People across Wales have until Thursday 30 November to nominate outstanding teachers in Wales for the Professional Teaching Awards Cymru and with three extra categories, there are even more opportunities to celebrate the very best in Welsh education.

Nominations have already been flooding in from across Wales for the Professional Teaching Awards Cymru 2018 but there is still one month to give an excellent educational professional the recognition they deserve. Organisers are especially looking for teachers leading the way in digital learning.

If you know a school that has made technological leaps and bounds in the past few years or months, then you can nominate them for the Best use of Digital Learning category. Judges are specifically looking for a school that is ahead of the curve and uses digital resources to fuel creativity. Whether your school is producing their own news reports, trying out the latest gadgets or exploring new programmes to help with learning, this could be the category for you.

New categories also include Outstanding New Teacher and Inspirational use of the Welsh Language and aim to celebrate staff that think outside of the box to make sure their teaching methods are innovative, stimulating and original.

Education Secretary, Kirsty Williams said: “Some truly fantastic teachers have been nominated already but we want to make sure the news of the Professional Teaching Awards Cymru reaches every corner of Wales.

“In our constantly changing environment, the use of technology is all the more important in education. Hearing that teachers are really getting under the skin of new advances and using them to inspire students is fantastic and is something we want to reward.

“If there is someone amazing that teaches your children, a member of support staff that goes the extra mile, a headteacher that is making strides for your school or a new teacher that has made a brilliant impression, take the time to nominate them and help us celebrate the very best Wales has to offer.”

To nominate a teaching professional doing great work in your area, visit: Nominations close 30 November 2017.

Join the conversation with #TeachingAwardsCymru  




The Professional Teaching Awards Cymru 2018 categories:

Supporting Teachers and Learners

School Business Manager/Bursar

Promoting Collaboration to Improve Learning Opportunities

Promoting Wellbeing, Inclusion and Relationships with the Community

Teacher of the Year

Headteacher of the Year

NEW Outstanding New Teacher

NEW Best use of Digital Learning

NEW Inspirational use of the Welsh Language


Fire Industry Association Releases New Qualifications

Candidates can now get qualified to become fire detection and alarm designers, installers, maintainers, and commissioners.

Following the launch of four brand new fire detection and alarm qualifications in designing, installing, maintaining, and commissioning of fire detection and alarm equipment earlier this year, the Fire Industry Association has announced that bookings can now be made on the FIA website.

The courses are full formal qualifications and will lead to a certificate upon completion, which will be equivalent to an A-Level.

“We have designed these courses following the syllabus set by the newly formed Fire Industry Association Awarding Organisation,” said Michael Gregg, the FIA’s Training Manager.  “We have put together a robust set of classroom based learning days that will aid learners in their development – not just in preparing for the examinations, but also in a way that aims to improve their overall knowledge and understanding of the knowledge and concepts presented.”

For each qualification there are four units of study; all of which must be passed in order to gain the certificate at the end and be awarded the qualification.  This is an important step forward in formalising the process and developing the level of service technicians in the fire detection and alarm industry.

One of the major benefits of taking the new qualifications will be the level of knowledge and experience of the trainers, who will be able to guide learners and prepare them for the examinations.  The FIA has invested significantly into developing new course materials which cover everything studied in the courses, explaining each concept in significant detail. By the end of the course, learners should be able to have a much more in-depth knowledge and understanding of their chosen subject area (whether this is in fire detection and alarm design, installation, maintenance, or commissioning).

The new qualifications are available via the Training section of the FIA’s website. Upon making an initial booking, web users will only be able to book the first unit (the Foundation in Fire Detection and Alarms course), and will only be able to progress to the other units until learners have taken and passed the Foundation unit.  This is to ensure that learners are learning the material in the right order; progressing from one unit to another with the level of difficultly slowly increasing to ensure learners are fully prepared for each examination.

Upon making a booking for the Foundation unit (the first unit of each of the four qualifications available), each learner will be assigned a Unique Learner Number (ULN).  This number will be required to both book further units of the qualification.

For those coming in young and fresh, this will be an excellent opportunity to get qualified in an industry that is desperate for more young technicians. There is a well-known shortage of young technicians in the fire detection and alarm industry, and companies are desperate to hire and train new workers.

“The new qualifications have been hotly anticipated and we are expecting a large volume of bookings to come in,” Michael Gregg added.  “For that reason, we recommend booking as soon as possible, as spaces on each course are limited by class size.”

