Inspire Partnership appoints IMP Software to support MAT budget forecasting following schools expansion

Inspire Partnership, based in South-East London and Kent, has added IMP Planner – budgeting and forecasting software which is designed specifically for multi-academy trusts (MATs) – following the Trust’s near doubling of size during the current academic year.

The MAT, which increased from five to nine primary schools on 1st March and now has ‘hubs’ in Croydon, Medway and Greenwich, turned to IMP Software after incoming Chief Operating Officer Julie Lombardo identified a need to “strengthen financial management” in the Trust.

“We were looking for an easy way to forecast accurate financial performance in all our schools using a tool that would be directly linked to our existing finance system,” Julie said. “Forecasting software that involves minimal input from users is not easily available – I held similar roles at 15 and 27-school MATs previously and I always felt that there was a huge gap. I needed to find a tool that would allow MAT reporting and forecasting to be done, and this was a fairly urgent requirement given our growth. IMP fills this gap and gives schools the opportunity to focus on managing the most important aspects of financial monitoring and budgeting, including that all-important forecasting.”

Julie, who is now completing the implementation of IMP Planner across the Trust, explained the “critical issue” driving the need for such a system. “The problem is, in general, the education sector focuses too much on historical financial reporting, not where we need to go in the future, and the ability to understand what impact decision-making today has on the financial position in the future is often missing,” she said.

“As MATs we are all mindful of not running into deficit, but this can be easily done if the sector is not looking forward. School business managers are invariably involved in multiple disciplines and to provide accurate forecasts they need a very simple tool. To forecast they require historical information, budgeting information and an effective system to be able to change and reflect the current position quickly and regularly – they should be able to review and reforecast the budget and bring that information into their finance system easily and accurately.”

This is also a requirement for Trustees, Julie added: “Boards need financial information to make decisions and reflect the level of risk – if they do not have the future picture, how can they make decisions without understanding the risk? We now have an effective method of making comparisons across schools and understanding trends. IMP Software is an integral part of what we are looking to do and success from our relationship with them will be a regular set of accurate, timely management accounts across all our schools – and an updated forecast each month, together with a set of reports for different stakeholders drawing on IMP Planner and our finance system, which are totally integrated.”

Despite introducing IMP Planner during ‘lockdown’, Julie praised the organisation for its approach throughout this challenging period. “The implementation phase has been great, the process has been easy, and IMP have very clearly defined what is needed from us,” she said. “The turnaround has been remarkably quick – one call to go through set-up and discuss the parameters, so not a huge time commitment for me at all. The system was released to us and our school business managers had their first training session in early May. Navigation around the system is easy and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. It was also very evident, in that session and afterwards, that IMP are happy to spend as much time training our colleagues as is required in order to support them.”

Julie also revealed that IMP Software’s “commitment to improving the product” had impressed her. “The team are always listening and taking things on board – the way they continually develop IMP Planner is phenomenal,” she said. “I would absolutely recommend the process we have been through so far. Our experience has been extremely positive and I have no reason to think that will be any different going forward. It is really important to stay on top of forecasting and IMP Planner will help us achieve that.”

IMP Software co-founder Will Jordan said: “Our whole product is built around the pain of MAT budgeting and supporting Trusts like Inspire Partnership which have identified an issue that we can help to address, in this case forecasting. We are now working with 30 MATs – both small-to-medium sized and large Trusts – and over 350 schools. Having worked with Julie in her previous roles at larger MATs, it is a privilege to be appointed by Inspire Partnership and have the opportunity to support the central team as well as individual business managers in each of the nine primary schools.”

“Instructional coaching” partnership to support mentor development and teacher performance

The National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT) is delighted to formally announce a new partnership with instructional coaching platform Powerful Action Steps (PAS) –

PAS, an online learning mentoring tool, is underpinned by the principles of a trained expert working with teachers individually to help them learn and adopt new teaching practices, and to provide feedback on performance. For teacher educators PAS will improve the quality of mentors and setting of appropriate targets, create accountability by tracking trainee targets and mentor feedback, and track progress by evidencing when and how trainees are meeting targets.

