Cyber security in education – By Andy Samsonoff, CEO of Invinsec

What springs to mind when you think of cyber security in education? It might be the responsibility to protect the data schools hold on pupils, staff and parents, including sensitive details such as medical, banking and pension information. Or perhaps it is the need to protect your school from data theft due to cyber security breaches involving any technology in use.

Across the entire education spectrum, technology is firmly rooted into how we teach. Using technology makes education a greater and more powerful tool, yet this opens the door to threat actors. The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) means schools and colleges need to ensure data stored is secure, avoiding any Ofsted reports flagging up poor data management. With large fines and the risks to reputation, schools do not wish to incur losses.

The complex threat landscape in education

Cyber attacks are costly. One risk is known as shadow IT, where staff using a lot of cloud-based apps for lesson collaboration tools unwittingly make schools prone to cyber security problems. Threat actors attempt transfers of confidential materials through vulnerabilities, which can be as simple as leaving a laptop logged in or a password written on a notepad on the desk. One solution to prevent insider breaches is to apply user and entity behaviour analytics (UEBA). This alerts the institution to behaviours such as suspicious data transfers and where they originated.

Equally difficult to police are email breaches and phishing attempts from external sources. Bribed employees, disgruntled former staff, hacker students, or a careless, but well meaning volunteer could pass on data. In education, email addresses are easy to guess due to a reliance on categorising students by year group. External actors can also find useful data on social media profiles and in certain places on the school website to deploy social engineering attacks. Another risk to school data is the access third party providers and supply staff are given, making it paramount schools plan appropriate protection.

Outsourcing – a dedicated team to give 24x7x365 cover

Too often, schools leave their cyber security in the hands of an individual or in-house team, where the level of expertise with current cyber threats is limited. It is also impossible to monitor for unusual activity 24x7x365. For schools, a less expensive option is to outsource their cyber security. A provider can monitor systems, servers, networks and data covered by laws (such as the GDPR) and ensure good data management.

The best cyber security service will fuse people, processes and technology to create a highly effective Security Operations Centre (SOC) that protects schools 24×7, 365 days of the year. Fast and reliable, an expert team is vital to closely monitor your systems to identify and report threat activity instantly.

For more information visit

West Sussex-based special school extends provision in response to rising demand for social, emotional and mental health support

                                                                     Hillcrest Manor House School in Horsham, West Sussex

Staff and students at an independent specialist school in Horsham, West Sussex are thrilled to reveal ‘Hillcrest Manor House’ as the new name for their school as it extends its services in response to the growing demand for specialist social emotional and mental health (SEMH) support. Marking an exciting new chapter in its development, the school – previously Hillcrest Slinfold – has moved from being a boys only secondary to mixed provision and has also expanded its age range intake to include primary and post-16 pupils.
Established by Hillcrest Children’s Services and part of Outcomes First Group, Hillcrest Manor House offers 24 places for children with SEMH aged 7 to 18, and specialises in offering a person-centred approach to education that plays to pupils’ strengths and helps to bring out their best. High levels of adult support are key to improving pupils’ interactions and social skills, and the school has received ‘Good’ to ‘Outstanding’ judgments in its last two Ofsted reports, with staff praised for providing “highly appropriate and consistent support that enables [pupils] to succeed”.
Building on this success, the school is now broadening opportunities for friendships, clubs and social events further by introducing girls to the previously boys only provision, thereby creating an environment that is more representative of life beyond education. The change also reflects the need for specialist support for girls and boys in equal measure.
Extending the age range of pupils it caters to is another key development at Hillcrest Manor House. Previously offering secondary places for students aged 11-16, the school recognises that early intervention and support are crucial to helping children with SEMH needs achieve their potential and now also offers placements to younger children aged 7-11. With escalating numbers of primary children with SEMH facing exclusion[1] [2] and huge gaps in their education, demand for support at this early stage is higher than ever. Post 16 placements are also now offered at Hillcrest Manor House, providing vital support and continuity to those students unable to attend college full time.
Students have shown great enthusiasm in contributing their ideas for the school’s name change as well as its new uniform – yellow and black for primary, and purple and black for secondary – reflecting progression through the school. Simple polo shirts and sweaters have been chosen over blazers, to cater for sensory needs and allow flexibility. The school crest depicts a corn field and pheasants to reflect the school’s surroundings and a book to represent learning was created with input from students.
Commenting on the new name, Head Teacher Alison Dobbie said, “We are thrilled to be providing extended opportunities for pupils with SEMH and our new name reflects these changes. Hillcrest Manor House projects an image of solidity and dependability – fundamental to our students’ needs – and fits well with the elegance of our main building as well as its proximity to Manor House Farm.”

