Primary schools to win a portion of £50,000 for achieving maths mastery

Primary school maths mastery resource provider, Matific, has today launched its UK Maths Games competition for schools. The competition is now open to all schools across the UK, following a previous successful run in Australia and the US.

 

Online primary maths resource Matific, is designed around the national curriculum, using problem solving activities to achieve maths mastery.

 

Open for entries from today for all schools with students from reception to Year 6 students, the competition gives schools the chance to win more than £50,000 in cash and prizes, with the first prize being £1000 cash and £2000 worth of products. In addition to the school prize, participating classes have more than 20 chances to win prizes of up to £1000!

 

From 1 March, all registered schools can access the Matific math’s resource free of charge. The competition is based on collecting stars for each activity completed. The challenge is to finish with the highest average of the number of stars collected. First, second and third prizes are given for each year group from reception to Year 6.

 

For full prize details and to register for entry free of charge, teachers and schools should visit: https://www.matific.com/gb/en-gb/matificgames/school

Over a quarter of UK parents have been put into financial difficulty by their child’s extracurricular activities

  • The average UK parent spends £237.52 per child per academic year on after-school activities
  • Almost a third of children take part in three or more extracurricular activities every week
  • Parents in Cardiff, Glasgow and London pay the most for extracurricular activities

 

After-school activities are a great way of furthering a child’s education, but many parents across the UK are feeling the financial strain because of them, new research has revealed.

 

According to a recent study by online personalised clothing retailer, Banana Moon Clothing, over a quarter (28%) of parents in the UK have been put into financial difficulty funding their child’s extracurricular activities, such as sport and music classes.

 

The study revealed that nearly a third of children (31%) take part in three or more extracurricular activities at school a week, with the average UK parent spending £237.32 a year funding them.

 

However, a fifth of parents spend more than £300 every academic year on their child’s after- school activities, with a further 10% spending more than £500.

 

A further fifth of parents (21%) rated their child’s extracurricular activities as poor value for money and almost half (44%) said that there’s too much pressure put on parents to fund these activities.

 

The top five cities that spend the most on after school activities per year are:

 

  • Cardiff (£398)
  • Glasgow (£337)
  • Oxford (£294)
  • London (£291)
  • Belfast (£286)

 

The region where children take part in the most extracurricular activities was London, with nearly one in five children (19%) attending five or more after-school activities every week.

 

After school activities were also the most expensive with children in school years 4-6, with parents of children in these age groups shelling out £260 per child per year.

 

Alex Grace, Managing Director at Banana Moon Clothing, said: “It’s encouraging to see that children are taking up to three extracurricular activities each week as it can really aid their personal development. However, it is understandable that some parents are struggling financially when there are so many classes available now for children to attend.

 

“Don’t be afraid to see if there’s any financial help available and where possible, look at ways you can save money on the associated costs, such as investing in quality pieces of uniform that will last, buying sports kits in bulk or purchasing second hand.”

 

To learn more on how to save money on your child’s after-school activities please visit:

https://www.banana-moon-clothing.co.uk/blog/extra-curricular-activities-without-extra-expense

England’s leading charitable provider of Personal, Social, Health and Economic education welcomes consultation on Relationships and Sex Education

Coram Life Education, which delivers Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education to one in eight UK primary schools, supports the Department for Education’s plans to consult on the best way to deliver effective Relationships and Sex Education (RSE).

As RSE is compulsory in all schools from 2019, the eight week consultation will help shape the education to equip children with the knowledge and skills to stay safe and to know when and how to ask for help.

Digital technology means inappropriate content like online pornography, sexting, and fake and dangerous advice and myths are readily available. Coram Life Education’s teaching resources are used by half a million children in over 2,000 schools and the recently launched comprehensive Relationships Education programme reflects current Department for Education (DfE) guidance. The online Key Stage 1 and 2 programme will be updated following the consultation and will help primary schools meet statutory requirements to deliver Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) from 2019.

Coram Life Education’s Managing Director of Education & Wellbeing, Harriet Gill, said: “Coram Life Education welcomes the DfE consultation. It will provide parents, teachers, young people, service providers and policy makers with a platform to share views and evidence of what works. When delivered by confident teachers in discussion with pupils, RSE is an enriching, empowering experience, based on pupils’ right to education that helps them navigate a complex real and virtual world and to stay safe in the process”.

 

“In our experience, the earlier children are equipped with skills and strategies to remain resilient in adult life the better. When we researched schools’ readiness for statutory RSE, more than a third said they needed additional support to teach the subject. Our expertise in primary education led us to create the Relationships Education programme, helping children develop healthy friendships and relationships, learn about body ownership, consent, identifying safe and unsafe touch, puberty and reproduction and staying safe online.”

