HCSS Education founder hands over the reins after dedicating over 35 years to the education sector


A leading education finance specialist is retiring from HCSS Education after contributing over 35 years of experience to the education sector.

Howard Jackson, head of education and founder of HCSS Education, part of Access Group, is retiring at the end of December following decades of experience, with roles including internal audit, school business manager and finance director.

He first set up the company in the back bedroom of his home in Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire in 1993. Since then, HCSS Education has grown to become a successful business, employing over 80 people and boasting an impressive portfolio of software solutions, training and consultancy services.

Macclesfield-based HCSS Education was acquired by Access Group in December 2015 and over the past 12 months, Howard has worked to help drive the business forward and launch the UK’s first online school financial accounting software, HCSS Accounting.

Adam Brown, chief commercial officer of Access Group, said: “Howard’s leadership and passion has positively influenced many people from school heads, administrators and teachers, to HCSS and Access employees, business partners and resellers. It has been a real pleasure working with Howard and his drive, passion and leadership will be greatly missed.

“We’re pleased that he will still be involved with HCSS, sharing his insights and experience and supporting key activities as the company moves forwards.

“I would like to thank him for choosing Access as the new home of his business and we wish him all the best with his business ventures and spending more time with his family.”

In July 2015, Howard was awarded a Fellowship of the National Association of School Business Management and he is also the author of a nationally circulated document on financial planning published by the DfE, Strategic Planning: The Key to Financial Sustainability.

Howard is also the founder and original chairman of the Northern Bursars Group and was previously a non-executive director of the National Bursars Association.

Aside from his entrepreneurial interests, in 2014 Howard established the charity The School Bus Foundation, which aims to provide disadvantaged children and young people in mainstream education with opportunities that can make a positive difference to their lives.

For more information, please visit www.hcsseducation.co.uk

Manchester Metropolitan University brings stunning 10K brightness to large lecture theatres with Sony laser projectors




 Manchester Metropolitan University is one of the largest campus-based universities in the UK and one of the most extensive education centres in Europe. With a history dating back 150 years, the University combines both a traditional and contemporary setting, providing an inspirational environment to its student population of over 36,000. The University is committed to a strong future and has invested £350 million into its buildings and facilities.

The Challenge

 The University has over 600 technology-equipped rooms of various sizes, including lecture theatres, IT labs, smaller classrooms and meeting rooms, and keeping the technology infrastructure up to date for an institution this size, is no easy task. As part of the large scale upgrade of the University’s facilities, they decided to install a state of the art projection solution into their largest lecture theatre which also serves as an exhibition hall.


This lecture theatre houses a variety of events, fashion shows and conferences, creating a very complex set of requirements for AV solutions.

The projectors in this specific location are positioned high up on the ceilings, and previous solutions required considerable downtime and effort for maintenance, lamp and filter changes. This is why a key priority for the University was finding an efficient projection solution that requires virtually zero maintenance. Aging lamp based projectors, which take a lot of time and energy to run smoothly, didn’t suit the needs and pressures of this modern-day educational institution.

Instead, Manchester Metropolitan required a solution which would deliver hours of maintenance-free use, and this is why the AV team turned to Sony’s laser projectors to deliver the reliable solution that would guarantee years of operation. The other key deciding factor in the implementation was the University’s requirement for impeccable picture quality that the Sony projectors deliver effortlessly.

 The Sony solution

Sony has unrivalled expertise when it comes to AV technology solutions and understands how to create a state of the art solution that will fulfil every industry’s requirements, let it be creating an engaging learning environment through rich multimedia platforms or providing the most advanced technologies for corporate and exhibition spaces.

In conjunction with Manchester Metropolitan’s AV team and Roche AV (Integrator), Sony designed and implemented a solution that features six VPL-FHZ65 3LCD WUXGA laser projectors with a colour brightness of 6,000 lumens.

Four laser projectors were installed in the University’s exhibition hall. By stacking four (2×2) 6,000 lumens projectors front facing as well as back facing, they were able to create a stunning, approximately 10K lumens image to impress students as well as event attendees.

Two further projectors were installed in lecture theatres, creating an immersive, informative education environment that brings presentations up-to-date.

