Edinburgh International Festival and Leith Academy Celebrate Partnership by Launching Brand

  • A new brand unveiled represents the Leith Academy Residency, developed in collaboration between academy pupils and the International Festival 
  • December marks one year of the partnership, and 4000 interactions between the Festival and Academy, through projects including a Personal Development Award improving social and employability skills, four artists-in-residence, and a Festival Ambassadors programme
  • Residency activity in 2020 to include parts of Sex Education Xtreme, a performance for young people on sex education and the evolution of gender; a mentoring programme with International Festival team members, and a behind-the-scenes technical training programme

9 December, Edinburgh: The Edinburgh International Festival and Leith Academy unveil a new brand today for the Leith Academy Residency, created in collaboration between pupils of the school and the marketing team at the International Festival. The brand-launch marks the end of a successful initial year of a three-year partnership between Leith Academy, Edinburgh International Festival and the City of Edinburgh Council, designed to enrich the life of the school by supporting the social and vocational development of pupils and create cultural opportunities for the wider community of the school.

The International Festival’s marketing team worked with third year Art and Design as well as Craft, Design and Technology pupils. Together they created a brand which incorporates both the yellow identity synonymous with the International Festival, and the vivid blue of the Leith Academy school crest and uniform, chosen to reflect the school’s ties to its local community and Leith’s maritime history.

Activity reached over 4000 interactions in 2019 between the school and Festival stemming from a variety of projects around the theme of ‘identity’. These projects included a Personal Development Award qualification for senior pupils to equip them with social and employability skills; the establishment of a Festival Ambassadors programme; a series of ‘connector’ programmes bringing the school and Festival together including year-round trips to theatres and performances, support with the school’s Christmas and summer shows, and a teacher’s ticketing initiative in August; and four artists-in-residence working with pupils – choreographer Ashley Jack, artist Heather Marshall, Battersea Arts Centre’s Beatbox Academy, and photographer and film-maker Aly Wight.

The second year will deepen the impact of existing successful projects whilst developing new initiatives exploring the theme of ‘diversity’. New artists-in-residence include local theatre-makers and performance artists Emma Jayne Park and Peter Lannon, working with pupils to explore masculinity and gender; whilst Mamoru Iriguchi, Lou Brodie and playwright James Ley, will test and inform with Sex Education Xtreme, a project to collaborate on the development of a performance for young people aged 12-15 that seeks to give insight into sex education and the evolution of gender.

Other projects launching in 2020 include the establishment of a mentoring programme, which will pair International Festival team members with individual students at the school; a series of career talks with International Festival teams about what they do; and a new programme developed by the Festival’s Technical department through which students will learn what goes on behind-the-scenes to deliver a performance – from set-building and costume maintenance, to stage management, lighting and sound design.

Caroline Donald, Head of Learning & Engagement at Edinburgh International Festival said: Leith Academy has been a phenomenal partner in 2019 and has really welcomed the Festival into the school, which has been key to the partnership’s success. One of the school’s driving values is ‘success and learning for all’ which also underpins the Festival’s learning and engagement activity across the city, all year round.

“Edinburgh International Festival has connected with the students over 4000 times in our first year and over the next two years we want to build on that to ensure that all students have an opportunity to access culture, nurture their creativity and develop their employability skills.”

Mike Irving, Head Teacher at Leith Academy said: “In 2019/20 there is an ever greater need to look creatively and collaboratively at our curriculum. Our work with the Edinburgh International Festival helps us harness the skills of creativity, team work, problem solving and communication daily. This particular branding event allowed our young people to not only see how branding ‘comes alive’, but to actually be part of creating it from start to finish with skilled professionals. In a world where the jobs young people will do is a dynamic and fluid one, we are very grateful to the wonderful opportunities the young people of Leith are being offered through the residency in order to open their horizons of what their ‘next steps’ may be.”

Councillor Ian Perry, Education, Children and Families Convener at the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “This fantastic residency at Leith Academy marks a real commitment from the Festival to working in a really sustained way with a school and its community. It builds on the previous successful Castlebrae residency and offers pupils and staff unrivalled access to cultural and creative opportunities. It also develops skills in real world situations and is supported by mentoring for pupils and high-quality professional learning for staff.

