Making apprenticeships accessible for all is paramount, says AoC

In response to the launch of the Education Committee’s report on apprenticeship quality, Julian Gravatt, Deputy Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said:
“Today’s new report by the Education Committee raises a lot of interesting and valid points, however, more needs to be done. Extending the amount of time levy paying employers have to spend the levy does not fix the problem; it just kicks it into the long grass. If larger employers cannot get their act together to train the workforce of the future, then government should allow smaller employers to step up. They’re ready, willing and able – they just need the opportunity. We agree with the Association of Employment and Learning Providers that the Treasury should guarantee a small company apprenticeship training budget.
“Apprenticeships play an important part in getting someone ready for a career by giving them the skills and knowledge, as well as an understanding of what behaviours are required to ensure they thrive in the workplace. We must ensure that apprenticeships are of the best quality – making them accessible for all, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“The report makes some strong recommendations on social justice and is right that this requires concerted action on travel, low wages and child benefits. We think they should have gone further and recommended increases in the funding available for training. The current funding rates pay five figure sums for higher level apprentices and less for those programmes taken by school leavers.
“Overall, we share the committee’s ambitions to make the system work better for apprentices. The average college trains more than 1,000 and the sector specialises in areas like engineering and construction which make a real difference to the future of young people. AoC will continue to work with Government to ensure that the apprenticeship system works as well as it can so we can deliver the skills the country needs.”

Google Rolls Out New Resources To Help Teachers Educate Students About Staying Safe Online

Yesterday Google announces that it is launching a new Safety Centre, a comprehensive site dedicated to helping teachers educate children about keeping safe online.

The Google Safety Center features resources and information to help teachers discuss important topics like data security, privacy controls, and online protections with their students. The site will be available in more than 65 languages in the coming weeks.

Before the launch of the new and updated Security Centre, Google conducted research with more than 200 teachers to learn about their experience with online safety in the classroom. They found that teachers believe children should start learning about online safety as early as the age of seven and almost all (99%) felt that it should be a part of the curriculum.

The new Safety Centre’s resources have been made available during EU Cybersecurity month, and include:

Useful resources and tools to teach students about digital safety and citizenship
• A number of easy-to-use Google privacy controls so students can choose the settings that are right for them. This includes the ability to undertake a Privacy Checkup
Helpful security tips to enable teachers to educate students about safety whenever they’re online
Be Internet Legends in partnership with family internet safety experts Parent Zone, is a programme aimed at 7 – 11 year olds to help them be safe, confident explorers of the online world – through online platforms, teaching resources, face-to-face workshops and assemblies, and free training resources to over 19,000 UK teachers.

Katie O’Donovan, online safety policy manager at Google UK, said: “Not every student uses the Internet the same way, making online safety a challenge for teachers. At Google we want to support teachers to help students to make choices online that are right for them, our Google Safety Centre is designed to help them do just that.”


NSPCC partners with gohenry to teach kids the value of giving

The NSPCC has teamed up with pocket money management tool gohenry to encourage young people to give a little to those in a less fortunate position than themselves.

The pre-paid debit card and app allows parents to manage their children’s pocket money whilst teaching them financial responsibility, empowering them to earn, save and spend responsibly, and now highlighting the importance and value of donating to a charity.
Launching today, it will allow children to make a one-off or regular donation to the NSPCC (capped at 20 pence per week), using the new Giving function. This will help fund vital NSPCC services that keep young people safe from abuse and help those who have been abused to recover.
gohenry is for young people aged 6 to 18 and aims to teach children good money habits and give them financial independence.
Children can earn their pocket money by completing weekly or one-off tasks set by the parent, create savings goals and save towards them, as well as see their weekly earning, saving and spending in graphical, easy-to-use educational formats.
Parents can set their children spending limits and see where and when they are spending their money through real-time notifications.
Georgie Swinbank, NSPCC Partnership Manager said: “As a charity that receives 90% of its funding through donations, every penny really does have an impact on children’s lives.
“We’re delighted to be partnering with gohenry to raise vital funds and teach young people the value of money and giving to an organisation like the NSPCC.”
Louise Hill, Co-founder and COO of gohenry added: “Understanding the true value of money is about appreciating not only what it means for you but also the difference it could make for others.
“I am so proud to launch our Giving feature with the NSPCC, the perfect partner to help parents introduce the next generation to how little contributions can add up to big changes. With over 325,000 children’s accounts and £70m pocket money paid out annually on gohenry, we expect this to be a popular feature.”

