More than half of UK independent schools targeted by cybercriminals within last five years

61% of independent schools in the UK have experienced a cyber-attack within the last five years, according to a new report profiling the increasing cyber security challenges facing the independent education sector.

‘Independent, but insecure? The growing cyber security risks facing the independent education sector’, compiled by Endsleigh Insurance Services, also reveals that less than 40% of those surveyed considered themselves a target for cybercriminals, with just 1% admitting to feeling ‘highly vulnerable’.

Independent schools are responsible for keeping special category data, such as religious beliefs, medical history and sexual orientation, secure; as well as the financial details of fee-paying parents and guardians.

Despite the prevalence of cyber-attacks within the sector, just 38% of schools monitor their cyber-security policy at least once a month.

Malware (58%), phishing scams (51%) and hackers (40%) topped the list of schools’ concerns, with consequences including: file encryption and deletion, extortion and financial loss, as well as associated reputational damage.

The report also profiles how the cyber-risks faced by schools are not limited to criminal activity, and include accidental data breaches through loss of devices, or human error. Such occurrences can also cause reputational damage to a school, depending on the subject and scale of the data breach. 

The findings are supplemented by advice and guidance from leading legal and cybersecurity experts within the independent education sector as to how to navigate the diverse range of cyber risks schools currently face.

Following the launch of the report, Will Brunwin, Head of Travel and Schools at Endsleigh Insurance Services, commented: “The sustained integration of technology into the schoolroom over the past two decades has undoubtedly changed the art of teaching. Yet, technological innovation has also created new vulnerabilities which can be exploited by criminals, who see schools as profitable targets.

“The disparity between those schools experiencing a cyber-attack (61%) and those who consider themselves a target (39%) demonstrates the worrying gap between risk and perception across the sector. However, by acknowledging the risks and ensuring all IT security systems are routinely assessed, monitored and tested, coupled with a robust staff and pupil education programme, schools can go a long way to mitigating threats.”

Will Brunwin concluded: “Supplementing such practices with a dedicated cyber liability insurance policy can help close the loop and provide a contingency plan if a breach does occur, and ultimately help to support a safe school environment for pupils, parents and staff.”

John Murphie, Chief Operating Officer at ISBA, added: “The ongoing difficulty for schools is finding an effective way to anticipate and counter each cyber threat, without knowing which is coming first, or which is the more sophisticated. It is the ever evolving nature of cyber risks which makes them so difficult to counter. However, strict adherence to basic cyber safety measures and a high degree of ‘cyber hygiene’ with good staff training will be key.”

He concludes: “While some within the sector may feel that a school is not as high a target for cyber criminals as a multi-national firm or public service body, schools can remain vulnerable by not protecting themselves.”

Kristine Scott, Partner and Head of Education at Harrison Clark Rickerbys, who contributed to the paper, said: “Having provided legal counsel to independent schools for a number of years, I would say that cyber security is now in their top three concerns. Schools have come a long way in recent years in acknowledging the cyber-risks posed by the modern working world and we are keen to support that progress.”

James Griffiths. Director, Director at Cyber Security Associates, added: “The key to mitigating the damage is training. Crucially, this should not only be aimed at staff, but pupils too. The best way for schools to future-proof themselves against cyber-threats is to prioritise the risk and to be prepared.”

To access ‘Independent, but insecure? The growing cyber security risks facing the independent education sector’ please visit:

For more information, please visit: ffffffff

OFSTED Chief Inspector visits National Grid Training site as company receives “Outstanding” three times in a row

On Thursday 13th June, 2019, National Grid hosted a visit by Her Majesty’s OFSTED Chief Inspector (HMCI) Amanda Spielman to their Eakring Learning Centre. The visit gave National Grid the opportunity to share how they are using apprenticeships to invest in the skills of its future workforce and in turn support the UK skills and climate change agenda.

