A Dulwich pupil is reaching for the stars this Christmas, after winning a national science competition for primary schools.

10- year-old Lottie from Alleyn’s Junior School scooped the top prize in the junior category of the Empiribox ‘Win a Star’ competition, which invited children across the country to invent an alien – and take their place in space by winning a star.

Lottie took the top spot with her extra-terrestrial creation- a rainbow-coloured creature with clever characteristics for life in outer space. With big swirly eyes to see through fog and extra body weight to beat low gravity, the amazing alien impressed the Empiribox judges.

The Year 5 pupil was presented with her prize at a special school assembly last week. Winning a star in her name, and one named after Alleyn’s Junior School, Lottie was thrilled to receive a sky map showing where to find her stars at night.

Lottie’s classmates will also enjoy a magical star-gazing experience of their own, when an exciting planetarium show visits Alleyn’s Junior School in February as part of the competition prize.
Lottie said,
“When I thought about my alien, I read through everything about the planet. We had just studied space in our science lessons. I’d like to do something in science when I leave school. I was really excited to win as I’ve never won anything before!”
Teacher Brett Goldspink, Science Co-ordinator at Alleyn’s Junior School said:
“We were delighted to learn that Lottie had won this exciting science competition. At Alleyn’s we aim to inspire the next generation of scientists.”
The Win a Star Competition was run by primary science experts Empiribox, who work with schools across the UK to help teachers deliver exciting practical investigations and engage younger children with science.

                                                                                                      Empiribox Founder: Dan Sullivan

Empiribox Founder Dan Sullivan said:
“Children are fascinated by stars and the idea of life on other planets. Our Win a Star Competition really fired their imagination and we were amazed by the creativity of the designs. Lottie’s entry really stood out because she showed a lovely understanding of space science. We believe that every science lesson should be practical and fun!”
Discover how Empiribox is nurturing future scientists. Visit www.empiribox.org.

ViewSonic leads the charge in next gen EdTech at Bett 2019

Open, agnostic, secure platforms prioritise ease of use and contemporary pedagogies to create engaging learning environments.

Drawing from 30 years as innovators in visual display solutions, ViewSonic will be showcasing their total solutions for education, including ViewBoard, their front of class interactive digital whiteboard and myViewBoard, a hybrid cloud software platform, that in combination provide a bridge between traditional and modern pedagogies, to create enjoyable collaborative learning experiences for educators and students.

Ranked number three in the US education market and among the top vendors in the UK, ViewSonic infuses the latest pedagogies into its education solutions to empower teachers and students through a fully integrated digital space that enhances the education experience by encouraging greater collaboration and SCALE-UP learning.

ViewSonic is an education solution provider that integrates interactive flat panel ViewBoard with software solutions myViewBoard and myViewBoard Classroom for educators. The pioneering system operates on an open-source philosophy and supports Google Classroom and Microsoft Education integration. It also includes a complimentary file conversion function, allowing legacy files of major interactive flat panel brands to be shared across different solution platforms. This determination to empower educators has created a new ‘open’ EdTech ecosystem founded on the principles of ‘prepare, present, participate’, and has solidified ViewSonic as leaders in the next generation of EdTech resources.

ViewSonic’s Craig Scott, VP of Technology, explains why he’s excited to share ViewSonic’s myViewBoard platform at Bett 2019: “We all know that with an increasing amount of class material now online, connected technology is vital for enhancing student success and preparing them for the 21st century digital world. However, we also know that learning how to use digital resources can often add to teachers’ already burdensome workload. Our mission is to remodel the digital space in classrooms so that teachers can focus more on teaching and less on technology. We want to focus on the education, not the technology of EdTech, to provide a seamless transition to a digital experience in the classroom.”

He continued: “The myViewBoard platform is a one stop shop for digital whiteboarding solutions. It supports the latest teaching trends from 1:1 learning to scaled-up classrooms, is compatible with major operating systems, and has stringent data protection and security measures in place to ensure best-practice in online safety. From breaking free from the front of the classroom to increasing participation and impressive machine learning capabilities, the magic of myViewBoard is limitless and we can’t wait to share it with our visitors at Bett.”

Pop by Booth D180 at Bett to speak to the ViewSonic education team, who will be happy to give you a personal demonstration of the exciting products, learn more about your challenges, and discuss how ViewSonic can transform your learning environment.

Visit https://www.viewsonic.com/education or https://myviewboard.com for more information.

