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.”

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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’.


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.”

Hallfield School announce appointment of new Headmaster

Governors of Hallfield School have today announced the appointment of a new Headmaster.

Keith Morrow, currently Headmaster at The Elms School in Long Eaton in Nottingham, will take on the headship role at Hallfield School from September 2018.

Keith will be the 14th Headmaster to lead the independent school in Edgbaston in its 139 year history.

He will be taking over the helm from the Acting Headmaster Richard Batchelor and Deputy Head Mrs Anne Oliver who will both remain at Hallfield School as Deputy Heads. Mrs Oliver will also retain her responsibility as Head of Pre-Prep and EYFS.

Speaking of his appointment, Mr Morrow said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been appointed as the next Headmaster of Hallfield School.

“Hallfield has an excellent reputation and a distinguished history. I am particularly pleased that Mr Batchelor and Mrs Oliver will be assisting me as Deputy Heads as I work with the governors, staff and parents to lead Hallfield into a very exciting future.”

Keith has 17 years of experience as a Headteacher, ten of them at The Elms. He has worked as an Ofsted Additional Inspector and held a number of whole school roles including the co-ordination of mathematics, assessment and ICT and has taught Geography in KS3.

Keith has worked as an External Adviser for Cambridge Education and advised Governing Bodies on the performance of Headteachers and is also a Reporting Inspector for ISI (Independent Schools Inspectorate).

Keith Uff, Chairman of Governors, said: “Mr Morrow is an experienced Headmaster who has led The Elms with great success. We look forward to working with Keith and the wider leadership team to initiate an exciting new chapter in the history of Hallfield School.”

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Safeguarding for Schools and Teachers

Reclaiming Radical Ideas in Schools


Examples of hate crime and terrorist attacks are rising in the UK and Europe. In 2015-2016, there were 7,631 referrals to the Prevention programme, which aims to stop people being drawn into terrorism. A quarter of these referrals were under-15’s. Never before has there been a greater need for schools to present a clear narrative to promote community cohesion. Schools and teachers need resources to help protect and safeguard young people from radical ideas.

Andrew Moffat MBE, offers advice for parents and schools on how to talk to children about terrorism. Reclaiming Radical Ideas in Schools uniquely offers strategies for schools to work with parents and children together in school-based workshops, to reduce the risk of radicalisation. Andrew, Assistant Head Teacher at Parkfield Community School, offers strategies and lesson plans that have been tried and tested in his inner-city school in Birmingham.

Moffat says, “When we piloted these workshops in my own school, we got an overwhelmingly positive response from our parent community. Children loved working on the activities with their parents and the parents engaged with us in discussions about community cohesion and the importance of everyone knowing they belong. The workshops were a fantastic way to develop the schools’ No Outsiders thread and take the messages in to the community.”

Building resilience of young people and the promotion of fundamental British values is at the heart of preventing radicalization. By promoting and celebrating ideas of equality and community cohesion as opposed to those of division and separation, ‘radical ideas can be reclaimed’.

Meeting the SMSC (Social, Moral, Spiritual, Cultural) needs faced by schools in the 21st Century, Reclaiming Radical Ideas in Schools is an essential book for schools, parents and those concerned with the radicalization of young people.

Reclaiming Radical Ideas in Schools is available via

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Thomas Bassett

About the Author:

Andrew Moffat has been a full-time teacher since 1996 and is currently Assistant Head Teacher at Parkfield Community School, a large primary school in inner city Birmingham. Andrew is the author of “No Outsiders in our school: teaching the equality act in primary schools” (Speechmark 2015) which gives guidance on how to build an ethos of equality and diversity in schools.

In May 2016 Ofsted awarded Parkfield Community School ‘Outstanding’ status and recognized ‘No Outsiders’ as a key strength. In June 2017 Andrew was awarded an MBE for services to equality and diversity in education, and in September 2017 the Ofsted chief Inspector Amanda Spielman referenced No Outsiders in a speech to BEP as an example of good practice; helping, “pupils confront prejudice and stereotypes,” and teaching, ”pupils to make a positive contribution to their communities.”

Andrew regularly speaks at conferences and leads training on using the No Outsiders ethos to promote community cohesion and reduce potential for radicalization.  Andrew has a M’Ed in emotional and behavioral difficulties and is currently studying for a PhD on the role of schools in reducing radicalization. He is the founder of and is active on twitter @moffat_andrew.