Results to date

The striking 10K images produced have engaged the students, academics and event visitors alike, enabling the University not only to provide an inspiring learning environment, but also to compete with the most modern corporate venues for high profile events and exhibitions.

Feedback on the picture quality has been very positive, living up to the expectations of delivering a reliable and solid image with exceptional colour rendition. The expected virtually maintenance free lifetime will increase the TCO of laser technology, allowing Manchester Metropolitan to capitalise on minimal downtime while safe in the knowledge that image quality will remain throughout the projector’s lifespan.

Why Sony was selected

The VPL-FHZ65 laser projectors cater perfectly to the University’s unique needs, as these projectors are ideal for a wide range of business, education and general presentation applications. The impeccable colour rendition was the main deciding factor for the AV team to choose laser technology.  Sony’s powerful Z-Phosphor laser light source, teamed with advanced BrightEra 3LCD projection engine was chosen as it delivers extremely bright, crisp WUXGA resolution images with powerful 6,000 lumens maximum light output and rich, stable colours.

The projectors that were selected fit seamlessly into the environment, offering exceptional brightness, zoom and throw range, coupled with wide lens shift range, meaning they can perform where other projectors would struggle – even in high ambient light. The stunning 10K image produced, is seamlessly blended from the multiple projectors, creating a super-sized, beautiful picture.

But implementing a solution with virtually zero maintenance operation for up to 20,000 hours* without the worry of sudden lamp failure, was most important factor for the University. The automated filter system cuts the hassle of regular dust cleaning and the range of energy-saving features future proof Manchester Metropolitan’s investment, significantly driving down total lifetime ownership costs.

*Actual hours may vary depending on usage environment.

Neil Anderson, ITS Campus Technology at Manchester Metropolitan University, commented on the solution selected: “It was important for the University to find a solution that maintained a high performance, excellent image quality and compatibility with our existing technologies. We wanted projectors that were reliable while producing a solid image with good colour rendition. After seeing a demo of Sony’s projectors, we were convinced that laser technology was the right decision for our unique requirements and the solution has lived up to our high expectations. We are looking forward to further developing our campus technology in the years to come”.


S C H O O L O F R O C K – T H E M U S I C A L






14th December 2016: Following the critically acclaimed West End opening last month of School of Rock – The Musical, Andrew Lloyd Webber announces that from today, academic schools in the UK & Eire can obtain the rights, free of charge, to create and perform their own productions of his latest show.  A first for a newly opened Andrew Lloyd Webber West End production, the announcement demonstrates his ongoing commitment to promoting the arts and music in schools and the positive impact this has on children.


Andrew Lloyd Webber said:  “Bringing School of Rock to the stage has been one of the most joyous experiences of my career.  The show combines my love of rock music with a story that exemplifies my long held belief that music can change young people’s lives in a hugely positive way, and I’m delighted that we are able to make our schools licence so quickly available.  I encourage teachers and their students to pick up their instruments, get going on the script and show the world everything they’ve got to give.”


The rights, free for school productions, will include education packs and music materials.  For further information please visit www.schoolofrockthemusical.co.uk/schools

Lloyd Webber’s West End production of School of Rock – The Musical began previews at the New London Theatre last month and has subsequently been hailed by audiences and critics.  The production has now extended public booking to 9 April 2017, with school groups exclusively able to book until the end of the academic year in July 2017.


Based on the smash hit 2003 film of the same title, School of Rock features music from the movie, as well as new music written by Andrew Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Glenn Slater and a book by Julian FellowesSchool of Rock – The Musical is directed by Laurence Connor with choreography by JoAnn M. Hunter, set and costume designs by Anna Louizos, lighting design by Natasha Katz, sound design by Mick Potter, music supervision by John Rigby with Matt Smith as musical director.


The musical follows slacker and wannabe rock star Dewey Finn turn a class of straight-A 10 year old students into an ear popping, riff scorching, all conquering rock band. Dewey poses as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school to make ends meet, and when he discovers his fifth graders’ musical talents, he enlists his class to form a rock group and conquer the Battle of the Bands. As Dewey falls for the beautiful headmistress, can he and his students keep this special assignment secret as they learn to fully embrace the power of rock?


