National Grid launches schools programme

Haven High Academy Lower School pupil Charlie making model pylons in Boston, Lincs., 13th January, 2020. Photos by JOHN ROBERTSON for National Grid.

National Grid has launched a three-year series of educational workshops for school pupils. The workshops will be directly linked to the National Curriculum and will feature activities relevant to the construction timeline of a subsea electricity cable – currently being built between the UK and Denmark, known locally as the Viking Link interconnector.

From Monday 13th January 2020, the National Grid project team will visit seven primary (key stage 2) and three senior schools (key stage 3) in the Lincolnshire area, over a two-week period and will follow up with the same pupils each year up until 2023.

The three-year programme, delivered twice a year, involves workshops that will support development and interest in STEM subjects and careers to encourage and inspire pupils to become the ‘next generation of engineers.’

Haven High Academy Lower School pupil Harry,(12) & model pylon in Boston, Lincs., 13th January, 2020. Photos by JOHN ROBERTSON for National Grid.

Mike Elmer, Viking Link Project Director for National Grid Ventures said, “It’s fantastic that we are able to engage with schools along the route of the project to deliver STEM workshops based on the programme of works used to build the Interconnector.

“This new subsea cable will enable more effective use of renewable energy, access to sustainable electricity generation, improved security of electricity supply and benefit the socio economy of Denmark and the UK. Construction is expected to be completed by end of 2023, and in that time through our three-year engagement programme, we hope to inspire future generations to become the ‘engineers of tomorrow’ and leave a strong legacy behind.”

In the first year of the programme, pupils will learn about the role of National Grid in providing and maintaining the UK’s high voltage electricity network and the benefits of electricity interconnection between the UK and Europe.

The Viking Link project, is a joint venture between National Grid Ventures, part of National Grid, and the Danish system operator, Energinet. The 1.4 GW high voltage direct current interconnector will be the longest in the world when completed, stretching 765 kilometres from Lincolnshire to Western Denmark.  It will have the capacity to power one and a half million UK homes.

Teamwork-Haven High Academy Lower School pupils & model pylons in Boston, Lincs., 13th January, 2020. Photos by JOHN ROBERTSON for National Grid.

Later in the year, the project team will deliver a second programme to the same set of pupils. This will include a hands-on route planning simulation where pupils will be challenged to find the most cost effective and acceptable route for a section of cable. There will also be a hands-on workshop building structures to span rivers and other obstacles.

In the following years as construction continues, pupils will be taught about the flow of electricity and renewable energy investigating how wind and sun is used to generate electricity.  Furthermore, there will be workshops on how to lay down cables, the role of interconnectors and how investing in transformative engineering and cutting-edge technology will help the country hit its net zero carbon target by 2050.

Viking Link will be National Grid’s sixth interconnector to Europe. The company already has three operational interconnectors to France (IFA), the Netherlands (BritNed) and Belgium (Nemo Link). Two further projects are under construction to France (IFA2, operational 2020) and Norway (North Sea Link, operational 2021).

Following the completion of Viking Link, National Grid will have enough interconnector capacity (7.8 gigawatts) to power 8 million homes. By 2030 90% of electricity imported via National Grid’s interconnectors will be from zero carbon sources.

For more information on the project visit  

Woodmansterne School integrates 44 Interactive Flat Panels into new facilities

Over 40 Interactive Flat Panel (IFP) displays from global electronics manufacturer BenQ have been integrated into Woodmansterne School in London, as part of a large-scale transformative expansion and dedication to providing exceptional educational facilities to its students.

Building a state-of-the-art secondary school to accompany its primary school facility, Woodmansterne School appointed experienced education technology integrators, Partnership Education to specify and manage the AV integration for the five-fold expansion.

Increasing its student intake from 350 to 2000 pupils, Woodmansterne School specifically requested an interactive display solution which would be easy to use for students ranging in ages from 2 – 16 years, as well as its staff.

Specifying the 75” RP750K IFP from BenQ’s RP Series, Partnership Education installed 44 displays throughout classrooms, support rooms, dedicated music studios and library to encourage active learning. Featuring 4K resolution, 20 multi-touch interactivity and BenQ’s exclusive EZWrite software, Woodmansterne has future-proofed its site for students as they progress through their school years.

