Robo Wunderkind heading to ISTE 2019

Robo Wunderkind is an award-winning edtech company that provides innovative early education solutions currently in use in over 200 schools worldwide. The company’s mission is to provide easy-to-use and delightful STEM education to an underserved key segment of the market – K-5 education. In the US, Robo Wunderkind launched cooperation with Eduporium, Follet, and is entering US schools to present its pupils with the necessary ABC’s of 21st-century education: robotics and coding.

Robo Wunderkind at ISTE 2019

The Robo Wunderkind team will represent their product at the upcoming #1 global edtech conference, ISTE, in Philadelphia, June 23-26. You can visit stand #1051 to meet the team and get to know the product, or the following workshops where Robo Wunderkind will be featured:

Why is Robo Wunderkind a game changer?

Robo Wunderkind is designed to support the basic developmental needs of K-5-aged children in experiencing the world around them. While most competitive solutions are either too difficult or too simple, Robo Wunderkind comes with the ideal cognitive stimulation and is one of the few viable solutions that can be implemented at the very start of cognitive awareness. The combination of easy-to-use physical hardware, intuitive software a professional curriculum makes Robo Wunderkind the ideal option for K-5 education. Children construct and program a simple robotic tool, while simultaneously being preparing for a job market that will be increasingly STEM-demanding and STEM-oriented.

A versatile educational tool

Due to its versatility, the kit can be used as a tool for teaching disciplines like language, mathematics, art, and more. It grows with children as they age, making the product a wonderful investment in their education. The curriculum, largely based on constructivism, offers 70+ hours of play-centered educational content delivered through story-telling. It refers to experiential, cooperative and play-based learning and encourages children to think about their work and the purpose behind it. The most advanced children can write their own code for Robo through our Python API. Robo Wunderkind offers its educators an onboarding program and ongoing support to make sure they make the best out of their robotic kit.

1,000 PUPILS, TEACHERS AND PARENTS INVITED TO CELEBRATE BEING ACTIVE AT THE MÜLLER ANNIVERSARY GAMES

20 primary schools receive tickets as part of Nike and Discovery Education’s Active Kids Do Better Programme

The Müller Anniversary Games will welcome some very special guests this weekend, as over 1,000 schoolkids, teachers and parents head to the London Stadium on Saturday 20th July.

20 primary schools received tickets to the world-leading athletics event in recognition of the progress they’ve made in getting active through play and sport this year. The invite was extended by British Athletics, in partnership with Nike and Discovery Education, as part of Active Kids Do Better – a nationwide programme which provides schools with free resources to get kids active throughout the day.

Launched in February 2018 by Nike and Discovery Education, Active Kids Do Better now reaches thousands of teachers in hundreds of primary schools across the UK. With only one in five kids getting the recommended daily 30 minutes of physical activity throughout the school day, Active Kids Do Better gives busy teachers and parents simple tools, ideas and activities to make this goal achievable, such as short-burst classroom activities and games to motivate and energise children. 

The 20 schools invited to the Müller Anniversary Games have all taken part in the programme throughout this academic year, reaping the benefits of building an active school culture. From boosting wellbeing, to improving attainment and concentration, active pupils are healthier, happier and more engaged with learning.

Rebecca Smith, Year 6 teacher and PE Co-ordinator at Michael Faraday School in Southwark said:

“The children at Michael Faraday Primary School are thrilled to be invited to the Müller Anniversary Games. We know that the children will be inspired to see the athletes compete in the London Stadium! The Active Kids Do Better Programme is making a huge impact on our pupils. I cannot wait to hear all about their experiences when they come back to school!”

Christine Major, Director of Educational Partnerships at Discovery Education said:

“It’s fantastic to celebrate the achievement of teachers and kids who have been involved with Nike and Discovery Education’s Active Kids Do Better programme this year. We hope attending the Müller Anniversary Games gives the children even more inspiration to keep up the great work and get more active.”

Dan Burrows, Senior Director, Social and Community Impact EMEA at Nike, said:

 “Kids aren’t meant to sit still, they’re made to play. To help the next generation, we’re investing in schools and partnering with expert organisations to make play and sport accessible to kids wherever they are, and in whatever way they want to move. And we’re providing inspiration by connecting kids with sporting events like the Müller Anniversary Games.”

Regular physical activity has been linked to improved physical health, improved mental wellbeing and academic attainment. Yet today’s kids are part of the least active generation in history. Currently in the UK, only 23% of boys and 20% of girls get the recommended 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day. For many kids, school provides their only opportunity to be active.

The Active Kids Do Better programme offers free resources, games and activities to all UK primary schools. From short-burst classroom activities to outdoor games and play, the programme gives busy teachers everywhere fun and easy opportunities to get kids moving.

Visit activekidsdobetter.co.uk to access free resources.

Find out more about Nike’s commitment to getting kids moving and providing opportunities for equal playing fields for all at: communityimpact.nike.com  

Unity Schools Partnership’s Helen Main wins Administrator of the Year award

Helen Main, ITT Manager at Unity Schools Partnerships, has been named Administrator of the Year by the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT), the voice of school-led initial teacher training and development.

