Summing it up: Maths Week London celebrates official launch!

Last week, teachers, schools, educationalists and The Mayor’s Fund for London joined together at City Hall to celebrate the launch event of ‘Maths Week London’.

Maths Week London, which will take place from 10-14 June 2019, is set to become an annual event dedicated to improving children’s attitudes towards maths and inspiring more pupils, teachers and parents to improve their confidence in the teaching and learning of the subject. The event will also promote maths as an essential skill in paving the way for every career path.

Due to the huge success of ‘Maths Week Ireland’ and ‘Maths Week Scotland’, organisers, Sumdog, are now replicating this event throughout London and are calling for as many schools and teachers as possible to get involved.

The evening kicked off with an introduction from Kim Chaplain, Director of Charitable Portfolio at the Mayor’s Fund for London, who introduced the origins of Maths Week London: “Current attitudes that we have as a society towards maths is encouraging children to give up on the subject too early. The impact this has on later life can have detrimental effects. Therefore, there needs to be more support for the way maths is taught and learnt, in order to strengthen engagement, increase attainment and improve the life chances of all children. The Mayor’s Fund for London is delighted to be partnering with Maths Week London to raise awareness throughout London, and nationally, to change these attitudes and encourage more children to enjoy maths.”

Simon Pile, Assistant Head of Anson Primary, and partner school of Maths Week London said: “At Anson Primary School, we recognise the importance of making maths come alive in the classroom in order to inspire and engage our students.
“In June, our year 6 pupils will create their own business in the form of a market stall which they’ll run each lunchtime across the week. Considering costs, profits, design and advertising, pupils will learn about the economic viability of a business and will develop key collaboration skills as they work with local businesses. We’re really excited to see how they get on!”

Schools who sign up will be given access to an online resource hub which includes starter packs, ideas and maths activities for teachers and parents to use with students. Additionally, there will be free events taking place throughout the week, a competition for students and grants of up to £200 available to schools in areas of high deprivation.

Andrea Carr, Chairman of Sumdog, said: “We have already seen the huge impact that Maths Week has had throughout Scotland and Ireland with over 80,000 pupils taking part in Maths Week Scotland this year. We want to share that success by bringing Maths Week to London in 2019. We are looking to involve teachers, parents and children from across the capital in a week of maths events and activities, with the aim of changing attitudes towards mathematics and motivating young people.”
For more information, or to get involved, please visit:

Driving impact in Multi-Academy Trusts

The role of a CEO within a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) has come under much scrutiny over the past year. And the role has evolved considerably, reflecting the reality of the demands involved in overseeing a MAT. From delivering and leading its vision and strategy, to managing people and culture, improving organisational performance, sustainability and compliance and building key external and internal relationships, the role is varied, and it requires the CEO to wear many hats.
But the CEO does not work alone. The Board of Trustees have the ultimate responsibility for governance matters and the vision for the entire MAT, so it is essential for the Board and the CEO to have a cohesive relationship to enable a positive impact to be made in both the short and longer term. How can this be achieved? Andy Richardson, CEO, Dynistics, examines the challenges faced by the CEO of a MAT.
From proactive to reactive
Whilst a MAT’s CEO is usually located in just one academy, their role involves overseeing each and every academy in the trust. For some CEO’s, this could mean overseeing just two academies, but for others, this could range up to as many as 26. In this case, how can a CEO ensure the running of each academy is contributing to the strategic aims and objectives of the trust?
The CEO can’t just be a firefighter, jumping in when something doesn’t go to plan. A far more proactive strategy is required to keep all academies running in harmony. Of course, it is very easy to get caught up in the day-to-day running of a growing trust, losing sight of how successfully procedures are being implemented across the academies. Waiting until educational results are impacted or structures are breaking down to take action will have even greater implications down the line; should just one school in the trust fail, then, in turn, this will impact the reputation of every academy involved.
Realistically, the CEO has the answer right at their fingertips: data. The value of data in providing the transparency, accountability and visibility needed by MATs can’t be ignored – but with so much data to look at, it’s knowing where to start that can often be the problem. Adopting a system that will ensure data is in one place at all times, honing in on particular aspects to analyse and dissect, will not only give CEOs the insight they need to make informed decisions, but will ultimately allow them to save fundamental costs across the whole trust.
As well as spanning across numerous locations, the role of a CEO includes being responsible for every student, and every employee within the trust, and working closely with the school head teachers. Within this, having open lines of communication is essential to ensure that all employees have the relevant data they need to make decisions and work towards change. Having this data available 24×7 is also vital. There is a need to provide detailed information to spot any errors that may occur, monitor staff and student performance, or to identify any central changes the trust has made to its academies or the structure. A visual representation of data will give CEOs and all staff the ability to do just that, in a quick and straightforward manner.
Looking to the future
As easy as it would be for a CEO to get caught up in analysing past events, the role must also include planning strategically for the terms or academic years ahead. The insight gained from data analytics enables CEOs of MATs to look at where potential gaps might be or where improvements need to be made and plan accordingly, with proposals to the Board backed up with data to provide accountability where necessary.
The role of a MAT CEO is not an easy task, but technology can certainly help. Having accurate, insightful data at the touch of a button will help the CEO to make quick, impactful decisions that contribute to the future growth of the trust. It doesn’t need to be complicated, but it does have the ability to make a huge impact on the success of the entire MAT. It’s time to get started. Are you ready?