Sam Palin, executive headteacher, Woodmansterne school:

“We love the greater display size BenQ were able to provide, that was a key feature for us and we were also able to put a couple in the library and in the support rooms. I would also say the support we’ve had in terms of training has been really good so absolutely, I’d recommend BenQ.”

BenQ provided teachers with initial training with the IFPs as well as ongoing support and additional training twice a year, ensuring all staff felt confident with the equipment and can use the full educational software toolbox of features on offer. As a result of the large roll-out, Woodmansterne has entered BenQ’s list of “super users”.

Woodmansterne’s IT department utilised BenQ’s exclusive Account Management System (AMS) to provide teachers access to their lesson plans and materials on any display throughout the entire school, as well as gain remote access for display maintenance and service.

In addition, Partnership Education specified cutting-edge equipment across five IT suites with 3D printing facilities, to dedicated music studios and a high-tech assembly hall. The school operates on a dual fibre network system integrated by Lynx Networks, with the primary and secondary sites operating independent networks.

After the school had suffered with delays and quality issues from its previous project, the overall challenge for Partnership Education was to deliver the project on time and within budget.

Palin continues:

“What Partnership Education has done has worked in harmony with us. They’ve been completely committed to delivering on budget and delivering ahead of schedule. For me personally, we went from the worst experience a headteacher could have on a new build to one of the best experiences that you could have.”

Flagship SENCO report exposes rising administrative tide impacting support for pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

**New findings from Bath Spa University, in collaboration with nasen, calls for end to overcomplicated administrative demands on SENCOs**

**The report recommends that a single, national template should be developed for the needs assessment process and for Education, Health and Care plans**

New research launched today reveals that three-quarters (74%) of Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCOs) are being pulled away from supporting pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), to fulfil overcomplicated administrative demands and unrelated duties during allocated ‘SENCO’ time.

The Time is Now: Addressing missed opportunities for Special Education Needs Support and coordination in our schools – conducted by Bath Spa University and nasen – found that time-consuming Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan needs assessment requests, and complex paperwork requirements from local authorities, are preventing them from being able to carry out their role effectively. The lack of consistency in practice and clarity of process across Local Authorities was highlighted as a key driver behind the unnecessary weight of administration, as well as moves to leave the profession.

Despite a call to legalise the protection of SENCO time in The National SENCO Workload Survey, which was published by Bath Spa University, nasen and the National Education Union (NEU) in 2018, only 50% of SENCOs said they had been allocated the same time as the previous year to facilitate the role – but also faced more pressure from senior leaders.

Only 17% of SENCOs stated that they had been allocated more dedicated time to carry out their role, in comparison to the previous academic year.

Furthermore, two-thirds (67%) of those allocated ‘extra’ time, are spending it on administration tasks, instead of directly supporting children, families and teachers.

One of the key recommendations from the report is to create a single, national template for the needs assessment process and for Education, Health and Care plans. 

Dr Helen Curran, Senior Lecturer in Education: SEN at Bath Spa University, said: “This new research has demonstrated how SENCOs are being overloaded with needlessly complicated administrative tasks – which risks impacting on children with SEND and the level of support that they receive. We believe that SEN processes and practices across Local Authorities should be urgently reviewed to re-evaluate non-statutory paperwork requirements – and to develop a consistency of practice across all Local Authority Areas.”

Dr Adam Boddison, Chief Executive at nasen added: “We were delighted to work on this joint project with Bath Spa University, further expanding on last year’s report. These findings ignite an important discussion around the additional demands on SENCOs, and highlights the need to re-define their role, as well as reduce paperwork and provide greater support with administration.”

The report makes a number of recommendations, including specific points in response to the Timpson Review on Exclusions, which are made in relation to the development of the SENCO role at a national and local level.