Courses can be booked in a range of locations across the UK, allowing learners to access the learning from the nearest convenient training centre.

A prospectus is available electronically from the Fire Industry Association’s website, or a hard copy can be requested by calling the number on the website.


Teachers from primary schools across the UK joined science, nutrition and health experts at a national pupil wellbeing summit in London this week.

Hosted by Discovery Education and Alimentarium Foundation, Food For Thought saw educators and specialists meet for a day of dynamic workshops, experiments and seminars exploring healthy eating and body image in primary school age pupils.

Over 50 teachers attended the conference at London’s Coin Street Conference Centre on Tuesday 17th October. With sessions led by nutrition experts and body image specialists, the event offered ideas, support and resources to boost pupil wellbeing.

Drawing upon the latest research into child mental health, body image specialists Nicky Hutchinson and Chris Calland showed teachers how they can help pupils feel happy in their own skin, with positive strategies to build self-esteem and confidence.

Speaker Jenny Tschiesche, also known as The Lunchbox Doctor, shared tips and tricks for teaching children about healthy eating, and highlighted the importance of building interest in nutrition at an early age.

And children’s author Chris Lloyd, best-selling author of the ‘What on Earth’ history books, explored how nutrition can be taught across the primary curriculum, with an energetic and interactive tour of food through the ages.

Sandra Bartley, a teacher at Marjorie McClure School in Chislehurst said:

“I found the day really interesting and it really made me think about how we teach children about healthy eating and body image. The practical sessions which included science experiments and a healthy lunchbox session were very useful.”

Mihaela Chowdhury, a teacher at William Morris School in Walthamstow, East London said:

“The day was absolutely amazing. The presentations and activities were really impressive and I know that my students will enjoy seeing all of this in the classroom.”

Myriam Al-Abbas from Al Sadiq and Al Zahra Schools in Brent, North London said:

“Food for Thought exceeded my expectations and inspired me to love teaching even more. I wanted to rush back to school and start planning my next lesson!”

Laura Turner Laing, Director of Educational Partnerships at Discovery Education said:

“We were delighted to welcome so many primary teachers to Food for Thought. It’s never been more important for schools to focus upon pupil wellbeing and this event was a great opportunity for teachers to share knowledge and classroom inspiration, helping them to approach these issues with confidence.”

The Food for Thought event launched a 3-year partnership between Discovery Education and Switzerland’s Alimentarium Foundation. The collaboration includes the creation of exciting new Key Stage 2 digital classroom resources – Eating, Moving and Growing – available to schools now through Discovery Education Espresso’s award-winning digital learning service.

The AA advises schools not to take a half-hearted approach to travelling this half term

The AA is calling on schools and colleges to ensure that student minibuses are safe and roadworthy before embarking on planned trips both in the UK and abroad, for the upcoming half term break.

Teachers who volunteer to drive a school minibus are personally responsible for ensuring it is roadworthy to drive.* According to the AA’s own research, the top causes of breakdowns are as follows:**

– Flat or faulty battery

– Damaged tyres and wheels

– Fuel

– Clutch cables

– Spark plugs

– HT leads

– Starter motor

– Alternator faults

“Travelling with school children, as any teacher knows, is a serious undertaking, and one in which the safety of the pupil must be put first,” said Stuart Thomas, head of fleet services and SME at the AA. “School minibuses are often infrequently used, so drivers may not be aware of any potential faults or issues.

“To avoid unnecessary breakdowns on the road, we’re urging teachers, or those with allocated responsibility for school minibus safety, to check their vehicles for the top

causes of breakdowns at least a fortnight before travel to allow time for any needed repairs. Just a few simple checks ahead of your journey could avoid problems later. Breakdown cover is also recommended for all schools to prevent disruption and delays to your journey.”

Travelling abroad?

If travelling overseas, drivers should also check if there are any country specific driving conditions they will need to consider. For example, vehicles entering Paris must now feature a windscreen sticker showing which European emissions standards they meet to avoid on-the-spot fines.

Fully covered

The AA’s partner QBE Business Insurance is also urging teachers to make sure they have the right level of insurance cover for their trip.

“To get the right level of protection for trips in the UK and overseas, teachers need to ensure that their minibus insurance policy covers several factors,” said Jason Cowlishaw, senior motor underwriter at QBE. “This includes all the uses to which the minibus is put, the total number of passengers allowed, along with the total weight, and all named drivers.

