Bikeability Scotland helps 37,000 children in Scotland learn to cycle safely each year

Bikeability Scotland Cycle Training at Arthurlie primary school, Barrhead.
Bikeability Scotland is a cycle training programme designed to give children the skills and confidence they need both to cycle safely on the roads, and to encourage them to carry on cycling into adulthood. See www.bikeability.scot

Bikeability Scotland, the national cycle training programme managed by Cycling Scotland, supports children’s health and wellbeing, brings communities and schools closer together and helps to encourage a future generation to travel by bike.
Schools consistently report on the increased confidence of students taking part, as they learn to negotiate road cycling safely with support from Bikeability Scotland trainers and assistants. And many schools have used cycling to forge new ties with parents, local businesses and the community, creating cycling networks that go far beyond the school gate.
The Bikeability Scotland programme, funded by Transport Scotland, saw more than 37,000 pupils take part in on-road cycle training and safety classes each year – supported by a network of more than 2,000 trainers and assistants. It comprises of three main levels:

• Level 1 – fun sessions, delivered in an off-road, traffic-free setting, designed to develop basic bike control skills. Typically delivered in P5.

• Level 2 – the core of the programme, with a focus on making short journeys on quieter roads, using appropriate signalling and observation. Typically delivered in P6-7.

• Level 3 – planning a journey and use of more challenging routes, designed to consolidate skills and empower trainees. This is typically delivered after Level two.

From an evaluation of training, the top five reasons to do Bikeability Scotland are:

* Fun –feedback is overwhelmingly positive, children really enjoy Bikeability Scotland

* Confidence – surveys found that 65% of children were more confident cycling and 82% of parents were more in favour of letting their children cycle after completing training.

* Safety – after doing on-road training, children score much higher on hazard perception and appropriate response tests.

* Healthy habits – more children choose to cycle to school, and prefer to cycle to local places. 45% of pupils say they cycle more frequently after Bikeability Scotland training.

* Life skill – once learnt, you never forget how to ride a bike. It’s a great opportunity for children to meet new friends at all stages of life.
One school that has signed up to Bikeability Scotland for a number of years is Corpus Christi Primary School in Glasgow. Principal teacher, Vicky Kytzia, said:
“Our school has students from many different backgrounds and abilities, and to see the increase in their confidence through Bikeability Scotland is a great result.
“The buzz that is created around the bike sessions spills out to the parents and staff, with them volunteering, or taking up cycling themselves. We have taught non-cyclists how to cycle and we also encourage our senior students to cycle to the local high school when we go for orientation sessions.
“There is a lot of good cycling infrastructure around the school and leading into the city centre. Our Bikeability Scotland activity has led to new experiences and relationships for the school and pupils. We are planning to meet up with Bikeability Scotland students from another school for a cycle on the canal next term.”
Bikeability Scotland, for children aged between 8 and 12, aligns with Curriculum for Excellence, helping students to develop the four capacities and demonstrate that they are:

Responsible Citizens – understand the consequences of their behaviour and actions, making appropriate decisions while cycling

Effective Contributors – use a range of social skills both in and out of school as they participate in and advocate the benefits of cycling safely

Confident Individuals – willingly participate in sporting or physical activity opportunities, having the confidence to enjoy cycling out of school hours

Successful Learners – develop critical thinking skills through making choices about routes, speeds and environments

It also helps deliver on the Scottish Parliament’s motion that, ‘every schoolchild should have the opportunity to benefit from cycle training’. Cycling Scotland offers support to all local authorities to deliver Bikeability Scotland, providing the following free of charge:

• Bikeability Scotland training resources
• Training courses to become a Bikeability Scotland instructor
• Advice, guidance and promotional material, including Parent Guides, School Gate Banners and Classroom Packs.