The National Learning and Development Centre, situated in Eakring, Nottinghamshire is the only one of its kind in the UK, and HMCI was given a special tour of the site. The visit follows Ofsted’s most recent inspection of National Grid’s Apprenticeship programmes where the company was graded as “Outstanding” for the third consecutive time.

Home to an array of immersive learning environments like an electricity substation, overhead lines, virtual reality suites and the only fully functional gas transmission training facility in Europe, the Eakring Learning Centre is the only UK training facility of its kind.

The centre offers a range of technical, professional and leadership development programmes, in addition to residential work experience programmes with 50% female attendance, to encourage more young women to consider exciting STEM career opportunities, helping to address the STEM gender gap.

HMCI was not only shown these facilities but also spent time speaking to National Grid apprentices about their development journey’s and facilities available on site.  These include fully equipped training rooms, state of the art practical training workshops and residential accommodation for the trainees.

John Tyler, UK Head of Academy at National Grid, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector (HMCI) Amanda Spielman to Eakring Learning Centre. It gave us the opportunity to share our knowledge, discuss and demonstrate that we are fully invested in the current and future skills of our organisation and that of the broader UK economy.”

Freddie Chidlow, Substation Advanced Apprentice at National Grid, said: “I initially went to university to study physical education, but I felt it wasn’t the right path for me. I wanted to try something different where I could combine training with actual work experience. I’ve always had an interest in this industry, and I’m pleased that I joined the National Grid Apprenticeship programme. This opportunity is a great way to get the qualifications and experience I need to start my career. There are many facilities and courses on site that will help shape my future.”

Ofsted Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman said, “I am delighted to have visited the National Grid Learning Centre in Nottinghamshire. It was really inspiring to hear from apprentices about their training to be the engineers of tomorrow, keeping the country fully powered. I was particularly pleased to learn that the centre has a residential work experience programmewhere 50% of the attendees are girls, to encourage them into STEM careers.” otype[V]=”Fo

Teachers are better than exams

Exam season is nearly over. Students and teachers alike will soon breathe a sigh of relief, put away their pens and calculators and enjoy a well-deserved summer holiday. Yet the controversy around the pressures of our ‘testing culture’ rages on.

When even Ofsted’s Chief Inspector is urging teachers not to ask students how they are feeling about their papers lest they provoke more anxiety, surely it is time to reassess assessment. Is there a way to measure students’ progress that does not rely disproportionately on stress-inducing, one-size-fits-all exams?

The answer is yes. Trust teachers. According to a compressive study in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, teachers’ assessments are just as reliable as exams at predicting educational outcomes. The study found that these correlated strongly with test results across English, Maths and Science from ages 7 to 14, with both measures equally effective at predicting later success at GCSE and A level.

There may well be a place for standardised testing in our education system, if only to objectively judge the performance of schools and to what extent they are effectively serving their students. However, the evidence of the reliability of teachers’ assessments, especially at primary school level, is demonstrated in the study; and if we could make testing less stressful, possibly even enjoyable, why wouldn’t we?

Part of the problem is political point scoring on an already testy subject. Last month Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn announced that a future Labour Government would scrap SATs. In response, schools minister Nick Gibb accused Labour of planning to “keep parents in the dark”. This of course begs the question, ‘Who are SATs for?’ – parents, Government league tables, Ofsted? Regardless of which side of the debate you stand on, the reality is that the UK ranks 15th for Science, 27th for Maths and 22nd for Reading in the international PISA league table, and young people’s prospects rely increasingly on their education. The question of how our society assesses its youngest members matters more than ever.  

There is a fine line between testing that pushes a student to the edge of their ability, and testing that reduces them to unhealthy levels of stress. This is something we should be doing more to improve on, and that begins with empowering teachers. With insight into a student’s day-to-day learning and performance, teachers are uniquely placed to measure their trajectory. Rather than place all emphasis on the results of a single day of testing, why not capitalise on this insight?