Government period poverty plans ‘must go further’ and address eco impact


The government’s pledge to provide free sanitary products in all secondary schools and colleges across England is welcome news, but does not yet go far enough to eradicate period poverty and will not solve the environmental crisis of incorrect disposal of sanitary items., a national drainage firm that deals with fatberg removal, urges the government to extend the new funding to primary schools, where many young girls struggle to afford basic sanitary items.

#FreePeriods – a petition to take legal action to end period poverty, led by student Amika George – gained thousands of signatures and led to a protest outside Downing Street. Speaking after the chancellor announced the funding in his Spring Statement, Amika said: “The policy announced today would cover only secondary schools and colleges, leaving thousands of children behind. For example, there can be no good reason to exclude children at primary school, who may begin menstruating from as young as eight or nine, from the scope of this scheme.”

Lanes Group also stresses the importance of educating girls at primary and secondary school age on the correct disposal of sanitary products, as many pupils are instructed to flush tampons, applicators and wrappers, which is having a huge environmental impact and polluting the nation’s waterways with microplastics.

A survey of 1,200 people conducted by Lanes Group in 2018 found that more than a third of respondents (39%) have flushed either a sanitary towel, panty liner or tampon down the toilet in their lifetime, which amounts to as many as 20 million women when you apply that to the female population across the UK.

The research found that just 3 per cent of women consider environmental impact when choosing sanitary products, while 46 per cent prioritise comfort and 17 per cent believe cost is the most important factor.

Some 52 per cent of women said they use sanitary towels more than any other period product, while 49 per cent use tampons most, only 3 per cent use eco-friendly mooncups and 1 per cent use sanitary underwear.

Michelle Ringland, Head of Marketing at Lanes Group, said: “The chancellor’s decision to provide free sanitary products in all secondary schools and colleges in England from the next academic year is a great achievement for all those who have campaigned over this, but there is still a way to go if we want to fully address period poverty among young children.

“Firstly, I would like to see the funding extended to primary schools, as many young girls start their periods at that stage and could have already suffered years of period poverty before they reach secondary school.

“Next, I would like to see much more education overall about the use of sanitary products, which is currently missing from the school curriculum. Young girls should be taught about all the options available to them – including eco-friendly products which are increasingly popular – and how best to dispose of sanitary items.

“It is shocking to hear that many girls are told that the best way to get rid of a used tampon, applicator and wrapper is to flush it down the toilet, when none of these products are biodegradable and either cause blockages such as fatbergs or release microplastics that are released into the waterways and prove fatal to marine life.”

When asked whether they agree that people in the UK need to be more aware that sanitary products should not be flushed down the toilet, some 63 per cent of survey respondents said they “strongly agree”.

Further information from the survey and other research by is illustrated in a downloadable infographic, available at:

Roding Valley High School flies flag for state schools at UK Mathematics Trust competition

Roding Valley High School claimed the title of highest scoring state school at UK Mathematics Trust’s (UKMT) Regional Team Maths Challenge 2019; a competition which challenges schools from across the country to tackle mathematical challenges in their local areas with the opportunity to progress to the national final taking place in June 2019.

