• Over half of parents disagree that a university education beats an apprenticeship for achieving faster career success
  • Despite the wide range of apprenticeship opportunities on offer, worries about pay remain as two out of three parents believe apprentices are poorly paid

Parents are increasingly recognising that apprenticeships can give their children the chance of embarking on a successful career although worries about low wages remain, according to new research from Prudential1.

Its study among parents of pupils who completed major school exams this summer shows that 51 per cent disagree that graduates are more likely to achieve faster career success than apprentices, and just one in four (26 per cent) say apprenticeships do not offer the best career path.

The Prudential study underlines how attitudes are changing – the survey also shows that 51 per cent of parents disagree that apprenticeships are best suited to those considered to be non-academic.

However, worries about low wages remain and more than two out of three (67 per cent) parents think apprenticeship roles are poorly paid while 43 per cent believe that apprenticeship opportunities are often in lower-skilled and lower-paid industries.

Neither of these issues is necessarily the case – Government data shows that wages for apprentices start at £3.30 an hour for under 19s or those in the first year of an apprenticeship, and rise in line with age2. But 92 per cent of employers are willing to pay more than the typical apprenticeship wage, provided they’re matched with the right candidate3. Apprenticeships4 are available in 1,500 different job roles across more than 170 industries, from advertising to youth work and from environmental engineering to legal work.

Simon Moffatt, human resources director at Prudential’s insurance business in the UK, said: “Apprenticeships offer an excellent introduction to the world of work and increasingly parents are recognising that university is not the only route to career success after school.

“As university education becomes more expensive, many apprentices realise that the prospect of good longer-term employment opportunities offsets a potentially lower initial pay structure.

“While pay is important in any job, with apprenticeship schemes part of the attraction is gaining excellent on-the-job training with future job and career progression.”

The Prudential apprenticeship scheme pays the National Living Wage and offers a high quality training programme, allowing apprentices to achieve a recognised vocational qualification as well as all-important work-based skills and experience.


The insurer’s scheme offers placements in a wide range of areas in the company, including  IT, HR, customer services, operations, sales support, distribution, financial planning, communications and marketing. Positions are available in Prudential’s offices in London, Reading and Stirling.


To date, Prudential has recruited over 175 young people into its high quality, work-based training programme, which is based on a 12-month contract. Over the last two years around two-thirds of Prudential’s apprentices have been retained by the company in ongoing roles.

Teachers call for greater Department for Education commitment to languages in schools – new Scholastic survey

Teachers are calling for the Department for Education to place more importance on modern foreign languages (MFL), according to new research published by Mary Glasgow Magazines, part of Scholastic’s education group.


A survey of 101 secondary schools asked language teachers how important they thought the Department for Education currently sees MFL in schools on a scale of 0-10 – with the average response being just 5/10. When asked how important the Department for Education should see MFL in schools the response rose to 9/10.


The research, undertaken in September 2016, also found that the importance of the subject in schools was lower than teachers perceived it should be. Teachers rated the importance of MFL in their schools at an average of 7/10. However, when asked how important their school should see MFL, this also increased to 9/10.


Respondents said the main reasons to learn a language in school was to develop pupils’ understanding of cultural practices (77%), build pupils’ interpersonal skills (74%) and to establish a path for lifelong learning (61%).


Yet 55% of teachers said they were concerned about the take up of MFL courses at Key Stage 4, despite 83% of schools surveyed offering such courses at GCSE. And 86.5% reported that less than 25% of their students take language courses at A-Level. Overall, 98% of schools offered French, 81% Spanish and 47.5% German.


Gordon Knowles, Managing Director of Mary Glasgow Magazines, said the survey findings supported calls for a joined up national strategy where the full contribution of languages to the economy and society are fully recognised.


“The survey clearly reflects that teachers recognise the need for understanding of other cultures and communication across country barriers. This underpins why Mary Glasgow Magazines came into existence 60 years ago and the message is more relevant than ever in our post-Brexit world.


“The steep decline in the number of pupils in this country taking French, German and Spanish should concern us all. Language learning, as well as being hugely rewarding in itself, is increasingly valued by employers as global communication becomes the norm.