Crucially, the ability of teachers to assess students has been fundamentally transformed and enhanced by the technological tools they now have at their disposal. In my experience from visiting schools across the country, access to accurate, real-time data on students’ maths and literacy skills on an online platform has significantly reduced the time it takes to make an informed judgment. Harnessing the data gathered by ed-tech, teachers can now better track progress, locate pinch points, and tailor their lessons and assignments to individual students accordingly.

Teachers’ assessments are not only becoming more incisive and reliable, but also more meaningful for the student than traditional testing. A SAT score doesn’t evidence how a student can progress – but a teacher can.

Giving less weight to high-stakes testing reduces the strain on educators and students, and makes learning more fulfilling too. The benefits would doubtless not only be reflected in the mental health of our schools, but in their performance.

Standardised exams may well have a role to play in the future of education, but the technological revolution means it is time to give a greater say to the people who know the students best. The teachers.

Margaret Allen

Former Teacher and Curriculum and Education Specialist at Renaissance Learning UK

Osborne to rollout Mabey Hire’s STEM Education Programme

Mabey Hire secures further industry support for its STEM Education Programme, which launched earlier this year

Mabey Hire is delighted to announce that leading construction and solutions provider Osborne has rolled out The Mabey STEM Education Programme in a secondary school in Southampton. The immersive 16-week course was launched by Mabey Hire to inspire young children to study STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects and consider careers in civil engineering.

Thought to be the UK’s first civil engineering focussed programme, the 16-week course uses LEGO® Education materials to engage students to learn basic engineering principles in a hands-on, fun and engaging way.

Osborne joined the programme in April, onboarding a school in Southampton, which it will work with for the rest of the school term. The company will use Mabey Hire’s bespoke visual learning tool – called a ‘mission mat’- which students will follow throughout the course to apply learning and problem solving to achieve an end goal. The challenges covered include beam balance, freewheeler, power car, gear racer, tower crane, robot arm, scissor lift, watch tower and bridge.

Malcom Attrill, Engineering Manager, Osborne, comments: As an industry, we have the people, power and passion to address a lack of engagement in civil engineering from young people. When we heard about Mabey Hire’s STEM Education Programme, we knew this would provide the perfect platform to inspire and boost engagement from local students in our area to see the amazing careers associated with engineering.”

Gordon MacDonald, Chief Executive Officer, Mabey Hire adds: “Since launching our programme, we’ve seen a demand from our customers wanting to rollout the programme themselves, which demonstrates the great need to address the lack of STEM skills among our future workforce. We’re delighted to have Osborne on board and can’t wait to see the results from the course they’re running in Southampton.”

Created by Mabey Hire’s Engineering Director Dave Holland and Digital Engineer Andrew Gascoine, Mabey Hire continues to run the full programme to children across three schools in Manchester, Glasgow and Wigan, which are located close to some of Mabey’s largest depots, alongside leading contractor Morgan Sindall Infrastructure, which is rolling out the programme in a school in Rugby.

For more information on the Mabey STEM Education Programme, including testimonials, photographs and videos from the pilot programme, please visit: LEGO is a trademark of the LEGO Group, which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this press release. �

Major new acquisition plus new strategic partnership by Smoothwall brings a market first to digital safeguarding in education

  • New acquisition is set to further improve visibility of safeguarding trends in schools that may otherwise go unnoticed
  • Tightly integrated Monitoring and Record Keeping will improve student safety and wellbeing as safeguarding incidents are flagged quickly and efficiently
  • Exclusive Partnership announced with National Online Safety to provide best-in-class training for teachers, parents and student in e-safety.
  • Smoothwall strengthens its market leading position in digital safety with market first.

Pioneering EdTech brand, Smoothwall, has announced the acquisition of digital record keeping company, Safeguard Software. It’s a move that sees the market leader further strengthen its position as the UK’s number one provider of digital safeguarding solutions. Already a well established and respected brand in schools across the UK, Smoothwall’s acquisition of Safeguard Software is the latest in a wave of strategic improvements the company has made in pursuit of the mission to become the most trustworthy digital safeguarding provider across the globe.

