Entrust launches EducationSpace

Entrust Support Services Limited (Entrust) continues to disrupt the education sector in England this summer by launching EducationSpace, a digital portal for education professionals. EducationSpace will provide a ‘go to’ place for support, guidance and tools to build sustainable school improvement, raise standards and provide educational excellence.

“Excellence in education is at the heart of Entrust. Our passion is inspiring futures and creating better outcomes for children, young people and adults,” said Rob Boyles, Entrust CEO. “EducationSpace is our answer to the challenge posed by Education Secretary Damian Hinds to launch an education revolution for schools. We recognise that schools are facing budget pressures and EducationSpace provides a high quality, affordable option for ongoing professional development and support.”

The introduction of EducationSpace comes as an addition to Entrust’s portfolio of online resources, following on from the success of GovernorSpace launched in January 2018 in partnership with the DfE. GovernorSpace supports over 4,500 Governors and Clerks to facilitate increased expertise through access to advice, guidance and online training.

Following the highly successful delivery model of GovernorSpace, Entrust is launching three new digital products. From June 2019 Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) will be able to access NQTSpace. This will enable NQTs to evaluate, develop and review their practice to meet the Teachers’ Standards as well as benefitting from the well-established Entrust Appropriate Body Service.

Also launching in June 2019, is SENDSpace which will provide a whole-school development programme to support schools to successfully implement the graduated response. School leaders, SENCos and Practitioners will be guided through their own, role-specific, self-evaluation and development programme to create better outcomes for pupils.

WorkExperienceSpace is currently available to Staffordshire schools. This will be expanding in June 2019 to provide a national reach. WorkExperienceSpace is an online tool to support schools to successfully manage their work experience activities. The tool guides and enables school leaders, students and employers to get the best from work experience through a range of packages.

“EducationSpace will provide education professionals access to industry leading expertise, personalised support, mentoring, skills and knowledge. This digital offer enables universal access due to its flexibility and cost effectiveness,” said Jayne Thorpe, Entrust Director of Education Services.

To find out more visit www.educationspace.co.uk or email educationspace@entrust-ed.co.uk

Young Citizens celebrates 30 years of inspiring the UK’s youth to drive change and engagement throughout society

As today’s younger generations find themselves at the forefront of spearheading political and
social change, Young Citizens celebrates three decades of achievements with a high-profile event.

The education charity Young Citizens (formerly The Citizenship Foundation) is celebrating thirty years of success in providing opportunities and support to young citizens of the UK this June. To celebrate their ground-breaking work in citizenship education, an anniversary reception will be held on 7th June.

Today’s young citizens are shining a light on critical issues through campaigning and education for causes such as Climate Change and LGBT rights, and the potential for the UK’s youth to actively drive true change and impact within society has never been greater. With this political and social change taking place across the country, Young Citizens’ ambition to champion the future generations of young citizens has evolved to become a crucial support system for UK youth. The charity’s broad range of initiatives and education programmes have been providing a foundation for which young citizens can actively engage in social action, reaching over 250,000 children each year.
• The event will be attended by over 150 supporters, including the charity’s founder Lord Andrew Phillips and Young Citizens Ambassador, The Right Honourable Sir Brian Leveson PC.
• Guests will hear directly from a number of the charity’s benefactors, including children from Walthamstow Academy.
• The event will be hosted by long-term partner Allen & Overy.
Founded in 1989, Young Citizens exists to help young people understand the law, their rights and responsibilities as citizens, and how to engage in democratic society through social action. Through a broad programme of national education initiatives, such as the Make a Difference Challenge and Democracy Ambassadors, and participatory learning experiences such as the Bar Mock Trails, Young Citizens reaches over 250,000 children aged 5-18 every year.

Tom Franklin, CEO at Young Citizens, commented: “While celebrating our past successes, we’re looking forward to doing even more in the future. Each era brings fresh challenges for young people to face and ours is no different with recent threats to democracy, the rise of fake news and growing inequality. At Young Citizens, we are extremely proud of how we help young people navigate their way in the world and for the past thirty years we’ve relied on the generosity of thousands of volunteers, donors and advocates to help with our mission. We’re looking forward to marking our 30th year anniversary and taking this time to thank everyone who supports the brilliant work our team do.”