Playinnovation launches new ‘mini’ versions of its games to satisfy the growing demand from schools

Due to popular demand, Playinnovation the innovative games company has launched a brand-new range of indoor and portable mini-games which are perfect for the school market.
Schools can now install Playinnovation’s educational games walls as ‘mini games’ and perfect for use indoors and outdoors. The games can be fitted to your gym or outside wall and feature magnetic numerical targets, moveable ground spots and a portable scoreboard for easy storage.
School sport and physical activity is developing; it’s evolving. Gone are the days where children are happy to chase a football or hockey ball across muddy, wet and cold fields. Children and young people want choice. They want to participate in movement and sport which not only moves their bodies but stimulates their minds too. And this is where Playinnovation, is capturing the imagination of youngsters up and down the country with its range of innovative games.

Marco Boi, Founder and Creator of Playinnovation said: “There is a whole world of different sports available and also an eclectic mix of students that need to feel challenged and stimulated by physical activity and these traditional sports can sometimes dis-engage rather than engage in physical activity.”

Marco continues: “The whole purpose of developing the games that sit within the Playinnovation portfolio was to fuse the world of physical activity and sport with education and offer educational benefits and outcomes to the children (and adults) who enjoyed it.”

Playinnovation is seeing an increase in demand from schools for more unique, fun, engaging and inclusive multi-use games areas (MUGA) and in many cases are replacing traditional ball courts for new, on-trend games courts.
Playinnovation’s patented target games are all designed to increase and inspire movement and physical activity, create positive social environments and offer an unprecedented level of developmental outcomes.

Marco continued: “What’s great about multi-use games area (MUGAs) is that it’s your chance to be creative, some schools even involve their pupils to help design and bring to life the area. We have a wide selection of surfaces and markings as well as the games and activities, which ensure your school MUGA stands out from the crowd and creates a versatile sporting venue.”

Playinnovation mini-games include:
• Mini Street Snooker™ – a smaller version of the world-renowned Street Snooker™ this innovative game has been featured on BBC and World News and is a great tool for developing a whole host of skills.
• Mini Crossbar King – inspired by the crossbar challenge as seen on Sky TV’s Soccer AM the concept is always a sure fire hit with all football fans.
• Street Pool
• Mini Cricket Champ – based on the game of cricket, this provides endless hours of target practise fun
• Mini First to Zero – this game is played with each player starting with 50 points and then aiming at numerical targets to minus points as the game progresses. The winner is the first to hit exactly zero.

Playinnovation takes its inspiration from the world of fashion, sport, urban and modern art to create eye catching installations which once launched, are popular and well used.
For more information please visit:

Sir Terry Leahy backs Liverpool business that is revolutionising communications for schools

Former Tesco chief executive, Sir Terry Leahy, is backing a fast-growing Liverpool business that is revolutionising how schools communicate with parents.

Sir Terry is investing in Speke-based Parentapps, a venture that is aiming to make the “forgotten crumpled letter at the bottom of the school bag” a thing of the past by signing up schools to its app-based communications model.

And Sir Terry, who turned Tesco into one of the biggest retailers in the world and grew its UK market share from 20% to more than 30%, is confident Parentapps can transform the way schools work and save the education sector billions of pounds.

He said: “Parentapps operates in a really big area, which is schools and parents, and so it touches upon everybody. That is a big idea and if you can make a useful contribution to the day to day lives of nearly everybody then that is something that matters.”

Bill Currie, another experienced and successful business investor is joining Sir Terry in backing the firm. He is a former award-winning retail analyst for Barclays and Charterhouse, whose successful previous investments include Caffe Nero and The Perfume Shop.