It is the brainchild of Josh Goodrich, who formed Powerful Action Steps in September 2018 alongside his current role as Assistant Principal (Teaching and Learning) at Oasis Academy Southbank. “I have been a teacher educator for the past eight years and during that time my focus has been on helping teachers to improve, firstly for my school, and now for my Trust,” he said. “I have observed skills and technology barriers to effective CPD within schools and, in seeking to solve the problems that I was personally experiencing as a teacher educator, the PAS platform emerged. What we have now is a huge library of coaching content and a decision-making tool to guide coaches in the selection of an action step for them. So for example, when watching a lesson, in which area does a teacher need the most help? Within this area, what is the most powerful change that a teacher can make?”

PAS guides teacher educators to “accurate selection of precise action steps” through instructional coaching. Each action step has an attached practice task so that coaches know exactly how to practice the step with their mentee. “Ultimately this is about ensuring that coaches have the knowledge and skills to set effective, appropriate action steps and hold teachers to account to improve,” Josh explained. “At the heart of PAS is a series of bite-sized granular actions – this is about making a number of tweaks to help trainees continue to transform their practice, and bring different component parts together. No teacher is a ‘natural’ and they need deliberate practice to support their trajectory. We drill micro skills in isolation, and ultimately overcome the ‘OK’ plateau through deliberate practice, breaking bad habits and ingraining good ones, to get to expert status. Knowing how to practice something with a struggling teacher is a skill that takes a lot of practice.”

Already used by over 100 schools, Josh’s ambition is to support the “professionalisation of teacher education through lifelong learning – the journey from novice-to-expert”. He said: “NASBTT is an extremely influential and respected organisation and this is a really important partnership for helping us to provide PAS to schools and trainees. Our aim is to support teacher educators across the country, and internationally, and our vision is to rapidly improve the quality of teaching in schools and therefore the education of children.”

NASBTT Executive Director Emma Hollis added: “We are delighted to partner Powerful Action Steps, which we see as an extremely positive method for tracking and developing teacher performance. It is an impressive online tool that effectively solves three issues: 1. The quality of mentors themselves through their ability to set appropriate targets for trainees; 2. Accountability, in terms of how mentors are observing trainees and subsequently making suggestions on improving the learning of the students; and 3. Monitoring trainee progress versus targets set against the curriculum, which is built into PAS. It is currently being introduced to our members through a series of webinars and will be available for paid-for use in September 2020.”


According to a survey of 1,000 children in 2017, more than three quarters of children aged 6 to 17 aspired to be YouTubers, vloggers and bloggers. The research by travel firm First Choice revealed that 34 per cent of children would like to be a YouTube personality, while one in five wished to start their own channel.  Traditional career choices, such as teaching, were much less popular three years ago. The research also revealed that children would rather learn how to use video editing software instead of studying traditional subjects such as maths and history.

From an evolutionary point of view, it is no surprise that YouTube stars have become celebrities to young audiences and the contents produced by these stars are fervently consumed and have a powerful hold over them. This will be a familiar battleground to many parents pushing back against the pull of these influencers, even testing the boundaries of millennial parents who themselves have grown up in the digital age.

According to new research by Kids Insights[1], there appears, however, to have been a seismic shift in children’s occupational aspirations over the past few months with scientists, teachers, supermarket workers, doctors and nurses now the new superheroes of the COVID-19 generation. A return to the type of role modelling that is perhaps about to once again change the dynamics of career aspirations and educational priorities? Perhaps.

The first observation needs to be that this is nothing new. Role models come into young people’s lives in a variety of ways. They are educators, leaders, mothers, fathers, peers and ordinary people encountered in everyday life. In my case they ranged from Robin Hood, his bravery and sense of fairness, to Johan Cruijff’s turn and ability to orchestrate a team, to wanting to be able to speak like Dr Martin Luther King, be a doctor like Christiaan Barnard, teach like Mr Beurskens, and actually be my grandad. I was ten. There are, I believe, at least five criteria required to elevate a person or profession to role model status in the eyes of a child.

