Let it flow – three essential steps if your building has a FROZEN water pipe

UK plumbing register WaterSafe is sharing advice with owners, landlords and managers of businesses and non-domestic buildings on dealing with frozen water pipes – as well as how to prevent them in the first place.


As temperatures are set to fall heading in to February, insulating exposed pipes now will help prevent leaks and the costly damage that can result from pipework freezing and bursting this winter.


However, if a pipe freezes, make sure to follow our trio of top tips:

  • Turn off the water supply coming in to your property at the stop tap.
  • Open all your taps to drain the system as quickly as possible, saving some water in a bucket, if you can, for flushing toilets and hand washing. When the water stops running, turn all the taps off.
  • Slowly thaw the pipe with towels soaked in hot water or hot water bottles – never use a naked flame or blowtorch to thaw the pipe. If you need help, contact an approved plumber via watersafe.org.uk.

WaterSafe’s latest UK survey of those responsible for non-domestic buildings*, such as offices, community centres, shops and public sector buildings, reveals that 64% don’t check that they know where their internal stop tap is, in case they need to turn off their water in an emergency.


In most properties, the main internal stop tap is located close to where the water pipe enters the building. This could be under the kitchen sink, if your property has one, and can also be found in downstairs bathrooms, kitchen cupboards, garages, cellars and under stairs.


It’s a good idea to regularly check that the stop tap is working and that it shuts your water supply off – but make sure to never force it. Turning the valve clockwise will close it, reducing or stopping the amount of water passing through your pipes.


To avoid pipes freezing in the first place, insulate pipes in unheated areas, such as roofs, garages and outbuildings with inexpensive ‘lagging’, which is available from DIY stores. This is especially important for boiler condensate pipes, which run from a boiler to the outside of a building, normally to a drain.


Ensure there are no gaps at bends, valves or fittings, and don’t forget to insulate the hot water tank and pipes too.


Reducing heat loss means playing an important role in helping the UK reduce its carbon footprint as well as spending less money on energy bills – something to consider as energy costs increase.


It’s also important to repair leaky taps and valves to prevent frost damage and to save water too.


Around a third of all the water supplied in the UK goes on non-domestic uses, such as by businesses, schools, hotels, shops and gyms, with non-domestic water use responsible for generating 28 million kg of CO2 emissions every month.


Call a WaterSafe approved plumber, who is qualified to install and maintain plumbing systems, if you need help this winter with frozen pipes, locating your stop tap, insulating your pipes or fixing leaks.


Insurance underwriters are paying more attention to escape of water claims following pipes freezing and bursting, so for commercial premises, it’s a good idea to check for any specific insurance provisions.


WaterSafe’s advice supports the Met Office’s ‘WeatherReady’ campaign, which encourages everyone to think about what they can do to prepare for and cope with severe weather.


Julie Spinks, Director of WaterSafe, said: “Making sure exposed pipes are wrapped up and protected from winter weather should be on every business’s New Year’s resolutions list.


“Having the phone number of a qualified, approved plumber to hand in case of emergencies is also a good idea. Our survey showed that over a third (38%) of those responsible for a building and its users in the UK do this though – so we’re encouraging everyone to check the WaterSafe database to find your nearest.”


For lots more winter advice and to find a qualified, approved plumber, visit watersafe.org.uk/winter.


Find out more about the #WeatherReady campaign, which is run by the Met Office in partnership with the Cabinet Office, at metoffice.gov.uk/weatherready.

Acer Boosts Learning with Four Durable Chromebooks for Education

Acer today announced four new Chromebooks with the latest technologies, durable designs and a collection of features that optimize them for the education environment.

“The popularity of Chromebooks continues to grow thanks to the robust features in the Chrome Education Upgrade combined with advances in Chromebook design, features and technology,” said James Lin, General Manager, Notebooks, IT Products Business, Acer Inc. “These new Acer Chromebooks deliver the foundational technology that help students strive for success at school, while also ensuring teachers and administrators have a powerful device for class preparation and IT management.”


Chrome Education Upgrade, Zero-Touch Enrollment Maximize Learning

With Chrome Education upgrade, teachers and administrators can leverage the full capabilities of the Chromebook and Chrome OS to ensure students can focus on learning with a robust, secure device. In addition, IT departments can easily manage them with Zero-touch enrollment — to drop ship new Acer Chromebooks to their school sites that will automatically enroll as soon as the end user connects to the internet.

