Budget 2017 – Not much for schools unless you aspire to be maths specialists…

The Chancellor promised to “build a Britain for the future” in his first Autumn Budget but for schools and academies, it is difficult to see how his announcements will make a significant impact warns Kreston Reeves.

Phillip Reynolds at Kreston Reeves comments: “The one positive to note was the fact that the Chancellor avoided the temptation to reduce the business VAT threshold below £85,000 which would have severely impacted upon academy schools’ ability to generate additional business income. But academies should be warned, the threshold has only been frozen for two years which means a potential reduction will occur at some point.”

“In terms of additional funding boosts, the Chancellor announced an additional £600 per extra pupil which takes maths or further maths A-levels. This pot of money, £80 million, has no restriction on numbers either so no doubt many schools up and down the country will be encouraging pupils to consider a maths A-level going forward to help boost funds. But more pupils taking a certain subject will mean a need for more teachers.”

“Luckily, the Chancellor saw this potential issue and has promised an additional £27m to expand the Teaching for maths programme plus a further £40m for maths teachers to be trained at the Further Education Centre of Excellence. Whether these pots of money will have any impact remains to be seen or whether we have enough teachers available to help go on these programmes is another question altogether.”

More pupils taking A-Level maths and (hopefully) more maths teachers training them will lead to a need for more space. Another announcement was for £18m to be made available for specialist maths schools up and down the country. There were no clues on how this funding will be accessible yet, but watch this space!

One further boost for schools, not announced, was that full-fibre broadband will be available for 100 schools in the UK with the those in the East Midlands being the first to benefit in early 2018.

Finally, schools will see an additional £84m available to help upskill computer science teachers.

Unfortunately, no news on the National Funding Formula and no additional, more generic, funding for schools. But this is hardly a surprise, as it seems any additional funding given these days has restrictions to it.

Phillip Reynolds concludes: “In summary, the Chancellor again missed the opportunity to reduce the funding struggles for school but the Budget is going to give us lots of maths and computer science geeks for the future…whether we’ll have enough teachers or schools around to provide them is another question.”

IET Budget reaction: Financial boost for Maths pupils a small step in right direction for engineering

Stephanie Baxter, Education Lead at the IET, said: “As we are facing an engineering shortfall in the next decade, the financial boost for students studying the crucial engineering gateway subject of Maths at A-Level is welcome news.


“This is a small step in the right direction and there remains huge demand for engineers. We ultimately need to look at the focus on Maths and Physics, as studying engineering is creative and should not be limited to only those who have taken these subjects.


“We are at risk of stifling economic growth if we do not encourage more students to study engineering, which is crucial to ensuring a healthy and balanced economy. It is vital that students are supported in their studies so that they are aware of the exciting range of engineering roles available to them. This extends past GSCE and A-Level choices to university, apprenticeships and providing quality work experience.”


For interviews with Stephanie Baxter, or Policy leads in the areas of healthcare, communications, transport, manufacturing, housing and energy, contact Hannah Kellett, 07738602426 or email hkellett@theiet.org

AoC responds to Chancellor’s Budget announcement

Speaking in response to the Budget announcement today, David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said:

“I said last week that the Chancellor should take a long term and moral view of investment in young people and adults to address the skills challenges which he has so eloquently described in today’s Budget. Unfortunately, he has chosen to make short term decisions which tinker at the edges. The uncertainty around Brexit may explain this cautious approach and we would hope to see more long term consideration in the next spending review.

Having said that, we have to welcome the new investment in the National Retraining Scheme, the focus on maths and the extra £20 million for colleges to deliver T Levels. It highlights the commitment to high quality technical education. The prominence the Chancellor gave to skills in his speech today suggests that the Government is finally understanding the critical role colleges have in a post-Brexit world.

“The Chancellor did, however, miss the opportunity to address the chronic underfunding of all 16 to 19-years-olds in education and training. The case we made in our joint campaign with school and college bodies shows that 16 to 19 funding levels overall remain inadequate to support young people to enter adult life. This must be addressed in the next Budget and Spending Review.”


– Bosses being honest, approachable and fair is key for education workers

– Just 6% believe their boss is sincere

-1 in 4 would stay with a company for the long term if they had a good relationship with their boss

MOST adults have a good idea of the qualities and skills most employers look for in prospective new staff, but new research has turned the tables on this – revealing the attributes that education workers believe make up the ideal boss, and how their managers match up to them.

Research published by workplace incentives and rewards provider, One4all Rewards, in the UK Management Review Whitepaper, polled 1,024 UK employees on the qualities they would value the most in bosses and how their own bosses match up to the perfect picture.

The research revealed that being approachable was the highest valued quality for education workers (40%) – something many would expect from their bosses. Honesty was the second most important quality for 37% of workers in the education industry.

An ideal boss in the education sector would also be fair for more than 1 in 4 (26%) workers and understandably, a similar number (26%) preferred their manager or boss to be sincere.

Another interpersonal quality which was highly coveted in bosses was professionalism – a quarter (25%) of education workers felt strongly about this.

The data also revealed how strong an impact a positive boss-employee relationship can have. 1 in 4 workers in education said that having a good working relationship with their boss would mean they would be more likely to stay at a company for the long term (e.g. 5 years or more).

However, the research found that few managers in the education industry matched up to expectations as just 1 in 5 (20%) felt their boss was approachable.

As for those workers who felt their management should be honest, just 19% the currently describe their bosses this way – suggesting a major gap in trust in many education organisations.

Being fair and sincere took joint third place of qualities for an ideal boss in the education industry; worryingly, both traits appear to be lacking in the education workforce, as just 13% describe their manager as fair and only 6% described their boss as sincere.

Professional skills can sometimes seem like a basic requirement for any management role within education, yet the data could suggest that many are not seeing examples of this in their bosses’ behaviour, with just 20% believing their boss is organised.

Alan Smith, UK Managing Director at One4all Rewards, said: “Education bosses should take note – as our research has shown, the relationship an employee has with their boss can be really key. Maintaining these relationships and being a good manager is about more than just the finished product, or numbers on a spreadsheet. 

“A good leader inspires workers to want to work hard and has the kind of relationship that means if an employee is having a problem or is unhappy, they will feel comfortable approaching them to discuss it. Similarly, people also need to be able to be able to place a degree of trust in their boss. Without trust and sincerity, feedback – both good and bad – is unlikely to be believed or taken seriously. 

Smith continues: “What I find particularly interesting about these findings is how many of the qualities we look for in an employer mirror those a lot of people would also seek out in new friendships outside of the workplace. Bosses don’t need to be friends with their employees, but having the basics of a respectful and honest relationship is important. In addition to these findings, our previous research found that 83% of British workers said that being regularly thanked by an employer increases the sense of loyalty they feel to their company.

“There is so much advice out there about the intricacies of leadership that it can be quite easy to sometimes forget that, ultimately, people want to be managed by trustworthy, approachable and organised human beings.”

For more information and to download the One4all Rewards Review of UK Management whitepaper, click here.

One4all Rewards are industry experts in benefits and rewards. Working with over 6,000 businesses of all sizes nationwide, One4all Rewards helps to transform customer and employee relationships through successful rewards and incentive schemes.

For more information about One4all Rewards, please visit: www.one4allrewards.co.uk

NEW REPORT: UK’s failure to integrate engineering in curriculum threatens country’s economy and productivity.

UK’s engineering skills crisis will deepen without a fundamental change in the way we educate children about the ‘made world’.

21 November 2017

School students have little exposure or understanding of engineering which is leading most to choose subjects which effectively rule out this career path early on in their schooling, according to a new report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

The report, We think it’s important but don’t quite know what it is: The Culture of Engineering in Schools, says that although students have a vague sense of engineering’s value, its low visibility in schools means they do not feel informed or confident enough to consider it as a future career. Furthermore, teachers and career professionals lack the time, knowledge and resources to communicate the breadth of career opportunities to students.

This report, the third in the series by the Institution looking at engineering in schools, highlights the need for Government to rethink how it presents and promotes engineering to future generations, especially girls who feel less informed, inspired or inclined towards engineering as a potential career. This failure has made UK engineering one of the least diverse professions in the developed world, with only 9% of all engineers being women.

Peter Finegold, Head of Education & Skills at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and Lead Author of the report, said:

“The findings from this report find positive attitudes and appreciation of engineering among students, parents, teachers and school governors alike. However, few schools are integrating engineering into their teaching and the wider school culture. This is undoubtedly detrimental not just to the future of pupils in these schools, but to UK society more generally.

“This lack of exposure to engineering has led to students developing a vague and incoherent understanding of the profession, its career opportunities and what it does for society.

“We accept that Government is unlikely to fundamentally change the curriculum or introduce engineering as a stand-alone school subject. Therefore, we recommend that the socially beneficial, problem-solving aspects of engineering are integrated into the existing curriculum, particularly in science and technology subjects, enhancing young people’s exposure to engineering and its world-changing potential.

“As 2018 has been designated the ‘Year of Engineering’ with support across five Government departments, we believe it is time Government, as part of its future industrial strategy, ensures engineering is placed at the heart of our education system. To begin with, it must appoint a National Schools Engineering Champion to provide a vocal and respected channel of communication between schools, Government and industry, advocating the requirement for greater technological literacy in our schools and the economic rationale that it will provide in doing so.

“With engineering underpinning about 5.7 million jobs and contributing over £480bn to our economy, we believe the ‘wait and see’ position held by successive Governments for over 40 years cannot continue. With Brexit looming and the real threat that we will not be able to attract engineers from the EU to work in the UK, we must encourage a greater number and diversity of students to consider engineering as a viable and valuable career choice.

“Without the recognition of this problem and fundamental acknowledgement that we need more home-grown engineers, the UK will lose one of its most important sectors within 20 years.”

The report has nine key recommendations on how the UK can begin to address the engineering shortage:

  1. Government should establish a working group of leading educationalists and other stakeholders, to examine innovative ways engineering can be integrated into the curriculum (by 2018).
  2. Government to appoint a National Schools Engineering Champion to provide an effective and uninterrupted communication channel between schools, Government and industry (by 2018).
  3. National Education Departments to advocate curricula that reflect the ‘made world’ to modern society, including reference to engineering in maths and D&T (by 2019).
  4. National Education Departments to promote teaching that promotes problem-based learning (by 2019).
  5. Schools to appoint an Engineering & Industry Leader within the senior leadership team, to drive change and communicate the vision (by 2019).
  6. Schools to appoint an Industry School Governor to support the Engineering & Industry Leader and embed employer relationships within the school.
  7. Schools to implement a robust careers strategy, using benchmarks set out in the Gatsby Foundation Good Career Guidance.
  8. The Engineering Community to agree a unified message about engineering, stressing creative problem-solving and the social benefits of the profession.
  9. The Engineering Community to provide students with the opportunity to take part in activities that explore the political, societal and ethical aspects of technology.

The report is the combination of two complementary pieces of research: a school-based study conducted at 11 schools in London, Manchester and Sheffield; and an engineering debating competition for over-16 students. The report follows on from two previous reports produced by the Institution on engineering education: Five Tribes: Personalising Engineering Education and Big Ideas: The future of engineering in schools.

Gift educational toys this December to build children’s STEM skills

From designing the latest smart phone to building rockets, children need to learn about the world through play from a young age, is the festive message from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), which today launches its 2017 seasonal video, ‘Santa Loves STEM’.

The online video aims to encourage parents of young children to give them educational themed toys this Christmas that link to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).

David Lakin, IET Head of Education, says: “Educational toys help to nurture young children’s curiosity about the world and teach them new skills. Learning through play is a key way to engage and inspire bright young minds and challenge them to think about how things are built and created.

“The ‘Santa Loves STEM’ video explores the exciting and diverse nature of engineering careers, dispelling the myth that engineers wear hard hats and grubby overalls. We want to inspire the next generation of talent, and to do that, we need parents to gift educational themed toys and capture youngsters’ imaginations from an early age.”

‘Santa Loves STEM’ can be watched and shared via the IET YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/LFp2sOTDQH0

School funding cuts leaving students feeling under pressure

New research by online tutor service,, revealed that 88 per cent of primary and secondary students surveyed felt there is pressure on them to perform to a certain level in exams, yet almost half (42 per cent) revealed that despite this, their school does not, or is unable to, offer any additional support.


The data further highlights the pressures and funding cuts that schools are currently facing and the negative impact it is having on students, with 49 per cent of respondents stating that they felt like their individual needs were not being met by their teacher.


And while these needs include being supported to achieve good grades and personal goals, the survey – which received over 2,000 responses from students – revealed that ‘feeling stress-free’ was in fact more important to students than meeting parental or teachers’ expectations.

With the growing teacher recruitment crisis and schools unable to offer extra help, many students have turned to tutoring; the top five reasons for this including to help schoolwork, improve exam results, build confidence and because of poor quality teaching at their school.


John Underhill, operations director at Tutor Hunt said: “Schools are being seriously underfunded and sadly the consequence of this means they’re not always able to provide additional support. With pressures mounting, students are having to look externally for the extra help.

“Currently the top three subjects that students are tutored in are maths, English and chemistry. Yet, with just one extra hour’s support a week, almost all of the students surveyed (95 per cent) said they felt more reassured ahead of their exams.


“Giving them this reassurance and confidence will no doubt have a positive influence on their wellbeing and the upcoming green paper on young people’s mental health is a step in the right direction. As parents, teachers, tutors and guardians, it is in our interest to better support our students so that they are able to fulfil their full potential.”

Red Monkey’s sponsorship helps children cross the line!

Leicester based children’s outdoor play equipment specialists, Red Monkey, have sponsored the Oadby and Wigston Schools Cross Country League for the second year running. Red Monkey donated £200 to the event which has enabled the league to buy trophies and medals for the children participating.


The Oadby and Wigston Primary Schools Cross Country League is designed to be fun, innovative and challenging for children aged 7 to 12, with the league being competitive, yet supportive to all athletes. The 2017 league consisted of three races that took place at Wigston Academy, in Leicester on September 14th, October 5th and November 9th.


Sam Conlon, Headteacher at Glenmere Primary School who organises the event commented, “The Oadby and Wigston Schools Cross Country League was set up in 2016 and over the last two years it has really grown. The feedback from schools and parents about the league has been so positive and it was great to see so many children from different schools in the area competing and winning their races, and a variety of schools having success in the team awards.”


“The support from Red Monkey has been amazing as it has helped us provide end of season trophies for the event,” said Sam, “With Red Monkey’s continued support we are able to make it a real success and send home very happy children and proud parents, who left with their trophies.”


Red Monkey design, manufacture and install bespoke children’s playground equipment for primary schools and nurseries. Red Monkey had already developed a relationship with Sam from sponsoring the Cross-Country League last year, and Managing Director at Red Monkey, Simon Winfield, was delighted to be able to provide the trophies for this year’s event. 24 trophies and medals were provided by Red Monkey for 8 different age groups who entered the league.


Simon Winfield, Managing Director at Red Monkey explained, “We were extremely proud to sponsor the Oadby and Wigston Cross Country League by donating the trophies. We love getting involved with our local community and this event really helps with children’s development and keeping them active.”


To find out more about the products Red Monkey offer, please visit www.redmonkeyplay.co.uk.


Can technology tackle the global literacy problem?

London, November 13, 2017 – 13 companies around the world are selected by UK based global education publisher Pearson and the US-based venture capitalist The Unreasonable Group to combat the worldwide problem of low literacy. Among this select group of companies is Wizenoze, an Artificial Intelligence company specializing in readability. Wizenoze’s scalable machine learning technology has the potential to help tackle this worldwide problem.

Project Literacy Lab
Project Literacy Lab, supported by Pearson and The Unreasonable Group, is the world’s first accelerator for entrepreneurs focused on closing the global literacy gap. Pearson selected a group of 13 groundbreaking ventures from around the world to solve the problem of low literacy. The Project Literacy Lab is part of the broader Project Literacy campaign, which aims to build a grassroots movement and drive targeted action towards achieving universal literacy by 2030. Illiteracy is a global problem. It affects more than 750 million human lives – one in ten people living today. It costs the world $1.19 trillion a year.
Wizenoze, an AI company based in Amsterdam and London, helps to close the global literacy gap by improving the readability of published material and by improving discoverability of content matched to reading ability. At Wizenoze everyone is committed to making the lives of millions of people better, by giving them access to information they can read and understand.
10-day program
An extensive selection was made to participate in the program, with a focus on the scalability of the technology and the current success of the company. Participating companies must all be able to become a global player in the short term. The 10-day accelerator will take place in Connecticut, USA in November and will bring together the 13 for-profit ventures and over 50 mentors who will help these talented entrepreneurs solve their business challenges by exposing them to new approaches and insights. The companies will be presented to customers and investors.
Daniel Epstein, founder and CEO of Unreasonable Group about Project Literacy Lab: “Many of these entrepreneurs are already measurably closing the global literacy gap with technologies we didn’t know existed – profitably. Unlike most accelerator programs, we are choosing to align with solutions that have already proven to be effective in market. Now, we’re helping these entrepreneurs scale their ventures across countries and continents to impact hundreds of millions of lives.”
Significant opportunity for accelerated international success
Founder Diane Janknegt is incredibly grateful for this exclusive invitation. “It is Wizenoze’s ambition to use our technology to solve the worldwide problem of low literacy. We look forward to a day when more publishers worldwide create multiple versions of their content by reading level and more authors and teachers check whether their writing and resources are matched to the reading level of the students they are working with. Our selection for this exclusive program is a wonderful springboard to bring this to a global audience. Since the spring of 2017 Wizenoze has been active in the English market. This will now be extended to the American and international market.”

Students must be prepared to deal with uncertain times, says dean of new King’s Business School

Graduates need to be better equipped to deal with a volatile and rapidly-changing world, says the dean of London’s newest business school.

At the official launch of the King’s Business School, Executive Dean Professor Stephen Bach said the new school aims to meet employers’ demand for younger, more agile and innovative graduates in such unpredictable times.

The School aims to become the premier undergraduate business school and has said it will focus upon UG and specialist Masters courses including marketing, entrepreneurship, finance and talent management, addressing the changing needs of the economy and a demand for lifelong learning.

Professor Bach said: ‘We have listened hard to our School Advisory Board- comprised of top industry minds as well as students and alumni- and what we are hearing is a desire for developing talent in more flexible, creative, digitally savvy graduates who are both very entrepreneurial and strategic in their thinking.

‘Societal expectations of business have altered dramatically in recent years.  Leadership, innovation and the need to deliver both economic and social impact are the major challenges now facing us. But I believe King’s inter-disciplinary strengths and our strong focus on quality education, research and external engagement will create graduates able to apply new thinking to the issues facing business and society today.’

Officially launching the new School with a talk on sustainable and ethical business, the Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney said: ‘”King’s College London’s Business School, with its deep-rooted sense of social justice and a recognition of the value in diversity will develop the responsible leaders of tomorrow who can help shape an inclusive and sustainable future.”

King’s Business School has emerged out of King’s College London’s renowned School of Management & Business, and comprises a growing body of nearly 100 academic staff, over 40 professional services staff, and close to 2,000 students from more than 80 countries. It is housed in bespoke facilities at the newly refurbished Bush House, Aldwych, the former headquarters of the BBC World Service.