  1. Role models demonstrate passion for what they do and have the capacity to infect others with it. They are often good at what they do.
  2. Role models shows a clear set of values and live them in their world. They lead by example. Children admire people who act in ways that support their beliefs. It helps them understand how their own values are part of who they are and how they might seek fulfilling roles as adults. Role models make good things happen.
  3. A role model shows commitment to community. They are others-focused as opposed to self-focused and are usually (pro)active in their communities, freely giving of their time and talents to benefit people.
  4. Role models shows selflessness and acceptance of others who are different to them. They are fair.
  5. A role model shows the ability to overcome obstacles. Young people develop the skills and abilities of initiative when they learned to overcome obstacles.  Not surprisingly, they admire people who show them that success is possible.

Of course, the reign of the YouTuber or vlogger per se was always going to be flawed as a framework of aspirational longevity, like so many others in the past.  Despite YouTube celebrities being influential in shaping trends and guiding pop culture, not all by any means really fit the role modelling matrix in the first place, showing young people how to live with integrity, optimism, hope, determination, and compassion; in turn, helping develop the skills, abilities, and motivation to become engaged citizens. Like so many in the past. I was lucky. I choose well. Robin Hood, Johan Cruijff, Dr Martin Luther King and Christiaan Barnard all passed the test of time, as did, of course, Mr Beurskens and my grandad – for me anyway.

My mantra has always been that “Children can only aspire to what they know exists” and over the past few months, they have not only witnessed the existence but have vicariously experienced the value of rewarding jobs and careers. It is vitally important that we, now more than ever, continue to inspire and educate our global citizens of the future. This, as adults, surely is our role to play! We need to facilitate the experiences that lead to the discovery of positive role models and from that to role play, i.e. copied behaviour. We need to show the environment is the third teacher, including the environment of imagination, aspiration and role models – a modern day Sherwood Forrest, De Meer stadium, De Groote Schuur hospital and a new Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. Only then do these experiences and does this learning become visible.

Should we not now collectively draw up a list of experiences, with school, offline as well as online, that we believe our children are entitled to by, let’s say, age 7 – and then again at 11, 14, 16? Museums, galleries, restaurants, ballet, sports, concerts, teamwork, performing, receiving an award, places of work and government, visiting their capital cities, social media, YouTube, Sir David Attenborough in the Galapagos Islands … It is our collective duty to twitch curtains, open windows and doors, and widen horizons to a better possible, for all children to write their own narrative of their possible. We do this through leading by example, role modelling, through early opportunities and through facilitating experiences. And when we do this, we find ourselves in a world where not every classroom has four walls, where the environment becomes a teacher. To all involved, the value of the connection between being taught in school and experiences out there will soon become very clear – believe me. It is these experiences that will lead to bigger dreams, greater aspirations and better role models. “If you have a strong purpose in life, you don’t have to be pushed. Your passion will drive you there”[2].

It is an unfair and sad reality, that, for many disadvantaged children in particular, who have experienced positive shifts in their perceptions of role models and aspirations for the future, this has been offset by disruptions to schooling and education in a wider sense, despite hugely admirable efforts by the teaching professions. Children whose context is one of disadvantage have had little or no access to online connectivity, something that needs to be laid fairly and squarely at the doors of governments and societies as a whole. For those children there has been no “The [online] environment is the third teacher”[3].

The landscape of education is, and has been, changing with educationalists recognising that personal development and achievement are at least as as important as academic attainment and that children need a robust set of core skills for the future world of both employment and self-deployment, including leadership, collaboration, independence, initiative, creativity, communication, perseverance, resilience and flexibility[4].  It is now up to us to step up to the mark. If we want our children to be truly successful in life, to answer the question “Who do you want to become?” instead of “What do you want to be?”, then we need to play our part and in this case we need to accept and advocate that “Every child is everybody’s responsibility”[5]. “Becoming Me”[6] is a journey full of awe and wonder and the role we play is vital.


[2] Roy T. Bennet

[3] Carla Rinaldi

[4] e.g. Bett’s Global Council for Education (GEC) and its ‘Manifesto for the Future of Education’

[5] Vanessa Langley

[6] The Week Junior in partnership with Prof Dr Ger Graus OBE

Guidance launched to help schools adapt with hygiene in mind

A new visual guide for specifiers has been launched to help get schools, colleges and universities Covid-19 ready.  

Bringing together a suite of materials with hygienic benefits, the guide has been designed to support educators as they reorganise teaching spaces to cope with social distancing measures and subject their surfaces to a harsher cleaning regime. 

