Coram Life Education launches free teaching toolkit to support children’s health and wellbeing when schools reopen

The charity Coram Life Education has launched a free online toolkit for primary school teachers, supporting pupils’ mental health as they adjust to a new school environment post-lockdown.

For pupils, time away from school may have set them back academically, and affected their emotional and social wellbeing, whilst teachers are preparing to adapt to the new constraints of social distancing, reduced class sizes and stretched resources.

The toolkit is designed to build children’s resilience, self-esteem and kindness and includes practical resources in line with new government guidance, such as lesson ideas for smaller class sizes and to use outdoors. It also includes adaptations for parents and carers of children who are home-schooled and in preparation for a return to school.

The toolkit is part of Coram Life Education’s online ‘SCARF’ programme accessed by over 30,000 teachers, promoting the values of Safety, Caring, Achievement, Resilience and Friendship. The toolkit provides any teacher who signs up for it with six weeks of lesson and assembly resources from SCARF, focusing each week on a different SCARF value and ending with a ‘celebration’ week to mark all that children have achieved in their return to school.

The toolkit features:

  • Teacher guidance and support including how to develop a safe space for children to discuss their worries about Covid-19, and how to respond to those concerns
  • Lesson plans andassembly resources including activities, films, games, songs and stories, adaptable for smaller class sizes and to be used outdoors, building understanding of the situation, for example, ‘why our classroom has changed’ and ‘how to keep each other safe’
  • Suggested book titles to accompany each of the SCARF values for classroom or home reading. These are provided by the reading charity Coram Beanstalk who know that books can be powerful tools in helping children gain greater insight and empathy. These titles also support the aim of boosting children’s reading progress and confidence at a time when it may have slipped

Harriet Gill, Managing Director of Coram Life Education said: “We know that this is a hugely challenging and anxious time for children, families and teachers, and it is more important than ever that we put children’s mental health and wellbeing at the forefront of their return to school. Our toolkit saves teachers time and gives children the space to process change, adjust to new routines and re-build relationships.

“We have launched the toolkit ahead of the staged reopening of schools, so that the resources are ready to use in a flexible way by parents and teachers, whenever they need them. In these uncertain times, it is essential that we equip children with what they need to feel safe, supported and happy so they can continue to thrive in their education.”

The toolkit is suitable for children in early years, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. To find out more and to access the toolkit, please visit


With many businesses having to put their routine auditing on hold amid coronavirus restrictions, Bureau Veritas is encouraging school, universities and colleges to make use of remote auditing services to maintain the validity of accredited certifications during the pandemic.

It comes as the UK government on 11 May published guidance for employers to help them get their businesses back up and running and workplaces operating safely. The guidelines differ according to working environments including construction sites, factories, shops and offices. They require firms to maintain social distancing in the workplace, strict hygiene practices and home working where possible as well as carrying out a COVID-19 risk assessment with employees or trade unions.

As school, universities and colleges businesses take the time to digest these new guidelines before allowing external contractors on site, certification expert Bureau Veritas is pressing businesses to consider remote auditing to help maintain accredited certifications essential to business operations.

Karolina Lachi Kolarova, Business Unit Director for Certification at Bureau Veritas Certification, said: “Many businesses will no doubt be trying to decipher these eagerly-awaited guidelines on how they can safely exit the coronavirus lockdown. It’s likely that many firms have implemented a ‘phased approach’ to resuming business operations that may only allow essential personnel on site. Therefore, we predict that compliance professionals, for their own safety and that of others, may not be able to conduct site visits for statutory inspections and auditing for many weeks or months to come.

“While it may seem prudent to wait until such restrictions are fully lifted to continue standard inspection and auditing processes, this will not only create a sizable backlog but could compromise the validity of accredited certifications. The good news is that the compliance sector, like many other industries, has done a great job of taking its services online where possible. Hence, we’re encouraging firms to make the most of virtual or remote site visits using video technology and digital file-sharing, which will ensure firms uphold certification essential to running their business during this difficult time.”

