebrate ICT excellence in the education sector.

 

The 2017 awards introduce three new categories, ‘Best Education Support Resource for Parents/Home Learning’, ‘Edtech Start-up company of the Year’ and ‘Higher Education Digital Services’.

 

The Bett Awards 2017 will focus on the impact of ICT products and services in the classroom, school or college, in 19 distinctive categories:

The Bett Awards 2017 categories are:

  • Early Years Digital Content
  • Primary Digital Content
  • Secondary Digital Content
  • ICT Tools for Learning, Teaching and Assessment (classroom aids)
  • ICT Tools for Learning, Teaching and Assessment (whole school aids)
  • ICT Special Educational Needs Solutions
  • Digital Devices
  • ICT Leadership and Management Solutions
  • ICT Exporter of the Year
  • ICT Service and Support
  • ICT Company of the Year (less than £3m turnover)
  • ICT Company of the Year (over £3m turnover)
  • Free Digital Content/Open Educational Resources
  • International Digital Education Resource
  • Educational Apps
  • ICT Innovator of the Year
  • Best Education Support Resource for Parents/Home Learning
  • Edtech Start-up Company of the Year
  • Higher Education Digital Services

 

BESA will again act as chair of judges, overseeing the impartiality and fairness of the robust, two-stage judging process by a panel of experienced educational professionals. Entries will be assessed on specific criteria.

Debbie French, education portfolio director at i2i Events Group, said, “Recognition of the quality of learning resources provided by UK organisations continues to spread globally. Each year the Bett Awards offer suppliers the opportunity to celebrate their commitment to driving up standards within education. As the provider of these world-class awards, we are proud to see the number and calibre of entrants increase year on year. Each pushes at the very boundaries of what is new, innovative and possible in technology, and we are excited to help celebrate this again in 2017.”

Caroline Wright, director general, BESA adds, “The UK EdTech industry is not just thriving, it is growing at a significantly fast pace; the opportunities for EdTech businesses are now unparalleled anywhere else in the world. There are few sectors of the UK economy with this capacity to grow and generate export earnings as impressive as education. This success can be attributed to the unprecedented quality of products and resources for learning and while the industry recognises this through financial success and exports, these awards will salute and applaud those companies who continue to demonstrate this level of excellence.”

 

Award entries can be completed online at www.bettawards.com until the closing date, 30 September 2016, and the winners will be announced at a prestigious gala evening event on Wednesday 20 January 2017 at the Brewery, London EC1Y.

GOLFERS TEED UP TO MAKE MATHS COUNT

Some of the world’s greatest golfers were faced with an extra challenge today as they played in the traditional Pro-Am curtain-raiser at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Castle Stuart Golf Links.

Aberdeen Asset Management together with the Scottish Government and VisitScotland came up with a novel idea to help encourage greater enthusiasm for maths amongst the country’s children – by printing mathematical expressions, or sums, upon the 18 pin flags on course.

The expressions were provided by pupils from Ardersier and Balloch Primary schools in Inverness and they certainly made world number 27 and Inverness born Russell Knox pay extra attention.

Russell Knox said:

“This is a fantastic initiative and I was delighted to meet with the local school children who did a great job in preparing the expressions and almost catching us golfers out!”

Aberdeen Asset Management Chief Executive, Martin Gilbert, is represented on the Scottish Government’s Making Maths Count expert group. He said:

“I am delighted Aberdeen, through our sponsorship of the Scottish Open, could do our bit to make maths more engaging for pupils which is absolutely crucial. I remember fondly my old maths teacher, Mr Payne, who got us all excited about maths in the classroom. Not many pupils can say they looked forward to their maths lessons!”

Making Maths Count is a Scottish Government initiative to encourage greater enthusiasm for maths amongst children and young people, their parents and carers and the wider public.

Minister for Childcare and Early Years Mark McDonald said:

“This Government is committed to raising attainment including improving children and young people’s maths skills. It’s fantastic that organisations like Aberdeen Asset Management are so supportive of our Making Maths Count initiative and have brought maths to life on the golf course with the help of pupils from local schools. Partnerships like this are a great example of how businesses and schools can work together to develop maths skills in new and enjoyable ways.”

The Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open is taking place at Castle Stuart Golf Links from 7-10 July. Tickets to watch some of the world’s greatest golfers are available on the gate. For further information please visit www.aamscottishopen.com

The pedagogical equation for a successful school

Stephen Hawking may have provided scientific explanations for the basic laws that govern the universe, but when it comes to pedagogy, EES for Schools has worked out the magic formula for creating an effective learning environment.
Here, Chris Smith, head of education technology and business development at EES for Schools, outlines how schools can become truly effective and explains the importance of data in achieving successful outcomes.
EES for Schools found that there are 25 characteristics that form the foundations of effective schools, separated into six key dimensions: learners, leadership, teaching, governance, business management, and people management. Data permeates every aspect of pedagogy, so having a data management system enables school stakeholders to recognise dimensions within the school that require improvement and, additionally, areas that are achieving positive educational results.
The teachings of pedagogy
Teachers are able to use data to help them develop professionally. The best teachers have a passion for learning and pass on their enthusiasm and dedication to their pupils, carrying out research into their subjects, for example, that enables them to create exciting and rich learning opportunities and tailor lessons accordingly. They are able to understand pupils’ individual learning requirements and monitor their progress and attainment using data, which, in turn, reveals areas where their teaching may need adapting or improving to ensure that all learners are understanding the lessons being taught, and, in turn, receiving a comprehensive education.
A distributed leadership model is used in a successful school to create a network rather than a hierarchy of leadership, empowering all staff to take responsibility. Curriculum leadership is also a crucial factor in the pedagogical equation, as leaders need to constantly monitor, review and update material and methods, so that the material is relevant to the academics, vocational and social success of all pupils.
Data gives school leaders a clear view of the whole school’s progress across the curriculum and the opportunity to analyse attainment by group, individual or class, meaning that transitions between key stages can be facilitated effectively, and pupils that are underperforming can be identified and assisted, if necessary.

The academic universe
A successful school is learner-centred, meaning the attitude of the institution and its staff place pupils at the very centre of the pedagogical universe, prioritising their wellbeing and safeguarding, and personal and educational development. Ownership of learning should be encouraged, as it gives pupils the self-motivation needed to achieve positive learning outcomes. In an effective school, regular discussions occur between teachers and pupils that use data to recognise achievements and enable learning targets to be agreed and set, based on the information collated by an effective data management system.
Governors play an important role in the education sphere, as they are responsible for raising the school’s standards alongside the senior leadership team, and therefore, must have a diverse range of members on the board. Effective governing bodies monitor the progression of pupils, the effectiveness of teachers, the quality of the curriculum and the school’s strategic direction, all of which can be facilitated using an efficient data management system.
A key priority for schools should be cost-effectiveness, especially as they are becoming increasingly autonomous. High-quality school business managers oversee the management of resources and make strategic decisions based on whole-school priorities, With a study commissioned by the DfE finding that data promotes teaching and learning by facilitating the more effective allocation of staff and resources, schools business managers need to be able to interpret the data, as it will enable them to make strategic, beneficial decisions, such as ensuring money is spent effectively.
It’s all relative
A school setting has a significant number of people involved with maintaining the school, and an even greater number of pupils. Therefore, everyone within the school needs managing appropriately. Schools must ensure that they have the resources and expertise needed to people manage efficiently. For example, effective performance management ensures staff members are allocated line manages, with whom they can identify their strengths and weaknesses, and then set clear objectives that need to be met to achieve pay progression. Data facilitates this process, as it’s a resource that enables staff to demonstrate how they have met their targets for the year, and it also means that those requiring improvement can be identified and provided with the appropriate support and training needed to achieve their objectives.
The six key dimensions that form an effective school need to be implemented and maintained successfully in order to achieve positive pedagogical results. All schools are data rich, and must utilise this resource, employing a data management provision to collate and manage results, as it provides tangible evidence of pupils’ attainment and the school’s progress. Ultimately, all schools want the same thing: for their pupils to achieve, both autonomously and academically. Successfully implementing the outlined pedagogical equation and utilising data will ensure that schools, and teaching staff, are not only efficient and truly effective, but, most importantly, are giving pupils the opportunity to succeed and achieve.

