Check out…..Technology Supplies

Technology Supplies is the leading supplier of design-and-technology and engineering products and services to education worldwide. The organisation now works with over 5,500 secondary schools and colleges; it also focuses on the development of state-of-the-art “makerspaces” in the world’s leading international schools for the provision of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. Based in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, the organisation employs around 80 staff between its office and 90,000-square-foot warehouse facility. Its annual turnover is around £13 million, with a steady upward trajectory of yearly growth driven by the momentum of the international market.

The importance of STEM
Over the next decade, the success of STEM industries will be pivotal for the UK’s economic success. To maintain its £370 billion gross value, 1.3 million workers will be required each year, from now up to 2022.This fact reflects the growing shortfall of students who are able to enter the UK workforce with relevant skills in STEM subjects and apply to the increasing number of vacancies in these fields. This issue is best demonstrated through the number of students taking design and technology at GCSE, a figure which has declined by 40 per cent in the last ten years. Design and technology has seen the greatest decline in participation of all STEM subjects, but is responsible for providing the most relevant training in skills for a modern workforce – skills such as problem-solving and creativity.
We firmly believe at Technology Supplies that STEM education is of paramount importance to the success of STEM industries and the wider UK economy. Through this belief, we have been at the forefront of modern learning in the products and services we provide to support schools and teachers, both in alignment with global curricula, and in driving the development of 21st-century skills, such as creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication.

Ground-breaking educational development
In the early 2000s, we became the first organisation in the UK to introduce laser-cutting machines into schools. An industrial process had just become available in an educational format, allowing students to get to grips with physical challenges which would be presented in a future career.
Soon after, we sought out manufacturers who could provide a machine capable of introducing 3D printing to the classroom; subsequently, we became a leader in the provision of 3D printers and resources for educational institutions.
Ten years on from the introduction of laser cutters, the appetite for advancing technologies in UK schools is now dwarfed by that of independent international schools. Although we are still highly active in UK schools, we now receive a third of our revenue from international independent counterparts, as their desire to drive innovation and a modern approach to learning becomes a flagship mindset within their school. This often takes the form of a Technology Supplies “makerspace” or “innovation centre”: an area which includes a careful blend of manufacturing technologies and control systems for the provision of coding education.

An innovation space in Singapore
One such project of ours can be seen at Tanglin Trust School in Singapore. The school provides a British-based curriculum with an international perspective for students between the ages of 3 and 18. It currently hosts students from over 50 different countries.
In 2016, Tanglin Trust School approached us with a brief to develop and install a facility which could provide a future-focused design and manufacturing curriculum. This would help to develop 21st-century skills, alongside “making” skills for today’s workforce, such as coding and computer science. Presented with an empty shell of a room, our team leant on its combined background of over 100 years in educational workshop environments, many members of which had practical teaching experience in schools. They designed a configuration which met the brief for innovation, yet maintained practicalities for working space, flexibility and storage solutions.
Not only does the completed environment allow students to work with the latest-generation 3D printers and in “clean” control technology (coding) zones, it also merges with subtractive manufacturing techniques such as CNC routers, scroll saws and hand tools. Working spaces also allow for collaborative learning, and through our proprietary mobile workbenches, machinery can be easily and quickly repositioned to suit the requirement of any given lesson.
We have continued to work alongside Tanglin Trust School, supplying consumable materials and additional tooling for their innovation space. Thanks to the success of the initial project and its appreciation among staff and parents, as well as students, we are now in discussions with the school about a phase two project.
The demand for innovation spaces in educational settings is growing on the success of those we have already installed. The world’s leading independent schools and groups regard us as the global leader in their implementation; these include GEMS, Nord Anglia Education, Taaleem, Bloom Education, Repton School, Shrewsbury School, Wellington College, Harrow School and many more.

Relationships on home soil
We are also heavily associated with the development of over half of the UK’s university technical colleges (UTC), installing engineering workshops for manufacturing-focused secondary education curricula. Taking Silverstone UTC as an example, we worked with industry partners and the college to provide an industrial facility which took key elements from the motor racing sector and integrated them into a specialist educational provision.
In 2017, we applied the same transitional approach between education and industry in our work on the Dyson School of Design Engineering at Imperial College, London. This world-leading higher education institution required a full-scale revamp of its engineering workshop, and enlisted the STEM education experience of our organisation.
Following a successful initial project, Imperial College is now planning a second phase of its development, which will be one of over 50 major projects for us this year.
Looking ahead
The UK’s education market is seeing a minimal amount of investment at present, and this circumstance has remained constant for the last few years. We have maintained relationships with thousands of schools, colleges, universities and multi-academy trusts to ensure a strong UK business network. Based on the success of previous years, however, we foresee that future opportunities for growth will come from introducing our unique, specialist proposition to further international education markets over the next two years.