For instance, Bureau Veritas can offer remote Management System Audits, covering partly routine audits including surveillance, re-certification and transfer. This involves a risk assessment, followed by remote audits via video link – enabling the firm’s expert auditors to communicate, share and review documents with clients in real time. An audit report will then be issued, complemented by an on-site audit within the next six months to cover any clauses not audited during the remote audit.

Karolina: “We’re doing everything we can to support our new and existing clients to maintain robust, accredited certifications during these unprecedented times and we’d urge them to make use of our new remote auditing service. All our auditors have full access to our systems and a range of tools that can be used for video conferencing, remote calls and screen sharing. This means we are able to conduct stage one audits, surveillance audits, recertification audits (where applicable) and follow up audits – essentially, helping businesses navigate compliance as the coronavirus pandemic evolves.”

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To find out more about Bureau Veritas’ Remote Auditing solutions, call 0345 600 1828 or visit:

Team GB and ParalympicsGB call on the nation to stay home and keep active together through Get Set

While we won’t be heading to the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games this year, the Travel to Tokyo virtual challenge from Get Set, with funding from Sport England and Spirit of 2012, is supporting millions of 5 to 11-year-olds and their families from across the UK in getting active together as one nation. 

As we adapt to find new ways of staying healthy and creating a sense of togetherness, staying active is relevant now more than ever before. Latest research from Sport England shows 67% of people believe exercise is helping them with their mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Travel to Tokyo challenge does this by allowing young people and their families to get active alongside their classmates virtually and celebrate their progress online as one school team.  

Every physical activity, no matter how small, can be logged online as part of the Travel to Tokyo virtual challenge on the Get Set website. By taking the time to have a walk outside or a dance around the kitchen, getting moving is a great way to reduce stress and boost your mood during lockdown. The campaign aims to help young people make more active choices, and support families and wider school communities to keep moving and build healthier habits.

Families, as well as teachers, can now access exclusive Team GB and ParalympicsGB educational resources. These include a free Home Learning Pack with quick 10 minute inclusive activities that require no equipment. To support teachers with communicating with families during these unprecedented times, we’ve also created our own Parent Engagement Toolkit.

Providing inspirational messages, activities and rewards during lockdown is an all-star cast of athletes supporting the campaign including two-time Olympic gold medal winning rower Helen Glover MBE, five-time Paralympic dressage champion Natasha Baker MBE, 2016 Paralympic table tennis gold medallist, Will Bayley MBE, London 2012 bronze medallist Anthony Ogogo, London 2012 wheelchair basketball Paralympian Abdi Jama and sprinter Laviai Neilson.

Neil Townshend, Chairman of the British Olympic Foundation, said: “The mental and physical health benefits of exercise are more important than ever, so we must find new ways of keeping active whilst staying safe at home.

“We’re proud the Travel to Tokyo virtual challenge can continue to support schools and families in keeping active during these unprecedented times. We know the importance of community cohesion and we hope this challenge will create a sense of togetherness, even if virtually, that will help support young people’s physical and mental health.”

Mike Sharrock, Chief Executive of the British Paralympic Association: “While we are dealing with new challenges, we’re pleased to invite all families across the UK to take part in our Travel to Tokyo virtual challenge and discover fun and creative ways to get moving, through our inclusive activities while staying apart.”

Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive of Sport England: “Through support from the National Lottery, we’re proud to fund the Travel to Tokyo virtual challenge to encourage children and their families across the UK to get active during this period of unprecedented disruption.  

“Sport England’s Join the Movement campaign (#StayInWorkOut) has already showcased a number of creative and imaginative ways to get active for the benefit of our physical and mental wellbeing, and the Travel to Tokyo challenge is another creative way for children and families to form great exercise habits that have never been more important.” 

Discover free, family activities at

Stay updated with the latest news on Twitter @GetSetCommunity and @GetSetClub on Instagram and follow the journey using #TTTYourway.

Data sharing in the cloud puts education sector at risk of data breaches

Netwrix survey reveals that employees at 54% of educational organisations use cloud applications to share sensitive data outside of IT control and knowledge

Netwrix, a cybersecurity vendor that makes data security easy, today announced additional findings from its 2020 Data Risk & Security Report. The report reveals that many educational organisations are at risk of data security incidents during the current period of working from home and virtual learning.