“We are very supportive of this partnership between the festival, the school and ourselves. I’m really looking forward to finding out more about the residency, how it develops over the next two years and the positive benefits for the school and the whole community.”

Paige Fennell, Leith Academy student and Festival Ambassador said: “What’s been great about having the International Festival Residency in my school is the chance for pupils to try new things which are out of their comfort zones! I had the opportunity to meet and learn from so many people from the Marketing and Communications team in my art class. Now we have a brand, it will be easier for everyone in the school to see what is happening in the Residency!

“I am also a member of the Festival Ambassadors. It is a great confidence booster, a chance to meet new people in different years at school and in the Festival, and you also get to hear about all the different projects going on!”

Join the conversation – #edintfest / @edintfest


A survey identified that 89% of bereaved British Forces families felt there wasn’t adequate bereavement support for military families – Scotty’s has subsequently enhanced its SUPPORT Programme and recruited a Head of Support dedicated to its beneficiaries, thanks to funding from Annington and Veterans’ Foundation

Scotty’s Little Soldiers has been supporting hundreds of bereaved British Forces children across the UK since the charity was founded in 2010 by Nikki Scott, following the death of her husband and father to her two children, Corporal Lee Scott, in 2009. Now, Scotty’s is proud to offer additional and much needed emotional support to its beneficiaries having taken on a dedicated support worker.

Scotty’s Little Soldiers provides its members with support and guidance throughout their childhood and offers a respite, however brief, from the daily ups and downs of coping with the loss of a parent. It does this through three programmes. SMILES offers children the opportunity to smile and laugh again through a wide range of activities and gifts.  The SUPPORT Programme aims to assist with the more emotional side of bereavement and includes access to professional counselling and a family support network.  The STRIDES Programme helps with the charity’s members personal development and includes a range of activity and educational grants. A fourth programme is also being developed. The SPRINGBOARD Programme will be for 19 – 25 year olds to ensure the support continues into early adulthood.

A members’ survey conducted in 2018 identified the need for an enhanced support programme from Scotty’s Little Soldiers. 89% of families asked didn’t feel there was adequate bereavement support available for military families and 90% said they would be likely to use additional support from Scotty’s. In particular it was felt there was a need for a dedicated case worker who would have expert knowledge of the help available to bereaved military families.

Having identified this gap available to bereaved forces families, Scotty’s Little Soldiers were keen to develop their SUPPORT Programme and, thanks to funding from Annington and Veterans’ Foundation, this year they have been able to do that and have taken on Bev Townsend as Head of Support.

Nikki Scott, Founder of Scotty’s Little Soldiers, said: “The idea behind Scotty’s Little Soldiers is to support children on the difficult journey that follows the death of a parent. Having listened to our families it was clear that Scotty’s makes a real difference to them with the support it already offers but the number of families crying out for additional emotional support was overwhelming. There’s lots of support out there but the families felt they didn’t know where to go for this support or how to go about getting it. We were desperate to fill this gap but as a small charity the big problem was funding. We are so incredibly grateful to both Annington and Veterans’ Foundation who have kindly funded the development of the SUPPORT Programme. We’ve been lucky enough to recruit Bev Townsend who is now on hand to offer an extra layer of support to our families.”

Bev brings a wealth of experience to her role. She served in QARANC and Intelligence Corps in the Army for seven years, has twelve years’ experience in palliative care nursing and has also managed positive activities services for disadvantaged children including young carers. Bev is available to offer initial support to Scotty’s Little Soldiers members, then leads them to the relevant support and stays with them on their emotional journey to ensure they are receiving the care they need.

Jane Harsham, Corporate Responsibility Manager at Annington, said: “When Scotty’s came to us to talk about their plans for the future, they highlighted the need for a new role – Head of Support. They felt this role was really needed to move forward with the work that it does for bereaved military children. Listening to Scotty’s and understanding the passion behind the charity and the fabulous work that is has done in the past, we felt that we really wanted to get involved in helping the children make the very best of their lives, despite the tragedies that have befallen them.

Jane continued: “This is clearly a much-needed role. These children sometimes need a non-family member in their corner to be their advocate, to be fighting their battles for them, whatever that may be. We are proud and delighted to be able to help Scotty’s achieve their aims.”

