Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th Birthday : Schools Join Windsor Castle Broadcast and Tea Party


‘Happy Birthday, Your Majesty’ streamed live from Windsor Castle into classrooms around the world on Friday

Over 800,000 students from schools around the world watched a special live broadcast on Friday and thousands of schools hosted tea parties to celebrate the official 90th birthday of Her Majesty The Queen.

Discovery Education was given exclusive access to the Quadrangle at Windsor Castle, where a marquee hosted a national schools’ tea party. 100 lucky children from UK primary schools attended, in a unique celebration of the life of Britain’s longest reigning monarch.

Presented by Diane Louise Jordan and Joe Crowley, ‘Happy Birthday,
Your Majesty’ allowed pupils to step inside the historic royal residence — the family home of British kings and queens for nearly 1000 years.

Aimed at primary school pupils, the engaging interactive broadcast explored the nine decades of The Queen’s life, shining a light on her role in the British constitution. Pupils watching witnessed a live link-up between schools in India, Canada and the UK, and learned about Her Majesty’s special relationship with Commonwealth countries the world over.


Featuring a glimpse inside Windsor Castle’s famous State Apartments, and a performance by the Choristers of St George’s Chapel, the landmark programme allowed children everywhere to play their own part in the birthday celebrations and enabled schools to mark the historic event in a fun way with their own tea parties.


One of the schools attending was Claycots School, Slough. Associate Head Teacher Rebecca Whitlock said:


“’It is not everyday you are offered the opportunity to have a tea party at Windsor Castle! We feel privileged to be given the chance to celebrate The Queen’s birthday in such a unique way. Our pupils were very excited to be part of the broadcast and I’m sure the memories will stay with them for a very long time.”


Discovery Education wanted to inspire schools everywhere to host their own tea parties, and offered free resources to make it easy for them to do so. Fantastic tea party packs were given to teachers registering to watch ‘Happy Birthday, Your Majesty’, enabling schools around the world to take part in this historic, one-time event.

Lewis Bronze, MBE, Founder and Director of Content at Discovery Education said:

“We were delighted to have been given special access to Windsor Castle and to enable so many schools to celebrate with us. Pupils all over the world were able to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday, both by taking part in our celebration and by using our digital resources to host a tea party of their own.”

Jemima Rellie, Director of Content and Audiences, Royal Collection Trust, said:


“Her Majesty The Queen has been a role model for many generations and continues to inspire children today.  All children love birthday parties, and tens of thousands visit Windsor Castle each year to find out about The Queen. We are thrilled to celebrate The Queen’s birthday with schools at Her Majesty’s home and indeed the home of royal history for nearly 1,000 years.”


The schools attending the tea party at Windsor were: Claycots School, Slough, Montem Academy, Slough, St George’s School, Windsor, Claires Court School, Maidenhead and Beatrix Potter School, Wandsworth.


An on-demand version of the 30 minute broadcast will be available shortly on the Discovery Education website: www.discoveryeducation.co.uk/hmq90

Survey reveals how teachers really feel about Progress 8

Over 35 per cent have little or no understanding of the new measures


A recent survey on teachers’ understanding of the Government’s new accountability measures, Progress 8 and Attainment 8, has revealed that over 35 per cent of teachers feel they have ‘very little, little or no understanding’ of the new system.


The survey, that was carried out by online homework and exam-preparation service for secondary schools, SAM Learning, gained over 400 teacher responses.


A staggering 33 per cent of those surveyed said that they have received no training about Progress or Attainment 8, and 25 per cent said that their school or academy was ‘not’, ‘very slightly’, or ‘slightly’ prepared for the introduction of new measures.


Aimed at bridging the attainment gap for students, Progress 8 will capture the progress a student makes from the end of primary school to the end of secondary school, and as such level the playing field for all students. While its benefits are clear, there still appears to be an air of uncertainty and confusion among some teachers, which is worrying. As Gareth Mellor from SAM Learning explains, “As of September this year, these new measures will be mandatory in all UK schools; it’s important that all teachers fully understand it before it is rolled out, otherwise we have to question how beneficial it will really be for students.”


