Leading manufacturer launches a brand new scheme to bring Design and Technology to the forefront of the curriculum

Leading supplier and installer of Design and Technology equipment for schools, HME Technology Ltd, has launched an innovative scheme in a bid to put Design and Technology (D&T) at the forefront of the National Curriculum, addressing the issue of a skills shortage that is expected to arise in the UK. 


The Worcestershire-based firm has put together 15 sets of teacher task sheets focused on assisting teachers with D&T. Teachers can use the task sheets as a catalyst in planning lessons up to Key Stage 4, featuring a guide that identifies various engineering subjects to help deliver the curriculum.


The task sheets designed to support teachers in using their creativity will enable them to plan the students lessons in woodwork, welding, laser cutting, 3D printing and much more.


Its task sheets have recently been implemented at the Isle of Wight Studio School, which has just undertaken a huge £250,000 improvement project including commissioning HME Technology to install a new suite of D&T equipment. Following the renovation, the teacher will be using the task sheets to exploit the wide range of machines for its D&T courses, encouraging students to recognise the vast range of career paths they can follow with the right skills.


Head Teacher, Richard White at the Isle of Wight Studio School said: “We are pleased to have been presented with HME Technology’s D&T teacher task sheets in a bid to boost interest in studying the subject at GCSE. The task sheets will enable teachers to confidently and successfully plan and teach lessons in this field, using an array of 14 different machines.


“We fully support the ambition to see the subject at the core of the national curriculum, as without it, the shortfall in skilled workers could have a serious effect on the UK economy. We devote ourselves to the future careers of 14 -19 year olds on the Isle of Wight and believe that D&T provides the skills required in many careers.”

HME Technology’s Chairman, Martyn Hale, is concerned by the impact the forthcoming shortfall may have on the UK economy.


Recent statistics published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that employment in the UK is at its highest rate on record, with employers posting a record number of vacancies. However, recruiters are still reporting a large number of international candidates applying for each position advertised.


In 2013, the Employer Skills Survey (ESS), which interviews more than 90,000 employers every two years, reported a proportion of positions, from 16% to 22%, remaining unfilled due to a rise in the lack of candidates with the right skills, experience or qualifications. This is equivalent to 146,000 skills shortage vacancies.
The ESS indicates that manufacturing employers recruiting job roles in the skilled trades such as electricians, technicians etc. were particularly likely to be affected, facing a skills shortages.


Martyn Hale, Chairman of HME Technology, said: “Design & Technology is suffering because it’s not at the forefront of teachers’ minds. It is currently an optional subject.

“We would urge that D&T should be in the core subjects. It is estimated that without such measures, there will be a deficit of 340,000 engineers in the UK by 2020.

“It is quite harrowing what the future holds if D&T is not pushed in the curriculum. There will be a severe shortage of skilled manual workers and this will affect the economy in the UK as manufacturing may have to leave the country completely or be brought in from abroad.

“With the introduction of the task sheets, our goal is to help teachers deliver exciting lessons. The lessons will hopefully inspire students to study D&T further, and help shape the UK for a brighter future.”

For more information please visit www.hme-tech.com, call 01527 839000 or email contact@hme-tech.com.


Apprentices from Busy Bees nurseries across the country captured the imaginations of young book worms as they brought stories to life and created their own story sacks as part of a competition by Busy Bees Training. The competition was launched to mark National Storytelling Week – an annual event hosted by the Society for Storytelling.

Busy Bees nurseries took part in the event from Monday 1st February – Friday 5th February, and gave children the chance to venture outside to nursery gardens or local parks and collect items to help them narrate their favourite story.

Lucy Jakeways, a level 3 Leadership and Management learner from Busy Bees in Kettering, impressed the judges with her narration of popular children’s book Harry and his Bucket Full of Dinosaurs. Lucy used puppets to engage children in the storytelling before extending the learning opportunities and introducing dinosaur-themed measuring and counting games.

As the winner of the National Storytelling Competition, Lucy has won her nursery an exclusive storytelling masterclass delivered by the author of Harry and his Bucket Full of Dinosaurs himself, Ian Whybrow. Ian’s masterclass aims to offer the aspiring childcare professionals and the established nursery team helpful advice on how to ignite children’s imaginations and aid their development through storytelling, drawing on his experience as a prolific writer of children’s books. Lucy will be able to continue to enjoy her love of storytelling at home as she will also receive an Amazon Kindle.