With a huge range of products available, each with different levels of hygienic performance, materials supplier James Latham developed the guide to help building owners and occupiers navigate their choices.  

Steve Johnson of the Advanced Technical Panels division specialises in health-related products at Lathams. He said: “While some year groups have gone back already, there are many children and young adults still at home. The latest suggestions from government are that all education settings will be reopened by September 2020, with further guidance in the process being drafted now.   

“It means that education providers have got the summer months to make changes to their teaching facilities, on top of the usual maintenance that often takes place at this time of year. This will put extra pressure on specifiers to get things ordered and installed quickly. With so many products available it is not always clear what the differences are between them.  

“For example, there is a lot of confusion between anti-microbial and anti-bacterial products. The difference is that anti-bacterial materials prevent bacteria from growing on their surface, while anti-microbial products halt the growth of bacteria and a broader range of viruses, organisms, protozoa, and fungi such as mould or mildew. This makes them significantly better for high-use surfaces.” 

Products in the guide have been organised into five categories, based on a range of performance criteria and potential uses. Top of the list is advanced thermoplastic KYDEX. Mouldable to any shape, it is heavily utilised in healthcare because of its robustness and inherent hygienic qualities. It can withstand tough cleaning products, without any staining, fading or surface damage, and contains Microban for anti-microbial protection. 

It is equally well-suited to classroom and technical spaces, such as science labs, because of its hard-wearing nature. KYDEX is used for a wide range of objects including desks, worktops, chairs and storage units. As a homogeneous product, any damage to the top layer does not negatively affect its anti-microbial properties or visual impact, which makes it perfect for high traffic areas.  

Unlike KYDEX, which is more suited to an off-site manufacturing process, other products within the guide can be easily added to existing surfaces and therefore offer a much quicker turnaround. These include laminates, with Abet Lamishield the highest performer.  

Abet Lamishield is an anti-microbial laminate that incorporates silver-ions within the decorative layer. Utilising BioCote technology, it inhibits surface growth by 99.9%. It is one of the only certified anti-microbial laminates and when combined with good cleaning practices it is highly effective.  

Another challenge that may need to be considered is the installation of barriers and other protective measures. This includes adding partitions or screens to divide classrooms to allow smaller working groups or using them as part of a traffic flow system around buildings and campuses.  

The Lathams guide recommends AcryBright, a lightweight clear acrylic sheet ideal for protective screens and sneeze guards. While costing slightly more than a standard piece of acrylic, it is more hardwearing, something that Steve believes makes it worth the investment. 

He added: “These materials are going to be around for a while and will need to be cleaned more often, with higher strength cleaning chemicals. These chemicals can cause damage, from small surface scratches through to potential warping or clouding of the screen.  

“This damage not only reduces the hygienic properties of the product but also affects its visual appeal, which can have a negative impact on student wellbeing. Why pay twice when there is a better option available now?” 

Other categories within the guide include Compact Grade Laminates (CGLs) and Solid Surfaces, both highly recognised for their robustness and resistance to intensive cleaning regimes. Both products are solid sheet materials, which will not delaminate when exposed to the rigours of repeated cleaning with detergents and other chemicals. A range of options from market leading brands such as HIMACS®, Avonite, Kronospan, Egger and Xylocleaf mean that there are colours and textures to suit any design scheme.  

Back to School: New COVID Course Released to Support Teachers Returning to the Classroom

Following the government’s announcement this week that schools in England will reopen with “full attendance” in September, a new COVID-19 Essentials course has been launched to provide practical skills and support for teachers feeling apprehensive about returning to a full classroom. 

While many teachers have taught key worker and vulnerable children in schools over the last three months, a recent professional poll has found that more than a third (36 per cent) are feeling unconfident about returning to work and that nearly one in five would feel more confident if employers evidenced compliance with best practice procedures. 

The poll reveals that as many as 40 per cent incorrectly identified the correct temperature for handwashing – which is between 35 and 45 degrees Celsius – suggesting that a knowledge gap exists.

The data has been gathered by online training provider, High Speed Training. The education compliance specialists have created the COVID-19 Essentials course to meet the surge in online searches for professional coronavirus support which occurred throughout lockdown. The course, which covers non-clinical infection prevention and practical PPE training, has received more than a 1,000 pre-registration requests.