Letters in bags

Parentapps was founded in 2015 by Kevin Clayton, chief executive of the business, along with his wife Hailey Clayton, who is the firm’s sales director. The couple have two young daughters and were well aware of the haphazard nature by which schools communicate with parents.

It currently has around 350 schools signed up and aims to push that figure beyond the 500 mark over the next 12 months. It employs 15 people at its south Liverpool base.

“The traditional form of communication is giving children letters to take home to their parents,” said Kevin. “Those letters contain all kinds of important information about school trips, changes in policy, consent forms, events and so many more things.

“Such important communications are often put in the hands of very young children who would often stuff them at the bottom of their school bags and forget about them – it is a serious weakness in the chain. With the new laws around data protection, and the safeguarding of young children, sending out information via a paper letter poses a number of risks.

“Our app, which can be individualised for each primary and secondary school, and nurseries, does away with that process in an instant saving the school time and money and reducing its carbon footprint.

“Schools can send text messages but this too can costs thousands of pounds a year. Our app allows the school to message parents and other family members for free which is more cost-effective and reliable.”

“We have just secured our first international school in Portugal and are looking at marketing our products and services to British International Schools across the world.”

Bespoke app

Parentapps produces a bespoke app for each client school and then also allows parents to communicate with the school directly on matters such as sickness or absence from school.

Sir Terry added: “I think the education sector is an untapped market. Digital technology is revolutionising the way we live our lives. But if you look at a schools today, they are quite conservative around IT. They haven’t been able to fully embrace all the potentials of digital technology.

“The cost of letters and newsletters, and phone calls and texts is enormous for schools – and it is very time-intensive and unreliable. Parentapps have developed a product that takes away all of that cost, makes it much easier and reliable and really improves the way schools communicate with parents.”

Great potential

Mr Currie has direct experience of how much money is wasted in schools on unreliable communications. He is the owner of the private Belvedere School in Liverpool. He added: “I introduced Kevin Clayton to my headteacher and she is not easy to sell to. But he did manage to sell it to her, so it occurred to me that he could get it out there to other schools.

“I felt that the education sector was a little behind the times and so people perhaps don’t look at the cutting edge of technology. So I realised there was a real benefit in Parentapps and what Kevin had to sell and I think it has great potential.”

Tapscott Learning Trust celebrates quadruple award win

In its first year, the pioneering Newham academy Trust secures a raft of national awards

Awards for professional development, religious education and promoting citizenship are bestowed to the Trust’s three schools

The Tapscott Learning Trust in Newham is celebrating after its partner schools scooped a raft of major national awards.

The Trust, which consists of Ranelagh Primary School in Stratford, Curwen Primary and Nursery School in Plaistow and Kensington Primary School in Manor Park, now boasts a range of new awards for its innovation and achievements in the fields of professional development, religious education, promoting citizenship and sport.

One Trust school, Ranelagh Primary School based in Stratford, has been awarded the Religious Education Quality Mark. The REQM recognises high quality RE, particularly those schools which are providing their learners with authentic experiences and contributing to whole school outcomes.

The award reflects the commitment the school is demonstrating to diversity.

The Trust has also seen success in the form of the Achievement for All Quality Mark, which was awarded to Kensington Primary School as a result of its efforts to create an “inclusive and nurturing environment for children to grow and develop into exceptional citizens”.

In the feedback Kensington School received when awarded the Mark, judges said: “The school’s values provide aspirational expectations for all children and define the culture in which children learn. There is a strong sense of community with children and staff having clear empathy for one another.”

As well as the individual school awards, Tapscott Learning Trust’s own independent Training Hub has scooped the Professional Development Quality Mark.

This achievement celebrates the Training Hub’s efforts to champion continuous professional development among its staff through nationally recognised programmes as well as bespoke training tailored for particular school needs.

Over the summer break, it was also confirmed that both Ranelagh and Kensington were awarded the School Games Gold Kitemark and that Curwen Primary School maintained its Platinum Kitemark.

