GorillaUK creates a giant wooden play fort for primary school.

GorillaUK has successfully completed the build of an extraordinary play fort at Warrender Primary School, Ruislip. GorillaUK and the school agreed on the design of the play fort based on its previous play forts built for children at schools in Stamford and Chalfont St.Giles.

“We were asked to look at how the school could use an area of redundant land, it was unsuitable for most activities due to its undulating nature, however, it was perfect for the building of a play fort,” explains GorillaUK’s MD, Andy Gregorek.

“We started to plan the layout and general concept in March 2020 but due to lockdowns and Covid-19 restrictions we were unable to begin the design work until November of the same year,” he continued. “After which time we began a ground services search, sourcing of timber, the logistics of getting the timber on to and around the site, and then we began sawing and machining the timber ready to begin the installation.”

Although the pandemic continued to make work slower than normal, after a total of one week’s planning, just over 3 months on-site and Gorilla’s 4-person team methodically and carefully turned eight tons of Douglas fir and more than 500 sawn pieces of timber into the perfect play fort, finally handing it over to the school. With its battlements, walkways, arches and a wealth of opportunities for physical play and make-believe, Gorilla’s play fort is a real canvas for the imagination.

Gregorek reflected on the popularity of timber forts for schools, saying, “This is something different to the usual play equipment found in schools. Our specific design means this fort will last for decades. It’s built to take an enormous amount of wear and tear and it will weather elegantly over the years with very little maintenance.”

Using EdTech to create seamless in-class learning

Entrepreneur and web developer, Matt Mullenweg, once said technology is best when it brings people together. Technology at its best can also be a teacher’s best friend and an enabler for creating a more seamless and calm learning environment for students. Since the start of the pandemic, EdTech has provided educators with a unique opportunity to breathe a little fresh air into the classroom while dusting away a few age-old cobwebs.


We’ve had a chance to rethink teaching and learning – to think outside the box and trial different teaching methods. Good EdTech should support more equilibrium in the classroom, help create a sense of calm and give students a sense of creative freedom and security. Promethean’s sixth State of Technology in Education Report, which asked educators from across the country to share their experiences and priorities, showed that attitudes towards tech use in the classroom remain consistently positive. When asked about using EdTech in the classroom, 77% said they believe EdTech is a great way to engage students, and 76% believe it enables them to do their job better.


Using over 20 years of experience working with the education sector, Promethean is committed to ensuring schools can access the very best experience in line with their specific needs and priorities. The award-winning ActivPanel has been designed to deliver innovation and ease-of-use that matters to teachers and students. The ActivPanel is purpose-built to make teaching more seamless and productive while elevating student learning experiences. The intuitive Unified Menu makes access to the most commonly used tools quick and easy, allowing teachers to smoothly navigate and support learning.


Giving teachers the support they need and deserve…


Whichever EdTech is being used, it should enable teachers to do their jobs better while at the same time helping students to feel more engaged, included and empowered. Promethean’s State of Technology in Education Report showed that teachers feel they are not receiving adequate training and support they need to utilise EdTech effectively, with 55% saying classroom tech training is lacking and 9% claiming that they received no training at all. With budget and time constraints being named as barriers, only 15% of respondents felt they received “full training” when it came to technology. It’s clear that having technology that is easy to use and appropriate training disseminated is crucial. To help address the shortage of EdTech training and make development opportunities more accessible to teachers throughout the UK and Ireland, Promethean created the online CPD platform, Learn Promethean, which provides free and easily accessible training. The platform hosts a wide range of opportunities for developing EdTech skills with over 20 online courses, more than 200 training videos, and over 130 articles and resources.


Teachers are able to use the ActivPanel in collaboration with a range of inclusive classroom devices such as tablets and laptops. This means functions such as device mirroring and quizzes that require class participation and provide instant assessment, are simple to deliver. Multi-device mirroring allows teachers to move seamlessly and flexibly around the classroom. The ActivPanel Series comes with a choice of software supplied free as standard, including ActivInspire and ClassFlow. Designed by teachers, for teachers, award-winning ActivInspire software can be used to create and deliver lessons that are interactive and engaging. Teachers can smoothly leverage and enhance existing content and resources while responding to student insights in real time. If a teacher is away from the ActivPanel because they are working at home, using ActivInspire on their laptop to share lessons allows them to save time and avoid any duplication of effort. They are able to record their voice and talk their students through the key learning points as if they were in the classroom.