Innovative digital safety resource goes on trial at schools ahead of nationwide roll-out

Umarr and Dianna of Holy Cross School, proudly look at the Dot Com Digital programme, which they and their classmates helped design.

Dot Com Children’s Foundation and Essex Police will tomorrow announce the launch of a trial of a new online safety resource at a primary school in Thurrock, Essex. The resource will be used in six schools, for review and fine tuning by children and teachers, before being rolled out across England and Wales later in the year.
Created for children by children, Dot Com Digital aims to prevent young people becoming victims of online grooming, radicalisation, exploitation and bullying by giving them the confidence to recognise warning signs and reach out to an adult for help. Developed in on-going consultation with children, Dot Com Digital is the result of a collaboration by Dot Com Children’s Foundation and Essex Police. Built by technology consultancy DataArt, a gold affiliate partner of Microsoft, who will provide cloud infrastructure, it uses digital technology to draw a teacher’s attention to children who may be at higher risk of becoming a victim of crime.
Sharon Doughty, founder of Dot Com Children’s Foundation, Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Worron, Head of Public Protection at Essex Police, Jen Housego, Head of Digital Change at Essex Police, and Anton Bagrov of DataArt, will launch the project at Holy Cross Catholic Primary School in Thurrock.

Picture: Chief Inspector Claire Talbot, of Essex Police, and children of Holy Cross School.

The South Ockendon school was selected to be one of the first to trial the resource as they have been a flagship school for the programme for six years. In June last year, 45 children from year six took part in a workshop to put forward ideas and help create content that would appeal to their peers. Two thousand children at schools in London, Stoke, Birmingham and North Wales will also take part in a pilot before Dot Com Digital is rolled out nationally in October.
The programme is an enhanced, digital version of an education programme Dot Com Children’s Foundation has been using successfully in primary schools nationally for more than 15 years, in which children complete a series of worksheets addressing a range of issues including social values, feelings of worry and how they feel about themselves.
Dorothy Com, or Dot Com to her friends, the friendly cartoon character at the forefront of the original programme, who has gained widespread popularity with children, will now be taken digital and be the “face” of Dot Com Digital.
Aimed at primary school children aged nine to 11, Dot Com Digital takes pupils through online safety lessons recording thoughts and feelings in their own personal digital journal. Dot helps them learn about risks they could encounter in the digital world and gives them the chance to ask their teacher for a ‘Dot Com Minute’ to discuss any worries or concerns they have. It also teaches children to recognise their own signs of danger, and to understand their feelings and how to manage them.
The system alerts teachers to children who have written or drawn material that could indicate they are at risk. As a double safeguarding measure Designated Safeguarding Leads in schools are simultaneously alerted. If concerned, schools are then able to share information with appropriate agencies such as police or social care services.
The project was conceived in 2017, when it was identified an innovative approach was needed to tackle the online threat against young people. A partnership between Essex Police and Dot Com Children’s Foundation was created. Technology company DataArt subsequently joined the partnership offering their expertise. DataArt built the platform, gifting it free of charge, and Microsoft agreed to host the platform on its Azure Cloud at no cost. The trial will be fully funded until the end of the year and will be free for schools to use. Training on how to use the system to its full potential will also be offered at no extra cost.
Sharon Doughty, founder of Dot Com Children’s Foundation, said:
“I grew up in an abusive home where I did not have a voice. This led me 15 years ago to set up the Dot Com Children’s Foundation. This new development, taking a successful programme into the digital sphere, means that with the help of Dot Com more children will be able to talk with their teachers, the police and other professionals about their online worries and are part of building a resource which will help protect them and their friends in the future.

Picture: Anton Bagrov of DataArt, with two children at Holy Cross school – which is trialling the Dot Com Digital programme. Children have acted as consultants to bring the project online.