Lucy said: “I wanted to start with a story that the children all know and love and then really bring it to life with the narrative. Cutting out dinosaur footprints to put in the hallway and using puppets throughout the story seemed like the perfect way to make it interactive for the children.”

Training Manager, Fay Gibbin at Busy Bees Training explains the idea behind the competition;

“The training programmes we offer cover many different aspects of child development, whether learners are undertaking a full apprenticeship or one of our one day workshops. Storytelling plays a big role in not only creating an engaging and fun environment for children, but also encompasses many areas of learning in line with the Government’s EYFS framework for the under 5’s. We decided that National Storytelling week was a great way of reinforcing this with our learners, as well as providing them and the children they care for with an exciting activity to enjoy.

“It was fantastic to see so many nurseries get involved in the competition. The standard of the entries we received were incredibly high and it was a very tough decision to choose an overall winner. We loved Lucy’s idea to use puppets and the footprint to engage the children, and particularly liked the way she extended the learning opportunities through to mathematical development.”

Special mentions were given to close runners-up, Busy Bees Ashford Godinton and Busy Bees Derby Heatherton, whose entries also impressed the judge.

Whistle While We Work – UK Employees a Happy Bunch

  • Over half of those in the educational profession think feeling valued in a job is a top priority
  • 56 per cent of workers are self-motivators, driving themselves to succeed.
  • More than two-thirds of workers enjoy collaborative working to achieve results.
  • Supportive language and encouragement are key to creating a motivation culture.
  • Argos for Business is working alongside Roger Black MBE, 3 times Olympic medallist and motivational speaker, as part of ‘Employee Motivation Day’


Delving into the industry’s motivation levels, a nationwide study found that over half of those in the educational profession think feeling valued in a job is a top priority, with more than a quarter saying recognition for their hard work actively motivates them to work harder.


New research also reveals that British employees, including ones in the education sector, are, on the whole, happy at work, with a third feeling inspired to succeed every day and 70 per cent feeling positive about work more than three days a week. This counters a common misconception that we’re a nation of disgruntled employees pushing paper.


Ahead of the second Employee Motivation Day on 25th February, the study into the behaviours of the UK’s workers highlights that team dynamics play the most important role in employee satisfaction, with two-thirds of all workers enjoying being part of a team.


The research examined how various personality types of team-workers also take on very different roles. Businesses can thrive by encouraging a collaborative working environment that allows each personality type to have an impact – while there is no ‘I’, there is definitely a ‘me’ in team


The most popular work personality is Captain Questions. A fifth of workers place themselves in this category, with exploring and problem solving what they most enjoy about work. These are the most likely candidates to call collective brainstorms to reach a decision and also the most likely to encourage free-thinking and offer thanks for all suggestions and input.


The second most popular personality type is, conversely, Independent Introverts, with 15 per cent of employees making considered and informed decisions on their own before expressing them out loud, followed by Confident Creatives (11 per cent). Just over one in five employees will be a Big Idea Bodunderstanding that it will be others in the group who make their ‘big picture’ thinking feasible.


Despite clearly being a nation of team players, the research reveals that 56 per cent of workers believe they themselves are their biggest motivators, suggesting a personal ambition to make an impact is driving workers. Perhaps this is why only a small group (one in seven employees) are People-Orientated Performers – those eager to motivate others instead of themselves.


For this people-orientated performers, a third believed that even the smallest gesture of thanking people for their input goes a long way in motivating them to participate and, case in point, three quarters of workers remember a time they were verbally praised.


A third of workers claim that simply encouraging collaborative working and allowing the different personality types to compliment each other is the best way to motivate employees.


In keeping with the collaborative working theme, 36 per cent of employees thought taking the time to listen to other ways of working helped increase levels of motivation. A quarter of employees also claim that being involved in decisions helps to boost positive attitudes in the workplace.


The study comes ahead of Employee Motivation Day 2016, a day created by Argos for Business to inspire passion and appreciation across the country’s workforce. The leading provider of incentive and motivational solutions is hosting this annual event to encourage all organisations to put motivation to the forefront of business thinking and champion creative ways of engaging staff.