Empowering students…


Embracing modern technology is vital for students, who understand that it will inevitably play a key role in their futures – both in their education, careers, and in their personal lives. EdTech helps students to feel more confident and in control, which in turn can support better wellbeing. EdTech acts as an enabler for key student interaction that might not otherwise exist. Inflexible blackboards and chalk now seem like a distant memory. The ActivPanel is not just the teacher’s tool, it’s there for the whole classroom and it represents a unified hub of learning shared by both teacher and students.


The State of Technology in Education Report showed that social and emotional learning (SEL) was a top priority for 44% of educators, but only 2% of schools said they will be able to invest in wellbeing for 2022/23. The Promethean ActivPanel encourages collaboration that supports wellbeing in class and can help reduce any feelings of separation or isolation among students. When used appropriately, technology is a great tool for stimulating and inspiring students. Using tools such as polls and quizzes for assessment can increase interactivity and give the classroom an energy boost.


Looking to the future…


Moving forward, teachers must have the right tools to connect with students in engaging and innovative ways. Educators are confident EdTech is here to stay and will play an important part in the future of teaching and learning. Promethean’s State of Technology Report showed that 61% believe online content and resources will see the biggest growth in the future. Following the last 18 months, 95% believe they are now better equipped for distance learning when needed.


It’s a truth universally acknowledged that you can’t get different results by doing things the same way and while the idea of not reinventing the wheel has weight, you have to ask the question how well the wheel is rolling and whether it could benefit from a little realignment. EdTech has gifted educators with a flexibility their predecessors weren’t afforded. Of course, the downside may be no more snow days.


To find out more about the ActivPanel and to arrange a demonstration, visit: prometheanworld.com/gb/products/interactive-displays/activpanel



BYJU’S acquires GeoGebra to make learning maths more visual and interactive

BYJU’S, the world’s leading edtech company, has announced the acquisition of Austrian mathematics learning tool GeoGebra. The company provides a dynamic, interactive, and collaborative programme which will advance BYJU’S aim to make maths more engaging.


The acquisition complements BYJU’S overall strategy by enabling the creation of new product offerings and learning formats to enrich its mathematics portfolio. This collaboration will empower BYJU’S to bring comprehensive, personalised and immersive learning experiences to all students.


GeoGebra will continue to operate as an independent unit within the BYJU’S group under the leadership of its Founder and Developer, Markus Hohenwarter.


Speaking on the acquisition, Anita Kishore, Chief Strategy Officer at BYJU’S, said, “The GeoGebra team has built a powerful and stimulating platform that complements BYJU’S mission of providing impactful learning for students. Designed to improve mathematical understanding, it offers interactive resources that adapt to every child’s style and pace of learning. At BYJU’S, with the help of innovative teaching and technology, we are on a mission to make maths fun, visual, and engaging. By bringing GeoGebra on board, we will continue to further enhance, reimagine and transform the way maths is taught and learned. By combining our strengths, we will be able to offer best-in-class resources to build innovative and exciting next-generation learning formats”, she added.

GeoGebra, with a rapidly expanding community of over 100 million learners across 195+ countries, brings together geometry, algebra, spreadsheets, graphing, statistics and calculus in one easy-to-use format. Mathematical thinking is grounded in visual learning with GeoGebra’s interactive learning environment, which contextualises maths to make it fun. The platform offers engaging geometry and algebra learning tools with a user-friendly interface, which can be either downloaded as an app or used online. The curriculum is available in multiple languages for students around the world.

GeoGebra was born out of a passion to help students learn maths in a visually appealing and engaging way. Our shared passion for learning and teaching resonates with BYJU’S, making them a perfect partner for our onward journey. I am confident that this partnership will help millions of students learn mathematics in an interactive way, helping them overcome their fear of maths and learn to master it,” said Markus Hohenwarter, Founder and Developer of GeoGebra.