Richard Anderson, Head of Learning and Development at High Speed Training said: “Whilst the majority of schoolchildren in the UK will remain at home until September, and the imminent reopening of businesses is welcome news for the economy and livelihoods of workers across the country, it is completely understandable that people will be feeling cautious about their personal role in upholding strict new safety procedures within their working environment. This is brand-new terrain that organisations need to navigate with confidence and our new course distils the crucial information that all teachers need to know before returning to work.”

The course includes clear instructions for using PPE and how often it should be changed, along with COVID-specific guidance on the correct way to clean and decontaminate the work environment and hand washing techniques.

For more information and to register, simply visit

Futurelearn’s ‘How To Teach Online’ course wins Overall e-Learning Solution of the Year Category

25 June 2020: EdTech Breakthrough Awards announced FutureLearn as its winner of the ‘Overall e-Learning Solution of the Year’ category. 

This is the second year of the EdTech Breakthrough Awards programme, which honours top technology companies and education solutions that drive innovation around the globe. Their goal is to perform the deepest evaluation of the global educational technology industry each year to select and highlight the “breakthrough” solutions and companies. With over 1,750 nominations this year, the competition was fierce for each and every award category. 

This year, FutureLearn’s ‘How to Teach Online: Providing Continuity for Students’ course received the award for Overall e-Learning Solution of the Year. A course developed in response to the impact of the outbreak of the coronavirus on the education sector.

Globally, many schools and universities have been forced to close their buildings, leaving teachers and students to move rapidly to online learning. It has been a challenge for many to enable students to continue receiving quality education with minimal disruption while adapting to the situation. 

The course was developed and taught by FutureLearn’s Learning team – our in-house online teaching and learning experts, and designed to give teachers practical steps towards online teaching and student support. The team moved rapidly to meet the needs of these learners, and time between initial discussions and teachers being able to start learning was just 10 days.

Supporting educators and academics during this unprecedented shift from the classroom to online learning is one of FutureLearn’s biggest priorities at present. Our mission is to transform access to education and, in spite of the disruption that COVID-19 is bringing to schools and universities across the globe, it is incredibly important that students continue to receive a quality education. 

Matt Jenner, lead educator of the course and Head of Learning at FutureLearn, said:FutureLearn’s Learning team are delighted to be this year’s winner of the EdTech Breakthrough: Overall e-Learning Solution of the Year award. We knew school and campus closures were going to significantly and detrimentally impact the lives of hundreds of millions of students and educators, we had to act. We knew the best thing we could do was to provide a supporting educational environment for those who needed to suddenly teach online. With nearly 30 contributions from our partnership, offering top advice and support overnight, we built the How to Teach Online course on FutureLearn. We made it completely free, with permanent access and certified professional development for those who completed it. The community of practice really came to life in the course, with mentors, learners and us as facilitators joining the conversation on how to provide emergency remote teaching for our students across the world. That was an amazing thing to see and no doubt a substantial contributing factor to us winning this fantastic award.”   


WildBrain Literacy for Kids channel of premium kids’ episodes features Same Language Subtitling

London, UK – June 25th, 2020 – WildBrain Spark, the digital media division of WildBrain, one of the world’s largest independent kids’ and family entertainment companies, has launched a dedicated channel of subtitled premium content for kids on its YouTube network in support of the Turn on the Subtitles literacy campaign (TOTS).

Jon Gisby, EVP and Managing Director at WildBrain Spark, said: “We knew we wanted to support this valuable initiative from its inception and have now launched a dedicated 100% subtitled WildBrain Literacy for Kids channel. TOTS has a simple message backed by compelling research and the benefits are significant and important, as well as aligning completely with our values. With kids spending so much time at home viewing content, and parents seeking to support home-learning, this initiative is also incredibly timely.”

Oli Barrett MBE, co-founder, TOTS added: “Alongside the support of parents and teachers, we believe that responsible businesses have a potential role to play in improving the literacy of young people around the world. The leadership shown by WildBrain Spark is hugely appreciated and we hope that others will be inspired by their example.” 