David Shaw, Chief Executive of Veterans’ Foundation, said: “We’re so pleased we’ve been able to help Scotty’s Little Soldiers develop their SUPPORT Programme. It’s so important to care for bereaved British Forces children. Their parents gave so much for our country and we’re so grateful to Scotty’s for supporting the children left behind.”

So far this year, Scotty’s Little Soldiers has supported 400 bereaved Forces children across the UK, offering integral support when they need it the most.

To learn more about Scotty’s Little Soldiers visit: http://scottyslittlesoldiers.co.uk/

Schools across the UK awarded Primary Science Quality Mark

Over 530 primary schools from across the UK have been awarded the Primary Science Quality Mark (PSQM) at ceremonies that took place in October and November, celebrating a commitment to excellence in science teaching and learning.

The award, which is supported by organisations across the science community, focuses on developing and improving leadership and teaching of science in primary schools. It is delivered by the University of Hertfordshire’s School of Education, with support from the Primary Science Teaching Trust

Associate Professor Jane Turner, PSQM Director at the University of Hertfordshire, said: “The PSQM is a significant achievement for schools. Since its introduction in 2010, the Mark has raised the profile of science in primary schools across the country, providing them with a framework and professional support to develop science leadership, teaching and learning. The standard of submissions for this round has been incredibly high; schools which have been awarded the Mark should be very proud.”

St Katherine’s C of E Primary School in Essex was one of the schools awarded. Anne-Marie Taylor, the School’s Headteacher, said: “As Headteacher, I was aware that it was part of our whole school development plan to ensure we raised the profile of the teaching and learning in science across the school. The Primary Science Quality Mark was the perfect way in which to do this. It helped teachers realise the full potential of the science curriculum and ensure the teaching of science was of the highest standards in their own classes. Fundamentally, the programme helped us to come together as a school community to bring excitement and curiosity back to this key subject.

“I can confidently say science is now taught with a fresh sense of curiosity that comes from both staff and pupils, and we are very proud of the whole team for achieving the Mark.”

The PSQM scheme enables schools to work together to share good practice and is supported by professional development led by local experts. It encourages teacher autonomy and innovation, while offering a clear framework for development.

In 2013, a partnership was formed between the Primary Science Teaching Trust and University of Hertfordshire School of Education to enable continued growth of the PSQM. In 2018, both organisations agreed to extend the collaboration until 2023.

Bett 2020: Creating a better future by transforming education

On 22-25 January 2020, the 36th edition of Bett will bring together people from more than 146 countries in the global education community under one roof at the ExCeL London. With 800 leading companies, 103 exciting new EdTech startups and over 34,000 attendees, the latest edition of Bett UK is an unmissable show in the event calendar for the global EdTech market.

Registration is open

Every year, Bett is at the forefront of education and technology, bringing future innovations into the present. Registration is now open, giving you the chance to hear from educators, leaders and EdTech pioneers from all over the world.

A speaker agenda like no other

For the 36th edition of Bett UK, we’ve put together an unrivalled guest speaker agenda to ensure that you hear from educators and thought leaders within the EdTech space. The first wave of international figures taking the stage at Bett 2020 include:

  • Brian Cox OBE – Physicist, professor and author of “The Quantum Universe”
  • Linda Liukas – Author of “Hello Ruby” and Tech Evangelist
  • Arjana Blazic – Teacher Trainer, Croatian Ministry of Education
  • Dr Sue Black – Professor of Computer Science, Durham University, and Tech Evangelist
  • Jos Finer – Co-director, Head of Organisation & Staff Development, Sumac Project Lead, CAPOD, University of St. Andrews
  • Carol Allen – Education Advisor for ICT and Inclusion
  • Bart Verswijvel – Senior Advisor, EUN Partnership

Keep an eye out as we continue to release further updates on our speaker line up.

Exploring the new zones

With so many EdTech innovators and exhibitors under one roof, we want to ensure the navigation is as easy as possible. This is why, with your feedback, we’ve created new exhibitor zones that encapsulate the top six solutions educators want to see in every institution:

  • Learning Tech
    • Equipment & Hardware
    • Teaching Tech
    • Management Solutions
    • Global Showcase
    • Education Show

The Escape Room experience is back!

Why should kids have all the fun? Once again, Bett is teaming up with teacher training organisation Tablet Academy to bring you something completely different, The Bett Show Escape Room Experience.