Helen beat off fierce competition from Ailsa Anderton (North West SCITT) and Cathy Scott (Kirklees and Calderdale SCITT), who were runners-up in NASBTT’s Administrator of the Year award. The category recognises exceptional administrators who go above and beyond in ensuring the smooth running and success of school-based provision.

In awarding the Administrator of the Year prize, the judging panel comprising of education and ITT experts said: “Helen emerges as a worthy winner in the Administrator of the Year category from a strong field of evidently hard-working and dedicated professionals. What particularly impressed the judges was the fact that she demonstrates, day-in and day-out, the exceptional dedication and commitment to the partnership and the trainees it recruits and trains. The nomination cited her ‘relentless optimism, positivity and solution-focused attitude…someone who significantly influences strategy and operation’. Of particular note was the exemplary way she absorbed a lengthy and complex period of jury service whilst ensuring that the partnership continued to function smoothly and efficiently. It is evident that Helen is highly regarded by trainees, not least because of her tireless commitment to promoting and enhancing their mental and emotional wellbeing.”

Upon receiving the award, Helen said: “I am hugely honoured to have been nominated and greatly humbled to have received the inaugural NASBTT Administrator of the Year award. As administrators we share in the highs and lows with the trainees and their tutors. Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. I wish to thank NASBTT for supporting myself and others in the pursuit of continuous improvement to provide an outstanding local ITT provision.”

The inaugural NASBTT Awards, held at the Union Jack Club in London on 11th July, were launched to celebrate excellence in school-based teacher education and recognise the exceptionally hard-working and talented professionals involved in driving the profession.

Sponsoring NASBTT’s Administrator of the Year award category was TeachVac, a free-to-use national vacancy system for schools and teachers.

North West SCITT’s Denise Heath wins Mentor of the Year award

Denise Heath, a trainee teacher mentor at North West SCITT, has been named Mentor of the Year by the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT), the voice of school-led initial teacher training and development.

Denise beat off fierce competition from Kate Reeves (Devon Primary SCITT) and Natalie Hosie (Stockton-on-Tees Teacher Training Partnership), who were runners-up in NASBTT’s Mentor of the Year award. This category recognises outstanding mentors who inspire other new and aspiring teachers to take up this important and often underrated role in school.

In awarding the Mentor of the Year prize, the judging panel comprising of education and ITT experts said: “The nomination cites that Denise ‘has the perfect skill-set as a mentor; adapting and amending her own style as the trainees gain confidence and competence’. Over the past five years not only has she trained 14 primary trainees but she has taken a leading role in developing other colleagues for the mentoring role and been proactive in contributing to key developments in the SCITT’s training programme. Denise ‘ensures that any changes to the programme are suitable and manageable for the trainee teachers as well as school-based mentors. Her honest and sensible reflection has been invaluable to us as the programme has developed over the years’. As if this was not enough, Denise is ‘determined to ensure that high-quality trainees are recruited to the programme and offers the opportunity for interested individuals to spend time in their classroom in order to gain a true and realistic understanding of the demands of teaching’.”

Upon receiving the award, Denise said: “I am both delighted and shocked to be the first recipient of NASBTT’s Mentor of the Year award, particularly for something that I thoroughly enjoy doing. I would like to say thank you to Dawn Davies (Executive Lead) and the team at North West SCITT, who over the last five years have allowed me to mentor some amazing trainee teachers, all of whom have gone on to become outstanding teachers in their own right. It is an honour to be part of their training. It gives me great personal satisfaction to see them become amazing teachers, who go onto inspire and change children’s lives. Thanks must also go to NASBTT for hosting such a fantastic awards evening and congratulations to all the winners.”

The inaugural NASBTT Awards, held at the Union Jack Club in London on 11th July, were launched to celebrate excellence in school-based teacher education and recognise the exceptionally hard-working and talented professionals involved in driving the profession.

Sponsoring NASBTT’s Mentor of the Year award category was Outset Teacher Education, which provides e-portfolio solutions to support teachers’ professional development.

Surrey South Farnham SCITT duo win Trainer of the Year award

Dave Cole and Bob Twells, from Surrey South Farnham SCITT, have been named Trainer of the Year by the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT), the voice of school-led initial teacher training and development.

The duo beat off fierce competition from Carol Allen (Associated Merseyside Partnership SCITT) and Alison Brady (Associated Merseyside Partnership SCITT), who were runners-up in NASBTT’s Trainer of the Year award. This category recognises inspirational trainers or facilitators whose best practice provision excites and motivates school-based trainee teachers.

