Digital Schoolhouse hosts panel debate with games industry to encourage the next generation of tech talent

Digital Schoolhouse, the non-profit programme delivered by Ukie, the trade body for the UK’s games and interactive entertainment industry, hosted a panel debate with industry bodies and students in order to help tackle the digital skills gap. The panellists discussed the role that the technology and games industries could play in helping schools addressing the current shortage.

 

The debate brought together a number of key industry organisations and bodies including PlayStation®, which powers the Digital Schoolhouse programme. Other panellists included representatives from SEGA and Warwickshire County Council, who were also announced at the event as key sponsors for the initiative, which aims to empower schools to deliver an enriched computing curriculum. SEGA and Warwickshire CC’s backing for Digital Schoolhouse underscores the commitment of the key names within the gaming industry to help inspire the next generation of tech talent in the UK and has further supported the rapid growth of the programme, which has expanded by more than 50 per cent over the past twelve months, now reaching around 15,000 pupils.

 

Kings College London and Townley Grammar School joined the debate, which centred around the current digital skills gap and the role that technology companies could play in helping schools to address it. A second panel with secondary school pupils gave the students’ view on the issue, and examined their thoughts on how effective the current English computing curriculum is in encouraging more young people to explore digital careers.

 

The panel discussion demonstrated key elements that are needed to help motivate and engage teachers and pupils, including the need for more creativity in the curriculum. The student panel backed this up and revealed that whilst most of the panellists were interested in computing and were considering it as a GCSE option, none of them had any intention of continuing with the subject beyond that because they didn’t feel that further study in the subject would support or help their future career plans.

 

Joseph Terry, a year 9 student at Gildredge House School said: “Today has shown that the new generation will play a vital role in the future, helping to create new advances like driverless cars. The event has helped me meet so many people that will help me in my career. I feel that we’re wasting a chance if we don’t use events like this to help solve the problems that we’re facing.”

 

Shahneila Saeed, Director of Digital Schoolhouse said: “There is a real need to engage with children from a young age in order to build more awareness around career opportunities before they make their decisions. In order to do this, we need to bring more fun and creativity into the classroom. The games industry is an incredibly vibrant sector with a huge range of opportunities available, however, the problem is that most pupils – and teachers – just don’t know about them. We need to be more visible, reach more children and more teachers. That’s why the backing of the industry and having SEGA and PlayStation on board are so important.”

 

John Clark, Executive Vice President of Commercial Publishing for SEGA Europe Ltd, said: “SEGA Europe has a history in working with educational organisations in order to help bridge the skills gap in the UK with regards to the video games industry. The partnership with the Digital Schoolhouse Programme is particularly exciting as it aims to engage the next generation of school children, and their teachers, with the new computing curriculum.”

 

To find out more about Digital Schoolhouse, visit digitalschoolhouse.org.uk.

RM ANNOUNCE FREE FILTERING SOFTWARE FOR CHROMEBOOKS USERS

RM Education have announced that from this September onwards, their recently-launched filtering solution, RM Buzz, will be available for free to all managed Chromebooks in education.

 

Powered by RM SafetyNet, an established enterprise-level safety solution for schools, RM Buzz is the first UK-based and cloud-based filtering software available for Chromebooks, with data stored within the EU.

 

Mark House, RM Buzz Product Manager, said: “Schools are taking a much more proactive role in making online safety a priority in the classroom. However, as an industry, we need to do more to support that by protecting pupils’ safety online outside the school gates, too.

 

“We began creating Buzz over 18 months ago as a direct response to this need, and as one of four Google Premier partners in the UK, we wanted to ensure that every pupil using these devices is protected, both in school and at home.

 

“We’re also acutely aware of the increasing pressures being placed on school budgets with every passing year, and since we believe child safety is too important to put a price on, making RM Buzz available for free for Chromebooks is our way of giving something back to our customers and the UK’s school community as a whole.”

 

RM Buzz is fully compliant with the latest DfE guidance on keeping children safe online, and because it holds a UK-focused filter list, the software factors in British slang and language nuisances so that it’s more effective than similar solutions.

 

RM Education have been pioneering technology in UK education for nearly half a century, working closely with UK schools to support their technology needs in teaching and learning.

