Two teachers launch free app to help tackle school behavioural issues after successful 51-school pilot

Two teachers have launched LifeGames, a free app designed to address the increasing behavioural issues in UK and Irish schools. It comes after exclusive research revealed an urgent call by teachers for more social skills development in the current education system, and a pilot of the app’s activities involving 51 schools received an overwhelmingly positive response.

The free LifeGames app teaches key life and social skills such as empathy, respect, responsibility and effective communication through a collection of 40+ classroom activities and games for three age groups (3-5, 6-9, 10-12). A further 320+ activities and games are accessible via a variety of packages to suit even the most thinly stretched educational budget.

Frustrated by the increased focus on academic achievement at the expense of these essential life skills, and driven by their experiences of teaching children with behavioural issues, teachers Lukarte Turner and Gabriela Andino developed the LifeGames activities to reverse the resultant trend of misbehaviour and social ineptitude and give a helping hand to our already highly stressed teachers.

“LifeGames activities have been created thinking about children, of course,” says Lukarte, “but especially thinking about teachers, because they are the ones who told us how much stress they’re under and how difficult their job is. LifeGames has been designed with them in mind, to give them some tools to be used as a vital classroom resource, to help students to understand a better way of living, happier, healthier and more connected to each other. Students need to learn more about life and about themselves, and teachers, together with parents, can help them with that. Let’s help our kids to be happier and healthier, let’s play a better world!”

Initial research by LifeGames revealed that teachers claim empathy is the most lacking of social skills taught in the current education system, with others such as compassion, respect, cooperation and responsibility also mentioned. 87% of teachers surveyed said they were likely to use a product that helped develop these social skills and traits, with 90% saying they’d use it at least once per week.

LifeGames activities were trialled in 51 schools across the UK and Ireland in January 2019, and received an overwhelmingly positive response, with 216 reviews rating the simplicity, popularity and effectiveness of the activities 4 out of 5. Teachers reported that students were motivated and engaged by the activities, felt better able to express themselves, were more respectful of others, and had a greater sense of responsibility after completing the activities.

”One of the problems teachers were telling us about from the beginning was a lack of time,” says Lukarte. “That was the biggest issue: very tight schedules, too much to teach in a short time. We created this app with that in mind, to help teachers who are already pressed for time. Our activities are very simple, short, easy to use and really effective – and these are not my words but the words of teachers who already tried our activities in their schools, with great success. Also, our app features an activity planner and reminders to easily fit activities around normal class scheduling.”

The LifeGames app is now available to download free via Google Play and the App Store with print book available from Amazon.

How Technology Can Transform The Health of School Finances And Communities

Scott Warrington, co-founder of SLS, on why he believes schools could opening up letting opportunities through digital.

Earlier this year, Sport England released research which found two thirds of people felt it was easier to order food online than book an exercise class on the internet.

The research found that only 34% of people surveyed felt it was easy to book sporting activities online and investment which has been made in this area has largely been by private operators which may not be accessible to the majority of people because of price or offering. Even booking taxis, tickets and holidays all ranked higher than securing a spot for a sports class. The leisure sector is currently disparate and difficult to research online so if you’re a table tennis group looking for facilities on a Tuesday night or a swimming club seeking out Saturday sessions, it can feel like the impossible task to know you’re getting the best facilities in your area at a cost which suits. Yet there are hundreds of thousands of this type of customer, team and club looking for space across the UK each week.

As a business, we work with schools to unlock revenue through hiring out their facilities and maximising their potential. With more than 250 partner schools across the UK, we have access to fantastic spaces we want to connect to the communities they are within. As such we’ve launched an innovative new online booking system which can be accessed on our company website www.schoollettings.org The new system provides multifaceted benefits for partner schools and hiring groups, allowing people to search, book and pay online, as well as SLS then managing the lettings onsite. Bookings can now be managed easily 24/7 and can be accessed in real-time, which allows cancellations and amendments. The invoicing process is simplified with automatic updates and payments. It seems like an obvious move but until now, the leisure sector has struggled to offer a digital solution like ours.