“The children in this project were the driving force, and their continued participation is key to this unique programme.”
BJ Harrington, Chief Constable of Essex Police, said:
“Children can be among the most vulnerable in our community but sadly, it is a reality that online threats against them are increasing. This is not an issue that one single agency can tackle effectively and I am proud to be part of a partnership that is so passionate about doing all it can to protect young people.
“Dot Com Digital takes an innovative approach, using the latest technology and the imagination of a group of children to help them and their peers recognise the signs of grooming, exploitation and bullying and have the confidence to seek help.”
Anton Bagrov, Senior Account Executive at DataArt, said:
“Over the past few months we have worked in consultation with children from Holy Cross Primary to create the Dot Com Digital platform and it’s exciting today to see everyone’s hard work come to life.
“The resource is based on the “Dot Com” programme, which has been running as a paper-based resource for fifteen years, and we are proud to support the digitalisation of the platform that will give children across the UK access to the programme. It has been an incredible and important project to be part of and demonstrates how technology can be used for good.”

Open Conversations

On June 27th 2019, Local Media Initiatives, a Community Interest Company based in Milton Keynes will host a conference focused on Female Genital Mutilation, Forced Marriages and Honour Killings. The conference called ‘Open Conversations’ is the first in a series of annual conferences which would focus on issues generally regarded as ‘taboo subjects’ and aim to bring these out into open discussions enabling ‘Open Conversations’ leading to empowerment, action and change.
The Conference will feature survivors, campaigners and experts working across the three topics. Orgnaisations involved in working in the three featured arenas will be exhibiting at the conference which will take place at Milton Keynes Christian Centre in Oldbrook from 10am to 5pm.
The aim of the conference is to:
1. Provide updates of what is going on currently across legal, social, cultural and religious arenas with regards to FGM, forced marriages and honour killings
2. Empower the target audience to be more pro-active and less fearful of dealing with complicated issues.
3. Encourage ‘Open conversations’ about issues and topics which are considered taboo in order to become a catalyst for speaking about them openly and thus reducing the number of young girls and women affected negatively by these practices.

Details of all speakers are online at www.openconversations.co.uk
The event has received funding from Milton Keynes Community Foundation and the National Lottery’s Community Fund.

New anti-knife crime school lessons ahead of summer

School children across England are to benefit from extra lessons on the dangers of carrying knives.

The Home Office has been working with the Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Association and teachers to create new and improved school curriculum materials on knife crime ahead of the summer holidays.

Today (5 June 2019) 20,000 PSHE teachers were sent new lesson plans that will further equip them to challenge myths and communicate to their pupils the realities of carrying a knife.

Aimed at children aged between 11 and 16 years old, the hour-long lessons have been created in partnership with the PSHE Association and developed based on feedback from teachers.

Lesson plans feature real-life case studies of young people from the latest #knifefree campaign along with new content on the importance of having good role models.

Victoria Atkins, Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability said:

“Early intervention is a key part of our Serious Violence Strategy and it’s vital that we give young people the tools and resilience to keep themselves safe over the summer holidays.

“I’m pleased that our current lessons on knife crime have proved successful and that we are able to strengthen them even further, and I’d like to thank every teacher who has taken the time to deliver them.”

The lessons explore how role models can influence young people’s attitudes, decisions and behaviour in positive ways and signpost young people towards support services and the #knifefree website. They also include the true story of Dean, a teenager who was arrested for carrying a knife but managed to turn his life around through meeting James, a worker at a local support centre.

The new lesson plans are a welcome addition to the current PSHE syllabus after a series of lessons on knife possession were introduced last year.

Jonathan Baggaley, PSHE Association Chief Executive said:
“We are pleased to build on the popular #knifefree PSHE teaching resources we produced with the Home Office last year.

“These new materials are designed to challenge inaccurate perceptions about knife crime, help young people develop the confidence to resist pressure to carry knives, and to recognise positive role models. We encourage all schools to download and deliver these free materials.”

Current lessons on knife crime that were developed by the Home Office and the PSHE Association have been downloaded over 14,000 times since they were introduced in July last year.