According to the survey, even before the lockdown, the majority of educational organisations had weak data security controls. In particular, 54% of IT professionals in the educational sector confessed that employees put data at risk by sharing it via cloud apps outside of IT knowledge. This is the highest percentage among all verticals surveyed. The move to distance learning increases this risk even more.

Other notable findings of the report include:

  • 82% of educational organisations don’t track data sharing at all or do it manually, and 50% of them suffered a data breach due to unauthorised data sharing last year
  • 63% of educational organisations don’t review permissions regularly, and 24% of system administrators admitted to granting direct access rights upon user request
  • 28% of respondents discovered data outside of secure locations, which is the highest number of all industries surveyed. This data was left exposed for days (40%) or months (33%)
  • Only 8% of respondents have developed cybersecurity and risk KPIs to evaluate their security posture and track success

“Distance learning creates many challenges for educational organisations, and cybersecurity is often taking a back seat to operational resilience. The Netwrix survey shows that security processes were not ideal before the pandemic, leaving these institutions even more vulnerable to the growing number of cyber threats today. To ensure these institutions can secure their student and employee data, IT professionals need to get back to basics. First, they need to understand what sensitive data they have, and classify it by its level of sensitivity and value to the organisation. Second, they need to ensure that the data is stored securely, prioritising the most important data. And last, they need to adopt healthy security practices for granting permissions in order to avoid data overexposure,” said Steve Dickson, CEO at Netwrix.

To get the complete findings of the 2020 Netwrix Data Risk & Security Report, please visit:   

About Netwrix
Netwrix makes data security easy, thereby simplifying how professionals can control sensitive, regulated and business-critical data, regardless of where it resides. Over 10,000 organisations worldwide rely on Netwrix solutions to secure sensitive data, realise the full business value of enterprise content, pass compliance audits with less effort and expense, and increase the productivity of IT teams and knowledge workers.

Founded in 2006, Netwrix has earned more than 150 industry awards and been named to both the Inc. 5000 and Deloitte Technology Fast 500 lists of the fastest growing companies in the U.S.

For more information, visit


Manchester’s newest school, Chorlton High School South, has appointed BAM Construction to create its new teaching facilities designed by Pozzoni Architecture.

BAM Construction, one of the largest contractors in Europe and one of the longest established in the UK, has been appointed following a competitive tender process led by the Department for Education, under its capital framework for schools in England.

BAM’s recent track record in Manchester’s education story is writ large: within the past three years it has delivered three new schools at Cheadle Hulme, Didsbury and (just completed) Laurus Ryecroft.

It is now appointed to develop the current plot on Mauldeth Road West which is partly occupied by Greater Manchester Police dog unit and horse paddocks. Design has been led by Pozzoni Architecture which also has a long track record in the education sector.

Ewan Bell, BAM’s Project Manager, says:

“Our first task is creating a new set of facilities for the police to migrate their units to, and then to begin the school programme in earnest. We’re greatly assisted in this by being able to conduct our own groundworks, drainage, and foundations – which are critical to this phase.

“We’ve also imported all the experience from creating these other schools within our team so it is perfectly placed to deliver outstanding facilities for the area.”

The new, inclusive CHS South building will ultimately house 1200 students and be equipped with state-of-the-art specialist equipment and facilities, to support students on their journey to become creative, happy and successful.

The building’s layout has also taken into consideration the local community’s ability to access facilities on site. The modern sports department has its own dedicated entrance for out of hours community use, while the auditorium and dance studio are all accessible at ground floor level.

The outdoor facilities include a full-size, all-weather sports pitch, four-court MUGA (multi-use gaming area) and 100m running track. The site’s potential as both a teaching and social resource will be maximised by including a performance area, kitchen garden and ecology study area.

With pupil safety in mind, local transport routes will be improved as part of the project, thanks to the creation of a pedestrian cycleway to the south of Mauldeth Road West, widening of the existing crossing point, pedestrian improvements at the junction of Alexandra Road South and Mauldeth Road South, as well as traffic regulation orders and speed warning signs on Mauldeth Road West.