The School Games Mark is a government-led awards scheme launched in 2012 to reward schools for their commitment to the development of competition across their school and into the community.

Focusing on participation, competition, workforce and clubs within the local area, the Trust has “excelled” in the sporting arena over the last year.

“We are very proud of every school within our Trust, and to everyone who contributes to our success as a Trust,” said Paul Harris, CEO of the Tapscott Learning Trust. “National recognition like this shows that we’re achieving some real success in so many areas of the work we do, and these awards round off what has been a stellar year for the Trust and our schools.”


The Professional Teaching Awards Cymru are back for another year to celebrate the very best in Welsh education

Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams, announced yesterday that the search for Wales’ best Teaching Professionals for the third Professional Teaching Awards Cymru has begun.

The announcement was made as the Education Secretary visited last year’s Teacher of the Year winner, Lorraine Dalton from Ysgol Esgob Morgan.
Pupils, colleagues and parents from across Wales are encouraged to nominate teaching professionals from across the country that they believe have made a real difference to the education of others in Wales.

Last year, the Professional Teaching Awards Cymru saw an increase of 20% in number of nominations, with 9 winners announced out of a total of 24 finalists on the night. Categories for nominations included Headteacher of the Year, Inspiring use of Welsh Language and Promoting Wellbeing and Inclusion and Relationships with the Community, with Youth Work in Schools being added as a category from 2019.

Education Secretary, Kirsty Williams, said: “I am very happy to announce that the Professional Teaching Awards Cymru will return for the third time. Over the last two years, we’ve celebrated some fantastic education professionals from across Wales, all of which have shown passion and dedication to the education of others.”

“Teachers are at the heart of Wales, setting paving stones for the next generation. We have a duty to raise standards of education in Wales to make sure that young people are reaching their full potential.

“In order to celebrate the achievements of those who go above and beyond for their pupils, we have brought back the Professional Teaching Awards Cymru for another year. Nominations are now open, and we would love everyone to take the time to put forward an outstanding teaching professional to recognise their achievements as one of the best in Wales.”

Lorraine Dalton from Ysgol Esgob Morgan in St. Asaph won the ‘Teacher of the Year award’ in 2018 for her unwavering passion and commitment, and the tremendous impact she has had on her school, where she started her teaching career 20 years ago.

She said, “When I won I was so surprised. I kept saying when I was shortlisted that it is just a job, but thinking about it, it’s more than a job, it’s a way of life. The children are at the heart of what I do.

“When I brought the award back to the school, the kids were over the moon. It was overwhelming to see how happy everyone was and just seeing that makes it all worthwhile. Since winning I’ve done as I always do, teaching and loving every second – just this time with a nice shiny trophy on my desk as well!”

Nominations are open until 30 November, with the winners being revealed at an exclusive Awards ceremony in May 2019.

Dyslexia does not have to be a life sentence

By Sarah Warley

The Key Clinic specialises in neuroplastic healing techniques for many childhood and adult difficulties, including Dyslexia. Techniques are cutting-edge, drug-free and have lasting results.

Launched by psychologist, Sarah Warley, the clinic has the aim of unlocking the potential of children who are struggling with learning and behavioural problems, either at home or at school. The Key Clinic uses a multi-disciplinary, integrated approach – based on a cutting-edge understanding of neuroscience – to find the right key to unlock your child’s potential.

With diagnoses of Dyslexia becoming more and more common, most people are completely unaware that there is much that can be done to treat the underlying causes.

Once a diagnosis is made (or even suspected), the regular approach is to try to find ways around the problem. So, for example, a child might be asked to wear glasses with coloured lenses, or to sit at the front of the class, so they can concentrate better. They may be told to simply give up on trying to write and use a keyboard instead. However, all these are merely compensation methods which do not aim to understand or treat the underlying causes of Dyslexia.