This action follows a recent relaunch of the #knifefree campaign, which aims to discourage teenagers from carrying knives through sharing real-life stories.
In addition to the government’s ongoing engagement with schools and youth organisations, the Home Office has appointed the charitable foundation Impetus to manage its £200 million Youth Endowment Fund to help prevent young people being drawn into a life of crime and violence.

The Home Office also has a £22 million Early Intervention Youth Fund which is already supporting 29 projects in England and Wales.

Schools set for “game-changing” fundraising platform to deliver greater opportunities for pupils

FundStar, a not-for-personal-profit enterprise set up by serial entrepreneur David Evans MBE, has been formally launched today after successful trials to offer schools a strategic and co-ordinated approach to their fundraising activity.

As schools experience a reduction in real-terms funding and increased costs, the pressure to raise money by alternative means is growing. Whilst campaigns for more central government funding continue, schools must consider every route to pay for both the ‘bare essentials’ and the added-value opportunities which will help children to thrive in their education, and many are inviting parents to contribute to the cause.

Step forward FundStar – which makes school fundraising “easy, effective and smart”. Mr Evans said: “Every school we speak to reports a unique experience of the effects of funding pressures, but what unites headteachers, teachers, governors, trustees and parents are concerns about immediate and long-term damage caused to children’s education. Initiatives to press for more government funding should not stop but it is time for schools to take a more focused approach to raising funds for particular projects they wish to generate funding for that will help them deliver more opportunities for pupils.”

Simply put, FundStar is a potentially “game-changing” approach to school fundraising and, as Mr Evans describes, “is a modern version of the collecting tin at the side of the till, but with over 450,000 locations nationwide”. Parents, grandparents and others can register and receive a personalised FundStar prepaid debit card. Cardholders shop in store and online as normal using their FundStar card. Every time they use it to buy something, a micro donation (from 20p to £1 per transaction) is given to the school, and the project, of their choice. Though individual cardholders’ donations may be small, with many people on board these payments soon add up. The FundStar team estimates that an average sized secondary school can raise £15,000 per annum, and an average sized primary school can raise £5,000 per annum, enabling schools to buy the added extras that help deliver a quality education for their children.

The latest annual survey from Parentkind, formerly PTA UK, revealed that 43% of parents have been asked to give money to a school fund, with many now routinely making voluntary donations of up to £30 every month. The survey also found that the average monthly amount being donated has increased from a reported £8.90 in 2017 to £11.35 in 2018. However, only 51% of parents know how the money is spent.

“FundStar essentially makes supporting our children’s education through philanthropy an easy, day-to-day habit,” Mr Evans said. “Increasingly, donors to good causes want to know where their money goes, and how it makes a difference. Not only can FundStar cardholders choose which school should receive their donations, they can choose which project or projects they would like to support. For example, a parent of a sporty child may decide to support the tennis court renovation project. The minibus project may be chosen by someone whose child benefits from outward-bound trips or, if a child would benefit from both, the cardholder can split their donations equally between up to three projects. The donor has complete visibility of, and total control over, where their money goes.”

FundStar is already being used in a number of schools up and down the country. These schools receive a complete support system from the FundStar team including a kit of materials to help them encourage donor participation, practical sessions involving pupils, parents, PTA groups and school staff, and professional fundraising advice. Each school gets a login to their FundStar account so they can see how much has been raised and how close they are to reaching their target. “We want to get as many schools involved as possible – primary, secondary and independent schools,” Mr Evans said. “Schools do have a duty to explain that all contributions are voluntary and that parents do not have to contribute if they do not wish to or are unable to. However, we are really excited about the difference FundStar could make to schools and critically to the children and their future.”

One of the first schools to sign up to FundStar is Tring School, a secondary school with academy status, with approximately 1,500 pupils aged between 11 and 18. “The ever-shrinking pool of money for education is a real concern and it is short-sighted on the part of those making the decisions,” said Rod Gibberd, the School’s Business Director. “Initiatives such as FundStar can do nothing but help. I was delighted that 24 hours after launching our first fundraising project, a number of parents signed up to FundStar. Donations are already being made to our dining-room furniture project.”