“We have been at the forefront of modern learning in the products and services we provide”
“The demand for innovation spaces in educational settings is growing on the success of those we have already installed”

FACTS ABOUT TECHNOLOGY SUPPLIES
»Managing director: Paul Harrington
»Established in 1986
»Based in Shrewsbury, Shropshire
»Services: Supply, installation and maintenance for both design-and-technology and engineering education worldwide
»No. of employees: 80
»Every year, 4.5 million students worldwide are taught using equipment and consumables from Technology Supplies
»www.technologysupplies.co.uk

With thanks to http://www.theparliamentaryreview.co.uk/organisations/technology-supplies

NASBTT hails Early Career Framework but warns it could “fail to deliver all its promises” without funding

Emma Hollis, Executive Director of the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT), has used her opening speech at the organisation’s annual conference to hail the Early Career Framework (ECF) as the “most critical initiative” yet for new teachers but warned that a commitment to funding it is needed.

Speaking at Woburn House in London in front of over 150 delegates, Emma described the ECF as a potential “game-changer”. “The ECF offers a longer period of support and guidance with clear entitlement (and entitlement, I think, is a key word) to professional development, access to mentoring and coaching and, potentially, reduced timetabling,” she said. “Schools remain concerned about the costs of such an ambitious programme and yet, if funded and resourced appropriately, this really could be a game-changer. Without the time and resources where necessary, I fear the ECF could fail to deliver all its promises. We will be advocating for accredited providers to be automatically licensed to offer the framework to schools. A complex and expensive bidding process could stagnate the market – and who is better placed to understand the needs of early career teachers than Initial Teacher Education (ITE) providers?”

Emma then turned her attention to mentoring. “The entitlement to a longer induction period means there will be an increased need for highly-qualified mentors in schools,” she explained. “The issue of mentoring is one I am particularly passionate about and, in my most positive moments, I can foresee a situation whereby schools must have a dedicated mentoring lead in the same way they do for safeguarding and Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO). This individual would have overarching strategic responsibility for mentoring early career teachers, training all staff on what it means to be a mentor – this should be a set of skills common to all teachers and not simply held within one formal teacher-mentor relationship – and to whom all staff ultimately report back.”

She also suggested the formation of local hubs which provide access to accredited mentors. “Together with colleagues at the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET), I have argued that accredited teacher training providers, who know what early career teachers need and have a wealth of expertise, are ideally placed to offer this service to schools,” Emma revealed. “By tapping into the existing network of accredited training providers, we could give more time to the mentors we have already got, and importantly avoid setting up a whole new mentor recruitment and procurement system. The big elephant remaining in the room is funding and, as yet, a firm government commitment to the funds that will be allocated to schools has not been made. What is obvious is schools are not in a position to provide the additional support that is required within existing budgets.”

Describing 2017-18 as “a year of great promise for change”, Emma reflected on the Department for Education (DFE) consultation on Strengthening Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and Improving Career Progression for Teachers and other major developments in the sector. “The QTS consultation set out the possibilities for seismic shift in the teacher training landscape, revolutionising the early career support offered to teachers and going not an inconsiderable way to making the profession attractive once more,” she said. “Changes to skills tests offered great candidates the chance to access courses without an arbitrary lock on entry for the sake of a few marks on a flawed testing system and uncapped allocations allowed providers to truly serve the needs of their communities – using genuine local knowledge to meet genuine local demand. There were celebrations for the sector as a whole too, with 99% of provision now rated either good or outstanding and a staggering 43% of School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) provision rated outstanding.”