Summary of Key Recommendations

  • Review of SEND Code of Practice in relation to SENCO role: SENCOs should have protected time to enable the effective facilitation of their role and it should be a statutory requirement that the SENCO is a member of the school senior leadership team.
  • Review of SEND Code of Practice in relation to provision for children: The legal definition of SEN should be reviewed in light of the rapid development in sector understanding regarding neuro-diversity, as well as the changing demographic of our school population.
  • Development of consistent, effective SEN provision nationally: To develop consistency of practice across Local Authorities and reduce administrative demands, a single, national template should be developed for Education, Health and Care plans.
  • Facilitation of SENCO role in educational setting: TheDepartment for Education should provide sufficient funding for the SENCO role for every school in the country, SENCOs should be given additional administration support and they should be placed on the leadership pay scale.

The Time is Now: Addressing missed opportunities for SEN Support and coordination in our schools focused on the current issues and priorities that SENCOs, and others, have identified in relation to the development of Special Educational Needs in their settings. Over 1,800 (1,806) individuals contributed to the study. The survey was open for just under four weeks to all those who worked in education.

To read the full report, please visit:

Preparing to teach first aid and CPR in your school doesn’t have to be painful

The UK’s leading provider of first aid supplies to schools, Eureka, has introduced a full range of CPR and first aid training aids. This new range provides schools with an easy way to order the basic items they will require to teach CPR and first aid as part of the curriculum in 2020.

Some of the new products introduced by Eureka include…

Laerdal Inflatable Resuscitation Manikin

This innovative, self-directed learning programme is perfect for teaching CPR and AED use in schools, as it allows users to learn core CPR skills in just 30 minutes. The manikin is supplied with an inflator, an instructional DVD and a foam AED template. This product will allow schools to teach the basic principles of CPR clearly and effectively. Each manikin is available from as low as £44.95 and manikin wipes are also available to purchase separately.

First Aid Training Packs

On top of the extensive range of first aid supplies already offered, Eureka have introduced a low-cost first aid training pack for schools. Each pack contains a sterile dressing, a triangular bandage, a resuscitation face shield and a pair of disposable gloves. These basic items will allow pupils to practice some of the fundamental first aid skills they may one day need to put into action.

With 20 years of experience, Eureka is a trusted name in schools across the UK and provides a wealth of service guarantees such as free delivery on all orders, 30 days interest free credit and next working day delivery.

To find out more about the range of first aid training products, visit and search “Training” or call the sales team directly on 0800 358 0085.

SMART Technologies Launches New Interactive Display with Revolutionary Platform – Bridging Physical and Digital Learning

Visitors to world renowned technology tradeshows will be among the first to experience “their 6th sense” via the exclusive ToolSense™ innovation, along with SMART’s entire new lineup of interactive flat panels.
CALGARY, Canada – SMART Technologies, a global leader in interactive education technology, announced that its latest lineup of solutions and services will be showcased to the public at the FETC (Future of Education Technology Conference) on January 14-17, 2020 and Bett (the British Educational Training & Technology Show) in London from January 22 – 25, 2020.
As a leader in education technology for over 30 years, SMART’s legacy of innovation is again evolving with the latest global release of its market-leading interactive displays. The timing of the two conferences is particularly exciting as attendees can personally interact with the displays and software to see and feel what makes SMART’s solutions truly unmatched.

The highly anticipated ToolSense™ technology, which bridges physical and digital learning by incorporating tactile tools, is available on the SMART Board® 6000S series. The technology is exclusive to SMART and is not seen anywhere else on the market today. Fundamental to this new technology is that it’s intuitive – like having a 6th sense – just pick up the pen, or object and interact with the board. The interactive display automatically recognises a physical object and produces a digital interaction.
“The possibilities of the ToolSense platform are quite literally endless,” said Nicholas Svensson, SMART Technologies Executive Vice President & Operations Officer. “The vision is to innovate specific tool sets for all education levels and subjects based on curricula and student abilities. The fact that we can incorporate tactile learning objects brings a new level to hands-on learning in the classroom and makes it accessible for everyone.”
At FETC and Bett, visitors will be among the first to interact with the SMART Board 6000S series and experience the full lineup of the latest releases including: the enhanced SMART Board MX series a high-value display with all the interactive essentials, and the SMART Board 7000R series designed to provide the most precise writing experience for complex subjects and detailed content. All three series incorporate the most recent advancements from SMART providing best-in-class touch, ink, and embedded iQ Android™ computing experiences.