Catherine Mulley, Director at Pozzoni Architecture, said:

“CHS South will play an important role in boosting the capacity of South Manchester’s secondary schools. Far more than that though, the school has been carefully designed to offer students a modern, engaging education – with indoor and outdoor facilities optimised to meet the needs of young people and the wider local community.

“We’ve chosen a mix of materials that will be both robust and low-maintenance for many years to come, which are key considerations in any Department for Education (DfE) project. The simple colour palette, with its pleasantly contrasting light brick and dark panel facades, works well against the pink feature elements that reflect the school’s brand identity.”

BAM will also deliver its own M&E (mechanical and electrical) works. The plan is for facilities to be handed over in time for the opening date of the new academic year, 2021. BAM’s early works, being external, have made social distancing in the current pandemic conditions much easier than it would be at later stages, and the handover plans currently remain unchanged.

The site team have had to adapt to the new situation, some working from home whilst the remaining site team has taken on additional responsibility. A series of changes to the sequence have helped BAM to stay on programme and the team remains in close contact with the DfE.   

Before social distancing was introduced the team made a positive start by planting 180 trees together with 27 volunteers including 11 from BAM. They worked so efficiently that the trees had all been planted by 10.30 in the morning, much to the surprise of the Friends of Chorlton Park. The planting volunteers were from BDP (building services, civil engineering and structure design consultants), WYG (planning consultants), Nexus Associates (ICT partner) and The Environment Partnership (ecology consultants).

For more information about Pozzoni’s work in the education sector, please visit:

Game-changing environmental education programme thrives during lockdown

Rethink Periods a free schools programme which offers an alternative to outdated period education in primary and secondary schools, has gone online following the UK’s lockdown, smashing all targets, and getting shortlisted for two awards.

Rethink Periods offers unbiased information about menstruation – highlighting all the products available, the social and environmental contexts and answers the questions no-one else seems to be asking. The programme is run by environmental not-for-profit, City to Sea and was funded with support from Waitrose’s Plan Plastic. Since its launch in late 2019 the team have trained over 600 teachers to become Rethink Ambassadors, with a projected reach of over 100,000 pupils across England.

Having trained over 250 teachers across the UK, at face-to-face training sessions, the programme was suddenly faced with the impending lockdown. With content heavily reliant on demonstrating the wide range of period products available on the market, the team quickly got to work rethinking the training methods and platforms, to make online training possible and within a week had taken the entire programme online.

“The key to smashing period taboos and revamping period education is to create a nurturing, safe space where exploration, questioning and learning are the essential priorities’ said Clare Marshall, Rethink Periods National Co-ordinator.  ‘We are leading the nation into a new period of changed perception, increased honesty, openness and normality concerning periods, and that’s the key to improving period equality.”

With a 1/3rd of menstruators not being told about periods by their parents, and 10% receiving no preparation before their first period there was a real and urgent need to empower young people. Coupled with the fact that the average pack of menstrual pads contains a staggering 5 plastic carrier bags there was no time to waste.

The response from teachers, who are now looking for support and alternative ways to deliver classes to their students online was over whelming – with over 1000 now signed up and on a waiting list.

Bristol teacher, Rachael Scott, said: “This is an incredible opportunity for schools and young people which could not have come at a better time. It will truly empower the generation who have a chance to make a real difference. Breaking the taboo of discussing menstruation openly by beginning in the classroom will open the door for further discussion and action that will reach far outside the school walls. There is such a will amongst young people to be the change, and these resources will support teachers to facilitate the way.”

Since taking the programme online the team have:

•            Seen a huge increase in sign-ups from teachers who are looking for new and innovative ways to reach their students online.

•            Reached an additional 350 teachers who will go on to train over 52,000 pupils.

•            Reached teachers across the UK as they were no longer constrained by geographical locations. By taking it online, a teacher can attend wherever they are in the UK – which has meant we’ve been able to reach people from Cornwall to Scotland and in some incredibly remote locations.

•            Massively reduced their carbon footprint as they’re no longer driving or requiring teachers to drive to training locations.

How does it work?