Cycling Scotland can provide a financial support package of up to £20,000 to local authorities committed to increasing delivery of Level 2 on-road training. This funding can also help tackle physical or logistical barriers to children participating, including bike provision.
David Collins, Bikeability officer, Cycling Scotland said:

”We work closely with local authorities to deliver Bikeability Scotland training across Scotland and we encourage all schools to take advantage of the support available. Every child should have the opportunity to benefit from cycle training and be encouraged to continue the habit into adulthood.
The first step for any school to develop a cycling culture is to ensure Bikeability Scotland training is offered to every child.”

Schools may also wish to become a Cycle Friendly Primary School and gain recognition for encouraging cycling as well as access to resources including lesson plans.
For more information about Bikeability Scotland, visit: www.cycling.scot/bikeability-scotland.

KLIK Just Made it a Whole Lot Easier to Bring Wireless Screen Sharing to the Classroom

KLIK Manager application dramatically reduces the cost and complexity of deployment, making affordable wireless screen sharing a reality for any school.

The KLIK Boks wireless presentation system allows students and faculty to easily share content from their PC or mobile device to a display screen or projector, fostering better collaboration and eliminating downtime between presenters. With the release of KLIK Manager software, the integration and maintenance of KLIK is now easier, and more affordable than ever. KLIK Manager is offered to all KLIK Boks PRO owners, free of charge and is available now from the company’s website.

“KLIK Manager software enables system administrators to configure, deploy, and maintain any number of KLIK wireless screen sharing devices from a central location, reducing costs and enhancing support”, states company founder and CEO Costa Lakoumentas. “What was once expensive and complicated technology, is now affordable and accessible to any school or district.”

Key Features of KLIK Manager:
• Fast, intuitive setup of KLIK Boks PRO systems across a network
• Customize the Standby screen, with included selection of wallpapers
• Easily make your own wallpaper, with built-in cropping & sizing tool
• Keep units up to date with automated firmware checks and updates
• View remote screen sharing sessions in real time, right from KLIK Manager
• Ability to push changes to any number of KLIK devices simultaneously
KLIK Manager is available in versions for Windows and Mac OSX, as well as both Debian and RedHat distributions for Linux. For more details and download links go to https://www.klikboks.com/klik-manager.

About KLIK
KLIK Communications is a Seattle-area company dedicated to improving the way people collaborate, by building tools that serve users. The company produces the KLIK Boks family of wireless presentation systems and offers an array of software tools, all aimed at helping users share what’s on their device with others; whether they’re in the same room or on the other side of the planet.
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For more information about KLIK Manager, KLIK Boks or KLIK Communications, please Rich Longstreth, +1 (253) 209-3398 or rich@klikboks.com

School receives thousands of essential classroom items in answer to Christmas ‘wish-list’

Zoe Kirkby – Area Sales Manager – YPO
Liz Filer, Headteacher, Valentine Primary School
Children from Valentine Primary School

Valentine Primary School sent out list to parents for items such as rulers and pencils

● The entire list is now being delivered by educational providers Twinkl and YPO

Valentine Primary School in Sholing, Southampton, has received thousands of classroom supplies after two educational organisations answered its appeal for essential items such as glue sticks, pencils and chalk.

The school’s headteacher Liz Filer originally asked parents for help by sending them a donation ‘wish-list’ shortly before Christmas.

On hearing the story, the online educational resource publisher Twinkl immediately got in touch with its partner YPO, which provides products and services to schools, to source the items.

Thousands of items have now been delivered including 100 glue sticks, 64 pairs of scissors, 1,000 lolly sticks, 24 pots of glitter and 400 sheets of tracing paper. Over the next week everything on the list will be received by the school, a total of 5,030 items.

Twinkl produces online teaching resources used by schools and educators across the UK including schemes of work, assessments and online games.

Jonathan Seaton, Founder and CEO of Twinkl, said: “We are thrilled that through our partnership with YPO we were able to help make a difference to the staff and children at Valentine Primary School.

“Everything we do at Twinkl is to help those who teach and we deliver ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ year-round to support schools, teachers and our customers when they are at a particular time of need.