“Progress 8’s data-heavy method is complicated and difficult to get your head around, and teacher training, whether it’s internal or external, is vital. In addition, teachers, particularly those in the arts, may find that it negatively affects their subject area with the introduction of subject buckets, and some students may find the measure difficult to achieve. Teachers will also need to develop new methods of targeting intervention under the new measure. Progress 8 will put a lot of weight on teachers’ shoulders; it’s only fair that they receive all the support they need to ensure they are properly prepared for this.”


For more information on Progress 8 and Attainment 8, and ways in which your school can prepare, visit www.samlearning.com

8 in 10 schools and academies struggling to balance their books

Balancing the budget is becoming ‘significantly more difficult’ for 78 per cent of schools and academies, new research has found.


A study of 265 school leaders* by HCSS Education, a leading education finance specialist, found that 81 per cent of academies and 76 per cent of schools are finding that managing their finances is becoming considerably more problematic.


When asked what their main budgetary pressures were, increasing staffing on-costs came out on top as the main reason for both schools and academies (90 per cent).


Funding pressures (80 per cent) followed by falling pupil numbers (26 per cent) were the next two reasons why both schools and academies are finding it difficult to balance their budgets.


Yet, despite finding budgets more difficult to manage, it was surprising to discover that 13 per cent of maintained schools and academies do not have 3 to 5-year budget plans in place. This might be down to a lack of support, as a third of schools and academies say they lack the appropriate support they need with budget planning and forecasting.


The survey was conducted as part of HCSS Education’s Balancing the Books report, which takes an insightful look into the budgeting issues facing schools and academies and the effect this has on the education sector. It explores whether school leaders have financial strategies and support in place, why deficits occur and what tends to lie behind this when it happens. It also looks at how these issues can be addressed.


Howard Jackson, head of education and founder of HCSS Education, said: “With increasing costs, uncertainties over future funding and the ever-present pressure on school leaders to deliver high standards all having a significant effect on the education sector, we wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the financial issues facing schools and academies.


“Based on the findings of our study, we can see just how difficult balancing the budget has become. It is clearly a major concern to those responsible for school spending as the sector is struggling to cope with available funding and rising costs such as teacher pay and pensions.


“Robust budget forecasting and planning is therefore key. Fortunately there are a number of financial management tools available that have been specifically designed for the education sector to help school leaders effectively forecast and manage their budgets.”


For more information, please visit http://www.hcsseducation.co.uk/blog/balancing-books


Kaspersky Lab Races To Sign Up For The Digital Kids Show

Kaspersky Lab is gearing up for the inaugural Digital Kids Show taking place on 29 and 30 October 2016 at EventCity in Manchester.


The Internet security provider Kaspersky Lab has signed up to host a get safe online zone, teaching children the fundamental skills behind online safety. They will also have a Ferrari F1 car simulator at its stand so visitors can get the feel of driving Sebastian Vettel’s F1 car.


David Mole Head of Retail for Kaspersky Lab adds: “As a company that prides itself on protecting families and businesses during their online pursuits, we are thrilled to be involved with the Digital Kids Show. Our get safe online area will offer parents and children practical tips on embracing the online world and keeping our children safe with the threats we face in the modern day.”


With more exhibitors and headline talent to be announced, the Digital Kids Show already promises a fantastic line up for the whole family including Dick and Dom and Mr Bloom.


The show will feature six different zones including a Digital, Stem and Coding Skills Zone, Media Zone and Exceptional Angels Zone.


The host of activities taking place will teach both children and parents ways of exploring the digital world in a fun and safe way, whilst keeping children safe online.


Aisha Tilstone, Digital Kids Show founder, comments: “We’re so excited to have Kaspersky Lab on board, they will add real value to the show and will offer exciting activations for families to get involved in.


“Kaspersky Lab have year’s of knowledge and a broad spectrum of products to help keep children safe online and provide parents with peace of mind – so from their awesome simulator to their talks and tips they’ll provide real benefits and insight for people attending the show.”


The show expects to welcome in excess of 10K visitors each day to EventCity and supporters of the show include TIGA, IWF and official charity partner, The Diana Award.


Tickets are priced at £20pp Visit http://www.digitalkidsshow.co.uk for more information and exhibitor space is currently still available for other brands looking to demonstrate their products in the event arena.

