Northern Grid for Learning helps schools in the North East avoid broadband disruption

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  • The BT Broadband Contract for schools in the North East will cease in July 2017, but Northern Grid for Learning (NGfL) will continue to provide schools with E-Safety support as they do now
  • NGfL is providing guidance and advice to its schools ahead of the contract end, to ensure they experience minimal disruption
  • Through a new campaign being introduced, schools can renew broadband contracts with the NEN through E2BN and continue to receive all the safeguards and benefits

 

Following the news that North East schools with current BT broadband contracts will be required to source an alternative provider by July 2017, Northern Grid for Learning (NGfL), has advised schools that high-quality, cost-effective broadband can be acquired through The National Education Network (NEN).

 

With over 15 years of successfully exceeding the expectations and broadband requirements across the UK, the NEN, alongside its partner, the East of England Broadband Network, E2BN – a public sector organisation set up to provide safe and secure broadband to the education sector – have the experience and capacity to ensure schools have secure and fit-for-purpose broadband that meets their requirements.

 

Through its Department for Education (DfE) compliant IT procurement framework, E2BN is ideally placed to ensure schools in the North East of England are able to move to another provider following the end of the BT Broadband Contract.

 

The contract was awarded to BT Global service in 2012 for PSN-compliant Broadband services to schools and local authorities within the North East of England. With the contract due to expire in July 2017, schools will need to change providers, but NGfL is advising them of the best route of action.

 

Simon Finch of NGfL, said: “The existing BT contract will come to an end later this year, and while schools will have to move to another provider, there are simple ways of doing this that will cause minimal disruption, and we will of course continue to provide advice and guidance on the most cost-effective and efficient ways of doing this.

 

“Recent press reports about NGfL’s demise are unfounded. We will continue to provide schools with E-Safety support and can help them in selecting a new Broadband provider through E2BN. The E2BN frameworks will save schools time and money, as well as providing them with the same benefits and security that are currently provided by NGfL.”

 

Chris Kastel, CEO of E2BN, said: “Unfortunately there have been recent reports of private sector companies using scare tactics to try and frighten schools into signing potentially unsuitable contracts. We’ve seen that happen elsewhere in the country and we’re working closely with NGfL to ensure that schools in the North East have all the necessary information to help them decide what they want and need.  And through our frameworks we have access to the best solutions and value for money from the biggest national providers because we already deal with thousands of schools nationally.”

If you are a North East school with any concerns or queries, then please contact NGfL on: 0191 643 2855 or E2BN on: 01462 834588

Pupils online: National survey of 19,000 UK pupils reveals new trends in children’s internet use

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The results of a national pupil survey on internet use will be released on 30 January 2017 ahead of Safer Internet Day, taking data from 60 schools and 19,000 pupils

  • Primary-aged pupils are more frequently using tablets and smartphones to access the internet
  • With greater access to the internet, concerns have been raised around the content that is accessible by young children, and how this can be combatted effectively

 

Catshill Learning Partnerships, along with education technology association, Naace, have announced that the results from a national survey of pupils’ internet use at home, will be released on 30 January ahead of this year’s Safer Internet Day on 7 February.

The survey, which involved over 60 schools and over 19,000 pupils from across the UK, asked questions about the devices young people are using to get online. As expected, the results show that children of all ages are using a wide range of devices, but the figures for very young children surprisingly revealed that over 60 per cent of four to five-year-olds are using tablets to get online. The tablet is the online device of choice for primary children, but for secondary school-aged children, the smartphone is the most popular choice.

Key figures from the study show that:

  • Nearly half of four to seven-year-old children surveyed say they are using a smartphone to get online
  • 66 per cent of Year 7 pupils and 89 per cent of Year 10 pupils use a smartphone, which is the most popular method of accessing the internet
  • Over half of six-year-olds use a laptop to get online
  • Games consoles are used mostly by 10 and 11-year-olds with three main platforms (Xbox, Playstation and Wii) being popular
  • A wide range of other connected devices were being used at home. The most popular devices in the ‘Internet of Things’ category were other consoles such as the Nintendo DS, heating controls, smart meters and portable media devices. Smart fridges and kettles were mentioned but less common.