The acquisition builds on the technical integration between Smoothwall’s Monitoring service and Safeguard, announced last year, which revealed the strong demand from customers for better integrated Record Keeping to fulfil statutory requirements. Schools, education professionals and DSLs (designated safeguarding leads) can now benefit from a fully integrated approach to digital safeguarding. Users will have greater visibility of children at risk and a more holistic insight into specific issues and incidents impacting individual students.

Existing Safeguard customers are also set to benefit from the acquisition, as Smoothwall pledges to develop the software’s features and functionality over time using its UK based software engineering team, now joined by Safeguard founder, Steve Morrissey. 

Furthermore, Smoothwall and National Online Safety (part of the National Education Group) are announcing an exclusive partnership whereby Smoothwall will offer its customers access to NOS’s rich training content designed to support Designated Safeguarding Leaders, Teachers, Governors, Parents and Students.  From powerful, engaging videos to practical lesson plans and parent guides, National Online Safety is the UK’s leading e-safety training organisation.

Georg Ell, CEO at Smoothwall, commented on the acquisition and its anticipated impact on Smoothwall’s significant growth:

“We are delighted to have acquired Safeguard Software. It is a well-respected product, with a rapidly growing customer base who greatly value its ease of use and affordability. Bringing together Monitoring and Record Keeping under one roof means we are now the only provider to offer both, strengthening the value in our Optimum digital safety suite of products. Schools can have integrated digital record keeping to fulfil their statutory requirements with a holistic safeguarding picture. Combining online and offline record keeping means DSLs have a better chance of getting the right support, to the right student, in the right way, at the right time. 

Naturally we understand the world of education technology is heterogenous and we will simultaneously continue our work to integrate with other leading record keeping providers.

Smoothwall’s partnership with National Online Safety is a very natural fit for both companies. Their expert training resources combined with our market-leading technology solutions means we can educate and support not only school IT professionals but parents, teachers and students. It’s a unique mix of resources and a powerful and holistic approach to digital safeguarding.

For more information on Smoothwall please visit


With the end of the summer term fast-approaching, Bureau Veritas is advising schools to kick off their annual holiday maintenance programmes with a focus on asbestos management and electrical safety.

Latest research shows that over 80% of schools across the UK have reported asbestos present in their buildings, with over seven million children at risk of exposure1. During the period 2006-2016, more than £10million in compensation was awarded to former pupils and members of staff exposed to asbestos in schools in England and Wales2.

In March 2018, the Department for Education introduced the Asbestos Management Assurance Process (AMAP), with the aim of collecting data on asbestos management in schools to ensure compliance with Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. At present, almost a quarter of schools in the UK have failed to inform the government of how much asbestos they have present in their buildings and how they are managing the risk3.

Meanwhile, when it comes to electrical safety, schools are required to carry out routine checks on fixed electrical installations every six months and formal fixed electrical testing every five years. If there is a swimming pool on site, formal inspection and testing must be done every 12 months.

Michael Kenyon, Technical Manager at Bureau Veritas, said: “Over the summer holidays many schools, colleges and universities will be embarking on their annual maintenance programmes. With an obligation to ensure that premises are safe for staff, pupils and visitors, our advice this summer is to pay particular attention to asbestos and electrical safety – ensuring robust checks and procedures are in place for effective management.

“In recent years, asbestos related deaths have increased significantly from an average of three per year during the 1980s to an average of 17 per year4. And given the government’s tougher stance on compliance, a lack of reporting suggests that many in the education sector may be unaware of their obligations in regards to asbestos management.

“Similarly, neglecting fixed electrical testing not only puts students, staff and visitors at risk in terms of their safety, but educational establishments could also face a hefty fine for failing to comply with Health & Safety at Work Act (1974) and Electricity at Work Regulations (1989). It is therefore imperative schools are doing everything they can in terms of electrical safety and to control and eradicate the serious risk posed by asbestos exposure.”

