Celebrate Christmas Like Never Before with KidZania’s Secret Christmas Experience!

KidZania needs you to help keep the Christmas Spirit Alive!
London, December 2020: The UK’s largest indoor edutainment centre, KidZania
London, is preparing to re-open on the 5th December and celebrate Christmas like
never before, with their exclusive Secret Christmas experience!
Where is the singing? The decorations? The seasonal spirit? This year, the
Grown-Up board of the KidZania city has cancelled Christmas, but nothing will stop
the citiZens of KidZania from celebrating the festive fun!
This Christmas, explore KidZania’s best kept secret with their hidden winter
wonderland experience from the 5th December to 3rd January 2021. Once kids
have cracked the code for the secret password and found the hidden door, an
exclusive winter wonderland with six new activities awaits!
Upon entering KidZania’s Secret Christmas, kids can start by popping into Elf
School. Here they’ll learn the role of Santa’s Elves and the secrets of how to make
toys and gifts for children across the world!
Once they’ve built up their elf-confidence, they can get really creative and write their
own Christmas cards and letters or create baubles to take home. For those with a
sweet tooth, there are Christmas cookie decoration masterclasses over at
Bekha’s Bakery.
The magically transformed KidZania stadium will play host to special Christmas
dance and music classes. Those taking part will get the chance to showcase their
funky festive moves in the City Christmas Parade!
Perhaps most excitingly, the KidZania Theatre will play host to the very first
KidZania Pantomime! Pre-recorded in the KidZania city, and with an incredible
professional cast and creative director direct from London’s West End, the 40 minute
pantomime ‘Cinderella’ is the Fairy Godmother of all pantomimes and offers the
perfect dose of family-fun this Winter!
Those who can’t visit KidZania in person this Christmas can still join in the festivities
with KidZania’s advent calendar giveaway. Behind each door of the advent calendar,
guests will have the chance to win exclusive prizes every day from the 1st – 24th
December!
KidZania’s Secret Christmas will run from the 5th December to 3rd January 2021.
Spaces are limited to ensure social distancing and KidZania expect the event to sell
out fast, so head to www.kidzania.co.uk to purchase a Christmas package for you
and your little elves. Early bird packages will be priced from £36 per child and £24.80
per adult if booked before 30th November 2020, with prices then at £45 per child and
£31 per adult. To use the Early Bird Offer, simply enter the discount code
XMASEARLYBIRD2020 when booking online.
All Christmas Packages include:
● 3 hours to explore the KidZania City
● Entrance to the Secret Christmas area with six additional activities for both
children and adults to explore (approx. 1 hour)
● Viewing of the exclusive pre-recorded Pantomime Cinderella in the KidZania
Theatre (45 minutes)
● A hot drink and sweet Christmas Treat for each ticket holder
For more information, head to:
https://kidzania.co.uk/whats-on/secret-christmas-at-kidzania
Keeping in line with the latest government guidelines, KidZania will continue to
implement health and safety measures in order to keep the city the most safe, fun
and enjoyable place it can be. Social distancing measures will continue to be in
place which will mean a smaller & safer capacity for visitors, face masks for
everyone will be mandatory (unless exempt for medical reasons) and hand sanitiser
will be available throughout the city. KidZania won’t be able to welcome under 4s at
this time. For full details and FAQ’s, please visit
https://kidzania.co.uk/contact-us/faqs/christmas-faqs

How Technology is Helping Tackle the Widening Maths Attainment Gap

With recent findings predicting maths to be the subject most affected by school closures, it’s time to harness the power of tech to address the maths attainment gap once and for all, argues Joy Deep Nath, co-founder of SplashLearn – a game-based maths programme for primary aged children that is free for all UK schools.

The impact of Covid-19 on a generation of school children and their families has been well documented, as school closures around the world triggered an almost overnight shift to home learning. Despite the tireless efforts of both teachers and parents to facilitate remote lessons, many children struggled to focus during this time of high stress, whilst others lacked essential digital devices and internet connections to effectively complete their work. Without the support of a traditional school environment, each pupil faced their own individual challenges and unfortunately, the obstacles of 2020 are now evident in recent estimates – with the Education Endowment Foundation recently warning that maths skills in children will be disproportionately affected by the lockdown.

Covid-19 has highlighted existing structural inequalities across society, from healthcare to employment stability, and education is no exception. School closures have exacerbated existing weaknesses in the curriculum, like maths, which require high levels of engagement, confidence and personal attention to succeed. Technological solutions like tracing apps, mathematical models to chart future outbreaks and assembling ventilators and PPE, have played a key role in our response to Covid-19. So how can technology be similarly applied to education to help solve one of the teachers’ most pressing concerns during the pandemic?