 

Coram Life Education’s Relationships Education programme covers all primary school years from an early stage, as the teaching of safety, body ownership, private parts of the body, distinguishing types of touch and types of secrets helps protect children and may increase the disclosure of abuse.***

 

The age-appropriate lesson themes reflect the needs and requirements of young people themselves.** Our research showed that the big issues for children are friendship issues, low self-esteem, body image and sharing inappropriate images or images without consent.

Content was developed from insight through the charity’s research with primary school head teachers, many of whom are delivering aspects of RSE now. However, two thirds said they needed more guidance on statutory requirements.*

 

The Relationships Education programme was funded by specialist insurer Ecclesiastical and is now available in the 2,000 schools delivering Coram Life Education, and is accessible to any primary school subscribing to ‘SCARF’, the charity’s online wellbeing resource.

1 in 4 teenagers couldn’t enjoy Christmas without social media

More than one in four teenagers – an estimated 866,000 young people in England and Wales – say they couldn’t enjoy Christmas without social media according to a new survey carried out for The Children’s Society.

 

Almost one in three, more than one million, said they thought it was getting harder to enjoy Christmas, while only 1 in 10 felt it was getting easier.

 

Many young people are left casting envious glances at their peers and people they follow, with 31%, almost a million, saying that social media use at Christmas makes them want more gifts and presents after having compared themselves to others.

 

One in five children think that friends on social media seem to be having a better Christmas than them.

 

However, 40 per cent felt that social media made them think more about those who are less fortunate than they are at Christmas time.

 

The poll of 1,010 13-17-year-olds, conducted by Research Now for The Children’s Society, found nearly a third (32%) increased their use of social media over Christmas, with only 8 per cent saying they spent less time on the online platforms.

 

Almost half (47%) of all young people said they didn’t spend enough time with friends during the Christmas break, with three quarters (76%) of those who use social media more at this time of year saying they did so to see what their school friends were doing over the holidays. Worryingly 13 per cent said they use social media more at Christmas to help them feel less alone, while 17 per cent do so to escape family stress and 32 per cent do so because they feel bored.

 

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive at The Children’s Society, said: “Christmas can be a stressful time for everyone, including children. Many miss their friends whilst not at school and social media can represent an important lifeline to the outside world.

 

“Although social media can have many benefits, we know that overuse can be damaging to young people’s well-being and may harm their mental health.

 

“There will however be many children this Christmas, with nowhere to turn, and at The Children’s Society we support thousands of these young people.  It is vital that more of them are able to access the support they need all year round.”

 

The Children’s Society is calling for tougher regulation and decisive action by social media companies to ensure the online world is safer for children and to minimise risks like cyber-bullying and online grooming.

It wants to see clearer child-friendly guidelines, better advice on blocking people and reporting issues, and quicker and more effective responses to reports of inappropriate behaviour and material.

Mr Reed added: “The Government must do its bit to make sure this happens, and we would urge it to listen to the voices of young people in developing its proposed Code of Practice for social media companies, which we would like to see in place as soon as possible.”

Education sector is the industry furthest away from achieving paperless working

Organisations in the education sector rely the most on paper and have the largest amount of work to do to reduce their usage, new research has found.

A survey of 1,000 workers, conducted by WorkMobile, found that employees working in the education sector rely the most on paper (80%), followed by the finance sector (68%), and the construction and utilities industries (67%).

A third of businesses in the education sector (34%) and construction and utilities (33%) have taken no steps to even reduce their usage. But, the finance industry is trying to become less reliant on paper, with 77% of companies implementing paper-saving processes.

Surprisingly, the legal sector, which is often perceived as traditional in its processes, is ahead of other sectors, with four-fifths (80%) of employees saying their bosses have introduced paper-less working.

The environment is paying the biggest price though, given that 50% of all waste generated from businesses is paper-based.

Reassuringly, some employees are trying to cut down their personal paper usage to protect the environment. 30% only print out physical files when absolutely necessary, 7% rarely use the printer, and 3% operate fully paperless and never use paper.

The research was carried out as part of WorkMobile’s ‘Death of the paper trail report’, which investigates the sectors that are still reliant on paper-based processes, and the pitfalls that businesses often encounter by working in this way.

Colin Yates, chief support officer, said: “With so much technology at our fingertips, it’s surprising and disappointing to see that companies are still relying so heavily on paper-based processes like printing documents and posting mail, and are not introducing the most basic of steps to reduce the use of paper.