“We know that this is not a solution to the issues that Valentine Primary School faces regarding funding for supplies and we know that there are schools out there in a similar situation. But we hope that this will help the school during this difficult time. The most important thing is that educators and schools are empowered to speak out about any challenges they encounter in order to raise awareness and get support.”

YPO’s Managing Director Simon Hill said: “After reading about Valentine Primary School’s wish-list we were more than happy to work with Twinkl and provide the everyday essential products the school needs to deliver lessons. YPO was set up in the 1970s to help schools save money, and we’ll continue to work with our partners and the education sector to add value in every way we can.”

Liz Filer, Head teacher at Valentine Primary School, said: “I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to Twinkl and YPO for their amazing generosity and support. We were blown away when we read the list of items that are being donated. Although this will not solve our funding crisis, it will make a real difference to the staff and children at Valentine Primary. Children will now have some lovely new resources which will put a smile on the faces of staff here. We are very grateful for this support.”

The full list of items provided by Twinkl and YPO is:

100 Glue sticks
24 Tubes of paint
60 Crayons
50 Oil pastels
64 Pairs of scissors
2 Dictionaries
76 Packs of post-it notes
10 Staple removers
20 Tubs of Play-Doh
1,000 Lolly sticks
144 Pencils
100 Rulers
165 Mirrors
100 Protractors
100 Erasers
100 Assorted colours whiteboard pens
100 Black whiteboard pens
25 Paint brushes
120 Felt-tip pens
200 Black handwriting pens
100 Pencil sharpeners
2 Thesauruses
160 Card collage materials
75 Glue spreaders
16 Rolls of Sellotape
4 Sellotape dispensers
5 DC adaptor plugs
50 Permanent markers
100 White chalks
100 Assorted colours chalks
288 Colouring pencils
48 Packs of Blu-tack
36 Pencil cases
9 Rolls of masking tape
1,000 Split pins
400 Sheets of Tracing paper
24 Pots of Glitter
50 Clarinet reeds
Second-hand instruments – 1 violin, 2 x guitars
Total: 5,030 items

New artificial intelligence software from Lexplore helps identify reading difficulties in minutes

Showcased at Bett 2019 for the first time, Lexplore (stand B303) has brought 30 years of research into reading development to create a new tool that will help teachers accurately pinpoint children’s reading attainment. The artificial intelligence software in Lexplore highlights specific eye movement patterns in children which can suggest reading difficulties. This can help teachers identify children who may be struggling with reading in a matter of minutes.

Developed by two university researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, the software uses cutting edge eye-tracking technology to pick up on minor differences in the way children’s brains process text and identify difficulties or even the risk of Dyslexia in children as young as six years old.

Bernadette McLean, independent child literacy expert and former principal of the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre, said: “Current reading assessments are simply not good enough. When we look at a low standard test score in isolation, it tells us that a child can’t read. It doesn’t tell us why that child can’t read. Lexplore gives us much more than a simple score or percentile, making it easier for teachers to uncover the potential reasons why a child cannot read.”

The Lexplore assessment is as simple as it is effective. It reduces testing time for pupils and provides teachers with the in-depth information they need in a non-test like environment.

Using Lexplore, a pupil sits an enjoyable screening test where they read two stories from a computer screen and answer some comprehension questions. Stephen Park, managing director of Lexplore, explains: “The eye-tracking technology automatically monitors the way the child’s eyes move as they progress through the test. By registering how long the eyes rest on one word, and how quickly they move forwards or backwards across a series of words, it can identify any issues. Teachers who have piloted Lexplore said that it’s what they have been waiting for and it offers teachers a startling insight into the cognitive processes a child goes through whilst reading.”

Using circles to reflect fixation time, when a child’s eye stays on a word for a longer period and lines to represent saccadic movement, when a child can read the text freely, Lexplore is able to provide teachers with a visual representation of the complicated processes behind each child’s ability to read in isolation of their ability to write. Unlike many other assessments, these results provide a true picture of a child’s current reading skills.