But the technology only works when we combine it with our talented teams. This move will also boost our customer service by allowing our managers on the ground more time to work directly with schools and groups, as well as focusing on creating operational efficiencies. This technology will transform the way communities can access leisure facilities by providing live availability and messenger services for existing and new groups to book.

We are hugely excited as a business about the impact this will have – we are already seeing a positive response from the schools and hiring groups we work with. Since we launched in 2011, we’ve been able to deliver well over £10 million of revenue back into the schools we work with and we feel we’re just getting started. We understand the pressures faced by educators in today’s climate and the difference additional funding alongside a professional approach to lettings can make. Now our offering is underpinned by this technology, we’re looking ahead to rolling out to more schools and connecting with more community groups across the country.

Revealed: The Essential Life Skills Brits Wish they Had Been Taught At School

‘Every day is a school day’ according to the popular saying, and that’s certainly true when it comes to learning many crucial life skills not taught in classrooms.
As the nation prepares to tighten its belt, Budgeting and Personal Finance has been revealed as the most popular subject that Brits wish they had been taught in education. More than a third (35%) of respondents in a new study wished they had a better understanding of how to be savvy with their spending and manage their household income.
How to Manage Your Mental Health was the second most popular subject according to the research released today* by High Speed Training. The online training provider commissioned the study alongside the start of the new school term and involved more than 1,500 members of the public across the UK. It shines a spotlight on an insightful list of topics learnt in ‘the school of life’ that many Brits feel they should be better equipped for.
More than one in 10 (12%) of Brits wish they had been taught the basics about ‘How the Government Works’ at school. The findings follow months of political speculation regarding the outcome of Brexit, leaving many people concerned and confused.
Likewise, in the face of evolving technology and changing job landscape, 11% indicated they wish they had been taught coding and digital skills – a subject that is now part of the core curriculum for those in school today.
The top 5 subjects Brits wish they had learnt in school:

1. Budgeting and Personal Finances (35%)
2. How to Manage Your Mental Health (20%)
3. How to Start a Business (14%)
4. How the Government Works (12%)
5. Coding and Digital Skills (11%)

Interestingly, the Greta Effect doesn’t look to have taken a strong hold yet, as just 8% indicated that they wish they had been taught more about the environment. This figure drops to 4% of those aged 18 – 24. Similarly, younger respondents were also found to be the least entrepreneurially minded, with just one in 20 (5%) keen to learn more about how to start a business.

Dr Richard Anderson, Head of Learning & Development at High Speed Training, said “It’s clear to see that the British public think they would have benefited from learning about life’s great lessons in school. Traditional subjects such as algebra do have an important place in education, however many people feel intimidated when it comes to applying learnings to real life scenarios. As a result, many people are seeking out ways to better learn a subject and investing in personal development later in life.”
High Speed Training provides online training courses that support lifelong learning. For more information, simply visit www.highspeedtraining.co.uk.

British Museum and Samsung offer 35,000 school pupils the chance to virtually visit the Museum

The British Museum and Samsung today reopen the award-winning Samsung Digital Discovery Centre (SDDC) after a significant upgrade, and announce an ambitious new digital learning programme that brings together the world of museums with the world of technology.

The new SDDC sees a major expansion of the Virtual Visits programme, where schools that are unable to visit the Museum, can still experience the world-class collection and expert staff via a learning session broadcast directly into their classroom.

After successful pilots, the British Museum and Samsung have created 35,000 places over the next five years for pupils to take part. It is hoped that schools from across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will become virtual visitors, giving them access to the Museum’s global collection and expertise, without any charge to the school.

Virtual Visits have been created with the curriculum needs of schools in mind and is designed around the realities of classroom technology. Sessions are offered on prehistory Britain, Roman Britain and the Indus Valley, and new sessions on ancient Egypt and ancient Greece are in development. Each class will have the session tailored to their needs and pupils can enjoy direct interaction with British Museum staff, as well as high resolution digital assets such as 3D digital objects being shared with students.

The British Museum and Samsung will also begin to develop an innovative and exciting new strand of programming for teenagers, which young people themselves will help shape. The needs of this audience change more rapidly than any other that the Museum works with, and so by working directly with teenagers, it will help develop quality programming that fully understands and meets the diverse needs of this age group, as well as enhancing their experience of the museum’s collection through Samsung technology.