 

For more information, visit www.rm.com/buzz

 

“Mental Health must not be ignored” – Headmaster, Hydesville Tower School

“Mental Health must not be ignored,” said Mr Warren Honey, Headmaster at independent school, Hydesville Tower in Walsall, in his latest blog:

“The Institute for Public Policy Research has recently released its findings (accessed here) into the extent of mental health concerns in young adults.

 

“Its description of a fivefold increase in the number of cases in the last ten years is a statistically significant confirmation of what has been seen in schools recently: children are suffering from increasing problems with mental health concerns, and the under-funded health support networks are struggling to cope. Whilst the report’s focus is on students entering higher education, it is often during the teenage years that these difficulties start to take hold.

 

“Various suggestions are made of what is triggering such concern in the adolescents of this era, and many of these are unsurprising and have been known about for some time. Academic pressures and social concerns featured most prominently. The teenage mental health charity, stem4, surveyed 500 teenagers (link here) and discovered that the greatest anxieties arose from exam worries, work overload, friendship concerns, low self-confidence and body image fears. More recently though, the “toxic environment” children find themselves growing up in has been added to by rhetoric about the world and our safety within it. Whether this is the thermonuclear posturing of Donald Trump and North Korea, or the fear caused by shocking incidents seen in Barcelona, Manchester and other cities over the summer, it is clear that growing up is even harder now than ever before.

 

“How can we help?  As a school and as parents, we cannot isolate our children from all negative stories or events: it does not prepare them to stand on their own two feet and make their way in the world as decent citizens. Nor can we eradicate all of the pressures and concerns, many of which are as internally-driven as passed to them by the attitudes of society or their peers.

 

“Instead, we must all as adults give children the stable and supportive environments where they can grow up with confidence.

 

“In our school we use tutor sessions and PSHE lessons to encourage children to share any concerns openly, and for reassurance to be found in having others with similar views.  Some children need more support than others so if needed, we assign mentors to those who require extra emotional support.  Our Pastoral Managers work closely with children who may be causing concern and our individualised care of every child means that we are alerted to any changes in emotional well-being.

 

“We shouldn’t ignore the power of peer-to-peer support either.  At Hydesville this comes in a number of forms, including a ‘reading buddy’ scheme across our Prep School where older children support their younger peers with their reading; and in our Senior School we use our vertical tutoring model as a way for older pupils helping younger pupils in tutor sessions by modelling more mature outlooks and approaches.

“I have been humbled by the sense of togetherness and community that has been present within Hydesville Tower School within these early days of my Headship, and I am already conscious of what a remarkable school it is. Working together, I know we will give each child a really strong chance of navigating the challenges of growing up.”

Digital Schoolhouse hosts panel debate with games industry to encourage the next generation of tech talent

Digital Schoolhouse, the non-profit programme delivered by Ukie, the trade body for the UK’s games and interactive entertainment industry, hosted a panel debate with industry bodies and students in order to help tackle the digital skills gap. The panellists discussed the role that the technology and games industries could play in helping schools addressing the current shortage.

 

The debate brought together a number of key industry organisations and bodies including PlayStation®, which powers the Digital Schoolhouse programme. Other panellists included representatives from SEGA and Warwickshire County Council, who were also announced at the event as key sponsors for the initiative, which aims to empower schools to deliver an enriched computing curriculum. SEGA and Warwickshire CC’s backing for Digital Schoolhouse underscores the commitment of the key names within the gaming industry to help inspire the next generation of tech talent in the UK and has further supported the rapid growth of the programme, which has expanded by more than 50 per cent over the past twelve months, now reaching around 15,000 pupils.

 

Kings College London and Townley Grammar School joined the debate, which centred around the current digital skills gap and the role that technology companies could play in helping schools to address it. A second panel with secondary school pupils gave the students’ view on the issue, and examined their thoughts on how effective the current English computing curriculum is in encouraging more young people to explore digital careers.

 

The panel discussion demonstrated key elements that are needed to help motivate and engage teachers and pupils, including the need for more creativity in the curriculum. The student panel backed this up and revealed that whilst most of the panellists were interested in computing and were considering it as a GCSE option, none of them had any intention of continuing with the subject beyond that because they didn’t feel that further study in the subject would support or help their future career plans.

 

Joseph Terry, a year 9 student at Gildredge House School said: “Today has shown that the new generation will play a vital role in the future, helping to create new advances like driverless cars. The event has helped me meet so many people that will help me in my career. I feel that we’re wasting a chance if we don’t use events like this to help solve the problems that we’re facing.”