Argos for Business is working alongside Roger Black MBE, 3 times Olympic medallist and motivational speaker, as part of ‘Employee Motivation Day’. Roger identifies himself as a ‘Captain Question’ within a team, encouraging free-thinking and offering words of encouragement to teammates: “In 1991, the British Team won a gold medal for the 4×400 metre relay team in the World Championships. In a brave move, we made a team decision to change the running order the night before the race, and that decision ultimately resulted in a gold medal.

“By giving your team members room to brainstorm and make collaborative decisions about what they do, you will see an increase in engagement and a greater commitment to tasks – because they have made it their own. Argos for Business’ research showed that taking on responsibility was the main motivator for over a quarter of UK employees, and this resonates in the workplace, as well as the sporting arena.”

Emma Glennon, head of key clients at Argos for Business, says “Our new research casts a positive light on the UK industry, with employees proving to be happy at work and championing team spirit. This contradicts the doom and gloom stories about the daily grind.


“The team dynamic findings are interesting as they show a delicate balance between working as a collective, while being self-motivated. This ‘best-of-both-worlds’ type of work ethos stimulates personal satisfaction and ambition, within collaborative and positive working environments.


“That’s not to say self-starters who need little motivation from others should be overlooked when it comes to incentives and rewards, however. Instead companies should acknowledge and reward them in ways that suit the individual. Ultimately, a one size fits all approach is not advisable, particularly when you consider how many personalities make up a team.”

Employees and employers can get involved in National Employee Motivation Day by downloading the motivation resource pack from www.employeemotivationday.co.uk, or by visiting the dedicated Facebook and Twitter pages, using the hashtags #EmployeeMotivationDay #EMD #MakeTheTeam and #NatMotivateDay.

For more information about Argos for Business please visit www.argosforbusiness.co.uk

Vienna summer school puts happiness score on economic radar

Developing a balance between economic progress and wider satisfaction factors is a subject area put firmly under the radar in a summer study programme held in Vienna.


The Alternative Economic and Monetary Systems (AEMS) course, which is open to students and those with a general interest in economics, philosophy and social studies from across the UK, takes place in the Austrian capital each year.


And it is gaining ground as a major focus for debate and study in an international setting.


The course investigates alternatives to the capitalist system, where profits still count, but factors such as life-work balance, ethics, sustainability and the environment are all factored in.


It also offers a unique opportunity for students wanting to understand how happiness and satisfaction are key drivers rather than material goods.


Kinga Tshering, an MP in Bhutan, where ‘National Happiness’ is a development philosophy for the country, took part in the AEMS programme in 2015.


Mr Tshering said: “It makes a lot of sense to take part in the programme.


“We know happiness indexing is a goal of the UN and it really aligns with our philosophy in Bhutan.


“The ultimate objective is happiness for all as a result of the sustainable use of global resources, human dignity and democratic principles.


“In Vienna companies, individuals and organisations are driving change. It was very encouraging to learn so many things from Europe through this programme.


“There’s too great a focus on money and competition and it’s a relentless rat race.


“The AEMS programme offers a broader perspective and the opportunity to sit back and think what is important to us and make the world a better place.


“It’s very encouraging. The movement is growing from the bottom up. Slowly there will be a mass realization to this across the globe.


“AEMS is an intensive course and it covers a lot of detail. It is delivered by a hugely impressive team and those taking part get a great deal out of it.”


Taking place this year from the 27 July until 14 August 2016, the AEMS course is organised by the OeAD-Housing Office, which offers sustainable accommodation for students across Austria, together with the city’s BOKU University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, and the Economy For The Common Good movement.


It is operated under a not-for-profit arrangement and as a result costs €1390. This price includes all accommodation, which is based in OeAD’s highly energy efficient passive house student properties in Vienna.


The course runs for two and a half weeks and at the end those taking part are able to enjoy an additional free week in the OeAD accommodation, providing an ideal opportunity to explore Vienna cost-effectively and continue their networking opportunities.


The programme and all the social activities surrounding it are held wholly in the English language.