In awarding the Trainer of the Year prize, the judging panel comprising of education and ITT experts said: “Many of the nominees were evidently inspirational trainers in diverse aspects of initial teacher education whose impact on the thinking and practice of significant numbers of trainee teachers is clearly apparent, but Dave and Bob are clearly a dynamic duo. As one judge commented: ‘their sessions are described in such a way (and evaluated incredibly highly by a range of trainees past and present) that one wants to book to attend’. The SCITT leaders say in their nomination that: ‘We have been inundated with nomination requests from past and present trainees’. As one grateful recipient’s testimonial said: ‘I just had to say how fantastic the behaviour management training was today. They were the perfect training duo – hilarious at times and with so much good content. I certainly left feeling uplifted and with plenty of strategies to try’.”

Upon receiving the award, Dave said: “Firstly, Bob and I were incredibly touched that someone would even find the time to nominate us for our work with Surrey South Farnham trainees; to actually win the award took us both by surprise and we feel incredibly humbled. Having both worked in challenging schools we are acutely aware that effective strategies for behaviour management are the cornerstone for any effective classroom, and for a school for that matter. At a time when behaviour is a national challenge our role is even more crucial. Our simple focus on rules, routines and relationships coupled with fun and a trainee-led approach, has really helped us to empower our trainees. We love our work with trainees and feel privileged that we can really help make a difference.”

The inaugural NASBTT Awards, held at the Union Jack Club in London on 11th July, were launched to celebrate excellence in school-based teacher education and recognise the exceptionally hard-working and talented professionals involved in driving the profession.

Sponsoring NASBTT’s Trainer of the Year award category was Anspear, a technology and publishing company whose mobile learning platform powers core curriculum courses for children, distance learning degrees, language learning, vocational training and CPD.

Associated Merseyside Partnership SCITT’s Pauline Treanor wins Partnership Lead of the Year award

Pauline Treanor, Head of the Associated Merseyside Partnership SCITT, has been named Partnership Lead of the Year by the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT), the voice of school-led initial teacher training and development.

Pauline beat off fierce competition from Claire Harnden (Surrey South Farnham SCITT) and Sacha Beresford (The Kemnal Academies Trust SCITT), who were runners-up in NASBTT’s Partnership Lead of the Year award. This category recognises partnership leads who motivate and inspire their core team to achieve success through effective leadership and management.

In awarding the Partnership Lead of the Year prize, the judging panel comprising of education and ITT experts said: “Pauline emerged as Partnership Lead of the Year because the judges were totally convinced by the description of her ‘passion for education, boundless energy and relish for new challenges and opportunities to influence the learning of children, trainees and colleagues’. Clearly, Pauline has developed a new SCITT from its earliest days and overseen its growth into a strong and ever-evolving partnership of many schools across five local authorities. The nomination cites: ‘Colleagues enjoy and excel working for the Partnership because Pauline makes things happen, she secures outcomes and celebrates the individual contributions made. Success is achieved because she empowers those around her’.”

Upon receiving the award, Pauline said: “My vision was for a school-led initial teacher training programme that not only brought new teachers into the profession but kept existing staff in schools by providing CPD and career development opportunities through their engagement with the SCITT. Our recruitment process is robust and ensures that trainees are quickly embedded into school life and fully understand the teacher’s role. I am delighted that 78% of our first cohort are now in leadership roles within education. It is an honour to be recognised for doing a job that I love – I am proud to be a teacher.”

The inaugural NASBTT Awards, held at the Union Jack Club in London on 11th July, were launched to celebrate excellence in school-based teacher education and recognise the exceptionally hard-working and talented professionals involved in driving the profession.

Sponsoring NASBTT’s Partnership Lead of the Year award category was TeachingTimes, publisher of School Leadership Today, Professional Development Today, Creative Teaching and Learning magazines, along with Every Child Journal, Digital Learning and Learning Spaces. The group also publish e-bulletins: Leadership Briefing and Every Child Update.

Nottinghamshire Torch SCITT wins Innovative Practice of the Year award

Nottinghamshire Torch SCITT has won the Innovative Practice of the Year award from the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT), the voice of school-led initial teacher training and development.

Nottinghamshire Torch beat off fierce competition from North West SCITT and Now Teach who were runners-up in NASBTT’s Innovative Practice of the Year award. This category recognises innovative ways for training the next generation of teachers and how this practice is promoting new entrants to the profession.

In awarding the Innovative Practice of the Year prize, the judging panel comprising of education and ITT experts said: “Emerging as the clear winner of the award for Innovative Practice of the Year, Nottinghamshire Torch SCITT demonstrated a strong outward-looking approach, using a diverse range of settings across their programmes, including forest schools and specialist settings. The nomination states: ‘Each trainee will have visited over eight different school settings, whilst undergoing a large number of training days…they develop a strong understanding of different educational settings, leadership and management philosophies and catchment areas prior to seeking employment’. The element of innovation that was most significant was the focus on international education. The SCITT currently provides a fully-funded trip to Finland and is exploring a visit to Houston moving forwards, which shows a commitment to sustaining their approach to innovation over time.”