“We are really impressed with this technology and how it has helped us identify children with reading difficulties. It is quick, straightforward and easy to manage within the day-to-day routine of the school,” says Jayne Mullane, headteacher, Mersey Vale Primary School, where the tool has been successfully piloted.

“The tests showed that one of our KS2 girls was finding reading difficult, but this was something we hadn’t spotted before,” says Jayne. “She had developed effective coping strategies to manage those difficulties, so we hadn’t realised that she needed support.”

There is no writing involved for children and no impact on teachers’ workloads as there is no marking needed. Results are analysed and delivered via the Lexplore portal, saving countless hours of administration time.

Lexplore is a finalist in the innovation category at the BETT Awards 2019. Teachers, senior leaders and educationalists are invited to join them on their stand at Bett (B303) to try out their innovative eye-tracking technology. They will also be running a series of competitions throughout the course of Bett and teachers and school leaders can find out more at http://bit.ly/LexploreBETT

Using one-to-one tuition to improve educational outcomes

Drawing on her experience as a Love to Read tutor – a reading intervention programme devised by education recruitment specialists Supply Desk – Teaching Assistant Lucy Keeling discusses the key factors to take into consideration when providing students with one-to-one tuition, including the importance of positive pupil-tutor relationships and agreeing upon adjustable and measurable learning objectives.
The environment
All pupils can benefit from one-to-one tuition or the opportunity to work in a small group with an educator – from those who are performing at a lower learning level, to the more advanced learners. In terms of reading tuition, children who are at a higher level are able to develop the skills required to become more autonomous readers. For those at a lower stage, the opportunity to help the student progress, in a more timely manner, through intensive support is invaluable. For pupils to get the most out of their one-to-one mentoring, the environment needs to be a welcoming, calm and relatively quiet so that the focus and attention of students is maximised.
The tutor-pupil relationship
When assigning a tutor to a pupil it is essential to take the child’s character as well as the tutor’s background and previous mentoring experiences into consideration. Fostering a collaborative and trusting relationship between pupil and mentor is a key component of successful tutoring. Working in smaller groups or one-on-one allows tutors to form a close bond with the pupils, which in turn positively impacts upon their drive to learn and increases their potential for success. Behaviour management is also critical and mentors should have the skills to teach and manage a wide range of pupils.
Further to this, children need to be kept engaged – not every pupil enjoys the subject you are teaching – but a great tutor will develop creative ways to make their sessions more appealing. For example, using games or songs can be excellent practices to motivate and encourage children who are less enthused about the subject material. It is important to regularly monitor how pupils are responding to a session and adapt your approach if a particular mentoring method is not working.
Timing
If possible, providing pupils with tuition on a daily basis, even if only for 15 minutes, is highly beneficial. When mentoring sessions become a continuous part of students’ daily routine engagement is substantially increased. Currently, I am working with pupils for one hour, four days per week. While not all schools are able to provide this level of support, establishing an ongoing routine has enabled my pupils to really get the most out of the mentoring sessions. The benefit of regular sessions is evidenced by the pupils’ rapid development of key reading skills, which are also beneficial in other subject areas.
Aims
Once you have completed an initial introductory session with a pupil you can begin to develop some key learning aims to be met. These aims should take into account both the teacher’s goals for the child as well as the pupil’s personal objectives. Agreeing on learning targets is crucial as this provides the child with a benchmark to measure their success against and something to strive for. At the end of each session, it is important to tick off achievements, whether big or small, as this further incentivises the pupil to keep progressing with their learning. Aims may need to be adjusted if the child finds a task too easy or achieves a goal quicker than expected.
The benefits
One-to-one tuition is effective as pupils get that extra support which their teachers cannot always provide. Learning needs can be individually assessed – with strengths and weaknesses taken into account – and goals and sessions can be completely tailored to the individual. Additionally, for pupils who require extra guidance but normally do not have the confidence to ask for help in front of a whole class, one-on-one sessions and the undivided attention of a mentor is extremely valuable.