“At Mary Glasgow Magazines, we’ve been very effective in engaging young people in language learning; our magazines and online resources are a way of connecting teenagers to the real lives of their counterparts across the world and bringing other cultures vividly to life in a way that excites teens.”


Mary Glasgow Magazines, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary, publishes 17 magazines aimed at secondary school language learners around the world specialising in French, German, Spanish and English as a foreign language. The magazines are sold in 45 countries with over half a million students annually receiving a subscription and circulation within classrooms estimated at almost double that figure.






28th September 2016: Primary schools across the UK will transform into a mass dance troop today in celebration of World School Milk Day.

As part of an initiative promoted by The Dairy Council, pupils and teachers will get moving and shaking to celebrate the white stuff and will learn about the role that milk plays in keeping children healthy.

Teachers are encouraged to tweet a video of their dance troop to The Dairy Council for the chance to win some milky prizes.

Schools are also invited to get involved in the celebrations by designing a backdrop for the video or a display for the classroom wall. Other activities include downloading a presentation from The Dairy Council’s website about the benefits of milk; holding a pop quiz or competition in class; or making milkshakes.

Primary-aged children require lots of nutrients and energy from food and drink to ensure adequate growth and development, and a simple carton of semi-skimmed milk can provide 42-52% of 4-10 year olds recommended daily intake for calcium and 24-35% of their recommended protein intake.

Another important but less known nutrient, iodine, is also found in significant amounts in milk. It is an important nutrient that contributes to growth and brain development in children, and a glass of milk provides about 52-57% of their recommended intake.

Erica Hocking, Senior Nutrition Scientist at The Dairy Council, said: “At primary school age, it is essential that children have a healthy, balanced diet and get plenty of physical activity to help them maintain a healthy weight as they get older.


“Research shows that milk consumption may have a beneficial effect on growth and body weight in children. Schools have a key role to play in encouraging children to replace sugary drinks with milk or water.


“This year, we are asking schools to get moving and shaking in celebration of all things milk. Just tweet us footage of your class strutting their stuff for World School Milk Day and you will be in with the chance of winning some milk shakers for the entire dance troop. We have even created a dance tutorial video which is available on our website and YouTube channel to inspire pupils and teachers to get moving – check it out. We can’t wait to see all of the videos.


“We would like to thank all of the schools across the UK who are supporting our initiative – milk is an easy, tasty and affordable way to help children to get their recommended daily allowance of calcium, protein and iodine and we hope pupils have enjoyed learning about milk today.”



UK teachers equipped with online training in UK’s fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

UK teachers are now being trained individually online how to identify those at risk or suffering from Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and protect Britain’s young girls from extreme child abuse.


Developed by SSS Learning as a ‘much needed’ catalyst for change in safeguarding training the hour-long course is fully CPD-accredited and certifies individual educators, replacing ‘often insufficient’ traditional group training methods.


“Performed both in the UK and abroad on girls as young as three years old, FGM is a complex, cross-cultural issue which requires a thorough understanding of its origins, forms and how to efficiently identify those at risk” says SSS Learning Director Sam Preston.


As a former local authority child protection expert, Sam feels, when planning training it is vital “to consider that members of staff in all likelihood will have varied levels of understanding of the topic which may also include knowledge which is not evidence based, making individual assessment critical to ensure that the desired learning outcomes are properly understood.”


Historically, most training is delivered by INSET sessions on-site which is problematic. It relies on the provider having the specialist area skillset which may not be setting or inspection requirement specific, learning is not fully evaluated and those absent or staff recruited post INSET have to wait for refresher training which may be as long as a year later.


New statutory requirements for all professionals in relation to the reporting of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) were introduced in October 2015. By completing this module, teachers will gain the latest information on this topic, legislative requirements and a clear understanding of their role in supporting those affected and reporting pathways.


The course also meets the Department for Education (DfE) 2016 ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ statutory guidance which emphasizes the importance of regular updates and annual safeguarding / child protection training.


Sam adds: “Fundamentally, FGM is child abuse under UK law, and it is our mandatory duty to safeguard both those we deem vulnerable, and those where intervention has been too late. This new course will help every educator play an ever vital role in our cross-disciplinary approach to FGM child protection.”


The organisation works with over 60,000 frontline professionals across the education, healthcare & third/voluntary sectors.


