Raymond Briggs wins BookTrust 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award


9th February 2017 – Raymond Briggs, the iconic children’s author and illustrator – famed for The Snowman, Fungus the Bogeyman and Ethel and Ernest, his graphic novel/animated film for adults, has been awarded the prestigious BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award.

The BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates the body of work of an author or illustrator who has made an outstanding contribution to children’s literature. The award was set up in 2015 to celebrate an author or illustrator’s outstanding contribution to children’s books. The first winner was Shirley Hughes, author of Dogger and the Alfie series, whilst Judith Kerr was awarded the accolade in 2016.

The adjudicating panel is made up of six judges including writer Nicolette Jones, current Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell, author and illustrator Cressida Cowell, poet John Agard, Shami Chakrabarti, Britain’s leading human rights campaigner and BookTrust’s CEO Diana Gerald.
Briggs, who has become synonymous with Christmas, said: “It’s lovely to be given an award for all my life achievements. Drawing, telling stories and sharing these adventures is something I’ve always been passionate about. Being awarded the BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award is an incredible honour and I’m so glad I’ve been able to make such an impression on people.”

Raymond’s most noted works include the classic Christmas tales The Snowman and Father Christmas, as well as Fungus the Bogeyman, Ug, The Bear, When the Wind Blows, Gentleman Jim and Ethel and Ernest.  Born in 1934 to dad Ernest, a milkman and Ethel, a former lady’s maid-turned-housewife, Briggs showed interest in cartooning from an early age and attended various art schools. He briefly pursued painting before becoming a professional illustrator, winning several awards throughout his extended career, including the 1966 and 1973 Kate Greenaway Medals from the British Library Association, the Horn Book Award in 1979 and the British Book Award in 1993 and 1999.

Discussing the impact of Raymond Briggs’ work, Judge Shami Chakrabarti said: “Raymond is a true artistic genius who has touched the hearts of millions of children of all ages. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words and his particular style of illustration is unmistakable as are his understated and poignant words of narrative and dialogue. His talent expresses his values and with his choice and treatment of subjects he brings our history and contemporary challenges to life.”

CEO of BookTrust Diana Gerald said: “It is truly an honour to be presenting our third Lifetime Achievement Award to someone with such captivating and inspiring work. Raymond continues to have such a widespread impact on both children and adults and the award is so very well deserved.”

The awards ceremony takes place in London today, with the current Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell leading the celebrations.



  • 73% of education workers do not receive a regular thanks for their work
  • Despite 91% of workers in education saying they feel more loyal to companies that do so regularly


MORE than half of bosses in education are failing to recognise the impact a simple thank you can have on staff retention figures, according to new research.

A survey of 1,002 workers by One4all Rewards, as part of the Rewards Review, revealed that 91% of education workers admitted that being regularly thanked by an employer increases the sense of loyalty they feel to their company.

But despite this, the majority of British businesses in the education sector are failing to implement this very simple staff retention measure, with 73% of education workers reporting they do not even receive a regular thank you from their boss. The research also found that education is amongst the top five thankless industries in the UK.

In many cases, this doesn’t even have to be a costly expression of gratitude, as 1 in 3 (33%) of these workers said they would be ‘very unlikely’ to leave a company that regularly shows appreciation for their work.

Gratitude can even help businesses to defend against staff being poached by competitors, with 32% of workers in this sector saying a regular show of thanks from their employer would make it harder for alternative job offers to tempt them away.

Declan Byrne, UK managing director at One4all Rewards, said: “It’s amazing to see how many companies in the education sector are overlooking the very basics of maintaining positive employee morale – clearly in UK business the power of a simple thank you, or even a more tangible expression of gratitude such as a small reward or benefit, is being regularly overlooked, despite the huge impact it can have on staff retention.

“This is particularly valuable for education employers to bear in mind at a time of year when traditionally many workers assess new opportunities and look at what’s out there in the jobs market – the new year is an excellent time for employers to turn over a new leaf in this respect, and make expressing gratitude a regular habit in their company.”

One4all Rewards are industry experts in benefits and rewards. Working with over 6,000 businesses of all sizes nationwide, One4all Rewards helps to transform customer and employee relationships through successful rewards and incentive schemes.

For more information and to read The Rewards Review, visit http://www.one4allrewards.co.uk.

Leadership and innovation: The 2017 National Education Technology Conference



  • The National Education Technology conference is to be held by Naace in Leicester on 28 – 29 March 2017
  • Speakers include Lee Parkinson (@ICT_MrP), Dughall McCormick, Patrick Hayes, Steve Moss, Jon Tait and many more
  • The conference will examine the role of education technology alongside the main issues of education including leadership, teaching and learning, and innovation


2 February 2017: Today, the full programme for the National Education Technology Conference which will be hosted by Naace in March 2017, has been announced. The event, taking place at the Leicester Marriot Hotel from Tuesday 28 to Wednesday 29 March, seeks to bring together teachers and school leaders from around the country to engage in discussions around the key issues facing education and to share best practice around the use of education technology.

