Study proves benefit of natural daylight and fresh air circulation

The Impact of Daylight and Fresh Air in Classrooms – Whitesales

Legislation passed in 2014 which covers solar heat gain, natural light and CO2 emissions gives guidance on the levels of daylight that all public spaces must adhere to, as well as air permeability and advice on reducing the need for air-conditioning and additional lighting systems.

A series of recent studies looked at why this legislation is so important when it comes to education and learning environments, and the impact that limited light transmission can have on a child’s learning development and mental health.

We’ve summarised this in our infographic at the bottom of the page which can be clicked to see the full hi-res version.

The key results from these studies showed that classrooms with higher levels of sunlight and fresh air circulation saw:

  • Improved student behaviour and higher levels of concentrations
  • Higher academic achievement and strengthened immune system
  • Lower feelings of anxiety, improved mood and increased levels of serotonin

Our range of Em-Glaze modular ridgelights are the perfect solution for maximising natural light in study spaces. With slimline aluminium framework and multiple ventilation options, they deliver more daylight through an integrated, easy-to-install product. They also hold a 10-year guarantee.

Click here to read more about Daylight Theory, and to find out more call our expert team on 01483 271 371 or visit our Contact Us page, where you’ll find out contact form and office opening hours.


daylight in school classrooms



‘Day of Discovery’ on 18th April will mark the start of National Share a Story Month

Teachers from schools across the UK will gather at Knebworth House in Hertfordshire next month for a day of digital storytelling.

Hosted by Discovery Education, the event will showcase the very latest ideas and tech tools for using digital media in literacy, highlighting the potential to engage and inspire young learners and nurture their love of stories.

Marking the start of May’s National Share a Story Month, the day will see schools get hands-on with technology, and find creative inspiration from the latest digital tools. Teachers will learn how digital storytelling can boost attainment in literacy, by enriching creative writing and switching pupils on to reading. They will also explore how stories can be used right across the curriculum, in subjects such as science and even maths.

A dinosaur-themed QR coded treasure hunt, 3D modelling using augmented reality and green-screening are just some of the technologies which will be on display. Discovery Education will show how these tools can take immersive learning to a new level, by allowing pupils to create their own stories and interact with them on screen.

Over 60 educators from schools across the UK are expected to attend the event as part of a ‘Day of Discovery’ tour which will visit cities in the UK, US and Canada this year. The popular professional learning experiences connect teachers who are interested in technology with their best resource – each other.

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

“Every child has a story to tell, and digital media has a powerful role to play in engaging young learners. It can inspire children to read and write while helping teachers to meet the demands of the 21st century classroom. We’re delighted to be hosting our first Digital Storytelling Day, and looking forward to welcoming teachers who are passionate about using technology to transform learning.”

The event is organised by the Discovery Education Community, which reaches over 2 million educators worldwide, and is one of the fastest growing professional networks for teachers in the UK. The Community connects members in their own school, across the country and around the world through in-person and online events, networking, idea sharing and inspiration.

Day of Discovery: Digital Storytelling takes place at Knebworth House, Hertfordshire on 18th April 2017. The event is free and schools interested in attending can register here.

For more information on Discovery Education services or the Discovery Education Community, visit:

Education recruiter responds to drop in teacher training

The latest figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), show that acceptances to teacher training courses for this year have dropped by 7%.

Only 26,000 individuals were accepted on to teacher training courses for 2016-2017, meaning that government targets for teacher recruitment in England have now been missed for five consecutive years.

Commenting on the drop in acceptances to teacher training places, Baljinder Kuller, who has over 15 years’ experience in teacher recruitment, and is now Managing Director of online supply teacher portal, The Supply register, said:

“The current UK teacher recruitment crisis is now reaching a critical level. As it stands, because of the extremely high turnover in the profession, schools in England need to recruit about 30,000 new teachers every year to stand still.”

“Because of the challenges that the education sector is currently facing in terms of retention, it is crucial that we pipeline future talent or face the very real risk of being unable to offer pupils the education they are entitled to and deserve.”

“Schools are running out of options. At this year’s annual conference of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), the idea was floated that schools could close early two days a week to help manage resources – this is obviously not ideal.”

“Until we fix our talent pipelines, government, trade bodies, multi-trust academies and individual schools must work together to ensure that the valuable teaching talent, not least supply, is not lost in the face of excessive workloads and falling take-home pay due to growing recruitment agency fees.”

“At a time when pupil numbers in England are predicted to rise by 8% over the next five years while budgets are simultaneously cut, it is now more important than ever that we support our existing teachers and offer them a fair deal in terms of remuneration.”