British Food Fortnight firmly on school calendar

Each year hundreds of schools, colleges and children’s clubs take part in British Food Fortnight using it as a learning tool to get students excited about the diversity of food we have in this country and how to cook it. This year was no exception. British Food Fortnight ran from 22 Sept – 7 Oct and saw over 240,000 school kids taking part in a variety of ways from visiting local farms, tasting local seasonal produce to specially created classroom activities.
For the launch of British Food Fortnight Hampshire County Council’s catering arm, HC3S, took primary school children to visit Hampshire suppliers Chalk Stream to learn about local British fish on the River Test in Romsey, showing their importance in food production. HC3S also arranged visits from their suppliers into schools to explain what makes eggs free range and what ‘Laid in Britain’ standards are, how English apple juice is made and the pressing process, and, how to make honey from bees. A minimum of 70% of Hampshire schools participated with a pick and mix British/harvest menu. And they also ran a ‘Food to Flourish’ project for KS1 and KS2 in primary schools with emphasis on food related topics including discussions in class in line with the national curriculum.
Thanks to LACA (Local Authority Catering Association) and schools catering organisations such as Cucina and Sodexo over 2 million British meals were served during the Fortnight across the public sector including schools and universities.
British Food Fortnight is an established annual event run by the team behind Love British Food. It celebrates all that is great about food produced here on our doorstep and to bring British food to life for students there is a recently updated resource pack within the Teacher Zone on with downloadable guides providing ideas on ways to introduce British food into the National Curriculum.
Founder of Love British Food and British Food Fortnight Alexia Robinson said “We have just staged the 16th year of British Food Fortnight and it’s very encouraging to see an increase in the number of schools taking part year on year as well as organisations within the schools’ supply chain. In addition to using the very comprehensive resource pack on our website we urge schools to enlist the support of parents. Family participation will help children become enthusiastic about preparing and enjoying food.”
Chef Raymond Blanc invites everyone to get involved
The search to find the most imaginative celebrations of British food taking place during the Fortnight has begun. Previous winners include community groups from Bath, Emsworth and Peterborough to schools in Hampshire and food festival organisers such as Ginger & Spice. Any school organising an event is encouraged to enter. Visit for more details.

Teachers in Leicester are going Wild About Learning with the help of Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust

Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust recently held teacher training sessions at Mellor Community Primary School and Marriott Primary School thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. The sessions provided teaching staff with the necessary plans, equipment and ideas to run lessons outdoors.

During the training sessions, teachers sampled a number of the activities from the pack, covered key areas of study, and received a selection of lesson plans linked to the National Curriculum, all of which require minimal preparation and have been designed to work on any school grounds. Participating primary schools were also given two printed copies of the Wild About Learning teachers’ pack for further guidance.

Simon Bentley, director of Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust, said: “Outdoor learning improves children’s cognitive abilities and resistance to negativity and depression, so we want to encourage teachers to incorporate nature into their lesson plans as much as possible. We appreciate that this can be difficult without the correct resources, which is why we have developed our training sessions to give teachers some guidance. Ultimately, we want schools to join us in helping make nature a part of growing up for all children.”

The Wild About Learning teachers’ pack forms part of the Wild Forest School project supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Wild About Learning is an outdoor numeracy and literacy resource for Years one to six that provides fun, but practical ideas to help teachers take their lessons outdoors.