Edtech and online safety consultant, Brett Laniosh, from Catshill Learning Partnerships said, “We now know that children are using a wide range of technology to get online at home, but the findings for younger children will surprise many. The fact that so many four and five-year-olds are using smartphones and tablets to access what could be unfiltered content is of concern and one that is echoed by the Children’s Commissioners report “Growing up Digital” released earlier this month.

“We would encourage schools to find out what devices their pupils are using at home and then compare their results with the national average.” Brett added, “I would also encourage schools to heed the advice of the Children’s Commissioner and establish Digital Leaders in school to get young people involved with the delivery of online safety education. For parents, it is vital to speak with your children to find out what hardware they have access to and which ones are being used to access online content. The discussion should also cover whether they are being used appropriately, for example protecting personal privacy and spending an appropriate amount of time using them.”

Mark Chambers, Naace CEO, said, “Naace members like Brett are deeply engaged at a local level with schools and their communities. We would do well to take heed of this survey’s finding, add it to the finding of BESA that teachers feel insufficiently trained and make it a national priority to both educate and protect our young people as they become the next generation of (digital!) citizens”.

Brett Laniosh and the team from Naace will be at Bett 2017 this week on stand G135 to discuss the results of the survey during the show, which takes place from 25 to 28 January at ExCel London.

 

Maynooth University future proofs its campus

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Background

Maynooth University is internationally recognised for its quality of research & scholarship, as well as the dedication and commitment to teaching its students. Part of the NUI and formally established as an autonomous university in 1997, Maynooth University traces its origins to the foundation of the Royal College of St. Patrick in 1795, drawing inspiration from a heritage that includes over 200 years of education and scholarship. Today, the University has over 11,000 students and 800 staff with extensive research facilities. Teaching is delivered by leading international researchers committed to providing a superior education and there is a strong student-centric, community ethos on campus.

 

The Challenge

 

As Maynooth University continued to expand, it required a high-quality audio visual technology solution. One which would provide superb image quality to enhance teaching on campus and deliver against heightened student expectations. There was need for a solution that required minimal maintenance and provided reliable performance, ensuring the continuity of service in terms of quality and costs, whilst reducing downtime which can disrupt valuable lesson time.

 

Following an exhaustive competitive procurement process, the University decided to partner with Sony via AV integrator Image Supply Systems Ltd. The selection criteria focused on a most economically advantageous tender (MEAT), based on award criteria that included both performance specifications and price. Sony demonstrated a strong understanding of the higher education sector’s needs, and was able to provide one point of contact for a range of solutions, with outstanding, focused customer support, criteria particularly important for the University.

 

The Sony solution

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Maynooth University selected Sony’s high quality solution to provide students and staff with reliable technology and strong support throughout the installation process and beyond. As part of this, the University installed 45 x Sony 3LCD VPL-FHZ55 laser projectors, 2 x Sony 3LCD VPL-FHZ57 laser projectors and 31 x Sony 60” and 48” BRAVIA Professional Displays. The majority of the products were placed in the new state of the art “Eolas” building, housing the technical, research and computer science departments. Additional projectors and displays were installed throughout the campus within other teaching spaces and meeting rooms.

 

Why Sony was selected

 

Andrew Moloney, Campus Services at Maynooth University, commented on the solution selected: “It was vital that we find a solution that delivered a high-quality, reliable and continuous user experience. Sony has proven itself both reliable and flexible, offering excellent quality solutions to improve our teaching venues. We also wanted the projectors and displays to produce a solid image with good colour rendition and they haven’t disappointed at all. Sony’s proven high-quality, reliable track record and excellent customer service shone through and Sony provided an excellent, flexible quality of service.”

 

“With the Sony products installed, we have managed to achieve long-term cost savings as well as a great user experience for both of our students as well as the teachers. We look forward to seeing how we can further develop our technological capabilities in the future.”

 

The University installed 45 x VPL-FHZ55 projectors, which was the world’s first 3LCD laser projector, delivering game-changing performance and reliability in mission-critical installation applications, including educational institutions. The impeccable image quality, producing bright, detail-packed WUXGA images with a resolution higher than Full HD was a deciding factor for the AV team when choosing this type of laser technology. The environmentally-friendly laser light source is teamed with 3LCD BrightEra™ technology and the users notice the difference with superb image quality at 4000 lumen brightness, plus exceptional contrast and consistent colour stability.