Bureau Veritas offers a comprehensive range of services to help businesses and organisations, including schools, in achieving and maintaining asbestos control and electrical safety compliance. This includes electrical testing, building surveys, annual re-inspections, project management of asbestos remediation, site risk assessments, air monitoring, four stage clearance air testing, laboratory sample analysis – all of which can be undertaken within the school holidays.

For further information, call 0345 600 1828 or visit

Update your bicycle storage facilities in the light of Bike Week.

Bike Week is a campaign to inspire people from all over the UK to give cycling a try. Cycling is becoming increasingly popular, not only for recreation but also due to an increase in cycling benefit schemes, designed to improve the health and wellbeing of company employees and to reduce an organisation’s carbon footprint.

As the number of people cycling increases, so does the demand for suitable and secure bicycle storage. Keen cyclists often spend thousands of pounds on the initial outlay of their chosen bike and all cyclists understandably worry about the security of their bikes when not in use.

The Office of National Statistics reported a total of 317,000 bicycle thefts last year (from adults over 16 and households) in England and Wales alone. This staggering number highlights the importance of secure bicycle facilities being made available.

The general advice for making a bicycle secure from theft is to invest in a good quality and tested bicycle lock that can be secured through the frame of an immovable object such as a bike stand. Investment in a cycle shelter or rack will inevitably aid the reduction in bicycle thefts, as well as ensuring cyclists feel comfortable and less stressed when leaving their bike on your premises.

A variety of shelters and racks to suit all budgets are currently available from companies such as NBB Outdoor Shelters. The NBB organisation was picked to be featured in this article due to its extensive range, UK manufacturing, competitive pricing, product guarantees and high-quality finish.

Ready to assemble cycle shelters from NBB start from prices as low as £875.00 with various shelter sizes and styles available. Popular shelters such as the Kimmeridge Cycle Shelter are delivered free of charge to UK mainland addresses and come with a 15-year maintenance free guarantee on the surface treatment of the product. A plethora of inexpensive cycle racks and stands for all type of premises are also available including the eye-catching Loopy Loo Cycle Stand, which the organisation claims is a popular choice of educational environments.

It was pleasing to also see that products for bicycles, scooters and motorcycles designed mainly for residential use haven’t been left out of the NBB portfolio, nor have custom made shelters for those premises’ unable to accommodate standard shelter shapes and sizes.

Another major consideration for anyone thinking about bicycle security is location. Racks and shelters should be positioned in areas with higher footfall, as this will inevitably discourage criminals from attempting a bicycle theft.

In the light of Bike Week, organisations are encouraged to review their cycle storage facilities as good facilities should in turn encourage more people to cycle to you, making for a healthier environment.

To view the full range of bicycle shelters and racks mentioned in this article, please visit NBB Outdoor Shelters at

School funding in England – a strategic tool to help schools plan

Many members of the Confederation of School Trusts (CST) and others are clear that school funding is insufficient to deliver the excellent and sustainable education we all want. We want this to be prioritised in the forthcoming spending review.
However, a risk that focussing solely on quantum and an auction for funds misses the main point of looking at where we need funds. It also fails to recognise the changes which the national funding formula (NFF) will bring to the system.

Therefore, CST is today launching an online tool which shows the three-year funding trajectory from the baseline NFF year of 2017-18.

This tool aims to do two things:

1. Provide an authoritative source of information for school leaders to support strategic financial planning; and
2. Give indicative funding allocations for 2019-20 using NFF allocations.

We hope this will bring evidence and rigour to the debate by showing the core funding for all schools to 2019-20. The information within the tool is publicly available from the Department for Education but we hope that presenting it online, searchable by school, will make it easier for schools to plan. It makes no comment or judgement on the data provided, and does not show cost pressures on schools.

The online tool can be found here: .