Upon receiving the award, Nottinghamshire Torch SCITT Director Treena Philpotts said: “It is a great honour to be given this award in recognition of our work in developing a wide range of opportunities for our trainee teachers. We know that within teaching having the opportunity to visit a full range of educational settings is critical for teachers to develop their own philosophies, values and pedagogical approaches. We continue to see innovative practice within schools; teachers themselves never stop learning and it is important to develop this ethos at the Initial Teacher Training phase as these are our future school leaders. I wish to thank the SCITT team and the wider school partnerships within and beyond the Nova Education Trust as well as the Jyvaskula Teacher Training School who have shown so much commitment in supporting our programme. We really enjoyed the evening and thank you to NASBTT, Dr Adam Boddison and Nasen for presenting this award.”

The inaugural NASBTT Awards, held at the Union Jack Club in London on 11th July, were launched to celebrate excellence in school-based teacher education and recognise the exceptionally hard-working and talented professionals involved in driving the profession.

Sponsoring NASBTT’s Innovative Practice of the Year award category was Nasen, the UK’s leading organisation for promoting the education, training, advancement and development of all those with special and additional support needs.

Liverpool Hope University wins HEI Partner of the Year award

Liverpool Hope University has been named HEI Partner of the Year by the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT), the voice of school-led initial teacher training and development.

Liverpool Hope, which was nominated by Associated Merseyside Partnership SCITT, beat off fierce competition from the University of Roehampton and Somerset Centre for Integrated Learning, who were runners-up in NASBTT’s HEI Partner of the Year award. This category recognises university partners who work collegiately with school partners to create genuinely personalised and impactful training programmes.

In awarding the HEI Partner of the Year prize, the judging panel comprising of education and ITT experts said: “What makes Liverpool Hope University stand out is that in a system designed to make school-based providers and universities compete, the partnership between the SCITT and the HEI is about collaboration and co-promotion, with clear co-support at a strategic level. The nomination states: Liverpool Hope ‘is always willing to accommodate requests for change or suggest alternatives so that together we improve trainee experiences.  Most recently, this has seen the introduction of a new module that will reduce workload and enhance understanding of curriculum design for trainees’. As one judge noted: ‘This is a responsive partner providing access to education conferences and student support services.  Active promotion of the partnership to improve recruitment to multiple routes is commendable’.”

Upon receiving the award, Liverpool Hope University’s Head of Teacher Education Sue Cronin said: “I am delighted to accept the award on behalf of the Liverpool Hope Teacher Education team. Partnership is the key to everything we do so this award is very special for us. Our work with Associated Merseyside Partnership (AMP) shows just how powerful SCITT-University partnerships can be when we collaborate. AMP SCITT has been a fantastic partner for Liverpool Hope to work with; we have both supported and challenged each other to improve our programmes and practice. The partnership has been a win–win. In an increasingly challenging landscape, strong partnerships are essential for system improvements and we value our partnership with AMP SCITT.”

The inaugural NASBTT Awards, held at the Union Jack Club in London on 11th July, were launched to celebrate excellence in school-based teacher education and recognise the exceptionally hard-working and talented professionals involved in driving the profession.

Sponsoring NASBTT’s HEI Partner of the Year award category was the Universities’ Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET), which acts as a national forum for the discussion of matters relating to the education of teachers and professional educators, and to the study of education in the university sector, and contributes to the formulation of policy in these fields.

Devon Primary SCITT wins SCITT or School Direct Lead School of the Year award

Devon Primary SCITT has been named the SCITT or School Direct Lead School of the Year by the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT), the voice of school-led initial teacher training and development.

Devon Primary SCITT beat off fierce competition from Northampton Teacher Training Partnership and Shotton Hall SCITT, who were runners-up in NASBTT’s SCITT or School Direct Lead School of the Year award. This category recognises the ‘best of the best’ school-based teacher training providers within the sector.

In awarding the SCITT or School Direct Lead School of the Year prize, the judging panel comprising of education and ITT experts said: “The excellence of Devon Primary SCITT’s provision has been recognised by Ofsted in each of the four inspections they have received dating back to 2003. They have pioneered and refined the concept of learning conversations and cascaded this approach to many other providers. This programme and its leaders have also participated in system-wide leadership support activities over the past two years. As one of the judges noted: ‘This nomination identifies the three areas of quality, distinctiveness and contribution to the wider ITT sector. It is an impressive nomination because all three of these areas have been so successful over time’.”

Upon receiving the award, Andy Ogden, Strategic Lead of Devon Teaching School Partnership and Devon Primary SCITT, said: “It is an honour to accept this award on behalf of Devon Primary SCITT. Behind it lies a passionate partnership of staff, Heads and their schools who are fully committed to training the next generation of teachers. Although our partnership received this recognition, the awards evening was a true celebration of all the partnerships of schools across the country who provide excellent training so that all of our children will be taught by wonderful, creative teachers.”

The inaugural NASBTT Awards, held at the Union Jack Club in London on 11th July, were launched to celebrate excellence in school-based teacher education and recognise the exceptionally hard-working and talented professionals involved in driving the profession.

Sponsoring NASBTT’s SCITT or School Direct Lead School of the Year award category was Phil Smith Communications, a specialist PR, communications and stakeholder engagement consultancy for the education sector.