On a mission to deliver rapid, sustainable growth at scale, Markus, together with Michael Borcherds and Stephen Jull, co-founded their company in 2013 to provide a solid footing for GeoGebra to deliver its long-term vision. GeoGebra includes both an enterprise and philanthropic non-profit organisation. Their commercial services support more than 300 established education service companies and startups, while the non-profit supports students, teachers, researchers, and government agencies across many countries. BYJU’S welcomes the social mission of GeoGebra and acknowledges its importance for mathematics education worldwide, ensuring GeoGebra’s current apps and web services will continue to be available free of charge, putting the power of mathematics into the hands of students and teachers everywhere.


Launched in 2015, BYJU’S launched in the UK earlier this year as BYJU’S FutureSchool, bringing its engaging and fun music, maths and coding courses to students across the UK. The virtual courses empower students with life-long skills and encourage them to build a love of lifelong learning and curiosity.

Top 10 Best Countries For Education 

Top 10 Best Countries For Education 


Rank Country Primary School Enrolment (net %) Secondary School Enrolment (net %) Primary Children Out of School (%) Lower Secondary Out of School (%) Government Expenditure on Education (% of GDP) Population age 15+ with Tertiary Schooling (%) Average QS World University Rankings Score Mean PISA



Mean PISA Maths


Mean PISA Science Score  Education Score /10
1 Singapore 100% 100% 0% 0% 2.5% 29.7% 92.4 549 569 551 9.10
2 Iceland 100% 91% 0% 0% 7.6% 17.9% N/A 474 495 475 8.40
3 Canada 100% 100% 0% 0% 5.3% 22.7% 47.6 520 512 518 8.28
4 Sweden 99% 99% 0% 0% 7.6% 14.9% 49.8 506 502 499 8.22
5 Denmark 99% 91% 1% 0% 7.8% 15.0% 48.4 501 509 493 8.07
6 Slovenia 98% 96% 0% 1% 4.9% 13.3% N/A 495 509 507 7.97
7 France 99% 95% 0% 0% 5.4% 10.6% 50.0 523 523 530 7.94
7 Norway 100% 96% 0% 0% 7.6% 12.2% 40.0 499 501 490 7.94
9 Belgium 99% 95% 1% 0% 6.4% 17.7% 42.3 493 508 499 7.87
10 Finland 99% 96% 2% 0% 6.3% 12.4% 37.9 520 507 522 7.81


The UK just misses out on a spot in the top 10 ranking in 11th place with a score of 7.80, just 0.01 behind Finland. The UK has a 99% primary school enrolment rate and a 97% secondary school enrolment rate. The UK also sees education facilities receive 5.2% of Government expenditure. 

Taking all of the factors into account, Singapore ranks as the best nation for education, with an overall score of 9.10 out of 10. Singapore has a near-perfect record when it comes to school enrolment and the number of children out of school. Singapore is also the country with the highest level of people educated to tertiary (university) level, at 29.7%.

Ranking in second place is Iceland, scoring highly both for enrolment (99% at primary level and 91% for secondary) and government spending on education, which stands at 7.6% of the country’s GDP. Education in Iceland is compulsory for those between 6 and 16, with home schooling not allowed, and most institutions being free to attend.

Taking third place for education is Canada, with an impressive record of nearly 100% enrolment in both primary and secondary school, meaning there are almost 0% of children out of education at both levels too. 

The study also revealed the top 5 countries with the worst education systems: 

Rank Country Education Score /10
1 Jordan 2.86
2 Panama 3.41
3 Dominican Republic 4.04
4 Indonesia 4.08
5 Romania 4.41


Jordan ranks as the country with the ‘worst’ education system, scoring only 2.86 out of 10. The country sees 20% of primary school children and 28% of secondary school adolescents out of school. Jordan’s primary and secondary school enrolment rates are also significantly lower than the top 10 best countries. 