 

Educational equity

If educational technology is to play even a minor role in closing the attainment gap, it is vital that we first begin to bridge the ‘digital divide’. Edtech enabled many schools to create a virtual classroom and support pupils remotely during the lockdown, with recent figures estimating a 400 per cent global increase in the implementation of edtech solutions since March 2020. Yet with a high proportion of children from low-income families lacking hardware or a high-speed broadband connection, schools and edtech providers must ensure that no child misses out on an education due to their socio-economic background. It is vital that now, more than ever, edtech companies design their products with all kinds of different devices and systems in mind to provide as equitable access as possible. 

One example is something we built into SplashLearn which is an offline synchronisation functionality that allows the program to work seamlessly without the internet, and syncs with its cloud server when the connection is re-established enabling cross-platform usage. This means the programme is not dependent on an internet connection at all, let alone a high-speed one.

Organisations can also help children from disadvantaged backgrounds sustain their learning by offering printable worksheets. Encyclopaedia Britannica, for instance, has recently partnered with HP to provide content for print resources which are distributed to students without reliable internet access at home. 

Many edtech providers have also temporarily offered their services free of charge to teachers and schools, in order to help pupils catch up on lost learning during the lockdown and ensure school budgets are spent on procuring digital devices to enable continued learning in the event of pupils shielding or local lockdowns.

Game-based learning and engagement

Another consideration is the importance of engaging students in their learning at a time when they may not be getting the 1:1 focus they need. Although research into the outcomes of game-based learning continues to progress, studies have consistently found that video games can improve problem-solving skills, knowledge acquisition, motivation and engagement. Furthermore, gamified learning can be easily integrated into the classroom or home to provide a balance of fun and learning. For Generation Z, who grew up with the Internet, screen time and digital devices, game-based programmes allow students to interact and engage with educational material in a way more commonly associated with video gaming. 

The most compelling game-based learning resources offer a wide range of pictures and graphics to represent problems and demonstrate concepts. This visual provision helps children master mathematical concepts and skills through visual representations. The learning experience itself is the reward as pupils can blend fun with learning through creating profiles, choosing customised avatars and exploring the new digital environment. 

Changing perceptions and boosting confidence levels

Despite being a core curriculum subject, a combination of poor parental experiences, societal attitudes and anxiety has left many people with a negative perception of maths. It is hard to fathom a world where children proudly declare they are bad at reading or “not a reading person” – so why have these attitudes been allowed to set in with maths?

Many edtech programmes offer high levels of autonomy for children to set their own pace, with inbuilt AI tracking their progress to gradually suggest more challenging exercises. This allows pupils space to safely make mistakes without the fear of embarrassing themselves in front of their peers or stressing about answering a question in time. Moreover, the information collected on a child’s progress provides parents with a valuable opportunity to engage with their child’s progression and learning journey. This can all take place in a safe, risk-free environment – ideal for children whose schools are in local lockdowns or are self-isolating/shielding.

Ultimately, maths is a crucial tool rather than just an academic subject we need in order to fully understand the world around us. Although 2020 has been a year of upset and uncertainty, it has also offered us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rip up the rule book and reshape education for the better. As children around the world continue to return to reopened schools, educational technology is playing a core role in shaping educators’ response to the widened attainment gap.

 

Schools across England and Wales encouraged to get involved in Census 2021

The Office for National Statistics is launching brand new educational resources to teach pupils all about the census and its importance in our national life.

The ONS set up a census secondary school programme back in September to support Census 2021. The programme, developed by EVERFI EdComs, aims to teach pupils about the importance of the census and how data can benefit their local areas through engaging, cross-curricular activities.

More than 500 secondary schools across England and Wales have already registered for the free programme and registration is still open for this unique opportunity.

Iain Bell, ONS deputy national statistician, said: “We want to engage pupils in schools across England Wales in the census and by doing so make Census 2021 a huge success. Our school programmes offer a great opportunity for students to learn about the importance of the census. They help students learn more about maths and their own local area, and they will also raise awareness of the census, which informs many important issues like the number of school places or hospital beds. If your school hasn’t yet signed up, I’d urge you to get involved.”

Michelle Gigi, KS3-KS5 Maths teacher at Queens’ School in Bushey, Hertfordshire, added: “I think it’s a brilliant idea to get students more involved in these types of activities, relating school-based lessons to real life scenarios.”
A brand-new set of resources have now been launched for the programme, including in-depth lessons specific to curriculum topics like maths, geography and history.

Students will have the opportunity to explore patterns of change in their communities and identify geographical and historical themes that may have caused this. Students will be asked to interview a family or community member to find a story they want to tell and create a group display or installation to discover how their individual story is part of a bigger picture.