 

Shahneila Saeed, Director of Digital Schoolhouse said: “There is a real need to engage with children from a young age in order to build more awareness around career opportunities before they make their decisions. In order to do this, we need to bring more fun and creativity into the classroom. The games industry is an incredibly vibrant sector with a huge range of opportunities available, however, the problem is that most pupils – and teachers – just don’t know about them. We need to be more visible, reach more children and more teachers. That’s why the backing of the industry and having SEGA and PlayStation on board are so important.”

 

John Clark, Executive Vice President of Commercial Publishing for SEGA Europe Ltd, said: “SEGA Europe has a history in working with educational organisations in order to help bridge the skills gap in the UK with regards to the video games industry. The partnership with the Digital Schoolhouse Programme is particularly exciting as it aims to engage the next generation of school children, and their teachers, with the new computing curriculum.”

 

To find out more about Digital Schoolhouse, visit digitalschoolhouse.org.uk.

PUPIL HEALTHY EATING AND BODY IMAGE: PRIMARY TEACHERS INVITED TO LEARN WITH SCIENCE AND NUTRITION EXPERTS

Free ‘Food For Thought’ event will offer ideas and inspiration to boost pupil health and wellbeing

Primary school teachers from across the UK are being encouraged to join science, nutrition and health experts at a special event in London next month.

Hosted by Discovery Education and Alimentarium Academy on 17th October, Day of Discovery – Food For Thought will bring educators and specialists together for a day of dynamic workshops, experiments and seminars exploring healthy eating and body image in primary school age pupils.

To celebrate the event, teachers attending will be entered into a prize draw to win a trip to the famous Alimentarium Museum and a two-night stay in Geneva. Primary school teachers, teaching assistants and support staff are invited to register for Day of Discovery – Food for Thought here.

With sessions led by nutrition experts and body image specialists, this important event will equip teachers with exciting ideas and activities to teach children about food science and nutrition. It will also help schools to place health and wellbeing at the centre of everyday learning and meet guidelines on teaching about food at primary level.

Jenny Tschiesche, also known as The Lunchbox Doctor, will deliver a health boost for lessons and lunchtimes in two practical sessions packed with creative classroom ideas.

“This event is a great opportunity to learn some tips and tricks from the UK’s lunchbox expert,” said Jenny. “I can’t wait to share some new perspectives on teaching healthy eating to children. I believe in prevention rather than cure and nutrition education is a critical element in preventing ill-health and ensuring long term health and vitality.”

Drawing upon the latest research into child mental health, body image specialists Nicky Hutchinson and Chris Calland will show teachers how they can help pupils feel happy in their own skin, with positive strategies to build self-esteem and confidence.

And children’s author Chris Lloyd, best-selling author of the ‘What on Earth’ history books, will explore how nutrition can be taught across the primary curriculum, with an energetic and interactive tour of food through the ages.

Day of Discovery – Food for Thought takes place at London’s Coin Street Conference Centre on 17th October 2017. The event is free and schools interested in attending can register here.

Rebecca Parker, a science specialist from The Downs School in Bristol, said: “I’m really looking forward to attending Food for Thought, and plan to organise a whole school event afterwards, looking at healthy eating and body image.”

Fellow attendee Katarina Lantz-Dretnik, a Year 1 teacher at London’s Swedish School said: “I attended a recent Day of Discovery and it was a fantastic event. Discovery Education events always deliver, with lots of inspiring teaching ideas and great networking opportunities.”

Day of Discovery – Food for Thought launches a 3-year partnership between Discovery Education and Switzerland’s Alimentarium Foundation. The collaboration includes the creation of exciting new Key Stage 2 digital classroom resources – Eating, Moving and Growing – available to schools now through Discovery Education Espresso’s award-winning digital learning service.

Ursula Zeller, Director of the Alimentarium said:

“We are delighted to attend this event as part of our partnership with Discovery Education. Sharing our thoughts, perspectives and knowledge with schools in the UK is a very rewarding experience.”

Looked After Children, poor academic achievement and transition into NEETdom – how can we change this dynamic?

Graham Baker, Chief Executive Officer,

Outcomes First Group

Graham Baker, Chief Executive Officer, Outcomes First Group, a leader in the provision of high outcome education and therapeutic care for children and adults with autism, complex needs and Social Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) issues discusses  the poor academic achievement of Looked After Children and what we can do to change this dynamic.