School of RockThe Musical received its world premiere in New York at the Winter Garden Theatre in November 2015 where it continues its smash hit run.  Having broken house records, the production subsequently garnered 20 Broadway theatre awards nominations including four at the 2016 Tony Awards – Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score and Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical.   A national Company will launch a US Tour in the Autumn of 2017, playing coast-to-coast engagements across America.


13th December 2016                                                                                                                                                        /more…






The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation believes that in order to maintain vibrancy in the arts, it is critical that the new generation of potential artists are nurtured and encouraged. Recognising that these are difficult economic times to get a start in artistic life, the Trustees prioritise projects that enable people to develop their abilities and careers.  www.andrewlloydwebberfoundation.com


Produced by Paramount Pictures, the 2003 hit film School of Rock was directed by Richard Linklater and starred Jack Black in a career-defining performance.


Sainsbury’s is proud to partner with School of Rock – The Musical. For the duration of the production, all school uniform will be provided by Tu Clothing from Sainsbury’s. Featuring quality design details such as Teflon fabrics, perfect creases, permanent pleats and long-lasting colour, Tu Clothing ensures that school uniforms will look as good as new night after night.


School of Rock — The Musical is produced in the West End by Andrew Lloyd Webber for The Really Useful Group and Warner Music Group & Access Industries with Madeleine Lloyd Webber as Executive Producer.




Theatre:                               New London Theatre, 166 Drury Lane, London WC2B 5PW

Dates:                                   currently booking to 9 April 2017

Performances:                  Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7.30pm, Thursday and Saturday 2.30pm, Sundays at 3pm

See website for Christmas schedule

Prices:                                   £25.00 – £75.00

Student rush tickets for £10 on Wednesday evenings.

All ticket prices include a £1.50 restoration levy.  No booking fee via official box office channels

Box Office:                       0844 811 0052

Website:                              www.SchoolOfRockTheMusical.co.uk

Twitter & Instagram:      @SchoolofRockuk

Facebook:                           facebook.com/schoolofrockmusical

Northern Ireland to showcase its exciting edtech cluster at Bett 2017


  • For the first time there is a Northern Ireland pavilion at Bett, organised by Invest Northern Ireland
  • The pavilion will showcase six of the region’s exciting edtech companies
  • The aim is to promote the breadth and depth of Northern Ireland’s edtech expertise  and increase national and international business relationships


Invest Northern Ireland (Invest NI), the main economic development agency for this part of the UK, will have a Northern Ireland pavilion for the first time at Bett 2017, to showcase six of the region’s exciting and upcoming edtech companies, and to promote trade with Northern Ireland.

Helping new and existing businesses compete internationally, Invest NI is excited to be bringing Go-Berserk, Makematic, Qubizm, Synergy Learning, TakeTen Ltd and Wholeschool Software Ltd to ExCeL London for Bett in January 2017.

The six companies will be showcasing a wealth of edtech expertise and knowledge at the event. Each has its own area of specialism across the primary and secondary education sectors:

  • Go-Berserk develops resources to help teach coding to children from the age of eight;
  • Makematic develops original, engaging and practical short-form video content for use in the classroom – all focused on creative and digital skills;
  • Qubizm specialises in the teaching and learning of mathematics using its active learning device, Izak9;
  • Synergy Learning is a leading provider of open-source learning management system solutions for educational, commercial and public organisations;
  • TakeTen’s app is designed to help develop the skill of self-regulation to help students manage their emotions and improve concentration; and
  • Wholeschool Software is an education platform that supports school improvement, integrated learning and online training.


Alison Gowdy, director of trade at Invest NI, explains why exhibiting at Bett was a priority for the organisation: “Globally, we’ve certainly seen a boom in the edtech sector recently and this has had a ripple effect on Northern Ireland.  Our growing edtech cluster is well positioned to take advantage of the projected growth in the global market.  Bett is a leading edtech exhibition with global reach, so it’s the perfect platform for these companies to share their vision with the rest of the world.


“We’re looking forward to speaking to visitors, exhibitors and education game-changers at the show, and exploring the ways in which we can work together going forward.”