Durable Design

All of the four new Chromebooks were built to withstand the challenges of a busy school environment, featuring impact-resistant chassis that meet MIL-STD 810H[[1]] standards. A shock-absorbent bumper and reinforced design protects them from drops as high 122 cm (48 ft) and withstands up to 60 kg (132.3 lbs) of pressure. The Chromebooks’ displays can also be opened a full 180 degrees, helping protect the devices when the screen is being handled, and a unique drainage system built into their keyboards helps protect internal components from accidental water spills[[2]].

The Acer Chromebook Spin 311, Acer Chromebook 512 and Acer Chromebook 511 also have mechanically anchored keys that are difficult for inquisitive students to remove, but at the same time, simple for IT personnel to repair or replace. Widened brackets and reinforced I/O ports further protect them from the wear and tear of frequent use.

Eco-Friendly Features Include OceanGlass Touchpad

A testament to Acer’s commitment to sustainability, all four of the new Chromebooks feature a unique environmentally-friendly OceanGlass touchpad made entirely of abandoned ocean-bound plastic waste. Not only does the use of this waste contribute to the reduction of plastics adrift in the ocean, it also gives the touchpad a glass-like texture and responsive tactile feedback.

Additionally, three of the Chromebooks—the Acer Chromebook Spin 311, Acer Chromebook 512 and Acer Chromebook 511—integrate post-consumer recycled plastics into their chassis design to further exemplify Acer’s commitment to sustainability.


Acer Chromebook 512 — Taller Display Boosts Productivity

The new Acer Chromebook 512 (C852) has as 12-inch display with a productivity-boosting 3:2 aspect ratio for 18% more vertical space compared to an equally wide 16:9 display, meaning that students can see more text, maps, photos and schoolwork before needing to scroll. An optional panel with integrated multi-touch capabilities is also available.

The Acer Chromebook 512 provides an excellent remote-learning experience with two built-in microphones as well as a webcam with TNR technology for enhanced video quality. Furthermore, a blue glass IR-cut filter within the camera module helps to minimize the impact that background light flares (such as those from lamps or ceiling lights) have on a user’s webcam. Powered by the latest N-series Intel® processors, the Acer Chromebook 512 (C852) delivers the responsive performance and long 12-hour battery life needed to make it through a long day of classes and homework.

Acer Chromebook 511 — Classic Compact Design; Safe for Young Students

The Acer Chromebook 511 (C934/T) is an 11.6-inch Chromebook available with either a standard or multi-touch display on top of a compact, durable design that makes it ideal for 1:1 programs, technology labs and wireless carts. Plus, the Chromebook is safe and suitable for even the youngest students, featuring plastic coatings and having met the ASTM F963-16[[3]] Toy Safety Standard and UL/IEC 60950-1[[4]] standards.

The Acer Chromebook 511 provides up to 12 hours of battery life as well as responsive performance, since it’s powered by the latest N-series Intel® processors. For remote learning needs, dual microphones and a flare-reducing HD webcam let students take the classroom with them. Temporal Noise Reduction (TNR) technology further enhances video quality, particularly in low-light conditions, by analyzing and utilizing information from multiple frames simultaneously.

Acer Chromebook 314 — Large 14-inch Display

Ideal for administrators, teachers and older students who need to multitask for their classes and projects, the Acer Chromebook 314 (C934/C934T) has a large 14-inch FHD IPS[[5]] touchscreen display[[6]] with narrow 8.1 mm side bezels and an overall compact design. The display’s anti-glare coating allows it to be used even in bright lighting conditions, and it is also available with multi-touch options[6].  

The Chromebook 314 provides an excellent remote learning experience. A flare-reducing webcam with (TNR) technology enhances video quality, DTS Audio delivers high-quality, distortion-free sound, and a pair of built-in microphones capture clear audio. Plus, the Chromebook 314 features the latest N-series Intel® processors to ensure solid performance and up to 10-hours of battery life[[7]]. Students and teachers will enjoy a reliable Intel® Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) wireless connection with speeds up to 3x faster than Wi-Fi 5[[8]].

Acer Chromebook Spin 311 — Convertible with Long Battery Life

Designed for K-12 students, the Acer Chromebook 311 (R722T/R723T) is a convertible and durable device optimized for learning anywhere. Its responsive 11.6-inch touch display is protected by Antimicrobial Corning Gorilla Glass which is both tough and embedded with ionic silver that resists the growth of odor- and stain-causing microorganisms[[9]]. A pair of 360-degree hinges allow it to be used in four usage modes, such as clamshell mode for typing or presentation mode for showing off their work when in small groups. 