Research shows reading section complexity used in Key Stage 2 tests has increased substantially

Research released today by educational measurement and research organisation MetaMetrics, shows that the 2016 SATs tests are as difficult as the 2015 SATS, which were reported as ‘one of the hardest’ tests teachers had ever seen.

The newly released study reveals that the text complexity of the Key Stage (KS) 2 reading section has been more varied through the years with a marked difference between the official sample and the 2016 administered reading section.

MetaMetrics, an educational measurement and research organisation, and the developer of The Lexile Framework for Reading, analysed the text complexity of the English reading sections from KS 1 and 2 tests from 2003 to 2016, including the 2016 samples from the Department for Education. While MetaMetrics’ study found that the 2016 KS 1 reading section is generally well aligned with complexity of the sample and previous reading sections, it also found that the 2016 KS 2 reading section was substantially more complex than the sample. Both Key Stage reading sections utilised text with greater complexity than that of available textbooks.

The KS2 sample reading section released by DfE leading up to the 2016 administration had an overall measure of 910L. This overall measure fell in the middle range of previous KS 2 reading sections. The 2016 administered reading section, however, had an overall complexity measure of 1110L, 200L above the sample. MetaMetrics analysis revealed that the 2016 reading section was the most challenging of all the measured KS 2 reading sections*. This could be a product of the Government now assessing pupils of all abilities within a single test after discontinuing the levels.

Catherine Bell, co group MD at Scholastic UK said, “The news that the most recent Reading SATS paper was the hardest yet wasn’t a surprise to us or the schools that we work with. We know that teachers are working hard to support children as the high stakes tests grow more demanding and that motivating children to read more is a great way to help prepare them for tests.”

It is worth reflecting on the relationship between classroom and assessment materials. The Year 2 textbook Lexile median was 610L, 110L lower than the KS1 test. Similarly, the Year 6 Lexile median was 800L, over 300L lower than the KS2 test. We know textbooks are not the most widely used materials but this indicates a possible disconnect between instruction and assessment. Knowing the complexity of the materials we put in front of our children day to day allows us to encourage growth, monitor progress, and identify those that fall behind earlier.

Backed by 30 years of research, Lexile measures are an objective way to match students with text, track and forecast growth, and connect with the growing number of UK and international reading programmes from leading publishers that report this valuable information. The Lexile scale is a developmental scale for measuring reader ability and text complexity, ranging from below 0L for beginner readers and reader materials, to above 2000L for advanced readers and materials; and the Lexile scale can be used to measure both the complexity of a text, such as a book or article (for example, 850L), and an individual’s reading ability. One of the benefits of using a scale, like the Lexile scale, is the insight it gives into the spread of reading abilities across a school or classroom. Additionally, by measuring texts (or even sample assessment questions) with the same scale, educators have the ability to compare those texts to the range of reading abilities in their classroom.

This new research from MetaMetrics, the global leader in reading measurement, sheds valuable insight on the reading demands and expected growth of the new UK national curriculum.

Big majority believe immigration increases pressure on schools and hospitals

– Public more worried about impact of immigration on public services than on the economy or Britain’s culture
– Concern about economic and cultural impact of immigration has fallen
New findings from NatCen’s British Social Attitudes survey reveal widespread public concern that immigration is creating pressure on the NHS and on schools.
Asked to balance the contribution that migrants make to the NHS as workers and tax-payers versus the use they make of its services, around 6 in 10 say migrants increase pressure on the NHS. As many as around 7 in 10 say the same thing when it comes to schools.

In contrast only just over one in three (35%) reckon that immigration is bad for Britain’s economy and just four in ten (40%) that it undermines Britain’s cultural life. At the same time concern about these aspects of immigration has – somewhat surprisingly perhaps – declined since 2013 when nearly half (47%) thought that immigration was bad for Britain’s economy and 45% reckoned it undermined the country’s cultural life.

People are particularly concerned about what they consider to be the pressure on services across Britain as a whole rather than in their own locality.