Could lessons in the garden create a nation of healthy eaters?

  • Parents and experts call for gardening to be taught at school
  • 9 out of 10 children are not getting their 5-a-day
  • No funding available for gardening education
  • I in 4 UK primary schools to benefit from new campaign


OVER a third of UK parents are calling for gardening to become part of the school curriculum.


With recent news highlighting the UK’s ‘vegetable rations’, and suggested fruit and veg increase to ‘10 a day’, educating the next generation of green-fingered growers is more important than ever.


According to a new survey, over 90% of parents think the best way for children to learn about eating healthily is by getting outside to learn about nature and by growing their own fruit and veg.


innocent drinks, who carried out the survey, has partnered with not-for-profit organisation GIY (Grow-It-Yourself) to launch this year’s Sow & Grow campaign, which will reach a ¼ of all UK primary schools to get children engaged in healthy eating.


Michael Kelly, founder of social enterprise GIY said: “It’s a fact that food growers have a better understanding of nutrition and eat more fruit and veg. And, we know from the research that 84% or parents believe children would be more open to eating fruit and veg if they knew where their food came from.


“We want to give schools the tools and resources they need to get growing. That’s why we have launched our campaign, to inspire UK primary schools and kids to get back to basics – get outside, stick their hands in some soil and learn about the benefits of healthy eating.”


Hannah Wright, teacher at Horsenden Primary in Greenford said: “There are currently no resources or funding available to most state-maintained schools for gardening education. Plus, we have no time in the school day as growing is not required under the National Curriculum.


“We regularly used to find that children were unable to tell us where their food had come from – it was not unusual for children to tell us that fruit and vegetables come from “the supermarket” or “factories”. As winners of Sow and Grow 2016, we were lucky enough to start our own little growing project in the classroom – it instantly ignited the children’s interest and they were keen to eat and try the things they’d grown. Introducing gardening has made a really positive impact to both education and nutrition at our school.”


Sim Viney, Brand Manager at innocent said: “We know that children who grow their own food are more likely to eat fruit and veg, and that kids who develop healthy habits at a young age are more likely to become healthy adults. At the moment 9 out of 10 young people are not getting their 5-a-day, so we’ve started a campaign called Sow & Grow, which will get a quarter of all primary school kids growing veg in their classrooms, and learning where their food comes from. We’re hoping the campaign itself will grow in future years – our ultimate goal is to get every primary school child in the country to experience growing their own veg.”


Is your school signed up to #sowandgrowUK? If so then upload your photos at to be in with the chance to win monthly prizes from innocent and see your classroom crowned as Sow & Grow champions!


Following the repackage of innocent kids drinks, consumers can also win seed packs by following the instructions on pack. They’re available nationwide now in most major supermarkets.


Dyspraxia and dyslexia explained and embraced in lively series of illustrated children’s books

Vibrant and educational collection of children’s illustrated stories exploring, and embracing, differences—from autism to dyspraxia and dyslexia— hoping to promote positive and lively discussions both at home and in school on neurodiversity. 


During his earlier career in primary education, where he witnessed many young children who weren’t thriving in a traditional educational environment, Paul Johnson was motivated to try a variety of more engaging methods. Unfortunately, due to the lack of flexibility within the system he often came up against the brick wall of mainstream educational policy. As a result, and after leaving work as a teacher, he discovered that his passion and life goal was to create a platform where people of any age could creatively share their stories of growing up with the likes of autism, dyslexia and dyspraxia. The result? Your Stories Matter, an imprint that publishes individuals’ stories —from illustrated children’s books to adult non fiction— giving them a much needed voice in a modern world. The first four books are aimed at primary school ages. As well as being fun new reads they are also to be used as educational tools for young children growing up with, or alongside other children with, neurological diversities. Each book teaches important lessons in a fun and engaging way, of; acceptance, tolerance, self-esteem and pride. In addition, Paul hopes his work and the books he publishes will dramatically change how people discuss these subjects —moving further away from words like ‘disabilities’ and ‘difficulties’ and instead acknowledging and embracing the simple fact that we’re all wired a little differently.


There are currently four books published by Your Stories Matter with many more in the pipeline later in the year:


Vera McLuckie and the Daydream Club written and illustrated by Scottish duo Jane Evans and Ruth Mutch follows the adventures of lively young characters who display dyspraxia, dyslexia and autism including Vera McLuckie —who hates school. Mainly because she struggles with stuff the other kids find easy. Oh, and because she keeps getting into trouble for doing what she is really good at…daydreaming.