The Chromebook’s MediaTek MT8183 processor keeps students learning with efficient performance that contributes to a long battery life of up to 15 hours[7]. Its HD webcam has a camera shutter for privacy when not in calls. For excellent connectivity, the Acer Chromebook 311 is available with Wi-fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 (R723T) or Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2 (R722T), depending on configuration.

Pricing and Availability

The Acer Chromebook 512 (C852) will be available in North America in January starting at USD 349.99; and in EMEA in Q1 starting at EUR 359 and the UK for £329.

The Acer Chromebook 511 (C734/T) will be available in North America in February starting at USD 349.99; and in EMEA in February starting at EUR 329 and the UK for £299.

The Acer Chromebook 314 (C934/T) will be available in North America in 2H’22 starting at USD 429.99; and in EMEA in April starting at EUR 369 and the UK for £329.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (R722T) will be available in North America in March starting at USD 399.99; and in EMEA in Q1’22 starting at EUR 339 and the UK for £299.


Exact specifications, prices, and availability will vary by region. To learn more about availability, product specifications and prices in specific markets, please contact your nearest Acer office via www.acer.com.


[1] Sand and Dust testing based on MIL-STD 810F. MIL-STD 810G/H is a testing protocol conducted in controlled settings and does not guarantee future performance in all situations. Do not attempt to simulate these tests, as damage resulting from this will not be covered by Acer’s standard warranty.

[2] Up to 330 ml (11 fluid ounces) of water

[3] Plastic coatings used on Acer Chromebook Spin 311 surface have been strictly tested and certified under ASTM F963-16 Toy Safety Standard and Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPCIA) of 2008.  For more information visit:   https://standardscatalog.ul.com/standards/en/standard_60950-1_2

[4] Acer Chromebook Spin 311 is designed and tested to meet UL/IEC 60950-1 safety standard, investigated by UL 696 safety electric toys and meets the ASTM F963 toy safety for kids over 3 years old. For more information visit:  https://www.astm.org/Standards/F963.htm

[5] All brands and product names mentioned herein include trademarks of their respective companies and are used solely to describe or identify the products

[6] Specifications may vary depending on model and/or region.

[7] Battery life may vary depending on model and configuration.  For Chrome devices, the battery test is based on a standard test tool published by Google and it is called power_LoadTest. (http://www.chromium.org/chromium-os/testing/power-testing).

[9] Acer Antimicrobial Design may vary depending on models/region. All antimicrobial solutions including Antimicrobial Corning® Gorilla® Glass and silver ion antimicrobial technology do not claim to protect users or provide any direct or implied health-benefit. The antimicrobial protection is limited to the touch surface.

Discovery Education Celebrates More Than 20 Years of Innovation by Unlocking the Power of Augmented Reality with No Cost iPad App

Discovery Education—the innovative EdTech company that over 20 years ago revolutionised teaching with the first digital service delivering educational content directly to classrooms—today opens a new chapter in its history with the launch of a cutting-edge iPad app that puts Augmented Reality (AR) at the fingertips of learners and educators worldwide.


Since its inception, Discovery Education has been an early mover in bringing modern technologies—such as video streaming services —to the classroom. Now, Discovery Education is introducing a powerful new app putting the power of AR into the hands of educators. 


AR technology has the potential to expand educators’ ability to create immersive, interactive learning experiences that unlock students’ natural curiosity. By superimposing virtual images and data on a user’s view of the real world, AR supports visualisation of complex topics, creates digital “hands-on” learning opportunities, and heightens student engagement with digital content, all while improving students’ ability to retain knowledge longer by being a participant in the learning experience. To help educators leverage the power of AR wherever learning takes place, Discovery Education has made the Sandbox AR iPad app available today in the Apple App Store.


Discovery Education’s Sandbox AR app empowers students and teachers to create, share, and even inhabit virtual environments. Within Sandbox AR, users can create virtual worlds and populate them with some of the hundreds of unique objects from history, the built world, science and nature, and more. Sandbox AR also gives students new ways to express themselves and demonstrate their learning through a feature that lets learners take photos or record a video walkthrough with their own voice over. Sandbox AR even offers a mode that allows users to scale up and inhabit their own life size virtual environments.


For those new to AR, Sandbox AR includes many pre-built sandboxes exploring diverse subjects such as ancient Egypt, space exploration, Mayan civilization, road construction, and more, with additional sandboxes coming soon. Discovery Education is also making available several free, pre-built lessons educators can use with the app to familiarize themselves with integrating AR into classroom instruction. Sandbox AR is available for download here.