The TOTS initiative set up by Oli Barrett MBE and Henry Warren and supported by over 30 government, business, charity and academic leaders. It highlights the substantial benefits of Same Language Subtitling (SLS) which allows audiences to hear and read the same language, word for word, in perfect timing. Extensive research from academics in countries across the world has shown that turning on the subtitles for children’s content improves literacy significantly, particularly for kids between the ages of six and ten. *

WildBrain Spark’s Literacy for Kids channel features popular episodes from its library of premium kids shows including Yo Gabba Gabba, In the Night Garden and Rev & Roll. New episodes will be published weekly and are available globally in English with the channel promoted across the WildBrain Spark network.

Please visit the WildBrain Spark Literacy for Kids channel at: []

*Research into the impact of SLS on Literacy

Headteacher’s pride as Bradford primary children embrace changes driven by Covid-19 crisis

The executive headteacher of two Bradford primary schools has today praised the resilience of her children throughout the Covid-19 crisis for the way that they have embraced the changes brought about by the pandemic – including socially distancing, outdoor learning and home schooling.

Both Thornton and Wilsden have remained open since lockdown was announced in March, with teaching and support staff forgoing the usual end of term holidays in order to accommodate a number of children, including those who form part of key worker families.

The schools have now opened their doors to more children including those in years 1 and 6, Nursery and Reception who returned on June 8th in line.

Yet despite the difficulties posed as a result of the strict measures introduced in response to the Government’s rules to help slow the spread of the virus, Executive Headteacher Liz Davison said the children have ‘truly embraced’ what she calls ‘the new norm’.

She said: “Since lockdown was announced children across the country have been through so much change. Not being able to see friends and family, and for some, having to adapt to home schooling and being taught by parents and carers instead of teachers. 

“For the most part, the press is reporting on the doom and gloom of it all, and yet in my experience the children and their families have adapted brilliantly to what is our new norm. For now at least.

“We’ve tried to keep learning as varied and enjoyable as possible and we’ve even celebrated different events such as VE day. All in a socially distanced way, of course. Thanks to the fantastic weather we have also taken advantage of outdoor learning and our garden has never looked so good.”

Mrs Davison explained that staff have been at school from 7.45am until 6pm each day in order that parents can continue their work as key workers / critical workers. And while most children have not been in school since

March 20th, teachers have been busy planning and sending them learning activities to keep them involved.

She said: “All of our learners took home a workbook so that they would have something in which to record all the activities that teachers sent to them. They have also been using an online platform so that they can communicate with each other through their teacher, as well as contribute to a class blog and complete different set activities.

“Our teachers have also been phoning children every week to check if they are getting on with their learning or if there is anything they need.

“Of course, it has been different, and it has required a lot of hard work from both our teachers and support staff, and our children, but for the most part it has been a positive experience.

“I am incredibly proud of everyone and the way they have embraced the changes, and we can’t wait to welcome back more of our children as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Wilsden and Thornton Primary Schools operate as part of Focus Trust, a charitable multi-academy trust which is based in the North West of England, with a vision of providing an engaging and challenging learning environment where the children are happy.

New white paper reveals how primary school leaders plan to tackle Covid-19 challenges

As school gates begin to open, primary schools are facing a flood of exceptional challenges, including discovering the true impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on their students’ education. 

In a new white paper, Making the impossible possible – A Covid-19 exit strategy for primary schools, launched today by Juniper Education, primary school leaders reveal their plans to recover from the pandemic and ensure that no child is left behind.

The report, which gathered the views of leaders of primary schools and multi-academy trusts, covers how the sector will manage the return to school, the fluctuations in pupil and staff attendance, how to provide emotional support for the whole school community and how to help children to overcome lost learning.

Strategies include filling any gaps in literacy and numeracy by teaching these skills within  history or geography lessons as well, or enabling children shielding at home to collaborate in class projects so they do not feel left out when their peers head back to class.

The report also addresses the concerns school leaders have around managing the increased number of pupils in difficulty. “There are pupils who are now identifying as vulnerable who weren’t on our vulnerable list before lockdown.  Our first priority will be to identify children’s emotional needs and support those needs pastorally,” says Stephen Chamberlain, CEO of the Active Learning Trust.

With no date set for when schools can return to normal, the white paper highlights the education sector’s determination to continue to respond to the challenges ahead with creative solutions that make a difference to children’s lives. 