Further Study Insights: 

  • Six different countries had a primary enrollment rate of practically 100%: Canada, Singapore, Norway, Malta, Iceland, and Malaysia.
  • Canada, Singapore and Kazakhstan also have a near-perfect enrolment rate at secondary school. 
  • 23 of the countries studied can say that just under 100% of their children are in education at primary level, including New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates, Switzerland.
  • The nation’s government that spends the most on education is Denmark, spending 7.8% of its GDP.
  • The country with the highest percentage of people educated to tertiary (University) level is Singapore. 

You can view the full research, including the countries with the highest PISA scores by clicking here.


The National Association of Therapeutic Parents Launches Website and Resources for Schools.

The National Association of Therapeutic Parents (NAOPT) has now launched a website packed with resources for all types of schools. By supporting schools and its teaching staff, the NAOPT hopes to raise awareness of development trauma.



Children are among those most at risk when involved in a traumatic event. More common than most realise, 25% of victims of child trauma can develop into mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety and PTSD.


Distinguishing how to best help these children is the hardest element among teachers and parents. Especially keeping communication between the two, which often causes different perspectives on a child’s behaviour from a home setting compared to a school setting.




The pressure on teachers to achieve academic success within students is something the NAOTP understands, and therefore is knowledgeable about the stretch and pressure on time to keep up with both the pupils’ education and mental health. They also understand the stress parents must feel for the lack of this support, and how their child’s behaviour could be easily misinterpreted.


That was when the idea of launching the school website became reality. Designed to guide schools into an effective support system, members can access various resources on children’s mental health. These are useful for teachers who can’t seem to understand students’ behaviour, for schools who believe they’re missing a vital piece in understanding a child’s mind, or even those who wonder why pupils don’t perform as they could.


Rosie Jeffries is excited to offer schools this vital service,


“Members can access our resources to grow important knowledge of trauma within schools, and speak with like-minded professionals with our members only forum.

Not only this, it has been made possible to book counseling sessions with teachers and expert therapeutic parents to offload and gather tried and tested strategies.



The new website is designed for Nursery Schools, Primary Schools, Secondary Schools, Colleges, Virtual Schools, Forest Schools and SEN Schools.


By creating a bridge of communication between parents and teachers, behaviour can be understood more clearly, and a plan on how to support these children can be put in place.


To learn more and become a member, visit https://www.schools.naotp.com/

The State of Education Technology…eighteen months on

National survey reveals schools’ top priorities as well as the current barriers to technology in education post-pandemic

A new report, which provides guidance to educators and school leaders on the latest trends in EdTech, has revealed social and emotional learning (SEL), staff training, and collaboration are among schools’ top priorities with budgets and student engagement also being at the forefront of discussion. For the first time in seven years, ‘attainment’ was not first on the list of schools’ priorities.


The sixth Promethean® State of Technology in Education UKI Report asked educators from across the country to share their experiences and comment on their schools’ priorities from budgets to strategies and training. Conducted by global education technology company, Promethean, the 1580 participants for the 2021-22 survey included teachers, school SMT, members and IT staff.


Social and emotional learning (SEL) was given the top spot by 44 percent of educators, but few believe it will actually feature in next year’s spending. Just two percent of schools said they will be able to invest in wellbeing for 2022/23. Collaboration and communication were reported as the highest priority when it came to technology in the classroom – a dramatic increase and its highest level in five years.


Teachers said they are not receiving adequate training and support they need to utilise EdTech effectively, with 55 percent saying classroom tech training is lacking and nine percent claiming that they received no training at all. With budget and time constraints being named as barriers, only 15 percent of respondents felt they received “full training” when it came to technology. The report also highlighted gaps in staff training strategies, with 33 percent of respondents saying teacher training was not a funding priority.


The biggest reported hurdle to training was budget. “Lack of budget and lack of time” was outlined by a department head as a preventative force at their North West secondary school, “I do my own training and upskilling in my own time.” This view was echoed in many responses, as time constraints was listed as the second most common roadblock to training. 