Kim Francis wins Outstanding Contribution to Initial Teacher Training award

An ITT professional who has dedicated over 40 years to supporting the development of trainee teachers and teacher educators has received the Outstanding Contribution to Initial Teacher Training award from the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT).

Kim Francis was Programme Lead for the North Lincolnshire Graduate Teacher Programme/ SCITT from 2003-14 as well as the local authority’s NQT induction co-ordinator, chairing the Yorkshire and Humber ITT provider network, and serving as a member of the Initial Teacher Training Advisory Group (ITTAG) for eight years. Prior to that, he taught English in secondary schools for 28 years, serving as a subject mentor and ITT co-ordinator for much of that time.


Now a freelance ITT consultant, Kim joined the NASBTT Board of Trustees in 2014 and has co-ordinated a number of projects including the Training and Assessment Toolkit, Management Support Partner programme and Ofsted preparation workshops, including collation of NASBTT’s annual inspection analysis reports. He is also an experienced ITT external moderator and formerly a school governor.

In announcing the award, decided by NASBTT, Chair of Trustees Ian Hollingsworth said: “The Outstanding Contribution to Initial Teacher Training award goes to someone who is so humble that we suspect he will be stunned when his name is revealed. This person has dedicated many years of his life to the ITT sector and is a trusted colleague and critical friend to many NASBTT members, as well as to the NASBTT team themselves. His unfailing optimism and wonderful sense of humour make him a pleasure to work with, whilst his in-depth understanding of the sector, coupled with his endless willingness to learn more, mean he is an invaluable source of support and guidance to many of us. His particular penchant for deep dives into every Ofsted ITT report published each year creates a yearly publication for NASBTT which is highly valued by many across the sector.”

Upon receiving the award, Kim said: “This is such an unexpected honour. The work I have been pleased to do – to try to help support colleagues leading ITT programmes – has been a pure pleasure. It is especially gratifying when colleagues let me know that my efforts have provided practical help as they strive to develop their provision. I am firmly of the view that being involved in Initial Teacher Education (ITE) is the very best job in education because we are involved in enabling and empowering the next generation of teachers to educate and influence the life chances of the nation’s children and young people. In my case, I feel I was born to contribute to ITE – it has been a privilege. Thank you NASBTT for recognising the small part I have played – it means such a lot.”

The inaugural NASBTT Awards, held at the Union Jack Club in London on 11th July, were launched to celebrate excellence in school-based teacher education and recognise the exceptionally hard-working and talented professionals involved in driving the profession.

Enjoyable training allows pupils to become Mini Medics

To assist schools in England with their preparation for lifesaving first aid training in 2020, Eureka!, a leading supplier of first aid to schools, has sourced a fantastic training package designed to make training and learning of lifesaving skills both easy and enjoyable.

The Mini Medics First Aid and Defibrillation for Children course is supported by Nuco Training, the UK’s leading independent instructor training company specialising in first aid, defibrillation and compliance training. The course is ideal for delivery by qualified teachers/trainers who hold a current and valid 1-day emergency first aid at work or 3-day first aid at work qualification.

A fully loaded USB stick contains all the necessary presentation and resource material required by teachers to teach and promote the course. An accompanying 32 page fully illustrated A4 book is available and offers pupils a basic introduction to first aid and defibrillation. The Mini Medics course has been designed with children between the ages of 8 and 11 in mind but can be suited to a wider age range of primary school pupils. There is no confusing terminology and the book is filled with clear illustrations, making understanding lifesaving skills simple.

Once the training course has been delivered to the class, each child can cut out their certificate of attendance, located at the back of their book, to show their friends and family that they are trained Mini Medics.

Neal George, Business Manager for Eureka! tells us: “We are, and have always been, committed to sourcing the best possible first aid products. We continually listen to the needs of our customers and ensure that we can deliver on first aid supplies that really meet these requirements. The Mini Medics course was presented to us and after glowing reviews from children of our own staff, we quickly realised it would be a great addition to the Eureka! portfolio.

Replacement books are available separately from Eureka! and orders will be delivered the next working day if placed before 4.30pm. This not only ensures the longevity of the teacher training USB but also reduces any unnecessary stock holding and wasted costs of unused books.  

To find out more about the Mini Medics resource package, or to view the range of CPR manikins, training defibrillators, portable first aid kits and supplies, all suitable for lifesaving first aid training in schools, visit www.EurekaDirect.co.uk.

Solent University alumnus donates £100,000 for new Digital Innovation Centre

Pictured: Vice-Chancellor of Solent University, Professor Graham Baldwin and Sean Yazbeck

As part of graduation week, Solent University has pledged to continue supporting the region’s thriving technology community following its largest-ever donation from a former student.

British award-winning tech entrepreneur and Solent alumnus, Sean Yazbeck, has donated £100,000 to fund a new enterprise centre at the University, dedicated to digital innovation.