The SDDC itself, which is based at the Museum in Bloomsbury, provides a state-of-the-art technological hub for children and young people to learn about and interact with the British Museum’s collection. Ahead of the refit, the SDDC welcomed its highest ever number of visitors, with 25,000 school children and families using the Centre in 2018/19. Since it opened, 150,000 people have visited the space to take part in a wide variety of activities such as workshops, family drop-ins, and facilitated school visits. This major refit revealed today sees improvements to the user experience to cater for the growing number of visitors, as well as a full upgrade in the Samsung technology available. This will include the Samsung Flip, E-boards and the latest range of Galaxy Smartphones, tablets and smartwatches.

Over the past 10 years, the SDDC has provided the largest programme of digital learning activities in any UK museum. It continues to demonstrate the highest levels of audience satisfaction, with 95% of families surveyed in 2017–18 stating they found the sessions ‘good’ or ‘very good’, and that 96% of teachers said they would recommend the SDDC to a colleague and would bring a student group to the SDDC again. Thanks to Samsung’s generous support, expertise and technology, the SDDC schools and family programmes have transformed the Museum’s digital learning provision into a world class, sector leading and award-winning programme.

Hartwig Fischer, Director of the British Museum, says: “We are delighted that thanks to the generous support of Samsung, we can now offer 35,000 school children over the next five years the opportunity to interact with the world class collection and expertise of the British Museum, who ordinarily might not be able to. Pupils from Andover to Aberdeen and Brecon to Belfast can now experience some of the Museum’s incredible treasures from their own classroom, potentially sparking a lifelong curiosity in the history of the world. The advances in digital technology have enhanced the learning opportunities within – and now outside – the Museum, and the SDDC has been at the very forefront of our efforts to share the collection more widely. We are grateful for the longstanding and continued partnership with Samsung for making it possible.”

Francis Chun, President & CEO of Samsung Electronics UK & Ireland says: “At Samsung, under our global Corporate Citizenship vision of Enabling People and supporting education for future generations, we’re committed to empowering the next generation of innovators to discover and unlocking their full potential. Our collaboration with the British Museum for the past ten years has allowed us to constantly trial new technologies that engage children and young people in innovative ways to not only help them learn about lessons in history, but enable them to better understand the present and prepare for the future. By extending this long-standing partnership for a further five years to 2024, we stand beside the British Museum as we together navigate the ways in which emerging technologies can further enhance the way we learn.”

NEW RESOURCES TO EDUCATE YOUNG PEOPLE ON FRAUD AND SCAMS

Friends Against Scams initiative to include adaptable interactive workshops

for children aged 8-16

With scams costing the UK economy £5-10 billion per year*, knowing how to identify them and take measures to protect and prevent people from falling victim to them is crucial. The National Trading Standards (NTS) Scams Team believe it’s essential to inform and empower young people on the issue, so they can take action against fraud and scams in the future.

To encourage this movement, ‘Young Friends’ has been launched, as a new addition to the NTS Friends Against Scams initiative. Through a new interactive workshop which has been created for delivering in schools and youth groups, ‘Young Friends’ aims to teach children aged 8 years and above about:

  • Scams and how they can affect people’s lives
  • Different types of scams including – postal, telephone, online and doorstep
  • How to protect themselves and their families from being scammed
  • How to spot and help a scam victim 

The package contains various resources including, lesson plans, interactive activities, games and a PowerPoint presentation which are all easily adaptable to target different age ranges and abilities. This means the programme can be delivered in different settings and environments by professionals or volunteers, including school teachers, youth group workers, community group leaders, local councils and those working with children.

The ‘Young Friends’ awareness session was originally piloted across the country with Girl Guides, Scouts and Brownies groups taking part.

Claire Hodgson, Senior Trading Standards Specialist from Buckinghamshire & Surrey Trading Standards said: “I carried out a Young Friends Against scams session alongside a local SCAMchampion to a group of girl guides. The girls had a great evening which was fun, interactive and informative. The group were all keen to go home and spread the scam awareness messages they had learnt. They went away knowing the signs to look out for with family members and neighbours and were all very proud to receive their certificates!”

