Evo Hannan MYP Design Teacher and Martyn Hale Chairman at HME Technology

When world trade is in an economic downturn countries around the world look to ensuring employment of the population and manufacturing is the key.

GEMS Education in Al Khail delivers high quality education with an international outlook – critical in an increasingly competitive global environment.  The state of the art learning facility’s multi-faceted approach to learning prepares students for the rigors of higher learning and equips them with the skills and versatility they require for professional employment.

Design, Technology and Science equipment specialist with over 30 years’ experience, HME Technology Limited secured the contract to supply, install and commission the Art, Textiles, Graphics and Design & Technology suite.  The investment of furniture and machines will enable the students to learn using plastics, wood, metal and materials in both computer aided design and manufacture.

HME Technology Limited Chairman Martyn Hale had the pleasure of recently attending the school to deliver the departmental staff and Mr Evo Hannan the head of the Design & Technology, their certification and accreditation following the HME training on use of the machinery especially computer numerical controlled 3D printing, laser cutting, routing and lathe machinery.

Commenting Martyn records that the visual impact on parents who visit the school will recognise their children will be well prepared with the introductory skills for future employment when facilities as advanced as here are being fully utilised. It also reflects on the skill of the teaching staff to be able to use maybe 15 to 20 different machines over a period of a term. Those are the challenges teachers of the subject rise to deliver a sound teaching curriculum.

Further Mr Hannan welcomed the presentation of his set of ‘Teacher Task Sheets’ based on 14 machines to assist his delivery of the curriculum, these were developed by HME using the expertise of a range of D&T professionals in England. These cover health and safety and key facets of each machine especially 3D printers, and support Mr Hannan to meet the curriculum.

Kevin Hughes HME accredited trainer emphasised that it is not just about supplying equipment but investing in our key market of design and technology, ensuring we can wherever possible support the teaching staff with resources and maintaining that long term relationship with each school to ensure health and safety is key when using a range of processes and materials.

For more information about HME Technology’s products and services please visit www.hme-tech.com, call 01527 839000 or email contact@hme-tech.com

One million children across England have benefitted from access to arts and culture through Artsmark


Since re-launching in October 2015, Artsmark has now reached one million pupils through over 2,500 schools across England.

Artsmark is the Arts Council’s flagship award for schools. Re-launched in 2015 with a simplified structure, Artsmark champions arts and culture in a growing network of schools across England. The award supports teachers to plan, develop and evaluate high quality arts and cultural education within a broad and balanced curriculum.

Arts and culture have been shown to build confidence, resilience and drive that helps children grow into happy, articulate and succesful young people. Through the award, schools can also provide evidence for how they meet the spiritual, moral, social and cultural requirements for Ofsted.


Darren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England said:

‘This is fantastic news to start the new year with. Through the creative use of arts and culture, Artsmark is bringing learning to life for one million pupils all over England, right across the curriculum. We look forward to supporting even more schools in 2017, and watching the benefits of art and culture positively impact on children’s development.”

Appledore School in Devon has recently been awarded Artsmark Gold. Their Arts Coordinator, Kate Harvey, commented: “Our Artsmark journey has surpassed our expectations. Staff morale is high, we feel colleagues are on board more than ever before. The Arts ‘buzz’ has been infectious. Children, parents and members of the community are excited by all things arts.”

Major new report: school inspections ‘almost totally neglect’ PSHE and SRE


The teaching of personal, social, health, and economic education (PSHE) and sex and relationships education (SRE) in English schools is being ‘fatally neglected’ by inspectors, a major new report by the British Humanist Association (BHA) has revealed – with the subject receiving much less attention than any other.


The Government has recently resisted making PSHE and SRE compulsory, arguing in part that it is unnecessary because Ofsted picks up any inadequate teaching in its inspections. Today’s report has been described by the BHA as ‘completely undermining’ that claim.


Healthy, happy, safe? An investigation into how PSHE and SRE are inspected in English schools analyses over 2000 primary and secondary school inspection reports for 2015/16.