“Over recent years, there has been a lot of focus on becoming more environmentally friendly as a society and reducing wastage to protect the planet. But despite attempts by government organisations and campaigners to raise awareness around the implications of using paper and cutting down trees, it’s clear that a large number of businesses are still not taking note.

“Technology has advanced way beyond clunky fax machines and printing out hundreds of documents on a daily basis. And with more and more employees now working remotely  using mobile devices, we shouldn’t be using so much paper. Companies must look to introduce paper-less policies to improve internal processes and make for greater efficiencies and accuracies. The future of their businesses could well depend on it.”

For more information, please visit: http://www.workmobileforms.com/research-and-whitepapers/

BRITCON COMPLETES MAJOR REFURBISHMENT FOR GOOLE ACADEMY

Building and engineering company, Britcon has completed major refurbishment works for Goole Academy high school.  The project, valued at close to £1m, was awarded to Britcon by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) working with Arcadis LLP.

It is part of the Government’s £4.4 billion Priority School Building Programme which is rebuilding or refurbishing those school buildings in the very worst condition across the country.

Britcon has replaced all drainage around the complex of buildings on Centenary Road originally built in the early 1900’s.  It has also completed major external works which include new hard and soft landscaping including an extensive new Multi Use Games Area (MUGA), roads, paving, planting and irrigation and fixtures such as lighting.

John Whitmore, Director at Britcon, said, “The project was complex in that we have to replace critical facilities whist in a live school environment where over 1000 pupils and teaching staff are circulating.   The Academy has a listed element and due to the age of the buildings the draining needed renewing. The external works also provide for a more productive environment with new class leading sports facilities and enhanced wayfinding.”

Britcon has extensive expertise in the education sector. As well as the Goole Academy it has completed major building and refurbishment projects for Royds Hall School in Huddersfield, Roundhay Primary School in Leeds and Ward Green School in Barnsley Other projects include the University of York, University of Bradford, University of Huddersfield and Queen Ethelberga’s Collegiate.

As a business Britcon also actively engages with all the Education establishments with whom it works to support learning practices in the construction sector, setting coursework around its projects, and providing educational site visits and placement opportunities.

Established for more than 26 years, Britcon is £50 million turnover business headquartered in Scunthorpe and directly employs 90 people on its project sites across the UK. It is currently listed by the London Stock Exchange in its latest report of ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Europe’.

@Britcon_Limited

Schools Showcase their Garden Designs in Royal Horticultural Society Competition

Secondary school pupils present school and community garden designs in RHS Green Plan It Challenge

  • Ten-week project aimed at inspiring the next generation of young horticulturists
  • Designs include conservation, rooftop and peace gardens

Some schools taking part in the RHS Green Plan It Challenge (high res images available on request)

Eight hundred secondary school pupils aged 12-14  have competed in the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Green Plan It Challenge – submitting their innovative designs for a new school or community garden to a panel of award-winning designers, landscape architects and other horticulturists.

 

The entries were assessed at eight regional events with four teams at each walking away with an award.

 

Recurring design themes were the creation of tranquil spaces to help pupils escape the stresses of the classroom, wildlife friendly gardens and features such as green roofs and walls to tackle environmental issues.

 

Winners included Y Pant School in Rhondda Cynon Taf who created a meadow garden to help conserve a population of endangered butterflies, Blessed John Henry Newman RC College in Oldham who developed a peace garden using the Manchester bee motif and Alperton Community School in Wembley who designed a rooftop garden at an underground station to supply the local community with fresh fruit and vegetables. A number of the schools that took part have already committed to bringing their gardens to life.

 

Led by students, the ten-week challenge encouraged pupils to consider the benefits of communal green spaces and explore environmental issues while developing leadership, teamwork and creative skills.

 

Challenge competitors also drew on inspiration from industry mentors and judges including Danny Nagle from Grant Associates, the landscape architects behind the multi-award-winning Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, Tamara Bridge, co-designer of the Jo Whiley Scent Garden at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show and Lachlan Rae, Young Horticulturist of the Year 2017 and Head Gardener at Auchendolly Estate in Scotland.

 

Speaking about the challenge, RHS Head of Community Outreach, Andrea Van-Sittart said: “The Green Plan It Challenge is designed to support young people to develop a host of new skills including teamwork, creativity and problem-solving, and, we hope to inspire some future Alan Titchmarshs and Monty Dons.

 

“All of the entries reveal an understanding of the important role that gardens can play both in terms of providing space to work and reflect and as a home for wildlife and the plants they rely on. We look forward to seeing some of these gardens come to fruition as we set about greening our grey Britain.”