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The VPL-FHZ57 projector is the successor of the VPL-FHZ55, delivering enhanced laser technology from Sony. So far the University has installed two of these projectors and plans to invest further in the technology in future. Teamed with the company’s BrightEra 3LCD projection engine, the advanced Z-Phosphor laser light source ensures crisp clear WUXGA resolution images with a generous 4,100 lumens brightness and rich, stable colours. The constant brightness mode maintains the same on-screen light levels throughout the laser source’s extra-long lifespan.

 

The BRAVIA Professional Displays installed also have a range of energy-efficient features built in, such as Dynamic Backlight Control and Frame Dimming. In addition, they are competitively-priced, slim, and deliver stunning Full HD LED images, making them the smart way to make a point in classrooms and meeting spaces around the campus. They were easy to install, with plentiful connections and Wi-Fi networking on board, plus simple screen mirroring for smartphones or tablets that is an invaluable tool for teachers to make their classes more interactive. The displays include USB playback, IP control, RS232C control (with optional accessory CBX-H11/1), and support for simple box-free HTML5 digital signage which is used throughout the campus.

 

Results to date

 

Enhancing the teaching experience at Maynooth University, Sony’s AV solutions have delivered outstanding image quality and visual impact, providing students, staff and visitors with an experience they won’t forget. The reliability of the solution means that the institution requires a fraction of the support from the AV team post-installation. The dramatically reduced maintenance requirements are complemented by a range of energy-saving features in both the projectors as well as the BRAVIA displays, significantly driving down total lifetime ownership costs.

 

The projectors fit seamlessly into the environment, offering exceptional brightness, zoom and throw range, coupled with wide lens shift range, meaning they can perform where other projectors would struggle – even in high ambient light.

 

In addition to improving the reliability and quality of the teaching venues, long-term cost saving was an important factor for the University. The laser projectors require virtually zero maintenance operation for up to 20,000 hours[1] without the worry of sudden lamp failure. The automated filter system cuts the hassle of regular dust cleaning and the range of energy-saving features future proof Maynooth University’s investment, significantly driving down total lifetime ownership costs.

 

Feedback on the reliability and picture quality has lived up to Maynooth’s expectations and this quality is something that every Sony customer can expect.

 

Product list

 

[1] Actual hours may vary depending on usage environment.

Studytracks: Disrupting education at Bett 2017

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  • Studytracks will make its Bett debut in the Futures area on Stand BFS50
  • Studytracks has been shortlisted for the Innovation in ICT and Secondary Digital Content awards
  • Ivor Novello Award winner and Studytracks founder, George Hammond-Hagan, will be speaking at Bett
  • Laura Ferreri, a neuroscientist from the University of Barcelona, will join George during the session to share her research on the link between music and memory

 

Studytracks, the innovative app for GCSE and A-Level students, plans to create some noise and disrupt education in the most positive way, when it makes its Bett debut in the exciting Futures area.

Created by Ivor Novello Award winner, George Hammond-Hagan, Studytracks merges music with study materials, using lyrics relating to a specific exam theme or topic. As the student listens to the music, these hooks become embedded in their memory – just like the lyrics of a song – so that when something triggers the hook (like a word or phase in an exam question), students are able to recall the information easily and effectively. It currently features over 500 songs within various GCSE and AS Level subject categories.

The edtech sector has certainly taken notice of this brand new company, as Studytracks has been shortlisted in two Bett Award categories: Secondary Digital Content and the coveted Innovation in ICT.

In addition, George will be speaking at Bett; his session, ‘How an Ivor Novello Award winner is hacking education’, will take place on Thursday 26 January at 1pm in Bett Futures.  During the session, George will explain how the idea for the app came about when his son was studying for his GCSEs. He’ll also explain the bedrock of Studytracks, looking into the science behind ‘earworms’ and how the theory can be effectively applied to education. He will be will be joined by neuroscientist from the University of Barcelona, Laura Ferreri, who will share the findings of her most recent research on music and memory.