Students completing the AEMS summer school will be awarded five ECTS points. Training is delivered by a consortium of Austrian universities, together with technical colleges, experts and NGOs.

Places for the AEMS summer school are limited and applications are now open at www.summer-university.net


There is also a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AEMSVienna



-Agencies supporting UK’s young people need better collaboration to address increasingly complex issues says Central YMCA Chief-

Research by charity Central YMCA has revealed the biggest causes of harm to young people in Britain today – with failing to succeed within the education system, a lack of employment opportunities, and issues related to body image topping the list.

The research questioned 1600 16-25 year olds in the UK about the major challenges they face and the factors most affecting their ability to build happier lives for themselves. 

Their responses have been used to create an index of issues – with the most commonly cited (i.e. that causing most harm) scoring 100.

Lack of employment opportunities came out top with 100, failing to succeed within the education system came second with 92, while issues relating to body image came out third with 86. 

The research also investigated what young people felt were the main barriers to overcoming these challenges, with being in a low income bracket, a lack of or poor education, and health issues (including mental health) cited as the major concerns. 

“The challenges facing young people today are wide, complex and constantly changing, which is why it’s essential that we continue to listen to the needs of young people and find ways to address issues causing them harm” said Rosi Prescott, CEO at Central YMCA. 

“One of the results which might be surprising is the emphasis placed on issues relating to body image, revealing the vulnerability of young people to such concerns and suggesting the very real, lasting damage caused by low self-esteem.”

Bottom of the list of concerns for youngsters included: lack of a political voice, with an index score of 5, a worsening environment (14), lack of access to training (14), sexual health (27), and the policy of austerity (30). 

Rosi added: “Our research has unearthed crucial insight into some of the biggest issues facing our young people today, and will help shape the future direction of Central YMCA.

“Central YMCA has been evolving its support for young people for over 170 years, responding to the needs of Victorian society, post-war Britain and now the modern digital age.

“It may be that the current age has a higher quality of life than previous generations, but the emerging challenges such as concerns about body image, or the impact of always-on social networks cause genuine harm, especially to the most vulnerable young people within our society.

“What’s clear from the findings of this report is the interrelationship between the major challenges facing our young people.  As a consequence, our priority should be to help people in the round, not in isolation. To address these complex challenges, the agencies supporting young people need to work in partnership and be open to all parts of society.” 

A full list of rankings and the report can be found here: http://www.ymca.co.uk/ymca-world-of-good-report-2016/

For further information please visit www.ymca.co.uk.


WisePay launches SmartBooker service for sports facilities, room, equipment and hospitality bookings

WisePay has launched its new Smart-Booker software enabling schools and colleges to manage their premises intelligently, maximise usage and generate revenue. Sports facilities, rooms, equipment, IT and hospitality bookings can all be promoted and managed in one place. As well as looking after internal bookings, the service can also be used to advertise and manage facilities for fee paying customers booking outside of school hours.

Providing adaptable booking options, multiple payment possibilities, innovative use of space and forecasting management reports, Smart-Booker is a comprehensive and intelligent booking service.

Via WisePay’s Smart-Comms service, schools can send emails and texts to a distribution list, making it easy to advertise facilities. Gym subscriptions can also be purchased via this online service, in either a one-off payment or via instalments. Accounts can also be enabled with different access levels, making it possible for staff members to make a booking at ‘zero value’. A collision management feature ensures that dangerous activities, such as archery, cannot take place in close proximity to other activities.

Sports managers or caretakers responsible for preparing equipment for bookings can have access to daily reports, allowing them to see who is expected in their building and what additional equipment may be required. Additionally, catering teams can have access to all food and drink requirements associated to each booking.

Details of all payments can be viewed by administration staff, saving valuable time spent processing payments. Furthermore, WisePay’s Service provides schools and colleges with important information to help them decide if a booking or activity is financially viable.

Easy to navigate by members of the public, the system clearly displays all of the sporting facilities or rooms that are available, together with booking options.  Extra resources, such as tennis rackets, hospitality or equipment associated with each facility, can also be booked. The service is designed to be easily navigated by parents, customers and students, and provide quick access to the features users need to reach at anytime, anywhere, via PC, tablet or mobile.