– Schools: 71% think that immigration increases pressure on schools across Britain as a whole, while 62% say it does so in their local area.
– NHS: 63% of people think that immigration increases pressure on the NHS as whole, with 57% saying it does so in their local area.
Social division
There continues to be a sharp social division in attitudes to immigration, a division that was also in evidence in last week’s referendum on EU membership.
For example, just 15% of graduates think that immigration is bad for the economy compared with 51% of those who do not have any educational qualifications. Equally, just 21% of those with a degree think that immigration undermines Britain’s cultural life, compared with 54% of those without any qualifications.
However, when it comes to the impact of immigration on schools, graduates are almost as likely (67%) as those without any educational qualification (76%) to think that it increases the pressure on them across Britain as a whole. This may reflect the importance that graduates place on education.
Younger people tend to take a more favourable attitude towards immigration than older people. However, the decline in concern about the economic and cultural consequences of migration appears to have occurred amongst both graduates and non-graduates, younger people and older people.
It may be that the improvement in the state of the economy between 2013 and 2015 helped reduce the level of concern about immigration. Even so, it remains the case that less than half think that immigration is actually good for the economy (42%) or that it positively enriches the country’s cultural life (40%).
Prof John Curtice, Senior Research Fellow at NatCen said: “This survey highlights that it is the belief that immigration puts pressure on public services that now appears to be the driving force behind public concern about the level of immigration into Britain. Even during a period where the public appeared less concerned about the economic and cultural consequences of immigration. Substantial majorities still said that migrants were having a net negative affect on British schools and the NHS. It would appear that assuaging this concern will be a key priority for the next Prime Minister as the government tries to meet the concerns about immigration that were evident during the EU referendum.”

Identifying excellence in education

i2i Events Group and BESA call for entries for 20th annual Bett Awards

The Bett Awards partners, i2i Events Group and BESA (The British Educational Suppliers Association), announce the launch of the education sector’s 20th annual Bett Awards. Considered the most prestigious accolade in the industry, the Bett Awards bring together developers, suppliers and educational practitioners each year to recognise, reward and celebrate ICT excellence in the education sector.

The 2017 awards introduce three new categories, ‘Best Education Support Resource for Parents/Home Learning’, ‘Edtech Start-up company of the Year’ and ‘Higher Education Digital Services’.

The Bett Awards 2017 will focus on the impact of ICT products and services in the classroom, school or college, in 19 distinctive categories:
The Bett Awards 2017 categories are:
• Early Years Digital Content
• Primary Digital Content
• Secondary Digital Content
• ICT Tools for Learning, Teaching and Assessment (classroom aids)
• ICT Tools for Learning, Teaching and Assessment (whole school aids)
• ICT Special Educational Needs Solutions
• Digital Devices
• ICT Leadership and Management Solutions
• ICT Exporter of the Year
• ICT Service and Support
• ICT Company of the Year (less than £3m turnover)
• ICT Company of the Year (over £3m turnover)
• Free Digital Content/Open Educational Resources
• International Digital Education Resource
• Educational Apps
• ICT Innovator of the Year
• Best Education Support Resource for Parents/Home Learning
• Edtech Start-up Company of the Year
• Higher Education Digital Services

BESA will again act as chair of judges, overseeing the impartiality and fairness of the robust, two-stage judging process by a panel of experienced educational professionals. Entries will be assessed on specific criteria.
Debbie French, education portfolio director at i2i Events Group, said, “Recognition of the quality of learning resources provided by UK organisations continues to spread globally. Each year the Bett Awards offer suppliers the opportunity to celebrate their commitment to driving up standards within education. As the provider of these world-class awards, we are proud to see the number and calibre of entrants increase year on year. Each pushes at the very boundaries of what is new, innovative and possible in technology, and we are excited to help celebrate this again in 2017.”
Caroline Wright, director general, BESA adds, “The UK EdTech industry is not just thriving, it is growing at a significantly fast pace; the opportunities for EdTech businesses are now unparalleled anywhere else in the world. There are few sectors of the UK economy with this capacity to grow and generate export earnings as impressive as education. This success can be attributed to the unprecedented quality of products and resources for learning and while the industry recognises this through financial success and exports, these awards will salute and applaud those companies who continue to demonstrate this level of excellence.”

Award entries can be completed online at www.bettawards.com until the closing date, 30 September 2016, and the winners will be announced at a prestigious gala evening event on Wednesday 20 January 2017 at the Brewery, London EC1Y.