However, Emma warned that the 2018-19 academic year is “arguably the most critical yet” in terms of addressing the issues facing schools on teacher recruitment. “The apprenticeship agenda cost many of us more than one sleepless night and has been fraught with hurdles and difficulties,” she explained. “Adding to an overcrowded ITT market does not appear to have given any additionality and yet has created unmanageable workloads for very little return. We have seen a move towards simplifying the messages given to candidates – with less unhelpful distinctions being made between types of provider and a greater focus on what are actually only three routes to becoming a teacher: Undergraduate; Postgraduate fee-paying and Postgraduate-salaried. Underneath these routes are a wide range of providers – something which we believe offers healthy choice and variety – but which can be overwhelming for outsiders and which should not be the focus of applicants’ early experiences. We also welcome the policy decision to widen participation by offering more bursaries to applicants holding 2:2 degrees. We are repeatedly told that there is very little correlation between class of degree held and outcomes for teachers and are pleased to see this is now being recognised in bursary payments offered for shortage subjects.”

On teacher retention, Emma highlighted the DfE’s latest teacher workforce and statistics analysis. This report has recognised that there are now 3,000 more teachers leaving the profession each year than are entering – with leavers increasing across all subjects and phases, and it is the crucial age group of under-35s who are most likely to leave. “Recognition is being given to wider issues around teacher retention and workload and whilst the work in these areas is yet young, we must celebrate the fact that the need to tackle them has been acknowledged and steps are being taken to address these matters at a national level,” she said. “The DfE’s response to the QTS consultation set in motion a series of initiatives which should – if resourced and funded appropriately – make a huge difference to teachers in this country. But one has to question, will it be enough?”

Finally, Emma reflected on the achievements of NASBTT over the past 12 months. “NASBTT has continued to grow, widening its offer to members to include our suite of Teacher Educator Programmes, uptake on which has been phenomenal and for which feedback has exceeded even our high expectations,” she said. “We have been represented on, and made genuine contributions to, policy advisory groups. We finally broke through the arbitrary difference in fee scales between SCITTs and HEIs and received confirmation that these will have parity from 2019. And, in consultation with Ofsted, we heard that changes to the ITE inspection framework will, most sensibly, be delayed until the new Education Inspection Framework has had time to embed. Innovation and perseverance are the watch words for the ITT sector and I am heartened to see how relatively small providers are able to weather the storm and make lemonade from the barrels of lemons they are handed.”

NASBTT also announced a new partnership with Pearson Publishing, offering a wide range of online CPD modules to support and enhance members’ training offer for students, and the launch of the NASBTT Awards which will “recognise the excellent practice and innovative work” being undertaken by school-led teacher trainers.

NASBTT statement:
Response to updated advice on ITT fee charging for 2019-20

The Department for Education (DfE) has published its Initial Teacher Training (ITT): criteria and supporting advice: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/initial-teacher-training-criteria/initial-teacher-training-itt-criteria-and-supporting-advice, which includes updates on fee charging in 2019-20 for full-time fee-funded courses:

• Approved (fee cap) providers with a Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) award for 2019 to 2020 may charge up to £6,165 for a full-time course if they do not have an Office for Students (OfS) access and participation plan in place, or up to £9,250 if they have an OfS access and participation plan in place.
• Approved (fee cap) providers without a TEF award for 2019 to 2020 may charge up to £6,000 for a full-time course if they do not have an OfS access and participation plan in place, or up to £9,000 if they have an OfS access and participation plan in place.
• School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) providers that have not registered in the Approved (fee cap) section of the OfS register are not subject to the Higher Education and Research Act 2017, and are able to set their own tuition fees without reference to OfS.
• DfE requires that SCITT providers must not charge trainees over £9,250 for full-time programmes of ITT in 2019 to 2020.

Giving her reaction to the updated advice, NASBTT Executive Director Emma Hollis said:

“We are delighted that the fee cap for SCITT providers has been raised from £9,000 to £9,250 for the 2019-20 academic year – this is something that NASBTT has been calling for. For our members, this move will signify that there is equity between SCITT and HEI teacher training providers, and that SCITTs are equally valuable. It will remove any artificial distinction between the two groups. Having an additional £250 per trainee will make a massive difference, especially to smaller SCITTs. With the extra funding, it could give a SCITT leader currently doing the role part-time alongside another role in school the flexibility to go full-time if they wish. It could also mean additional staff in the SCITT, investment in more external training or mentoring, or new resources and technology.”