It finds SRE was mentioned by inspectors in less than 1% of reports and PSHE in just 14% of reports, fewer than almost all other established subjects, including history (36%), geography (26%), music (31%), and art (31%).


Ofsted introduced a new inspection framework and handbook in September 2015 which placed greater emphasis on the importance of the personal development, behaviour, and welfare of pupils. At that time, Ofsted’s lead inspector on PSHE stated that ‘the evidence schools provide regarding the effectiveness of their PSHE…is more crucial than ever to informing the judgements inspectors make’.


BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson commented, ‘One of the many ways in which the Government has sought to excuse its failure to make PSHE and SRE compulsory in schools is by insisting that Ofsted is effectively guaranteeing the subject is taught through its inspections. Unfortunately,  as this report demonstrates, that is very clearly not the case.


‘To lay the blame at the feet of Ofsted and its inspectors would be wrong, however. The fact is that the attention given to PSHE by inspectors is entirely commensurate with the importance ascribed to it by government. Ofsted certainly has an important role to play when it comes to PSHE, as it does in other subjects, but the only way that PSHE and SRE will meaningfully improve is if the subject is afforded the statutory status it deserves. Only then can we properly ensure that children are being equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to stay healthy, happy, and safe.’


The report’s other main findings are as follows:


  • Mentions of sexual health, safe sex, and related topics were almost entirely absent from inspectors’ reports, with only 1% of reports referring to these issues
  • Only 1% of reports mentioned issues related to gender, such as gender discrimination, gender stereotyping, or sexism. There were no mentions of sexual harassment or sexual violence at all, despite a recent Women and Equalities Committee report revealing the ‘shocking scale’ of such incidents in schools
  • Consent was mentioned in just two of the more than 2000 reports
  • Pornography, online or otherwise, was mentioned in just a single report, while ‘sexting’ was mentioned in less than 1% of reports, despite having been recently and repeatedly identified as a major area of concern by the Government
  • Homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic (HBT) bullying was addressed in just 14% of reports. This is despite renewed focus by Ofsted on HBT bullying, and a 2014 Stonewall survey finding that 86% of secondary teachers had identified homophobic bullying in their schools
  • There was only one mention of HIV/AIDS in all the reports. It referred to content on ‘emerging economies’ in a ‘geography lesson’


In addition, less than 1% of reports criticised a school’s coverage of PSHE and SRE in any way. This is entirely at odds with the findings of Ofsted’s 2013 report into PSHE, which revealed that the subject’s provision was inadequate in 40% of schools.


In light of the findings, the BHA has called once again for PSHE and SRE to be made compulsory in schools, a move that was previously ruled out by the Department for Education, but now appears to be being revisited.


North of England’s biggest Digital Skills Festival returns to Manchester


The biggest Digital Skills Festival in the North of England returns to Manchester next month to showcase the best and brightest talent the industry has to offer.

Organised by independent digital trade association, Manchester Digital, the four-day event runs from February 14 to February 17 at various locations throughout the city.

As well as offering support to digital businesses and organisations, and valuable hands-on experience to students, the conference aims to promote Manchester as a thriving digital hub and help the region’s businesses recruit and retain talent.

The Digital Skills Conference will take place on the first day of the event, from 10am to 4.30pm at Manchester Town Hall. This year the focus will be on what colleges and universities should be doing to ensure a large and diverse talent pool is available for the digital sector.

The Talent Day, which takes place on February 15 from 11.30am to 3pm at Manchester Town Hall, will provide an opportunity for students and digital workers to get an insight into the sector, view some of the career opportunities available, and network with innovative businesses in the region.

In 2016 more than 1,200 students attended the event looking for opportunities in development, design, project management, digital marketing and UX – among other career options.

There will also be a number of experience days which will help equip students with the skills to build websites, write code and make games, among other things.