Visit the Northern Ireland pavilion at Bett, Stand C105 or visit InvestNI.com/Bett for more information.


Heathfield Academy Trust, a Multi-Academy Trust in Darlington, has put forward an application to the Department for Education to open a brand new free school in Catterick.

Cambrai Community Primary School would be the first in the North Yorkshire area for the MAT, which currently comprises five schools – Heathfield Primary School, Hurworth Primary School, Northwood Primary School, Corporation Road Community Primary School and Mount Pleasant Primary School.

The school, set to be based on the former Darlington College site on Catterick Road, would be for children aged between three and eleven years. Plans include a primary school and a nursery and, if the application is successful, the school will open in September 2018.

Nick Blackburn, chief executive of Heathfield Academy Trust, said: “Catterick is an area of local need and North Yorkshire County Council has indicated that there is expected to be a shortfall of 730 primary school places in the area. In addition, the MoD has proposed 315 additional service families homes by 2019 in the surrounding area, accelerating the demand for primary places.

“At Heathfield Academy Trust, we have a vision for a highly successful family of schools where children are supported educationally, socially and practically to achieve their highest potential in school and in life. We are truly inclusive and aim to make the biggest difference to the whole child and the local community.

“We also have a strong track record of partnership working and offer a broad and balanced curriculum which nurtures young people’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, helping them through life situations. The Multi-Academy Trust has a strong capacity to make a great success of the proposed free school and we look forward to the decision being made in early 2017.”

County Councillor Arthur Barker said: “A housing development in Catterick Garrison, Richmondshire will, we anticipate, create the need for significant additional primary school places after 2018.  Discussions have taken place with schools, parents and the wider community in the area to understand their views about how the additional provision might be made.

“In March it was decided that the additional primary school places to serve the developments should be provided in the form of a new Primary Academy from September 2018 and, as a result, work should commence to secure an academy sponsor. In addition, consideration was to be given to the existing accommodation at Le Cateau, Hipswell and Colburn Primary Schools to ensure that all additional places required could be provided. Additional capacity will now be available at these primary schools from September 2017.

“North Yorkshire County Council supports the application from Heathfield Academy Trust, which already sponsors a number of schools near Catterick and who the DfE identified as a potential sponsor for the new school in Catterick.

“Although happy to support the application from Heathfield Academy Trust, we understand that it is a competitive process and that a final decision on the sponsor will be taken by the Secretary of State.”

For more information on Heathfield Academy Trust visit http://heathfieldacademytrust.com/




Two primary school pupils have invented their own Wonka-inspired sweets to win a national competition marking the centenary of Roald Dahl’s birth.

Alfie Richards, 8, from Irthlingborough in Northants, and Raiya Mann, 7, from London scooped the top prizes in Discovery Education’s Sweet Inventions Competition, which encouraged children to step into the shoes of the fictional chocolatier and win the chance to see their designs displayed at the Roald Dahl Museum.

Alfie impressed judges with ‘Magi-Choc’, a colour-changing, shape-shifting chocolate bar designed to trick teachers and parents. Alfie, who attends Irthlingborough Junior School in Wellingborough, took first prize in the KS2 category.

Raiya, a pupil at Glendower Prep School, in London, was crowned KS1 winner for her ‘Marvellous Morphing Melties’, incredible fizzy sweets that make children shrink and grow!

As part of their prize, Raiya and Alfie have been invited to Discovery HQ in London to see their artwork turned into professionally designed posters. The talented winners will see their designs featured in a special exhibition at the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Great Missenden Buckinghamshire next year. They will also receive a set of 15 Roald Dahl books for themselves and their school.

Natalie Wallace, Learning Manager at the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre said:

“The judges were really impressed with Raiya and Alfie’s entries, which reflected many of the themes in Roald Dahl’s books and showed real creativity.”

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

“We were delighted with the number of competition entries and amazed by the imagination and creativity on display. It’s clear that Roald Dahl continues to inspire our children, and the judges had great fun immersing themselves in the world of one of his best-loved characters.”