To download the Wild About Learning teachers’ pack visit, For more information about Forest School run by Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust visit,

For the latest news from Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust visit

It all adds up! North Yorkshire primary pupils raise money for the NSPCC with Maths-a-thon

(Left to right) Star fundraisers Evie Hattersley, Kieran Hattersley and Lacie Smith

Pupils at Ripon-based Outwood Primary Academy Greystone in North Yorkshire have eagerly immersed themselves in numeracy for a week-long sponsored Maths-a-thon, raising not only their mathematical mastery but also an impressive £200 for the NSPCC.
The Maths-a-thon, which ran from 24 Sept – 1 Oct, was organised by the school’s Academy Subject Lead for Maths, Gary Williams, after he spotted an opportunity to combine pupils’ love of learning ‘gaming-style’ maths on ipads and laptops with fundraising for a hugely worthwhile cause. The academy was keen to run a sponsored activity that would be fun, engaging and boost outcomes.
Pupils leapt at the challenge to complete as many hours as possible on the popular digital maths resource ‘Mathletics’, making the most of being able to log in to their individual accounts at home as well as at school. Over the course of the Maths-a-thon, the children collectively spent over 133 hours learning maths whilst raising money.
Star fundraisers Lacie Smith, Evie Hattersley and Kieran Hattersley (pictured) each raised a superb £50 by completing over 100 hours of Mathletics between them in one week! Enthusiasm was high from Reception to Year 6, with £154.50 being raised on the first day alone.

Since introducing the children to the digital maths resource in 2016 and becoming an academy the year after, the school has seen dramatic improvement in pupils’ attainment in maths, with the number of pupils achieving the national expected standard rising from 33% to 77%. The academy is part of the high performing Outwood Grange Academies Trust.
Commenting on the Maths-a-thon, Mr Williams said, “This was our first ever Maths-a-thon and we are thrilled with its success! Not only have the children developed their maths and independent learning skills, they have also raised money for a fantastic cause. Our academy believes that there should be “no lids on learning” and Mathletics allows just that – children really enjoy it, can learn at their own pace and are free to explore at their leisure.” He added: “A huge thank you to all parents, carers and especially to the children for their continued hard work and enthusiasm in maths. We will be making this an annual event!”

Educating Essex star receives honorary degree

Influential headteacher Vic Goddard received the award of Honorary Doctor of Education from Anglia Ruskin University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Iain Martin, during a graduation ceremony at Chelmsford Cathedral yesterday afternoon (MON 8 OCT)

Vic Goddard is Principal of Passmores Academy in Harlow, and one of the stars of the 2011 fly-on-the-wall documentary series, Educating Essex.

Vic grew up on a council estate in Penge, the youngest of four children, all of whom went on to become teachers. After leaving secondary school, he studied for his B Ed at the University of Chichester, and after graduating, began his career teaching PE at the Angmering School in West Sussex.

In September 2001, Vic arrived at what is now Passmores Academy. And it was here that he found somewhat reluctant fame – as the passionate and straight-talking Principal in Channel 4’s Educating Essex, which captured the attention of around 2 million viewers for each of the seven episodes.

Despite Channel 4’s focus on the more entertaining, unruly pupils, what shone through most of all was Vic’s passion for education – he vehemently refuses to accept limits on what his students and teachers are capable of. And he is driven by the mantra, “to refuse to ever let a student fail.”

Since the show first aired, Vic has been invited to address audiences of thousands at head teacher conferences, he has spoken knowledgeably and passionately both to peers and policymakers, and to current and future teaching professionals. He has welcomed Michael Gove and Nicky Morgan as Secretary of State for Education in to Passmores, and been asked to provide evidence to the Education Select Committee.

In 2014, Vic published his book, The Best Job in the World – described as part memoir, part primer for aspiring head teachers. And in the introduction, Vic explains that he wrote the book because he wanted to encourage more teachers to become leaders.

Professor Martin said: “We are very proud to formalise and deepen our relationship with Vic, by honouring his achievements.

“Our University already enjoys links with Vic, and he has given freely of his time to help students at Anglia Ruskin prepare for their future careers in education.

“He will be an inspirational role model for our Education and Teaching students.”