“Comprehensive cover is required to make sure you’re not liable for any damage you may cause to the minibus or to other vehicles, as well as for the journey and all countries visited. It goes without saying that drivers should also find a safe and secure place to park their minibus overnight and lock all doors and lockers to ensure adequate overnight protection.”

For more information on the AA’s services, please visit or contact 0800 551188.

* **

Parents are continuing to ‘bend’ the rules in a bid to spend some quality family time in the sun before Christmas

It’s recently been confirmed in headlines, that we’re a nation of financial strugglers but instead of battening down the hatches ahead of Christmas, it would appear that parents are continuing to break the rules (fueling the unauthorised leave debate), in a bid to get more bang for their buck and share some affordable quality family time with their loved ones ahead of the pre-Christmas pinch.


Oliver Bell from Oliver’s Travels commented, “This is clearly a very controversial subject and with the looming threats of rising interest rates before the year is out, coupled with the ever increasing costs of living, it comes as no surprise that parents are opting to break the rules to take their children on affordable holidays before Christmas.”


It is unknown the percentage of bookings that have actually been signed off as authorised leave, however the award winning travel company have confirmed that 18% of all holidays reserved with them between August 2016 – August 2017 actually involved taking children on holiday during term time.


Julie, (mother of two) from London comments, “As a parent I believe that taking a week out during terms time will not negatively impact my son’s education. As kids, our parents used to take us out a week before the end of term and bring us back a few days after school started. If they hadn’t done this, our family would never have had a holiday. We didn’t suffer at all during this process.”


Oliver Bell from Oliver’s Travels concludes, “Quality family time has a profound impact on children’s mental health and their adjustment to life but the harsh reality is that 66% of us (according to a UK wide survey conducted by Oliver’s Travels) wish we had taken our kids on more holidays when they were younger but didn’t because of lack of time or money.”


PatSnap Academy launches offering free online intellectual property courses

London, United Kingdom, 5 October 2017 – PatSnap, the world’s leading provider of research and development (R&D) analytics, has today announced the launch of PatSnap Academy, an online learning hub that provides free courses on Intellectual Property (IP).


Patents and IP law are highly technical topics, where extensive resources are often spent on expert opinions and advice to help individuals and companies make sense of the legal landscape. The teaching of patent processes and IP law are mainly confined to universities and law firms, meaning that a large portion of the global population lacks a basic understanding of how ideas and innovations can be protected and commercialised. The launch of PatSnap Academy aims to bridge this gap, and raise the level of knowledge in this area.


With over 700 students and professionals preregistered on the platform, it will be continually updated with additional content and courses, and currently hosts over five hours of video lessons on topics including: an introduction to patents, understanding patents and their role and how to successfully value and commercialise IP.


Users will be given personalised learning profiles to keep track of the topics they have covered, and will have access to a simplified IP glossary, which explains in plain terms the main terminology that is encountered in patents. Users are able to check their accumulated knowledge with a test at the end of each unit, and are given the option to request modules on specific areas of interest.


“In 2017, there is estimated to be over US$2 trillion spent on R&D globally. Without the necessary basic understanding of how patents work, and how best to use them, a growing number of ideas will never make it to the development stage, let alone make it to market,” said Duncan Clark, head of PatSnap Academy.


He continued: “the encouragement of tomorrow’s most innovative minds begins with education, and the more confidently they can approach their IP strategy, the more likely we are as a society to benefit from their creativity. Our vision for PatSnap Academy is to strengthen our commitment to open innovation, and enlighten and embolden the next generation of innovators, so that they can be confident in pursuing their new ideas.”


PatSnap has brought together the world’s most comprehensive innovation datasets. By adding licensing and litigation data, economic data, patent valuation, image and chemical formula search, and trademark recognition, PatSnap provides the world’s most innovative organisations with a new, intuitive source of information for use during research, development, and commercialisation.


To create your own free PatSnap Academy account, please click here.


About PatSnap:


PatSnap is the leading provider of research and development (R&D) analytics, for analysing tech trends, driving innovation, market planning, competitor intelligence and maximising return on IP assets. Founded in 2007, PatSnap is used by R&D, business and IP professionals in thousands of commercial and not-for-profit organisations globally, including NASA, the Department of Defense, China Mobile, Goodyear and Vodafone. It has offices in the UK, USA, Singapore and China.




New programme launches to help pupils learn about healthy relationships, consent and staying safe

On 9 October 2017, charity Coram Life Education, the leading provider of Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education in one in eight UK primary schools, launches its new primary school Relationships Education programme.

The programme was developed from insight through the charity’s research with primary school head teachers, which found that two-thirds of schools need more guidance on statutory Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) requirements and a third need more help with identifying children’s RSE needs.* It will help primary schools meet their statutory requirements to deliver RSE (currently known as Sex and Relationships Education) from 2019.

Funded by specialist insurer Ecclesiastical and aligned with recommended content set by the Department for Education, the programme will be available in over 2,000 schools currently working with Coram Life Education, and accessible to all primary schools through online subscription to its ‘SCARF’ teacher resources.

The programme will be delivered to Year 1-6 (Key Stage 1 and 2) pupils with age-appropriate lesson themes reflecting the needs and requirements of young people themselves** including healthy relationships, body ownership, consent, puberty and reproduction. It comprises lesson plans identifying the key skills, attitudes and values children need to develop healthy relationships with their peers, the information they need to keep themselves safe, and how to ask for help when they need it.

Coram Life Education is proud to introduce the programme in children’s early primary school years, as evidence shows that the teaching of safety, body ownership, private parts of the body, distinguishing types of touch and types of secrets helps to protect children and may increase the likelihood of disclosure of abuse.***

The programme features:

  • A range of interactive teaching materials, including sorting cards, engaging scenarios, true or false statements, storyboards and drama techniques
  • A series of short training film clips to support teachers in their delivery of RSE
  • An interactive booklet providing teachers with supporting guidance including how to answer difficult questions, approaches to promoting positive social norms, safeguarding and working with parents.

In addition, Coram Life Education can provide educators to lead workshops for years 4, 5 and 6, with content adapted to suit schools varying RSE needs.

In piloting the programme, one teacher commented: “It was really well suited to my class. The lesson plans were easy to follow and I liked the video clips. I would definitely use it again.”

Harriet Gill, Managing Director of Coram’s education programmes said: “When taught well by confident and trained practitioners, RSE is an enriching and engaging learning experience for children, and can contribute to building empathy, wellbeing and self-confidence.

“Our new programme has been developed in an age-appropriate way, taking account of pupils’ maturity and understanding, helping to protect children and keep them safe. We believe the programme is an important step forward in preparing children with essential skills for life and giving them the best possible chance of achieving their potential.”

Chris Pitt, corporate responsibility manager at Ecclesiastical said: “We know that the mental health and wellbeing of young people is hugely influenced by their ability to form healthy and respectful relationships. Our own research showed that two thirds of educational establishments are concerned about the mental health of pupils, with 80% saying these issues are becoming more prevalent and three quarters saying that they hinder future success.**** We are delighted to be able to play our part in helping to tackle this by funding this new programme.”


The Relationships Education programme is now available in over 2,000 schools currently working with Coram Life Education, reaching 200,000 pupils, and is accessible to any primary school that subscribes to ‘SCARF’, the charity’s online wellbeing resource.

To find out more and to sign up, please visit

Schools Serve Up to Show Off their Gardening Skills

  • Over 1,000 schools and youth groups to cook up a storm using the veg they’ve grown in the Royal Horticultural Society’s Big Soup Share
  • Week of events marks ten years of the RHS Campaign for School Gardening
  • Survey finds four in five schools have used gardening to improve mental wellbeing


Pupils at Columbia Primary School in London harvest vegetables from their garden and prepare soup to share with friends and family

More than1,000 schools and youth groups across the UK will be taking their vegetable harvest from bed to bowl for the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Big Soup Share, a week of events (2 to 8 October) to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the RHS Campaign for School Gardening.


The week will see over 75,000 green-fingered 3 to 18-year-olds harvesting their produce from the garden, devising delicious soup recipes and cooking up a feast to share with their classmates, friends, family and local community.


Since its launch in 2007, the RHS Campaign for School Gardening has called for all children to be given the chance to garden, to support their learning and wellbeing and inspire them in future careers. Ten years on, 69% of primary schools and 79% of secondary schools are now signed-up to receive free resources and support from the RHS.


A survey of these schools to mark the milestone, found that 96% reported gardening had enabled young people to connect with nature, and 83% and 82% of schools felt it had improved the mental and physical wellbeing of young people respectively. Other benefits cited were helping youngsters to develop a wide range of skills (91%) and actively green the environment (89%).

While some schools are starting to feel the pinch, with 61% of schools experiencing funding challenges, two in every five schools (40%) are using their garden as a source of income; selling plants to plough money back into the school.


This enterprising spirit also transcends to finding space to garden, with schools making use not only of small plots of land but hanging baskets and window boxes (22%) and indoor growing spaces (14%) too. With this in mind, the RHS is calling on every school to get growing this school year.


Andrea Van-Sittart, RHS Head of Community Outreach, said: “The RHS Campaign for School Gardening has gone from strength to strength in its first ten years. I’m delighted that over 34,000 schools and groups have joined the campaign, giving around six million children and young people the chance to garden.


“Not only is gardening a fantastic way of bringing the curriculum alive, it helps to get young people outdoors in the fresh air to improve their wellbeing. They’re encouraged to be active, spend time relaxing and enjoy all the health benefits of being immersed in nature. We’d love to see every school reap the many rewards of gardening.”

Ingrid Chen, gardening lead at Columbia Primary School, added: “Our children love the school’s edible garden and have got stuck into all sorts of tasks with gusto: from raising tiny seedlings to harvesting crops; sorting worms from compost, to cooking homegrown feasts to share with neighbours.


“We started with a patch of grass just over two years ago and have built and improved this garden with help from pupils, their families and more recently the wider local community. It’s a fantastic resource to enhance classroom based activities in all areas of learning, as well as a lovely opportunity for children to care for a green space and observe nature which many do not otherwise have. It’s now a community hub, and hopefully the launch pad for the next generation of gardeners.”

Ending the world’s wettest school run is Sailors’ Society’s primary aim

Primary school children are being invited to put an end to the World’s Wettest School Run – and help other children get an education – through a new appeal and accompanying assembly resources from international maritime charity Sailors’ Society.

The World’s Wettest School Run Appeal aims to collect enough coins to stretch 2km when they are lined up edge to edge – the distance children at Sulangan Integrated School in the Philippines had to wade, or even swim, to school before Sailors’ Society provided them with two motorised boats.

Sailors’ Society is dedicated to supporting seafarers and their families in need around the world. It wants to raise money for its education programme to help more children in seafaring communities around the world – including another school run boat and a library boat in the Philippines, funding a school in Ghana, education grants for children whose parents are in poverty and more.

Sailors’ Society launched the appeal this week and is encouraging schools to get involved by downloading its assembly resources – a PowerPoint, video and engagement tools to tell the story of the World’s Wettest School Run and explain how seafarers transport 90 per cent of everything we use to the UK.

Sailors’ Society’s director of advocacy Melanie Warman said: “The World’s Wettest School Run shows British schoolchildren how different life can be for other children around the world.

“Through the resources, we also help children understand where most of the things they use every day – like toys, clothes and food – come from and find out how they get here.

“Children are invited to donate during the assembly, which will help other children to have a brighter future.”

The Wettest School Run video features children from Bransgore Church of England Primary School, talking about how they get to school as well as telling the story of Filipino schoolboy Ramie Aronales, who used to wade or swim before the school boat arrived.

Bransgore’s head teacher Paul Brown said: “We’re very proud of our screen stars and looking forward to showing the film during our assembly.

“We’re always looking for ways to help children gain a better awareness of the world around them and the World’s Wettest School Run helps them feel connected to their peers thousands of miles away.”

Sailors’ Society is planning to develop its school partnerships further, through competitions and twinning opportunities that will enable children to communicate with and learn from pupils elsewhere in the world.

To download the resources, go to

Wear your slippers to school and help Shelter to be there for homeless children this Christmas

School children across the country are being asked to kick off their school shoes and snuggle into their slippers on 8 December to raise money in support of homeless children.

With over 125,000 children currently homeless in Britain, Shelter is calling on schools to take part in this fun and easy fundraiser and support the charity’s work helping families with nowhere to call home.

As well as wearing your slippers for a small donation, schools are encouraged to take part in other fundraising activities on the day, such as bake sales, raffles and slipper catwalks.

Shelter has also created a range of learning resources to get children thinking about homelessness, such as creative writing worksheets and home themed colouring sheets.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Slippers for Shelter is a great way for children across the country to make a difference to the lives of thousands of children who have nowhere to call home.

“The support and generosity from the students and staff of every school that takes part is hugely appreciated. Every penny raised will go towards helping us provide expert advice and support for any family facing homelessness this Christmas.”

To find out more about how to sign-up for Slippers for Shelter, and give your support to Shelter’s emergency Christmas appeal visit