This year’s conference will combine four strands of discussion: leadership; innovation; teaching and learning; and technology. This will be presented by a range of keynote speakers and hands-on sessions to provide an in-depth look at the landscape of education today, examining issues such as online safety, teaching computing, and the importance of school infrastructure for the implementation of technology.

This year’s list of speakers includes: e-learning consultant and former Naace Chair, Dughall McCormick; the hugely significant teacher and ICT blogger, Lee Parkinson (@ICT_MrP); director of the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), Patrick Hayes; chair of the C2K Innovation Forum, Steve Moss; and Jon Tait, a deputy headteacher with over 15 years’ experience in education and the successful integration of education technology.

Mark Chambers, CEO of hosting organisation, Naace, said: “We’re really excited to have so many inspirational speakers at this year’s conference and to have a breakout programme that is focussed on delivering practical outcomes for conference attendees. The event is a great opportunity to bring together a large number of educators to explore a range of insights on the key issues facing schools today, encourage open discussions and share best practice in using technology effectively for the benefit of students. In addition, if attendees take advantage of all the offers on the table from our conference partners then, the cost of their attendance will have been more than covered!”.

Bookings for the conference are now open and visitors can register their attendance on the Naace website: https://www.naace.co.uk/events/national-education-technology-conference-2017/

Today’s digital classrooms supported by LEGO® Education software and curriculum material available to download for free


  • WeDo 2.0 teaches computing in the context of science at Key Stage 2 and LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education EV3 is an engineering and robotics solution for Key Stage 3 and 4 pupils
  • LEGO® Education has announced that its software, curriculum material, teaching support and extension pack downloads, is now available for schools to download for free
  • LEGO® Education wants to engage and inspire today’s pupils in STEM and computing; freely available digital content will help schools to deliver exciting STEM learning opportunities


6 February 2017: The UK and Europe is undergoing a STEM skills shortage, despite the fact that the sector underpins the entire economy. And with the STEM sector growing rapidly, it’s estimated that around 65 per cent of children will end up in jobs that haven’t even been invented yet. LEGO® Education is dedicated to inspiring today’s pupils in STEM classrooms through innovative, hands-on and engaging resources, with the aim of developing a lifelong passion for STEM and learning.

With that in mind, LEGO® Education has announced that its digital content for WeDo 2.0 and LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education EV3, including software, curriculum material, teaching support and extension pack downloads, is now available for schools to download for free. The aim of this is to help support STEM teachers in delivering exciting and enthusing learning opportunities for today’s pupils.

WeDo 2.0 is an innovative practical science and computing solution that was created to enhance pupils’ coding and science skills through hands-on, real-world projects and programming activities.

LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education EV3 is an engaging hands-on robotics solution for teaching STEM and computer science in Key Stages 3 and 4. With the resource, pupils can work like real scientists, exploring complex STEM topics in an engaging way and developing critical thinking skills through scientific enquiry.

Simon Davenport from LEGO Education said: “The UK’s STEM sector is desperate for skilled and experienced professionals to join the industry, so it’s now more important than ever that we prepare today’s pupils with the skills needed for their future. At LEGO® Education, we want to inspire the pupils of today in STEM, which is why we’re pleased to provide our software, curriculum material and teaching support to download for free. This will support schools in delivering exciting lessons that help show pupils the importance of STEM and just how their ideas could revolutionise the world.”

To download the free curriculum material, software and teaching support, visit https://education.lego.com/en-gb/downloads

FGM: Is it a British priority?


Watch video interview with Sam Preston here: www.ssscpd.co.uk/FGM


On International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM 2017, Sam Preston, Safeguarding Director at SSS Learning asks the big question: is this really a British priority?


Over 130 million girls and women globally have experienced some form of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM); an extreme type of child abuse affecting girls as young as three years-old. But, as estimated statistics show, it mostly happens to girls outside the UK, so should this be a British priority?


“You wouldn’t look the other way at knife or gun crime, and FGM is no different. It’s a violent crime, an abuse and defilement of human rights resulting in long standing physical and emotional difficulties. Shockingly, an estimated 5,700 UK resident girls and young women have been cut so clearly FGM remains a British safeguarding priority” – Sam Preston, e-learning & training director, SSS Learning.


Classed as an honour-based crime, whereby acts of violence are committed to protect the perceived reputation and / or beliefs of the family or community, FGM isn’t right and certainly isn’t legal. Violence against women committed in the name of “honour” is a growing problem in Britain with UK police forces reporting 11,744 honour based crimes between 2010 and 2014. These figures include FGM abuse.


In most European countries, HBV is almost entirely associated with immigrant communities maintaining the tribal or cultural values of the country of origin. Research indicates that HBV is more prevalent in first-generation immigrant populations, which highlights the importance of greater integration of minority communities as key to reducing this violence.