There are many studies which show a clear link between immaturities in the nervous system and Dyslexia. When we are born, our brains are only 20% developed and it is through a series of repeated baby, or ‘primitive’ reflexes, that the brain matures within the first year of life. This makes much of what we do later on happen easily, as if by autopilot. However, for 95% of those diagnosed with Dyslexia, this process never fully happened. In particular, a reflex called the ATNR got stuck and did not properly inhibit, as it should have, by the child’s first birthday. This creates an invisible dividing line vertically through the body which makes horizontal eye tracking and hand eye tracking extremely difficult. The eyes ‘jump’ at the midline point when reading and this is what causes words to appear to jump on the page and for people to skip lines etc. The vertical separation also goes through the brain, so the two hemispheres cannot properly communicate with each other. This is why those with Dyslexia often have mixed laterality and why, more recently, we have discovered difference in the development of the eye’s retina between each side.

Most importantly, Dyslexia can be successfully treated through a series of neuro-developmental movements, which give the nervous system a second chance to develop. These need to be carried out for 5 minutes a day over a few weeks/months, until any remaining primitive reflexes have fully inhibited and the system becomes fully matured. We have frequently had children losing their diagnosis completely this way.

Another contributing factor to Dyslexia may be the way in which a person hears. If they have ‘dyslateral hearing’ – in other words, they swap from one ear to the other ear in order to hear different parts of language, this can result in Dyslexic symptoms. This is because sounds entering the left ear take longer to reach the part of the brain which processes language than sounds entering the right ear. So, imagine I say the word ‘CAT’, someone with dyslateral hearing may hear “ACT’, because the A sound was heard by the right ear and got there before the ‘C’ which was heard by the left ear. The child writes this down in their book and they are told they have Dyslexia – but they are merely writing things in the way in which they hear it. Again, this hearing anomaly can be corrected with a 10-day course of Auditory Therapy, which retrains the ears to hear more accurately.

Over time, people learn ways to compensate for their eyes not being able to track smoothly and/or their ears hearing things the wrong way round. However, all this sucks up vital cognitive energy, making them feel exhausted and often resulting in headaches, particularly after school. The worst part is that they are chronically achieving far less than they are actually capable of and leaves them feeling stupid – even though they are perfectly smart! The longer-term effects are a severe denting to their self-confidence, which is the main symptom of those with Dyslexia.

This is why it is so important to get the word out there that Dyslexia does not have to remain a life sentence and that there is much that there is much that can be done to overcome the symptoms.

These symptoms do not need to be a life sentence. It is possible to give the nervous system a second chance to develop. We have frequently had children losing their Dyslexia diagnosis completely after treatment.

To book your child in for an assessment at The Key Clinic, call 01635 761565 or email

Royole RoWrite Smart Writing Pad now available in the UK

RoWrite combines the traditional pen and paper writing experience with digital capture and share advantages