Pupils from Babington House School in Chislehurst came face to face with astronaut Tim Peake at a special event in London recently.

The six students were invited to meet the astronaut by Empiribox during a visit to New Scientist Live. Taking place at London’s Excel, the event is the world’s biggest science exhibition and attracts visitors from across the globe.

Year 11 pupils Tabitha, Amelia, Emily, Sophie, Ashanti and Neha spent time chatting with Tim and telling him what they enjoy about science at school. They even joined him in building a mini NASA space rocket, which they took home after the show.

Ashanti said “I was delighted when Tim Peake sat next to me. He asked me if I liked science and then we made rockets!”

Her classmate Emily said: “I couldn’t stop my hands from shaking…I can’t believe I made a rocket with an astronaut!”

Empiribox works with schools across the UK to engage children with science and help teachers deliver fun practical lessons. The company was part of the Harwell Campus exhibition stand at New Scientist Live.

Empiribox founder Dan Sullivan said: “We were delighted to give Babington House pupils the opportunity to meet Tim Peake. It’s not every day you have the chance to meet a real astronaut- let alone build a rocket with him! We hope that the experience inspired the girls to continue their love of science and STEM learning.”

BBC Children in Need and Twinkl send free Pudsey storybook to Primary schools


In celebration of this year’s schools fundraising campaign, BBC Children in Need and Proud Schools Partner Twinkl have published a storybook featuring the charity’s mascot, Pudsey Bear. The storybook will be provided free to primary schools across the UK to encourage pupils and teachers to get fundraising for the charity.

The storybook, Pudsey’s Great Fundraiser, was created to support and inspire schools in raising money for BBC Children in Need. The book follows Pudsey as he tries different ways to fundraise, while overcoming an array of mishaps and challenges. Twinkl has also created a free collection of curriculum-based resources to accompany the book.

A free copy of the book is now on its way to over 24,000 primary schools and establishments in the UK. Print copies are also available to pre-order on the Twinkl website for £6.49, with all profits going to BBC Children in Need. An e-book version of ‘Pudsey’s Great Fundraiser’ is on the Twinkl website and can be downloaded for free.

Readers can also use a free accompanying Augmented Reality app to bring Pudsey to life. By simply downloading the Pudsey AR app onto a device and holding it up to the book, readers can enjoy an array of 3D features to enhance their storytelling; from popping bubbles to chiming musical notes and a 3D waving Pudsey! The Pudsey AR app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

“We’re very excited to launch ‘Pudsey’s Great Fundraiser’, knowing that it will inspire schools, groups and individuals across the UK to get behind BBC Children in Need,” said Jonathan Seaton, CEO and Founder of Twinkl.

“The book was created by our in-house team of teachers, writers and illustrators so it is perfect for use in the classroom, but it can also be read and enjoyed at home or anywhere! We hope it will give people ideas of what they can do to raise money for the amazing work BBC Children in Need supports.”

BBC Children in Need is currently funding over 2,700 projects in communities across the UK which aim to support children and young people facing a range of disadvantages such as living in poverty, being disabled or ill, or experiencing distress, neglect or trauma.

BBC Children in Need, Commercial Director, Claire Hoyle, said “We are delighted to be celebrating our 2018 schools fundraising campaign in partnership with Twinkl, with the launch of the Pudsey storybook! We look forward to delivering these wonderful storybooks to every Primary school across the UK and what’s more, readers can also use the augmented reality app alongside the book to really bring it to life.”

“We hope these books and the accompanying resources encourage schools across the nation to get involved and raise money to help support disadvantaged children and young people across the UK”.

Twinkl creates learning resources used by educators across the world including primary and secondary school teachers, childminders and parents. As Proud Schools partner Twinkl is helping teachers and children to raise money as well as doing plenty of fundraising at its Head Office in Sheffield. Along with ‘Pudsey’s Great Fundraiser’, Twinkl has created a whole range of free resources to support fundraising activities, which are now available on the Twinkl website.