Inadequate digital skills putting young people at risk of missing dream job

British businesses set to fall behind as nearly one in five businesses who employ young people say they lack the required digital skills


London, 11th February 2016 – The UK’s young people are very digitally savvy, however, they don’t know how to use their digital skills for work purposes, according to 47% of senior decision makers surveyed in a YouGov online poll commissioned by Capgemini UK, one of the world’s foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services. The study highlights the growing need for those aged 16-25 to develop a stronger foundation in digital skills – defined as being able to use collaboration and communication tools, design software, as well as understand the cloud and develop apps – as employers place greater value in these capabilities than ever before.


At a time when the health of UK plc is increasingly dependent on a digital economy, the Capgemini study of over 1,000 employers of young people revealed that 84% of interviewees agree digital literacy is important in their place of business. However, a significant 18% believe that not enough young people have the specific digital skills needed for their organisation. This increases to more than one in three (37%) in IT and telecoms, and one in five in media, marketing, advertising, PR & sales (20%).


Of the digital skills listed, the ability to use the internet for work purposes (87%), staying safe online (87%) and creating basic digital content (84%) were identified as the most sought after when recruiting young people. Looking ahead in five years’ time, of those listed, the ability to protect personal and work information ranked the highest (20%), which could be seen as a response to the recent major cyber-attacks.


Alex Smith-Bingham, Head of Digital, Capgemini UK, commented: “Young people have grown up with technology at their fingertips but clearly there is more work to do to develop the digital skills that are required in the workplace. Our research highlights that being adept with social media and consumer technology is simply not enough if the UK is to compete in the global digital economy. While there is a genuine risk that the shortage of digital skills will pull British businesses behind their international counterparts, it can also be seen as an opportunity for all. By supporting the education system in the development of young people and the application of their digital literacy, the business community can ensure that they are all equipped with the best tools and skills possible to develop bright careers; in whatever industry they choose.”


The research into the digital literacy of young people and the impact on UK businesses was developed as part of a new Digital Partnership with The Prince’s Trust, which will see Capgemini deliver a series of programmes teaching 600 of the most disadvantaged young people in the UK the skills necessary to develop a career in today’s digital economy.


Paul Brown, Director at The Prince’s Trust, said: “Many of the young people The Trust supports haven’t had experience of applying digital skills in the workplace and don’t always realise the growing significance of this to employers across a range of sectors. Whether it’s a job in retail, hospitality or even accounting, solid digital literacy is as much a fundamental requisite as traditional academic qualifications. Without it, applicants face missing out on the roles they want, which is why we’re committed to helping young people develop their skills in this area.


“Together with Capgemini, we will help hundreds of young people to succeed in today’s job market, focusing in particular on helping them to develop the specific digital skills that are increasingly sought after by employers across the UK.”


The study covered 13 industry sectors; those that place the greatest value on young people having digital skills in their business include:

  • Media, marketing, advertising, PR & sales (100%)
  • IT & Telecoms (98%)
  • Finance and accounting (92%)
  • Medical (88%)
  • Retail (82%)

Understanding the financial responsibility of becoming an academy

Back in August 2015, David Cameron asserted that he wanted all schools to become academies in the next few years. Whilst this was good news for those in support of the academy programme, many schools remain apprehensive about what the long-term changes will be for both staff and pupils. With this in mind, Howard Jackson, Founder and Head of Education at HCSS Education, part of the Access Group, discusses some of the viewpoints when it comes to academisation and explores the financial pressures that newly converted academies face.


Those in favour of academy conversion suggest that the positives outweigh the negatives for many schools, in particular for those that are struggling to meet targets. For example, as academies are responsible for managing their own finances they are able to manage the budget exactly the way they see fit. Academy status also gives schools the power to make decisions about key issues, such as what is taught within the curriculum.


However, despite the benefits, there has also been a substantial amount of criticism and opposition to the academisation process. The National Union of Teachers (NUT), for example, is openly opposed to academy status and has raised major concerns over the long-term implications of the move towards academies. They argue that academisation is detrimental for some teachers because it can result in pay reductions, as all academies are able to set their own pay, conditions and working time arrangements for newly appointed teachers.