The FundStar card is part of the Mastercard network, supported by a top team of industry experts. For more information go to: https://fundstar.org.uk/ or email info@fundstar.org.uk.

More Welsh students being offered places at Oxford and Cambridge with help of national programme

• Cambridge University made the highest number of offers this year (67) to state-educated Welsh students – an offer rate of 31%
• Participants on the Seren-Jesus College Summer School in 2018 attained the highest offer rate to date of 27%, with 11 of 41 applicants being offered places at Oxford
• Applications from Welsh state-educated students to Oxford University have increased by 13% since 2016, with 69 offers extended this year

A Welsh Government programme that supports Wales’ brightest young minds is helping to address the under-representation of Welsh students at leading universities and is making a positive impact, which has been fully supported by Kirsty Williams, Welsh Minister for Education.

Since Seren was fully established by 2016, it has supported students from state sixth forms and colleges across Wales to reach their full academic potential and progress to leading universities.

Seren, as a concept, came from the Welsh Government commissioning a report to consider the reasons for the apparent decline in Welsh admissions to Oxford and Cambridge. Following receipt of the report, the Welsh Government developed Seren – a partnership model with leading universities delivered via a national network of regional hubs across Wales – to deliver a package of ongoing support for students to help them progress to the UK’s top universities.

Each year, Seren invites approximately 2,000 of the brightest and most academically-able students from state sixth forms and colleges to join the network. Seren students benefit from unique opportunities to attend workshops, seminars and higher education outreach events which help to raise aspirations to get into leading universities in Wales, the UK and the US.

Since Seren was piloted in 2015, the number of students from Wales going to Oxbridge has increased and many students have also received offers from Ivy League institutions in the US including Yale, Stanford and Harvard, thanks to extended partnerships Seren has developed.

As the latest round of admissions data from Oxford and Cambridge universities are released today (6 June), a record number of Welsh students have received offers compared to previous years.

Of the 212 Welsh students who applied to Cambridge, 67 have been offered a place this September, the highest number and rate of offers (31%) in recent years. In 2018, Cambridge made 59 offers from 243 applications in 2018 (24% offer rate) and 57 offers from 216 applications in 2017 (26% offer rate).

Jesus College is known as the Welsh College at Oxford, with more of its current undergraduates from Wales than any other college at the university. Of the 651 applicants who had Jesus as their first choice College this year, there were 61 from Wales (9.3%). Of those, 10 were given offers by Jesus College and 2 received an offer from another College. Of all the Jesus offer holders for 2019 entry, 7.8% will come from Wales. Wales accounts for less than 5% of the UK population. Overall, Oxford has made a record number of 69 offers to Welsh state-educated students and an increase in offer rate of circa 2% since working with Seren.

From September 2019, the Seren programme will be expanded to reach thousands of additional pupils across Wales in Years 8 – 11, with the aim of educating and inspiring students from a younger age to reach their true potential. Seren Foundation will stimulate curiosity beyond the classroom with a view to introduce university and careers ambitions earlier on through workshops, seminars and university outreach.

Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams, has praised the success of Seren and its achievements to date. She said: “Seren is a UK-first programme that gives meaningful advice and support to our most academically gifted students in Wales, enhancing their skills and knowledge so they can progress onto some of the world’s top universities.

“Seren has successfully set out what it meant to do. I am hugely encouraged to see growing numbers of students from Wales apply to Oxford and Cambridge, showing that the programme has boosted confidence and broken down perceived barriers to university, but importantly, that a record number of Welsh students have in return received offers.

“Seren gives students from Wales life-changing opportunities, whether that’s masterclasses with experts, university application workshops or summer schools. The programme has grown hugely since its beginnings and will soon be reaching students in Years 8 to 11 across Wales who will benefit from similar opportunities, all designed to help them reach their academic potential. Furthermore, the Welsh Government has developed further partnerships with universities in the United States through Yale Young Global Scholars and the Harvard Summer School as well as help students from low income backgrounds access additional support from organisations including the Fulbright Commission and the Sutton Trust.