Please visit or follow us on Twitter (@SSSLearning) for more info.




Teachers from some of the UK’s leading digital schools will be inspiring their pupils with new technology this term, after attending a prestigious teaching and learning event in the US.


8 teachers from schools in the Midlands, Hertfordshire, London and Devon flew to Chicago this summer to take part in the Discovery Education Summer Institute, an exclusive professional development and networking summit for education’s ‘digital leaders’.


The group were hand-picked to make the trip after taking part in a competitive application process, and impressing judges with their enthusiasm for using digital technology to boost pupil achievement.

Hosted at Chicago’s Loyola University, the six-day event brought together educators from some of North America’s most advanced digital schools. With interactive workshops on STEM learning, green screening, coding and virtual reality and the opportunity to explore the latest tech gadgets, the week provided plenty of inspiration for the UK teachers. The group have returned to their classrooms ready to share new ideas and resources with pupils and staff alike.

One of the teachers chosen to attend was Julia Elfred from Christ Church C of E School in Croydon. Speaking at the start of the new school term, Julia said:


“It would not be an exaggeration to say that participating in the Summer Institute has been a life changing experience.  I came home from Chicago armed with exciting, innovative ideas to use with the children at school; a global network of amazing like-minded people who love to share; and, more importantly, a renewed passion for the job that I have been doing for many years.”


Christopher Goymer, a Year 5 teacher at Wandsworth’s West Hill Primary School, who made the trip with Julia said:


“The Summer Institute was quite simply the most rewarding and inspirational form of professional development that I’ve ever been to in my life. It was a week bursting to the brim with teaching ideas to bring back to my school in London.”


Welcoming over 170 teachers from across the globe, and now in its 11th year, the Summer Institute is the annual flagship event of the Discovery Education Community: the largest professional learning network of its kind in the US. With a growing membership in the UK, the DE Community connects teachers who are passionate about ed-tech through social media, virtual conferences and in-person events.


Catherine Howard, Director of Educational Partnerships at Discovery Education UK said:


“Professional learning communities play a vital role in supporting teachers, and we were delighted to give 8 UK teachers the opportunity to attend this prestigious event. Bringing together talented teachers from around the world, the Discovery Education Summer Institute is a unique professional development opportunity which will have a lasting impact on the schools involved.”


The 8 teachers who attended the Discovery Education Summer Institute were : Julia Elfred from Christ Church C of E School in Croydon, Christopher Goymer from West Hill Primary School in Wandsworth, Dan Ferry from St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Islington, Claire Trebilcock from Boringdon Primary School in Plymouth, Rachael Coultart from St. Nicholas Church of England Primary School in Hertfordshire, Stacey Trow from Delves Infant and Nursery School in Walsall, Matthew Haydon from Greet Primary School in Birmingham and Gemma Clarke from Grangehurst Primary School in Coventry.


To learn more about the Discovery Education Community and Discovery Education’s award-winning, curriculum-matched content, visit

Businesses and schools set to benefit from new online training programme

A multi-platform IT solutions provider has launched a series of free online webinars to help businesses, schools and other public sector organisations manage their IT infrastructure.  

Newcastle-headquartered Opal IT, which works with UK and overseas organisations, is hosting its first webinar on Tuesday, October 4 at 1.00pm. 

Entitled “How to Deploy Mac in Enterprise”, the webinar will instruct IT professionals in SMEs, schools and other public sector bodies how to integrate, deploy and manage multiple Apple devices within their IT infrastructure.

It will be the first in a series of webinars from Opal. Others are planned for November and December and will be hosted by experts with vast industry experience at the company. Topics will cover a range of business-critical issues, including how to improve IT security and make IT networks more robust.  

Andrew Metcalfe, managing director of Opal, said: “We’ve seen a rise in demand for outsourced IT services, with many companies and organisations wanting to review and improve their IT infrastructure. That’s why we’ve decided to launch these webinars.

“The aim is to give schools, SMEs and other organisations vital hints and tips on how to integrate, deploy and manage multiple devices within their existing infrastructure. People can log into the webinar from the comfort of their home or office and it will only take 10-15 minutes of their time.