“For over 20 years Discovery Education has provided innovative digital learning solutions to educators worldwide, and 2021 marked the start of a new chapter in the company’s history,” said Howard Lewis, Discovery Education’s Managing Director, Global Initiatives. “In 2021, we built on the extensive library of educational videos that educators know and love us for and added new time-saving tools and resources providing all learners with more ways to use our engaging content and dynamic platform every day. Sandbox AR and resources we make available to educators today are just the beginning of what will be a number of powerful new resources Discovery Education plans to provide students and educators in 2022 and beyond.”


For more information about Discovery Education’s digital resources and professional learning services, visit www.discoveryeducation.co.uk and stay connected with Discovery Education on social media through Twitter and LinkedIn.   


Educator Product Review: Our five favourite things about the ActivPanel



Our five favourite things about the Promethean ActivPanel

Global leader for interactive display technology, Promethean, creates interactive displays and teaching software that drive breakthroughs for teachers, students and colleagues. Using more than 20 years of educational experience, Promethean’s award-winning ActivPanel  has been designed by teachers for teachers to deliver innovation and ease-of-use. The ActivPanel is purpose-built to make teaching more efficient and enjoyable while enriching student learning experiences. Here are our favourite things about it…


  1. Ease of use


One of the best things about the ActivPanel  is how user-friendly and interactive it is – bringing all the most commonly used digital tools right to teachers’ fingertips while integrating other devices such as laptops and tablets. The intuitive Unified Menu makes access to the most commonly used tools quick and easy, allowing teachers to smoothly navigate and support learning in the moment. One of the most frequently used apps on the ActivPanel Unified Menu is the Instant Whiteboard app which teachers can use to demonstrate exercises to the class, display instructions and encourage interaction and collaboration from students.


Another handy feature is the Source button which allows teachers to immediately establish what is being used to display content – whether it is on their computer, or directly from the ActivPanel. Teachers can select the source they want to use the same way they would do so on a television at home. Teachers can use their fingers or a stylus to write and move things on screen and they can freeze the screen at any time. The ActivPanel can also be updated remotely.

  1. Student engagement


The award-winning ActivInspire software that is supplied free as standard with the ActivPanel, can be used to create and deliver lessons that are interactive, engaging and geared for breakthrough moments. Teachers can seamlessly leverage and enhance existing content and resources and respond to student insights in real time. Features, such as on screen handwriting in a choice of colours and sizes, can be particularly good for young children. The multi-touch and screen divide functions also mean multiple children can write on screen at the same time either using their finger or a stylus. Teachers can select different paper types, make lines bigger or smaller, and change the background colour. Words can be moved around the screen and made bigger with ease. The ActivPanel also offers a range of useful templates such as mind maps, that can be useful to aid children’s learning.


The Promethean Locker features useful and engaging apps such as the Timer and Spinner. With the Timer function, teachers can display multiple clocks on screen and give them names. The Spinner allows teachers to randomly select students to answer questions or complete other tasks.


  1. Freedom and flexibility


The days of teachers sitting at desks overseeing a quiet classroom are now a distant memory. The ActivPanel’s multi-device mirroring allows teachers to move freely and teach from anywhere in the classroom, while students have the ability to mirror and share their screens in a device-agnostic classroom environment.


The annotation tool allows teachers to write over and highlight anything on screen either using their finger or stylus, and anything can be simply rubbed away with the palm of their hand. Space is never an issue as teachers can keep dragging the canvas up.


  1. Timesaving


A great feature that is popular with teachers is the ability to store multiple user profiles on the ActivPanel. Teachers can quickly and easily sign in and access their content, freeing up more time to focus their attention on the needs of their students. If a teacher is away from the ActivPanel because they are working at home, they can use ActivInspire on their laptop to share lessons, saving them time.


Many of the in-class features can save teachers valuable time, such as the ability to capture and crop anything that is on screen, even videos. These ‘screenshots’ can then be moved and placed elsewhere on screen during the lesson.


  1. Free training and resources


Beyond an initial orientation session there are numerous free resources and certified training for teachers available at Learn Promethean. The learning platform provides 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. These can be accessed at any time and completed at a pace that suits each individual teacher.



To find out more about the ActivPanel and its wider features, visit: prometheanworld.com/gb/products/interactive-displays/activpanel

Mr Bee brings daily maths tasks to digital signage via TrilbyTV


Mr Bee and TrilbyTV have announced an exciting new partnership that will bring ‘Mr Bee Daily Maths Tasks’ to digital signage screens in schools across the UK. It adds to an already epic education line-up that includes; Vocabulary Ninja, Rodocodo, Britannica and WWF. 