Explaining why he’s looking forward to Bett, George said: “Within three weeks of launching, we had 10,000 active users and over 35,000 users a few months later. This figure is still rising at an unprecedented rate! It quickly became clear to us that we’d created something special, something students really ‘got’ and loved. They’ve seen their grades jump significantly after using it, and we have the testimonials to prove it. We’ve been in talks with a number of schools about Studytracks; as soon as we give teachers a demonstration, they’re hooked too! Studytracks really works, and with tens of thousands of teachers under one roof, Bett is the perfect place for us to show them how our app can really help their students to retain information, increase attainments, and improve exam results.”

For more information, pop by the Studytracks Stand BFS50, come along to George’s talk at Bett on Thursday 26 Jan at 1pm in Bett Futures, or visit www.studytracks.education/

Edtech startup to launch app to close literacy gap at Bett 2017

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24 January 2017: Edtech startup, Zaprendo, has announced the launch of its innovative learn-to-read app, Sounds English Phonics, at Bett 2017. The app is designed to accelerate reading achievement and early-stage literacy by teaching pupils with a reading age of between six and nine years to utilise 92 commonly occurring grapho-phonemes (written sounds).

Research carried out by Zaprendo and reviewed by the University of Surrey has proven that the app is a high-impact learning tool for children and is 2.8 times more effective than standard literacy approaches. The study compared a test group of eight and nine-year-olds using Sounds English Phonics alongside their standard literacy class against a control group not using the app, over a 30-day period. The results showed that every student in the test group improved their reading age, with the majority gaining more than a year within the 30 days. In comparison, only 3 per cent of the control group improved by more than one year in reading age.

Using an innovative approach, the app also demonstrates how to say the written sounds through video, in either British or American English, with learning consolidated through the in-app formative assessment. A calendar tracks pupils’ progress and the app’s algorithms adapt learning to suit the pupil’s individual level and pace, encouraging self-driven learning and providing a personalised learning experience that helps them to become confident, independent readers.

Inés Noé, Co-founder of Zaprendo, said: “The UK and the US have remained outside the top 20 countries in literacy skills since 2006, with the latest PISA results revealing that both countries are still significantly lagging behind. The Sounds English Phonics app can change this – with research already proving its effectiveness.”

Alan Wagstaff, Educationalist and Co-Founder of Zaprendo, added: “Sounds English uses a synthetic, phonics approach. It allows students to work at their own pace and cleverly adapts so that only written sounds unknown to them are presented for learning. The speech production videos, in American and British English mean the app can also support learners who don’t have English as their first language.”

Sounds English Phonics is the first of several highly innovative apps Zaprendo will launch.

Zaprendo incorporates UNESCO’s curriculum frame: ‘learning to do’, ‘learning to feel’, ‘learning to know’; ‘learning to be’ in all its offerings.

Developed for iPhone, iPad and Android devices, Sounds English Phonics is currently available to download on the iTunes and Google Play stores.

Co-founder of Zaprendo, Alan Wagstaff, will be delivering a series of short talks for parents and teachers at Bett 2017. The topics include: “The Big Four: When children fall in love with learning”, “Move It!: A powerful, new early reading strategy”, and “Crossing the Finnish Line: the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of early reading acceleration”.

Visit Zaprendo at stand G314 at Bett 2017 to find out more about the Sounds English Phonics app and to attend the short talks by co-founder Alan Wagstaff.

To find out more about the Sounds English Research, visit www.zaprendo.com/research or contact hello@zaprendo.com.

Brexit shines spotlight on political literacy courses in schools as bookings double in 2017

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Shout Out UK is educating the nation’s schools and providing young people with AQA accredited political literacy courses that have doubled in sign-ups this academic year

Brexit and the nomination of Donald Trump as America’s next president are just two of the astonishing political events that shocked the world in 2016 and left many feeling misinformed and confused. Shout Out UK is part of the drive to educate the public and encourage a new generation to engage in politics through their exciting and informative courses.

In light of 2016’s political upheaval, the political literacy courses, that began in London, have now expanded across the UK and as far as Yorkshire as more schools sign up.

