Casio launches new projector series with one click wireless connectivity

Casio has announced the launch of its revolutionary new 4000 Lumen WUXGA Superior Series XJ-S400 projectors with Educational Solution features to the UK market at BETT Show this week.

Created for ICT classrooms which actively encourage student engagement via PC and smart devices, the Superior Series features a one click connection for up to 40 devices over a wireless network, moderator function, PC and projector remotes and auto projector off.

In a response to the expanding growth in the use of technology in the classroom and the move to a more streamlined connectivity management, Casio’s Superior Series XJ-S400 projectors provides a more efficient solution for teachers and campus IT managers, while reducing time lost at the start of the lesson due to connectivity issues. Encouraging the use of multiple content inputs, the teacher can easily switch between different devices without the stress of connecting cables.

The new series offers four models; XJ-S400UN, XJ-S400WN, XJ-S400U, XJ-S400, with a 1.7x optical zoom and WUXGA or WXGA resolution. The powerful 4000-lumen brightness uses the new R-Hybrid Light Source providing 20,000 hours of operating time and eliminating mercury and lamp replacements from its specifications.

Casio projectors are used in over 40,000 schools worldwide. With one click connection, the wireless connection is made easy for everyone in the classroom and teachers can start their lessons right away without the hassle of connecting cables or going through complicated wireless setup. Once students have connected their personal devices, the moderator function provides the teacher with complete control over projected content choices for up to 40 devices and from anywhere in the room with the use of a remote control.

The projector display will automatically turn off after 20 minutes when the projector input signals or activity is no longer detected, thanks to the Auto Projector OFF functionality. This power saving function, also removes the need to manually power the projector on or off, resuming immediately if the projector detects input signals again.

The series also features a countdown timer for exam based sessions, with nine pre-set templates, a mirror mode to rotate projected images horizontally, an auto input search and a YW-41 wireless LAN adaptor for networked connection.

Further to the Superior Series, Casio has also announced the launch of its new Ultra-Short Throw (UTS) series models and Advance Series model, which also feature the new educational solutions features.
To experience the new range from Casio, visit Stand F150 at BETT Show, Excel London from 23rd – 26th January 2019.

Celebrities shine a light on the power of dyslexic thinking in new Awareness Training films for teachers and parents

London, 23 January 2019 – Hollywood stars Keira Knightly, OBE and Orlando Bloom are among the big names starring in a series of awareness training films designed to help teachers, educators and parents understand dyslexia and gain essential knowledge on how to recognise and support it, therefore creating a dyslexia inclusive classroom.
The five short movies, produced by global charity Made By Dyslexia, focus on the different way those with dyslexia think, the issues they face in a traditional classroom environment, and how dyslexic thinking and skills help companies meet the challenges of the 21st century workplace.
Shot as a series of ‘talking head’ videos, the Dyslexia Awareness training covers five areas – Module One is an introduction to dyslexia, while Modules Two and Three cover the strength of dyslexic thinking and challenges that children encounter in education. Module Four gives advice on how teachers can create an inclusive classroom for all children, while Module Five explains teachers and parents how to identify dyslexia early – and how this can transform educational outcomes.
Experts from two of the world’s leading schools renowned for their support to dyslexic students – Millfield in Glastonbury, Somerset, UK and The Schenck School, Atlanta, Georgia, USA – are featured in the films and helped shape content of the training.
Meanwhile, Microsoft has used the films to create a free online training resource about dyslexia, which will be hosted on its popular Microsoft Educator Community site available to teachers and parents globally and announced at BETT this week.
Made By Dyslexia founder and chief executive Kate Griggs explained: “Dyslexics have a range of natural strengths that make them ‘hard-wired’ for the in demand skills of the future, as was outlined in the EY Value of Dyslexia report. But our Parent Teacher research found 91% say their schools need a better understanding of dyslexic strengths”.
”These films aim to help teachers and parents understand dyslexic strengths and highlight the importance of identifying and support children with dyslexia.”
In the films, familiar faces such as Keira Knightly OBE, Orlando Bloom, Chris Robshaw and Jamie Oliver talk about their experience with dyslexia throughout their lives. Meanwhile entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson and UK space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE explain how dyslexia affected them at school and shaped their careers.
Taking the topic to stage at this year’s Bett Show, on Friday 25 January from 16.30 to 17.00 will be Maggie Aderin-Pocock and Kate Griggs, explaining how technology will play a vital role in streamlining support and empowering educators to enable dyslexic students to reach their potential.
The awareness training resources follow hot on the heels of the first Global Dyslexia Summit (October 15 2018) and launch of the EY Made By Dyslexia report. The event and research examined how Dyslexic Thinking Skills matched the core work-related skills identified in World Economic Forum’s for 2020.
Later in the year five additional modules will be released in addition to a series of UK and USA ‘road-show’ events to showcase the training and spread awareness even further.
For more information on dyslexia, please visit www.madebydyslexia.org.