You’re So Clumsy Charley written by Jane Binion & illustrated by Colin Shelbourn throws us into the wonderful world of Charley —who is dyspraxic— and always seeming to get into trouble by accident. Fed up of school because he feels different from the rest of the children it isn’t until he meets his Auntie Bella that everything changes…


The Back to Front World of Azzie Artbuckle written and illustrated by Beth Montgomery —who herself wasn’t diagnosed with dyslexia until she was thirty-seven years old— explores the muddled life of the charming Azzie Arbuckle who loves painting but struggles with reading letters and numbers  which  makes her feel stupid. If only she could tell someone…


Emily’s Sister written by Michelle Gianetti —whose daughter has dyspraxia and SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder)— and illustrated by Tanja Russita tells a delightful story, based upon real family experiences, of how Emily discovers how to understand and help her sister live a happier life.


Lively and informative each of these illustrated books fills a much-needed gap in the education system, and will provide invaluable support to parents and teachers alike, to equip young children with the social and emotional skills they need to navigate the challenges of the neurologically diverse world in which we live.


About the publisher: Based in Kendal, Cumbria Paul Johnson is the founder of Your Stories Matter and the parent publishing company Explainer HQ —which provides creative video, audio, animation and print to the business and education sector. All Your Stories Matters titles are published in paperback and are available to order from online retailers including For more information please visit: and follow on Twitter @ysm_books


For a review copy or interview request please contact:
Kate Appleton, Publicity & Marketing Executive at Authoright +44 (0) 20 7993 4438 /



From giant, animatronic insects and hands-on bug sessions, to creepy crawly workshops and bug-themed films, Longleat is set to be overrun by all things insectile this Easter (8th April).


‘Marvellous Monsters’, which runs until October 29th, celebrates the amazing world of insects and aims to highlight the softer side of bugs and the vital role they play in keeping our planet alive.


Starting this Easter the Wiltshire attraction will be overrun with a menagerie of massive, moving bugs and insects with more than a dozen animatronic creepy-crawlies dotted around the estate

Insect-themed activities – including live entertainment, historical exhibitions and much more will be taking place throughout the main season.


Longleat’s giant indoor events venue, the Longhouse, has also been transformed into an interactive zone dedicated to the amazing praying mantis family.


The mantis gets its common name from the way it remains upright and motionless, with its forearms folded as if in prayer.

In addition to live displays featuring different types of mantis, visitors will also be able to watch a high definition action-adventure wildlife film entitled ‘The Pray’ and practice their own mantis moves in front of giant mirrors.


A reaction wall will allow people to test the speed of their reactions and a series of microscopes will provide ultra close up encounters with these fascinating creatures.


Visitors will also be able to watch special daily bug shows and enjoy hands-on encounters with a variety of living insects throughout the Easter holidays.


“Marvellous Monsters is one of the most ambitious exhibitions we have staged here,” said Longleat’s Steve Mytton.


“All the animatronic insects are based on real life bugs and we have just scaled them up to be the size of cars and vans.


“Our aim is to highlight how incredible these creatures really are and to try and dispel some of the myths and misunderstandings surrounding them.


“Bugs and insects play a crucial role in the survival of the planet and we rely on them in many surprising ways, hopefully ‘Marvellous Monsters’ will help to change some people from bug haters to love bugs,” he added.


  • ‘Marvellous Monsters’ is on until October 29th and is included in the day ticket price. For full information on opening times, events, activities, and to buy tickets online, go to


Issued by Longleat. For more information call Sally Boyce on 01985 845520 or email .

London Grid for Learning wins ERA Award for online-safety resource ‘CyberPass’

LGfL’s diagnostic online-safety tool CyberPass has received a prestigious 2017 Education Resources Award in the key category ‘Primary Resource or Equipment (including ICT)’


Educational not-for-profit the London Grid for Learning is celebrating its latest success in scooping an Education Resources Award (ERA) for its key stage two online-safety tool CyberPass in the category ‘Primary Resource or Equipment (including ICT)’. This award recognises the impact and efficacy that CyberPass had made in keeping young people safe; in the first ten weeks of 2017 alone, the tool was used to ask pupils 245,000 crucial online-safety questions.

The annual ERA Award Ceremony is run by the British Educational Suppliers’ Association to recognise the best of the UK’s educational-technology sector. Commenting on the award win LGfL Content Manager, Bob Usher, said, “LGfL are delighted to win this award, especially given the fierce competition from other high-quality and transformational curriculum resources. With more children now online than ever before it is crucial teachers are provided with tools to teach online-safety effectively, rather than merely as a tick-box exercise.”