NESTLÉ WATERS UK JOINS FORCES WITH RECOUP AND WASTEBUSTER TO DEVELOP PLASTICS RECYCLING EDUCATION PROGRAMME FOR UK SCHOOLS

 

Recycling Education Programme, R-Generation, is widening its reach for 2018, and will now be available to every primary and secondary school in the UK. Following its launch in 2016, Nestlé Waters UK is continuing its partnership with recycling charity, RECOUP, and environmental education organisation, Wastebuster, to deliver an updated programme for 2018. This year will see the national roll out of the initiative, which aims to help children understand the responsibility they have in becoming more environmentally aware citizens.

There is a still a role to play in encouraging consumers to increase their recycling behaviour. The average UK household uses nearly 500 plastic bottles a year but recycles just over 280 of them. This latest initiative aims to help children understand the responsibility they have in becoming more environmentally aware, both at home and in their communities.

The programme gives school staff teaching Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 education access to a host of materials and resources which will help put recycling firmly onto the agenda for their schools. The 2018 programme features a host of new digital materials which will help create excitement in the classroom and deliver relevancy for today’s students. Resources include teacher notes, assembly guides, games, quizzes and fact sheets and aim to help inspire young recyclers of today to become recycling champions of the future. As well as classroom resources, the packs also include step by step instructions on assisting schools in setting up successful recycling schemes in their schools.

Priya Hamilton, Corporate Communications Manager, Nestlé Waters UK comments: “As a business we are passionate about driving education and encouraging individuals to take action and responsibility to protect the environment through recycling. Having launched this initiative in 2016, we are delighted to be continuing to spearhead such an important initiative in driving the recycling agenda. Our commitment to recycling was also reinforced earlier this year, when we announced the roll out of the introduction of recycled plastic to all water bottles produced at our UK site.

As well as the actions we take at a manufacturing level, we believe we also have a major role to play in helping to drive the uptake of recycling in the UK and this latest programme will certainly help address this amongst our youngest generation.”

Anne Hitch, Communications Manager, RECOUP comments: “We are delighted to be able to work with Nestlé Waters UK and Wastebuster on this initiative. Capturing the imagination of young recyclers to encourage plastic recycling is essential for the future in driving a circular economy and long-term sustainability. Plastic is a valuable material that can be reused if we only do the right thing with our waste. The tools within the packs give a complete understanding about different types of plastic and I hope they will motivate students and staff to recycle more at school and at home.”

For schools interested in taking part, the resource pack is available for free download at http://www.recoup.org/p/319/external-publications

Voyager School Travel launches Normandy Adventure

Leading school trip organiser reports strong rebookings for total immersion MFL breaks

A new Normandy adventure heads up the news from Voyager School Travel (01273 827327; www.voyagerschooltravel.com). Plus the leading provider of language-immersion and adventure trips for UK schools is reporting strong rebookings for its total immersion MFL trips and has sound advice for schools looking to save time and money.

Voyager is officially launching a new trip to northern France, now available to book for spring/summer 2019 and beyond. The six-day Normandy Adventure, which was trialled this year, offers a superb mix of fun activities and French cultural experiences. Based at the Voyager Camping Village at Les Peupliers, a quiet, car-free area of Les Mielles just a short hop from the white-sand beach at Annoville, school groups enjoy a packed six-day programme, delivered by fully qualified instructors. Students are kept busy from arrival with activities such as kayaking, paddle boarding, pêche à pied, sand-yachting and high ropes, combined with cultural visits, including a trip to a local market, and evening events. The new trip is available 20 May-21 July 2019, from £328 per pupil, including return coach and ferry and five nights’ fullboard. Pupils share tents and teachers will be upgraded to Coco Tents. Price based on 40 students, with five free staff places.

MFL trips: Native-language staff deliver proven results Voyager, the leading provider of language-immersion trips, has seen more than 90% of schools rebook some of its top MFL packages in the past year. The trips focus on learning a language outside the classroom, using an entertaining mix of activities to embed language deeply through kinaesthetic learning. Voyager reports strong repeat bookings for Normandy Experience, Chateau de la Baudonnière and La Grand’ Ferme in France. Its exclusive Spanish trip to the Arbolar Centre in Murcia, where activities include watersports, flamenco and salsa dancing, has also seen rebooking by more than 90% of schools, as well as a 35% rise in first-time bookings.
Voyager delivers proven results by using native-language staff teams to ensure total immersion, encouraging students to speak at every opportunity in the target language and consolidating this knowledge during activities. Authentic French and Spanish cultural activities are also central to trips, providing an opportunity to practise language skills while introducing students to local life. And the Voyager Interaction option, available on most French trips, provides a 21st-century take on the traditional French-language exchange, where groups are given the opportunity to meet up with pupils from a French school during their trip and pre-travel introductions and communications can be arranged.
See Voyager’s French animateurs in action and hear why the Opal Coast French trip was a success for one school. Or take a look at a video from Arbolar and hear a Spanish teacher talk about how this trip worked for her students. Voyager School Travel’s current MFL trip brochure can be downloaded here.