A recent parliamentary report entitled ‘Free Schools and Academies’ has suggested that currently there is ‘no convincing evidence of the impact of academy status on attainment’ and that academisation is ‘not the only proven alternative for a struggling school’. It instead supports the viewpoint that there is a place in the education system for both academies and state maintained schools and that each school should be looked at on a case by case basis.


Deciphering between conflicting reports

To try to gain a deeper understanding of these conflicting opinions, HCSS decided to conduct its own research. The aim of the research was to investigate the main reasons for converting to academy status, the concerns that staff had about converting and what the biggest challenges around converting are perceived to be.


The results revealed that 82 per cent of schools do approve of the key principles of an academy: that giving heads, teachers and governors greater freedom over their budget can help improve the quality of the education they provide. However, interestingly another 82 per cent of schools admitted that they feel pressurised to convert and when teachers and school leaders were asked whether they would actually want their school to convert to an academy, 59 per cent said no.


When asked what their main concern was about the conversion process, 47 per cent of schools cited losing support from the local authority and 34 per cent were concerned specifically about the implications of having complete control over finances and procurement.


The results from our research suggest that greater control and independence are key factors influencing school’s decision to convert. However, despite the benefits of greater autonomy, there are still a number of reservations teachers have about what the transition will mean in the long run for schools.


Increased financial responsibility

One of the key concerns schools have at present is whether they will be able to cope with the increased amount of responsibility when it comes to managing the school’s finances. With this in mind, it is important that school leaders make steps to ensure they have the right systems in place to manage the transition to academy status as smoothly as possible. Below are some of the key financial considerations for newly converted academies.


  1. Internal controls

Once a school becomes an academy it is necessary for the Board of Trustees to appoint a finance committee to manage the budget and offer financial scrutiny and oversight. A key role within this committee is the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). The CFO plays an integral role within an academy and should have both technical and leadership expertise. It is the role of the CFO to ensure good financial management, as well as to oversee the preparing and monitoring of the budget and ensuring that all accounts are delivered annually. It is not uncommon for a newly converted academy to recruit someone new for this role as existing staff may not have the necessary expertise.


  1. Teachers’ pay

Critics of academy status have raised concerns over whether academisation could lead to a drop in teachers’ pay. This is because when converting to an academy, schools are able to adapt elements of teachers’ pay and conditions to try to ensure that their time is used as effectively as possible. In a teacher’s timetable, planning, preparation and assessment time (PPA) is calculated to make up 10 per cent of a teacher’s time. To save money, academies can make the decision to release teachers from assembly and registration duties to reduce the overall PPA time, and in some cases, the use of support staff within a school has also been reviewed. It is worth considering, however, whether reducing PPA time and consequently lowering teachers’ pay will have a negative knock-on effect on the satisfaction levels of the staff and on the morale of the entire school.


  1. Managing procurement

Once a school becomes an academy, it is the responsibility of the finance committee to ensure procurement is handled as effectively as possible – this means showing complete transparency when it comes to purchasing. Effective procurement can help ensure financial savings are made which can then be reinvested in the academy – this can help to drive up standards and ensure that all services are fit for purpose. Savings can be made on areas such as energy, food ingredients, exam fees and printing. In May, the Government published a comprehensive guide to help academy schools effectively manage procurement; this guide gives schools practical ways to strike the right balance between quality and cost and achieve value for money on all purchases.


  1. Invest in financial management systems

To assist the finance committee, it is recommended that schools invest in a financial management system to help simplify operations and keep track of exactly how the budget is being spent. There are a number of financial management systems on the market, however it would be wise for academies to install one that is designed especially for the education sector. A specialised financial management system can help academies with all of their financial needs such as ordering and payments, ledgers for recording and totaling all transactions and having an inventory to record assets. Installing a financial management system that is specific to the education sector can help to increase the speed and accuracy of managing and recording the budget. It can also be used to produce detailed reports, which can then be passed on to the board of trustees.


Despite academisation leading to increased autonomy for schools, those undergoing the transition have a lot of changes to adapt to when it comes to managing finances. Our results show that schools feel considerable pressure from the Government to convert and have apprehensions over the long-term effects of academisation. To ensure that the conversion process runs as smoothly as possible, it is important that schools take steps to ensure they are fully prepared and have a strong finance committee in place. It is also recommended that the necessary financial management systems are installed to help deal with the increased responsibility and to ensure that the budget is managed in the most efficient way possible.