Celebrate Chinese New Year and Learn Mandarin…Instantly!

 

New Online Platform Launched Making Mandarin More Accessible, Affordable and Easier to Learn than Ever Before

Bespoke One-to-One Teaching Courses to Aid Business, Tourism, Conversational and Educational Study

A major new initiative geared to making Mandarin more accessible and easier to learn for English-speaking audiences across the world is being launched as part of celebrations marking the start of the Year of the Pig, the Chinese New Year, on February 5th.

Instant Mandarin is an on-line teaching platform supported by some of China’s most well-respected educational institutions, which now going live for the first time outside China. The programme’s website www.instantmandarin.com offers personalised and affordable one-to-one Mandarin tuition, linking the user directly with a live, personal tutor drawn from a pool of highly qualified teachers educated to master degree level and above.

Instant Mandarin is a working partnership with the Sichuan Education Association for International Exchange (SEAIE) bringing together Chinese universities and teaching institutions. It aims to capitalise on the huge surge of popularity for Mandarin across the globe, with an estimated 100 million people outside China currently learning the language.

Yet while it remains the world’s most widely spoken language with more than one billion speakers, Mandarin is still regarded as one of the hardest to learn with a complex writing system and a wide range of tonal inflections. This is a perception which Kevin Diao, founder of Instant Mandarin, hopes to change bringing with him 15 years’ experience as one China’s leading experts in delivering education-based international programmes.

“As we celebrate the Year of the Pig, representing luck, wealth and good fortune we have a wonderful opportunity to bring some of the world’s most qualified Mandarin teachers directly into the homes, workplaces and classrooms of those who want to study the language,” he says.

“Our structured one-to-one sessions establish a close student and teacher learning relationship – literally bringing the language to life, as well as providing a much more in-depth understanding of the nuances, culture and traditions behind this most complex yet beautiful of languages.

“Our management team reflect both Chinese and western influences, which means we understand the needs of today’s global audiences for both learning and applying Mandarin. And while Chinese Mandarin is a traditional language, with a long cultural history, we also use a more contemporary approach to aid a more practical and conversational understanding of the world’s most widely spoken language.”

Central to the teaching strategy behind Instant Mandarin is flexibility – both in the frequency and intensity of classes which are structured around individual needs and timetables, and in the type of tuition offered.

Lessons are kept to 25 minutes which research shows is the maximum learning time for learning Mandarin in one session. And users can choose from a range of courses, including standard and academic as well as those geared towards business, tourism, conversational or simply basic and survival needs. Classes are also provided for young learners based around the YCT (Youth Chinese Test), the international standardised system for measuring the Chinese level of young learners.

Kevin Diao adds: “We are committed to investing in and expanding both our offering and geographical reach to be at the forefront of the digitalization of education, using developing technology to make the learning experience more accessible, affordable and flexible for everyone. But while technology will help us connect to our audiences, it’s the personal contact that we provide with native speakers which is essential for truly understanding and learning any foreign language.”

To celebrate the Chinese New Year in February, Instant Mandarin is offering a free trial for all new users, involving a bespoke assessment of each individual’s Chinese level and agreement of a personalised learning experience. New users can also benefit from a special launch offer of an ‘appetizer’ course providing 70 lessons over three months for $600, including 10 free lessons, working out at just over $8.50 per lesson – available until the end of February 2019. Taster sessions are also available of five 25-minute lessons over one month, starting at $60.

For more information and to be part of the Instant Mandarin experience, visit: www.instantmandarin.com (from Tuesday January 22, 2019).