Louise Baxter MBE, Head of the National Trading Standards Scams Team said: “Criminals can target anyone and the more people the team can help – the better. Since the Friends Against Scams initiative launched in 2016, over 270,000 Friends have been recruited and have committed to taking a stand against scams.

“By creating the Young Friends session, we hope to be able to help young people become more consious of things to look out for in order to protect both themselves as they get older and also their families.

“The training covers the four main types of scams, how to spot these crimes and how to protect yourself and loved ones from them. With the rise of new technology, we believe that learning how to spot these scams is an essential skill for the next generation.”

The Young Friends resource materials were developed with assistance from: Stuart Tweedale – Lincolnshire Deputy Police Crime Commissioner, pupils of Cranwell & Spilsby Primary Schools in Lincolnshire, PC Melanie Standbrook – Lincolnshire Police, Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards, Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards and Norfolk Trading Standards in partnership with Friends Against Scams.

Designed to inspire action, highlight the scale of the problem and change the perceptions of why people fall for scams, Friends Against Scams now has more than 270,000 Friends across the UK, working together to protect people and raise awareness of fraud and scams.

To find out more or to receive the resources to deliver your own Young Friends Against Scams awareness session, contact the team at www.FriendsAgainstScams.org.uk/contact

Academy Trust on the hunt for senior leaders committed to ‘making a difference’

North West-based Focus Trust to recruit Executive Principal for Oldham schools

An Academy Trust based in the North West has announced that it is looking to recruit two ‘inspirational and experienced’ leaders to join its team – including one Executive Principal, and one Principal to fulfil roles at schools based in Oldham and Tameside.

Focus Trust – a multi-academy trust based in Greater Manchester, comprising of 15 schools across West Yorkshire, Cheshire and Greater Manchester – are currently advertising for the positions which have a closing date of Monday 16th September with the view of a start date in January 2020.

Speaking of the roles the Trust’s CEO Helen Rowland said it was looking for individuals who were ‘committed to making a positive difference to children’s lives and outcomes’ to join its team as part of its latest recruitment campaign.

The roles in question include an Executive Principal role across Coppice Primary Academy and Roundthorn Academy which are both located in Oldham; as well as a Principal role at Manor Green Primary Academy in Tameside.

Helen Rowland, CEO of the Trust, said: “Since the foundation of the Trust we have worked to develop cultural commitment of ‘collective efficacy’ that has translated into the success of all of our academies, and as such a real onus has been placed on learning and making a difference together.

“All staff uphold a shared commitment to work together on the things that matter to improve outcomes for all, and that includes both the children and the teachers and wider support staff.

“We are looking for school leaders who are as committed to the collective improvement and success of the trust as a whole as we are. In return, we can promise candidates an exciting and innovative place to work; an opportunity to develop; as well as the support of the entire Focus Trust family.”

Focus-Trust is a fifteen-strong multi-academy trust based in the North West, with schools across West Yorkshire, Cheshire and Greater Manchester. It has a strong focus placed on collectively working to ensure the best learning environment for each and every pupil.

The deadline to apply for both roles will close on Monday 16th September 2019. For those who would like more information, please visit https://www.focus-trust.co.uk/careers/vacancies/

National STEM champions to compete for European crown

The GSK UK Young Engineers and Scientist of the Year from Loughborough Schools Foundation in the East Midlands and from St Mary’s College in Northern Ireland will compete to become European young science champions at one of Europe’s most prestigious science competitions, EUCYS (EU Contest for Young Scientists) to be held in Sofia, Bulgaria from 13-18 September.  

Grace Lord, Brendan Miralles, and Aalia Sellar will be showcasing their engineering project called ‘Music Splash’, an app that uses machine learning to analyse music recitals and provide suggestions to improve performance. 

They say ‘Music Splash’ helps “guides you to instant perfection and is like a music teacher in an app.”

The 14-year-old students were awarded the GSK UK Young Engineers of the Year title at The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Competition in March.

Alongside them will be Maeve Stillman, who won the title of GSK UK Young Scientist of the Year for a project that focused on how activated charcoal supplements affect the absorption of everyday or common medicines like paracetamol and ramipril (used for treating hypertension).