The online news network introduced the course, which is certified by the largest provider of academic qualifications, AQA, in order to encourage young people’s engagement with politics. It covers British Politics, International Relations as well as Employability and Politics. Students learn to campaign, fund-raise and become confident when debating and public speaking. All in all, the course teaches young people that politics is the basis for everyday life and therefore, how it makes sense to be involved.

The course has been received well by students and teachers alike which has led to it being implemented in schools across the country.

Matteo Bergamini, founder of Shout Out UK said;

“Currently, we assume that once we hit 18 years of age we suddenly become enlightened with all the political knowledge one needs to vote and engage. Of course, this not the case, it needs to be taught and understood in school as a compulsory subject. We treat English and Maths in very high regard, however, the one subject that allows us to be who we want to be, gives us a voice and creates a society we wish to live in, we give no time to in schools.”

“The issue is that political literacy would give us, the next generation, a clear understanding of what politics is, how our society works and why voting is relevant and important. You can’t get an entire generation mobilized without first giving them the instruments to understand the system they are supposed to be influencing.”

Roisin Murray, a teacher from Bentley Wood school, comments on the course:

“After sitting in on several lessons with Shout Out UK and our students, I can honestly say it has been a fantastic opportunity for our students to develop their knowledge and awareness of current affairs as well as their ability to speak in public, debate and present a discussion coherently.”

 Paul, a teacher from The Leys School, said:

“In a world of great political upheaval in which previous conventions have been swept away and nothing can be taken for granted, it is all the more vital that young people have a voice and know how to use it. They are bombarded by opinions but need to know how to sort the facts from mere bluster. This course has helped them to understand the institutions which make up our democracy and how the checks and balances work. They have got to grips with some of the burning issues of the day and have put their arguments forward in a coherent and convincing way. Those taking part have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the course has left them with a hunger to learn more.”

For more Information on Shout Out’s Political literacy course please visit: http://www.shoutoutuk.org/political-literacy-course/

 

NEW EDUCATION COMMUNICATION NETWORK LAUNCHED

 

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‘The Whole-school Communication & Engagement Platform’ for Education Comes to the UK

Hall/Stand D365, BETT, 25th– 28th January 2017, Excel London

 

19th January 2017

 

A new two-way, whole school educational communication platform for the UK is launching at Bett, the educational technology trade show, on 25th January 2017.  The software product, called Weduc, from education technology experts Accrosoft, will enhance communication and engagement between parents, teachers, and students to a level that no other education product has done before.

 

A major benefit of Weduc is the high level of built-in, targeted communication it provides.  It facilitates two-way engagement, and provides multiple roots of communication and involvement, allowing the school to choose the most appropriate channel of communication – for example, SMS, Push Notification, Email, Chat, Notice, Social Media – for the correct situation.

By using the highly configurable and secure cloud-based network to exchange messages, photos, videos and achievements, teachers can bring parents closer to the activities that students engage in when they are at school, and, unlike a public website, all communication takes place within a completely private and secure environment.    Weduc makes it possible to manage classes, tests and assessments whilst providing a safe location for all with secure access to post content, comments and pictures.

 

Already deployed in Europe by over 100 thousand people from more than 300 institutions, Weduc integrates modern management and LMS – Learning Management System – tools with a controlled environment, enabling communication and engagement between a wide range of audiences, including public organisations, private teaching entities, schools, academies, associations, franchising networks, companies and banks.

 

Jason Staniforth, Marketing Director, Weduc said, “The Weduc platform is a social network inspired, communication and engagement platform that offers complete security for all users whilst adding an enhanced point of interaction and knowledge sharing between students, teachers, parents and all involved in the education process.  The system has proved highly successful in Europe, and we know that it will do equally well in the UK.

 

We believe that the ability to safely, and securely, exchange information across the whole-school community is key to the formation of a successful and integrated, learning society.”

 

ULTRA SUSTAINABLE “AMAZING BUILDING” FOR REDMOOR ACADEMY

Thursday 19 January 2017

Redmoor Academy in Hinckley, Leicestershire hosted a grand opening for their new two-storey ultra-efficient “Schoolhaus” building which forms the academy’s Business and Enterprise Centre: with 8 classrooms, a meeting space, toilets, offices and a study area for students; housing the maths department, business studies, and CEIAG (Careers, Education, Information, Advice, and Guidance) programme and enterprise initiatives.