CST is also releasing a funding policy paper today making the case for where in our view the greatest case is for strategic additional investment. CST is also publishing guidance on integrated curriculum financial planning (ICFP) for executive and governance leaders. It gives advice to schools or school trusts and sets out different models and approaches, without taking a view on a preferred model or approach.

CST is making the evidence-based case for strategic investment (additional funding) through the Comprehensive Spending Review in five specific ways:
1. The National Funding Formula: set out a timeline for passing legislation to implement the National Funding Formula so that all schools are funded equitably and make funding available to manage the transition to the new formula.
2. Investment in per-pupil funding: consolidate the teacher pay and pensions grants into the Schools Block of the NFF, increase the quantum at least to match spending per pupil in 2015/16 and commit to keep per-pupil funding in line with inflation and cost-pressures.
3. Special needs funding: increase the quantum of the high needs block – and ring-fence the high needs funding allocation for schools.
4. Post-16 education: increase the rate of post-16 funding.
5. Capacity building: secure funding for strategic investment to build academy trust capacity to grow the right school trusts in the right places and incentivise spin-out trusts. No school can be left behind.

DfE Secondary and primary school applications and offers: March to April 2019


• In 2019 80.9% of applicants for a secondary school place received an offer of their first preference school. 93.0% received an offer of one of their top three preferences. This is the lowest percentage in a decade.
• At primary level, 90.6% of applicants received an offer of their first choice school, and 97.5% received an offer of one of their top three preferences.
• In 2019 604,500 applications for a secondary school place were received, an increase of 3.7% on 2018 (which itself saw a 3.6% increase on 2017 application numbers), as rising births since 2002 continue to move into secondary level.
• Applications for a primary school place for 2019 were virtually unchanged from the number in 2018 with 609,000 being received (up 0.1% on 2018).

Mark Robinson, Scape Group chief executive, comments: “As with many critical issues desperately in need of political attention, education has dropped down the agenda as government bodies focus on Brexit and our future position with the rest of the world.
“This year not only were the lowest percentage of pupils offered a place at their first preference secondary school in a decade, the percentage offered a place at any of their preference schools also fell. This comes as the number of pupils applying reaches the highest number recorded.
“England faces a significant challenge as the school-age population is set to increase over the next two years and as children progress from primary to secondary education we now need to focus on building new secondary schools. There will be 313,164 additional secondary school pupils looking for places in the next two years – an increase of over 9%.
“While the Brexit fallout has created a vast amount of uncertainty, knowing your child will be able to get a preferred local primary or secondary school place should be a constant.

“We must collectively focus on delivering a strategy and solutions which not only provide high-quality, modern spaces for teaching and learning but also offer our colleagues in local authorities cost certainty, value for money and timely delivery. So there are more high-quality learning spaces for parents to choose from.

“Technologies such as offsite construction will play an essential part in that. Modern Methods of Construction not only allow quick construction but can also cost local authorities significantly less. Until the government takes more pragmatic action, they cannot claim to be safeguarding the futures of the UK’s young people.”

Scape’s The School Places Challenge 2019 report found:

• There will be 385,031 more school-age pupils in England by 2021/22, which equates to 12,835 additional primary and secondary school classrooms, the equivalent of 640 new schools.
• Although all regions will experience an increase in pupil growth above 3 per cent over the next two years, London, the South East and the South West can all expect to see the largest increases.
• Birmingham City Council is faced with the most substantial projected increase, with Manchester City Council coming in a close second.
• Both cities can expect more than 12,000 extra secondary school pupils by 2021/22. Between them, they will need to build the equivalent of 53 new schools by 2021/22.