Europe’s first distance learning MA Fine Art graduates’ exhibition showcasing at The Civic

Europe’s first online MA Fine Art degree show is taking place at in Barnsley this June.  The eleven artists, collectively exhibiting as X1, come from England, Mauritius, Oman, Scotland, Spain, Thailand and the USA. For the first time, this exhibition will showcase the works the students have created over the last three years, in mediums including painting and three-dimensional painting, drawing, print-making, sculpture and photography.


The postgraduate programme was launched in 2010 by Barnsley-based education charity The Open College of the Arts.  After three years of studying and creating as members of an international virtual community, the students are coming together to show their work in the real world. They have studied for their Masters degree on a part-time basis through online seminars, virtual tutorials and lectures.


“The students graduating from the Open College of the Arts’ MA in Fine Art are a highly motivated international group of professional artists making work that is exciting, innovative and engages with the contemporary art world. Their exhibition, The Eleven, brings together three years of dedicated study and collaboration.”Caroline Wright, MA Fine Art course leader, OCA


The Eleven:

Jennifer Ault – exploring the ambiguous boundaries between inside and outside the human body.

Debani Bhardinj – a visual storyteller, inspired by the realm of dreams and dreams within dreams.

Jennifer Boldt – works in the place between science and art.

Mark Daniels – depicting the beauty of decay and transformation of objects and minerals using emerging digital and traditional photographic processes.

Jane Dudley – the impact of institutionalisation through the language of sculpture and spontaneous mark-marking draws.

Judith Farr – exuberant and even child-like work that skips between the use of diverse low-brow materials, found objects, craft foam and glitter to create three-dimensional non-objective paintings.

Roshni Gooninj Beeharry  – an evolutionary perspective on the familiar locale of her home island of Mauritius

Iain Holman – looking at how emotions can be conveyed by body language through the social masks we wear.

Alex Kershaw – the overlooked and hidden details of the lush and layered landscape of Perthshire through drawing, painting, printmaking, lens-based media and poetry.

Rosi Robinson – the merging of mental and physical spaces by making reference to, digitally tracing over or expanding found areas within images of derelict allotment huts.

Jillienne Sellner  – responding to the gap between words and mark-making using text, drawing, sculpture, film, video and audio.


X1 MA Degree Show is at The Civic from at Thursday 16 June to Saturday 25 June, 10am-6pm (Tues-Sat) Admission is free.


For more information and to book visit www.barnsleycivic.co.uk or call the Box Office on 01226 327000.



AN AWARD-winning online resource which gives young people confidential advice and support has revealed that feeling suicidal is one of the top worries that many 14-16-year-olds face.


Insight4Life, which operates its Zumos programme in schools across the country, offers youngsters a range of expert information on the various problems that are worrying them.


And the organisation has this week (June 7) revealed that one of the most accessed areas of its website is from young people who are coping with feeling they want to kill themselves.


Zumos’ figures reflect the latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics, which has highlighted an increase in youth suicide.


At the same time, the University of Manchester has carried out research which breaks down the reasons for these suicides, which cover everything from youngsters suffering from acne to fear of exams and bullying.


“Our findings have highlighted these situations for some time,” said Gary Siva, Chief Executive of Zumos.


“Suicidal thoughts are always one of the top ten most accessed questions on our website.


“At the same time, all of the reasons flagged up by the University of Manchester’s research have also been identified by us, which is why Zumos also covers peer reviewed support and advice on every one of the issues highlighted.”


One of Zumos’ most accessed resources among young boys is coping with feeling suicidal, along with many youngsters admitting to self-harming, suffering with eating disorders and having to cope with bullying.


Zumos allows young people to access information to help them with their problems, while also giving them support, information and coping mechanisms.


At the same time, schools that sign up also get access to daily messages of positivity which help build resilience among pupils.


“Helping pupils deal with issues when they are young and giving them the tools to build their confidence, can help prevent them becoming adults with a number of unresolved issues which can manifest themselves later in life,” said Mr Siva.


“Zumos gives young people access to peer reviewed motivational support, in forms ranging from web links to suggested readings.


“We give them the tools which hopefully will help them throughout their lives.”


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.


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 offers “a holistic perspective, much more detailed and far more advanced than normal information, advice and guidance services.”


It has also just launched a pilot project aimed at primary schools in Wolverhampton, with plans to roll this out nationwide.


For further information visit www.insight4life.co.uk