Royole Corporation, a leading innovator and manufacturer of next-generation human-machine interface technologies and products such as advanced flexible displays, flexible sensors and smart devices, announces the availability on of its RoWrite smart writing pad on Amazon and Selfridges. Based on the company’s unique and patented flexible electronics technologies, RoWrite is designed to accurately capture, store, and share all manner of handwritten material for digital use.
“The RoWrite captures real-time writing on standard paper with traditional pen refills,” commented Dr. Bill Liu, Royole founder and CEO. “Plus, users can immediately send a digital record directly to their phone, smart device, computer, or the cloud, or decide to transfer at a later time.”
With RoWrite, handwritten notes or drawings can be reproduced directly onto any smart device or computer, where it can be digitally saved. Everything can be done in real time; however, the device also works without the need of a smartphone or tablet. Content will be saved directly into RoWrite, where it can be synced later with a smart device, for easy sharing on social media, with colleagues and friends or in the cloud. Thanks to the combination of the pressure sensitive pen with Royole’s own Flexible Sensor in the pad, RoWrite will capture your most subtle stroke. And when choosing the pencil feature in the app, the device even offers 2048 pressure levels. You write or sketch the same way, with the included pen, but it gives you an even higher level of sensitivity.
You also have the option to select a photo or file from your phone and annotate it in the app. So, for example, if you need to send back a signed copy of a document, you firstly need to convert the document or PDF to a JPG and then you can open it in the app, sign it using the tools of the app and you can send it back to the other party, all signed and without need a of a printer.
To edit or enhance digital copies in real-time, pair a device with the companion RoWrite app. Select from different writing instruments, change stroke thickness, or add up 20 colours. You can even digitally erase and capture a video of your creation to share with co-workers, family, and friends. This video follows your exact stroke sequence, so if you would need to share customers’ journeys, maths calculations or graphs, it shows how you got to your end result in a clear way.
The device is also able to convert handwritten notes to text, for quick sharing of meeting notes with colleagues, and it’s compatible with a standard filling for the pen and regular paper for the pad.
RoWrite offers users an improved, more intuitive, tactile experience of pen to paper rather than the less-than-ideal experience of writing directly on a tablet. The winner in two categories at the 11th International Design Awards (IDA), collecting Gold in the Office Equipment – Stationery category and Bronze in Education – Teaching Aids, RoWrite is both a beautifully designed and versatile product. Whether taking notes in a business or education setting, creating real-time designs for clients, or crafting creative artwork, it allows you to easily capture and share these handwritten documents. A few additional applications for RoWrite include:
• Company employees who want to save and share notes with co-workers or supervisors
• Students to easily capture class notes or homework; especially useful for saving/sharing illustrations, drawings, calculations, and formulae
• Architects and designers can quickly sketch out ideas and send directly to clients for real-time feedback
• Commercial and graphic designers can send renderings to clients or supervisors for critiquing and/or approval
• IT or application developers can draw out their customer journeys and show colleagues the road to the end result.
• Engineers can sketch visions, then instantly share with clients or fellow team members
• Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) endeavours that entail writing formulae, diagrams, integrals, chemical compounds, etc. that are difficult to enter into a digital device using a keyboard are more easily done with the human hand
• Virtually anyone who needs/wants to communicate creative concepts that go beyond simple text
Royole Flexible Sensor Technology
Royole’s own flexible sensor technology is based on the company’s development of next-generation AMOLED flexible displays. Its flexible sensors offer many advantages over traditional sensors, including higher performance, shorter production cycle, and lower costs. Royole’s flexible sensor technology can be adapted for innovative flexible-sensor applications as well as conventional touch panels. Due to its stability and reliability, these Royole sensors can be easily integrated with flexible displays. Royole holds numerous patents with respect to materials, processes, and designs centred around flexible electronics applications with its innovative Flexible+ platform. The company provides customers with diverse products and solutions, fast turnaround time, and large-volume production capabilities.
Key feature highlights
1. Smart Writing Pad – Write down your notes, ideas or sketches on the digital notepad and share instantly with colleagues, friends or customers through the app.
2. Conversion from written notes to text files – Recognises your handwriting and converts your written notes to text documents, so you can share quickly with colleagues or friends.
3. Compatible with standard paper and standard pen refill – You don’t need special paper or expensive pen refills.
4. Store your notes and ideas digitally – One button click to share your pages seamlessly with the intuitive app on your smartphone or tablet (iOS and Android 5.0 or higher). The pages can be modified on RoWrite until you decide to close them, even after periods of inactivity.
5. Edit & add colour and style in the app – Use the app to edit, enhance and highlight your notes with colour or retouch your sketches. You can select from different writing instruments, change stroke thickness, erase, and use 20 different colours.
6. Share your pages directly from the app – Share your notes and ideas directly from the app to WhatsApp, email, the cloud or social media.
7. Annotate your photos or files in the app – open documents and easily sign or mark them, using the tools in the app.
8. Export as video – Show your stroke sequence and the way to your conclusion with the cool video feature (MP4).
Pricing and availability
The Royole RoWrite comes with a pen and a premium leather folio for added protection and is available now on and in Selfridges stores with an SRP of £119.
Other Royole IDA winners
Royole products captured five awards at the 11th IDA annual design competition. In addition to RoWrite claiming Gold and Bronze, Royole’s Smart Desk Lamp won Gold in the Illumination – Desk Lamps category, and in the Home Interior Products – Switches, Temperature Control Systems category the Smart Home Light Switch won Gold and Transparent Smart Remote Control, Bronze. Each product incorporates Royole’s patented Flexible Electronics Technologies, and this is the second year in a row that Royole has been recognised by IDA. Last year, its Moon 3D Mobile Theatre was awarded a Gold in the Media and Home Electronics category.
The IDA competition this year received over 3,100 entries, submitted by companies and designers from 95 countries. Entries were submitted in five design categories: architecture, interior, graphic, product, and fashion.
About Royole Corporation
Founded by Stanford engineering graduates in 2012, Royole’s mission is to improve the way people interact with and perceive their world. The company creates and manufactures next-generation human machine interface technologies and products including advanced Flexible Displays, Flexible Sensors, and smart devices. Milestones include the world’s thinnest full-colour AMOLED flexible display and flexible sensors (2014), the world’s first foldable 3D virtual mobile theatre (2015), and the world’s first curved car dashboard based on flexible electronics (2016).