Pupils go digital to celebrate Chinese New Year – schools welcome the Year of the Monkey with Discovery Education

Broadgreen Chinese New Year

Primary school children across the UK showed off their digital skills as part of Chinese New Year celebrations this week.

Pupils from Discovery Education’s partner schools used innovative digital resources from the Discovery Education Espresso service to learn about the 15 day festival, which this year marks the start of the Year of The Monkey.

As part of the celebrations pupils watched a special animated film – The Great Race, which tells the story of the Chinese Zodiac, and shows why each year has an animal name. The lively interactive video is the centrepiece of Discovery Education Espresso’s Chinese New Year module, which includes a whole range of digital resources linked to each area of the curriculum.

With Chinese-themed activities in maths, literacy and art, pupils enjoyed taking part in online Sudoku games, completing a Chinese dragon number line, reading ebooks about Chinese culture, and making a Chinese dragon. They also had the opportunity to put their computer programming skills to the test, by coding a Chinese Zodiac themed game, a new and timely addition to the Discovery Education Coding service.

One of the schools taking part was Broadgreen Primary School in Liverpool. Headteacher Ann-Marie Moore said:

“Our younger pupils have really enjoyed celebrating the start of Chinese New Year, and learning about a different culture. The interactive digital resources were really popular, and helped to bring the festival to life in a fun and accessible way.”

Jessie Bronze from Discovery Education said:

“Our digital resources are designed to bring the real world into the classroom, and to help younger pupils experience and understand different cultures. When planning and producing this content we thought about how we could best help children explore the festival in a cross-curricular way. I’m thrilled that the Broadgreen pupils had so much fun using our Chinese New Year videos, activities, books and printable resources.”

Discovery Education Espresso is an award winning, video-rich digital learning service for primary schools. With nearly 20,000 digital media resources, which can be applied to any lesson, the service supports the delivery of the National Curriculum and helps teachers to integrate digital media into everyday learning.


AN AWARD winning online resource is using this week’s national Children’s Mental Health Week to highlight the vulnerability of young boys and the issues they face.

Insight4Life is already being used in schools across the UK, giving confidential, expert advice to youngsters on a whole host of subjects while also giving them support information and coping mechanisms.

And now the experts behind the website have revealed that almost twice as many teenage boys than girls are flagging up suicidal feelings and are looking for help and support.

Under its brand name Zumos, Insight4Life gives young people access to peer reviewed motivational support, in forms ranging from web links to suggested readings.

A study of what young people are using the site for reveals that twice as many boys than girls are looking at advice around bulimia and on how to tell someone they are being sexually abused.

Youngsters of all ages are also accessing information about wanting to lose weight and how to cope with self harming.

Zumos covers a vast range of subjects, meaning that any youngster who feels they have nowhere to go or are too frightened to ask for help can get vital information and support.

Insight4Life is being used in a number of schools, which are able to control the information that can be accessed and which are also given statistical information about the kind of problems their pupils are highlighting.

The Zumos programme has already won a number of awards and has been praised by OFSTED for the level of the information, advice and guidance it provides saying that it is offers “a holistic perspective much more detailed and far more advanced than normal information, advice and guidance services.



Gary Siva, Chief Executive of Insight4Life, said that having one website dedicated to helping young people with support for all of their problems was proving extremely popular.

“Children’s Mental Health Week flags up the emotional issues that a lot of young people are going through and how many of them are in need of help and support,” he said.

“Through our Zumos programme young people are able to get expert advice in confidence on all of the issues which are affecting their lives.

“This is also about empowering them, showing them ways to make them more confident and to give them lessons which will see them through life.”

The success of Insight4Life has seen its founders being asked to roll it as far afield as Italy and China.

The organisation is also now looking at developing a programme for primary school children and for adults.

“There are so many issues affecting people of all ages that they are often too frightened to ask about,” said Gary.

“What we offer is expert advice in a range of formats to give people the power to take charge and find a way through whatever is worrying them.”

For further information visit www.insight4life.co.uk