Set to open in the autumn, the new Sean Yazbeck Centre for Digital Innovation will provide students and businesses with access to state-of-the-art technologies and software in gaming, computing, augmented reality, virtual reality and artificial intelligence. The donation from Sean – a Visiting Fellow and Honorary Doctor of Business at Solent University – will fully fund the new facility and help boost graduate employability by up to 15%, thanks to a number of project opportunities with established and start-up businesses once the centre opens.

Sean is the founder and CEO of several technology companies including the enterprise digitalisation software, Scopeworker, which recently signed a deal with US telecoms carrier, Sprint, to digitalise their multi-billion dollar 5G deployment. Bringing with him unrivalled knowledge and experience in the technology industry, Sean will be providing support to the centre, working to ensure it offers the very best equipment whilst supporting students as they engage with private enterprises.

Sean explained: “British universities are increasingly driving the nation’s rapid growth in technology-based industries.  Britain is perfectly positioned to becoming the world’s next Silicon Valley.  This relatively small donation is a contribution to supporting the next generation of British tech entrepreneurs. It is also a thank you to Solent University for being the launch pad for my career.”

Theo Paphitis, Chancellor of Solent University, said: “Sean’s philanthropic support, guidance and leadership has been instrumental in the University being able to offer this new teaching and learning environment.“This donation will enable our students to not only develop high-quality skills through a range of really interesting activities, but also access to opportunities for them to deliver commissioned commercial projects and services to meet the needs of the industry. A key skill when you’re engaging with the business sector.”

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Graham Baldwin, added: “The Sean Yazbeck Centre for Digital Innovation comes at an exciting time for Southampton and the wider Solent region. In a hugely fast-paced industry, it is crucial that our students have access to technologies that will expand their skill-set and see them through into employment.”

The centre will build on the success of the University’s other similar initiatives, including Solent Creatives and Solent Productions.

Eureka! team prepare to pull a plane for Julia’s House

Employees at Poole-based business Eureka!, usually spend their spare time relaxing after a day’s work processing orders and advising customers across the UK on the most suitable first aid supplies. However, 20 members of staff have kicked off a rigorous training regime after signing up to pull a Boeing 737 in support of Julia’s House Children’s Hospice.

Julia’s House is a charity that offers support in Dorset and Wiltshire to children with life-limiting illnesses and their families, by providing round the clock hospice and community care, as well as much needed respite and emotional support.

The team at Eureka! have been involved with the charity for some years by volunteering at events and fundraising, but this is by far the biggest challenge they have undertaken for the cause.

The event is due to take place on Monday 26th August at Bournemouth Airport where 40 teams will compete to pull the plane, weighing 35 tonnes, a distance of 50 metres in the fastest time.

Corporate Fundraiser at Julia’s House, Caroline Attreed comments: “Julia’s House has been involved with Dorset Plane Pull for the past 10 years. The event is always good fun with teams often taking part in fancy dress and raising huge amounts of money for a range of local and national charities.

“We are really pleased that Eureka! have chosen to take part and support Julia’s House. We will be cheering them on throughout the day and wish them the best of luck in the competition.”

Since the first annual Plane Pull took place in 2009, the event has raised over £130,000 for 24 different charities. All event organisers volunteer their time ensuring that every single penny of money raised is donated directly to the charities involved.

Ricky Williams, Sales Manager at Eureka! is hoping to raise £1000 for Julia’s House. He tells us: “Our staff are really looking forward to taking part in this event. We are not sure how we will get on, but as long as we can all pull together and raise a fair amount money for such an amazing charity, that’s all that matters. Anyone who would like to support us on our journey can make a donation directly to Julia’s House at www.juliashouse.org.”

More information about the event can be found @DorsetPlanePull on Facebook or via the Dorset Plane Pull website www.planepull.co.uk.

Three in five young people have experienced a mental health problem or are close to someone who has

Data comes from a survey of over 12,000 young people aged between 11 and 19 carried out by the mental health charity Mind

Three in five young people (59 per cent) have either experienced a mental health problem themselves, or are close to someone who has, according to major new research by Mind that shows the sheer scale of the pressures faced by young people.

The survey from the mental health charity also shows that one in seven (14 per cent) young people say their mental health is currently poor or very poor and outlines the breadth of the challenges they face. It also highlights how secondary schools are promoting and supporting their wellbeing.

When it comes to accessing support within school, there were problems with knowing where to go, and then getting the right kind of help. Mind’s survey also found:

  • Almost two in five (38 per cent) of all pupils said they wouldn’t know where to go to access support within school and half (52 per cent) said they wouldn’t feel confident approaching teachers or other school staff if they needed help.
  • Around one in five young people (21 per cent) had accessed support for their mental health within school. Of these, almost one in two (43 per cent) said they didn’t find the support helpful and two in three (63 per cent) said they weren’t involved in decisions made about that support.

In terms of receiving help outside the school gates, less than one in three pupils (28 per cent) who had experienced a mental health problem had used mental health services. This means a huge gap in the numbers of young people needing help and those actually accessing support from the NHS.