From a child protection perspective, the known statistics are largely unhelpful; every girl living in the UK should be protected from abuse. As frontline professionals, it’s our legal duty to report all suspected cases to the police.


Amongst the vast research and projects being conducted globally, it is encouraging to see fantastic new work being done in the UK and Ireland. Just this month, ActionAid Ireland has launched new research as part of its AFTER (Against Female Genital Mutilation / Cutting Through Empowerment and Rejection) project to empower women in Ireland to reject FGM, whilst rights-based group Oxford Against Cutting is releasing its ‘Are You Ready to Know?’ film, documenting the impact of FGM on our women. Great things are also happening across Europe as we saw BanFGM take place in Rome last week. The conference drew together campaign groups, United Nations (UN) officials and government ministers to discuss how to end the practice and called for attention to be focused beyond Africa.


What is the challenge in Britain?


Whilst work around the world focuses on discouragement of FGM in practicising communities, the challenge in the UK is altogether different. Here, we must focus efforts on training our frontline professionals to proficiently spot the warning signs and intervene early, before British girls undergo FGM. We cannot afford to sit back and wait for daughters to report their families to the authorities, this is something that will just never happen.


“If FGM practitioners and communities are to be brought to prosecution under UK child protection law, we must arm teachers, doctors, nurses and voluntary sector workers with the right training to embed this concern in the child protection remit.” – Sam Preston, SSS Learning


FGM is ILLEGAL in Britain and has been since 1985 – that’s the bottom line. Interestingly, during ActionAid Ireland’s AFTER research last year, it was discovered that less than 1 in 5 women’s health service providers were aware that FGM is also illegal in Ireland and less than 30% of the participants had received some training on FGM as part of general trainings on violence against women.


So, what can be done in times of austerity and budget uncertainty here in the UK? If the latest news is anything to go by, then reform is much needed – just this month we’ve witnessed the closure of a top London FGM clinic, with Ealing Council citing budget constraints as the key deciding factor. The Acton African Well Woman Centre has helped over 1000 women deal with the trauma of FGM.


We believe that high quality e-learning is an effective solution, replacing cost prohibitive face-to-face training and embedding informed practice across the public sector. Our online training courses alone have already helped over 100,000 frontline professionals to become individually certified in the latest child protection issues. In addition, where prevention is too late, our training also ensures professionals are properly equipped to support FGM victims. A key point addressed in the Government’s ‘Ending Violence against Women and Girls Strategy 2016 – 2020’ is that, in order to tackle violence against women and girls, it must be everybody’s business. From health providers to law enforcement, educationalists, employers, friends and family we all need to be equipped to play our part.


UNICEF says that as many as 30 million girls could be cut in the next decade – let’s work together to address this and do our part in ensuring British women do not contribute to this figure!


What is Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting?

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting or FGM/C refers to all procedures that involve partial or total destruction of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. In some countries around the world, mainly in Africa, FGM/C is a harmful cultural practice and an extreme form of sanctioned violence and discrimination against women.


REAL Voices – resource from the London Grid for Learning brings stories of Syrian refugees to the classroom


Engaging young people in the discussion around the ongoing refugee crisis can be a difficult task for UK teachers and one in which they can feel unprepared or lacking in resources. In order to help facilitate discussion, whilst remaining aware of the sensitivities of the subject, the London Grid for Learning has developed Real Voices, a cross- curricular resource for Key Stages 3 and 4 suitable for use in art, citizenship, geography, history and R.E.

Filmed by tve, (a registered charity founded by the United Nations Environment Programme, WWF-UK, and Central Television) on behalf of the DEC Syria Appeal, Real Voices focuses on the experiences of three Syrian refugees Mahmoud Mohammed al-Masri, Um Jamal and Zainab Ali Al Soudi, all of whom are currently living in Jordan. In a series of short interviews they each speak about their experiences of having to leave their home, their journey to safety and life in a refugee camp.

The resource gives students an understanding of the war in Syria, the plight of people fleeing the conflict and the tools they need to take action. Students will study the background to the conflict in Syria, looking at how it started and the various factions involved. They will learn what a refugee is and examine their own assumptions of what this word means and also explore what it would be like to be a refugee.

The activities in this resource are mapped to the National Curriculum for KS3 geography. Links can also be made to History, Art and Design, and Citizenship. Whilst the resource was written for KS3 and 4 it would also be appropriate for upper KS2.

Bob Usher, Content Manager at the London Grid for learning commented on the creation of the resource; “The London Grid for Learning were keen to work with tve and the DEC Syria Appeal to bring what we felt to be an extremely important resource to UK classrooms. With so much conflict across Syria and other parts of the Middle East it’s important that our young people understand the issues and consequences of such conflict on ordinary people. The ability of young people to develop their own informed opinion on complex global topics through the use of a trusted source, seems to be more important than ever”.

Real Voices is available for all LGfL and TRUSTnet connected schools and can be accessed via realvoicesinfo.lgfl.net  

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