For Bett, SMART is a global partner and visitors will have additional opportunities to engage with the technology, get hands-on practice and professional development through sessions. Attendees can visit “The Teaching Tech Zone” for a fully interactive experience or stop by SMART’s stand NH2o to experience the exclusive ToolSense innovation for a chance to spin the wheel and win a SMART Board 6000S interactive display. Attendees will have the opportunity to attend SMART’s Seminar Spotlight “Time Saving Tech Hacks for Teachers” on Wednesday, January 22nd, as well as schedule individual leadership meetings in the VIP Gallery Suite 11

(North Hall) to consult with senior leadership, as they share developments and trends in EdTech and how to improve learning outcomes. Visit to sign up.
At FETC, attendees will have the opportunity to join the SMART team in booth #2813 along with special guests from Divine Savior Academy and the School District of Palm Beach County to explore the 2020 classroom ecosystem and proven ways to boost engagement. SMART presentations will be held throughout the day, and the first 10 attendees at each SMART booth presentation are guaranteed a prize.
SMART will also host a Future of EdTech Information Technology Session, “Technology Trends and the Evolving Learning Environment” with Global Education Strategist, Giancarlo Brotto for a discussion on global insights in education on Thursday, January 16th at 1:00 pm in Room 210 (second level).
SMART is a world leader in classroom technology, providing interactive solutions to help every student and teacher discover the greatness within them. With a full range of interconnected displays, software and accessories, used in over 3 million classrooms, SMART helps students and teachers around the world achieve better learning outcomes.
All SMART Board interactive displays include free SMART Notebook® basic version learning software and a bonus 1-year subscription to SMART Learning Suite. SMART implementation services, professional learning and technical support resources help educators learn to use SMART solutions, hone their technology skills and improve student outcomes.

Schools wanted for RSPCA Compassionate Class competition

RSPCA is urging schools to sign up to an education scheme created to teach KS2 children about animal welfare

Do you have a class full of animal lovers who want to make a difference in the animal welfare world?

The RSPCA has launched its Compassionate Class competition for 2020 – which is an innovative programme that encourages children to develop compassion and empathy through the lens of animal welfare.

This year’s entrants will follow in the footsteps of the Year 3 class at Ysgol Gymraeg Coed y Gof who were recognised as 2019’s ‘Most Compassionate Class’ across England and Wales. 

Last year around 700 schools took part with the Cardiff school impressing judges with their  Welsh-language animation, which incorporated into a short production a number of key animal welfare messages.

Compassionate Class takes an interactive, discussion-based approach to develop emotional literacy and consider the welfare needs of animals. These PSHE Association accredited resources are designed to provide an exciting learning experience as well as supporting schools in the delivery of spiritual, moral, social and cultural education (SMSC) for 7 – 11 year olds. 

Through a series of enquiry-led activities, children will consider what it means to be compassionate, understand the needs of different types of animals, and work collaboratively to develop empathy skills for their school lives and beyond.  

The programme – which is now open and closes on 23 March – finishes with the chance to enter the Most Compassionate Class awards. 

Dave Allen, Head of Prevention and Education at the RSPCA, said: “We are very much looking forward to this year’s Compassionate Class which is about developing compassion and empathy through the lens of animal welfare and the programme encourages children to think about the needs of animals and help them to realise that animals have feelings and are sentient.

“The activities teach children about the five animal welfare needs, while the resources get them talking and debating about the importance of animals and creates an awareness of how we should respect them and each other. In turn, we hope this will help to create a kinder society in the future.

“We were just blown away with Ysgol Gymraeg Coed y Gof last year and we can’t wait to see what participating schools come up with this year.”

Ysgol Gymraeg Coed y Gof’s animated video featured the rules people need to follow to keep animals safe and healthy in a whole series of environments.

Year 3 teacher Nia Norman at Ysgol Gymraeg Coed y Gof, said: “We felt taking part in Compassionate Class would be a great opportunity for the children to build compassion towards animals and hopefully each other as a result. The children loved learning about animals, their habitats and their needs. They were all very passionate about protecting animals’ environments and what we as individuals can do to help preserve them. 