The Roding Valley High School team scooped fourth place overall out of 29 state and independent schools. The team, made up of two girls, Skye and Chloe, and two boys, Joseph and Zak, from year 8 and 9, combined their individual skills to work seamlessly together; a winning combination that sees Roding Valley High School move up 10 places from its ranking in 2018.

Shahidur Rahman, Mathematics Key Stage 4 Coordinator, said: “We are extremely proud of our young mathematicians, not only for their skill and teamwork but for the level of determination they displayed at the event, which was noticed and highlighted by other schools attending the competition.”

Roding Valley High School Mathematics Department’s vision is to develop mathematicians who are confident in the use of maths both in the classroom and in real life. Entry into the UKMT Team Maths Challenge is just one of the many ways that the school looks to make this vision a reality, and the students are already looking to develop their strategies for the 2020 competition.

Sharon Jenner, Head of school, said: “Mathematics is something our students have always thrived at here at Roding Valley High School, and it’s fulfilling to see the skills we teach our students in the classroom being used to take them further outside of school. These four students have represented the school brilliantly; not just academically, but by demonstrating our school’s values and ethos.”

Explore Learning Writers’ Awards Now Open for Entries!

• Free writing competition for children aged four to 14 announces theme of: a chance to change the world!
• Winners awarded a trip to Disneyland Paris and £500 of books for their school
• Singer, dancer, author and prime time TV show host, Alesha Dixon, is this year’s incredible judge who will surprise the winner at their school!

The Explore Learning Writers’ Awards are now open for the eleventh year and will be judged by best-selling author, singer, dancer and TV presenter, Alesha Dixon! The annual writing competition is aimed at children aged four to 14 and will inspire the next generation of authors. Whether they’re a reluctant writer or a budding Roald Dahl, this competition will inspire children from across the UK to get creative and write their very own short story inspired by this year’s theme – a chance to change the world!

Children are tasked with creating a 500-word story all about how they could transform the world, whether that’s by making waves to save the planet, becoming a superhero, exploring time travel or anything else their imaginations can conjure!

Alesha Dixon has been an inspiration to children throughout her career encompassing singing, dancing and huge success as a judge and presenter on programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing and Britain’s Got Talent. Alongside these achievements, Alesha has written three very popular children’s books – Lightning Girl (launched in April 2018), Lightning Girl 2: Superhero Squad (September 2018) and Lightning Girl 3: Secret Supervillain (March 2019) about a 11 year old girl who discovers her superhero powers! Through her main character, Aurora Beam, she aims to spread a positive message of empowerment and self-reliance to young girls – and boys – across the country.

The winner of the competition will be announced during a surprise assembly in which Alesha and the team from Explore Learning will present them with a trophy, a trip to Disneyland Paris for their family and £500 worth of books for their school. Every child that enters will receive a certificate to celebrate their story, along with personalised feedback from one of Explore Learning’s inspirational tutors.

Alesha Dixon says: “I am really looking forward to reading all of the imaginative ways the children of this country would change the world in this year’s competition. Having written stories myself, I know how rewarding it is and really hope they will take as much pleasure from it as I have. This is a great way to capture young imaginations and encourage thinking about bigger issues, while developing their writing talents.’’

Children can enter by visiting their local Explore Learning centre for an entry form or entering online at Simply hand the story back in, file online or send to Explore Learning’s head office at ELWA, Explore Learning, 74 North Street, Guildford, GU1 4AW. Don’t forget to include your contact information so they can get in touch if your child wins! The competition runs until Sunday 5th May.

To help kick start children’s imagination, Explore Learning will be running a number of free creative writing workshops in their centres, libraries and schools – encouraging every young writer – from the passionate to the reluctant!

Charlotte Gater, Head of Curriculum at Explore Learning says: “We are thrilled to have Alesha Dixon as our judge for 2019. Her Lightning Girl series is so popular with our members and we know that she will inspire lots of children across the UK to get writing. We are so excited to now be open for entries and can’t wait to read the incredible stories the children of the UK come up with!”

Previous judges of the awards have included some of the UK’s most prolific authors like David Walliams, Steve Backshall, Cressida Cowell, Lauren Child, Liz Pichon, Jonathan Meres, Andy Cope and Alan Durant. Last year’s winner was eight year old Mia Falatoori from Churchfields Junior School who won the title with her story which you can read here, as well as seeing her joy at meeting David Walliams.

Throughout the competition Explore Learning will be providing some top writing tips from their creative writing team, previous winners, judges and best-selling authors via their website and social media. They will also be hosting a collection of free downloadable information on their website that can be used at home or in the classroom.

Explore Learning are an award-winning English and maths tuition company with 144 centres located all over the country. Over 35,000 children aged four to 14 attend their centres each week and over the course of the last 18 years have helped over 200,000 children. Explore Learning’s aim is to help every child reach their full potential and get the best results they can, developing a generation of fearless learners.

For more information about the National Young Writers’ Awards visit


Palletways, Europe’s largest and fastest growing express palletised freight network, has announced it will be partnering with the road safety charity, Brake to deliver education sessions in schools across the UK.
The educational sessions will be delivered by Palletways members and will be focused on improving road safety awareness amongst primary school children. In partnership with Brake, Palletways members will lead sessions on safe and sustainable road use, effective road safety policies and on alternative sustainable transport options aimed at school children.

Brake is a national road safety charity which works with communities and organisations across the UK campaigning to end road deaths and injuries. The charity aims to make communities safer through an extensive education programme and offers support to people bereaved and seriously injured in road traffic collisions.
Rob Gittins, Managing Director at Palletways UK, said: “Safety is at the heart of our business and this is a fantastic opportunity for our members to share their experiences and best practice with primary school children across the UK. Brake plays an essential role in improving road safety in the UK and supporting victims of road traffic collisions and we are delighted to become an official corporate partner. I am very much looking forward to this partnership developing over the coming year and for Palletways to continue to have a real impact within local communities.”
Simon Park, Managing Director at Kidds Transport, a Palletways member said: “We are really excited to get involved with Palletways’ and Brake’s educational sessions. It’s fantastic to have the opportunity to engage with local schools and give something back. I very much look forward to sharing our success stories with the local community in the next few months.”
Michael Bristow, Senior Corporate Fundraising Officer at Brake said, “Brake is pleased to welcome Palletways on board as charity partners. Through conversations we’ve had, it’s clear that there is a real passion and commitment from the team at Palletways to spread their safety culture into the communities they operate within. We are looking forward to supporting the development of their school’s programme and hope that this is the start of a long and successful relationship.”
Kidds Transport is one of over 115 independent transport providers that are part of Palletways’ UK network. They benefit from shared expertise and resources from within the group to deliver consignments of palletised freight to market faster and more cost effectively than ever before. The Palletways Group, famed for its industry-leading IT developments and operational systems, comprises 450+ depots and 20 hub operations, through which it provides collection and distribution services across 24 European countries, including the UK.

Premier League talks Maths with Rachel Riley at Leicester City FC for World Maths Day

Pictures copyright Plumb Images / Alex Hannam 07903 169347
World Maths Day at King Power Stadium with Rachel Riley

– Leicester City’s Marc Albrighton and Conor Tee joined Rachel Riley to celebrate World Maths Day
– An event was held at King Power Stadium for local primary school children
– It marked the launch of LCFC Community Trust’s Premier League Primary Stars Maths provision, ‘5000/1’

Leicester City’s Marc Albrighton and Conor Tee’s maths skills were put to the test by Countdown presenter Rachel Riley at an event at King Power Stadium to mark World Maths Day!

Around 60 children from four local primary schools attended the event, which saw LCFC Community Trust launch their Premier League Primary Stars maths provision, ‘5000/1’.
The initiative uses the power of football and the appeal of the Premier League to inspire learning and get children engaging with maths in an active and stimulating way.
During the event, the pupils took part in a series of maths-related activities, before being joined by Riley, Albrighton, Tee and Club Mascot Filbert Fox pitchside for a game of Battleships.