 

Looked After Children, poor academic achievement and transition into NEETdom – how can we change this dynamic?

 

It’s a fact. Looked After Children (LAC) do not achieve well in education. Their attainment gaps are still too wide compared with all other children in the country.

 

According to the DfE in 2016 only 17.5% of Looked After Children achieved an A*-C in English and mathematics compared to 53.0% of mainstream students nationally.  How can we change this persistent dynamic and help some of society’s most disadvantaged children realise their true potential?

 

I believe that the secret to better results and improved life chances lies in providing these children with ‘constants’ throughout their lives – because most issues happen when things change for them, be it school, where they reside, or clinical support.

 

At present LAs – the legal guardian of these children responsible for their care and education – are more often than not and especially with hard to place children left with no other option but to choose short term placement options over investment in the long term. We all know that the earlier a child receives therapeutic intervention, the lower the level of support required longer term. Young children and adolescents who are misplaced and bounced around the system often end up in Pupil Referral Units, young offenders’ institutions, jail or become NEETs.

 

If we are to achieve positive outcomes and equal opportunities for these children then a change in the approach is required, including more central control over the choice of care home, care pathway, school or fostering family. The benefits are clear – if fragile children are provided with the necessary support to help them become confident young adults they will ultimately be placed in a position to contribute to society. This will also help achieve significant long term savings in the public sector.

 

 

About Graham Baker, CEO, Outcomes First Group

 

Graham has over 25 years’ experience in the special education and healthcare sectors, having worked with a number of significant operators, as well as setting up and running his services.

 

Graham is responsible for driving the strategic direction of the Outcomes First Group, ensuring steady and sustainable growth whilst maintaining the quality of service delivered.

Back Care Awareness Week Back Pain in Education

The annual Back Care Awareness Week, run by BackCare, the UK’s leading charity for those impacted by back or neck pain, is to take place between 2 and 6 October.  The theme this year is Back Pain in Education.

Back pain is one of the top common causes of absence from work throughout the country.   It costs the UK economy around £15 billion every year as over four million working days are lost as a result of the condition.  Furthermore, about 80% of the UK population will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives.

BackCare decided it was important to run a campaign targeted at children and young people as many of the back and neck pain problems experienced by adults are due to them not looking after their backs during childhood and teenage years.

Dr Brian Hammond, the Chair of BackCare said:

“Early teaching of children and young people of the importance of taking care of their backs, and the consequences of not doing so, is bound to have a positive effect on the health of their backs as adults.

He added:

“There are simple things children and young people can do, such as sitting properly and not for too long, exercising regularly, stretching and lifting correctly.  They also need to know how to carry their school books and equipment in a way that does not harm their back or neck.”

BackCare has packs for distribution to schools, colleges and other educational institutions.  They contain posters, leaflets, booklets, bookmarks, and pamphlets.  All of these items give sound advice and guidance on various aspects of the back and how to look after it.  They are available from BackCare at a cost of £9.95 per pack plus postage and packaging.

This year’s campaign is being run in partnership with a community interest company, known as kidsbacks4thefuture.  This Essex based company, run by Lyndee Oscar, a registered osteopath with 25 years experience, has done some effective and innovative work with schools.

During the week, many organisations will be supporting the campaign and the Chair of BackCare will be available for media interviews.   To participate please contact Anusha Vamedeva on 020 8977 5474 or info@backcare.org.uk

 

 

Note to Editors:

BackCare is the national charity for those impacted by back and neck pain.  It is a membership organisation that has been in existence for nearly 50 years.  The charity provides information and advice on a wide range of issues relating to back and neck pain.

Back Care Awareness Week is a successful annual campaign which has a different theme every year.

A number of organisations are supporting BackCare with this campaign.

 

For further information, please contact:

Anusha Vamadeva email: anusha.vamadeva@backcare.org.uk or tel: 020 8977 5474

 

 

Acquisition of B11 Education Ltd adds ‘whole school improvement’ to Premier’s multi-faceted services

A world-leading UK sports education provider has purchased highly-successful school improvement company B11 Education Ltd, with the aim to enhance the quality of education available to thousands of children across the country.

In a move to further its vision to ‘Educate and Activate the World’, Premier—best known as the owners of Premier Sport—has purchased B11 Education Ltd, a high-quality school improvement organisation that provides advice and guidance to schools, local authorities and multi-academy trusts across the UK.