The conference will also serve as a platform for the release of the organisation’s 2017 ‘Digital Skills Audit’ results, following on from last year’s survey, which found that nearly two in five digital businesses based in the North had turned away work due to a lack of resources.

The 2016 audit also found:

  • 65% of businesses had struggled to fill developer based roles in the last year
  • 44% of businesses had been forced to inflate salaries to compete for the best talent

Katie Gallagher, managing director at Manchester Digital, said: “The North West has a thriving and talented digital industry, but it has now reached the point where demand is far outstripping the supply of services.

“Our annual skills audit has already highlighted the genuine struggle companies face in filling the growing number of vacancies, and it is essential we expand the talent pool as much as possible to ensure the digital sector continues its upward trajectory.

“This skills conference is an important part of that drive, and has grown steadily since we first launched the event. It serves not only as a proven forum for ideas and development, but is also an effective platform for uncovering the newest digital talent around and making sure they want to stay in the North West.”

AutoTrader, Co-op and CDL are the headline sponsors of this year’s conference.

For more information on this year’s festival go to: https://www.manchesterdigital.com/skills-festival-2017

Studytracks partners with prestigious music and business figures to take app to the next level


  • Studytracks has announced that Cathy Guetta, Fay Arjomandi and Raphael Aflalo have joined the edtech startup’s advisory board with the aim of continuing its rapid development, including plans to partner with renowned music artists.
  • Cathy Guetta and Raphael Aflalo are the co-founders of My Love Affair, an international agency dedicated to bringing together brands and artists. Fay Arjomandi is the former CEO of Vodafone Xone.
  • The app has also recently been updated and now features over 500 songs for both GCSE and AS-level subjects, as well as US SAT.


Highly commended Bett Award finalist and study app, Studytracks, today announced its partnership with three prestigious advisors: Cathy Guetta, Fay Arjomandi and Raphael Aflalo. With this partnership, Studytracks plans to collaborate with globally recognised, contemporary vocal artists to highlight the app’s innovative way of learning. Part of the campaign will see artists record their voices and lend their talents to tracks that will then be available in the app for students to listen to and learn from.

Creative artistic director and internationally acclaimed businesswoman, Cathy Guetta, and expert in communications and digital marketing, Raphael Aflalo, both are affiliated with ‘My Love Affair’, an international agency dedicated to bringing together brands and artists. The two of them, along with Fay Arjomandi, former CEO of Vodafone, have partnered with Studytracks to ensure the app reaches students from all over the world, giving them a fresh and innovative way of studying that fits with a 21st Century lifestyle.

Studytracks, which was founded by Ivor Novello Award winner, George Hammond-Hagan, officially launched in February 2016 and merges music with study materials, creating lyrics or “hooks” relating to a specific exam theme or topic. These hooks become embedded in students’ memories – just like the lyrics to a song – enabling them to recall information easily and effectively.

Within less than a year of launching, the app has already been downloaded by over 40,000 students. It’s most recent update, Studytracks V2.0, launched in September 2016 and now includes greater functionality, integration, and over 500 songs within various UK GCSE, UK AS-level subjects and US SAT.


Founder of Studytracks, George Hammond-Hagan, said, “Studytracks’ success within its first year has far exceeded our expectations and we have lots more exciting developments on the way. Our partnership with Cathy, Fay and Raphael will take the app to the next level. Naturally, students love listening to music and current artists, so by combining our method of study with international artist involvement, we can engage students even further and help them retain and recall information in exam situations.”


Cathy Guetta and Raphael Aflalo have collaborated with some of the biggest names in the music industry, including David Guetta, Will.I.Am and Justin Bieber. Cathy commented, ”Studytracks brings together two great passions of mine: music and education. Like a lot of people, it has always been easy for me to memorise the lyrics of my favourite songs, and this is why it is helping lots of students too.”


Raphael continued, “It’s important that students enjoy learning – this is why Studytracks has already been so well received by schools and students! I’m excited to take it to the next level now and see how we can make the app even more appealing to today’s students.”