“I’m incredibly proud of Seren’s achievements so far and I’m excited to see its long-term impact as our Seren students continue to inspire future generations of learners from across Wales.”

Harrison Taylor, 18, is a Seren student and is currently studying A-level Maths, Further Maths and ICT at Newport High School. Harrison hopes to secure the grades he needs to get into Oxford University to study Economics and Management this year.

Harrison has broken a record at Newport High School by becoming the first student in the history of the school to receive a conditional offer from Oxbridge, providing he achieves an A* and two As.

Harrison has always set his sights on Oxford University, so when he joined Seren at the end of Year 11 after achieving top grades in his GCSEs he was encouraged to pursue his dream and was reassured that it was not out of reach. Since being part of Seren he has been supported and encouraged to excel in his chosen subjects as well as being provided with opportunities to find out more about life at the UK’s top universities.

Harrison said: “Being invited to join Seren has provided me with the opportunity to attend a number of informative talks about Oxford and Cambridge as well as meet like-minded people. I’ve also been to several sessions on interview techniques and had a mock interview. The sessions really helped me prepare for the process and remain calm and collected throughout. I’ve always dreamed of studying somewhere like Oxford so was completely amazed when I got offered a place. I still can’t believe I’m the first person in the school’s history to receive an offer from Oxford.”

Catrin Williams is a Seren alumna and a first year student at Oxford University, studying Human Sciences at Magdalen College. She said: “It’s great to hear that the number of Welsh students going to Oxford is on the rise. Before joining Seren I hadn’t seriously considered applying to Oxford, but I was encouraged to give it a go and I’m so glad that I did.

“Being part of Seren was a massive help to me. I was provided with all the advice, support and guidance I needed to prepare for the entire admissions process from personal statement to interview. My subject teachers were really encouraging and supportive throughout, but the Seren guidance was a massive help in showing me exactly what to expect and how to increase my chances of success.

“I think that a lot of young people and teachers are intimated by the extensive Oxford admissions process, so it’s incredibly useful to have the knowledge and experience of Seren’s advisors to guide us through each step of the process. Seren is so important in levelling the playing field and giving everyone a fair chance. I hope more and more young Welsh people are encouraged to apply, it’s definitely worth it.”

Dr Samina Khan, Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach at Oxford University, said: “Last year we made just under 100 offers to applicants from Wales and our final acceptance rates have been steady at more than 65 students for the last two previous years.

“We are committed to selecting the best students from across the country and are committed to our bespoke outreach work with Welsh students. The University was instrumental in setting up Seren’s network of regional hubs designed to support Wales’ brightest sixth formers and college students’ ambitions to study to leading universities. This commitment also includes an annual Summer School lead by Jesus College; intended to give Welsh students experience of what life at Oxford is like, and to provide them with the tools and confidence to apply to study here. We welcome Seren’s decision to work with younger school students and believe this will be a valuable addition to the current Seren programme.

“As well as working with Welsh students. Oxford runs a number of targeted activities with the Welsh teaching community such as our annual teachers’ conference, the Oxford and Cambridge Conference and our highly regarded Inspirational Teachers awards, which has presented awards to a number of Welsh teachers.

“Through our collaboration with Seren, Welsh schools and students, we hope to continue to encourage more talented Welsh applicants of all backgrounds that Oxford can be, and is for them.”

Dr Sam Lucy, Director of Admissions for the Cambridge Colleges, said: “The University of Cambridge has supported Seren since its inception and this year made the highest number of offers in recent records to Welsh maintained students: over 30% of Welsh maintained applicants to Cambridge received an offer.
“Two of our Colleges, Churchill and Magdalene, have strong links to Wales and offer support through Seren to all the country’s state secondary schools and colleges, as part of the University’s Area Links Scheme. Our Welsh students are enthusiastic ambassadors for the University, working in a number of outreach programmes and supporting new students once they arrive here. We look forward to welcoming a new contingent of talented students from Wales later this year.”