The Big Bang Competition received 1000 entries from across the country and the UK winners beat over 200 finalists who were selected to show their ideas at The Big Bang Fair. As part of the shortlisting process, they had to impress a VIP judging panel that included Andrew Smyth (Rolls-Royce aerospace engineer and former Great British Bake-Off contestant), Dr Ozak Esu, IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year 2017 and Roma Agrawal (structural engineer on The Shard, STEM promoter and TV presenter).

The projects each won £2,000 in prize money and have had the opportunity to complete work experience at GSK, and the GSK UK Young Engineers won a silver medal at the prestigious international STEM competition in July in China (China Adolescents Science & Technology Innovation Contest – CASTIC).

Commenting on how winning The Big Bang Competition has provided them opportunities to continue on their STEM journey, Maeve said: “I’m so lucky to have a chance to compete at EUCYS.”

The GSK UK Young Engineers added: “Our mission is to make the learning of playing an instrument available to everyone by opening the doors of musicality through our revolutionary app Music Splash.”

EUCYS was established in 1989 with the aim of fostering international collaboration and giving young scientists the opportunity to compete with the best contemporaries at a European level. The UK has been participating since the inaugural competition and has produced 48 medallists. 2019’s competition takes place in Sofia, Bulgaria and winners will be announced on 18 September.

Gaming or Gambling?

New campaign aims to keep children safer in online games 

Parent Zone, the experts in digital family life, and GambleAware, a leading charity committed to minimising gambling-related harm, have partnered to help families learn about the gambling-like risks that eight to eleven-year-olds may face when playing online games – and to give simple, practical advice for parents to keep gaming fun.

A short animation help families learn about this important issue in a quick and accessible way whilst a second film gives families more detailed advice on what they can do to reduce the risks. 

Alongside the films, an online quiz and glossary give parents and carers the chance to explore the topic further so that they help their children to stay in control.

Vicki Shotbolt, Founder and CEO of Parent Zone says “Gaming is an important, and fun, part of many families’ lives. But lots of parents do not know about the gambling-like features that are in games – and the risks these can lead to. 

We want parents to ask what games their children are playing, check that they are happy with what they are doing in those games and know what their children are spending money on.”

Dr Jane Rigbye, Director of Education at GambleAware has said: “More and more children are being exposed to gambling like activity and it is increasingly important that parents are aware of the risks of gambling and talk to their children about it. 

We’re really pleased to be able to work with Parent Zone to help educate parents about the gambling-like activity that their kids might be exposed to and make sure they know about the existing help and support that is available.”  

Free learning materials for schools

A free resource pack has been developed for teachers. The pack contains a lesson plan for introducing the topic in school as well as the ‘Gaming or Gambling?’ films, FAQs, top tips and quiz.

The ‘Gaming or Gambling?’ films and supporting information are available for FREE online at www.parentzone.org.uk/gamingorgambling  

Solent University Sports Complex successfully connects to Southampton District Energy Scheme

Solent University’s new sports complex has been successfully connected to Southampton Geothermal Heating Company’s (SGHC) pioneering district energy scheme after signing a £2.8 million deal with energy and services specialist, ENGIE, over the next 20 years.

The SGHC is a working partnership between ENGIE and Southampton City Council, launching more than 30 years ago. The scheme supplies heat, chilled water and electricity to commercial and residential energy users across Southampton – currently serving a 2km radius of the energy centre.

Users already included TV studios, a hospital, shopping centre, student accommodation, residential buildings and hotels; with Solent University tasking ENGIE with the implementation of a new heating connection which would link up existing assets, as well as a new state-of-the-art sports centre. 

The SGHC currently saves around 10,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum, using heat from a large-scale combined heat and power (CHP) plant, supplemented by geothermal energy and conventional boilers.

The University required a new District Heating connection with a substation, to provide heating and domestic hot water for the new facilities with predicted annual heating consumption of 620MWh/annum and a contractual peak load of 875 kW; which ENGIE is poised to deliver through the connection to SGHC.