The acquisition will allow B11 to expand from its base in the north, offering their diverse range of services across the country and improving their systems and infrastructure in an effort to drive growth more quickly. With programmes in sport, the arts, health and wellbeing, Premier provides schools, children and parents with healthy initiatives intended to Educate and Activate the World. Now with the addition of B11, Premier will be able to expand the services it offers by providing solutions not only to a school’s physical activity and wellbeing needs, but for their educational improvement too.

‘We have deployed inspirational expertise into schools for many years now, and essentially this acquisition enables us to continue to do that with a much broader set of skills and experts,’ said Premier Education Group CEO David Batch.

Beginning just seven years ago, B11 Education has assembled a network of highly-regarded consultants that specialise in school improvement. From training courses to whole-school reviews, through to advising education professionals, schools and governors, B11 supports school improvement across a wide range of areas in both the primary and secondary sectors.

The merging of B11 under the Premier umbrella will see former CEO Mr Anthony Briggs stay on as Principal Consultant and take a position on the Premier Education Group board. Additionally, an extended management team will assist B11 to further accelerate the company’s growth. Premier has been managing B11 since February 2017 and the company will receive updated branding and styling beginning in September.

For more information about B11 Education and Premier, please email efrancis@premier-education.com

Research reveals concussion is a growing concern for education sector

Research¹ by specialist insurer, Ecclesiastical, has revealed that more than a third of educational establishments are concerned about the risks associated with students playing contact sports.

When asked how worried they were about a series of emerging risks, 34% of the schools, universities and other education establishments polled by the specialist insurer said they were concerned about the risks involved with playing sports such as rugby.

Angus Roy, education director at Ecclesiastical, said: “There have been a number of high profile concussion cases in the media in recent years, with calls in some quarters for schools to only allow pupils to play non-contact versions of sports such as rugby. So it’s not surprising that this is an area of concern for schools.

“As a specialist education insurer, we provide schools and our other education customers with advice and guidance on the best ways to manage concussion risks. Although rugby in schools has been the topic hitting the headlines, it’s important for schools to consider this risk more broadly.

“After all, concussion can result from a wide range of sports, including boxing and hockey, but also in other school activities, particularly where there is a risk of young people falling from height or onto hard surfaces.”

Ecclesiastical has an information sheet on managing the concussion risks associated with playing contact sport in schools. You can see it here.

New product from British company Safety Pads makes pre-school nurseries and schools safer places

Sept 4th 2017. Wakefield, Yorkshire. Safety Pads [Safety-Pads.co.uk] has announced a colour range of custom fit safety pads and post protectors for pre-school nurseries and schools. The products are designed to decrease the likelihood of impact injuries in the nursery, school and playground.

Made from high grade foam, specially selected for impact reduction, the products can be made to fit almost any surface and instantly render posts or sharp corners harmless, reducing the number of accidents, recorded injuries and, in extreme cases, lawsuits.

Neal Spencer, Managing Director of Safety Pads, says, “We have been producing foam products for the wider market for over three decades, including all the goal post protectors for the Rugby World Cups. Our products are not only the highest quality out there but our customers can trust that they are being made by one of the oldest and most trusted foam companies in the UK – and one of the biggest in Europe.”

Safety Pads is part of the GNG Group of companies, manufacturing a range of quality foam products across safety, sports and play, sleep and healthcare and specialises in international white label services. Based in Yorkshire, all of the company’s products are manufactured in its Wakefield based factory.

“As opposed to some of the other alternatives, our products are made right here in the UK and have a much greater level of quality control. We take pride in our ‘Made in Britain’ status and we strive to maintain the levels of quality that this statement represents” continues Spencer.

More details – and product case studies – can be found at www.safety-pads.co.uk

About Safety-Pads.co.uk

Part of GNG Group, Safety Pads is the leading manufacturer of bespoke safety solutions in many industries around the world, from sports to construction to education. The company has built its reputation single-handedly since 2002. From the initial specifications to the installation of the solution, Safety Pads specialists handle the safety of customers’ premises so they don’t have to.

Over the last 35 years GNG has been established as an international brand leader in the healthcare, sports, safety, and lifestyle industries. GNG manufactures all of its products in the UK and has a 30,000 ft² manufacturing facility in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

More Information

Neal Spencer – email: neal.spencer@gng-group.co.uk – tel: 0330 008 0805

Richard Wright – email: rwright@gng-group.co.uk – tel: 0330 008 0805