Still, attitudes towards tech use in the classroom remain consistently positive, with 77 percent believing that EdTech is a great way to engage students, and 76 percent saying it enables them to do their job better. A London primary headteacher commented, “Technology gives us a great opportunity to rethink teaching and learning. We need to have time to take this opportunity rather than rush back to just fulfilling the national curriculum.” 


The majority of respondents anticipated that budgets (57 percent) and government policies (50 percent) will influence the future of education more than Covid (at 47 percent) over the next three years. Most respondents (58 percent) also predicted that in the long-term, all classes will be taught in person where possible, with a blend of digital and analogue resources. Regardless, responses did not downplay the lasting effect that the switch to remote learning has had on their school’s EdTech usage, and 95 percent believe they are better equipped for distance learning when needed.


Perhaps explaining why Covid came third on the list of future impacts to education, schools no longer need to adapt to accommodate digital learning: “The facilities put in place during the pandemic are now ready to be used whenever required,” said one IT staff member. Another primary head of faculty agreed: “We were well prepared this time – we’re ready should we need to go again!”


As for where educators feel the biggest trends are in the future of EdTech:


  • 61 percent responded with online content and resources will see the biggest growth in the future
  • 52 percent said online assessments
  • While augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) was seen as a fad [citation needed].


“Responses from our latest survey show not only how important the role of technology in education is, but how we must give greater support to teachers so they may continue to innovate through technology,” said Jim Wallis, Head of UKI Markets at Promethean. “We always try to delve deeper than technology in these reports, to get at the heart of the conditions that educators are facing today. Now it’s time to look at the right tools to help teachers connect to students in engaging ways. We will continue to listen to the voices of educators and strive to inspire through EdTech solutions.”


To learn more about the trends identified in the Promethean State of Technology in Education UKI Report 2021/2022, please visit stateofed.tech.


Just 2% of teachers in the most disadvantaged schools say all their pupils have adequate digital access

  • Only 2% of teachers working in schools serving the most disadvantaged communities say all their pupils have adequate access to devices and internet to work from home
  • More than 1 in 4 teachers (28%) believe the attainment gap has increased since September
  • Teach First call for significant funding to address the digital divide and digital skills gap as almost two-thirds of headteachers (64%) say their existing budgets are insufficient

New polling from education charity Teach First has found that only 2% of teachers working in schools serving the most disadvantaged communities say all their pupils have adequate access to devices and internet to work from home. This is five times less than the most affluent schools (10%) and three times less than the national average (6%).


In addition, 3 in 4 teachers (75%) in the most affluent schools say they have enough devices for at least three quarters of their pupils, compared to just 1 in 4 teachers (25%) in the most disadvantaged schools.


The issue of the digital divide has received significant attention throughout the pandemic, with most pupils studying at home for extended periods. During this period the government successfully distributed more than 1,300,000 devices to schools across the country. Teach First also worked with businesses and partners to deliver over £1,000,000 worth of devices and dongles to schools serving disadvantaged communities.


Yet teachers have made clear that the digital divide goes beyond Covid-19 and lockdowns –  as technology becomes increasingly essential to modern classrooms, with two-thirds of teachers (65%) say that they are using technology more than two years ago and that figure increasing to three quarters (73%) in secondary schools.


A quarter (28%) of teachers also believe since the start of this academic year the attainment gap has increased between those pupils who had a digital device throughout the pandemic compared with those who didn’t.


It is no surprise, therefore, that teachers are also broadly in agreement that better access to digital devices would help to close the attainment gap – two-thirds (63%) agreed that it would help doing so.


To tackle the digital access issue, schools have made it clear that they will need additional financial support in order to purchase devices and internet dongles. Almost two thirds of headteachers (64%) say they do not have enough funding in their existing budget to ensure all pupils have adequate digital access.


Teachers also highlighted that access is not the only issue to solve – upskilling pupils to use digital tools effectively is also vitally important.  Only a third (36%) of teachers believed their pupils have sufficient digital skills to use devices safely and effectively when learning from home.


Teach First are recommending that the Department for Education continues to invest in the provision of laptops, tablets and internet routers for pupils from poorer backgrounds – so they do not continue to fall behind. This provision should be paired with accessible information and guidance, so that parents and carers can support their children to engage with digital technology productively and safely.