KUBO Robotics launches innovative new coding pack

Coding+ extension pack helps educators inspire students with more advanced programming activities

KUBO Robotics has launched a brand-new innovative coding pack for primary school children. Available from January 2019, “Coding+” builds on KUBO’s existing robotics resource and teaches children aged 4-10 more advanced programming elements and stronger computational thinking skills.
Coding+ comes with a set of 36 additional TagTiles which deliver high-quality, innovative programming challenges. The TagTile pieces fit together like a puzzle in order to create a sequence of code. The robot is then placed on top of the tiles and follows a set of instructions helping pupils to understand more advanced levels of programming related to routes, functions, subroutines and loops.
In addition to KUBO’s previous functions, Coding+ enables educators to cover time, distance, speed and directions, encouraging pupils to undertake more challenging and sophisticated programming tasks.

 

Daniel Lindegarrd, Co-founder and COO at KUBO Robotics said:
“At a time when most children will end up working in jobs that don’t even exist yet, now more than ever we should be teaching them computational thinking and coding from an early age in order to equip them the right skills for the future.
“At KUBO we are dedicated to helping educators teach invaluable coding skills in a simple and engaging way that appeals to pupils. We are continuously developing our curriculum content and resources to ensure that we are providing solutions that demonstrate coding in a way that is not only accessible but gives learning STEM subjects a real purpose.”
KUBO is designed to make it easy for teachers to introduce computer science and coding into their daily teaching activities, promoting cross-curricular collaboration and hands-on play.

For more information, visit: www.kubo.education 

Investment in AI is essential to modernise the education sector

                                                                                              Jayne Warburton, CEO EMEA, 3P Learning 

Jayne Warburton, former Assistant Head Teacher and CEO EMEA, 3P Learning, providers of curriculum-aligned educational resources Mathletics, Spellodrome and Reading Eggs, discusses artificial intelligence (AI) and its potential to modernise the UK education sector…

According to a new report AI in Education Market, AI in the US is set to grow by 47.5% by 2023.
Here in the UK, the government has announced ambitious plans to invest in AI, with a £1 billion investment in the industry declared in April 2018. Matt Hancock, former Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport asserted in a statement that artificial intelligence is “at the centre of our plans to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business”.
Despite this, investment in AI within the UK education sector appears to have been missed from the government’s agenda and with it a huge opportunity to modernise teaching and learning, with no mention made of either AI or investment in education technology in the 2018 Autumn budget.
Since its introduction, AI has divided opinion within the education sector, with enthusiasts seeing it as a solution to the sector’s woes and naysayers viewing it as a threat to high-quality teaching and jobs.
In reality, AI is neither a comprehensive solution, nor a threat. As with all technology, AI won’t resolve issues which rely on funding and policy from central government, or replace teachers in the classroom. What it does offer is the potential to make teaching easier for skilled staff and aid the recruitment and retention of education professionals.
One of the areas in which AI is increasingly being used – and has the potential to expand hugely – is in data-driven solutions to improve learning experiences. For example, AI can be used within programs to identify a pupil’s strengths and weaknesses and to assess areas for improvement, truly differentiating learning for each child – a task with which many time-pressured teachers struggle.
Embedding AI within an education resource would enable a pop-up to recommend an activity to a child with the activity tailored to their own learning style: therefore helping them in an area in which they need to improve. Not only will this help teachers differentiate pupils’ learning, it would allow children to drive their own personalised learning pathway.
Additionally, AI has the potential to handle many of the administration jobs undertaken by teachers and could be used to significantly reduce marking, enabling teachers to spend more time directly helping children achieve greater learning objectives. AI could also be used to automatically register children walking through the school gate, removing this tedious job for teachers. This, in turn, could potentially aid the recruitment of other professionals into the sector, including much-needed STEM graduates, who may wish to enter teaching but are dissuaded by the current volume of administrative duties.
Ultimately AI will not solve the education sector’s problems by removing workload in its entirety and AI robots will not replace high-quality teachers at the front of the classroom. On the contrary, I believe AI has a part to play in personalising the learning experience and in modernising an education system that hasn’t truly changed in the last 100 years – children may now have tablets in place of a chalkboard but our style of teaching remains largely unchanged.
In order for advances to take place, investment in AI must be taken seriously by the Department for Education and central government. By investing in AI we have the opportunity to make the UK a world leader in modern teaching practices – something which everyone in the education industry can truly celebrate.