Fay Arjomandi, former CEO of Vodafone Xone, has also joined Studytracks’ strategic board. George said, “Fay has worked closely with start-ups, new businesses and tech for over a decade, and has some very impressive accomplishments under her belt; this gives her ample opportunity to advise us on Studytracks and our path forward. Her involvement is a reinforcement of our willingness to succeed in delivering a global edtech proposition that becomes an integral part of every student’s learning.”

To find out more, visit www.studytracks.education/

MIT’s Curious Learning takes literacy learning global

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30 January 2017: Global literacy project Curious Learning is on a mission to bring 100 million children to fluent literacy by 2025 by utilising mobile technology for learning.


Created by leading researchers from MIT Media Lab (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Tufts University and Georgia State University, Curious Learning is transforming mobile devices into a literacy solution, so every child can learn to read – with or without a teacher.


Through the distribution of tablet computers loaded with a software package of literacy apps, Curious Learning is reaching economically disadvantaged communities around the world to improve the early reading skills of young children.


Curious Learning tablets contain a collection of literacy, writing and language apps and are currently being used by over 4,000 children in eight countries including Ethiopia, America, and South Africa. To date, the results of children using the tablets have proven to accelerate reading acquisition by up to two years.


One of the UK-based partner apps, Froggy Match-it, is an educational phonics game that ensures improvement in reading and spelling for children aged 4-6.  Former schoolteachers Lynn and Graham Lettice created Froggy Match-it after noticing the advantages of kinaesthetic learning on mobile devices, and were thrilled to have their app chosen by Curious Learning to feature on the tablets.


Lynn Lettice of Froggy Match-it said, “We recognise how the interactive nature of tablets and phones is ideal for learning regardless of the social, economical and geographical challenges many children face. Our mission is to get more children reading and our partnership with Curious Learning is enabling Froggy Match-it to do so on an international scale.”


Stephanie Gottwald, PhD, Co-Founder and Director of Content at Curious Learning said, “Curious Learning is changing the lives of children in Ethiopia, India and South Africa, as they learn fundamental early literacy skills and are on their way to becoming readers. Apps like Froggy Match-it are an indispensable part of this effort. Engaging game play around letters and sounds keep kids learning and reinforce the fundamental skills that are their first steps on the path to reading.”
Using research capabilities from MIT and other leading universities, the effectiveness of the learning apps is measured to ensure the continuous improvement of every child’s learning and to reach their aim of spreading literacy on a global scale.


For more information on Curious Learning, please visit http://www.curiouslearning.org/


Froggy Match-it is available to download on the App Store and Android. For more information visit http://www.froggy-match-it.co.uk/


A festival celebrating one of the most successful video games will help North East parents to keep their youngsters safe online.

Nethermined – an unofficial event around the game Minecraft – will be held in Newcastle for the third time on Feb 11-12 at Northumbria University Students’ Union.

And along with giving fans of the game the opportunity to be involved in a wide range of activities including playing Minecraft, meeting some of the top YouTube gamers and taking part in workshops, special sessions have also been put in place for parents.

A special Parents Zone has been set up as part of this year’s event, where parents can get valuable tips about protecting their children who play games online, as well as learning more about their youngsters’ favourite games.

Organiser Michelle Poller, who set up the festival three years ago for her daughter who was too young to go to official Minecraft events on her own, added that Nethermined also has a strong educational value.

“It’s not just about playing games for fun,” said Michelle, from Newcastle.

“Minecraft is now widely recognised as a virtual reality educational tool and we have brought in a number of experts, including IT Educator of the year 2015, Joel Mills, who will be showcasing the way virtual reality can be used in education.

“We are hoping that this will also attract schools from across the region who should find it extremely useful.”

To allow more people to attend organisers have also now released a family ticket for £60 which can be used by two adults and two children, or one adult and three children.