Graham Cooper, product strategy director of Juniper Education, says “We won’t know the full impact of the crisis for some time. But what we do know is that it has never been more important to give teachers the freedom to spend time with the children who need them most.  The report highlights how schools are planning to support their pupils and staff, both in the immediate and long term.  It’s clear school leaders are embracing innovative thinking and are putting in place solid foundations to protect and enhance the future of today’s children.”

The contributors to the white paper include:

  • Chris Belli, executive director for education, The White Horse Federation
  • Claire Jaques, headteacher, Acorn Academy
  • Emma Wigmore, CEO, The Vine Schools Academy Trust
  • Jane McKenzie Downes, education advisor, Juniper Education
  • Nick Capstick, CEO, The White Horse Federation
  • Peter French, deputy director of education, Diocese of Peterborough
  • Stephen Chamberlain, CEO, Active Learning Trust

The Juniper Education team have worked in schools and understand the challenges school leaders face.  They have the expertise to help schools to accelerate out of the Covid-19 crisis and address vital issues such as:

  • Identifying gaps in learning
  • Tracking pupil progress in the curriculum
  • Supporting staff wellbeing
  • Providing effective staff training
  • Managing school finance, payroll and human resources
  • Reducing time spent on meaningless administration

To read the full interviews and discover how primary schools plan to recover from the pandemic, download the white paper:


  • Atom Learning assists home schooling by keeping online lessons free indefinitely after revenue increases during Coronavirus pandemic
  • The company continues its revenue-generating expansion into Singapore and UAE following Department for International Trade support

Atom Learning will keep providing free, interactive online classes created during the Coronavirus lockdown as overseas and UK revenue increased by 25% each month between March and May.

Free subscriptions for Key Stage 2 maths, English and reasoning lessons peaked at 16,000, with international and UK paid subscriptions exceeding 250 and 1,600 respectively, as parents wanted access to additional features. This revenue will ensure that free online lessons can still be accessed even after schools reopen.

In 2018 the business founders, former Oxford University flatmates Alex Hatvany and Jake O’Keefe launched their first platform Atom Nucleus, a personalised AI integrated home learning site to prepare 7-11-year-olds worldwide for school entrance exams.

The London firm secured partnerships in Singapore and the United Arab Emirates in May following introductions made by the Department for International Trade. The deals are set to generate £500,000 and £400,000 respectively over the next five years.

Atom Learning Co-founder, Jake O’Keefe, said:

“We want to empower parents to home school effectively for free during and after school closures, with the video lessons.

“Our unique, specialist Key Stage 2 adaptive learning platform determines the optimal study path for each child, keeping them engaged and motivated to learn.

“Expansion into Asia and the Middle East is key for us and our trade adviser at the Department for International Trade was great at helping us find client opportunities and overcome cultural barriers, which led to securing these partnerships.”

The deals were made before International Trade Secretary Liz Truss, launched the government’s Future Tech Trade Strategy during London Tech Week on 10 June, announcing the importance of growing the UK tech industry.

The UK wants to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for

Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which includes Singapore and collectively represented 13% of global GDP in 2018. This move will encourage seamless digital trade with the region.

Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Asia Pacific, Natalie Black, said:

“Atom Learning is one of many UK EdTech businesses demonstrating tenacity and ingenuity to continually support primary education worldwide.

“It’s expansion into Singapore indicates the demand for innovative UK EdTech solutions in the Asia Pacific region that will continue long after the pandemic.” 

The total estimated export value of the UK EdTech sector is £170 million and according to the co-founder of London EdTech Week Benjamin Vedrenne-Cloquet, the sector is predicted to be worth £3.4bn by 2021, with around 1,000 businesses developing education solutions.

Minister for Exports Graham Stuart said:

“The UK’s world-leading education companies continue to innovate and use technology to ensure quality education for children during the Coronavirus pandemic and beyond.

“I’m proud that DIT’s global network is able to help companies like Atom Learning grow at pace and take their solutions to more families with excellent educational results.”

Since launching in May last year, Atom Learning’s second platform, Atom Prime, a free teacher-focussed site, is used by more than 400 UK and international schools and includes a new virtual classroom.

Schools already using the technology include Eastfield Academy in the East Midlands, London’s Westminster Under School, the Tanglin Trust School in Singapore and Brighton College Dubai.