The charity are also calling for a significant funding boost to schools serving disadvantaged communities, where the attainment gap remains stark – so that all children are giving a fighting chance to a bright future.


Tony Costello, Headteacher at Savio Salvesian College in Merseyside, said:


“Our school is one that particularly felt the impact of the digital divide. We were scrambling for laptops and dongles back in November 2020. Dongles were particularly important as parents in our community have very limited access to the internet. 


“Because of this, the gratitude for devices was truly felt throughout our community. The donation of laptops and dongles from DHL UK Foundation via Teach First before Christmas, along with provision from the Department for Education and other generous benefactors, came at just the right time. It meant pupils had access to remote learning from day one of lockdown starting in January this year. 


“Like many schools, we’ve become a lot more reliant on digital learning since the school closures – especially for lessons, submitting homework and extra tuition. While things have significantly improved, there are still gaps we’re trying to fill. Any additional donations of digital devices and dongles would really help ensure that all our pupils have everything they need to progress in their learning.” 


Russell Hobby, CEO of Teach First, said:


“The pandemic has drawn attention to a number of inequalities in our education system and it is clear that the digital divide is a serious issue. But it goes far beyond the current pandemic. Technology is playing an increasing role in pupils’ learning and is central to resilience in the face of potential disruption. If young people from disadvantaged backgrounds do not have access to devices and the internet – as well as a good space to study – then the attainment gap will widen.


“Government, businesses and charities played an important role in supporting schools to ensure pupils forced to work from home during the pandemic were able to do so. But now we have to look at the long-term future of education – and that means prioritising investment towards schools serving disadvantaged communities, where the digital divide remains stark.”



UK explores how education must adapt for tomorrow’s world at ‘In the Future… How will we Learn?’


9th November 2021 – How can we prepare for AI in learning? What does the classroom of the future look like? How do we educate children for the needs of the 21st century? These are some of the questions being discussed by leading figures from the world of education during ‘In the Future… How will we Learn?’, taking place in the UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai and online from 9-11th December, under the UK’s participation theme ‘Innovating for a Shared Future’.


Participants are invited to join all three days of Summit sessions online from wherever they are in the world through a virtual platform while De Montfort University, Founding Partner of the UK at Expo 2020 Dubai, which has recently opened a new campus in Dubai, will also host sessions in-person on the Pavilion on 11th December.


The speakers, who will be contributing both in-person and virtually, include Andria Zafirakou, 2018 Global Teacher Prize winner, who will chair a summit asking ‘What makes teachers great?’. Helen Grant MP, Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Girls’ Education will be chairing a discussion on why girls’ education matters globally. Professor Sir Steve Smith, UK Government International Education Champion and the Prime Minister’s Special Representative to Saudi Arabia for Education will also chair a session focused on the future of higher education which will include Professor Katie Normington, Chief Executive & Vice Chancellor, De Montfort University.


Other experts chairing summits and contributing to broader activity during ‘In the Future, How will we Learn?’ include:

  • Alison Watson MBE, Founder and Chief Executive of Class of Your Own
  • Brajesh Panth, Chief of Education Group at the Asian Development Bank
  • Antara Ganguli, Head of United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI)


Laura Faulkner OBE, UK Commissioner General for Expo 2020 Dubai, says: “Never has it been more important to examine how global education needs to adapt to equip our children for tomorrow’s world. The UK Pavilion’s Education Programme will be exploring the big questions of the 21st century, such as what the classroom of the future will look like, the role of the teacher and AI in learning.”


Earlier in the week as part of the programme of events, UK at Expo 2020 Dubai Founding Partner HSBC hosted the final of its NextGen10 competition. Supporting Partner Heriot-Watt University also hosted a Future Skills Conference, addressing key themes encompassing, purposeful education, the role of education in transforming economies and addressing global challenges, current and emerging talent needs and building entrepreneurial mindsets.