CyberPass presents a new approach to teaching online-safety, taking the conventional wisdom about how to tackle this ever-more important topic and turning it on its head. Designed to help teachers meet national curriculum targets which call for pupils’ to be “responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology”, CyberPass is in essence a trackable, data-rich, competence-based online-safety assessment and training tool.

Rather than delivering a series of lessons on predefined topics and then testing pupils on their abilities, CyberPass helps teachers identify strengths and weaknesses in the first instance, in order to target time and resources on the topics for which children really need support.

Pupils take a quiz on one or all of the eight key e-safety themes – Settings, Privacy, Looking, Share, Playing, Talking, Friends and Money. Teachers can then view the results on their dashboard broken down by theme, competence and/or question, and tailor their teaching accordingly, in what is a very time-pressured yet important curriculum area.

Pupils are given immediate feedback on their answers – whether correct or incorrect, and the reasons why. To ensure they read the feedback, an incorrect answer will later trigger a question on the same competence, but with different wording and a different answer. In order to achieve the CyberPass for one of the eight themes listed above, pupils must correctly answer a question on each subtopic. This enables teachers to teach more effectively and keeps pupils engaged by not teaching them what they already know.

Commenting on the resource ERA judges said, “CyberPass addresses an issue which is very topical and where there is a dearth of resources. The graphics are attractive and the content, explanations and illustrations are appropriate. A very helpful resource.”

For more information on the London Grid for Learning and their range of online safety resources please visit

First student eSports tournament hits London with PlayStation’s backing

Digital Schoolhouse, powered by PlayStation, has launched an eSports Tournament designed to inspire students by exposing them to careers within the video games, eSports and creative industries. Taking place on Tuesday 4 April at the Gfinity London Arena, the eSports Tournament Grand Final will see 12 of the 400 schoolchildren from across the country who have taken part in the tournament engaging with computing and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) subjects through a Rocket League battle on PlayStation 4! The Grand Final will form part of the London Games Festival (30 March-9 April), a new programme which has been designed to support, grow and promote the video games and interactive entertainment sectors.


Using the medium of video games, participating students have been introduced to a new world of career opportunities – those emerging within the UK’s vibrant eSports sector. Competing for a place at the eSports Tournament Grand Final, which will be hosted by Gfinity, schools from Dewsbury, Swindon, Walsall and Eastbourne have been partaking in regional heats by playing Rocket League with their peers on the PlayStation 4. The winning teams from each school will be heading to Digital Schoolhouse’ eSports Tournament Grand Final for an immersive experience in the world of eSports and video games, where the victor will be crowned and all students will come away with a greater understanding of the exciting opportunities that this rapidly-evolving sector presents.


This tournament has been designed not only to engage children with computing and STEAM subjects in a fun and interactive way, but also to tackle misconceptions surrounding these industries. By encouraging more girls to take up computing and STEAM subjects, and by raising children’s awareness of the growing variety of careers that are available in the creative digital sector, the Grand Final is sure to inspire all participants to see video games as more than ‘just a bit of fun’. With 99 per cent of 8-15-year-olds regularly playing computer games, it’s important to capture their enthusiasm for them and demonstrate how this can be used to develop valuable 21st Century skills and, potentially, fuel careers in the creative digital sector.


Shahneila Saeed, programme director for Digital Schoolhouse, said: “The eSports Tournament Grand Final will expose students to the increasing breadth of new careers available within the video games industry by immersing them in the exciting world of eSports. It is a careers event with a difference! By raising awareness of these sectors and their associated careers, we hope to inspire the next generation to consider creative digital and STEAM careers and to help them develop their digital literacy. We want to confront misconceptions about computing and technology, such as that it’s ‘too techy’ to understand or that it’s not appealing to girls, by giving students a range of unique experiences, both inside and outside the classroom. By bringing innovation from industry into the classroom, we can help students to understand the digital world around them in ways they’ve not experienced before.”


If you’re interested in attending Digital Schoolhouse’ eSports Tournament Grand Final, contact Shahneila Saeed on You can also keep up-to-date with the tournament and Grand Final on Twitter@ #DSHesports.

Budget 2017: reaction

Comments to be by-lined to Rosi Prescott, CEO of leading education, health and wellbeing charity, Central YMCA

“As an organisation that has helped steer many thousands of young people through an apprenticeship, the announcement by the Chancellor today to truly establish a parity of esteem between academic and technical education is warmly welcomed by Central YMCA.