Information-based videos can be accessed here:
https://www.instantmandarin.com/videos

Social media links:
https://www.facebook.com/InstantMandarin
https://twitter.com/I_Am_Mandarin
https://www.linkedin.com/company/instantmandarin
https://www.instagram.com/instant_mandarin/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWjOElUrnRU1NEGmg92aevw
WeChat: InstantMandarin

Artist uses Augmented Reality to bring The Tolpuddle Martyrs artwork to life

Jason Wilsher-Mills at Parliament
Credit: Jason Wilsher-Mills

A new augmented reality artwork will bring the story of the Tolpuddle Martyrs to life like never before.

Acclaimed artist Jason Wilsher-Mills worked with descendants of the Tolpuddle Martyrs to create a new artwork for Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum in Dorchester, Dorset. The exhibition opens on March 19th 2019 and will feature the six Dorset farm labourers, whose trial and imprisonment at Shire Hall kickstarted the trade union movement, brought to life through augmented reality.

Everything within the artwork will have meaning and be brought to life through augmented reality. Jason said the Tolpuddle Martyrs oath, the ship they were transported on and even Australia itself, which will be formed by a swarm of bees, will float in front of visitors’ eyes. He said: “It’s really bonkers, amazing stuff.” He said he hoped the artwork would create debate around the Martyrs story but also around contemporary issues like what it means to be British.

Jason Wilsher-Mills’ artwork for George Loveless, the leader of the Tolpuddle Martyrs. Please credit: Jason Wilsher-Mills

As a disabled artist, Jason’s previous work with young disabled people, Brave Boy Billy, was displayed at the Tate Modern and his new project, Jason and the Argonauts, which explores the aspirations and experiences of disabled groups, has just been shortlisted for the prestigious Unlimited art funding. Unlimited supports ‘ambitious, creative projects by outstanding disabled artists and companies.’

Jason said: “I wanted to return them to Tolpuddle. The clothes they are wearing feature leaves from Tolpuddle trees and I spent time photographing the local insects, so they could be included too. I wanted to make them of Dorset.

“I wanted to get the sense that they were part of Dorset, their hearts were in Dorset. Their families and the earth they tended, and the local wildlife had such an impact on them. I wanted to link that into the artwork. I wanted to show them as humble, very religious, which they were, and strong. There’s a steeliness in their eyes.”

Augmented reality uses technology to superimpose computer-generated films, images and interactive components on what someone is seeing in the real world. This could be by using a tablet or mobile phone to view the original artwork and then ‘seeing’ the augmented part as 3D on the screen.

The exhibition opens on March 19th 2019 and will be free with a valid Museum Ticket (which also acts as an Annual Pass).

For more information visit shirehalldorset.org.

Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum, High Street West, Dorchester, Dorset, DT1 1UY

Alesha Dixon named judge of the Explore Learning Writers’ Awards 2019

                                                                               © John Wright. Pink background illustrations: Steve Simpson

• Free writing competition for children aged four to 14 launches 11th March
• Winner awarded a trip to Disneyland Paris and £500 of books for their school
• Author, TV presenter and singer Alesha Dixon is this year’s incredible judge who will surprise the winner at their school!

22.01.19. London, UK. Children’s author, TV presenter and singer Alesha Dixon, has been named this year’s judge of the Explore Learning Writers’ Awards. The competition, now in it’s 11th year encourages children from across the UK to get their imaginations going and write a 500-word story in the hope that they will be selected by Alesha and the team at Explore Learning as their writer of the year! The winner will receive a trip to Disneyland Paris for their whole family as well as £500 worth of books for their school libraries AND a meet and greet with global super star, Alesha Dixon, who will surprise them at their school!
The competition will be open for entry from Monday 11th March and Explore Learning will be running a number of FREE creative writing workshops with schools and libraries across the UK to inspire children to take part.
The closing date of entry is Sunday 5th May and this year’s theme will be announced when the competition opens! Previous themes have been: Heroes, The Future and Around The World.
The multi-talented Alesha Dixon first found fame as part of Brit-nominated and MOBO Award-winning group Mis-teeq, which achieved two platinum albums and seven Top Ten hits, before going on to become a platinum selling solo artist in her own right. Alesha’s appearance on Strictly Come Dancing in 2007 led to her winning the series and becoming a judge for three seasons. Since then she has presented and hosted many TV shows including: CBBC dance show Alesha’s Street Dance Stars, Children In Need, Sport Relief, Your Face Sounds Familiar, and ITV’s Dance, Dance, Dance. She is a hugely popular judge on Britain’s Got Talent and has just been announced as the presenter of new BBC show, The Greatest Dancer.
She has written two very popular children’s books – Lightning Girl (launched in April 2018) and Lightning Girl 2: Superhero Squad (September 2018) about 11-year-old Aurora Beam who finds out she has superhero powers! The laugh-out-loud high-voltage adventures have received rave reviews and the third instalment is set to be released in March 2019.
Charlotte Gater, Head of Curriculum at Explore Learning says: “We are thrilled to have Alesha Dixon as our judge for 2019. Her Lightning Girl series is so popular with our members at Explore Learning and we are sure that she will inspire lots of children across the UK to have a go at entering the competition in the hope that their creativity will impress Alesha! We can’t wait to launch the competition and see what incredible stories the children of the UK come up with!”
Last year over 38,000 children entered the competition and previous prolific judges include David Walliams, Steve Backshall, Cressida Cowell, Lauren Child and Liz Pichon! Last year’s winner was eight year old, Mia Falatoori from London who impressed David Walliams with her story ‘The Mum with the Toxic Bum’ which you can read here.
Throughout the next six months Explore Learning will be providing some top writing tips from their creative writing team, previous winners, judges and best-selling authors via their website, social media and face to face. They will also be hosting a collection of free downloadable information on their website that can be used at home or in the classroom as well as running free workshops with local libraries, schools and community groups to inspire children’s love of writing and support them with their entries. For more information visit www.explorelearning.co.uk/writersawards.
Explore Learning are an award-winning English and maths tuition company with 143 centres located all over the country. Over 35,000 children aged four to 14 attend their centres each week. Explore Learning’s aim is to help every child reach their full potential and get the best results they can, but more importantly develop a generation of fearless learners.
For more information about the National Young Writers’ Awards visit www.explorelearning.co.uk/youngwriters.

HELP CHILDREN SPOT FAKE NEWS – New resources for primary schools featuring ITN broadcaster Charlene White launch at Bett Show this week

New films and resources to help primary school children spot fake news and build digital literacy skills are being launched at London’s Bett Show this week.
Building upon Discovery Education’s popular Espresso News content, these new resources feature contributions from ITN journalists and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue. Special lesson plans and videos will help children to develop a critical eye for the news and social media stories they consume. They will also give pupils an insight into the world of news production, as they hear from ITN’s Charlene White about how journalists fact-check and why it’s important to question where stories come from.
The videos are part of a suite of new digital literacy teaching resources produced by Discovery Education as part of the Espresso digital learning service for primary schools. The resources will support teachers to help children navigate the digital world, building their confidence, resilience and critical thinking skills. A Commission on Fake News report published in June 2018 found that only 2% of children in the UK have the critical literacy skills they need to tell if a news story is real or fake*
On Thursday 24th January broadcaster Charlene White will speak at a session at London’s Bett Show, exploring how teachers and parents can help children to think critically about what they see online. Joined by Josh Phillips from The Institute for Strategic Dialogue and London Headteacher Steph Neale, the three speakers will also consider how teaching the news can boost pupil literacy in discussion with teachers from across the UK.
Empowering your students to become critical consumers of the news takes place in the Bett Arena on Thursday 24th January at 13:30.


Charlene White said:
“We all have a responsibility to make sure young people understand the difference between what’s real and what’s fake online. It’s important we give them the tools to navigate the “fake news” arena, so they can form their own balanced opinions of world affairs – once they have all the facts. Which makes what we do as journalists ever-more crucial.”
Josh Phillips from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue said:
“Students today have an incredible opportunity to harness the endless potential of the internet. ISD’s education projects support schools, parents and policymakers in the UK and internationally to empower students to become responsible digital leaders. Our resources give students the tools to critically approach the mass of online information, spot fake news, and contribute to an exciting and positive digital world.”
The new resources are available via the Discovery Education Espresso digital learning service which includes Espresso News – a popular daily and weekly news resource used by thousands of primary schools across the UK. Produced in partnership with ITN Productions, Espresso News is a finalist at this year’s prestigious Bett Awards.
Over the coming weeks, Discovery Education will be making a range of Espresso News resources freely available to schools, helping teachers to infuse the news throughout the primary curriculum. These will include video news stories and lesson plans, differentiated for each key stage. Schools can access these resources at www.discoveryeducation.co.uk/bett.
Following on from Thursday’s Bett Arena session, Discovery Education will be hosting two special Fake News Live Lessons at the event with pupils from Beatrix Potter Primary School in Wandsworth. Taking place on the HP Stand (G190) on Friday 25th January at 12:00 and 15:15, the lessons will demonstrate how teaching the news can build literacy and critical thinking skills, showcasing a variety of tools to engage children in analysis and discussion.
Discovery Education is also delighted to be partnering with the 2019 Bett Team, to host three special events: an exclusive reception for school leaders during the afternoon of Thursday 24th January and two ‘peer to peer conversations’ on Thursday 24th and Friday 25th. For more details and to register visit www.discoveryeducation.co.uk/events.
Susanna Goldschmidt, Head of Publishing at Discovery Education said:
“Discovery Education is delighted to be back at this year’s Bett and looking forward to meeting with pupils and teachers from across the UK and beyond. We’re thrilled to be partnering with ITN Productions and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue on the important issues of fake news and digital literacy, helping teachers to empower their pupils to be critical 21st century news consumers.”
Discovery Education is a leading provider of digital content to schools. Winner of 9 Bett Awards, Discovery Education engages pupils across the UK with its dynamic, curriculum-matched digital learning services. During Bett 2019 there are other opportunities to see the fake news content in action, visit www.discoveryeducation.co.uk/events for the full schedule.

New films and resources to help primary school children spot fake news and build digital literacy skills are being launched at London’s Bett Show this week.
Building upon Discovery Education’s popular Espresso News content, these new resources feature contributions from ITN journalists and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue. Special lesson plans and videos will help children to develop a critical eye for the news and social media stories they consume. They will also give pupils an insight into the world of news production, as they hear from ITN’s Charlene White about how journalists fact-check and why it’s important to question where stories come from.
The videos are part of a suite of new digital literacy teaching resources produced by Discovery Education as part of the Espresso digital learning service for primary schools. The resources will support teachers to help children navigate the digital world, building their confidence, resilience and critical thinking skills. A Commission on Fake News report published in June 2018 found that only 2% of children in the UK have the critical literacy skills they need to tell if a news story is real or fake*
On Thursday 24th January broadcaster Charlene White will speak at a session at London’s Bett Show, exploring how teachers and parents can help children to think critically about what they see online. Joined by Josh Phillips from The Institute for Strategic Dialogue and London Headteacher Steph Neale, the three speakers will also consider how teaching the news can boost pupil literacy in discussion with teachers from across the UK.
Empowering your students to become critical consumers of the news takes place in the Bett Arena on Thursday 24th January at 13:30.
Charlene White said:
“We all have a responsibility to make sure young people understand the difference between what’s real and what’s fake online. It’s important we give them the tools to navigate the “fake news” arena, so they can form their own balanced opinions of world affairs – once they have all the facts. Which makes what we do as journalists ever-more crucial.”
Josh Phillips from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue said:
“Students today have an incredible opportunity to harness the endless potential of the internet. ISD’s education projects support schools, parents and policymakers in the UK and internationally to empower students to become responsible digital leaders. Our resources give students the tools to critically approach the mass of online information, spot fake news, and contribute to an exciting and positive digital world.”
The new resources are available via the Discovery Education Espresso digital learning service which includes Espresso News – a popular daily and weekly news resource used by thousands of primary schools across the UK. Produced in partnership with ITN Productions, Espresso News is a finalist at this year’s prestigious Bett Awards.
Over the coming weeks, Discovery Education will be making a range of Espresso News resources freely available to schools, helping teachers to infuse the news throughout the primary curriculum. These will include video news stories and lesson plans, differentiated for each key stage. Schools can access these resources at www.discoveryeducation.co.uk/bett.
Following on from Thursday’s Bett Arena session, Discovery Education will be hosting two special Fake News Live Lessons at the event with pupils from Beatrix Potter Primary School in Wandsworth. Taking place on the HP Stand (G190) on Friday 25th January at 12:00 and 15:15, the lessons will demonstrate how teaching the news can build literacy and critical thinking skills, showcasing a variety of tools to engage children in analysis and discussion.
Discovery Education is also delighted to be partnering with the 2019 Bett Team, to host three special events: an exclusive reception for school leaders during the afternoon of Thursday 24th January and two ‘peer to peer conversations’ on Thursday 24th and Friday 25th. For more details and to register visit www.discoveryeducation.co.uk/events.
Susanna Goldschmidt, Head of Publishing at Discovery Education said:
“Discovery Education is delighted to be back at this year’s Bett and looking forward to meeting with pupils and teachers from across the UK and beyond. We’re thrilled to be partnering with ITN Productions and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue on the important issues of fake news and digital literacy, helping teachers to empower their pupils to be critical 21st century news consumers.”
Discovery Education is a leading provider of digital content to schools. Winner of 9 Bett Awards, Discovery Education engages pupils across the UK with its dynamic, curriculum-matched digital learning services. During Bett 2019 there are other opportunities to see the fake news content in action, visit www.discoveryeducation.co.uk/events for the full schedule.

Search begins to find the next generation of star gardeners

 

 

  • Royal Horticultural Society’s School Gardeners of the Year competition opens for nominations
    • Now in its eighth year the competition celebrates the many benefits of school gardening and outdoor learning
    • Entrants stand to win top prizes from historic greenhouse manufacturer Hartley Botanic, gardening vouchers and RHS Flower Show tickets

    The search to find the next generation of star gardeners begins today as the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) opens nominations for RHS School Gardeners of the Year 2019.

    Now in its eighth year, the nationwide competition champions the many benefits of school gardening, shining a light on young people of all skill levels who are passionate about gardening and the inspirational adults who teach them.

    Supported by greenhouse manufacturer and prize provider Hartley Botanic, the RHS is calling on schools to nominate their gardening superstars across three competition categories:

    RHS Young School Gardener of the Year: Nominations open for pupils aged 5-16 who demonstrate a true passion for gardening, show invaluable gardening skills and have made an outstanding contribution to their school or local community.

    RHS School Gardening Team of the Year: Recognises an outstanding gardening team that has made a difference to their school environment or local community.

    RHS School Gardening Champion of the Year: Celebrates teachers, leaders and volunteers who have inspired a passion for gardening and have used the outdoors to help bring the curriculum alive.

    Schools can enter their nominees at https://schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk/sgoty19 with applications closing at 5pm on Wednesday 24 April. Shortlisted applicants will be asked to produce a short video in support of their entry which is used by the judging panel to pick the winners. The winners will be announced in June.

    A host of top prizes are up for grabs including an award-winning, handmade Hartley Botanic greenhouse worth £10,000 and Hartley Botanic patio glasshouses, National Garden Gift Vouchers and tickets to RHS Flower Shows. Winning schools will also receive a visit from competition judge and TV gardening presenter, Frances Tophill, who appears on BBC Gardeners’ World and ITV’s Love Your Garden.

    The annual search forms part of the charity’s RHS Campaign for School Gardening which provides free resources and advice to over 38,000 schools and groups across the UK. With young people increasingly disconnected from nature and the outdoor world and the knock-on effect on wellbeing, the campaign calls on every child to be given to chance to garden which can also boost learning and hone a host of other skills.

Alana Cama, RHS Skills Development Manager said: “The competition highlights what a difference gardening can make to young people’s lives – whether it’s improving their health and mental wellbeing, enriching curriculum learning or opening their eyes to a love of gardening that will stay with them as they grow older. I can’t wait to hear the inspirational stories behind this year’s nominees.”

The prize of an award-winning, handmade Hartley Botanic greenhouse worth up to £10,000 has been donated by the historic Lancashire greenhouse manufacturer and will go to the winning school gardening team.

Tom Barry, Hartley Botanic’s Managing Director said: “We are thrilled to be supporting the RHS with this year’s competition. The love of gardening often starts from an early age and this is a great way to encourage children to discover the joy of growing early on.”

In 2018, 15-year-old Ellie Micklewright from Shropshire took home the RHS Young School Gardener of the Year award after wowing judges with her dedication and initiative in creating a weekly school gardening club from scratch. Starting with very little equipment or resources, she managed to secure funding for the club and get 40 other students on board.

St Gregory’s Catholic Science College in London received the team award for their school garden which was once earmarked to extend the school car park, while Matthew Willer, a history teacher from Reepham High School in Norfolk was named RHS School Gardening Champion for his work to launch The Allotment Project on the edge of the school’s playing field.

For more information and advice about school gardening visit the RHS Campaign for School Gardening website: https://schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk

Encyclopaedia Britannica to light up Bett 2019 with Gogglebox’s Baasit Siddiqui and the launch of LumieLabs

In its 250th year, Encyclopaedia Britannica, will launch its new edtech resource, LumieLabs at Bett 2019.

Allowing educators to use personalised, project-based video lessons to promote creativity, student voice, and choice, LumieLabs is a cutting-edge resource that conveniently offers tools, content, and publishing abilities within one platform. The innovation of LumieLabs leverages digital storytelling to increase active learning and develop engaged communicators.

Showcasing at the world’s largest education technology show, Bett, Encyclopaedia Britannica will also be joined by Director of Siddiqui Education, Baasit Siddiqui, of Googlebox fame. Baasit will be presenting at the stand at 12:30pm on Wednesday, 23 and Thursday, 24 January to share his personal experience as a former teacher, discuss the changing nature and value of technology’s role in education, and to discuss how Britannica’s brand new digital storytelling and presentation resource, LumieLabs, has benefited him in his role as an educator.

Discussing LumieLabs and his work with Encyclopaedia Britannica, Baasit said:
“This integrated platform allowed us to easily assign video assignments in our workshops. Video creation is the future of presentation and it’s important that this media-savvy generation is provided with the right tools to engage them in their educational journey”.

He continued: “Working with Encyclopaedia Britannica has been a great experience; its range of resources foster creativity and confidence in digital literacy for students – one of the key pillars of our workshops in preparing students for the workforce of the future and Britannica share that vision.”

Please visit stand E91 at Bett to speak to Baasit or the Encyclopaedia Britannica team, who will be happy to give you a personal demonstration of LumieLabs, and learn more about how it can enrich student’s learning experiences.
Bett, 23-26th January, ExCeL, London.

Global Recycling Foundation asks children from across the world to be better recycling citizens on Global Recycling Day, 18 March 2019

Ahead of its second Global Recycling Day, 18 March 2019, the Global Recycling Foundation is asking children across the world to make better recycling practices in 2019. To help, a list of “seven recycling promises to become a global recycling citizen” has been created, which families, school and youth orientated clubs are being invited to download and share.


Youth and education is a key pillar of Global Recycling Day’s 2019 theme “Recycling into the Future” which was announced in October. Global Recycling Day 2019 will focus on the power of youth, education and innovation in ensuring a brighter future for the planet.

The seven recycling promises to become a global recycling citizen are:

1. Use less things made of plastic
How can I use less things made of plastic, and recycle those that cannot be reused? Things like drinking bottles, straws and plastic bags.
2. Help friends follow the recycling rules
Am I making sure me and my family, and my school, follow our local recycling instructions?
3. Repair and reuse old things
Do I really need everything to be new – am I mending, repairing and reusing the things I own (e.g. clothes, toys, games)?
4. Only put clean, dry items in my recycling box
Am I doing all I can to make sure the stuff we recycle is dry, clean and in the right collection bins each week?
5. Look online and share with friends
How can I learn more about recycling, and how can I help my family and my friends also be more aware?
6. Don’t forget other materials
Do I know how to recycle things like electronics when I no longer want them?
7. Remember to recycle packaging
Do I recycle packaging when I open and use new things?

The ‘seven recycling promises to become a global recycling citizen is easy to download and share and can be accessed via the Global Recycling Day website. It will soon be available in French and German, with the possibility of it being available in more languages in the near future. The aim is for children, schools and families to download and use these as inspiring messages and motivators to helping the recycling industry.

Children are being asked to join a worldwide movement in the build up to Global Recycling Day 2019, and consider themselves as global recycling citizens, blazing a trail for a more sustainable future and a healthier planet.

The list reflects hot topics in the recycling industry, from single use plastics to climate change and the circular economy. The promises also allow children to think about how they can be more involved in creating good recycling habits, and to get them thinking about this from a young age.

Due to the success of Global Recycling Day 2018 with over 13 million people across the world taking part in celebrations of the initiative, the brand new Global Recycling Foundation was launched by the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) in October 2018. The Foundation will run as an independent organisation, as well as overseeing Global Recycling Day 2019, which is taking place on 18th March. Global Recycling Day is an international initiative aimed at raising awareness of the need to recycle in preserving the future of the planet.

Charity calls for more foster carers as number of children in care rises by 27 percent in a decade in England

More children are being taken into care with fewer foster carers to look after them, says Barnardo’s as it launches its 10th annual fostering campaign fronted by TOWIE’s Lydia Bright and Debbie Douglas.

The number of children in care in England has risen by 27 per cent in the last 10 years, says the UK’s leading children’s charity as it urgently appeals for more people to consider fostering as part of its Barnardo’s Fostering Week 2019, which launches on January 21st.

In the past decade, Barnardo’s foster carers have looked after thousands of children, giving them the best chance to have a happier and positive future. However, the charity is concerned there are not enough suitable foster families to take care of the increasing numbers of vulnerable children in care.

Increasing child poverty, a lack of early intervention and support for families before they reach crisis point, and a heightened awareness of abuse and neglect are among the complex reasons more and more children and young people are being taken into care.

But figures from Ofsted show that the number of approved carers has dropped by 950 in just one year. If these trends continue it will become even more difficult to find good foster placements for vulnerable children.

Now, Barnardo’s is celebrating ten years since its first UK fostering campaign and the charity’s foster carers have welcomed vulnerable children into their families more than 8,288 times across the UK.
The charity’s celebrity fostering ambassadors Lydia Bright and Debbie Douglas are fronting this year’s campaign calling for more people to step forward to take on this rewarding role to ensure that vulnerable children have a loving family to support them when they need it.
The mother and daughter from TV’s TOWIE have been a fostering family for more than 25 years for more than 250 children.
Debbie said: “Having a safe and caring family is so important when you are growing up. With so many more children coming into care, it’s so crucial that more people become foster carers. Knowing you can provide that loving family for a child when they need it most is so rewarding and can really help to transform their lives – and yours.”
Lydia added: “We have loved having foster children as part of our family; it is incredible to see the difference having a caring, supportive family can make. We are proud to play a part in helping them to have a happy childhood and positive future.”
Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan said: “As the number of children in care continues to rise, we need more foster carers than ever before. At Barnardo’s we find loving families for vulnerable children in communities across the UK, and we give foster carers the training and support they need.
“Being a foster carer can be a challenge but it’s also incredibly rewarding and gives children the love, care and life skills they need to build better and brighter futures.
“I want to thank all of our amazing foster carers for helping us transform children’s lives. And I would urge anyone considering becoming a foster carer to get in touch to find out more. Incredible things happen when you believe in children.”
In England, on 31 March 2008, there were 59,370 children in care – 70 per cent of which were in foster care[i]. By 31 March 2018, it had increased to 75,420– up by 27 per cent in a decade and with 73 per cent of those children living in foster care at that time. [ii] The number of children in foster care itself has increased by 31.4 per cent in a decade.

In contrast, the number of approved foster carers is decreasing, with the latest available figures from Ofsted showing that in England, as of 31 March 2017, this number reduced to 61,415, compared with 62,365 in March 2016.[iii] The reasons behind the decrease are complex and can include birth children living at home for longer and rising house prices meaning that prospective carers do not have the required spare room; and older foster carers are reaching retirement age while younger families are becoming increasingly responsible for their own parents care as they get older.

A continuation of these trends will mean it will become more difficult to find the best foster carers for vulnerable children when they most need a loving family. Carers need to have the right training and skills, live in the right location and be available at the right time for a child who is disabled, are siblings, older children, or from a religious or minority ethnic background.

This could mean children have to wait longer before finding the best match or that they may need to be moved to a different family several times because the most appropriate carer is not available, which can have a negative impact on a child.
One Barnardo’s carer who knows the difference a safe and stable foster family can make to a child’s life is Helen Elward, 62, from Rugby, who has provided specialist foster care for almost 40 children in the last eight years. They are often some of the most vulnerable in the care system – on bail or remand, or affected by child sexual exploitation – and stay with Helen for anything from a few days to several months.
Helen said: “Young people sometimes feel society has given up on them, so they give up on themselves. It’s amazing to see the difference you can make in such a short space of time.

“We can help them to completely transform their lives. They can talk about their problems if they want to, and we try to build their self-confidence and enable them to be the person they can be.

“They’ve gone on to university, established their own businesses and started families. Sometimes they just need someone to believe in them – perhaps they’ve never had that before.”

Follow #WeSupportFostering on social media. To find out more about becoming a foster carer or the support Barnardo’s can offer visit: www.barnardos.org.uk/fostering or call 0800 0277 280.