Built by UK Energy Partners and Net Zero Buildings, the new centre was officially declared open by local politicians; The Worshipful, the Mayor of Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council, Councillor Richard Allen and David Tredinnick MP, Member of Parliament for Bosworth.

Mayor Allen said, “When I was in school in the 1960s there were no energy efficient buildings. It is brilliant to see innovations such as this. Congratulations to the school and of course UK Energy Partners on such a great building.”

Redmoor Academy is an oversubscribed secondary academy which needed to expand its capacity to accommodate more pupils. The academy turned to Schoolhaus for their solution; increasing their capacity, and allowing energy savings.

With limited capital budgets for new or replacement buildings, the new Business and Enterprise Centre was funded by UK Energy Partners on a 7-year operating lease.

Mr Tredinnick MP said, “This is a very important improvement for the school giving them an energy neutral building and a manageable financial package.”

Schoolhaus is an appealing solution for schools with its funding options, and minimal ongoing utilities and maintenance costs, in addition to the energy generation from Schoolhaus’ solar PV roof and key features: state-of-the-art Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery (MVHR), LED lights and occupancy and motion sensors controlling both lighting and heating; all powered by the building’s solar PV roof.

Aesthetically appealing, cost efficient and environmentally sound, the students and staff at Redmoor Academy look forward to enjoying the many benefits of their new Business and Enterprise Centre.

Peter Johnston, Chief Executive Officer, UK Energy Partners said, “My highlight of the day was a presentation given by eight of the school’s students about why everyone should build net zero buildings – real advocates of carbon reduction! It was rewarding that much of the presentation stemmed from our factory visit these pupils undertook back in November and further demonstrated the benefit of that type of engagement.”

Jane Sulley, Redmoor Academy, Business Manager said, “Just an amazing building! That’s the only word I can use to describe!”

Andrew Coombs, Redmoor Academy, Principal said, “I would like to thank UK Energy Partners and Net Zero Buildings who have been incredible to us. We really appreciate the way they have worked with us, especially inviting our students to the factory and helping to get the building open on time.

We are really pleased with the building. Students and staff have been blown away by our new facilities. When you compare this to our main school building you cannot compare the technology and reduced running costs.

The quality is fantastic – as a teaching area I do not think you can better what we have here with our new build.”

Issued by and further information from Ben Chinchen, ben.chinchen@ukenergypartners.co.uk

Groupcall celebrates 15 years of innovation at Bett 2017

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  • Groupcall celebrates 15-year anniversary at Bett
  • The event will see the unveiling of Emerge Desktop, the integration of new parental payment software into the Messenger Ecosystem, and demonstrations of how XVault can support multi-academy trusts
  • Groupcall will be exhibiting as part of the Microsoft Partner Village
  • Groupcall will also be sharing access to its most recent whitepapers on assessment without levels and safeguarding guidance, as well as its best practice guide to improving parental engagement
  • To mark its birthday, Groupcall will be running daily competitions and offering customers a commemorative memento

 

Communication and data solution specialist, Groupcall, will celebrate its 15th year of innovation at Bett 2017.

 

At this year’s show, Groupcall will be unveiling Emerge Desktop, showcasing the integration of its new parental payment software into the Messenger Ecosystem, and demonstrating how XVault can support local authorities (LAs) and multi-academy trusts (MATs), with multi-school reporting, performance and attendance tracking.

 

It will also be sharing its most recent whitepapers on assessment without levels and safeguarding guidance, as well as its best practice guide to improving parental engagement.

 

Groupcall will be exhibiting as part of a new and exciting addition to this year’s show, the Microsoft Partner Village, which will concentrate key Microsoft partners in one location to create a village of opportunity and collaboration between Microsoft and partners for visitors. This innovative landmark is definitely not to be missed!

 

Lawrence Royston, managing director of Groupcall, explained why this year’s show is going to be so special: “We’re passionate about consistently adapting and developing our offering to meet the ever-changing and varied needs of schools; the fact that we’re celebrating 15 years in the sector is testament that we’re doing something right, which is incredibly humbling and makes me so proud of the Groupcall family!