To download a free copy of ‘Pudsey’s Great Fundraiser’, please visit . Limited editions of the book can also be purchased, with all proceeds going to BBC Children in Need, here:

More free fundraising resources can be accessed via

Those interested in getting involved in the 2018 schools fundraising campaign please visit

The Pudsey AR app is available for free from the App Store:

Or Google Play:

People’s Postcode Lottery players fund outdoor lessons at the Horniman

People’s Postcode Lottery players are helping thousands of local children to enjoy learning about nature at the Horniman Museum and Gardens.
The Horniman’s curriculum-linked environmental learning sessions will allow children to get in touch with nature and learn how to care for the environment, thanks to £6,000 from Postcode Local Trust, a grant giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Topics covered include exploring trees, caring for plants and creating habitats for local wildlife.

Kate Oliver, Head of Learning at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, says: ‘It’s more important than ever that children have access to green spaces and can learn about the natural world. These sessions will allow young Londoners to observe, handle and smell natural objects, and inspire them to love and care for their environment. Thank you to People’s Postcode Lottery players.’
The Postcode Local Trust grant has enabled the Horniman to devise and start delivering the first 55 sessions. Over the course of the current academic year, more than 11,000 children will enjoy environmental learning at the Horniman.
The environmental learning programme is part of the Horniman Museum and Gardens’ wider commitment to environmental responsibility, including its pioneering Project Coral research which is developing induced spawning of lab-based corals to support reef restoration. The Horniman has also begun to overhaul its facilities for visitors to reflect this environmental commitment. It has recently replaced single-use plastics in its Café, introduced a plastic bag charge in the gift shop with proceeds going to Project Coral, and will host one of 20 new water refill points, provided by #OneLess and the Mayor of London, as part of the London Drinking Fountain Fund.

New online self-service tool helps demystify the complexity of GDPR compliance


Shred-it launches GDPR Manager to help with accountability and compliance by guiding users through a six-step process from initial assessment to an ongoing action plan

Monday 8th October, Leeds, UK: Shred-it, the UK’s leading information security company and a Stericycle solution, has today announced the release of a new online self-service tool designed to support education businesses on their journey to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance. GDPR Manager follows guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and meets its expectations.
GDPR Manager demystifies the complexity surrounding compliance by guiding the user through a six-step process, from initial assessment to creating a manageable action plan.
This follows recent survey findings in Shred-it’s 2018 State of the Industry Report that 22% of small business owners were totally unaware of the GDPR’s implementation. Furthermore, only 39% of large organisations had updated their procedures for detecting, reporting and investigating a data breach. One of the most crucial aspects of compliance is being able to demonstrate how a company acquires, manages, stores and destroys personal data, or Personally Identifiable Information (PII).
David Hagelthorn, GDPR SaaS Business Manager, states, “All organisations that collect, process and store PII must now put in place technical measures to manage the transparency and consent requirements of the new regulation. However, our 2018 State of the Industry Report highlighted that just 44% of large businesses and 19% of small businesses have documented a lawful basis for processing data. By adding GDPR Manager to Shred-it’s compliance portfolio, we are further showcasing our drive to help businesses both large and small protect what matters to them most; their reputation; their people; and their customers’ data.”
The GDPR Manager tool enables businesses to take a holistic approach to data security and privacy. With data management now in sharp focus, the online tool gives a company the ability to prove how it manages its data, critical to ensuring compliance with the GDPR. By having all the data and procedure management information in one place, a company can demonstrate accountability within one hour, which according to the ICO, is a key requirement.
David Hagelthorn continues, “As a result of developing this tool to meet the expectations of the ICO, purchasing and using GDPR Manager will help demonstrate that a company is working towards compliance. We all know the large fines and potential ramifications of non-compliance, so we’re excited to be able to provide our customers and other businesses with a clear and structured pathway to GDPR compliance.”
Representing excellent value for money from just £39 per month, the platform is mapped to the relevant sections of the GDPR and facilitates ongoing accountability to data protection principles. GDPR Manager features best practice guidelines, analysis tools and a library of legally vetted sample policy and procedural templates all accessible 24/7 from any location and on any device. A 14-day free trial providing easy access to the majority of the framework with no obligation is available now at: