Explore Alternative Education

Students in mainstream education can tap into a unique form of learning thanks to a programme offered by YMCA Lincolnshire.

YMCA Lincolnshire’s The Showroom Activity and Conference Centre on Tritton Road, Lincoln works with local schools to provide young people with a chance to explore a bespoke learning experience outside of a regular school environment.

The Alternative Provision programme provides support and education to students in need of additional assistance, or those with specific interests that are not available to mainstream curriculum students.

Elizabeth Lilley, Alternative Curriculum Development Officer, said: “We offer two types of learning schemes within our Alternative Provision programme: a 12 week re-engagement project and Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) courses.”

The re-engagement programme at The Showroom focuses on tackling barriers that young people who are coping with emotional and behavioural difficulties (EBD) and low self-esteem face on a regular basis, such as anger management and vulnerability.

Elizabeth explained: “Schools refer students who may be at risk of exclusion – due to disruptive behaviour, poor attendance, bullying – onto our intensive re-engagement programme to help them develop the necessary skills they may lack when dealing with everyday situations and school surroundings.”

This programme is unique and tailored to each young person depending on the arrangement the service providers have with the school or the individual. Examples of lessons include team building activities, practical workshops, discussions focusing on subjects relating to respect and communication.

In addition to working in small groups or on an individual tutorial basis, the sessions also incorporate the use of the additional resources available at the £3.5 million site, including the sports cage, dance studio, music recording studio and Lincolnshire’s largest climbing wall.

“The flexibility of the programme allows students to learn and develop at their own pace, helping to build their confidence levels and reduce their behavioural difficulties,” said Elizabeth.

“Students who struggle with classroom structures sometimes find it disruptive and it causes them to lose focus. As a result many of the students I have worked with have expressed how much they have enjoyed their sessions at the centre as it is a different environment from their school setting. 

“Along with gaining qualifications, our results show a lot of our service users were able to fully reintegrate back into full-time education, enrol into college or even gain employment.”

In addition to the re-engagement programme and QCF qualifications, such as Level 1 and 2 Awards in the arts and Level 3 Certificate in Personal Training, the programme also provides industry-standard qualifications, such as First Aid, COSHH, Food Safety and Fire Safety Awareness.

“These qualifications are useful to young people moving into the employment market, making them more attractive to prospective employers,” added Elizabeth.

For further information about the Alternative Provision programme please contact Elizabeth Lilley on 01522 508360 or email Elizabeth.Lilley@theshowroom.org.uk.


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− The International Cinema Industry celebrates Discovery Education’s efforts to raise awareness for the “Why Remember?” campaign by presenting the number one non-fiction media company with a Gold Cindy Award. −


United Kingdom, 30 July 2015— Discovery Education received a Gold Cindy Award in the International Cinema in Industry (CINDY) competition’s education category for Remembrance: A National School Assembly, a live broadcast from the Tower of London. CINDY Awards are presented to those individuals and groups who have produced programming that achieves the highest levels of excellence in production value and message effectiveness.


Almost a million students watched Remembrance: A National School Assembly, from 20 countries. Over 700,000 of them were in 4,333 UK schools – in total, the largest audience Discovery Education has ever achieved for a live broadcast. During the thirty-minute virtual, school assembly, webcast from the Tower of London on 10 November 2014, students experienced a close-up of the poppy installation to understand its symbolism and connection with the centenary of the First World War.  Additionally, students performed war poetry and heard interviews with key figures, like the creator of the ceramic poppies, Paul Cummins. The Assembly also featured a digital project linking children in Islington, London with a school in Ontario, Canada.


Streamed on the Internet between Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day, the live nature of the Assembly allowed schools a collective moment of reflection and remembrance. Aimed at Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3, but suitable for all ages, the programme raised awareness for the “Why Remember?” campaign run by the Historic Royal Palaces, which was designed to engage teachers and children in schools across the UK to help them understand the historical importance of the war that started 100 years ago.


Lewis Bronze MBE, Director of Content at Discovery Education, commented, “We are honoured to be presented with such a notable award that received over 9,600 entries from around the world. Discovery Education is committed to creating engaging and thought provoking content for teachers and students, so we are thrilled that our efforts are recognised with the CINDY Awards.”


The assembly remains a valuable resource for teachers and students, viewed on-demand by nearly 36,000 people at discoveryeducation.co.uk. Teachers and students used Twitter to share the experience. For comments and photos from around the globe, please view #RemembranceAssembly, and to watch an archive of the virtual event, visit http://www.discoveryeducation.co.uk/remembranceassembly.



What to look for in a private tutor

Knowing how to choose a private tutor can be a daunting and difficult decision. In this post, we look at some of the key things you need to look out for – what questions you need to be asking, and how the whole process should work. 

So you’ve decided to get a private tutor? Whether it’s because you’re struggling with a subject, or you want to excel, a tutor is a great option. But a quick search online can often leave you more confused than when you started. It’s an unregulated market, and schools rarely give guidance on good local tutors.

In reality, though, there are four key things you need to look for if you want to get the best tutor (this advice holds whether you’re a school-age student, a parent, or a university student).

  1. Safety. Unfortunately, because the market is unregulated, there is scope for unsafe individuals to operate. Whether you’re selecting in-home tuition, online lessons, or meeting in a coffee shop or library, safety must be your number one priority.

In England and Wales, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) offers checks on someone’s background. However, because it’s not possible for someone to DBS check themselves (they have to have an employer do it), many self-employed tutors hold a Scottish Disclosure. You don’t have to be from Scotland to have a Disclosure. There are different levels of Disclosure, from Basic through to full membership, so check online at what each entails. In reality, a Basic Disclosure will suffice. Always ask to see the Disclosure form before organising a lesson. This can be emailed across to you before you meet the tutor. You shouldn’t accept excuses from tutors who are unwilling to show you a Disclosure.

For safety purposes, you should always look for tutors with good references. Contact the references if necessary.

The golden rule is to never meet a tutor alone the first time. If you are a parent of a school-age student, you should be present at the initial consultation meeting, and be present in the house every time the tutor visits. If you are a university student, arrange your initial consultation in a coffee shop someone near the university.

         2. Qualifications. Obviously, you want a tutor who is qualified, and who is competent in the subject he or she is teaching. But sometimes you need more than that.

As a basic start point, most tutors should have either an undergraduate degree, or a teaching qualification in the subject they are teaching. Some subjects have transferrable skills (History graduates can teach English; Physics graduates can teach Maths), but you don’t want an English graduate teaching Biology. You should think about the subjects as ‘families’. Have a look at our Subjects Offered page to see how you can group subjects.

Again, as with the Disclosure check, you should ask to see any degree certificates before proceeding with lessons.

If you’re a university student, the rule of thumb is that the tutor should have completed one degree level higher than the one you’re currently studying. So, if you’re an undergraduate, the tutor should hold at least a Master’s.

             3. Reliability. It’s a cliche, but the problem with first impressions is that you only get one. The way a tutor conducts themselves via email or in the initial meeting is usually an indicator of their reliability.

When you make your initial enquiry to a tutor, how long does it take them to respond? If it’s within 24 hours, you’re usually onto a winner. If you have to chase up and send a second email, it’s best to leave that tutor behind. In a modern age of smartphones and tablets, you can guarantee that a potential tutor will have seen an email within 24 hours, so for them not to respond usually doesn’t bode well. Even a short response or an ‘out of office’ are good signs.

When you arrange your initial consultation, are they on time? Are they flexible to your schedule? How are they presented? Remember that this is effectively a job interview for them. These initial stages of interaction are critical, and they usually indicate how tutors will behave in future.

              4. Personality. There is a big difference between a tutor and a teacher. The best tutors form good personal bonds with students, and get to know them. You need to look out for the ideal personality for you or your child.

Getting a tutor is effectively like forming a partnership. The relationship between tutor and student is symbiotic. If the student doesn’t get on with the tutor, they will not benefit from the lessons in the same way. That’s why tutoring is so reliant on empathetic bonds. For that reason, when you’re selecting a tutor, try and choose one with experience of tutoring. A teacher or a lecturer conveys information in a different way, as he or she will be used to talking to large groups. Tutoring is far more interactive than that (or at least it should be).

Also, if you think you or your child would prefer a female or a male tutor, or a younger or older one, that’s absolutely legitimate. Generally, a good tutor can overcome reservations about age or gender, but don’t feel afraid to state your preferences.

All AW Tuition tutors are background checked, highly qualified, reliable, and experienced tutors. To submit an enquiry into getting a tutor for you or your child, click the link here, call 0131 618 7717, or email info@awtuition.com.


Dimplex’s new LSTS low surface temperature electric towel rail offers safety, efficiency and easy installation for convenient towel warming in a wide range of sectors including healthcare, education, retirement homes, sheltered housing and public restrooms.

The LSTS model is surface temperature regulated to 43°C, meeting NHS guidance notes on safe-surface temperature and eliminating the risk of harm for the young, elderly or vulnerable in the bathroom.

Like all Dimplex electric towel rails, it offers quick and easy installation and operates independently of the main central heating system to provide cost-effective towel warming all year round. It is IPX4 rated for use in bathrooms and other wet areas, and comes in a distinctive white stove enamel finish.

Chris Stammers, marketing director for Dimplex, said: “The NHS guidelines act as benchmark for surface temperature regulations in a variety of sectors and the new LSTS low surface temperature electric towel rail provides a reliable and compliant solution for towel warming in each those sectors.

“A whole host of organisations from nursing homes and hospitals, to schools and retirement housing providers, can take advantage of all the benefits of electric towel warmers in the bathroom – safe in the knowledge that the appliance is also safe, cost-effective to run and easy to install.”

The new Dimplex LSTS is the latest addition to Dimplex’s range of low surface temperature (LST) heaters and follows the launch of a new intelligent, fan-assisted LST electric panel heater late in 2014.

The Civic’s Work Placement is off to Edinburgh Festival

University of Huddersfield undergraduate Nicole Segar, talks about her experience on work placement with the technical department at The Civic in Barnsley, which led to a boost in confidence and job opportunity at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.


Since opening as Barnsley’s independent multi-purpose arts venue in 2009, The Civic has been passionate about providing flexible work experience, to further the skills and employability of those who wish to work in the competitive arts industry. The 20-year-old Contemporary Arts degree student from Warrington explains The Civic: “was the best choice for me as it was the only theatre that was offering a placement longer than two weeks.”


Working alongside The Civic’s Technical team; Huw Williams & Ines Minkiewicz, Nicole was able to create her own technical designs for events and liaise with professional touring theatre companies. She explains: “I learned real life skills that can’t be taught in a classroom and will be able to implement in my final year at university.”

When asked what she enjoyed most about working within the independent and charitable arts organisation, Nicole shared her admiration for The Civic’s technical team: “They treated me like part of the team and trusted me with responsibilities to programme and run shows. I felt valued from day one and found that working ‘in the real world’ can be great fun when you are doing something you enjoy and your team are a good bunch.”

This encouragement and support from the staff at The Civic had a positive impact on the student’s own insecurities: “My work placement at The Civic gave me a chance to regain my confidence and trust in my own abilities. I am now able to cope with a variety of difficult situations and have valuable experience that other graduates won’t”.

From this boost in confidence, her time at The Civic enabled Nicole to realise what she would really like to do after her studies: “Having experienced this side of theatre work, I now understand that what I enjoy so much about theatre is the creation of it. I think I would like to become a member of a theatre company.”

The Civic’s Technical Manager, Huw Williams explains:

“As well as gaining hands on experience at The Civic, Nicole chose the best time to be on placement here; when touring company Icarus Theatre mentioned that they were looking for a lighting technician. Consequently, Nicole will have the enviable task of spending next month at the Edinburgh Festival working on their production of ‘The Trials of Galileo’, seen here at The Civic last February. We wish her well, both in Edinburgh (none of us are at all jealous) and in her final year at Huddersfield Uni.”


And so, Nicole’s advice for students who are thinking about taking on a work placement: “Take the initiative to do as much as you can. Networking is a creative’s best-friend. Don’t pass up any opportunity and talk to the companies as it may lead to future opportunities, it did for me!”


For more information about work placement opportunities at The Civic contact: enquiries@barnsleycivic.co.uk or call the Box Office on 01226 327000.



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− 12 girls from Sheffield High School get one-of-a-kind opportunity to visit Discovery Education Europe Headquarters and learn about digital and media-related career opportunities −


London, United Kingdom, 28 July 2015— According to a study conducted by O2 and published in The Guardian, Britain will need 750,000 skilled, digital employees by 2017. Because of the growth in the computer-science industry, digital-leadership training is vital to prepare children for the future.


Discovery Education, whose mission is to provide high-quality teaching and learning experiences for school children, presented “A Day of Discovery” for twelve female students from Sheffield High School, a member of the Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST), at its European Headquarters on 8 July. The purpose of the day was to inspire the girls to consider a variety of digital and media-related careers by learning more about the different roles available across the Discovery Television Networks and at Discovery Education, as well as hearing about the career paths employees followed to arrive there.


“Discovery Education is honoured to present an educational day for Sheffield High School’s girls. We want to empower young women to become successful digital leaders through this interactive and engaging event and encourage them to start planning for their bright future,” Christine Major, Director of Professional Development at Discovery Education, explained.


Throughout the day, girls learned about the careers of a Discovery TV Producer, Digital Education Entrepreneur, Digital Publisher, and Operations and Technical Support Manager. They gained insight into the job details, as well as the importance of each role. At the end of the day, students filmed their own news broadcast, reporting on the knowledge they gained about digital-media careers and their own future.


“I found it so refreshing to hear a man talking about empowering women; we get that all the time in school, but usually from women,” revealed Year 10 student, Sophie. “We have the world at our fingertips!”


Sheffield High School was one of 22 schools across the UK to compete for a chance to visit Discovery Education Europe Headquarters for “A Day of Discovery.” During the February GDST Digital Leaders Conference, teams of students designed a product or service to demonstrate a range of transferable skills including creativity, teamwork, presentation skills and financial planning. Sheffield High School’s Dream Pillow, an incredibly well researched product, was the overall winner, with South Hampstead High School taking the people’s choice award with Safe Step, and Bromley High School snapping up the best app prize for Appetizer.


To learn more about Discovery Education’s professional development services and how it benefits partnering schools, please visit http://www.discoveryeducation.co.uk/.


Only half of 11-15 year olds say schools give enough information about drinking and drugs

A survey published today by the Health Service Information Centre (HSCIC) reveals that only half of 11-15 year olds feel they are getting enough information about alcohol (56%) and drugs (54%) from their school. Slightly more (60%) say they get enough information about smoking.

The Survey of Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People in England, carried out by NatCen Social Research, reveals the views of more than 6,000 young people on smoking, drinking and drugs:

  • Pupils were more likely to think that their schools gave them enough information about smoking (60%) than about drinking alcohol (56%) or drug use (54%).
  • Boys were more likely than girls to be satisfied with the amount of information they received; 51% of girls thought their schools had given them enough information about drugs, compared with 57% of boys.

The perceived lack of information could be down to the frequency of lessons, as while almost all of the 210 schools surveyed said that they taught all pupils about  smoking drinking and drugs at least once a year, a very small proportion, between 5% and 8%, taught them more than once a term.

It could also be down to whether pupils recall these lessons. Even though most schools said that they taught lessons on smoking drinking and drugs, only just over half of pupils recalled having these lessons. They were most likely to recall lessons on drugs (59%), less likely to recall lessons on smoking (55%) or alcohol (53%).

Elizabeth Fuller, Research Director at NatCen Social Research commented:

“Schools should take note of these findings. A substantial minority of young people do not feel they are getting enough information about smoking, drinking and drugs from their school. This is of particular importance, because we already know from this survey that young people say that schools are an important source of helpful information on these topics – as important as parents, and more so than other relatives, the media and GPs.”


Six UK teachers are attending Discovery Education’s Summer Institute in Washington, D.C. to learn about innovative technologies and network with educators from all over the world.

UNITED KINGDOM. –  Many teachers and pupils discuss the idea of belonging to a global community; however, few get to participate in an international group. Six UK teachers will join a worldwide network of educators who will be learning best practices for digital integration 12 to 17 July: Matt Wright from Harbour Primary & Nursery School, Andre Boulton from Claires Court School, Rachel Clark from St. Georges VA Church Primary School, Heather Libby from Green Wrythe Primary School, Phil Nottingham from Springwell Park Primary School, and Katrina Boast from Victoria Community Primary School.


These six teachers were selected to receive an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. (USA) to participate in Discovery Education’s Summer Institute. The weeklong professional development event for educators boasts numerous hands-on learning experiences, covering the use of digital resources in the classroom with practical techniques that are ready to implement. Teachers will learn the latest technology programmes and strategies to inspire their students to become critical-thinking, digital citizens and to empower them to become a part of a global community themselves.


“At Discovery Education’s Summer Institute, I am looking forward to learning about and trying new technologies and software, which I hope will increase both student engagement and student attainment, as well as inspire them to learn,” says Matt, a Year 5 teacher. “Furthermore, I am most excited about speaking with and learning from other educators from across the globe. I hope to learn about other educator’s classrooms and teaching strategies to help my professional development and impact my future classroom practice and students.”


Similarly, Year 6 Booster Teacher, Katrina, says, “It’s a wonderful opportunity to be able to see how technology can be used in interesting and different ways in order to help children develop in the modern classroom. Additionally, it will be fascinating to see the similarities and differences in the work of international colleagues. It will be great to share our experiences and expertise.”


Deputy Head Teacher, Rachel, is just as thrilled, noting, “I am looking forward to learning about new technologies and methods which will enhance my teaching, to benefit children in my class, and also to give me ideas to share with other teachers from my school, thus enabling lots of children and teachers to benefit from the experience. Also, I am really excited about networking with educators from other countries to learn about their classrooms and their strategies. Making these links will allow me to have a global support system.”


ICT Coordinator, Heather further explains, “I am most looking forward to collaborating with colleagues from the UK and USA to learn about what strategies and technology lessons are most successful in this age of digital growth and inspiring online learning. I am delighted to share my own experience of using Discovery Education Espresso in the classroom, which motivates my students to learn more and share their knowledge with their classmates, friends, and family.”


Also, Computing Teacher Phil says, “I was amazed and overwhelmed to be selected for Discovery Education’s Summer Institute. I’m excited by the prospect of discussing pedagogy and technology with a wide variety of educators from across North America. Over the week, I am looking forward to learning new strategies and techniques to contribute to a global community of educators.”


Teacher of Design Technology and ICT, Andre, sums up: “It will be so interesting to spend time immersed in topics of interest with other professionals who are passionate about their teaching. I hope to gain insight into the collective experience and knowledge of educators from around the world and discover new methods of working and sharing experiences. Additionally, as this is my first trip to America, I shall enjoy being somewhere new and taking my first steps on another continent!”


Discovery Education encourages educators in attendance to network with one another, share techniques and lesson ideas, and build an international support system.


“Discovery Education’s Summer Institute is a fully immersive Professional Development experience, like no other. It’s a truly collaborative event that recognises teachers’ great work in the classroom and beyond. We’re delighted to support our UK teachers, to connect them with like-minded innovators and give them a platform to share best practices on a global stage,” explains Christine Major, Director of Discovery Education’s Professional Development.


To be considered for Discovery Education’s Summer Institute, the teachers shared their best practices and how they transformed teaching and learning in their school through a written summary and a two-minute video.


Follow all the UK attendees as they spend the week learning in Washington, D.C. via Twitter using #DENSI2015.


For more information about Discovery Education’s Summer Institute, please visit http://www.discoveryeducation.com/what-we-offer/community/connect-with-the-den/den-summer-institute.cfm.

Fennies Nursery Group In Line for Two National Awards

A group of day nurseries in south London and Surrey has been shortlisted for two national Nursery World childcare awards.

Fennies, which has eight settings in Croydon, Horley, Bromley, Purley, Sanderstead, Epsom and Beckenham, is in line for both the Business Development Award and the Nursery Operations Manager of the Year Award.

John Warren, Director of Childcare Services at Fennies, says the nominations are a recognition of the company’s excellent provision and ambitious growth.

“This is wonderful news for all our staff, our parents and our children,” he said.

“Our nomination for the Business Development award reflects the journey we have been on in the past 12 months, when we have expanded our early years service and opened three brand new nurseries in Bromley, Epsom and Horley.

“These are completely new settings and they represent a significant expansion for a nursery chain that has grown from five to eight settings in the last 12 months. In the same period our registered places have grown from 379 to 709.”

John Warren has over 30 years’ experience in childcare and recently completed a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education. He has been nominated for the Nursery World Nursery Operations Manager of the Year Award.

“It’s pleasing to be nominated for an individual award but to be shortlisted for the Business Development Award is a real feather in our cap as it confirms that we are going about things the right way,” said John.

“Our vision is to create the best possible environment for the children in our care, and our goal is to grow our business in a sustainable way while remaining true to our values.”

The Nursery World Awards will be presented at a ceremony on Saturday 26th September at The Brewery in London.


Net Zero Eco-Library Opens at St John’s Primary School

Wednesday 15 July 2015 

A brand new eco-building has been opened at St John’s Primary School in Basingstoke, Hampshire. The radically efficient “Schoolhaus” building will be used as a library for the children as well as a community space for local residents.

The environmentally-friendly Schoolhaus building was constructed offsite, eliminating the majority of the waste associated with traditional construction practices and the clean energy generated by the fully-integrated solar PV roof will create excess energy that will be used by the rest of the school. The building is also highly insulated, keeping it cool in the summer and warm during the winter months and incorporates LED lighting to further reduce energy usage.

The Schoolhaus was built by Net Zero Buildings, which has developed numerous multi-award-winning low-energy education buildings.

The new building is the result of a collective effort – a dedicated working group of school representatives, governors and parents who took on the challenge of funding and managing the project at the beginning of 2014.

The project was first conceived two years ago when the PTA agreed that the children desperately needed an improved library facility due to their chronic space shortage and plans for the new eco-building were approved under the school improvement plan. Raising funds for the building was no mean feat and presented a huge challenge for all involved. 50 percent was raised through external grants including The Local Infrastructure Fund (LIF) with the remainder being met by the school budget, fundraising by the PTA and a generous contribution from the Diocese.

Headteacher of St John’s C of E Primary School, Miss Hayley Clayton, said “Our fabulous new eco-building will be a buzzing hub for education, fun and social activities, not just for our children but also for the local community. The facility will be used by all ages, from the local nursery and toddler groups from our school community, to residents from the nearby care home.

“As the only school in the area to create such a facility, we’re proud to be leading the way in reducing our carbon footprint whilst providing our children and local community with such a fantastic new resource. We would like to welcome individuals, families and local groups to visit our wonderful new eco-building – please get in touch and come along to explore!”

Managing Director of Net Zero Buildings, Peter Johnston, said “We are excited about the new eco-library at St John’s Primary as it represents the first of a new design in Schoolhaus buildings, utilising more glass and light, with more solar shading. As with all of our completed Schoolhaus projects, the building incorporates energy efficiency features such as heat recovery, super efficient insulation, LED lighting, controls and critically a full solar PV system. The roof will provide for the energy needs of the new library as well as the main school building which will benefit from the excess of generated electricity. The net result will be frugally low energy costs plus an income for the school for the next 20 years.

“It has also been an enjoyable project to work on as the school brought an open-mindedness to the design and construction which in turn allowed us to develop a building that is at the forefront of energy efficiency performance.”