Rethink Periods gives teachers the knowledge and support they need to teach quality PSHE lessons whilst giving students the opportunity to explore plastic free period products and reusables. This curriculum-linked programme provides free training and resources to support teachers with the delivery of engaging and innovative lessons for KS2 & KS3 pupils that have become mandatory in 2020. It offers unbiased information for all menstrual products available whilst exploring the social and environmental contexts of menstruation.

The Rethink Periods programme is now run online, via Zoom, with a link sent to teachers in advance (note to CTS – we cap it at 20 attendees per session, so everyone has a chance to ask questions etc.). A sample box containing a section of over £110 worth of plastic-free and reusable menstrual products is posted to teachers so they can explore the products in their own time before delivering the programme to their students.

By splitting the training course into two 40 minute sessions with a 10 minute break in between, they were still able to delve into the environmental impact of conventional period products, explore the digital resources provided to schools for free and showcase the demonstration period products sent free to schools.

Rethink Periods Ambassadors are then offered the opportunity to attend a virtual Q&A session with the Rethink Period training team after they have received their period product demo box. These discussions have proved popular and useful, discussing ideas for possibly teaching the content to pupils online, depending on how lockdown restrictions are lifted. Collaborative discussion between ambassadors has been a lovely added bonus to the Rethink Period programme.

Another teacher said: “This is the most informative, clear and engaging training I have ever had for any PSHE teaching. The resources look amazing and will make such a difference to the quality of the lessons we do with our young people.”

Rethink Periods has been shortlisted for two Global Good Awards: ‘Best Education Programme’ and ‘Special Judges Award for Innovation’.

BenQ launches EZWrite Live a free software solution to support distance learning

Global display manufacturer, BenQ has launched its latest interactive whiteboard solution, EZWrite Live, a free web-based platform. In light of the global shift to working and learning from home, EZWrite Live allows collaboration between multiple users from a web browser anywhere in the world, facilitating distance learning. 

Fully accessible from any device with access to a web browser, BenQ is enabling more people than ever before to engage with its cutting-edge whiteboarding solution built for education. EZWrite Live allows users to create, share and begin collaborating on a virtual whiteboard within seconds, all via the cloud.

With two modes: broadcast and co-create, teachers can switch between visual lectures or interactive lessons which encourage students to use the annotation and use sticky note features on the content in real time. Built-in VC enhances one-to-one sessions, with live discussion alongside the collaborative canvas.

Additional tools such as lesson record and file share allow teachers to save the lesson for future reference, or incorporate different assets and imagery into the lesson. It also encourages students to bring in documents, imagery or ideas for participants to discuss and annotate. Built-in templates give teachers easy access to different scenarios and ways to use the board, or upload their own templates, keeping things lively.

Being web-based, EZWrite Live allows teachers to host and record lessons as if they were in the classroom, with students participating from anywhere in the world. By scanning a QR code or clicking the link, students can fully engage and participate in lessons safely from wherever they are.

Try the whiteboard here: or visit the website for more information:

Coursera Partners with ATP To Help Players Learn New Skills During Tour Suspension And Beyond

By Kim Caldbeck, Chief Marketing Officer, Coursera  

As sporting events around the world remain suspended due to COVID-19, athletes everywhere are on a forced break from their playing commitments. During this disruption, the hard-working players, who bring so much joy and inspiration to our lives, can benefit from a flexible way to explore new interests and learn new skills.

Today, we are excited to announce our partnership with the Association of Tennis Professionals to provide ATP players around the world with access to over 4,000 courses. This will allow players to develop new skills during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has currently forced the suspension of play on the Tour, and even after the crisis when competitive play resumes. 

Players can choose from a variety of courses across business, technology, data science, personal development, and mental well-being, learning skills that will serve them throughout their playing and non-playing careers. Courses are taught by the world’s top university and industry educators such as Imperial College London, the University of Pennsylvania, and IBM.

The mental and physical wellness of players is a key priority for ATP, one that Coursera is proud to support. Through courses such as The Science of Well-Being from Yale University, players will have access to highly relevant mental wellness content.   

According to ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi: “Our partnership with Coursera gives players the chance to develop valuable new skills and knowledge that will be of benefit to them for the rest of their lives. We have a duty of care to our players and this is an excellent opportunity for them to think long-term beyond their playing careers. The online format and versatility offered by the Coursera platform is a perfect fit not only while at home, but also on the road once the Tour resumes.”