Approximately 150 m of Pre-insulated District Heating Steel Pipework were installed, adjacent to the Southampton Solent University building on East Park Terrace, Southampton. 

Andrew Hart, Managing Director for ENGIE’s Urban Energy business, said: “Southampton is an exemplar of district energy solutions that stand the test of time.  We have successfully operated in the city for more than three decades – delivering low carbon and cost-effective energy – so the addition of Solent University to the scheme is a welcome one.

“We have adopted an incredibly flexible approach to our service delivery, to ensure we can continue making connections to the scheme and extend this unique solution.  We look forward to working with our partners in the council, as well as the University over the next 20 years to deliver a first-rate service for people and businesses in the region.”

Paul Colbran, Chief Info & Infrastructure Officer at Solent University, said: “Solent is undergoing a £100 million estate redevelopment programme to provide new and improve current campus facilities, and the new sports complex is just one element of that programme.

“With such a large infrastructure project and our desire to be cleaner, greener and more environmentally sustainable, the geothermal system helps us keep our emissions down and makes sense connecting with the current infrastructure already in place.”

ENGIE has confirmed the new system is now operational – delivering heating and cooling for the sports centre and beyond.

BROWNLEE BROTHERS LAUNCH NATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO BUILD SCHOOL HEALTH LEGACY

Photos © Joel Chant /www.joelchant.com UNP-40526 – ALDI’s Kit for school’s launch, ALDI Balham, London SW12

Team GB triathletes, Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, enjoyed a shopping trip and culinary masterclass with Aldi at a primary school as part of a new campaign to promote healthy eating in schools.

The Kit for Schools campaign is part of Aldi and Team GB’s long-standing efforts to get young people active and eating well ahead of Tokyo 2020. They have also collaborated on the Get Set to Eat Fresh initiative, which teaches young people about eating well and gives them the skills and confidence to cook fresh, healthy meals.

The Olympic medal winners visited an Aldi store with pupils from Ravenstone Primary School in Balham, to choose fresh, nutritious ingredients to make healthy snacks.

The Brownlee brothers returned to the school and joined the children in putting their culinary skills to the test, helping them to create their favourite healthy snack, fruit kebabs. The athletes also passed on words of advice to budding athletes, explaining that enjoying a healthy diet has been one of the secrets to their success.

The visit took place to launch Aldi’s new Kit for Schools campaign, which will see the supermarket donate £20,000 to twenty schools across the UK to invest in new equipment to create a healthy legacy ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020. Over 23,000 primary schools will have received two wallchart posters containing healthy activity ideas to fill out with exclusive Team GB stickers of 60 Olympians.

Aldi shoppers will receive stickers every time they spend £30 or more in store up until 3rd November, which can be taken into a local school and added to their sticker poster. For every chart the school fills, they will gain one entry into the final prize draw to win £20,000 for a healthy legacy.

Alistair Brownlee said: “We had a great time launching the new Aldi’s Kit for Schools campaign. It was fantastic to see the children so engaged and enthusiastic about being healthy and active. They showed a real understanding for the importance of fresh food and they all put us to shame with their amazing fruit kebabs.

“The Kit for Schools campaign is a great way to help young people overcome the barriers they might face getting involved in sport by not having the correct equipment. We hope it will inspire more children to get active in the run-up to Tokyo and, who knows, it may even help to unearth the next generation of Olympic athletes.”

Sean McGinty, Marketing Director at Aldi UK, said: “We are working with Team GB to inspire young people across the country to eat well and move more ahead of Tokyo 2020 through a range of activities.

“Being active at school is incredibly important, and our Kit for Schools initiative will give even more young people the chance to take part in more sports activities and allow schools to build a health legacy for pupils”.

Joe Croft, Headteacher at Ravenstone Primary School in Balham, London said: “It’s been an inspirational day for the pupils and teaching staff. Alistair and Jonny’s visit has really brought our school values to life through championing healthy eating and sharing their own experiences of competing at the Olympic Games.  This campaign will help us build on our school’s existing healthy living activity and ensure we instil lifelong healthy habits in our pupils.”

For more information about Aldi’s Kit for Schools campaign visit: www.getseteatfresh.co.uk/kitforschools