The iron grip of the government’s school accountability system is damaging children’s education, warns former No10 policy adviser

With teaching-to-the-test, gaming and curriculum-narrowing all on the rise, RSA issues call-to-arms 

  • Former Number 10 policy adviser to Nick Clegg warns that school leaders’ growing desperation to meet the government’s high-stakes performance targets is leading to decisions that are not in the best interests of children and young people.
  • While acknowledging the important role the accountability system played in raising standards over the last 25 years – particularly in the basics of numeracy and literacy – Julian Astle [biog], the RSA’s education director, argues in a new essay that the educational costs of this system now outweigh the benefits and that the risks of inaction are greater than the risks of reform.
  • With gaming – particularly with regards to pupil admissions and exclusions – growing, and teaching-to-the-test so common it is mistaken for good practice, Astle urges the head of Ofsted Amanda Spielman to follow through on her suggestion that Ofsted referees ‘the game’, looking not just at what schools are achieving, but at how they are achieving it.
  • The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) urges everyone with a stake in our school system to join the debate about how, without abolishing tests and dismantling the entire accountability system, we can support teachers to focus on the substance of education, rather than the proxy goals of targets and league tables and the tactics for hitting and climbing them.


Teaching-to-the-test, gaming and a narrowing of the curriculum are damaging the education quality in too many English schools, a new essay by Julian Astle, a former Number 10 adviser and education chief at the RSA [Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce], warns.

The Ideal School Exhibition is the result of Astle’s travels across England in search of inspiring ‘mission-led’ schools that are bucking a growing and concerning trend: that of schools narrowing their focus and hollowing out their teaching in the scramble to meet the constantly shifting demands of the government’s accountability system.

These schools provide a glimpse of what England’s school system could look like if more headteachers could escape the warped logic, skewed priorities and perverse incentives the accountability system all too often produces.

But Astle warns of a growing problem in many English schools of:

  • Narrowing the curriculum – particularly as pupils approach primary school SATs and GCSEs, when schools increasingly focus their time, energy and resources only on those subjects that will affect their league table position.
  • ‘Teaching-to-the-test’ – the practice whereby schools drill pupils in the tactics and techniques of exam taking and focus their instruction on the specific demands of the test and the mark scheme – which not only turns young people off learning but which generates superficial, temporary and illusory educational gains.
  • Gaming – particularly the practices of manipulating the admissions and exclusions system to attract high-performing students and remove low-performing pupils, and of entering large numbers of pupils for easy-to-obtain qualifications of little interest or value to the learner.

To tackle these problems, Astle recommends:

  • Training teachers in the use and misuse of assessment to develop a deeper understanding within the profession of how teaching-to-the-test impedes, rather than supports, learning.
  • Making explicit Ofsted’s emerging role as: the guardian of a broad and balanced curriculum; a counterbalance to the pressures of the DfE’s numbers-based accountability system; and the body mandated and expected to referee the ‘game’, looking not only at what schools achieve, but how they achieve it.
  • Withdrawing the ‘right’ for schools to act as their own admissions authority, and engaging with the RSA’s proposed Commission on School Admissions to ensure that the ‘low road to school improvement’ (manipulating the admissions system rather than improving teaching) is permanently closed.
  • Abolishing the Ofsted ‘outstanding’ category and handing the definition of excellence back to the profession. Ofsted should play a role more akin to the ‘Food Standards Agency’ than ‘restaurant critic’, focusing solely on identifying serious underperformance. As the government and the inspectorate step back, so teachers, coming together through bodies like researchED and the Chartered College of Teaching, should step up, ensuring that research, collaboration and evidence-led practice drive-up standards.
  • Creating a contestable ‘middle-tier’ to ensure that every school – particularly struggling or isolated schools without a high-performing local authority or Multi-Academy Trust behind them – is provided with timely and effective external challenge and support, with middle-tier bodies that cannot demonstrate an ability to maintain or raise standards replaced by ones that can.

The publication of The Ideal School Exhibition kick-starts the RSA’s work to convene a new movement aimed at unlocking the untapped potential of an overworked and disempowered teaching profession and to get our schools focused on the pivotal relationship at the heart of teaching: between the teacher, the pupil and the text – the real substance of education.

The essay will be launched today [16 November] in central London, with speakers including:

  • David Laws, former schools minister, now executive chairman, Education Policy Institute
  • Daisy Christodoulou, director of education, No More Marking
  • Peter Hyman, co-founder and executive headteacher, School 21
  • Julian Astle, director of creative learning and development, RSA.

Julian Astle, education director at the RSA, said:

“Having worked at the centre of government, I know that the architects of England’s school accountability system are motivated by the best of intentions: to expose serious under-performance and raise standards.