Louise Clarkson, Head of Children and Young People at Mind, said:

“We spoke to thousands of young people to try to better understand the scale of poor mental health across secondary schools in England and Wales. There were some really positive findings, with most pupils saying that, on the whole, they thought their schools believed good mental health was important and promoted wellbeing. But we also heard from many young people experiencing problems with their mental health. Despite the high levels of poor mental health among young people, many are not accessing support and those that are aren’t always getting what they need.

“Young people want help for their mental health but their needs aren’t currently being met. It’s not schools at fault – we know they are under increasing pressure to provide wellbeing support for pupils at a time of rising demand and gaps in NHS mental health services. We know that many are doing the best job they can with limited resources and staff need the right expertise and support from other parts of the system. The Prime Minister’s recent announcement about training for teachers is welcome but it’s only one part of the picture – school staff need to know that if they are starting conversations about mental health with a young person, there are services in place to refer them onto.

“It’s time for a fresh approach to supporting young people and equipping them to look after their mental health. With so many young people affected, and knowing that most mental health problems start in childhood, this is rapidly becoming one of the major challenges our society faces. We need to listen to what young people are telling us and be guided by them when designing services and support.”

Salma Sanchez, 15, pupil at Ribblesdale School, said:

“There are many stressful parts of being a teenager today. So much can affect our wellbeing: exams, home life, cyberbullying, and the pressures of social media are just a few examples. I’ve found that not many people want to talk about mental health, and this needs to change.

“In my opinion I believe that the greatest pressure and stress being faced by young people today is social media. Social media is a very powerful platform, and spending time on it can be positive, but it has also created some issues. Spending a lot of time on Instagram means that some teenagers feel they have to look a certain way, and compare themselves to other people. These issues can lead to teenagers having low self-esteem and not feeling good enough about themselves, and that can contribute to mental health problems.

“There’s lots that teenagers like me can do to improve their wellbeing. At my school we recently held a ‘De-Stresstival’. Throughout the day we had obstacle courses, glitter paint, a place where you could relax and talk to someone and – one of the favourite activities – we had dogs brought in to play with.

“It’s so important that any young person with a mental health problem knows where they can get support – whether that’s from a parent, doctor, school, or a service like a local Mind. Seeking help can mean you can start to recover, and enjoy life again.”

A separate survey by Mind of more than 1,500 school staff revealed that almost three in four (71 per cent) felt confident that pupils who needed it were being adequately supported. However, around one in two (52 per cent) feel that they do not have enough information to support pupils with poor mental health. Outside of school, staff were aware of other support but less than half (26 per cent) were confident that they would be able to help pupils to access it.

Chris Major, Assistant Headteacher at South Hunsley School, said:

“It’s worrying as a teacher to see how many young people say they’re having problems with their mental health right now. While it’s positive that so many young people feel empowered to talk about their mental wellbeing, we really need to look at why so many of them are struggling. 

“As a school, it’s clear to us that over the past few years there’s been an increasing demand for more mental health support for pupils as they cope with pressures of modern life. Young people face multiple pressures academically – like revising for exams  – which we know can really impact their stress levels. In addition, we’re seeing more and more young people struggle with appearance pressures, and feel the need to showcase a ‘perfect’ life on social media.

“We’ve chosen to increase our provision in schools to meet this demand. Things that have worked well for our school have included running CBT workshops for parents, which over 100 attended, and appointing wellbeing champions among our students who promote positive mental health and help create a culture of openness and we will be doing the same for staff. It’s so important that whole schools work together: students, staff and parents all contributing to achieve a sustained improvement.

“Our school community now has greater confidence to talk about mental wellbeing and that helps to lets people know that they are not alone.”

The surveys were carried out as part of a pilot project in 17 secondary schools in England and Wales. Funded by The BRIT Trust and WHSmith, Mind has been working with secondary schools since September to pilot a new approach to improving the mental health of the whole school community, including pupils, all school staff and parents.

Mental health information for young people is available for free from Mind’s website (mind.org.uk). Mind is inviting young people from England and Wales to share their views and help better understand the barriers they face to accessing support and what some potential solutions might be. Anyone interested in taking part should visit mind.org.uk/cypsurvey.

UNITED FOR BOYS CHARTER AIMS TO CHANGE GLOBAL CONVERSATION ON SEXUAL VIOLENCE

Family For Every Child calls on education organisations across the globe to sign up

Schools and other education providers are being invited to sign up to an international charter which aims to change the way societies tackle sexual violence affecting young males. 

It is estimated that 1 in 6 boys worldwide experiences sexual abuse. And whilst girls continue to be the gender principally affected by sexual violence (estimated at 1 in 4), the abuse suffered by boys can fall under the radar (Caring For Boys Affected By Sexual Violence, 2018).

On becoming a signatory to United For Boys, organisations will be able to access tailored support and guidance from the charter’s founding charity Family For Every Child – a member-led network of local children’s organisations from around the world.

Charter signatories will also be encouraged to publicly demonstrate their commitment to tackling sexual violence affecting boys by displaying the campaign badge.