View the full report here:

About Scape Group

Scape Group is a public-sector organisation, dedicated to creating ongoing efficiency and social value via the built environment. Scape and its subsidiaries offer fully managed frameworks, property services, innovative design solutions, community investment opportunities and joint ventures.
By bringing together the strongest teams from the public and private sectors, Scape’s rapidly deployed, highly measurable and collaborative approach delivers value for money and quality buildings whilst stimulating local economic growth and community enrichment. Scape operates with a buying capacity of around £13bn and has helped to deliver over 2,400 public sector projects with more than 1,800 currently in progress. In 2018, Scape Group was named the ‘Best Client to Work With’ across the public and private sector, at the annual Construction Enquirer Awards for the third consecutive year. For more information visit:

15,000 free books to be given away to UK schools to get children excited about space


An exciting new school project will encourage thousands of British students to realise their inner space expert and explore the Universe, thanks to teaching resources including 15,000 free books. To celebrate the UK’s involvement with one of the most globally-anticipated space missions, the James Webb Space Telescope, the Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) today launch a new primary education programme, in partnership with the publisher Curved House Kids.
The Deep Space Diary programme introduces KS2/P5-7 students to astronomy, physics, engineering and space through the story of the James Webb Space Telescope. With the support of the STFC, 15,000 free books will be available to schools across the UK with priority given to those in disadvantaged areas or with high numbers of pupil premium.
The Deep Space Diary is the third book in the series, with the previous two created with the UK Space Agency, author Lucy Hawking and inspired by European Space Agency (ESA) Astronaut Tim Peake’s 2015 Principia mission.
Tim Peake says:
“In 2015 we created the Principia Space Diary to empower younger students to learn about space and science while they followed my mission to the International Space Station. That book, and the subsequent Mars Diary sequel, were a huge success as they tackle a range of challenging subjects in a creative and hands-on way. I’m excited to see the ideas and innovations our young British space experts come up with as they complete this new Deep Space Diary and explore the biggest questions about our Universe.”
The James Webb Space Telescope (or simply Webb), due to launch in 2021, is the largest space telescope ever built (the size of a tennis court when deployed) and is expected to reveal even more about the Universe than its predecessor, Hubble. Webb is a global project, led by NASA, with some of its key experts in Europe and the UK. The Deep Space Diary makes this incredible human achievement accessible for younger students by delivering complex ideas in creative, student-led ways. The diary was also developed with and features a diverse group of real engineers and astronomers who have worked on Webb or will use it to explore the Universe.
European Principle Investigator for MIRI Professor Gillian Wright said:
“Celebrating the involvement that the UK has in this revolutionary mission, whilst at the same time giving children an insight in to how exciting being involved in a space science mission can be makes this a very special project; after all they will be the scientists and engineers of the future.”
From today (Thursday 13th June) primary schools in the UK are invited to register at for a chance to receive a free box of 30 Deep Space Diaries plus stickers and a Mission Log poster for their class. Books will be allocated to schools on a first come, first served basis with priority given to those in disadvantaged areas or with a higher percentage of free school meals. Other schools, home educating families and community groups can also register to access the free online programme, or purchase printed diaries via the online bookshop. Books will be delivered in September 2019, at the beginning of the new school year.
Teachers are fully supported with an online portal containing over 60 hours of classroom and home learning activities, differentiated teaching notes, curriculum guides (for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland), extension activities, multimedia resources and more. The programme also provides cross-curricular links, combining STEM learning with a breadth of other subjects to ensure that every child can find a way in to science and engineering. Publisher Kristen Harrison says:
“Our goal with the Discovery Diaries is not necessarily to hot-house future STEM experts (though that’s a happy bi-product!) but to encourage every child, regardless of their skills, interests or circumstances, to imagine, create, question, research, visualise, analyse, problem solve and generally “think like a scientist”. These are skills that will help them throughout their lives and the James Webb Space Telescope is the perfect inspiration for all of that.”
The Deep Space Diary has been developed by Curved House Kids with Dr Olivia Johnson at STFC’s UK Astronomy Technology Centre and Royal Observatory Edinburgh. A skilled team of practising primary teachers have co-written teaching materials and curriculum guides and Professor Peter McOwan at Queen Mary University of London has provided academic advice and feedback on activities.