Mr Bee helping even more children master maths


Mr Bee was created by John Bee in 2019, a practicing classroom teacher. He needed resources that were intelligently designed to draw attention to particular mathematical structures. After creating them, he started sharing them and since then Mr Bee has gone from strength to strength, releasing books and developing subscription packages for schools, teachers and parents. John told us a little more about Mr Bee Daily Tasks,


“My aim is to make maths make sense for all children. The Daily Tasks are carefully designed to link arithmetic and a concept. They often use variation theory (seeing what changes and remains the same), so children may make mathematical links and connections. The use of stem sentences allows children to practice key mathematical vocabulary and develop their reasoning.”


The perfect combination to enhance learning


The combination of Mr Bee’s content and TrilbyTV’s simple, easy to use software solution create the perfect match to engage audiences. TrilbyTV’s Neil Emery, is also particularly excited about this new partnership,

“Digital Signage isn’t just about screens on walls and delivering information. For TrilbyTV it’s about inspiring young people, showcasing their achievements, while helping reinforce their learning. That’s why our content collaborations with those such as Mr Bee Teach are so important to support the next generation’s learning, utilising school digital signage screens.”

Summarising what partnering with TrilbyTV meant to him, Mr Bee had this to say,

“I am thrilled that even more people will be able to make maths make sense with the help of TrilbyTV.”

‘Mr Bee Daily Maths Tasks’ are a fantastic way to help students master maths and solve problems. It develops their skills and confidence to solve problems on their own.

Top recruitment and training solutions provider joins leading youth employment expert to connect with 16–24-year-olds

Qube Learning and Youth Employment UK are working together to generate awareness of hundreds of job opportunities across the nation for those finishing school, out of work or looking for a different direction.

Recent statistics show that in February-April 2021, unemployment for 16-24-year-olds was 13.2%, higher than it was back at the peak of the pandemic in March when it stood at 12.5%, and they want to combat this growing issue by reaching out to those in the 16–24-year-old age bracket imminently. 

With many years of experience between them, the affiliation is well placed to help encourage employment rates among younger audiences in England, particularly those in harder to reach areas. Believing that regardless of where you are from or who you know, everyone deserves a chance to access good quality education, employment or training opportunities, Qube Learning and Youth Employment UK could see that their ethics perfectly aligned.

Qube Learning’s CEO, Joe Crossley, says: ‘This partnership allows us to work closely with people who wholeheartedly understand our objectives, and appreciate why skills development and opportunities for young people are so important. With an abundance of job opportunities in companies such as JD Sports, Matalan, Specsavers and more, across retail, logistics, business management and more, we are working together to support young people into work and see employment rates positively change. At Qube Learning, we pride ourselves on looking at raw talent and how we can inspire success; we look to see ability, not just CV merits. This can lead to masses of talented people going unmissed. We want those without the ‘right’ grades to know they stand a chance; we see them and want them to thrive in an industry that suits them’.

Qube Learning are always looking for ways to increase student, employer and employees’ experiences with their in-situ Apprenticeship and Traineeship learning programmes, and more recently with Qube Vision, an eLearning platform that allows people to learn on the go, created to adapt to the global climate and ensure learning is not stalled. Recognised as the Educate North Social Mobility Provider of the Year for their work in helping disengaged young people into work, it highlights the business’s drive to increase employability within that demographic. They are now also recognised under The Good Youth Employment Charter, an agreement that ensures any business associated with Youth Employment UK follow principles on equality and fairness within employment. Qube Learning are excited to take their work with youth to the next level with Youth Employment UK.

Youth Employment’s CEO, Laura-Jane Rawlings, says: ‘We are delighted that Qube Learning have joined our growing list of Youth Friendly Employers. Apprenticeships and Traineeships are an important route for young people and having employers sign up to the principles of best practice covered in our Good Youth Employment Charter is how we ensure quality opportunities for young people. Young people still too often tell us that they are unsure of the options available to them, how to access them and often find themselves locked out of recruitment opportunities because skills and experience requirements are set unrealistically high. Growing our network with good employers, like Qube Learning, who are committed to breaking down the barriers to entering work young people are facing  means we can showcase more opportunities for the nation’s youth’

Youth Employment UK is an independent, not-for-profit social enterprise founded in 2012 to tackle youth unemployment. Their work has seen them give young people a voice on the youth employment issues that affect them, support young people with the skills and careers support they need to progress, and support Employers to develop and be recognised for their youth-friendly employment practice. They do all of this while providing expert insight across all youth employment policy areas.