Short on budget or time? Voyager can help

Tight budgets needn’t prevent school trips, advises the Voyager team. Budget-conscious schools can take advantage of Group Share, where schools with small numbers can combine with others to make a full group on the Chateau de la Baudonnière language and Voyager Adventure trips. Some trips are available for off
peak dates, which attract lower prices – schools can book for autumn and boost results early in the academic year. Plus there are free teacher places on all trips in the Voyager collection. If a trip is still financially out of reach, Voyager can offer on-site total language immersion by bringing its portable Escape Room direct to schools – a fun way for students to put their MFL skills into action by plotting their escape in the target language.

One example of a budget- and time-efficient choice is the Opal Coast French Trip. Based at Voyager’s own three-star Hotel Moulin aux Draps, less than one hour from Calais and within easy reach of Boulogne, it’s ideal for schools looking for shorter, even weekend, trips. This low-cost three-day French immersion itinerary, which maximises language-speaking time, costs from just £199 per student. Schools can also collect Voyager Rewards when booking.

To discuss or book trips, call 01273 827327 or visit www.voyagerschooltravel.com Follow Voyager School Travel on Twitter at @Voyagerschools, Facebook at facebook.com/voyagerschooltravel, Instagram at Instagram.com/bethatteacher and YouTube at Youtube.com/user/voyageradventure

PUPIL ‘MAKES WORLD BIGGER’ TO WIN UK-WIDE DIGITAL CHALLENGE

A Monmouth pupil is celebrating after winning one of the top prizes in a popular annual challenge for primary schools.

Alice Shaw, 9, from Monmouth School Girls’ Prep has been announced as a winner of Make Your World Bigger 2018, a video challenge designed to keep children learning during the summer holidays.


Organised by Discovery Education, the competition encourages pupils to join a 30-day film adventure, watching a daily Discovery video clip to learn something new. Nearly 8000 pupils took part in the 2018 challenge, which is now in its third year.
Answering questions along the way, and enjoying fun activities such as den building and stargazing, Make Your World Bigger encourages children to be curious about the world around them using films about geography, technology and space to spark their imagination.
Alice was one of 10 national winners, and was presented with her prize with her classmates this week. Alice received a huge Discovery goody bag, packed with fun gifts and gadgets including a VR headset, telescope, butterfly garden and more.
Year 4 teacher Nina Price said:

“This was a fantastic opportunity for the girls to extend their learning over the summer holiday and enjoy finding out about the world around them. The nature of the competition meant that they had to participate every day for 30 days which really engaged the girls interest. I was so delighted to hear that Alice had won the competition. It was hard to keep it a secret until the prize box arrived!”

Alice said: “I can’t believe this is happening to me! When the teacher said the box was for me I thought ‘oh my gosh’!”

Susanna Goldschmidt, Head of Publishing at Discovery Education said:
“Make Your World Bigger encourages children to keep learning and achieving during the long summer break- and to do so while having fun! We were delighted with the number of entries we received this year. It’s great to see that these exciting films can inspire children to broaden their horizons and explore the world around them.”
The Make Your World Bigger film clips were drawn from Discovery Education Espresso’s digital learning service – an award-winning platform used by over 1.8 million pupils across the UK. Featuring spectacular video content from some of Discovery’s best-known channels, such as Animal Planet and Discovery Science, the service helps teachers to meet curriculum goals, while inspiring pupils with curiosity about the world around them.
Schools interested in a free trial of the Discovery Education Espresso service can request one here: discoveryeducation.co.uk/trials

Beaulieu Park Primary School opens as part of Essex’s first all-ages school

 

Image courtesy of Yellow Advertiser

October 16 – The official opening of Beaulieu Park Primary School took place last Friday (12 October), marking an important milestone in progress to build the county’s first all-ages school.