“I’m super proud of the children, they worked so hard. We were thrilled to hear that we had won.  We didn’t really enter the competition with a view to winning but to be able to complete the project with the children so that they would have an end product for which they would be really proud.  

“The children were so excited when they found out we’d won. We hope that they will always remember that they are national winners although of course they’re winners for us every day!”

For more information, or to sign-up your school, visit  

To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit our website.

Konica Minolta will showcase how its next generation technology innovations answer today’s educational needs at BETT 2020

Konica Minolta announces that it will be exhibiting at BETT 2020, to demonstrate to how its augmented reality, all-in-one IT solutions, intelligent video and sustainability solutions are unlocking the potential of staff, pupils, students and operations at schools, colleges and universities throughout the UK.  

The company will be on stand NH45 from 22nd-25th January 2020, at ExCeL London to provide hands-on demonstrations of its ground-breaking and class-leading technologies that are having a meaningful impact in classrooms and back-offices of education establishments today. The solutions on display at BETT 2020 will include its GenARate Augmented Reality for print, which brings a new dimension to learning and student engagement; the Workplace Hub all-in-one IT management solution, the powerful Mobotix Intelligent Video Solutions for the safeguarding of people and property, and a Virtual Reality Sustainability experience.

Jonathan Smith, Public Sector Business Unit Leader at Konica Minolta states: “Our technology is about unlocking potential. We enable educators to employ the very latest innovations to create more engaging and immersive teaching and learning experiences, delivered in a safer and more secure environment.” He adds: “What is more, our wealth of experience managing IT systems for schools, colleges and universities means we are able to provide the expertise and infrastructure to embrace the technology of today, plan for tomorrow, and do so whilst optimising operational efficiency and delivering peace of mind.”

Konica Minolta will also take the opportunity to shine a spotlight on the importance of raising awareness of mental health in education, through supporting Mind, the mental health charity. This will include the creation of a unique mosaic artwork during the event that every visitor to the stand can participate in. Jonathan adds: “Our partnership stems from the need for employers and educators to better understand mental health issues and how to provide the right support to those who need it in order to help them achieve their potential.”


  • The new ‘Stick with Maths’ resources feature puzzles and take-home activities which use Premier League player data included on Panini’s Football 2020 stickers to appeal to key stage 2 pupils and encourage active learning
  • ‘Stick with Maths’ is a new addition to the Premier League Primary Stars Maths resources, which are designed to excite pupils and motivate them to learn
  • Two puzzles have been specially created by mathematician and University Challenge contestant Bobby Seagull

Tuesday 7 January, 2020

The Premier League and Panini are partnering to create new ‘Stick with Maths’ resources which encourage pupils to actively engage in their Maths lessons. Available to download for free from the Premier League Primary Stars website (, the resources use player data featured on the new Panini stickers.

As part of ‘Stick with Maths’, mathematician and University Challenge contestant Bobby Seagull has helped devise two puzzles specifically aimed at creating fun and engaging active learning for Key stage 2 pupils.

These resources provide opportunities to link Maths with physical activity in the classroom by getting pupils out of their seats to actively apply their key Maths skills. Aligned to the national curriculum, year 3-4 pupils learn to solve problems using mental addition, to apply knowledge of place value of numbers (the value of each digit in a number) and to identify multiples, square and prime numbers. Pupils in years 5 and 6 will learn to solve problems in a variety of contexts, to convert between different units of measurement and to make connections between percentages, fractions and decimals.

‘Stick with Maths’ joins a suite of Maths resources from Premier League Primary Stars, including the popular Adrenalyn Maths resource pack, also designed in collaboration with Panini. By trading on the popularity of card and sticker swapping, teachers will find that pupils who were previously disengaged will start enjoying Maths lessons, because it combines their interest in football with fun activities.

Teaching resources include exclusive films featuring Bobby Seagull and West Ham mascot Hammerhead, puzzles on PowerPoint, worksheets and take-home activities. They can be downloaded for free at

William Bush, Executive Director of the Premier League, said: “This is a fantastic new set of resources to help pupils get enthusiastic about Maths. We are using the appeal of the Premier League and the way fans engage with all the numbers that football can generate to make Maths fun. It is a real pleasure to be able to work with a committed partner in Panini to help children learn and enjoy themselves at the same time.”