“The webinars will also be uploaded to the Opal website and dedicated You Tube channel so people can revisit them at any time. We want to help people think differently about their business or organisation and gain access to IT solutions that fit their current and future needs.”

Opal provides a wide variety of services and specialises in the creation, integration and maintenance of multi-functional, multi-site virtual networks. An Authorised Apple Premium service provider, approved Microsoft partner and a part of the Apple Consultants Network, the company works with local, national and international companies and its biggest client has more than 50 global sites and 25,000 employees worldwide. 

Since Opal was launched eight years ago, it has enjoyed stellar growth due mainly to its ability to fashion long-lasting, ongoing relationships with customers. It has also built its reputation on the back of several high-profile accreditations. The company is one of only a handful of UK firms to have achieved the coveted JAMF (Casper Suite) Integrator status for its ability to manage and integrate Apple devices in Enterprise.   

Opal has also become an Acronis Platinum Mobility Partner for its ability to deploy secure data access solutions on Apple, Android and Windows Devices.   

For further information on Opal IT and to register for the webinar, please call 0330 22 33 011, e-mail or visit

Oaka Books launches digital resources for visual learners at TES SEN Show

  • The Oaka Digital KS3 resources are designed for students with special educational needs (SEN), including dyslexic and visual learners.
  • The digital packs contain kinaesthetic and visual activities, quizzes, imagery and animations to help improve engagement and attainment.
  • At the Oaka stand (19), teachers can purchase the entire Oaka Digital range of 42 topic packs at a discounted introductory price of £49 for the first year (this is a Special Show Offer and normal price is £149.00).


Oaka Books, a UK publisher specialising in SEN resources, today announced it will be launching its new digital resource packs for dyslexic students and visual learners at the TES SEN show on 7 and 8 October in London.


This digital resource library will make Oaka topic packs accessible to up to 300 pupils per school at a cost of around 1p per pack per pupil for the year.


Oaka Digital includes a range of visual learning resources and revision aids covering a number of subjects including physics, chemistry, biology, geography and history. The packs contain 3D images, animations, quizzes and activities to help KS3 students with special educational needs and ESL (English as a second language), as well as visual learners.


The packs will be available for teachers to purchase at the TES SEN show, at stand 19 at a discounted introductory rate. The offer for teachers signing up for the resources at the show will be £49 for the year (as opposed to £149 thereafter). These digital packs can then be used alongside the existing Oaka Books paper-based materials or as standalone curriculum-based aids.


Bambi Gardiner, founder of Oaka Books, said: “It’s important for us as parents and teachers to recognise the different learning styles of every child, especially those students who may struggle with reading, or prefer to work in a more hands-on learning environment. Launching our digital resources means we are able to support more students with SEN, including dyslexic and visual learners, ensuring they have effective materials that are best suited to their specific learning needs, so they can achieve their full potential.”


For more information about these resources, visit:, and to view the sample digital science pack, visit:

Shooting With Light Exposes An Extraordinary Life At The Civic

In a world where 2.5 billion photographs are taken every day Idle Motion bring to life one of the most remarkable untold stories of our time with their production of Shooting With Light.


This fantastic piece of theatre focuses on the work of photojournalist Gerda Taro, a young Jewish German refugee who fled to Paris in 1933 where she became immersed in the world of photography. Discovering the wonder of photography, she fell in love with the struggling young Hungarian photographer André Friedmann who taught her, “if your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough“.


Together they venture to the Spanish Civil War and capture the tyranny of fascism. As pioneers of frontline photo journalism, he would go on to receive international recognition as the iconic war photographer Robert Capa – she would be forgotten.


Using innovative staging, physicality and multimedia, internationally renowned company Idle Motion piece together the life of an exceptional woman, glimpsed through the lost photographs she risked her life to take. In Shooting With Light the company explore the complex relationship between memories frozen in photographs, and those that compose the coursing, surging flux of human consciousness.


Such an engaging and inventive young company […] this show is as heartfelt and passionate as Taro herself.” Lyn Gardner, The Guardian.


From small beginnings, having met at school, Idle Motion are still only in their mid-20s but already boasting a considerable body of devised physical theatre which often unearths untold stories that need to be heard.


Shooting With Light is at The Civic on Saturday 8 October at 7.30pm. Tickets are £12 full price and £10 concessions.