To register for your interest in attending the ‘How will we Learn?’ programme of activity, in-person or virtually, please register online. If you missed any of the programme you can catch up on our events and find out more about the UK’s activities at Expo 2020 with our new Virtual Pavilion which will be updated throughout Expo 2020.


Join the conversation at @UKPavilion2020 #Expo2020

Why is ‘attitude’ so important?

Sarah Wilson, is Headmistress at Heathfield, a leading independent secondary boarding and day school in Ascot for girls aged 11-18. Here she discusses ‘attitude’ and its impact on achievement and life chances.

Carl Gustav Jung, the Swiss psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology described ‘attitude’ as an individual’s predisposed state of mind…  a responsive expression towards something, which in turn influences the individual’s thought and action’.  It is something over which we have an influence.

Attitude is such a crucial attribute for students – it determines how they react to adversity, their ability to grow and learn, overcome challenges and create bonds with others.  It has an important role to play in defining a student’s destiny – how well they perform in school, in the working world and on a purely personal level, so it’s important that they understand that they have control over it.

The old adage ‘stay positive and good things will happen’ doesn’t always stand up to the test – there is much more to it than that.  It’s vital that we help students understand the influence of their attitude, how responding and viewing things in the right way can positively impact their future and success – not just in exams, but in all areas of their lives.

Some students arrive at school with incredible baseline measures but unless they have the right attitude their predicted grades cannot be guaranteed. Likewise, students with apparently lower predictions can achieve well beyond what this data suggests. Students are so much more than data. They need to understand that the effort they apply and their attitude is a far greater predictor of success than their IQ. 

A young person who is positive, has a sense of humour, knows when to laugh something off, and when to ‘think big’, has an attitude that will get them much further and is a far better indicator for success.

And similarly, the attitude of the school is important. Choosing a school that values each individual, finds each pupil’s aptitudes and supports them in areas in which they need help is important too. All young people need to experience that enthusiasm and inspiration at school and have access to positive role models.  It’s crucial to feel valued and to value other people and to see these attitudes in action. Celebrating 90% in a test will always make a student feel good but it’s typically momentary. Celebrating effort is much more enduring – recognising  you worked hard, tried a new strategy and learnt something that you can take forward is much  more satisfying.

In a school with pupils from a diverse range of backgrounds, there is a big mix of attitudes that can influence students. School is about giving them the self-belief and confidence to raise their aspirations, to personally determine where in life they wish to go and to grab the opportunities open to them.

Confidence is vital, but as we know, it’s not always going to be ‘plain sailing’ – there will be times when students will have to face adversity and challenge and will need resilience. When things get tough, they need to keep going and know that if they do, they will be ok, they can do it. Likewise, they must foster the attitude to consider others, choose to be kind and empathetic to their peers, support one another and learn that being part of a team can result in performing significantly better than is possible on their own.

We give our students planned opportunities to develop determination and tenacity. Opportunities to try a host of new things – even if they don’t think they are going to be successful – and to understand that failure can be part of the process towards success. We encourage them to reflect on their own values, how they fit with those of their friends and community and to consider how they sit with what they want to do in later life. School is such an instrumental time for children to find out about themselves, to determine their own personal values and to move on into the big wide world with confidence.  This is how they develop their own attitude.

We empower our students with a sense of independence – they are in control and responsible for their own actions. Their success is not determined by their friends or their future employers, it is up to them. Students with the right attitude will recognise that if they put in the effort they will go far. 

I always remember a quiet Year 8 pupil who was, on paper, academically middle of the road. But she had an amazing attitude. Half way through the first term she decided she wanted to become a vet and she went for it!  Her positive attitude shone through, she quietly and determinedly got stuck into everything, even if it didn’t come naturally. Debating, drama, sport, academic enrichment…she just kept going.  As time went on, she started to rise above her peers. She is now studying Veterinary Medicine at University having secured a place with 3 A*s, far exceeding what the data suggested. More importantly, she is still friends with her school peers and has made the most of all of her opportunities. I know she will go far. She has the right attitude.

To find out more about Heathfield School, please click here.