Their key driver is to give young people skills, careers support and tools to fulfil their potential, with the aim to see them succeed, and with Qube Learning on board, the future for young people looks bright.

All Qube Learning work vacancies can be found at https://www.youthemployment.org.uk/?s=qube+learning

A* line-up of Speakers unveiled for Bett Show


THE GODFATHER of growth mindset, Eduardo Briceño, global education campaigner Sarah Brown, and soap actor turned eating disorders charity founder Gemma Oaten are just three of the inspirational voices taking to the stage at January’s Bett Show.

After a one-year hiatus, the world’s most established Edtech event will convene again in London’s ExCeL centre on March 23-25, 2022.

Other high-profile speakers include former Schools Minister Lord Jim Knight who will discuss rethinking pedagogy when faced with tech disruption and Dame Darcey Bussell, the former ballerina and founder of DDMIX, a dance fitness programme designed to help improve student wellbeing.

Attendees will hear from comic actress and writer Sally Phillips, who will participate in a fireside chat, delving into life as a parent to a child with SEND and to discuss inclusion in education. 

Gogglebox cast member, Baasit Siddiqui, whose day job is helping motivate state school pupils through Siddiqui Education, will also share his top tips for how youngsters can confidently pitch ideas for TV shows.

The SLA School Librarian of the Year 2021 – Kristabelle Williams, from Addey and Stanhope School – will reveal how she made the library service at an inner-city school thrive during the pandemic, an achievement that saw her win the coveted title from the School Library Association.

Bett’s theme is “create the future” and the show will look at how education will be transformed beyond the pandemic. 

More than 225 speakers are expected to take to the stage over the three-day event.

Eve Harper, director of the Bett Show said: “Bett prides itself on bringing the leading global voices and pioneers in education transformation each year and as we come together in January to “create the future”, our speaker line up promises just that. We can’t wait to welcome our world-class speakers to Bett and be inspired by their stories, experiences and insights.”

Tickets to the show are free and schools are encouraged to bring students to witness the dozens of speakers, exhibitors and workshops.

Attendees can also take part in CPD training to boost their professional development.


BAMEed, a network of schools and teachers across the country, is inviting all attendees to a “takeover event” where leaders will discuss how they are tackling racism and promoting equality in education.

Bett’s After Hours’ programme will also allow plenty of time for networking and socialising after the sun goes down.

This year, a new esports feature will take place at Bett, allowing educators to see how esports is more than gaming and could in fact be the secret weapon in encouraging learning, promoting teamwork and communication.


Higher Education leaders will also welcome a new event designed just for them – Ahead by Bett, while global education leaders and change makers can convene at Learnit.


Registration is FREE for attendees and is now open now at: https://uk.bettshow.com/visitor-registration?utm_source=media_partner&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=pressrelease01


New research from Oxford University Press reveals the vital role language plays for pupils when it comes to self-expression and wellbeing

Over 8,000 children across the UK were surveyed revealing ‘anxiety’ as Children’s Word Of The Year


Anxiety is the Children’s Word of the Year 2021 according to research by Oxford University Press (OUP). Over 8,000 children from across 85 schools in the UK, spanning Year 3 to Year 9, were surveyed and asked to choose the top words they would use when talking about health and wellbeing. 


Almost a quarter of pupils chose anxiety (21 per cent) as their number one word, reflecting the widespread impact lockdown and school closures had on their wellbeing. Challenging came in as their second choice (19 per cent) closely followed by isolate (14 per cent). Wellbeing (13 per cent) and resilience (12 per cent) were also in the children’s top five words, demonstrating their positive attitude in the face of recent challenges. 


In addition, teachers from across the 85 schools were asked for the word they use most often when talking to their pupils about health and wellbeing in the context of the past year. Almost a third chose resilience as their number one choice (31 per cent), signalling the importance of providing their pupils with positive direction in the face of difficult times. Equal to their pupils, challenging was their second choice (19 per cent) and wellbeing came in third (18 per cent).  


In particular, the research highlights how the type of words teachers use can significantly influence their pupil’s learning and wellbeing. Nicola King, Head of Philosophy and Ethics at Ifield Community College, who took part in the research, commented: “Sometimes the language we use can increase anxiety, so we have to be very clear about how we address language and difficult topics with students.”


Helen Freeman, Director of Early Childhood & Home Education at Oxford University Press, said: “The research demonstrates how vital language is when it comes to self-expression, learning and wellbeing. In particular, the findings highlight the crucial role teachers play in equipping children with the appropriate vocabulary to articulate their emotions and support their well-being. It’s therefore more important now, than ever, to invest in supporting children’s language development at home and in school.”