The new interactive maths lesson available will also give students the chance to solve a range of graphical data problems and reflect on the importance of data in real-world decision-making. The maths lesson will use the fictional island ‘Statistopia’ to bring the census to life and support students’ problem-solving skills.

The secondary school programme has been co-created with teachers and students alike across England and Wales. The programme aims to engage young people, empowering them to use their voices to encourage their families and community to complete the census. They will explore what matters to their communities and the importance of census data in making national and local decisions.

Darren Sayer, Business studies teacher at Hanson Schools in Bradford, West Yorkshire, said: “I think this is a very worthwhile topic and the resources would form a very valuable insight into why [census] information is so important.”

Nick Fuller, President of EVERFI EdComs, added: “It’s great to see such a positive response from schools at such an early stage in this programme and EVERFI EdComs are delighted to bring our expertise in engaging secondary school audiences to the campaign team. We want to ensure young people and their families understand what Census 2021 means for them and complete the first predominantly online census across England and Wales.”

The ONS has also launched a primary school programme, Let’s Count!, that aims to excite pupils and families about the census. With more than 3,000 secondary schools already registered, the free programme offers engaging activities and flexible resources, including 14 lesson plans.

The Let’s Count! programme will also include a special live steam lesson on equality and representation, delivered by British historian, Professor David Olusoga OBE.

It is hoped the school campaigns will help raise awareness of the digital-first census, happening in England and Wales on 21 March 2021. The census occurs once every ten years and provides a snapshot of households, helping to plan and fund public services.

Schools can sign up for the programme by visiting census.gov.uk/education

School delivers more than 22,000 live online lessons during lockdown

 

Pupils only missed one days of lessons as staff worked ‘around the clock’ to pivot to a full digital curriculum within 48-hours

Whilst schools and universities remained open through the second national lockdown, social distancing and other Covid-19 safety measures continue to impose a very different education environment to that of a year ago. Many establishments are delivering a hybrid of face-to-face and virtual lessons to reduce the numbers of pupils in attendance at one time and to offer those that are self-isolating a continued education. For the Royal Hospital School, the transition for this lockdown is seamless, having refined the process earlier this year.  

When the Government instructed schools across the UK to close on 20th March 2020, as part of the emergency measures to reduce the transmission of Covid-19, teachers, parents, and pupils were left confused and concerned about the immediate and long-term effects to education. Whilst head teachers across the UK waited for guidance on how to proceed with teaching and which pupils were eligible to attend school, the Royal Hospital School (RHS) was forging ahead with its digital learning journey which began seven years ago.

An independent co-educational boarding and day school for 11-18-year olds in Holbrook, Suffolk, like all schools across the country, the Royal Hospital School closed its doors on Friday 20th March 2020. Staff attended the school for an intensive day of training on the Saturday and a full live online timetable of classes for every pupil resumed via Microsoft Teams on Monday 23rd March.

In short, RHS pupils missed less than one day of education during a time when the majority of schools were unable to provide anything other than limited links to online worksheets and are still struggling with the challenges providing education during a pandemic brings. With staff working around the clock to pivot to a virtual timetable, RHS managed to deliver an astonishing 22,000 live online lessons as well as live assemblies and even virtual sports and choir sessions during the lockdown period.

Every RHS pupil had already been using a school iPad for the previous 6 years as an integral part of learning, so there were no issues for pupils joining lessons live, or, in the cases of international students, accessing recorded lessons at a suitable time within their local time zones.

Headmaster, Simon Lockyer, says: “RHS has always focused on excellence in teaching and learning, as well as pastoral care and it was important that we all took a fluid approach to delivering education during the pandemic. Every member of the RHS community, staff, pupils and parents, stepped up immediately to ensure the success of our immediate transmission to online learning. For our pupils to only miss one day of lessons is testament to the resilience of the team and the dedication of every stakeholder in the school. I am very proud of them all.” 

Whilst the majority of students are now back at the school, there are still international students learning at home and pupils self-isolating so RHS has once again pivoted its delivery to a hybrid of on-site and online live lessons to ensure every pupil has access to the resources they need to continue uninterrupted education during the pandemic.

For more information about the school visit www.royalhospitalschool.org.

Three in five teachers fear for their safety, new research finds

  • Three in five teachers fear for their safety while working in schools due to COVID-19
  • Two in five believe schools should shut again and students return to home-schooling to protect staff and pupils
  • One in ten say COVID-19 government guidelines for schools are not at all helpful

New research1 by specialist insurer Ecclesiastical has found that since schools have reopened to all pupils in September, three in five (58%) teachers agree they fear for their safety while working in schools due to COVID-19. One in five teachers (22%) strongly agree that they fear for their safety.