Several dignitaries from across Chelmsford joined school staff and pupils to celebrate the opening at a ribbon-cutting ceremony which took place on the new school site in Springfield.

Funded by Essex County Council (ECC), the 420-place primary school building was finished in time for an initial cohort of 60 pupils to start the new academic year.
The site is also home to a 56-place Early Years centre and the 900-place secondary school building will be ready in time for September 2019.
The new buildings were constructed by Kier and the new school will be run by the Chelmsford Learning Partnership Academy Trust.

Cllr Ray Gooding, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, said: “This is an exciting time for school investment in Essex. The opening of Beaulieu Park Primary School is another example of our ongoing commitment to ensure demand for school places in the county continues to be met, particularly in Chelmsford where the population is growing rapidly.

“We’re not just investing in school buildings, but in children’s futures and ensuring they have the right environment to thrive in and go on to enjoy a life-long love of learning.
“I’m so pleased to have been able to help officially open the first stage of the county’s all-ages school today and look forward to completion of the secondary school in time for the next academic year.”
The county council is investing £315million in creating new school places, with £75 million of this being spent on completing new schools and expansion projects in time for the start of the 2018/19 academic year.
Ongoing investment in both mainstream and special school places reiterates the ECC’s commitment to ensuring the educational needs of all pupils remain a top priority, and that the current and future needs of the county’s growing population can be met.
Ian Gifford, Operations Director for Kier Construction Eastern, comments: “We are delighted to be handing over the first stage of the project and look forward to continuing working with Essex County Council over the next few months to deliver Essex’s first all-ages school.”
Andrew Carrington, Managing Director of Strategic Land at Countryside, which is partnering with L&Q to deliver Beaulieu, said: “The opening of this school marks an historic moment in Beaulieu’s ever-evolving development. As we all know, schools are at the heart of any community and it’s certainly a privilege to have Essex’s first all-ages school located by our square.
“I have no doubt it will provide many opportunities and positive outcomes for generations of children to come.”

One in four UK gender pay gap reports found to be non-compliant

Analysis undertaken by workforce data analytics specialists Staffmetrix, has shown that one in four organisations that have submitted gender pay gap reports for the 2018/19 reporting period failed to submit reports that conform to UK government guidelines.

Gender pay gap reporting was introduced in 2017 to improve levels of transparency on gender pay equality and gender balance in organisations. While the issue has attracted significant levels of interest from the general public and the media, organisations have attached varying degrees of importance to the reporting requirements.

In November 2017, the Financial Times identified a number of organisations that submitted ‘improbable data’, highlighting the point that not all organisations were taking the requirements seriously.

The latest research by Staffmetrix which looked at submissions between 1 April and 15 October 2018 identified three key issues that will impact the overall accuracy and validity of the gender pay gap data for the current reporting year. In some cases, submissions had more than one discrepancy.

Of the 322 submissions, 38% were submitted in April. While it is possible for some organisations to collate their data soon after the snapshot date, it suggests that a number of reports may be late 2017/18 submissions that have been incorrectly uploaded to the government website for the current year. It is also possible that some organisations have chosen to submit reports before all of their required data was available.

9% of organisations have submitted data with impossible outcomes. In the majority of cases, this occurs when there is a mismatch between the median gender pay gap data and the pay quartile data. In some cases, this could be due to quartile information being entered the wrong way around or the median pay gap should have been a positive number and not a negative one, or vice versa.

A further 1% of organisations submitted reports where their bonus gap was greater than 100%. If the calculation is performed correctly, this is impossible to achieve unless the average woman receives a negative bonus.

Other issues identified include private/voluntary sector submissions where either no link is provided to their written report, or the link provided does not lead to a report on the organisation’s website; identical reports for both years (although this could be a misunderstanding and when reports are due); changes being made to the data submitted last year and this year; and someone who is not a director or equivalent being named as the ‘Responsible person’. The analysis also discovered that 42% of reports that were submitted by someone who was not or a director or equivalent, contained discrepancies.

While there has been a slow start to the number of organisations reporting for 2018/19, a number of high profile employers have already published. These include Allen & Overy who were heavily criticised for not including partners last year, and Deloitte who are the first of the Big 4 to report.