Top four teaching resources for supply teachers and teaching assistants

 

One of the key factors in the delivery of an outstanding lesson is preparation. The internet is often the first port of call and online teaching resources are an invaluable aid to both supply teachers and teaching assistants. However, with so many resources available the sheer volume can be overwhelming – where do you turn to for the best science lesson plans, phonics resources, maths worksheets or the crucial end of term quiz?
Caroline Cafferty, Operations Director, justteachers – a leading supplier of a leading supplier of teachers and support staff – spoke with a number of supply teachers and teaching assistants and put together the top four sites, both paid and free, to help you find the right teaching resources to deliver outstanding lessons.

TES – free and paid resources

Everyone knows TES, the go-to site for most supply teachers and support staff – it has resources covering everything from early years foundation stage (EYFS) and primary to secondary to special educational needs (SEN) and much more.
Sign up is free and once registered you can browse/download a comprehensive collection of more than 640,000 resources, many of which have been peer reviewed by teachers. There are over 36,000 lesson plans, making it the go-to site for supply teachers. Find out more here: https://www.tes.com/teaching-resources

SupplyBag – paid teaching resources as well as lots of top tips for supply teachers

SupplyBag offers support, resources and information to supply teachers to help them get the best out of their supply career. You can get advice and support from others on their forum (Facebook) or receive it directly to your inbox by signing up for their free bi-monthly newsletters. There’s an endless supply of teaching resources covering all age groups and although there is a small charge for most of their resources, they are specifically geared towards supply teachers, ideal for candidates who are new to supply teaching. The Facebook forum has more than 5000 members and actively engages great conversation around supply teaching and schools education. A great place to start is their emergency lesson plans: http://www.supplybag.co.uk/emergency-lesson-plans/

Twinkl

Twinkl is an online platform providing award-wining resourcing materials for all key stages as well as SEN and English as an additional language (EAL). Although you can sign up for free, you’ll need to have a paid subscription to personalise the available resources; however, for roughly the same cost as two cups of coffee a month it offers good value for money. You can easily download guides, packs, teaching aids and power points to help assist with your supply lessons for any year group or key stage. In addition, Twinkl also has Facebook groups dedicated to every key stage to share ideas and tips, there is even a dedicated Facebook group for teachers with dogs! – for a full list of Twinkl Facebook groups go to: http://www.twinkl.co.uk/support-communities

Primary Resources

This website provides more than 3GB of free activity ideas, lesson plans and resources for primary supply teachers and teaching assistants. Hundreds of resources for all subjects, year groups and key stages as well as lesson plans, activity ideas and resources for SEN and EAL pupils, all available to download with just a click of a button! All subjects are divided into topics to make it easier and simple to find the free activity ideas. http://www.primaryresources.co.uk/

justteachers, a division of Education Placement Group, is a leading supplier of teachers, nursery nurses and support staff for schools, colleges and nurseries nationwide. For more information, visit https://www.justteachers.co.uk/

Technology from Twinkl brings never seen before objects to the classroom

 

What would happen if you showed a 3D dinosaur to a classroom of children?

Thanks to the team at Twinkl and a new Apple technology called AR Quick Look, you can.