For more information email info@nethermined.com or to buy tickets visit http://www.nethermined.com/tickets

Multi-Academy Trusts spend less on expenses and more on teaching staff

  • Secondary schools within MATs are spending £49 per pupil less on running expenses than LA schools
  • MATs spend £23 more per pupil on teaching staff at primary level than LA schools
  • Further savings made when geographic “clusters” of MAT schools reach “critical mass”
  • Technology used to overcome geographical barriers, delivering efficiencies and cost savings


Joining or establishing a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) can result in economies of scale and efficiency savings, concludes new research by the Education Policy Institute (EPI). Overall, MATs spend less per pupil on running expenses and more on teaching staff than local authority (LA) schools, according to the report: “The Economic Benefits of Joining or Establishing a Multi-Academy Trust”, prepared for Stone Group, IT solutions provider for the public sector.


Running expenses, which includes everything from back office and administrative costs to cleaning and catering, are a significant part of school expenditure. At secondary level, schools in MATs spend £1,490 per pupil compared to £1,539 in LA schools – that’s a saving of £49 per pupil. Savings are also made at primary level but this figure reduces to £6 per pupil, but per pupil expenditure on teaching staff in primary schools in MATs is still £23 per pupil higher than in LA schools.


With larger MATs (those comprising of 11 academies up to around 70) having higher average academy distances, the report identified how technology can help overcome geographical barriers, improve efficiencies and reduce costs.


Geography is significant in determining the extent to which economies of scale exist, with schools in MATs more closely clustered spending less per pupil on back office costs. The report finds that costs rise by 0.5 pence per pupil per km. But size matters – medium sized MATs (6 to 10 academies) spend less than smaller MATs (5 or fewer).


Author of the report, Jon Andrews, Director for School System and Performance at the Education Policy Institute, commented:


“As the number of academies continues to grow, multi-academy trusts are playing an increasingly important role in education in England. As schools come under increasing pressure to find efficiencies, our analysis looks specifically at the extent to which schools joining multi-academy trusts can save money through ‘economies of scale’.


“We find that secondary schools in MATs are currently spending £49 per pupil less on running costs than local authority schools and that MATs can save money by standardising practices and services including computer systems.


“This effect is strongest once MATs reach a critical mass of around 3-6 academies. There is however, striking variation in back office spending between MATs of similar sizes, suggesting that there is potential to further reduce costs. If more MATs are able to realise these savings, it will mean more money for teaching and learning.”


Simon Harbridge, CEO at Stone Group, commented, “Protagonists of MATs have pointed to the financial benefits gained through economies of scale. But, until now, this was largely unproven and unquantifiable. The EPI report confirms what we believed to be true. By pooling resources, centralising back office services and using technology effectively, savings can be made and efficiencies gained, freeing up financial resources for teaching staff.


“We were particularly interested in findings around clusters. We know that more geographically dispersed academies tend to incur greater costs but we also know first-hand that these MATs stand to benefit most from ICT to not only overcome barriers, but flourish in a collaborative environment. There’s a lot to be gained from joining with schools across the UK and we support MATs wishing to grow in this manner.”


The report: “The Economic Benefits of Joining or Establishing a Multi-Academy Trust” is free to download here.




Heathfield Academy Trust has changed its name to Lingfield Education Trust to reflect its continued growth plans.

The Darlington-based Multi-Academy Trust, which is comprised of five local schools and recently put forward an application to open a further one in Catterick, was initially named after Heathfield Primary, the first school to join the Trust after converting to Academy status.

Nick Blackburn, chief executive of Lingfield Education Trust, said: “We remain proud of our roots in Heathfield Primary School, however we have opted to rename our Trust so that we represent all of our schools equally.

“Importantly, while our name is changing to Lingfield Learning Trust, our core vision and ethos remains as strong as ever – to be the Trust which makes the biggest difference to the whole child, our staff team and the local community. We look forward to the future and successfully continuing to support children educationally, socially and practically in achieving their full potential in both education and life.”