Starting today, players will receive an email invitation to start learning. After setting up a profile on Coursera, they will be able to enroll in unlimited courses for free. Players will also have access to curated course collections in business, technology, and data science to help navigate Coursera’s expansive course catalog.


One of the UK’s leading education software providers has launched a new tool to help schools manage staff working remotely and provide a duty of care to staff during school closures.

The Access Group will make its Teamseer absence management software, which can be used to track staff who are self-isolating and assess what further support is required, available to schools to assist in the national response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The cloud-based product, which can be accessed through Access Workspace for Education will provide easy collaboration between colleagues working remotely and can be used at school or multi-academy trust (MAT) level to provide a GDPR-compliant method of managing absence levels and determining which staff are affected by COVID-19.

On the Workspace platform schools will also be able to implement free noticeboards, which provide streamlined, essential messages from public bodies such as the Department for Education, the NHS and Public Health England to keep staff up to date with latest developments from trustworthy sources, as well as sharing remote working tips and best-practice.

Explaining the decision to launch these products, Paul Grubb, head of product at Access Education, said:

“We are aware of the challenges all schools are facing during the national response to COVID-19 as they remain open to support children of key workers or vulnerable families. As well as offering advice to schools to manage their payroll, finance and HR policies during these challenging times, we wanted to offer some useful tools that will help to keep the important background tasks working effectively so schools can focus on continuing to deliver learning.”

“Schools do not typically have significant experience managing a large team working from home, but it is important that they can continue to perform their duty of care and monitor the whereabouts and wellbeing of staff.

“Access has worked hard to keep costs down for schools wanting this new product and implementation timescales mean that it can be up-and-running quickly.”

For more information about the Access Group’s solutions to help respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, please visit:

Putting Staff First: A Blueprint for Revitalising Our Schools, by John Tomsett and Jonny Uttley

“We need to change the narrative around education and what it is like to work in our country’s state schools. We need to build schools where adults and children can thrive, where we put staff first. We need schools where, if you get it right, the job of teaching can inspire sheer joy in entrants to the profession and ‘make old hearts fresh’ again for those in the twilight of their careers.”

Putting Staff First: A Blueprint for Revitalising our Schools – written by John Tomsett and Jonny Uttley, published by John Catt Educational – blends over fifty years’ combined teaching experience with educational pedagogy to insist that the best thing for our country’s children is for schools to put staff first.

Setting out their vision for a revitalised school system which “unashamedly puts staff first”, Tomsett and Uttley pool their diverse experiences – as a Local Authority Headteacher and Multi-Academy Trust CEO respectively – and call for all schools and academies “to improve working conditions for all of our colleagues, irrespective of the structures within which we operate”.

Drawing upon school improvement strategies implemented at their schools and using research evidence from diverse sources, in Putting Staff First Tomsett and Uttley emphasise the fundamental need to ensure that schools prioritise professional learning and manage staff workload if students are to achieve their best possible outcomes. They argue that if we put staff first, our teachers can be happy, healthy, well-qualified, motivated and hard-working; only then can they be their best selves for our students.

Divided into three practical sections with a foreword by Sam Twiselton, Professor of Education, Director of Sheffield Institute of Education and Vice President of the Chartered College of Teaching, Putting Staff First tackles:

  1. Recruitment – how to ensure schools source the best possible staff;
  2. Training – prioritising teacher learning, curriculum development, and moving towards an evidence-informed profession;
  3. Retainment – managing workload, student behaviour, inspection, succession planning and developing a staff-first culture across a school-led system.

Acknowledging the changes in the education landscape since the Academies Act in 2010 “disrupted the structures of the English school system irrevocably”, Putting Staff First looks ahead to 2030, providing a blueprint to secure a world class education for our country’s students.

Professor and educationalist Dylan Wiliam says that in Putting Staff First, “John Tomsett and Jonny Utley provide a clear template that any school leader can adapt for their own context, making it one of the very few books that I would recommend that every single school leader should read.”

Putting Staff First is out now – to order a copy, please click here.