The Escape Room experience is designed to provide you with the opportunity to engage with classroom technology solutions in an exciting and brain taxing way, solving a series of challenges using the very technology you can deploy in your classroom.

Off the back of such a great success last year, for Bett 2020 the Escape Room brings the following updates:

  • Bigger space for the Escape Room challenges
  • Navigate your way through a series of three rooms
  • ‘Crystal Maze’ style challenge that you can work with your colleagues

Unmissable exhibitors

Over 800 suppliers and exhibitors will be at Bett to showcase the products and servicing shaping the future of education.

These pioneering brands will be at Bett 2020 to deliver content, innovative ideas and global insights in EdTech practices in the UK and around the world. Schedule meetings on Connect@Bett to find your next supplier.

Eleven theatres of invaluable content

With quality content at the heart of what we offer at Bett UK, we have eleven theatres dedicated to providing presentations, panel discussions and more over the course of this four-day event. The Bett Seminar Programme for 2020 is full of CPD-certified sessions designed to inspire, educate and inform audiences from across the education community. Some of the sessions you will find this year are:

  • Barefoot computing – 22 Jan, 16:00 – 16:30
  • Financial planning for the Future – 24 Jan, 12:30 – 13:00
  • Learning to Teach Code – 22 Jan, 13:30 – 14:00
  • Captivating your class with World Class Video content – 23 Jan, 13:10 – 13:30
  • Governance for MAT Leaders – 23 Jan, 14:00 – 15:30

One of the highlights of Bett 2020’s programme is the theme SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) and Inclusion.

Bett has programmed a series of talks with a SEND and Inclusivity focus across the week. There is a particular focus on Friday, where there will be a concentration of CPD sessions and keynote talks, covering primary education through to higher education and beyond. Experts and educators will speak to the challenges giving practical advice, case studies, inspiration and useful information.

The Education Show at Bett

For the first time in 28 years, we will be fully-integrating the Education Show inside the North Hall. There will be hundreds of suppliers under one hall roof, showcasing the essential products to improve the health and wealth of global educational institutions.

Why the move? We wanted to ensure our focus for Bett 2020 is on greater audience quality. When we moved the show to sit alongside Bett in 2019, we saw an increase of 27% of school leaders from the previous year. Now, with the Education Show inside Bett 2020, we’ll bring you more than 330% more attendees. This means more key buyers and educators all in the one place at the one time.

As part of the Education Show, we can announce the following three sessions that are not-to-be missed when planning your time at Bett 2020.

  • Leadership: The importance of leadership in enabling schools to deliver high standards of education

This session, led by David Carter, Executive Director of System Leadership, Ambition Institute, will cover topics including structural solutions for leadership improvement in schools, strategies for managing organisational change, ways to inspire a workforce and get buy in on school improvement models.

  • Keynote: Using dance fitness to improve student wellbeing

In this inspiring keynote from Dame Darcey Bussell DBE, DDMix, we’ll look at the positive attributes of dance and how they’ve been proven to promote wellbeing in the mind and body. Darcey will be sharing how schools can implement dance into their curriculum as part of PE, as well as the ways it can improve student and teacher wellbeing.

  • Keynote: Examining how emotional involvement when learning significantly increases the chances of that learning being successful

Dr Andrew Curran, Paediatric Neurologist & Neurobiologist Researcher, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool. Associate of Independent Thinking Ltd, will be sharing the most up-to-date understandings about the working of the learning brain. This includes how learnings happen, how memory happens, how motivation happens, and the role that emotions play in these things.

As well as these sessions, the Education Show will bring you:

  • Best practice presentations
  • Demonstrations from a range of suppliers to challenge your thinking
  • An opportunity to discover new solutions
  • The practical tools to implement policy and manage school best practice


To help you build the rich connections that will see you transform your educational institution in the years to come, the Connect@Bett app is back, and available to download now. The app enables visitors to set up meetings with relevant exhibitors and fellow educators over the course of this four-day event.

On top of this, there will be another onsite networking opportunity in the form of the Staff Room; this is where educators can discuss content sessions they’ve experienced and reflect on what they found inspiring and informative.