Speaking to LCFC TV, Marc Albrighton said: “If I could’ve done this when I was a kid, come to a football stadium and learn maths, then I probably would’ve come out with better grades! It’s an important life skill, it’s a main subject that you need to know about. You need it in everyday life, so it’s important to concentrate and make sure that you do your best in it.”

The visit concluded in The Gallery, where a short Q&A session was held with each of the special guests – and Riley hosted a game of Countdown.

Pictures copyright Plumb Images / Alex Hannam 07903 169347
World Maths Day at King Power Stadium with Rachel Riley

Speaking to LCFC TV, Rachel said: “Football is a brilliant maths material to promote numeracy. If you think about kids playing online, they’re all looking at statistics to pick their favourite players, they’re looking at pie charts, they’re looking at heat maps, at how many runs a player has made, how many goals a team has scored and how many points teams have in the table. This event is about showing children that maths has a real everyday practical use and can be fun at the same time.”

Premier League Primary Stars Maths is available in LCFC Community Trust’s partner primary schools from this month.

Community Director Allison Tripney said: “We think it’s really important to show the link between football and academic subjects. We’re very keen to support what teachers do and give the young people in our local schools the best chance to achieve the highest grades possible.”

For more information or to register,

More school trips are needed to inspire a passion for heritage as research finds millions of young people never visit museums, galleries or theatres

• Young adults prefer to stay in and watch TV or use social media than go out and visit a museum, gallery or theatre
• More than a third (36%) of 18-30 year olds never visit galleries, and almost a quarter (24%) never visit theatres. While just under one in five never visit museums (19%)
• Engaging children with heritage and culture early on is important as people who were not taken to heritage locations as children on school trips are far less likely to visit them as adults

Schools have a vital role to play in engaging young people in heritage, according to new research by Ecclesiastical, the specialist heritage and education insurer. The research revealed that school trips to historic houses and museums help to inspire a lifelong passion for heritage. The survey of 2,000 18-30 year olds1 across the UK found people who were not taken to heritage locations as children on school trips are far less likely to visit them as adults. The research revealed millions of young people in the UK never visit heritage organisations.

Many young adults are disengaged with the UK’s heritage

The perception that heritage organisations are ‘boring’, distance to travel, and cost are the top three reasons that prevent young adults from visiting heritage organisations. More than a third (36%) of 18-30 year olds never visit galleries, and almost a quarter (24%) never visit theatres. While just under one in five never visit museums (19%). Almost half (48%) never visit stately homes, while a third (33%) never visit castles. The research revealed a stark gender gap in attitudes towards heritage with young men far less likely to visit heritage buildings than women.

Millions of young people never went on school trips to heritage organisations

Many of the young adults surveyed had never visited heritage organisations as a child. More than a third (37%) had never visited a stately home, while a quarter (25%) had never visited a gallery as a child. Just under one in five (19%) had never visited a castle as a child.
People who were not taken to heritage locations as children on school trips, are far less likely to visit them as adults. For example, 60% of those who went to museums as children visit at least once a year now they are adults. While of those who never visited museums as children, 69% never go as adults. In contrast, engaging children with heritage and culture early on can help to inspire a lifelong passion for heritage. For example, 50% of those who visited galleries as children visit at least once a year now they are adults.
Research by The Sutton Trust, which focuses on improving social mobility, has found educational outings such as going on trips to museums and galleries help bright but disadvantaged students to get better A-levels2. While schools are under increasing financial pressures, the charity recommends that enrichment vouchers should be funded through the pupil premium for both primary and secondary pupils. While many young people are missing out, some schools are using methods such as whole-school fundraising, with the proceeds pooled, to help pupils attend school trips.
Faith Kitchen, heritage director at Ecclesiastical added: “As a leading insurer of heritage buildings we’re passionate about history and culture in the UK. Schools have a vital role in engaging young people in heritage and our research highlights that school trips can make a huge difference in inspiring the next generation.”
Lizzie Glithero-West, Chief Executive at The Heritage Alliance commented: “These findings emphasise the importance of introducing children to culture from the start; an organisation that makes families and school parties welcome is investing in the future audience for our historic environment in a tangible way. Ecclesiastical’s research also found over 50% of respondents said that a digital experience inspired them to want to visit in person, and over a third said a good online presence would encourage them to share their experiences of heritage organisations on social media. We have future ambassadors for the sector waiting to be harnessed…”