Are schools doing enough to protect staff and pupils?

One in ten teachers (10%) believe their school is not doing enough to protect pupils and staff from the risk of COVID-19.

Of those surveyed, 8% don’t believe their school has effective processes in place if there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in their school.

Two in five (42%) teachers agree schools should shut again and students return to home-schooling to protect staff and pupils, while 18% strongly agree.

When asked what else they would like schools to do to protect staff and pupils, teachers suggested that all staff and pupils should wear masks and parents should wear masks on collection. Others felt more regular handwashing and more rigorous cleaning in schools is needed such as regularly sanitising door handles. Teachers also suggested schools should introduce regular temperature testing of staff and pupils regardless of whether they have symptoms and to have smaller bubbles or ensure staff are not mixing between bubbles.

Coping with school closures

Of those surveyed, three in five (63%) teachers said their school had shut or partially shut since September because someone tested positive for COVID-19.

One in seven (14%) shut and pupils received online tuition, while 17% shut but pupils did not receive online tuition.

More than a quarter (27%) partially closed and pupils who had been sent home received online tuition, while just 5% partially closed and the pupils received no online tuition.

COVID-19 government guidelines

The research found that one in ten (10%) teachers believe the COVID-19 government guidelines for schools are not at all helpful, while three in ten (30%) say the guidelines are not very helpful.

Faith Kitchen, education director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, said: “As one of the leading insurers of schools in the UK, Ecclesiastical is passionate about supporting the education sector. Our latest research has found that the majority of teachers are concerned for their safety while working in schools because of COVID-19 fears. We recognise that it is an incredibly challenging time for the education sector and schools need to carefully manage these risks.”

In February, Ecclesiastical launched the Education Risk Barometer which looks at the immediate and emerging risks facing schools in the UK.

RECRUITMENT CAMPAIGN SHOWS TEACHERS TO BE EVEN MORE VALUED THAN BEFORE THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

West Calder High School, West Lothian.
Scottish Government teacher recruitment pics for Stripe.
Head teacher Greg McDowall with kids.

New research highlights what people have learned about teachers

An online survey commissioned by the Scottish Government, with YouGov, has found that teachers are even more valued now, than they were before the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic over eight months ago. Two-fifths (40%) of Scottish adults said that they value the role of primary and secondary school teachers more than they did previously, whilst two in ten Scottish adults (20%) said that they have learnt something new about being a teacher in Scotland since the lockdown due to Coronavirus.

 

This research positively highlights the importance of teaching as a career, a central theme of the Scottish Government’s Teacher Recruitment campaign. The campaign aims to encourage people who are currently studying or recently graduated, to pursue a teaching career in Scotland, and in doing so ticking off all of their career ambitions; from finding a job that’s rewarding and exciting, to a job with progression and leadership opportunities.

 

Greg McDowall, Headteacher at West Calder High School, said: “This year has certainly been different for teachers. It’s definitely been challenging, but also extremely rewarding during a time that has been hard for everyone. It’s great to see the research showing just how much teachers are valued. We particularly felt this from parents over the last year as they had to take on some teaching at home themselves. 

 

“There’s no doubt about it, that teaching in Scotland is a positive career choice, with plenty of real-life rewards from job security to leadership opportunities. My career has developed over the years from maths teacher to Principal teacher and now Headteacher, a role I have been in for two and a half years. I would highly recommend anyone with the enthusiasm and passion to inspire to consider teaching as a career. You never know where it will take you.”

West Calder High School, West Lothian.
Scottish Government teacher recruitment pics for Stripe.
HT Greg McDowall with Lewis Wicksted and Angela Townsley.

Education Secretary John Swinney, said: “Teaching makes a positive difference to children’s lives and our teachers have performed brilliantly in very challenging circumstances during the COVID-19 crisis.

 

“This campaign highlights how teaching can be a highly rewarding career, an opportunity to positively shape the next generation that will help our young people form their views and opinions in an ever-changing world.”

 

The research by YouGov, has also revealed that nearly a quarter (23%) of Scottish adults agreed with the statement “I took primary and secondary school teachers for granted before the coronavirus pandemic” emphasising further the change in people’s opinion of the profession.

 

The latest burst Teacher Recruitment campaign launches today (1 December) and is encouraging those who have the passion and the skills to inspire the next generation in STEM and non-STEM subjects to apply now.

 

In January, there will be a festival of events “Talking Teaching with The Mac Twins”, which will be taking the hundreds of students already signed up through all they need to know about getting into the profession of teaching.

 

To find out more about a teaching career in Scotland, check out teachinscotland.scot/ for the most up to date information.