In financial services, which was the sector with the highest bonus gap last year, reports this year have been submitted by Virgin Money, Monzo Bank, HSBC and Marks & Spencer Financial Services. Virgin Money has the highest median gender pay gap at 35%, a reduction of 3.4% from last year. Marks & Spencer Financial Services has the lowest median gender pay gap at 3%.

Commenting on the findings, Innes Miller, Director, Staffmetrix said that “Gender pay gap reporting will again attract high levels of interest between now and the 2019 reporting deadlines. To mitigate the risks associated with publishing improbable data, business leaders must ensure their data is accurate and communicate in their accompanying reports how they plan to address gender imbalance in their organisations”.

Global #GirlsInAI event set to empower the next generation of Ada Lovelaces

Acorn Aspirations, the award-winning social impact enterprise, is partnering with Mastercard and Microsoft to run a global tech bootcamp for young women aged 11-18 years in London and San Francisco over the weekend of 13th – 14th October 2018.

Over 150 girls will explore Artificial Intelligence and be challenged to use AI and machine learning to solve some of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including gender equality, quality education, reduced inequalities, good health and well-being.

Elena Sinel, Founder and CEO of Acorn Aspirations, said: “#GirlsInAI empowers the next generation of Ada Lovelaces to solve real world problems through AI and Machine Learning, by building partnerships with business, government and academia. By enabling more cross-sector and global collaboration opportunities, we believe young girls will have a chance to shape their future in a way that is inclusive, sustainable and critical to long-term global prosperity.”
Mentors and Speakers
Mentors and speakers come from some of the most distinguished tech companies in the world, including Mastercard, Microsoft, Brighterion, Google, Twitter, Women Who Code, Intel, YouTube, IEEE, CognitionX, Accenture, Sephora and many more.
San Francisco judges include:
Akli Adjaoute, Founder and CEO, Brighterion; Susan Warner, Founder of Girls4Tech; Rumman Chowdhury, Sr. Principle of Artificial Intelligence, Accenture; Bogdana Rakova, Sr. Research Engineer, Samsung Think Tank Team; Briana Whelan, Director of Product, SnapDocs; Nilay Yener, Program Manager, Flutter DevRel Women Techmakers Lead, Istanbul.

London judges include:
Tabitha Goldstaub, Chair of UK AI Council; Galiya Warrier, Data Solution Architect, Microsoft; Kate Rosenshine, Data and AI, Microsoft; Didem Un Ates, Sr. Director AI Customer & Partner Engagement, Microsoft; Georgie Barrat, Tech Journalist & Broadcaster, BBC Channel Five.

The #GirlsInAI event is part of Acorn Aspirations’ Teens in AI movement, which exists to increase diversity and inclusion in artificial intelligence. The movement aims to democratise AI and create pipelines for underrepresented talent through a combination of expert mentoring, talks, workshops, hackathons, accelerators, company tours and networking opportunities that give young people aged 12-18 years early exposure to AI for social good.

Ajay Bhalla, President of Cyber and Intelligence Solutions at Mastercard, said: “Artificial Intelligence has the potential to shape the future more than any other technological innovation. That’s why we’re committed to programs like Girls in AI and our own Girls4Tech. It’s how we can help the next generation be ready and empowered to create and maximize every opportunity ahead of them.”

Didem Ün Ates, Sr. Director AI Customer & Partner Engagement at Microsoft says “We need to work harder than ever to have more women and girls in technology and AI. We are excited to collaborate with Acorn Aspirations team on this meaningful, impactful initiative and look forward to expanding our partnership in other regions such as Canada and China.”
Prizes
Prizes for participants include: mentoring by Mastercard AI experts, books by Rachael O’Meara, invitations to TedX Talk, workshops by Microsoft, Nova DIY AI Robot kits, lunch and a tour of Microsoft’s HQ.

A third #GirlsinAI event is scheduled in Shanghai in December 2018.

Pupils from Skelmersdale Primary School star in international hygiene exhibition

Children from a primary school near Essity’s Skelmersdale and Tawd manufacturing sites have starred in an international photography exhibition to promote the importance of hygiene in schools.
Little Digmoor Primary School recently hosted renowned photographer Åsa Sjostrom, who spent two days at the school capturing shots for the Essity and Fotografiska Hand-to-Hand exhibition in Stockholm. Several children featured in a series of photographs that went on display at the Fotografiska gallery on 26th September helping to drive awareness about the importance of good hygiene in primary schools. The exhibition will be open to the public until December.