“Just last year, our ‘World of Good’ report found failing within the education system and unemployment to be the top two concerns of young people, so this move to show apprenticeships, which bridge the gap between learning and earning, as a viable, and credible, alternative to university is hugely important.

“It’s no secret apprenticeships can and do act a vehicle of social mobility for students from disadvantaged backgrounds so the announcement to allow technical students access to maintenance loans is also greatly welcomed. It’s high time this parity of esteem was achieved and we look forward to seeing the Government plans take shape, in the face of a reforming apprenticeship programme, in the coming months and years.”

Central YMCA offers a full range of apprenticeships and study programmes through YMCA Training.


  • Double Paralympic champion Libby Clegg launches nationwide schools ticket offer for the World Para Athletics Championships (14-23 July)
  • The success of the London schools ticket offer and demand for 90,000 tickets has resulted in the initiative being rolled out nationwide
  • Tickets are just £3 for schoolchildren and accompanying adults and teachers can attend for free
  • Applications to attend selected sessions of the World Para Athletics Championships are being accepted from today (3 March 2017) until 20.17 on 24 March
  • Schools can apply at


Following the overwhelming success of the London schools ticket offer for the World Para Athletics Championships, double Paralympic champion Libby Clegg has today launched the nationwide roll out to give all schoolchildren across the UK the opportunity to attend this summer’s biggest sporting event.


More than 1,000 schools from every single London borough applied for over 90,000 tickets during the initial window of the ticket offer. Now Clegg, who won double gold at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games last summer, and her guide Chris Clarke are officially extending the opportunity nationwide following a special visit to The Cedars Academy in Leicester.


The offer creates the opportunity for tens of thousands of schoolchildren from across the UK to experience a once in a lifetime trip to attend selected sessions of the World Para Athletics Championships, which run from 14-23 July at the London Stadium at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.


Double Paralympic champion Libby Clegg, who is set to compete during the available schools sessions, said: “This is a great opportunity for schools nationwide to be part of the biggest sporting event in the world in 2017. I really enjoyed visiting The Cedars Academy today with Chris and their enthusiasm for the Championships was contagious. I have the most amazing memories of being in the former Olympic Stadium, both competing and cheering on my teammates, and I’m sure that all of the children who get to come along with their school to watch the World Para Athletics Championships will leave inspired by what they see. It’s certainly an opportunity not to be missed.”


Tickets cost just £3 for schoolchildren with accompanying adults and teachers able to attend for free. Sessions available are the evenings of Monday 17 July, Tuesday 18 July and Wednesday 19 July, and to meet the overwhelming demand, organisers have also made the morning of Sunday 16 July available for schools attendees.


Sally Wicken, Vice Principal at The Cedars Academy, said: “It was a very special morning having Libby and Chris pop into The Cedars Academy. They are such a successful partnership, as we saw at the Paralympic Games, and our pupils can learn a lot from both of them. Libby and Chris were a pleasure to have around and it is great that athletes so local to us are happy to take time out of their busy schedules to see us. As a school we are delighted to hear that the ticket offer for the World Para Athletics Championships is now available to every school in the UK and we will be putting our application in straightaway.”


Niels de Vos, Championship Director for the World Para Athletics Championships London 2017, said: “We’re thrilled to be in a position to invite schoolchildren from across the country to what will be an incredible sporting event. We all cherish the memories from the London 2012 Paralympic Games and that unbelievable and thrilling atmosphere in the stadium. That’s exactly what we’ll be replicating this summer and we can’t wait for schoolchildren to witness some incredible feats of sporting achievement.”


Sports Minister Tracey Crouch said: “It is fantastic that children across the country are going to be able to see the best Para athletes in the world in London this summer for only £3 a ticket. Our Paralympic stars made the country proud last summer in Rio and I am sure they will do just the same in the capital in July. I urge schools to apply for tickets and not to miss out on what will be an incredible, inspirational competition.”


Applications are being accepted from 10am today (3 March 2017) until 20.17 on 24 March at and will be open to all UK primary and secondary schools.


For schools outside of London wanting to provide a school trip to pupils including travel, accommodation and a ticket to the World Para Athletics Championships, we are working with Sport Experiences schools travel package to provide this. Visit for more info:
The ticket offer is just one part of a comprehensive schools programme launched for the Summer of World Athletics. In January, organisers launched Starting Blocks as the official education programme for both the World Para Athletics Championships and IAAF World Championships – a digital hub providing free, curriculum-linked resources for teachers of pupils aged five to 14.


The World Para Athletics Championships and the IAAF World Championships will bring together 3,000 world-class athletes from more than 200 countries, who will compete in 30 sessions across 20 amazing days.