 

“To mark such a special accomplishment, we want to give back to our fantastic customers, and what better place to do this than the world’s largest education show? We’ll be running daily competitions. We’ll also be giving away free downloads of our popular parental engagement eBook, and access to our most recent research white papers, Implementing Assessment Without Levels: two years on, and New Safeguarding Guidance: what does it mean for your school?”

 

Software developers interested in Groupcall Xporter or joining the Groupcall Ecosystem are also encouraged to visit the stand talk to the team about potential partnership opportunities.

 

To find out more, visit Groupcall on Stand B188 or go to www.groupcall.com

Almost a third of 11 to 16 year-olds isolate themselves because of body image anxiety

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Be Real Campaign launches Body Confidence Campaign Toolkit for Schools to tackle low body confidence in the classroom

Almost a third (30%) of secondary school pupils isolate themselves to avoid activities because of body image anxiety while more than half (52%) worry about how they look, according to major new research from YMCA.

Somebody Like Me, launched today by the body confidence campaign founded by YMCA and Dove, has revealed the scale and damaging impact that body image anxiety is having on young people’s lives.

Researchers spoke to more than 2,000 secondary school pupils aged 11 to 16 and found that more than a third (36%) were willing to do ‘whatever it takes to look good’ and that nearly two thirds (63%) said what other people think of their looks is important to them.

The report highlights the vital part schools have to play in tackling body image anxiety, as three quarters of young people (76%) who learned about body confidence as part of their curriculum said it made them feel more positive about themselves. Despite this, less than half of young people (48%) surveyed said they had learned about the issue in the classroom.

Demand from teachers for external support is also highlighted, with more than three quarters (77%) of teachers agreeing that schools have an important role in teaching young people about body image. Despite this, nearly a fifth (18%) of teachers reported a lack of confidence when addressing body image and nearly a third (29%) agreed that the provision of more or better resources would be the most effective way to encourage teaching on body image.

On the back of today’s findings, the Be Real Campaign has launched a new Body Confidence Campaign Toolkit for Schools. Available to download for all secondary schools across the country, the pack provides lesson plans, advice and materials to help teachers educate their pupils on body image.

The Toolkit also gives students tools to run their own Be Real school campaign, helping young people to support peers and engage the wider school community.

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Denise Hatton, Chief Executive of the National Council of YMCAs in England and Wales, said:

“YMCA’s research released today shows how harmful body image anxiety can be for secondary school pupils as young as 11 years old.

“We’ve found evidence of young people not only isolating themselves from activities, potentially causing long-term physical or mental health difficulties, but also considering cosmetic surgery and diets to improve how they believe they should look as a result of the body image ‘ideals’ they see in media and advertising.

“As such, we are proud to launch the Body Confidence Campaign Toolkit for Schools on the back of our findings. Evidence shows that schools are uniquely placed to support young people to hold positive discussions around body image with their peers and help reduce the negative impact low body confidence can have.

“We are now calling on schools across the country to download the Be Real Campaign Toolkit to support their pupils to lead body confident and healthy lives.”

Meanwhile, senior leadership teams have backed the importance of teaching body confidence in school.

Julie Hunter, Assistant Headteacher at Bradon Forest School in Wiltshire, said:

“The Be Real Campaign Toolkit is a vital resource to help us go beyond our current approach to body confidence. By making curriculum links beyond PSHE, the Toolkit ensures a broader buy-in from teaching staff, who need to build their confidence in tackling this issue.

“For me it’s about enabling teachers to use accurate language so they’re confident when delivering these lessons. Equally it’s vital that we make students aware of this issue. We work hard to make students aware of their own mental health and wellbeing, so the Toolkit fits into our ethos as a school.”

The Body Confidence Campaign Toolkit for Schools follows on from the Body Image Pledge, released in November 2016, that asked fashion, media, music and advertising industries to ‘Be Real’ in their use of images.

Read more about the Toolkit, pledge and Be Real Campaign at www.berealcampaign.co.uk

Schools can download a copy of the Toolkit at: www.berealcampaign.co.uk/schools