Over 2600 pupils took part in the Sweet Inventions Competition, which was launched in September alongside new resources in Discovery Education Espresso’s award-winning digital learning service. Created in partnership with the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Buckinghamshire, the new multi-media content brings Dahl’s work to life for a new generation of learners.

The Roald Dahl module is available now to schools with a Discovery Education Espresso subscription. With content closely aligned to the National Curriculum, the module supports the teaching and learning of Key Stage 2 English Objectives. Schools interested in a free trial of the Discovery Education Espresso service can request one here.

Sir Ken Robinson, Heston Blumenthal and Sir Tony Robinson to speak at Bett 2017


  • The Bett Arena will host educators from across the globe, gathering on the show’s centre stage for a passionate, open, knowledgeable and entertaining look at how we can create a better future through education.
  • Visitors will be given practical advice, insight, inspiration and tools to help them become educational game-changers.
  • Speakers will include Sir Ken Robinson, Heston Blumenthal, Karen Blackett, Ed Stafford, Sir Tony Robinson, Professor Stephen Heppell, and Eric Sheninger.


Each day at Bett, attendees will see a different selection of speakers taking to the stage in the Bett Arena. Here’s an overview of who you can expect to see each day…


Wednesday 25 January

2.30-3.15: Teachers Maarit Rossi and Kazaya Takahashi will host a panel discussion made up of Global Teacher Prize winners and finalists, discussing what makes a world-class teacher.


3.30-4.00: Saku Tuominen, founder of HundrED, and Kate Robinson, editor in chief at HundrED, will explore why it is that change struggles to spread, and share insights on how to successfully embed new practices and approaches.


4.30-5.15: Karen Blackett, chair at Mediacom, and Elspeth Finch, founder at Indigo&, will lead a panel of prominent women from across the creative sector, gathering to discuss the issues faced and explore potential solutions to some of the biggest challenges in the industry.


5.30-6.15: David Faulkner, founder at Education Changemakers, will host a session in which six start-ups from the Bett Futures 2017 cohort face some of the greatest names in education and technology. Which of them will survive the encounter and which one will receive, based on the audience vote, the title of Bett 2017’s ‘One to Watch’?


Thursday 26 January

11.30-12.15: Ed Stafford, renowned adventurer, explorer and broadcaster, will share his views on why the spirit of exploration is so important in today’s world, underlining the importance of technology in encouraging children’s natural curiosity and desire to learn.

1.30-2.15: Professor Stephen Heppell, renowned educationalist and CEO of Heppell.net, will share stories of some transformational bottom-up projects making an impact in today’s educational landscape.

3.30-4.15: Dr Ger Graus, education director at Kidzania, will examine facts, thoughts and aspirations about a careers curriculum fit for the 21st Century and its children.


5.30-6.15: Sir Tony Robinson, actor, presenter and historian, will share stories from his stellar career, explaining how a fascination for history and sense of adventure have inspired his own quest for learning.


Friday 27 January

10.30-11.15: Eric Sheninger, senior fellow at International Centre for Leadership in Education, will reveal innovative research-based practices that you can implement to bring back a sense of awe to learning, and explain why awe is so important in the classroom.


1.30-2.15: Heston Blumenthal, celebrity chef, will argue that creativity offers us the opportunity to explore and discover, and children – even teachers – should not be afraid to ask questions, or to fail. If you question nothing you lose the essence of what it is to be human, because ultimately, we are imaginative beings.

Saturday 28 January

10.30-11.15: Professor Stephen Heppell will explain why, if technology is to keep on making learning better in the way we have seen throughout the life of Bett, it needs to be happening from the bottom up. Luckily, there is much that can be done in families, by parents and guardians, and children, to bring learning alive. This talk will explore what is possible, and happening, today.


2.30-3.15: Zach Shelby, CEO at micro:bit foundation, will talk about micro:bit a year since its launch to one million young people in the UK, where the diminutive device has had a scale of impact beyond imagination. Now, micro:bit is being launched around the globe, and Zach will share his vision for the future of micro:bit and why it’s important for generations of young people to come.


Bett 2017 is free to attend and will take place from Wednesday 25 to Saturday 28 January 2017 at ExCeL London. For more information or to register, please visit www.bettshow.com. You can also follow the conversation on Twitter @Bett_Show.  