Everyday live radio with NetSupport Radio powered by Anderton Tiger

NetSupport Radio has been chosen as the official broadcaster for Bett 2020, providing an interactive forum for visitors to explore, debate and reflect on the show’s themes over the course of this four-day event. You’ll be able to have your voice heard, and listen in as NetSupport Radio broadcast a mix of interviews, analysis and debate on the biggest issues facing education.

Powered by Anderton Tiger and hosted by Bett alumni Russell Prue, visitors can share ‘best of Bett’ thoughts and insights via Twitter using #NetSupportRadio throughout the four days.

Al Kingsley, Managing Director of NetSupport, says “This year, we are keen to welcome an even wider range of views and insight so that educators can make better decisions and technologists can better understand the real issues facing schools. I’d encourage all from across the sector to listen live, engage on social media and visit the station at stand NL44 to make their contribution – all are welcome!”

Join us at Bett UK 2020

Bett 2020 registration is now open. Join us for the latest instalment on 22-25 January 2020 at the ExCeL London.


Primary pupils win Discovery Education Coding Gold Cup

Pupils at Perryfields Junior School are celebrating after receiving a national computing award.

The Chelmsford school is a winner of the 2019 Coding Gold Cup for computer programming in primary schools. The award is presented to just three schools each year by Discovery Education, who deliver digital and coding resources to classrooms around the world.

Perryfields Junior School pupils designed and shared thousands of apps to take this year’s award, placing them in the top three schools for Discovery Education Coding nationally. The children used their coding skills to build a series of clever computer games using different programming languages and featuring colourful characters including aliens, astronauts and even HM The Queen!

Teachers and pupils received a special gold certificate this week recognising their coding achievements.

Mr Pisano, the school’s Computing Lead, said:

“Coding is all around us and builds skills for future success. We’re delighted that our pupils enjoy computing and proud to see their hard work and skills recognised with this national computing award.”

Hazel Carter, UK Marketing Director at Discovery Education said:

“Discovery Education Coding schools and their pupils have created 1 million games and apps in 2019 so far, which is quite an achievement! We were particularly impressed with the programs created by Perryfields Junior School and are delighted to present them with this award. Coding is a vital skill for the future. It’s great to see children mastering it at such a young age.”

Discovery Education Coding is one of the UK’s leading primary computing resources, used in over 2,700 schools across the country. A new and updated version of the popular service was launched to schools this term. Fully refreshed for 2019, Discovery Education Coding 2.0 includes new features to enhance pupils’ coding experience, ignite their creativity and take their coding to the next level. A fresh new interface, exciting code blocks, and a more intuitive workflow help pupils to build the programming skills they need for the future.

Watch out the Garbage Guzzler’s about!

Visitation Day, 23-06-2018
  • Food wastage reduces drastically at Aldenham school  as the machine feasts on 2,000 litres of food waste per week
  • Garbage Guzzler tears through food bins in just 24 hours

Aldenham School in Elstree is the first school in the UK to invest in the Garbage Guzzler. Alongside wiping out a variety of single-use plastics from bottles to packaging throughout the School, this initiative is the next stage to becoming self-sustainable and continuing to steer the community towards a more eco-friendly future. The Garbage Guzzler uses bacteria to reduce organic waste, including food, cardboard and paper packaging. The process takes as little as 24 hours, and harvests a substance that can be used as a soil improver or biomass fuel.

With the help of the Garbage Guzzler Aldenham will be composting all food wastage which was previously removed from the grounds by lorry, making a positive impact on the community both economically and environmentally.

Andy Williams, Head of Aldenham Senior School, said: “We are proud to be the first school in the UK using this technology. It is important for us to continue to strive towards a greener future. Reducing our wastage this way, on site, enables us to not only service our grounds more efficiently but also allows us to reduce vehicle movements that are associated with recycling.”

Lee Vines, Chief Operating Officer for PKL Group, which supplied the Garbage Guzzler, said: “We’re delighted that Aldenham has started using the Garbage Guzzler which helps the environment by reducing methane emissions and capturing carbon in a product which can be used to improve soil. Unavoidable food waste is a recurring problem and technologies like the GG are key to helping the planet and reducing the costs and impact of waste.”

According to a report by WRAP, the education sector generates 123,000 tonnes of food waste per year as a collective with only 8% of food waste in schools being composted. The introduction of the aerobic food waste digester at Aldenham will considerably reduce the environment impact of food wastage.