Research finds more children than ever are learning to play music, but few are advancing beyond ‘beginner’ level

 

Almost 460,000 schoolchildren learnt how to play a musical instrument for the first time last year, following a recent boost in government funding.

 

Researchers at Birmingham City University have conducted a nationwide online survey and a series of interviews with music education leaders, to explore the state of music provision in English schools during the 2015/16 academic year.

 

“We found that there are many examples of excellent delivery and organisation of musical programmes taking place in schools around the country, but that provision is patchy in some areas”, said Martin Fautley, project lead and Professor of Education at Birmingham City University.

 

Professor Fautley and research colleagues Dr Adam Whittaker and Dr Victoria Kinsella found that whilst the number of schoolchildren learning to play music for the first time is at an all-time high, only four per cent of learners are reaching intermediate level and just two per cent are reaching advanced level.

 

“Our research drew attention to this trend which seems to highlight an issue with converting musical opportunities into longer-term musical learning – something the sector will need to monitor and act upon in the coming years”, said Dr Whittaker.

On continuation rates, a teacher who was interviewed said: “Parents are happy for the children to have the lesson in school, but when it comes to buying instruments it becomes a parental responsibility. A lot of parents don’t see the value.”

 

The researchers also found that the majority of musical learning takes place in Key Stage 2 of primary school and Key Stage 3 of secondary school.

 

The research was funded by Arts Council England and commissioned by MusicMark, the national membership organisation representing music education hubs in England.

 

Educational supply specialist comes to rescue of school in national headlines for asking parents for donations

An educational supply specialist has come to the rescue of a school that hit the national headlines after asking parents to contribute to vital classroom resources.

Robert Piggott CE School in Theresa May’s Maidenhead constituency in Berkshire, was in the news after changes to school funding meant the school and governing body, after consultation with parents, decided to ask parents for a donation of £1 per school day, per child, to cover the costs of teaching resources and books.

When David Pickering, Managing Director of Lancashire based EPSL Educational Printing, read about the school’s plight he contacted the infant and junior schools to offer them a year’s supply of free, personalised exercise books, reading records and diaries.

He said: “Schools across the UK are struggling to make ends meet due to changes in funding and we believe that every child should have access to quality books to help them with their studies.

“The story about Robert Piggott School highlights this issue and I hope our donation will be a real boost to the pupils, teachers and staff.

“I was thrilled when they accepted our offer of personalised exercise books, diaries and reading records and I look forward to hearing feedback from our ultimate judges — the children!”

Mrs Akers, Executive Headteacher added: “The media attention following our request for voluntary contributions was rather unexpected, as we are not the first school to have to resort to this sort of request.

“We were thrilled to receive the call from EPSL Educational Printing offering us a very generous donation of a year’s supply of exercise books, diaries and reading records.  To learn that the stationery is also embossed with our school logo is wonderful.

“I am sure the children will be very proud of their new high quality books and will produce their best work to go in them.

“Thank you to EPSL Educational Printing for our rather unexpected and very special early Christmas present.”

EPSL Educational Printing has provided more than 5,300 personalised books including exercise books, diaries and reading records to Robert Piggott Junior and Infant school.

Each item was designed, printed and collated in the company’s state-of-the-art Blackburn facility in Lancashire.

EPSL Educational Printing was founded in 1975 by former teacher Fred Pickering. He was succeeded by his son David in 2002 and the company now provides millions of exercise books and ancillary products to thousands of schools across the UK.

Nureva to demonstrate its new, dynamic learning environment at Bett 2018

Nureva Inc., an award-winning collaborative solutions company, will be demonstrating the latest version of its integrated solutions on stand C160 at Bett 2018.

New features in Nureva™ Span™ software, digital working walls and the HDL300 audio conferencing system combine to create a dynamic collaborative learning environment for primary, secondary and postsecondary settings around the world.

 

The Nureva Span visual collaboration system transforms classroom walls into large, ultra-wide interactive surfaces that display an expansive digital canvas. Learners create their ideas on their personal devices – either a computer, tablet or smartphone – and share them in the cloud. The Nureva HDL300 audio conferencing system resolves the frustrating and persistent issue of poor audio pickup, especially where global collaboration takes place between dynamic classroom environments.

 

Nureva’s products support a fresh approach to collaborative, student-led learning; focusing on enabling the physical and virtual spaces where educators and learners converge, to create dynamic learning experiences.

Nancy Knowlton, Nureva’s CEO said, “we’re excited to demonstrate our expanded solutions for collaborative learning spaces to the global education community attending Bett. Visitors to our stand will see how new features in Span software and the addition of the HDL300 audio conferencing system open up exciting opportunities to create truly unique learning experiences.”