Chris Clover, Head of Marketing (Sport) at Panini, said: “We are delighted to partner with the Premier League to create this brilliant new set of Maths resources, helping children to enjoy Maths through the use of Premier League player data found on our collectible cards and stickers.”

Teacher David Roberts at Borras Park Community Primary School in Wrexham, Wales, said: “The  Adrenalyn Maths resources are a great new classroom resource that will really help teachers to engage with the hard-to-reach students. I anticipate that many of their faces will light up when they recognise a football player… although they won’t realise they are actually learning Maths, so it will cleverly become a form of ingrained learning.”

Dura inspires Swansea with impressive new facilities

The University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) is turning heads in Swansea, as they live up to their reputation for being the innovative city of learning with a brand-new education facility.

As part ofa £350 million investment, UWTSD has a purpose-built facility at SA1 Swansea Waterfront. The eye-catching centre of excellence brings together the faculties of architecture, computing and engineering, Yr Athrofa, The Institute of Education, the Construction Wales Innovation Centre, and a new library.

UWTSD has invested in state-of-the-art facilities for SA1 and approached Dura, who are known for their work within the automotive industry, to design a workshop system for its automotive workshop, environmental science laboratory and simulator room in the new Engineering department.

Dura’s brief was to design and create educational environments for both lecturers and students to be motivated and inspired. Dura utilised the versatility of their modular workshop furniture to tailor each setting, enabling SA1 to deliver the highest standard of education.

Within the automotive workshop, Dura used their knowledge and experience of working with high profile race teams and manufacturers to construct an area with the look and feel of a modern race bay. Dura designed a large, 7-metre-long cabinet workbench as the main focal point of the science lab, with smaller workstations feeding off creating a specialised learning setting. The layout in the Simulator Room provides a clean hi-tech environment, mirroring those used by professional drivers and enabling the students to immerse themselves in a state-of-the-art racing simulator.

Dura has delivered a modern, clean and efficient solution echoing the contemporary feel of SA1. The workshop furniture is an integral part of providing specialist training and applied research for the students and apprentices.

UWTSD’s Emyr Jones, Senior Estates Manager (Development & Planning) said: “Working with Dura has enabled us to future-proof the longevity of SA1. It’s important that our facilities are as striking in appearance and robust as the building itself, thus enabling us to attract students, apprentices and commercial partners.”

If you would like to hear more about this or any of the other projects in Dura’s case studies section then please call 01280 706050 or email

Juniper Education expands its pupil tracking offering with the acquisition of Classroom Monitor

10 January 2020: Juniper Education has today announced the acquisition of Prime Principle Ltd, developers of Classroom Monitor, the tool used to track pupil progress in around 1,500 schools.

The acquisition expands Juniper Education’s portfolio of innovative software and services for monitoring pupil progress and increases the number of schools using its solutions to over 7,000.

The move will see further investment in the development of Classroom Monitor to ensure it continues to provide schools with the insight they need to boost pupils’ achievement.

Gavin Freed, chairman of Juniper Education, said: “Education doesn’t stand still and schools want to know they have best-of-breed solutions that will help them understand their pupils’ strengths and the issues holding them back. This is vital information that teachers use to shape interventions that make a real difference.

“The team at Prime Principle have a wealth of experience in the sector and the acquisition will support us in our aim to continue developing software and services that save time for teachers, giving them the information they need to ensure their pupils achieve all they are truly capable of.” 

Chris Scarth, founder of Prime Principle Ltd, joins the board of directors at Juniper Education. Classroom Monitor will become part of the company’s award-winning portfolio of tools, such as Target Tracker, which is already used by 1 in 4 English primary schools and OTrack, used in 1,500 schools, to track and analyse pupil progress.

Chris Scarth, integration director at Juniper Education, says: “We’re really excited about the opportunities this partnership brings to give schools greater access to the tools they need to unlock their pupils’ potential.”