Lingfield Education Trust will find out in February if plans to open Cambrai Community School on the former Darlington College site in Catterick have been approved. The school, set to open in 2018, will be for children aged between three and eleven years and will include a primary school and a nursery. Catterick has been identified as an area of local need and it is expected that there is 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 more information on Lingfield Education Trust, visit www.lingfieldeducationtrust.com




Broadcasters will speak in the Bett Arena on Thursday 26th January and join Discovery Education stand F200


The world’s biggest education technology fair is just days away, and Discovery Education is delighted to be partnering with two of this year’s standout speakers: Sir Tony Robinson and Ed Stafford.


The broadcasters, who present popular Discovery Channel programmes such as Marooned and Wild West, will lead sessions in the Bett Arena on Thursday 26th January and meet with pupils and teachers on the Discovery Education stand during the course of the day.


Their sessions will encourage teachers and pupils to look beyond the confines of the classroom and highlight the important role which technology can play in inspiring 21st century learners.

Sir Tony Robinson actor, presenter and historian, will join the Discovery Education stand at 15:45, where he will sign copies of his latest book No Cunning Plan. The broadcaster will meet with pupils and teachers before taking the stage in the Bett Arena at 17:10. In a session set to be a clear highlight of this year’s Bett show, Sir Tony will share stories from his stellar career and explain how a fascination for history and sense of adventure have inspired his own quest for learning. He will also take part in a virtual Q&A session, answering questions submitted by primary schools from across the UK.


Ed Stafford renowned adventurer, explorer and broadcaster, will join the Discovery Education stand at 1045 before beginning his Bett Arena session at 11.30. In what promises to be an exciting and highly entertaining talk, Ed 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.

Discovery Education is also hosting a number of seminars on Friday 27th January, including an important session on girls and coding. ‘Getting Girls to Code’ will explore why some girls simply don’t enjoy the activity, highlighting the need for more imaginative, engaging resources and high profile female role models. Led by Discovery Education’s James Massey, the seminar will take place in the STEAM Village from 15:30 – 16:00.

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

“Discovery Education is delighted to be back at this year’s Bett and looking forward to meeting with pupils and teachers from across the UK and beyond. We’re thrilled to be partnering with Sir Tony Robinson and Ed Stafford and hope that their stories of adventure and exploration will inspire pupils and teachers to use technology in ever more creative ways.”

Discovery Education is a division of Discovery Communications and a leading provider of digital content to schools. Winner of 9 Bett Awards, Discovery Education engages pupils across the UK with its dynamic, curriculum-matched digital learning services.

Discovery Education is delighted to be shortlisted for 2 prestigious Bett Awards this year. Discovery Education Espresso’s Great Fire of London Module is up for an award in the Primary Digital Content category, while Discovery Education’s Egypt Knowledge Bank is nominated in the International Digital Education Resource category.




To request an interview with Sir Tony Robinson, Ed Stafford or Catherine Howard, or for more information about filming and interview opportunities at Bett please contact Angie Shatford, Inkstream PR for Discovery Education: angie@inkstream.co.uk.


Discovery Education’s stand number is F200. Come along to see our award-winning digital content services, try out new technologies such as VR and AR and talk to techies, teachers, media producers and community members.


About Discovery Education

Discovery Education empowers teachers and captivates pupils by providing high-quality, dynamic, digital content to primary and secondary schools across the United Kingdom.


Discovery Education offers a range of services and opportunities for schools to meet the needs of students in the digital age. Through its award-winning digital content, interactive lessons, virtual experiences with some of Discovery’s most talented presenters and contributors, classroom contests and challenges, professional development and more.


The Discovery Education Community connects members around the world through social media, virtual conferences, and in-person events, fostering valuable networking, idea sharing, and inspiration.

Discovery Education is a division of Discovery Communications, the number one non-fiction media company in the world, which includes the popular global television networks Discovery ChannelScience Channel and Animal Planet.


Explore the future of education at www.discoveryeducation.co.uk.