Schools welcome new spending but universities are left with unanswered questions

Russell Tilsed – Senior Director of Public Services at 8×8, shares his thoughts on the 2021 Autumn budget, what it means for education, and how universities can stay top of the class.


In his Autumn budget statement, Rishi Sunak declared that he would bring spending on education, in real terms, back to 2010 levels – promising an extra £4.7 billion for schools by 2024/5. While this cash boost will certainly be welcome in schools across the UK, it’s worth remembering that in effect, it is only undoing past cuts. The fact that the extra cash equates to £1,500 per pupil serves to illustrate how far spending had fallen behind.


As Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “This still represents no growth in school funding for 15 years… school and college budgets are very thinly stretched, and the financial situation continues to be extremely difficult.”


The increase in spending for schools will be accompanied by an additional £1.8 billion for recovery and catch up over the next three years, however, helping schools to recuperate from 10 years of cuts. A new £560 million fund to support numeracy in adults will support the Government’s stated goal of ‘leveling up’ life chances across the country. And the continued support for the T levels, a new range of vocational courses 16–19-year old’s, will help address the UK’s skills gap.


The one area that seems to have been left behind, though, is Higher Education. There is no mention in the budget of extra cash for universities. As David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges said: “Government’s consistent refusal to increase the funding per student post-16 is baffling. The funding per adult will not have gone up in 14 years by the end of 2024/25, unlike in schools where per pupil funding will match 2010/11 levels in real terms.”


The UK is rightly proud to be home to 28 of the world’s top 500 universities (second only to the United States) including the world’s number one, Oxford. However, in 2021, the UK saw 36 of its universities drop down the rankings while 28 rose. Other countries – notably China, Australia and Canada – made significant gains. If the UK is to keep its place at the top of the league table, the UK government should provide funding to help universities and colleges to modernize their infrastructures and improve and evolve staff and student experiences to deliver better educational outcomes.


One sure way to enhance experiences for staff and students is by leveraging digital technology to create a connected campus. Modern unified communications tools can help universities re-imagine the way students, staff and lectures connect with each other. Some of the benefits include:


  • The ability for admin, lecturers, and students to connect from anywhere, on any device
  • The ability to conduct remote seminars and one-to-ones through Microsoft Teams
  • The option for students to attend lectures through video – either live, or recorded
  • Extra support for clearing week with short-term ‘pop-up’ omni-channel contact centres
  • A secure and reliable network
  • Real time engagement for students and parents through integrated chat, voice, and video
  • Ease of management for all communications channels through a single console


UK universities must not be left behind in the current digital revolution. During the first lockdown schools, from primary to higher education, quickly adjusted and delivered education in new ways. The learnings from these experiences provide an excellent foundation for building the way forward.


It is not just technology, but also the ability to use the technology that determines effectiveness. Now is the time to ensure universities have the skill sets, technology and processes that extend recent adaptations into permanent methods of increasing affordable access to education. Achieving this will require a sustained commitment to funding digital transformations that improve organisational resilience, reimagine education delivery, and transform the staff and student experience.


If the UK is to remain at the forefront of higher education, the government must continue to invest more in universities and help them remain leaders on this important topic.  





About 8×8

8×8, Inc. (NYSE: EGHT) is transforming the future of business communications as a leading Software-as-a-Service provider of 8×8 XCaaS™ (eXperience Communications as a Service™), an integrated contact center, voice communications, video, chat and API solution built on one global cloud communications platform. 8×8 uniquely eliminates the silos between Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) to power the communications requirements of all employees globally as they work together to deliver differentiated customer experiences. For additional information, visit www.8×8.com, or follow 8×8 on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.


8×8®, 8×8 XCaaS™, eXperience Communications as a Service™, and 8×8 Global Reach™ are trademarks of 8×8, Inc.


About Russell Tilsed, Senior Director – Public Sector, 8×8


With over 20 years of industry experience, Russell leads the 8×8 team of cloud communications experts dedicated to the public sector. Since joining 8×8 in 2010, Russell has partnered with IT leaders in the NHS, local and central government organisations to design and deploy cloud communication solutions that underpin their ability to digitally transform and ensure reliable service delivery.