Kortext signs up four UK universities to its digital learning platform


An innovative edtech start-up that enables students to access textbooks electronically from any device has added four UK universities to its growing customer base.


Bournemouth-based Kortext has won contracts with the University of Leeds, Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Worcester and the University of Strathclyde to provide students with its learning platform which enables access to thousands of digital textbooks, anytime, anywhere and on any device. Students will also benefit from other features such as note taking, online group collaboration and referencing.


The new business wins come at an exciting time for Kortext, which has also been appointed to the NICE Electronic and Print Content Framework Agreement. As a NICE framework content provider Kortext can supply medical and healthcare related ebooks to the NHS and other eligible healthcare organsisations.


In response to this significant growth, Kortext has expanded its growing team, appointing nationally recognised educational specialists, such as Glenn Thomas, as regional sales manager. Glenn will lead on working with university leaders to implement Kortext, providing ongoing support with training staff and students on the learning platform.


Kortext currently works in partnership with more than 40 UK universities, enabling students to access over 350,000 digital textbooks from more than 650 academic publishers, online or offline on any device. In addition to this, Kortext provides an analytics dashboard for universities, enabling them to see how students are engaging with their course content and identify learning trends.


Andy Alferovs, managing director of Kortext, said: “After becoming the UK’s leading provider of digital textbook solutions and seeing the size of the team double over the past three years, we’re really excited to continue working in partnership with some of the most prestigious universities and institutions in the country.


“Establishing these key partnerships offers us a real opportunity to transform education in an innovative way that’s suited to today’s ‘digital natives,’ ensuring that more students than ever have access to the most convenient and cost effective tools for learning.”


For more information, please visit www.kortext.com

Bright poor kids with the same GCSEs as their wealthier neighbours are far less likely to go to university



New report finds social background has a negative impact on educational choices made by children at the age of 16


Bright children from poorer backgrounds are far less likely to go to university or study A-levels that could get them into top universities than their wealthier counterparts – even if they live in the same neighbourhood and achieve similar results at GCSE.


New research by the Social Mobility Commission has uncovered a progression gap between choices made by children on free school meals and their more affluent peers which cannot be explained by their results at school or where they live.


It found that just 24 per cent of children eligible for free school meals attend higher education compared to 42 per cent of children from more privileged backgrounds.

Poorer children are also twice as likely to drop out of education at 16 and are more than half as less likely to study A-levels that could get them into a top university.


The research, carried out for the Commission by Education Datalab, investigates the post 16 choices of children by social and geographical background, gender and ethnicity. The study explores all educational choices by all students who took GCSEs in the summer of 2010 by linking three national databases for the first time.


By taking into account factors such as where a child lives and their attainment at school, the research provides a unique analysis of how educational choices made at the age of 16 can have a deep impact on a child’s future career and earnings.


The report finds that GCSE attainment and geographical access to post 16 courses explains some of the gap in choices made by children from different backgrounds. But it also uncovers significant differences between poorer children and wealthier children living in the same neighbourhood with the same GCSEs results.


Overall, the research finds that around a quarter of the progression gap – the different choices made by children after leaving school – is purely down to social background.


Previous research has suggested that children from poorer backgrounds are less likely to have access to the knowledge and networks to help them make optimal education and career choices after leaving school.


In its recent State of the Nation report, the Social Mobility Commission called for more careers advice in schools, and better destinations data to hold schools to account for the guidance they give young people.


The report concluded that Britain has a deep social mobility problem which is getting worse for an entire generation of young people. It found that for every young person who gets into university from a treadmill or just managing family background, seven do not.


This new research also reveals stark geographical inequalities in the choices of institutions available to young people. It finds that there are 20 areas of the country with little, or no, school sixth form provision within a commutable distance. In these areas, there are significantly lower percentages of pupils studying academic qualifications at 16, attending a top university or studying for a science or maths degree compared to similar areas.


It also identifies the North East and the South West as having the fewest institutions for young people to choose from, which may be a significant factor in why post-16 and destinations outcomes are so poor in these regions. Whilst young people growing up on London have, on average, 12 post-16 institutions to choose from, those in the North East and the South West only have an average of seven colleges or sixth forms they could commute to.