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


Learning UnlimITed: Naace Conference seeks to unlock children’s learning

  • The Naace Conference for London and South England will be held in October, with the theme, Learning UnlimITed.
  • Research with schools during the development of the event’s content identified several key issues; excessive focus on examinations, issues with infrastructure and an overly prescriptive curriculum
  • Speakers include education experts, academics and teachers, with the opening keynote from Professor Rose Luckin, London Knowledge Lab.


Naace, the association for education technology, today announced its London conference, Learning UnlimITed, to be held on 21 October at Norbury Manor Business and Enterprise College. The conference will bring together a number of outstanding speakers and the event is completely free to attend, ensuring that the crucial messages presented are available to all.


The event programme was compiled through submissions from headteachers, teachers, governors and other education stakeholders from around the UK, ensuring that the topics covered will address the real issues facing schools today.


In determining the programme, research from Naace revealed several key issues: Headteachers and governors are anxious about the excessive focus on examination, placing pressure on both pupils and teachers; teachers highlighted their concerns around what they called an “over-prescriptive curriculum” leaving little time for enrichment or learning outside of the classroom; and business managers are wading through problems with infrastructure, including procurement, connectivity and safeguarding.


The event’s content has been developed to address these issues. The event will be organised into three distinct threads: digital pedagogy and assessment; EdTech procurement and support; and online safety. As well as keynote speeches from educational experts, the conference will also allow attendees to get hands-on with workshops, participate in panel sessions, and get a glimpse into the best practice of similar schools in their use of EdTech.



Mark Chambers, CEO of Naace said: “We wanted to host an event that was accurately tailored to the specific needs of schools, so we took suggestions from a range of education stakeholders about what they wanted to discuss and designed the programme around this. We’re very excited to welcome visitors to the event and we hope that this personalised approach will prove more valuable to those who attend.”


More details of the event programme can be found on the Naace website, and educators from around the UK can get involved before the event and have their say by tweeting to @Naace with the hashtag #NaaceLon16.


9 out of ten rural schools and academies funded unfairly, says new research

Schools and academies in rural towns and villages are under more intense financial pressure than their urban counterparts according to new research, with 93% of rural-based leaders believing their institution is unfairly funded compared to others across the country.

A study of 142 school leaders* conducted this month by HCSS Education, a leading education finance specialist, found that for two thirds (67%) of schools and academies, managing budgets has become significantly more difficult. For rural school leaders this rises significantly to 81%.

When asked about balancing the books, half of rural schools and academies (49%) admitted to dipping into financial reserves in the past three years compared to a third (34%) based in urban areas.

The vast majority (93%) of school and academy leaders in rural locations also said the current flat funding structure has impacted their pupils, with staffing cuts being the top contributing factor.  Less than two thirds (61%) of leaders in urban schools and academies expressed the same concern.

In a bid to make school and academy funding fairer, the Government has committed to implementing the national funding formula (NFF) from 2018-19. It will see some schools receiving increased funding but others facings cuts. When asked about this, just over half (56%) of school leaders believe the NFF is the most effective way to address financial issues in schools and academies. Over half of countryside schools and academies (56%) anticipicate an increase in funding when the policy is introduced, compared to less than a quarter (24%) in urban settings.

Howard Jackson, head of education and founder of HCSS Education, said: “School and academy leaders across the country are really feeling the effects of increasing costs and uncertainties over future funding, but our research shows that this is all the more profound for those in our rural towns and villages. Around half of them have experienced a budget deficit in the past three years and many believe budgetary pressures are impacting their pupils.

“We spoke to leaders from all corners of the country and worryingly the vast majority said they were concerned about the future finances of their school or academy. At the same time, there are steps budget managers can take to forecast robustly and plan ahead effectively. To make this easier, there are a number of financial management tools available that have been specifically designed for the education sector to help school leaders effectively manage their budgets.”

HCSS Education has released this new research to mark the launch of its innovative new accounting software which is currently being used by over 120 schools and academies across the UK. Launched earlier this month, HCSS Accounting is the first completely online accounting package designed solely for the education sector. The cloud-based software allows users access from anywhere, at anytime, and it’s been developed to be extremely easy to use, so no prior accounting training is needed.

For more information, please visit