Part of Essity’s School Hygiene Essentials Initiative, the exhibition featuring Little Digmoor pupils tells the story of how low hygiene standards and poor hygiene habits in UK primary schools are negatively impacting children and teachers while costing the UK economy up to £11m per year.
Deputy Headteacher Karen Houldsworth was invited by Essity to attend the opening of the exhibition:


“It was so rewarding to see our wonderful students as the focus of the Fotografiska exhibition in Stockholm. I am so proud that our school could help Essity as a local manufacturer to promote the incredibly important issue of hygiene amongst children,” said Karen.
“Having a renowned photographer come in to the school was a great experience for the pupils at Little Digmoor and I am sure the accolade of being part of an international photography exhibition will stay with them for a long time.”
For more information about Essity’s School Hygiene Essentials Initiative visit www.schoolhygieneessentials.co.uk

Next stop – library!

VEKA helps local school start new chapter

Industry-leading PVC-U systems supplier VEKA Group, has transformed a double decker bus into an inspirational reading space for a local primary school, after it won thousands of online votes.

Children at Whittlefield Primary School were delighted to get a first look inside their new school library when it was officially opened by the Mayor of Burnley; who is also a former pupil of the school!

VEKA worked with regional radio station 2BR to promote the ‘VEKA Community Challenge’, where local projects could be nominated for a ‘big fix’ and Whittlefield Primary School was overwhelmingly voted the winner.

The transformation took just five weeks, with help from a host of businesses across Lancashire and more than 750 hours of volunteered time.

Headteacher Helen Kershaw said: “We had the bus donated and had begun to do the basic groundwork, but turning it into a usable and beautiful library became an overwhelming challenge we simply couldn’t complete without help.

“We are absolutely thrilled with the work that VEKA and all the other volunteers have done; it’s phenomenal and we’re so grateful! I even cried a little when I saw the completed top deck. Before this, we didn’t have the space for a dedicated library within the school, so it really will make an enormous difference for generations of pupils. Thousands of children will enjoy the benefit of this inspirational reading space over the coming years.

“We were delighted to welcome the Mayor to do the official ‘unveiling’ and the children were very lucky to meet Burnley Author Linda Sutherland. We were also joined by Paul Duckworth who is heading up the ‘Let’s Get Reading’ initiative across Lancashire this year, and he was just as thrilled as us to see the finished library.

“As well as championing reading, hopefully this project might also have inspired the children to think about their future careers – as they’ve been learning about the work of an Artist, Marketing Manager, Electrician and VEKA employee to name just a few!”

VEKA’s Marketing Director Dawn Stockell said: “We were thrilled to work on what became the ‘Whittlefield Woodland Library Bus’. VEKA is well known for getting stuck in to charity work, community causes and local projects. It’s a significant part of the company’s ethos and one that we are very proud of.

“With VEKA’s ‘Community Challenge’, we wanted to offer the local community an opportunity to benefit from the team’s practical skills and partnering with 2BR gave us this chance. We couldn’t wait to roll up our sleeves and get stuck in, and the transformation has been incredible; creating the unique reading space the children deserve.

“With 45 volunteers (both from VEKA and keen local helpers) we were able to complete the project in just five weeks. It has been quite an undertaking, racking up more than 750 volunteer hours. Along with VEKA’s time, suppliers across Lancashire have also been incredibly generous and donated products and services worth over £25,000 to create a welcoming and inspiring space. We hope the children enjoy it for many years to come.”

As well as VEKA and 2BR, generous suppliers include: Ally’s Sewing Room, A&B Barker Ltd, Carpet Market, Crown Paints, Dexter Decorative Supplies, Doorway to Value, Eyre & Elliston, Fort Vale, Foyle Foundation, Gorilla Glue, Graffiti Rooms, Green Slate Trophies, Gym Upholstery UK, Howarth Timber, Immanuel Fabrics, K Supplies, LED Electrical, MABRON Plastics, Panaz, Pendle Village Mill, Phillips Business Solutions, Robinson & Lawlor, RU Comfy Beanbags, Scott Dawson Agency, Tetrad, Top Class Photography, Transdev, Vantex, and Wellybobs Roadshow.

Read the latest, and learn more about VEKA systems and services at www.vekauk.com