Other key findings are:


  • White British students are far less likely to go to university than ethnic minority students: Indian (72 per cent), Pakistani/Bangladeshi (57 per cent), Black (72 per cent) and White British (36 per cent). Participation differences between White British and other ethnic groups who live in the same neighbourhood and with the same GCSE attainment are even more pronounced.
  • White British students are more likely to drop out of post 16 education than ethnic minority students: Indian (3 per cent), Pakistani/Bangladeshi (8 per cent), Black (7 per cent) and White British (10 per cent)
  • Female pupils are 8 per cent more likely to attend university than males (44 per cent versus 36 per cent). However, although female participation rates at top selective universities are slightly higher (10 per cent versus 9 per cent for boys), they are less likely to attend these universities than a boy from the same neighbourhood with the same GCSEs.


Alan Milburn, Chair of the Social Mobility Commission, said: “When low income youngsters from the same area with the same school results are progressing less than their better-off classmates, that is not about lack of ability. It is about lack of opportunity. The progression gap has many causes but it suggests something is going badly wrong in our education system.


“The lack of proper careers advice in schools and the sheer complexity of the post-16 education and training system make it particularly difficult for lower income youngsters to translate their attainment at school into qualifications that are well rewarded in the labour market.


“That has significant consequences for social mobility and leads to many young people becoming trapped in low skilled, low paid jobs. Government and schools should be working to create more of a level playing field of opportunity for youngsters to progress.”


Dr Rebecca Allen, Director of Education Datalab, said: “The age of 16 marks the first point in most individual’s educational lives where opportunities and choice can become markedly diverse.


“Our research reminds policy makers that they should pay attention both to geographical disparities in access to high quality post-16 provision and to understanding the reasons why students with identical opportunities make very different choices.”


For further information, please contact


Kirsty Walker, the Social Mobility Commission, on 020 7227 5371 / 07768 446167 or kirsty.walker@education.gov.uk

Changing mindsets at Bett 2017:


EDLounge to unveil two exciting new resources

  • EDLounge to unveil two exciting new resources at Bett 2017: EDExam and EDQuals
  • EDExams is an all-in-one online exam and assessment platform that allows any size organisation or governing body requiring the use of online examinations to create their own examination.
  • EDQuals is a pioneering assessment, coursework and verification portal that can be used by any school, educational organisation, training provider or governing body.

Shortlisted for two prestigious Bett Awards in January 2017, EDLounge, a unique and comprehensive platform that offers students who struggle with mainstream education the opportunity to access learning, will be launching its two newest resources at the show: EDExam and EDQuals.

EDExams is an all-in-one online exam and assessment platform that allows any size organisation or governing body requiring the use of online examinations to create their own examination. The clever system also enables users to closely manage centres, candidates, exam papers, exam sittings and marking. Mock exams can also be issued through the system, providing students with real practice opportunities, and helping them to identify and work on any knowledge gaps.

EDQuals is a pioneering assessment, coursework and verification portal that can be used by any school, educational organisation, training provider or governing body. The unique platform allows coursework to be submitted online, delivers assessment for qualification, monitors and tracks student progress, and provides instant verification and sampling.

Ex-teacher and founder of EDLounge, Sam Warnes, explains why he’s excited to unveil the company’s newest offering: “When we first set up EDLounge in 2009, our objective was simple: give students who struggle with mainstream education the opportunity to access learning. Academic success and achievement shouldn’t be reserved only for those students sitting within the classroom walls; our aim is to ensure that this doesn’t happen! For me, it’s all about ‘changing mindsets’; once teachers see the real impact EDLounge can have on students, their buy-in is phenomenal. We’re currently in over 140 schools across the country, all of which have seen incredible results to date. We’re excited to show visitors to Bett what we’ve been working tirelessly on over the past twelve months.

Pop by Stand E95 at Bett to speak to Sam or any of the EDLounge team, who will be happy to give you a personal demonstration of any of the exciting products in their impressive suite, and learn more about how EDLounge could benefit your school.

Visit https://www.edlounge.com for more information.