Family For Every Child’sscoping study Caring for Boys Affected by Sexual Violence (2018), found that boys are less likely to report abuse, are less likely to be believed when they do, and are more likely to be seen ascomplicit in the act or even as the perpetrator.

Support services – where they exist – are targeted at and organised around the needs of girls, with counsellors and support workersoften ill-equipped to engage with boys.

The study produced a list of recommendations that are based on evidence and can be tailored to local contexts. These include the need for more gender-inclusive recovery services, effective sex education, revised laws, and changes to the cultural and social norms around gender and sexual violence.

Amanda Griffith, CEO, Family For Every Child, said: “All around the world, millions of children – girls and boys alike – are affected by sexual abuse, exploitation and harmful behaviours. All children deserve a childhood free of these threats.

“Socio-cultural norms related to childhood, gender, masculinity and sexuality perpetuate sexual violence affecting boys, increase the vulnerability of boys to sexual violence, and contribute to under reporting.

“Our United For Boys charter combines public awareness-raising with systemic change. It calls on everybody – women and girls, men and boys, professionals and the public, young and old – to be a part of building a brighter future for boys, and for everyone.

“We believe that the best way to achieve these changes is by engaging professionals, from teachers and school support staff to GPs and social workers, who can work in new ways to improve the system for children worldwide”.

The United For Boys charter calls for six evidence-based principles to better support boys. These are:

  1. Raising awareness of sexual violence affecting boys amongst professionals who work with children, leading to the development of organisational strategies for building staff knowledge and skills so they feel informed and equipped to provide support.
  1. Ensuring that all services that can support boys are designed and managed in ways that make them feel included, accepted and welcome.
  1. Providing easily accessible, appropriate and high quality information to help educate children and families on sex, sexual health, sexuality and internet safety; and ensuring that this includes information relating to sexual violence affecting boys.
  1. Advocating for changes in the law that could ensure that boys affected by sexual violence are better protected and supported, and that victims are not criminalised.
  1. Changing the conversation around our culturally-embedded and harmful social norms around gender.
  1. Challenging damaging narratives around sexual violence affecting boys, including in the media; and offering support on how to better frame the issue.

Family for Every Child is a global alliance of local civil society organisations working together to improve the lives of vulnerable children around the world. It has 36 member organisations in 35 countries.

More information about the Charter and the support offered to signatory organisations 

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Joe Wicks, The Body Coach, announced as BBC Children in Need’s first ever Schools Ambassador

Today (Monday 1 July 2019), BBC Children in Need has announced that Joe Wicks has been appointed as the charity’s first ever Schools Ambassador.  Joe Wicks has teamed up with the charity and its Official Education Partner Twinkl to inspire and empower thousands of schoolchildren to get fundraising for BBC Children in Need’s 2019 Appeal, whilst getting active and feeling good.  

In addition to inspiring children to fundraise for the charity, Joe’s ambassadorial role will see him reprise his hugely popular Schools Tour programme to support the charity’s fundraising efforts.  Ahead of BBC Children in Need’s 2019 Appeal ten lucky UK schools will receive a visit from Joe, where he will run a fun-filled mini workout session designed specifically for students and teachers.  Schools simply need to register for a free fundraising kit before the end of September to be in with a chance of receiving a visit from The Body Coach himself.

The tour’s crescendo will see Joe undertake a live workout on Appeal day 2019 – Friday 15 November. The Big Morning Move’ workout will be live-streamed to schools up and down the country with school children being encouraged and empowered to have fun and get active whilst raising money for the charity.

Joe Wicks commented on his new role, saying: “I am incredibly proud to be BBC Children in Need’s first ever School’s Ambassador, it really is an honour.” 

“As a Dad, I am passionate about children’s health, wellbeing and happiness and hope that by inspiring children to get together, and get active, we can make a real and lasting impact. 

“There is something amazing about children coming together to help other children, and I can’t wait to kick things off and see schoolchildren up and down the UK once again go the extra mile to make a difference!”

Simon Antrobus, Chief Executive at BBC Children in Need said of Joe’s appointment: “We are absolutely delighted that Joe has come on board as our Schools Ambassador. Joe’s commitment to transforming the lives of UK children for the better is remarkable, and we are certain that with Joe’s support this year, we will be able to make even more of an impact on young lives.”

To help make it easier than ever for schools to get involved, BBC Children in Need have teamed up with Twinkl Educational Publishing, their Official Education Partner, to produce fitness and wellbeing based resources. From healthy bakes to mindful arts and crafts these new materials will be part of a range of curriculum-based fundraising resources that will empower children across the UK to get together to make a difference.

The free resources will be available to download from the BBC Children in Need schools website and Twinkl’s website, for educators and schools to use from September onwards.

Jonathan Seaton, Co-founder and CEO of Twinkl said: “We are so proud to be working with BBC Children in Need and Joe to support schools across the UK to take part in healthy and fun activities and raise money. We’re creating some really exciting materials to support this and can’t wait to see schools in action.”