Chubb to showcase lockdown procedures at Schools and Academies Show


Ashford, Middlesex, England, 6th Mar., 2019. Chubb Fire & Security Limited showcases its sophisticated ‘lockdown’ technology and fire safety solutions at the Schools and Academies Show 2019 to demonstrate its expertise in helping to safeguard students, staff and property in educational establishments. The exhibition will take place on 3-4 April 2019 at the London Excel. Chubb is a part of Carrier, a leading global provider of innovative HVAC, refrigeration, fire, security and building automation technologies.
Lockdown, according to the National Counter Terror Security Office (NaCTSO), is a procedure designed to quickly restrict access and egress to all or part of a site or building through physical measures in response to threat, either external or internal.
Larger sites and higher student numbers mean these procedures have become increasingly important over recent years, with some councils across the UK insisting their schools have lockdown procedures in place. A key challenge for schools is the time it takes to communicate an emergency while also managing a situation and ensuring student safety.
Chubb’s solution uses sister company, EMS’ leading wireless technology to provide a simple, yet effective system which can be deployed quickly to provide a lockdown facility. Small, discreet wireless handsets are provided to teachers and staff, which can be connected to alarms, access control systems and gate mechanisms according to each individual site’s layout and requirements. When a hand-set is triggered, a pre-determined ‘cause and effect’ plan is activated resulting in a series of visual and audio alarms that support school staff in their emergency lockdown procedures.
Mark Pettit, director of strategy and business development, Chubb Fire & Security, said the show will be a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate Chubb’s understanding of the challenges facing educational establishments:
“There is a balance to be struck between providing the utmost in safety and providing a warm and welcoming environment,” he said. “Also, security, or a lack of it can impact Ofsted ratings, and there are no hard and fast rules about what security is required, rather a solution is tailored to the specific environment.
“Fire is also a critical consideration for any school, as fires disrupt the education of thousands of children annually. A well-maintained, effective fire solution is key, and particularly popular is wireless technology that causes minimal disruption during installation.”
In addition to lockdown procedures, Chubb will showcase its capabilities in fire risk assessments, the installation and maintenance of fire, intruder, access control and CCTV systems, as well as the 24/7 monitoring of fire and security systems.
Chubb’s stand will be in the Building Estates and Management Zone, stand number 912.
For more information, visit

Bright Hygiene support Oxford Brookes University and 5asideChess event to build awareness of mental health and suicide issues.

Bright Hygiene, one of the UK’s leading specialist kitchen cleaning companies, will be offering their support to 5asideCHESS at Oxford Brookes University. This joint event is particularly poignant as the day of the Oxford Brookes University event is University Mental Health Day.

5asideCHESS is a social enterprise determined to reconnect people in a disconnected world. Their team offer a unique way of addressing the issues around social isolation and the feelings of not fitting in that are increasingly experienced by our university students. This year, they are running events around the country using a short form of the traditional game of chess to help engage and connect individuals. Games are open to players and non-players alike and often result in the sharing of expertise and experiences from one to the other.

Ryan Childs of 5asideCHESS said: “We are incredibly grateful to Bright Hygiene for their support with our enterprise. We all know that issues around mental health and suicide amongst university students is on the rise and we aim to help address these with this important event supporting University Mental Health Day and our ongoing tour.”

He added: “We are supported by The Battling Suicide Bus, which acts as a safe place to meet and talk about concerns, or just share the time of day by saying ‘Hello’ to our team and other visitors. Students often share their feelings of loneliness or disconnection, using the bus or the chess tournaments as a conduit to start the conversation. It also offers a space where students can share memories or leave a testimonial to a friend or family member who has taken their own life.”

Francesca Smith, MD of Bright Hygiene said: “Bright Hygiene are delighted to be supporting the 5asideCHESS team at this important event at Oxford Brookes University and throughout the remainder of their tour of colleges and universities in the UK. We are acutely aware of the many and complex issues young people are facing following our interaction with the team and we want to support their huge efforts in helping this age group share their challenges and fears.”