Portal Educational Training expands into North Wales on the back of 300% business growth in the past three years


Portal Educational Training is expanding its services into North Wales following 300% business growth in the past three years.

The Cardiff-based training provider has quadrupled the strength of its workforce in the North over the past 18 months after learner numbers in the region more than tripled from 30 to more than 100 in the last two years.

Founded in 2010, the company has also tripled its overall headcount from 13 employees in 2016 to almost 40 in 2019 – a growth of 300%. Four of those appointed within that period were Leadership and Management Assessors for North Wales, three of them in 2018 alone.

Portal is a leading Welsh training organisation delivering high quality and creative leadership and management training courses, programmes and resources for professionals working in the education, business and sporting sectors.

Gwawr Booth, Managing Director at Portal, said: “Our team here at Portal has expanded year on year in direct response to a rapidly growing need for our services in supporting education, business and sporting-based professionals to grow and develop their skills alongside their existing work commitments.

“This growth, we believe, is indicative of a changing attitude to vocational training industry-wide – and is one which appears to be flourishing not least in the North of Wales, where those accessing the programmes and resources they need to succeed have risen rapidly in recent years.”

Portal is a dynamic and innovative bilingual training provider delivering the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) level 4 and 5 diploma qualifications in Leadership and Management to professionals and teachers aspiring to further develop their management and leadership skills and assist in their quest for promotion.

Portal also designed and delivers its own SWEET resource – a BTEC Personal and Social Development qualification at entry level, level 1 and 2 award and certificate for Key Stage 4 pupils – during Personal and Social Education allocated lessons, as a tool to motivate those who are disengaged in the school environment, and as a resource assisting with the delivery of the Welsh Baccalaureate.

As a business, board membership at Portal also has a strong female presence and has also grown five-fold since its inception, with Clare Jeffries and Janice Hart most recently appointed as Operations Director and Quality Director respectively in late 2018.

They join Managing Director Gwawr Booth and board director Nerys Evans in leading a 40-strong team in providing services to around 500 learners currently on its books across Wales.

Gwawr said: “Our focus as an organisation lies firmly on assisting in raising achievements across various educational and professional programmes by delivering high end training, resources and other programmes within the working environment.

“We are delighted that ever growing demand for our services means we now get to spread our message even more widely across Wales, including in the north where are just as committed to improving education by being innovative and inspiring as we are elsewhere.”

Visit Portal’s website for more information about the company: www.portal-training.co.uk

EdTech start-up to drive major classroom efficiencies with growth of content platform


Education technology (EdTech) specialist, Wand Education, has announced a key milestone in its aim of delivering significant efficiencies across the UK education sector, with the launch of an innovative online teaching resource.
The new content package contains a range of high-quality, ready-made lesson plans and support resources for GCSE History teachers. It is the first product of its kind curated especially for secondary schools and forms part of a major pipeline which, in the next 12 months alone, will see new packages created across 20 subjects.

Packages are all developed to meet designated learning outcomes and requirements of the National Curriculum of England and Wales. Content is, and will continue to be, authored by highly-qualified consultants and fully aligned to the three major exam boards – Edexcel, AQA and OCR.
Wand Education’s platform, which also provides automated marking and one-click reporting, is currently in 178 UK schools and used by 6,500 teachers and students. It aims to improve learning, interactively engage pupils and streamline day-to-day processes – all of which help to free up time for teachers.
The company’s research shows that teachers currently spend around 2.5 hours every day planning lessons, meaning they have less time to focus on classroom activities and individual student development.

Stuart Hales, CEO of Wand Education, commented: “The performance pressures placed on today’s teachers are immense – and growing every academic year. By providing a helping hand, in the form of high-quality, simple-to-use content, we will create a better and more productive classroom environment for all. Our ultimate goal is to positively impact learners while helping teachers save time to win back their evenings and weekends. This is an important milestone on that journey – so watch this space.”