Holding over 1800 patents, it provides IP licenses, services, mass production, and solutions for flexible electronics applications with its novel “Flexible+” platform. Royole, backed by leaders in global finance, has started the production of fully Flexible Displays in volume from its 1.1-million-square-foot quasi-G6 mass production campus in Shenzhen, China with a total investment of $1.7B. Royole has offices in The Netherlands and UK in Europe, in Fremont, CA, Hong Kong, and Shenzhen, China. For more information, please visit

RAF wife and author writes children’s books to help ‘Little Troopers’ cope with military life

Donna David is a children’s picture book writer who knows just how difficult life can be for British Armed Forces children. The author and mum-of-three is married to a serving Airman, who can often be away for weeks or months at a time.

That’s why Donna has penned the first three books in a six-part series of stories, in conjunction with military charity ‘Little Troopers’. The story books, aimed at young people aged between 3 and 10 years old, follow military children through their unique lives and the sometimes challenging situations they face. The books are formed of letters written by fictional characters Tom, Tilly and Freddie, who write to their serving military parents, opening up about their thoughts and feelings.

Donna David said: “My own children can often be away from their Royal Air Force Dad for long periods of time and this can result in complicated feelings. I knew that seeing themselves represented in the books they were reading would have helped tremendously, but these books, with very young military children at the heart, just didn’t exist. When I met with Little Troopers, I was incredibly excited to hear of their vision for a series of picture books where the Mum or Dad is deployed. This was a project that I HAD to be involved in.”

Little Troopers is the first tri-service charity providing vital support to children with a parent serving in the British Armed Forces. It began with a sponsored climb of Mount Snowdon back in 2011. Since its conception the charity has gone from strength to strength, leading on a plethora of initiatives including a story telling app, resource packs for schools and a summer camp where military families can reconnect after a period of separation.

The charity’s founder, Louise Fetigan said: “We are so excited to have linked up with Donna to offer a gorgeous series of books for children who have one or more parents serving in the armed forces. Up to now there has been a noticeable void or a series like this, tackling the issues military children often face. These books would also be a great addition to any school library and equally to any child, from a military or civilian family, who experiences separation from a parent.”

The books, which went on sale earlier this Spring, are already proving a huge hit with military families across all three services. RAF wife Gemma is mum to two children aged 7 and 3. She said her little ones loved reading ‘Dear Daddy’:

“It’s so funny, and I’m sure reading it together will help them when Daddy goes away again. I love the letter format and I hope this will encourage my children to write to their dad- anything to make deployments that little bit easier for them. It’s a wonderful book by a very talented writer.’

There are three book titles in the series so far, two entitled ‘Dear Daddy’, aimed at the children of Royal Air Force and Royal Navy servicemen. A third book, ‘Dear Mummy’, is perfect for the sons and daughters of female soldiers and for children with more than one serving parent as it follows a dual serving family.

To purchase any of the books or to find out more, visit: .