For over a decade experts and academic researchers in the Children’s Language department have analysed the evolution of children’s language and how it is used to reflect their emotions and experiences. The research draws heavily on the Oxford Children’s Corpus, the largest children’s English language corpus in the world which contains language written for and by children at over half a billion words. For 2021, wellbeing was selected as the research focus, prompted by the widespread impact Covid-19 is having on children’s education and the growing awareness of children’s mental health as a key concern at home and in schools.


In response to the latest findings, the Children’s Language department at OUP have published the Oxford Children’s Language Report 2021 and will be updating their dictionaries and resources to further support teachers and pupils in both primary and secondary schools. Words such as ‘bubble’ and ‘lockdown’ will be revised to reflect the current usage of the words in relation to the pandemic and new phrases such as ‘self-isolation’ will be included. 


For more information you can review the Oxford Children’s Language Report 2021: the language of wellbeing in the wake of a global pandemic. 




THE learning gap created by the pandemic will take more than 18 months to close, teachers have warned.


State school teachers were far more likely to offer a gloomy forecast of how long it would take pupils to catch up compared to teachers in private schools, according to a survey of 4,690 teachers for leading EdTech event, Bett.


The survey – carried out by Teacher Tapp – showed that 14 per cent of teachers in private primary schools and 23 per cent of private secondary teachers had not seen a learning gap created by the pandemic.


A majority of private secondary school teachers thought that their gap would be closed within 6 months.


Just three per cent of teachers in state schools did not think there was a learning gap thanks to Covid19 compared to 19 per cent of private school teachers who thought there was no gap.


Some 36 per cent of primary teachers in state schools thought the learning gap would take 18 months or more, while 32 per cent of secondary state school teachers thought the same.


Overall, classroom teachers were slightly more pessimistic about how long it would take to close the learning gap than headteachers or members of the senior leadership teams (SLT).


Some 32 per cent of teachers at the coalface thought it would take 18 months or more, compared with 31 per cent of SLT and 28 per cent of heads.


When analysed by subject, language teachers and Key Stage 2 primary teachers were the most pessimistic, with 34 per cent warning it would take more than 18 months to catch up students. 


Some 28 per cent of maths specialist teachers thought it would be more than 18 months, while the figures were nearly the same for English teachers (27 per cent) and humanities (27 per cent) while nearly a third of science teachers – 31 per cent – also warned of the longest time delay.


For teachers of early years and Key Stage one in primary, a third warned it would take more than 18 months while 30 per cent of PE teachers and 24 per cent of art and design and technology teachers thought the same.


School closures ban


Nearly four in ten – 38 per cent – of teachers agree or strongly agree with banning school closures and classing them as ‘essential infrastructure’.


The move is proposed by senior Tory MP Rob Halfon, the chairman of the education select committee, who wants school closures to be banned unless they are voted for in parliament. 


Mr Halfon has put forward a Private Members’ bill to argue the case, saying that school closures and lockdowns had led to massive gaps in learning and to a safeguarding crisis.


Many teachers remain uncertain about the proposed ban, with 29 per cent saying they were unsure whether they backed it.


Slightly fewer teachers were against the ban – with 20 per cent disagreeing and 10 per cent strongly disagreeing.


Primary school teachers remained marginally more supportive of keeping schools open – with 39 per cent agreeing or strongly agreeing with a ban on future closures, 30 per cent being uncertain, nine per cent strongly disagreeing and 18 per cent disagreeing.


Among secondary school teachers, 39 per cent agreed or strongly agreed with a ban on closures while 27 per cent were unsure and a third disagreed or strongly disagreed.

The split was starkest between state and private schools.


Private schools were much more likely to want to stay open – with 25 per cent strongly in favour compared with 15 per cent in the state sector.


Overall, 48 per cent of private school teachers backed the ban compared to 37 per cent in the state sector.


Private primaries were strongly in favour of Mr Halfon’s proposals by 53 per cent compared to state primaries on 38 per cent.


Just 37 per cent of state secondary school teachers backed the ban compared to nearly half – 48 per cent – of private secondaries.


More state secondary teachers disagreed with the ban – with 34 per cent disagreeing or strongly disagreeing – than private secondary teachers (23 per cent).


For private primaries, just 20 per cent opposed the move compared with 28 per cent in state primaries.


A further 23 per cent of private school teachers agreed with the ban on closures compared to 22 per cent of state schools,


Headteachers were also more likely to be very supportive of keeping schools open – with 42 per cent strongly agreeing or agreeing with an outright ban compared with just 35 per cent of classroom teachers.