Bookham School Girls take part in ‘I’m a Celebrity’ style lunch challenge

In a bid to try alternative protein sources and learn more about future food sustainability, Manor House girls sampled some insect culinary delights for lunch in a ‘I’m a Celebrity’ style challenge.
In a ‘I’m a Celebrity’ style challenge to coincide with the final of the popular TV programme, girls in the Prep and Senior Departments of Manor House School in Bookham tried out a variety of insect based culinary delights during a lunch-time with a difference.
In addition to the usual lunch menu, girls were able to sample cricket flapjacks, meal-worm mud, buffalo worm couscous and crispy grasshoppers. The ‘I’m a Celebrity’ inspired foods were prepared by Regional Head Chef, Steve, from Holroyd Howe, the School’s on-site catering team. The presentation highlighted to pupils the world-wide trend for sourcing alternative protein sources to offset climate change and encourage sustainability of food sources.
Insects are a complete protein. Enjoyed around the world by over 2 billion people in Asia, Africa and South America, they are delicious, nutritious and sustainable. They are high in protein and use less of our precious planet’s resources to farm. They contain all nine essential amino acids and include important minerals like iron and calcium. They can contain up to 69% protein depending on how they are prepared. Traditional livestock farming produces more greenhouse gas emissions worldwide than cars do so, in future, we could see insects become a more common sight on our school lunch menus!
Poppy in Year 9 at Manor House School (pictured) was unsure about her tasting but Jessie in Year 4, gave her meal-worm the thumbs up and said ‘It tastes like a crisp!’ Headteacher, Tracey Fantham, said “One of our school’s core values is Happy and Healthy and we place great emphasis on providing healthy foods that are sourced locally. Our catering team are fantastic at inspiring the girls to think about future global issues and serving up regional foods for them to try. We’ve had sushi demonstrations, South American food themes and many more. I’m not sure we are quite at the stage of serving up insects, but it has certainly made many of the pupils think about future sustainability!”

Siemens Elf & Safety Advice: where there’s smoke, there isn’t always fire!

     False alarms cost the UK economy £1 billion a year
 Over 95% of automatically-generated fire alarms are false alarms
 Fire and Rescue Services distracted from genuine emergencies over the busy festive period

As the countdown to Christmas gets well and truly underway with offices and places of work getting into the festive spirit, Siemens Building Technologies is warning UK businesses about the potential consequences of false fire alarms during the busiest period of the year. False alarms from remotely-monitored fire detection and fire alarm systems cost the UK economy an estimated £1 billion in business disruption* with 95% of automatically-generated alarms being proved to be false** placing Fire and Rescue Services (F&RS) and the public at unnecessary risk.
“The vast majority of automatic fire alarm calls are proven to be false and are often caused by either false fire triggers or the inadequate maintenance of alarm systems,” commented Don Scott, fire engineering consultant Siemens Building Technologies. “Christmas is already a time of heightened risk of fire for many businesses with the F&RS stretched to capacity across the country. False alarms create further pressures when emergency services have to challenge whether alarms are genuine before attending incidents – the time lost could end up costing thousands of pounds in repairs or at worst, put lives at risk.”
Ionisation or single-sensor optical smoke detectors are a common cause of false alarm activations as they have difficulty in accurately distinguishing between airborne pollutants, such as steam, aerosols, dust, cooking fumes, insects, sparks, embers and a real fire. The incorrect siting of detectors can also be triggered if there is excessive air movement from mechanical heating or ventilation.
Multi-sensor detectors are responsive to more than one fire phenomena, i.e. smoke, heat and carbon-monoxide and are proven to be more immune to false alarm phenomena thereby giving fewer false activations. For more stringent applications; beam detectors, heat detectors and aspirating detectors are available.
A regular maintenance programme ensures the correct functioning of a fire alarm system – inadequate servicing and testing compromise safety. If an alarm system is aging or becoming unreliable replacement is advised when offset against the cost of disruption to a business. Generally, detectors should be replaced every 10-15 years, depending upon the environment in which they are installed and the manufacturers recommendations.
Dave Green, national officer, Fire Brigades Union added: “False alarms use up resources which could be better served elsewhere, and increase response times to actual emergencies. But it is better to be safe than sorry, and fire services should always be called when any alarm is raised.”
“Fire services are under more pressure than ever before, dealing with more incidents and more fires, with increasingly fewer firefighters. Since 2009, there has been a 23% decrease in the number of firefighters across the UK. This huge decrease in the number of firefighters has meant that preventative work, which would help to reduce the number of false alarms, has worryingly fallen by the wayside.”

* https://www.bre.co.uk/page.jsp?id=3527

World first – new eco “plant” glitter for education market


A UK firm has launched a revolutionary product designed to tackle the problem of plastic pollution caused by children’s craft glitter.
Glitter company Ronald Britton, has launched a new eco-friendly glitter which will degrade naturally in the environment and is based on plants rather than plastic.
The new product, Craft Bioglitter®, will be distributed in the UK by children’s art and craft manufacturer Brian Clegg Ltd. The company will be supplying Craft Bioglitter® to both the retail and education markets through approved retailers including The Consortium Education, YPO and TTS.
Bioglitter® has already received international renown, after they first launched a cosmetic version of the product in 2016, which has picked up several industry awards and through independent testing came out as the most eco friendly glitter on the market.
The new Craft Bioglitter® is based on the same eco-friendly technology used in the cosmetic product. The product replaces the use of plastics in the core of glitter with a plant based cellulose material. This special form of cellulose, unique to Bioglitter®, is stable and won’t degrade on the shelf, however once it enters the natural world such as soil or water environments where microorganisms are present the glitter will naturally decompose.
Testing by OWS, an independent testing organisation, has confirmed that Bioglitter® sets a new environmental standard for sparkles, with results showing Bioglitter® degrades in the natural environment, in only four weeks.
Stephen Cotton, commercial director at Ronald Britton Ltd, said: “We’re extremely excited to be working with Brian Clegg who will supply our ground breaking glitter into children’s art markets via retail and educational supply chains.”
“Traditional glitter used in single use applications is, although small in the grand scheme of plastic pollution, a contributor to microplastic pollution. Our new Bioglitter® product, with its fantastic biodegradability credentials, coupled with it already being 92% plastic free, represents a truly eco-friendly glitter.”
He added: “The Ronald Britton team are still determined to drive on with the Bioglitter® journey, not only so it biodegrades in the natural environment, but also to attain the ultimate 100% plastic free goal, so it’s no longer a microplastic.”
Lara Alcock, sales and marketing director, from Brian Clegg, added: “We are delighted to be the chosen partner working with Bioglitter® to supply their craft glitter into the children’s art markets.”
“The product is certainly here to make a difference and we have already been inundated with enquiries from schools and concerned parents wanting to do their bit by looking to opt for more environmentally friendly glitter and get involved in the journey to make a difference. The product also offers other advantages over traditional glitter including the fact that, by its nature, the same amount of glitter goes a lot further than normal plastic children’s glitter, as well as being more sparkly. So Craft Bioglitter® is not only a truly eco-friendly glitter, it has got more shine and less product will also go further.”
For more information on Craft Bioglitter® and the journey to create plastic free biodegradable glitter, visit www.discoverbioglitter.com. To buy Craft Bioglitter® visit www.brianclegg.co.uk


From technology that turns urine into electricity to care robots for the elderly, the MadeAtUni campaign celebrates the transformational impact of UK universities

Futuristic headsets to help paralysed people to communicate, smart baby buggies for the blind, a toilet that flushes without water and the development of a new scrum technique to make rugby safer – all have been identified today as among the 100 most significant breakthroughs to come from UK universities.

The UK’s Best Breakthroughs List has been launched to celebrate the inventions, discoveries and social initiatives from UK universities which have had a transformational impact on people’s everyday lives, including the development of penicillin, the invention of the portable defibrillator, work tackling plastic pollution, ultrasound scans, MRIs and the establishment of the Living Wage.

The list also highlights the less celebrated but vital breakthroughs that change lives, including a specially-designed bra to improve the treatment of women having radiotherapy, a sports initiative that uses football to resolve conflict in divided communities, research into the causes of gaming and mobile phone addiction, and new technology that turns urine into electricity which has the potential to transform the lives of millions of people in the developing world.

The list was compiled by Universities UK, the umbrella group for UK universities, as part of the #MadeAtUni campaign to show that universities do much more than just teach students and to bring to life the difference they make to everyone’s lives.

Universities across the country were invited to nominate the one innovation, discovery or social initiative from their institution which they believe has had a significant impact on society. Over 100 universities submitted a nomination. The entries cover health, technology, environment, family, community, and culture & sport.

The UK’s Best Breakthroughs List: 100+ Ways Universities Have Improved Everyday Life can be seen in full here and the A-Z of nominations here.

The campaign follows independent research undertaken by Britain Thinks on behalf of Universities UK, which found that the public are proud of UK universities but have little understanding of the benefits they bring beyond undergraduate teaching. The findings showed that whilst a significant proportion of the population were interested in hearing about how UK universities lead the world in research, most did not realise UK academics were behind some of the world’s most important discoveries such as MRIs and ultrasound scans.

The campaign is being supported by James Nesbitt, the award-winning actor; and Rebecca Adlington, the two-times Olympic swimming champion.
Adlington, who did not go to university but trained in the pool at Nottingham University, said: “Even though I didn’t go to university myself, my life wouldn’t have been the same without the amazing things that happen at UK universities. It’s the reason we have ultrasounds, which told me my baby daughter was healthy; full-body MRI scans like the ones that helped diagnose my sister’s encephalitis, helping to save her life. I’ve also been lucky enough to train in some of our fantastic university pools.
“For many people, universities are just places where people study, but I want to shine a light on the transformational impact they have on people’s lives.”

Nesbitt, who studied French at Ulster University, where he is now Chancellor, before transferring to the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, said: “Do you ever think about where things come from? Things that you rely on and use every day like computers and smart phones? UK universities have been at the forefront of some of the most exciting developments and initiatives of the last century, but not many people know that these innovations come from UK universities and the work of academics up and down the country.

“That’s why, as Chancellor of Ulster University, I’m pleased to be supporting this campaign and helping to champion the many ways that UK universities are making a difference. They transform people’s lives and build a better future for everyone, and that’s something to be proud of.”

Professor Dame Janet Beer, President of Universities UK, said: “Universities really do transform lives. The technology we use every day, the medicines that save lives, the teachers who inspire – all come from UK universities and the important work being done by academics up and down the country.
“The UK’s Best Breakthroughs list is a testament to the difference that universities make to people’s lives and we want everyone to join us in celebrating the work they do.”

You can find out more about the UK’s Best Breakthroughs and the MadeAtUni campaign here www.madeatuni.org.uk. You can also follow the campaign on Twitter @MadeAtUni and Facebook @madeatuni.

Are children key to a healthier London? TfL’s STARS programme suggests so

• Participating schools have achieved an average eight per cent reduction in car use on the journey to school
• Almost half of London schools are accredited to TfL’s STARS programme to encourage active and safer travel
• Research shows that a quarter of weekday morning peak car trips are for school drop-offs

Twenty eight schools from across London have been celebrated by Transport for London (TfL) for their work championing active and safe travel on the journey to school.
As part of TfL’s STARS (Sustainable Travel: Active, Responsible, Safe) schools programme, the winners received awards for being the highest performing of around 1500 participating London primary and secondary schools in reducing car use, increasing walking and cycling and using public transport. All STARS schools ran initiatives that have led to an average of eight per cent reduction in car use on school journeys.
STARS is now in its twelfth year, and accreditation to STARS has grown from 180 schools in 2007 to 1,465 in 2018. Schools are judged on their success in changing travel behaviour with each school awarded a Bronze, Silver or Gold accreditation. This year 686 schools were awarded a Gold accreditation – more than ever before.
Certificates from the Mayor of London were presented to the top performing schools at the annual event at City Hall.
Dr Will Norman, London’s Walking & Cycling Commissioner, COMMA said: “We all want to build a healthier and safer future for our children so to have them involved in encouraging us all to be more active and safe is fantastic. The Mayor and I are particularly proud of the STARS programme. Every participating school deserves an award and should be proud of their achievements. These top 28 schools have shown particular innovation in their projects.
“Being physically active sets children up for success: active kids are healthier, happier and do better at school. Sadly, far too many children in London aren’t as active as they should be. Walking, cycling and scooting to school are fun and easy ways to build more activity into the day.”
Gareth Powell, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, said: “TfL’s STARS accreditation scheme inspires young Londoners to think differently about travel and its impact on their health, wellbeing and the environment. This year, we have awarded gold status to 686 schools, more than ever before. We are delighted that so many schools across London are part of the programme and we’re determined to double that number, enabling more London children to enjoy the benefits of leading active lives.”
The overall best regional primary and secondary schools include:
• Lordship Lane Primary – for work to discourage parents from parking near the school including creating a five minute walking zone and holding two play street events outside school to show parents how it could be without cars (Haringey, north London)
• Oakleigh School and Acorn Assessment Centre – during Road Safety Week every class had a 20 minute presentation using travel related music, sensory objects and lights (Barnet, north London)
• Gilbert Colvin Primary – have worked incredibly hard this year with their ‘Stripey Strider’ campaign to get a zebra crossing outside their school (Redbridge, east London)
• The Campion School – have delivered a year-long three part campaign aiming to increase the numbers of those cycling to school (Havering, east London)
• Herne Hill Primary – for devising ‘numerous fun and interactive travel initiatives’ to promote local safe travel initiatives including a Clean Air Day and inviting external speakers to speak to pupils (Southwark, south London)
• St Mary Magdalene School – for their innovative three-part Spokestars initiative that develops cycling skills from the bottom up. Level one focuses on balance bike training, level two – transitioning to pedal bike and level three – basic bike maintenance (Greenwich, south London)
• St Mary’s Bryanston Square CE Primary – the school has undertaken an intensive programme of activity this year including a clean air project that including air quality lessons, removing car parking spaces, installing scooter parking and raising money to fund an eco-garden in a former school car park (Westminster, west London)
• Guru Nanak Sikh Academy – the Academy has undertaken an intensive campaign to improve road safety in Hayes which included creating ‘More Than You’, a powerful film highlighting the consequences of a road traffic incident. The film was premiered at a Road Safety Fair which included a road safety obstacle course, a smoothie bike as well as travel inspired games & activities. 750 students attended the event. (Hillingdon, west London)
Prior to this event, other STARS accredited schools received Bronze, Silver and Gold grading for their initiatives at seven regional events held across London. They also shared best practice and pledged to increase their activities.
As well as TfL’s work to encourage walking, cycling and scooting to school, councils like Camden and Hackney are also piloting schemes where streets around primary schools are closed at set times in the morning and afternoon, allowing people to walk and cycle safely in a pleasant environment. Waltham Forest is also discouraging motorists from idling their engines at drop off and pick up times.
The first Walking Action Plan was launched earlier this year. As part of this, TfL, the Mayor and others are delivering a number of projects that promote healthy, walkable school journeys and make it easier and more appealing for parents and children to walk or cycle to school. The Walking Action Plan includes the target to double the number of schools reaching the Gold standard under the STARS scheme, from 686 currently to 1,000 by 2024.
Research from TfL’s Walking Action Plan, which aims to make London the world’s most walkable city, shows that a quarter of weekday morning peak car trips are for school drop-offs, a total of 254,000 trips a day. Those cars would form a traffic jam more than 1,000km long if they were queuing in single file. This increased traffic has an impact on congestion, air quality, safety and the efficiency of London’s roads.
The STARS scheme and the Walking Action Plan are part of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, which aims for 80 per cent of journeys to be made by walking, cycling or public transport.
For further details on the STARS accreditation scheme and the full range of programmes TfL offers to schools and young people, visit www.tfl.gov.uk/stars or www.tfl.gov.uk/younglondon.


Primary pupils create thousands of apps to take computing prize

Pupils at St Swithun Wells’ Catholic Primary School in Hillingdon are celebrating after receiving a national computing award.
The West London school has been recognised as a UK Coding Champion by Discovery Education, which provides digital and coding resources to primary schools.
Pupils at St Swithun Wells’ designed and shared over 2900 apps last year, placing them in the top three schools for Discovery Education Coding across the UK. The school’s talented young learners used their ICT skills to create a whole range of imaginative computer games, using different programming languages, and featuring characters including dinosaurs, princesses and even HM The Queen!

The school was given a gold award in recognition of their achievement and a Makey Makey coding kit –an electronic invention tool which connects everyday objects to the internet.

Computing Coordinator Tiffany Bolton said:

“Coding is an important skill for the future and we’re delighted that our pupils enjoy computer programming so much. We’re proud to be placed in the top 3 coding schools nationally.”

Hazel Carter, UK Marketing Director at Discovery Education said:
“Coding powers our digital world. It’s a skill that will always be relevant, and one that children can easily master and enjoy. We were very impressed with the games and apps created by pupils at St Swithun Wells’, and they should be very proud of their achievement as a top coding school.”
To learn more about Discovery Education’s coding service visit www.discoveryeducation.co.uk/coding.
Primary schools can request a free trial of Discovery Education Coding at: www.discoveryeducation.co.uk/trials.