Twinkl has created the largest collection of educational digital models that you can view in the classroom in 3D through augmented reality (AR).

AR brings the real and virtual world together by superimposing computer generated images into real-world environments.

The collection of over 100 models includes planets, animals, parts of the human anatomy and even a unicorn or Santa Claus.

The models are free to access and can be used on the latest Apple devices, on the iOS 12 operating system.

“Teachers can use the models to add another layer of engagement to their lesson,” explained Pete Casson, Chief Technology Officer at Twinkl.

“For example, by showing animals that live in another country in geography, a beating heart in science or a character that the class is completing a writing exercise on.

“A model we are particularly proud of is the one of planet Earth that we have made. We created it using images taken from space by NASA, making it as realistic as possible. Through AR Quick Look, children can now hold a very accurate model of the earth as it turns in their hands.”

There is no need to download an application to use a AR Quick Look model. By clicking on an image using a device, teachers and pupils can view the model in 3D, or click to see it in AR.

The models are interactive as they can be seen from different angles or in closer detail by moving the phone or tablet screen. They include different textures and interact with the lighting of whatever space they’re in. As an example, the eyes of the animals are glossy and reflect the light in the room.

Although the models are ideal for use in the classroom, they aren’t limited to teaching and anyone can use them to enhance learning.

Twinkl plans to expand this catalogue and are working on various projects to support Android devices too. The company’s hope is to make all the models available on as many devices as possible.

“Everything we do at Twinkl is to help those who teach, so we will be creating other models based on feedback from educators about what they need and what will work for their pupils,” said Pete.

“We urge all educators, whether they are teachers, parents, childminders or nursery workers, to try out the models and let us know what they think. AR is an emerging technology, and we can only discover its real potential for education by trying it out with pupils.”

The models can be viewed or downloaded from the catalogue at www.twinkl.co.uk/reality

A full list of the devices that are compatible with the models can be found here: https://www.twinkl.co.uk/help/twinkl-apps/im-having-trouble-installing-little-red

Twinkl is an online educational publisher and creates learning resources used by educators across the world. Every month around 8.1 million resources are downloaded from the Twinkl website.

For more information please visit twinkl.co.uk

Local primary school sees dramatic difference in pupils thanks to Forest School

Since the start of September, a group of children and teachers from Hazel Community Primary School have been visiting Knighton Park in Leicester to attend Wild Forest School, run by Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust. Following the weekly sessions, teachers reported improved behaviour, raised attendance and better social interaction amongst formerly isolated pupils.

The Forest School sessions, which are run by Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust and supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, has been of enormous benefit to the pupils at Hazel Community Primary School as teaching assistant Adam Cleaver confirms: “We are an inner city school in a deprived area with 90% of pupils having English as their second language. Many of the children we take to Forest School are considered vulnerable and do not have access to these opportunities in their home life.

“I would definitely recommend Forest School to other schools in the area without any reservations, it has been brilliant and the leader Sophie is so enthusiastic – she is professional, knowledgeable, and really believes in what she’s doing. All of the children absolutely love it; two girls who were new to the school struggled to make friends and were isolated during playtimes, but quite amazingly they have become best friends through the sessions. They spend all of their school time together – it’s a real success story. Plus, three children with attendance issues all have considerably raised their attendance, one from 47% to 63% in just eight weeks.”

Also enthusiastic about Forest School, eight year old Faye, said: “At Forest School we get to be free and be adventurous, and I always feel happy afterwards. In school we’re taught topics like maths, but at Forest School we get to learn about nature. Being outside is sometimes cold, but it’s so much fun and the leader Sophie always helps us if we’re stuck on something.”

Supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust Forest School provides opportunities for children to experience new challenges, take risks, develop resilience and independence, and be creative, all whilst developing a sense of wonder about the natural world.

For more information about Forest School run by Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust visit, www.wildforestschool.org.uk.

For the latest news from Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust visit, www.lrwt.org.uk.