“But as the grip of that system has tightened over the last 25 years, and the catalogue of unintended consequences and perverse incentives has grown ever longer, it is hard to not to conclude that the costs now outweigh the benefits. We have reached that critical point where positive change becomes possible – where the risks of inaction are higher than the risks of reform.

“The RSA calls on everyone who recognises the importance of assessment and accountability, but who shares our concerns that the system as currently designed is damaging children’s education, to join the debate about how to reform that system for the better.”


Peter Hyman, co-founder and executive headteacher at School 21 in Stratford, said:

“This report outlines with vivid clarity the pressures on schools to meet the accountability framework of Ofsted and exam results. It shows that it is difficult but possible to drive through a more expansive vision of education that meets the needs of these complex times.  And it makes the case compellingly for a reform agenda that allows a more rounded view of education – the development of head, heart and hand.”


Daisy Christodoulou, education director of No More Marking, said:

Exams are only an indirect measure of academic achievement, which means it is possible for them to be gamed and manipulated in such a way that they lose their original meaning.

“This report makes some vitally important points about why this is so damaging, and why the pursuit of exam results and accountability metrics therefore has to be informed by an understanding of the curriculum, and of what it means to master a subject.”


Ed Vainker, co-founder and headteacher at Reach Academy in Feltham, said:

“While clearly setting out why schools need to be held accountable for their performance, this paper highlights a truth that everyone at Reach Academy in Feltham would recognise: that ultimately, quality and excellence cannot be imposed from outside through regulation – they need to be owned by the school, and driven by a sense of social mission and moral purpose.”


David Laws, former schools minister and now executive chairman, Education Policy Institute, said:

“Anyone who cares about the quality of the education England’s school children are receiving would do well to consider the warnings contained in this thoughtful essay. Ensuring the accountability system creates the right incentives, and drives the right behaviours, is a key priority.”

Mersey Ferries brings learning to life for thousands of schools across the North West

Mersey Ferries offers discounted rates on school bookings, with access to their attractions including Spaceport and The U-Boat Story


Schools receive one adult free per six paying children for all ferries attractions


Mersey Ferries days out are top of the class for school groups when it comes to educational days out in Liverpool, with thousands of youngsters across the region jumping on board every year. The Mersey Ferries school packages offer fun and interactive learning for children studying science, geography and humanities.


Children have the opportunity to learn at Mersey Ferries’ unique attractions, the U-Boat Story and Spaceport, whilst also enjoying the River Explorer Cruise.


Once on the ferry, students and teachers are able to experience a fascinating commentary on the history of the UNESCO World Heritage waterfront, whilst also enjoying Liverpool’s most recognisable landmarks from the River Mersey. The historic facts and tales told on-board offer students an informal way to learn more about the River Mersey, Liverpool and Wirral.


Departing hourly, groups can start their journey from any of the three terminals, as the 50-minute River Explorer Cruises sails between Pier Head, Seacombe and Woodside. There is the option to disembark at each port and spend time at the U-Boat Story and Spaceport attractions.


Gary Evans from Mersey Ferries, said: “For children focusing on the study of World War II, our Woodside terminal offers a chance to examine historic themes and take a look at a magnificent piece of engineering in the form of a real German U-boat.


Exploring the U-Boat is an experience that helps bring the impact of WWII to life for a lot of children. They’re usually surprised by the limited living quarters and seeing the vessel first-hand stays with them, helping them with their long-term learning, as well as reading the real-life stories of the crew.”


Free admission to The U-Boat Story is included with River Explorer Cruise tickets and is suitable for all children studying World War II.


Gary Evans continued: “For a unique educational science trip, which will leave children feeling inspired about space, Spaceport is our multi-dimensional attraction, which has direct links to the astronomy curriculum.


“Visitors have the opportunity to visit the interactive zones, and enjoy our fascinating Sci-Fi Icons exhibition, which both adults and children love. It’s a completely interactive day and has always been well received by schools who have previously visited us.”


As part of the visit to Spaceport, children can also become virtual space explorers in the 360-degree Space Dome Show, which is currently showing ‘We Are Aliens’ a show from the creators of the award-winning ‘We Are Astronomers’ and ‘Astronaut’, narrated by Rupert Grint.


Prices for the River Explorer Cruise educational trips start from £5.50 per child, with schools receiving one adult free per six paying children for all the attractions.


For more information or to book tickets for Mersey Ferries, U-Boat Story and partner ticketing with other Liverpool attractions – call 0151 330 1420 or email:


For bookings for Spaceport including combined ticketing with Mersey Ferries – call 0151 330 1003 or email: