A New Programme for the Hunter-Gatherers in Education


A New Programme for the Hunter-Gatherers in Education

To encourage pupils to develop a genuine interest in Britain’s rich history, award-winning experience provider, Ancient Britain, has developed a series of hands-on experiences to enhance learning and information absorption.

These experiences encourage tactile learning, a welcome contrast to the stationary learning that children are largely exposed to in school lessons. Tactile learning can help promote less screen-time on computers and phones. Ancient Britain’s team of historical experts inspire pupils through first-hand engagement with pre-history, a much better alternative to simply Googling historical events, which can then appear dull and dusty.
Kevin Robson, tourism hero and Ancient Britain’s co-owner, says: “We have recognised that schools wish to invest in practical learning and as a company we want to do all we can to support this by sharing the knowledge and facts that we have acquired over the course of many years, in a dynamic, engaging and memorable fashion.”
With four topics on offer, schools can expect to learn more about The Palaeolithic Hunter-Gatherer, the Neolithic Farmer, the Iron Age Warrior or The Roman Soldier. The aim is to have children develop a deeper understanding about life during these historical periods, talking about geographical differences and changes over time and comparing ancient life with that of modern society.
Sara Robson at Ancient Britain says: “We believe people are losing their connection to the outdoors and this is having a detrimental effect on our collective well-being. This new educational programme aims to remedy that by inspiring the next generation to develop a love of history, which will further their learning both in and outside of school.”
Guided by experts in traditional costume, the programmes provide a real sense of life in sometimes bleak environments, sparking conversations about what it must have been like to endure cold winters and ultimately survive in isolation whilst under the constant threat of other tribes in the region.
Starting with The Palaeolithic Hunter-Gatherer, ‘Bruach,’ will explain how dramatically the British landscape has changed over the past 12,000 years; transforming from a land under ice, to frozen tundra and then to dense temperate forest. He will talk about everything to do with nomadic tribal life, from survival skills and clothing, to weapons for hunting and fishing nets.

Hands-on activities will include:

• Interactive object handling session
• Cave Art
• Fire by friction, with a “Bow Drill”
• Hunting techniques, “Throwing spear & Throwing arrows”
Time spent with a Neolithic Farmer depicts the significance of the agricultural revolution. Early farmers had no idea that by growing a few seeds and domesticating a few animals they would ultimately transform the natural world. It was thanks to early farmers that society saw the construction of monuments, which included burial mounds, henges and stone circles.

Activities with the Neolithic Farmer can include:

• Grinding wheat using a quern stone
• Interactive storytelling session which includes monument building
• Cave art
• Clay Beaker making
The Iron Age is delivered through the eyes of ‘Venutius’ who explains that life in the Iron Age was very different. Until the Romans arrived in 43AD, there were no written records in Britain. The Celts were skilled artists, creating abstract designs that could be understood only by the select few. Storytelling was key to the Celtic world. Artisan metal workers pioneered new techniques for making swords and jewellery, women had equal rights to men, and some women became fierce warriors or powerful queens. Life changed dramatically with the arrival of the Roman Legions under the command of Emperor Claudius.

Activities with Venutius can include:

• Interactive object handling session
• Celtic Warrior Face Painting
• Design Your Own Celtic Shield

This carefully designed educational programme culminates with tales from The Roman Soldier told by Magnus, giving an insight into the Roman invasion of Britain and how the Roman and British cultures merged. Pupils will learn why Emperor Claudius sent The Roman Army to the shores of Britain in 43AD and that the eventual conquest of Britain took more than 35 years. Eventually the native populations were subdued, and a great wall was built to form a northern boundary – Hadrian’s Wall, as we know it today.

Activities can include:

• Interactive object handling session
• Shield Drill
• Shield design

With compelling storytelling and activities throughout, each experience provides not just a fabulous entrée into the world of pre-history, but also a high-impact onward journey, with so much crammed into each session, to deliver real value-for-money for schools’ budgets.
Any school wishing to find out more about the type of experience Ancient Britain could create for them, can contact Kevin Robson on 01434 688386. More information is also available at www.ancientbritain.org


THE Deanes Academy in Benfleet, Essex, expansion will be one of the first projects in East Anglia to be delivered through the Department for Education (DfE) Construction Framework.
Pick Everard – the independent property, construction and infrastructure consultancy – is providing full design and engineering services for the new school block, including architecture, building services and structural and civil engineering, working in partnership with the project’s main contractor, Cadman Construction.
Due for completion in summer 2019, the project will see a 1970s school block demolished and a new building constructed, consisting of science laboratories, art, graphics and food rooms, as well as office facilities and special educational needs and disability (SEND) spaces.
Paul Darlow, regional director at Pick Everard, said: “Having had little upgrades since its initial build in the 1970s, the technology block at The Deanes Academy was identified as needing significant modernisation. Due to the block not being watertight, energy efficient or up to current regulatory standards, the decision was made to demolish the building and construct a new, state-of-the-art block in its place.
“The project proposes to construct a two-storey 1,478m2 new building containing nine specialist classrooms, office and ancillary facilities with a maximum capacity of 344 students and teachers. The new building aspires to high standards of sustainable design and operation optimising passive daylight design, natural ventilation with a high efficiency thermal fabric.
“In order to minimise disruption to the site, the construction team has reconfigured car parking and vehicle access to suit the proposals. The project team is working closely with the school to develop a programme of complementary learning activities while the project is on site.
“School engagement will enable students to understand the complexities of building design and learn more about developing careers in building design and construction. Work is now progressing well and we look forward to seeing it complete very soon.”
Stuart Cadman, framework director at Cadman, said: “There are a number of challenges to consider during this project, such as time constraints and cost efficiencies that must be met – however, we have already developed a close working relationship across the multi-disciplinary team and our collaborative approach has enabled us to fast track the initial planning stages and we are glad to see that works have started on site.”
The project has been identified as one of the first jobs in East Anglia on the new DfE Construction Framework and Pick Everard’s first project on the Low Value Band under the Priority School Building Programme.
For more information visit www.pickeverard.co.uk.

Innovative app, helping to safeguard children whilst online, now available to over 13,000 UK state schools

Throughout 2019, the Safer Schools app, a pioneering online application designed to help safeguard children whilst online, is being rolled out to more than 13,000 UK state schools nationwide.
The educational resource is delivered by public sector specialist insurance company, Zurich Municipal, through their partnership with industry specialist, INEQE Safeguarding Group. The safeguarding initiative will help educate, empower and protect children and young people from the surge in online risk, while providing a resource for teachers and parents to identify, prevent and mitigate the effects of online child abuse.
With over 1,000 schools across the UK already benefitting as part of a successful trial period, the app ensures school staff, pupils, parents and carers remain up to date and equipped to discuss contemporary online risks.
The app provides expert information and guidance to teachers and school staff across the UK, along providing free access to CPD accredited training, including safeguarding certifications and managing mental health in education.
The content in the app is curated, reviewed and updated in real time by Ineqe’s safeguarding experts, providing a source of information and guidance for school communities in the digital world.
On average, children and young people spend in excess of 20 hours per week online, making them increasingly vulnerable to issues affecting their self-esteem & mental wellbeing. Online risks faced by children can range from bullying by school peers, to predatory behaviour such as grooming and sextortion.
This vital safeguarding resource is being released following the recent Government White Paper, “Online Harms”, reporting that parents ‘want to be empowered to keep themselves and their children safe online, but currently there is insufficient support in place and many feel vulnerable online.’

Commenting on this initiative, Jim Gamble said: “In various safeguarding roles over many years, I’ve come to recognise that partnership is key, whether it’s multiagency working across Local Authorities or national and transnational law enforcement initiatives. The right partnerships make a real difference.”
“Our partnership with Zurich Municipal has greater potential than any I’ve been involved in before. Their support reach and commitment to keeping people safer will deliver our entire suite of safeguarding resources to schools without diminishing the school budgets that we all know are under relentless pressure. I believe that together through the resources and technologies we will make available we can improve understanding of safeguarding for thousands of our children and their families.”

Andrew Jepp, Managing Director at Zurich Municipal, said: “We believe that in order to build resilient communities, we all have an important role to play in safeguarding our children, whether it is as parents or guardians, teachers or organisations that operate in those communities. Partnerships such as this one with Ineqe, help us draw on the already available expertise and share this knowledge with our school communities.
“As a socially responsible insurer, we want to help protect young people in the UK from the online dangers and educate the whole school community on those risks so that they can be understood, spotted and managed properly if needed.”


Parents fail to come to terms with key education terms

HALF of Britain’s parents can’t understand their child’s school report and don’t even know what SATs are, a study has revealed.

They find key education terms so baffling that they are confused by comprehension, can’t crack decoding and are flummoxed by phonetics.

64% of parents say they feel out of the loop when it comes to their child’s learning and changes in education, while nearly half (47%) of parents say they can’t make head nor tail of their child’s school report. A massive 91% of parents feel that today’s teaching methods are unnecessarily complicated.

The survey of 2,000 parents by tuition provider, Explore Learning, has revealed that an astonishing 89% of British parents say that the way the education system has changed in recent years has confused them with many not having a clue about certain education terms.

Just a quarter (28%) of parents say they know what the phonics screening check is, while nearly half (48%) say they don’t know what the SATs are, and over half (55%) claim they don’t know what comprehension is.

The research by Explore Learning shines a light on the common confusions of parents today, revealing a massive gap in knowledge in what is one of the most important things in their child’s lives. When it comes to regions, Belfast parents seems to be the most in the dark with nearly one in three (29%) not having a clue about what any of the most common education terms mean, followed by Cardiff (25%), Manchester (24%), Nottingham (23%) and finally, Southampton (21%).

However, while parents appear confused by today’s school system, almost two thirds (62%) believe that the standard of education today is better than when they were young. The main reason for this is credited to better teachers with better training, more resources, and the fact that today there’s a bigger focus on children’s mental health. But, the 38% of parents who feel that today’s education system is worse blame under-staffing and teachers’ high workloads, followed by a less rounded curriculum and the rise in class sizes.

Charlotte Gater, Head of Curriculum at Explore Learning which provides English and maths tuition to 35,000 children each week says: “It’s reassuring to see that the majority of parents believe that the education system is better than when they were growing up but it’s worrying to find so many in the dark around the national curriculum today. The government needs to provide clearer guidance when it comes to helping parents understand just what is going on with their children at school. It’s hard enough helping them with their homework, let alone getting to grips with new academic terms and changes happening in the curriculum every few years.

“With the final half term of the year underway next week, now is the perfect opportunity for parents to ensure they’re fully up to speed with everything for the next academic year. At Explore Learning we aim to help parents through any changes and give them an outlet to turn to when they need support in understanding what their child is going through.”

Here is a list of the key terms that parents couldn’t understand – can you explain what they are?!
• Compensating
• Digraph
• Partitioning
• Comprehension
• Long multiplication
• Phonics Screening Test
• SATs
• CATs test
• Key Stages
• National Curriculum and School Curriculum
• Academisation
• Number bonds

Bobby Seagull, a teacher at Little Ilford School, a state secondary school in east London and star of University Challenge says: “Every term I meet with parents who seem incredibly confused about what’s going on in their children’s education. We take for granted that parents know and understand what’s going on in their children’s lives but often many are just too busy. I was fortunate that my father took time to be involved with my education and try to understand how the curriculum operated and I’d like to help other children to do so as well. While parents don’t need to know everything about their children’s learning, it’s important they understand what’s going on – and how well their child is doing, in order to support them at home and help us as teachers as we work to bring out their full potential. Teachers work so incredibly hard and it’s fantastic to see parents crediting this as the reason why education has improved today compared with 20 years ago.”

Explore Learning is an award-winning English and maths tuition company with 145 centres located all over the country. Over 35,000 children aged four to 14 attend their centres each week and over the course of the last 18 years have helped over 250,000 children. Explore Learning’s aim is to help every child reach their full potential and get the best results they can, developing a generation of fearless learners.

For more information about Explore Learning and how it supports parents please visit www.explorelearning.co.uk.

The isolation issue – how digital monitoring can help shed light on the dangers young people face online

Comment from Adele Abbiss, Online Safety Expert at Smoothwall

Be it a rise in digital dangers, increased pressure placed on the shoulders of young students or simply a shift in the nation’s culture, disruptive behaviour in schools is on the incline and it’s costing thousands of students a quality education, impacting on exam results and placing at risk children in ever more vulnerable situations.

New data shows there has been sharp rise in the number of children being excluded due to disruptive behaviour within the learning environment. Perhaps even more concerning is the deep rooted level it appears this ‘exclusion epidemic’ is reaching, with the number of primary school children in PRU pupil referral units (PRU) in England having more than doubled since 2011.

Yet such a clear risk to the quality education of students up and down the UK, is not an easily resolved issue. Indeed, with so many varying challenges facing students in the digital era, it is little surprise behaviour has become a barometer for the mental state of the student nation. That said, the barometer is tipping crisis levels.

Getting under the skin of the issue

Like any growing problem, there are intricate and complex reasons affecting and shaping the rise in behavioural issues within schools, making it ever more difficult to try and find a simple resolution that will have real impact.

Of course the rise in risks online is not helping the matter. It was reported that 27,000 children have been lured into gangs as part of grooming scandals. The online explosion has meant that criminal gangs are now able to easily find and recruit those that are most vulnerable by using a variety of online platforms. This is just one example of new risks facing young people across the UK. To further the magnitude of such pressures, we can look to the recent NHS research conducted that found a strong link between social media use, cyberbullying and conditions such as anxiety and depression.

It is also proven that if children are exposed to potentially harmful and inappropriate material or experiences, it can result in a dramatic change in behaviour that often causes disruption and extends to the classroom.

These are all examples of issues that could be impacting students and in turn effecting their behaviour. But such varied, complex and private issues are not easy for young people to talk about and are too often left to fester and can remain hidden behind a tirade of disruptive behaviour.

This makes diagnosing the cause trickier than ever for those with a duty of care. However there are solutions. If schools are armed with the right tools, they can detect issues and concerns regarding individuals in advance and take the necessary measures to help them. This is where digital technology can turn from foe to friend.

Working with digital experts in filtering and monitoring, such as Smoothwall, to keep abreast of students’ activity online, and potentially identify causes behind disruptive behaviour can help to protect children’s safety and wellbeing.

The vital role of tech in safeguarding

To elaborate, in schools, monitoring technology can play a vital role in identifying the risks that children may be exposed to early on. Monitoring technology can help to provide context around why pupils may be acting out and misbehaving in the classroom and can provide schools with the necessary tools to identify a potential problem in advance and in turn offer support to those in need. This can help to make students feel supported and safe as opposed to isolated and lonely, and also ensure valuable classroom time is disrupted as little as possible.

Through the right filtering and monitoring tools, software providers such as Smoothwall can monitor search terms and phrases as well as any harmful content to create an understanding of each at risk student. This tactic ensures those students in need are never let down, that their issues are understood and that they are allocated the appropriate support and guidance to feel safe and well at school.

The Home Secretary said in the Online Harms White Paper that “we need to give them the freedom to explore their world and to realise their ambitions. But we also need to provide a safety net” and here at Smoothwall we couldn’t agree more. We strongly believe that protecting children comes first, whether that be online or in the physical world.

Beneath disruption can sometimes be a much darker picture. Using the appropriate measures will alert schools and prompt them to take the required action. By working together schools can help to ensure that children are getting the care that they need to have a happy and safe childhood and learning environment.


Innovative £320k development aids pupils’ wellbeing

Schoolchildren in Cheshire are enjoying a renewed sense of health and wellbeing, following a ground-breaking project at Alsager School. The £320k development has provided students with space to enjoy the fresh air – whatever the weather.
Tasked with overseeing the design, build and installation of a sleek new ETFE canopy to enclose what was previously an open courtyard, Access North Build has made waves within the education sector with its industry-first solution.
Yorkshire-headquartered Access North Build designed, developed and installed a pioneering solution, a lightweight steel space frame – the first of its kind supporting an ETFE membrane in the UK – erected to span the quad, thus enclosing the area beneath.
Alsager School site manager, Matt Harris, explained: “Fresh air plays a pivotal part in the wellbeing and health of people of all ages. Creating a space which allows students to ‘go outside’ while providing protection from the elements – including rain and solar shielding – is key to supporting their development.”

Engineered to carry more weight over a greater area – in order to provide plenty of natural light and promote student wellbeing – the greatest challenge was the location and layout of the outdoor space, which was enclosed by existing buildings on all sides.
As a result, the superstructure – which is over 400 square feet in size – had to be assembled in the school car park before being carefully manoeuvred over the establishment and precisely into position on the pre-installed locating bolts.
Access North Group managing director, Berenice Northcott added: “This type of ETFE enclosure provides an extremely beneficial space for organisations within the education sector where student wellbeing is crucial. Additionally, the new ETFE canopy has a design life of 70 years providing it is regularly maintained, but if the time comes when it is no longer required, the ETFE membrane and steel space frame are recyclable, extending the environmental-friendliness of the build with the circular economy in mind.
“We relished the challenges of this particular project. Craning a huge space frame over a school and courtyard – which was bordered on all sides – without damaging buildings or people, was a testament to the planning, organisation and attention to detail of the team. The new roof has transformed a previously under-utilised area into a light and airy multifunctional space, resulting in a positive impact on staff and pupils.”

A Guide to Monitoring Mental Health Within Education

Ellie Collier, High Speed Training

In recent years an increasing number of children have shown signs of suffering from mental health issues, with three children in every classroom reported to have a diagnosable mental health disorder according to a Young Minds charity report. As well as affecting a student’s emotional wellbeing, their educational attainment can also be negatively impacted if they’re struggling to cope with their current mental state. So, as exam season commences, it’s fundamental that those within the industry take extra care and precautions to ensure students thrive during this defining time of their lives. High Speed Training explains how to compile a thorough mental health policy document.

What is a Mental Health Policy Document?

A school mental health policy aims to promote positive mental wellbeing by setting a framework as to how the school will offer support for its students and staff, ensuring that a comfortable and inclusive atmosphere is adhered to during academic and extracurricular activities.

Why is a School Mental Health Policy Necessary?

During the exam season, the school environment faces the danger of becoming a catalyst for increasing mental health problems. As such, a school should have an effective mental health policy already implemented prior to the end of the academic year when important exams (such as GCSEs and A-Levels) take place.
The main aim of the policy is to demonstrate to both students and parents that the wellbeing of those associated with the institute, including students, staff and parents, is a top priority. Additionally, it should highlight the school’s ongoing commitment to understanding the severity of mental health issues within education so that teachers can encourage students to come forward and discuss any difficulties they might be facing. It’s important that the policy showcases the school’s investment in this subject, both for issues that arise at school and at home and not only during the high-pressure testing period, but all year round.

Key Components of a Mental Health Policy

To compile a mental health policy that will provide maximum impact in a school environment, it’s vital to include the following sections:
• Policy Statement
• The Policy Scope
• The Policy Aims
• Key Staff Members
• Teaching about Mental Health
• Support at School and in the Local Community
• Signposting
• Identifying Needs and Warning Signs
• Managing Disclosures
• Confidentiality
• Whole School Approach
o Working with Parents
o Working with Other Agencies and Partners
• Supporting Peers
• Training
• Policy Review

Factors to Consider When Writing A School Mental Health Policy

It is essential that a school mental health policy is thorough, insightful and accessible to all those in the community. The policy should therefore be:
Practical: To ensure maximum impact, the policy needs to be comprehensive and show the school understands student mental health problems. The key areas to include should be what procedures will be put in place to tackle mental health issues and address the importance of positive mental wellbeing, particularly during the time period where pressure ramps up.
Clear: The policy should be accessible for everyone and therefore written in clear, direct language and follow a logical structure.
Relevant: It is imperative that school-specific details are included in the policy. Where appropriate, aim to include relevant staff names, or bespoke policies and procedures so that the information feels tailored to the school.
Current: A mental health policy should reflect the school’s current state at all times, so if there’s any changes to the school’s operations or workforce these will have to be updated accordingly.
Well considered: To get the most from a mental health policy, set aside a sufficient amount of time to carefully consider what’s included. When implemented, the policy should cover all aspects of mental health within education in order to have a positive reflection on the school and wider community.
High Speed Training, which provides safeguarding professional training courses for the education sector, has created a template to help schools create their own mental health policy, including all the essentials.
For more information and to contact a member of the team, simply visit www.highspeedtraining.co.uk.

Schools introduce ‘reading dogs’ scheme to boost children’s literacy and communication skills

An initiative which aims to help children with literacy and confidence issues through reading dogs is set to launch across south Wales following a successful pilot across four Welsh counties.

Burns by Your Side, a charity scheme operated by leading natural pet food provider and Kidwelly based firm, Burns Pet Nutrition, currently operates in 50 Welsh schools across Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Neath Port Talbot supported by 53 volunteers and their dogs.
The tried and tested method helps children gain confidence in building their vocabulary and fluency by reading to a dog. Specially trained volunteers and their companions act as therapy dogs, alleviating anxiety and stress often experienced by children that struggle in certain educational settings.
Research conducted at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) to measure the impact of bringing dogs into the classroom has revealed that children respond positively to the presence of dogs, looking forward to reading sessions, and feeling more motivated and enthusiastic about engaging with learning.

10/04/2019 Pics (C) HUW JOHN, CARDIFF

The news follows Sir Anthony Seldon’s announcement at the Ultimate Wellbeing in Education Conference at Birmingham University where he said that every school should have a wellbeing dog. The leading educationalist spoke about how a classroom pet can reduce anxiety among young people and could be key to improving mental health in schools.
Commenting on the scheme and the role therapy dogs can play in the UK’s education system, Dr Helen Lewis, UWTSD’ Primary PGCE Programme Lead said: “The dog is a non-judgmental listener, whose very presence may calm and relax reluctant and anxious readers. Dogs do not judge, glance at their watch if it is taking a long time to read a page, or sigh in frustration at mistakes – they are willing companions and their silence speaks volumes.”
As well as dogs receiving specialist training, children involved in the scheme are taught how to handle the reading dogs appropriately, including how to greet and respect dogs and how to be safe around them. Anyone with a well-behaved dog over the age of 18 months can apply to be a Burns by Your Side volunteer but securing a Silver Kennel Club Good Citizen Award will speed up the process.
Since initiating the pilot in 2016, demand for the scheme has increased significantly. The charity is keen to hear from Headteachers and Library Chiefs who would like to source a BBYS volunteer team from their own school or community whether teaching staff, parents or grandparents.
The scheme is already affiliated with the Kennel Club Bark and Read Foundation and in 2016 was selected to be the first UK participant for the US based R.E.A.D association. R.E.A.D has thousands of volunteer teams across the USA working to improve literacy and reading skills.
During the past year, a number of top organisations delivering Therapy Dog services, as well as Burns by Your Side, have been working with the Kennel Club to produce the minimum recommended standards for dogs in schools. These guidelines which have been distributed to Ofsted and Estyn and the Education Sector will help create the safest environment for children and the welfare of the animals within a school environment.

Odette Nicholas, deputy headteacher at Bury Port Community School, introduced the Burns by Your Side scheme to the school after training to become a volunteer. Commenting on her experiences of witnessing the delivery of the scheme first hand, Odette said: “The difference the scheme makes to the children is unbelievable, they are so relaxed and calm around the dogs that it totally removes the pressure of reading aloud when otherwise it would be a real challenge. My dog Jade equally enjoys spending time with the children and going through the training process with her for the scheme was a great experience.”

Grace Vobe, another Burns by Your Side volunteer and owner of Hoola, a Burns by Your Side trained whippet, said: “It’s an incredible initiative to be part of and it’s so special knowing that my beloved Hoola is providing such joy and positive results for the children we work with. We both received thorough training that really outlined the process and everything that would be involved. I couldn’t recommend applying to be a Burns by Your Side volunteer enough, it really is life changing.”

Burns Pet Nutrition founder, John Burns, commented: “We established our Charitable Foundation to make a difference in the local community, to change lives and support those in need in whatever way possible. Burns by your Side is our flagship project. To see the demand for our reading dogs service increase so quickly is testament to our incredible volunteers and the scheme itself. I would like to encourage any school that would like to trial the scheme to get in touch, and similarly any dog owners that think their pet would make the perfect reading companion.”
If you know a school interested in participating in the Burns by Your Side reading to dogs scheme, Burns would love to hear from you. Visit http://www.burnsbyyourside.org/ for further information.


Teachers need to be aware of FGM ‘cutting season’ signs

With the school summer holidays fast approaching, Barnardo’s is advising teachers to look out for key signs a girl may be at risk of undergoing female genital mutilation (FGM) abroad.
The so-called FGM ‘cutting season’ begins as schools break up towards the end of July, when girls could potentially be flown overseas to unwittingly undergo the illegal and harmful procedure.
Teachers who suspect a pupil is being taken abroad for this purpose should follow normal safeguarding procedures.
But the National FGM Centre, which is run by Barnardo’s and the Local Government Association, says these professionals can only help protect children by knowing what signs to look out for.

Indications might include a child:
Confiding she is going to have a ‘special procedure’, or attend a special occasion to ‘become a woman’.
Talking about looking forward to a long holiday to a country where the practice is prevalent.
Approach a teacher or another adult if she’s aware or suspects she’s at immediate risk.

Telling her friends about FGM

The child’s parents may give the following clues:
Say they are taking their child out of the country for a prolonged period of time
Ask permission to take their daughter out of school during term time.
Talk about looking forward to a long holiday to a country where her relatives live and where the practice is prevalent.
Mention they are going to a country with a high prevalence of FGM, especially during holiday periods.
Teachers should be aware of these clues, when combined with other risk factors.
The National FGM Centre trains professionals to protect girls at risk from FGM. It also trains them about how to spot the signs which may suggest girls have had FGM.
These include difficulty in walking or sitting down comfortably, taking a long time in the toilet, or a significant change in behaviour such as becoming withdrawn.
This is as recent figures published by NHS Digital show that we still have a long way to go before new cases are stopped.
According to the statistics there were 1,990 women and girls in England treated for FGM during the first quarter of this year, and, of those, 1,015 were newly recorded cases.
FGM took place before the age of 18 in 80% of the cases. But the statistics reveal it can take years before a medical professional is aware of it – often during an appointment with an obstetrician or gynaecologist.

Head of the National FGM Centre, Leethen Bartholomew said:

“Much more needs to be done to support survivors of FGM and protect girls who are at risk.
“FGM is child abuse and no girl should ever have to live with the harmful physical and emotional consequences of this practice.
“We hope our reminder of the signs will help not just teachers but all agencies to prevent FGM from happening by identifying girls at risk and helping to prosecute those who fail to protect girls from this type of abuse.”

LGfL and Virgin Media Business expand partnership to transform digital learning for 1.2 million UK schoolchildren

Enhanced £50 million commitment between LGfL and Virgin Media Business will more than double the capacity of LGfL’s Ignite National Education Network and transform connectivity at thousands of schools. Additional bandwidth will allow teachers and pupils to take advantage of new technology including augmented and virtual reality, live-streaming and 1:1 pupil/device ratios.
A landmark commitment between Virgin Media Business and not-for-profit LGfL (London Grid for Learning) will deliver the UK’s fastest schools network to LGfL’s growing community of approximately 3,000 schools across the UK, it was announced today.
More than 1.2 million school children are set to benefit from improved digital classrooms and faster connection speeds as a result of the deal, which will help children develop 21st century digital skills. Accompanying investments in network security will help ensure that LGfL’s network is one of the safest in the world for schools.
Schools on LGfL’s Ignite Network can now benefit from ultrafast connections of up to 1,000Mbps at no additional cost, placing them at the forefront of UK internet connectivity. The increased bandwidth at the core and edge of LGfL’s network will enable and empower schools to bring augmented and virtual reality, live-streaming and 1:1 student/device ratios into the classroom, as well as providing access to public sector networks Govroam and Eduroam for remote working – both of which require a high bandwidth connection to operate effectively.
Under LGfL’s refreshed plans, all schools will be offered free upgrades to a minimum connection of 100Mbps (for both upload and download) with LGfL schools, on average, receiving a 200% plus boost in their bandwidth enabling hundreds of schools to increase their connection speed to 1,000Mbps. In addition, schools will be equipped with future-proof technology which can be quickly and remotely upgraded, helping save schools time and money should they wish to further boost their connection in future.
In addition to increased speeds, schools will also benefit from next generation firewalling, designed to keep them safe from hackers and other online threats. This complements LGfL’s existing range of enhanced security software including Malwarebytes, Sophos Intercept X, advanced email filtering and Meraki device management. Assistance and training is available to schools using these services.
As a charity whose mission is to ‘save schools money and keep children safe’, LGfL is committed to the advancement of education. Acting as lead negotiator for its members, the charitable trust uses its significant group purchasing power to secure groundbreaking pricing and terms on goods, services and support – effectively saving members ‘more money than they spend’ on their LGfL edtech subscription. Latest deals secured by LGfL’s purchasing initiative SmartBuy include partnerships with Adobe to provide Creative Cloud to LGfL schools, as well as Apple, Google, Sophos and Malwarebytes.
As LGfL’s long-standing connectivity partner, Virgin Media Business is committed to helping schools become digital-first institutions. Working with LGfL, Virgin Media Business provides schools with affordable access to ultrafast and resilient broadband through a virtual private network (VPN). Already effectively saving the education sector a collective £100million a year, this latest LGfL deal will see schools benefit from even greater bandwidth at no extra cost.
Commenting on the partnership, John Jackson, CEO, LGfL said, “LGfL is determined to place UK education at the heart of digital innovation worldwide. Our strategic partnership with VMB in our Ignite Network will massively boost bandwidth for our core network along with connectivity for schools, enabling pupils and teachers to take advantage of the latest cutting-edge technology such as AR, VR and live-streaming to improve outcomes in the classroom.
“Our plans to boost bandwidth will be complemented by investments in cybersecurity, reflecting our priority to not only provide one of the fastest networks for schools but one of the safest. By providing this huge boost to UK Education at no extra cost LGfL is achieving its mission to save schools money whilst ensuring they are fully equipped for the future.”
Peter Kelly, Managing Director of Virgin Media Business, said: “By providing thousands of schools with an ultrafast, safe and secure digital platform, we’re revolutionising the classroom and giving children the tools and skills they need to thrive in the digital age. We’re delighted to build on our long-standing partnership with LGfL and use the power of technology to help more than one million school children excel everyday.”