There were also regional variations, with London schools most in favour of a ban on closures – 40 per cent vs 31 per cent in the East of England. A third of teachers in the East of England disagreed or strongly disagreed with school closures while that figure was 29 per cent in London; 35 per cent in the Midlands, 31 per cent in the North West, 32 per cent in the South East, 30 per cent in the South West and 28 per cent in Yorkshire and the North East.


Schools rated as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted were the most likely to want to stay open – with 38 per cent supporting the proposed ban compared to 34 per cent of schools rated as ‘Good’ and 33 per cent of schools rated as ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’.


Eve Harper, event director, at Bett UK at Hyve Group plc, said: “Our survey shows that teachers are clearly concerned that the learning gap has widened since the pandemic. More teachers think that the Covid catch-up will take 18 months or more. There is also a stark difference in how long state school teachers fear it will take for pupils to recover lost learning compared with private school teachers. Education technology has been pivotal during remote learning and beyond but it is clear that there is a great deal to do to ensure that all students are given the very best opportunity to catch up and that teachers feel well supported in their roles.


“Teachers are also marginally in favour of a ban on future school closures, with 40 per cent not wanting schools to close even in the event of a fresh surge of covid or new pandemic, although 29 per cent remained unsure if this would be a good idea.’


“The Bett show in March will be the first live event for two years where teachers and school leaders from across the UK and edtech experts from around the globe can discuss how the pandemic has reshaped our classrooms forever and how teachers and learners can maximise the benefit from the innovations that were borne from this crisis.”


Whizz Education’s Competitive Insight to Help Schools Excel at Maths

Whizz Education, the leader in adaptive learning technology and maths educational programs, has strengthened its senior team.   Drawing on their competitive sporting backgrounds and educational expertise, the new appointments will now help schools in the UK and around the world improve provision and deliver learning experiences that cater for individual needs and pace of learning, to ensure students excel at maths. 
Emma Ringe has recently been promoted to Global Schools Director responsible for expanding Whizz Education’s value and customer centric approach; Elaine Smith has been appointed as UK Country Manager and Ben Slack, former teacher of nine years, has been appointed as Education Success Partner.   Emma, Elaine and Ben have all previously represented their country in different sports and this passion to achieve means they are well placed to support schools.
Emma Ringe, Global Schools Director, explains: “As an education partner dedicated to improving learning outcomes in maths, Whizz Education’s work now spans six continents, reaching 1.5 million students and thousands of teachers.  Our team is passionate and committed and use this energy to design and drive learning programmes in partnership with education stakeholders to overcome barriers and deliver measurable, improved outcomes. By tailoring implementations to the needs of the local context, capacity building and deploying a unique course correction approach through regular review and adjustment we empower teachers to make the best use of our digital technology solution.  This combined with whole school access to our award-winning virtual tutor Maths-Whizz, means we ensure tangible education outcomes are reached and students can achieve accelerated learning in maths. 
“Our strengthened team has a single objective: to enable school communities to reach their full potential.  They now bring their vast experience in education plus their unique insight within competitive sporting environments forward, to implement successful EdTech and hybrid learning programmes.  They will play an active path in helping and guiding decision making, enabling all students to reach their full potential and empowering teachers to use our platform to facilitate teaching skills in the classroom and beyond.”



Emma Ringe, Global Schools Director has considerable knowledge of the national curriculum in primary/secondary education gained through almost 15 years collaborating with schools in education provision.  Prior to joining Whizz Education, Emma Ringe held senior roles at Explore Learning, a leading provider of after-school tuition for 4–14-year-olds.  Emma has also worked for the social care charity Sense, supporting the development in communication and self-care skills and education, so children born deaf and blind can reach their full potential.  Emma has a Sociology Degree with a minor in social sciences awarded by Loughborough University,and has represented her country for basketball.
Elaine Smith, UK Country Manager also joins Whizz Education from Explore Learning where she worked as business process manager, regional manager and centre manager for ten years.  Elaine also has a Psychology Master’s Degree from Nottingham Trent University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Science from Loughborough University and has represented GB in rowing.
Ben Slack, Education Success Partner worked as a primary school teacher for nine years in two schools before being so impressed with the award-winning virtual tutor Maths-Whizz, he joined Whizz Education.   As a qualified teacher, Ben used Maths-Whizz as a tool in the classroom to facilitate his teaching and as a result he is an expert on implementing a hybrid learning model.  Ben has represented his country in Hockey.
For further information please see: www.whizz.com