Fire warning issued to schools and care homes amid kitchen ventilation concerns

Hy5 Commercial Cleaning

HUNDREDS of schools and care homes across the UK could be at risk of devastating fires because the commercial extraction systems in their kitchens aren’t being cleaned to required industry wide standards.

All kitchens in a commercial setting now need to be cleaned by specially accredited technicians in order to adequately remove dangerous volumes of grease which quickly build up in the extraction ventilations systems.

Due to the flammable nature of the greases and oils in large-scale kitchens, there is a real risk that any fires could rapidly spread throughout school and care home buildings.

It is estimated that an entire building could be devastated within just 10 minutes.

To alleviate the fire risks, a Building Engineering Services Competence Assessment (BESCA) Vent Hygiene Elite (VHE) scheme requires all commercial kitchens to be cleaned to what is known in the industry as TR19 level. However there are fears many organisations across the UK are unaware of this specification.

Cumbria-based Hy5 Commercial Cleaning is one of only a handful of companies in the UK with the necessary BESCA accreditation, and its team is warning businesses of the potential dangers of not adequately removing grease from their kitchen extraction.

Keith Simm, the Founder and Managing Director of Hy5, said: “All commercial kitchens will routinely be cleaned but many establishments will be totally unaware of the requirement to have the commercial extraction systems cleaned to such a high standard, and why it is so important to do so.

“Over time, the amount of grease which builds up in the system is vast and they can easily catch alight due to the nature of them being around intense heat and open flames. These greases are highly flammable and once they catch fire, the flames spread extremely quickly.

“It does not bear thinking about the worst case scenarios in schools and care homes where you could have hundreds of vulnerable people trying to get out of the building at the same time.

“This is why the BESCA VHE exists and why we have significantly invested in becoming accredited because safety is of paramount importance to us. We are leading the way nationally in grease hygiene, and we want to raise awareness about the new specification to prevent any major disasters.”

The BESCA VHE has the backing of all major insurance providers across the UK, and the companies will only provide full fire cover to establishments which have been serviced by accredited technicians.

Keith added: “If commercial kitchens have not been cleaned by BESCA VHE accredited technicians, then they will not be properly covered by any insurance policies.

“If there is sadly a fire, not only are you counting the cost of any damage, but you won’t get any payout from your insurance company either.”

The VHE has been introduced by BESCA to provide a management process for controlling the risk of grease-related fires associated with commercial kitchen extraction systems.

By cleaning the kitchen ventilation system to such a high standard, businesses remove contamination from the cooking processes to significantly reduce the fire risk presented, improve system performance and ensure the surrounding area is well ventilated.

“When it comes to fire safety, the need for competence and compliance cannot be overstated,” said Duncan Sibbald who administers VHE on behalf of BESCA.

“Many parts of our industry were effectively unregulated for years and initiatives like VHE were the result of responsible firms and individuals trying to take a stand against those less than scrupulous operators who seemed unperturbed by the fact their work was putting lives at risk.

“Since the Grenfell tragedy, that work has taken on even greater significance and we are delighted that firms like Hy5 are clearly committed to improving professional standards right across our sector.”

BESCA acts as a certification body as part of the wider Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) and aims to help UK businesses and individuals to meet industry standards, ensuring compliance and promoting best practice among the industry.

Multi award winning EdTech company launches FEPod ++ GCSEPod offer new support on functional skills ++

Multi award winning EdTech provider, GCSEPod, an Access company, has now launched a new FEPod channel to support learners undertaking functional skills qualifications and GCSE resits.  Their Further Education package includes GCSE English and Maths (including a targeted resit courses) plus, Functional Skills English and Maths for Entry Level 3, Level 1 and Level 2. 

GCSEPod, as part of Access Education, understands that everyone learns differently and that sometimes we need to rethink how we approach subjects to make sure everyone can access the learning and gets the result they need to progress on to the next stage of their life.

The content on FEPod is developed and written with examiners and tutors and is designed to support users at every stage of their learning journey.  Bringing together knowledge, skills and assessment, Functional Skills is the complete package to support learners in passing the qualifications they are studying for.  Through diagnostic assessments FEPod evaluates the level of the learner’s current knowledge and then creates an individual learning plan, highlighting weak spots and areas of strength.

Short videos, written by Functional Skills tutors and examiners, include worked examples and real-life application of skills.  Our Check and Challenge function provides opportunities for learners to test themselves and exam-style assignments allow for assessment practice. Evidence of learner attainment and engagement is easily tracked at a group and individual level in addition to effortless reporting and sharing of information.

More information on GCSEPod, an Access Company:

  • Founded in 2006.
  • In 2021 GCSEPod was awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the category of International Development. 
  • GCSEPod has received the BETT award for Secondary Content three times, in 2015, 2018 and 2021
  • GCSEPod provides access to over 1 million students across over 40 countries.
  • Over 1,700 schools have used GCSEPod across the world. GCSEPod is a member of the Council of British International Schools (COBIS) and British Schools in the Middle East (BSME). 
  • To date, GCSEPod has been used by 430,000 secondary school students and 67,000 teachers across the United Kingdom and more than 1,700 schools using GCSEPod around the world.
  • GCSEPod provides content for GCSEs and IGCSEs, all GCSEPod content is rigorously quality assured and is relevant to the 8 main exam boards covered in the UK (5) and Internationally (3).
  • On average, pupils who regularly use GCSEPod achieve 0.7 more Progress 8 points than non-users.
  • GCSEPod are official sponsors of the Race Equality in Education All Party Parliamentary Group



John Wallis Academy Gains Communications Flexibility and Simplicity with Avaya OneCloud UCaaS

Avaya (NYSE: AVYA), a global leader in solutions to enhance and simplify communications and collaboration, is providing John Wallis Academy, a mixed all-through school with academy status in Ashford, Kent, with its Avaya OneCloud™ UCaaS solution to connect the entire school across multiple dispersed locations and create a cohesive digital environment. John Wallis Academy selected Avaya Cloud Office by RingCentral® for its ability to meet the school’s needs with a simple, self-administered platform delivering the latest communication technologies including calling, messaging, audio and video conferencing, screen-sharing, task management, presence and more.


Advances in technology are providing schools with the opportunity to rethink the tools they use to communicate. For education institutions today, communication can be so much more than a phone system. The enhanced communications experience delivered by UCaaS goes way beyond audio and video calls to include task management and a place to keep all files and communications in one secure place that can be accessed anywhere, anytime, using any device all through a single app. It can also connect an entire school across multiple dispersed locations to create a cohesive virtual campus.


“We decided to go with Avaya’s UCaaS solution after our own initial research indicated that our existing system was struggling to meet the demands of the Academy. After reviewing several options, Avaya was by far the best provider, delivering a simple, self-administered platform that incorporates the latest communication technologies,” explains Matthew Connolly, Data & Systems Manager at John Wallis Academy “We can now manage our users, call queues, groups, and hardware allocation from a single website. Not only are we saving time using features such as automatic voice mail transcription and the ability to access anyone, anywhere, through the excellent softphone application allowing staff to connect to each other the way they want on the device they want, but we are actually saving money against our previous solution.” 


“The experience of staff and administrators in a school is just as vital as the customer experience. In the education industry, employees’ communications need to be simple and effortless, which means being unaware of the layers of technology integration that might be going on behind the scenes so everyone can get on with doing their job well,” said Steve Joyner, VP UK&I, Avaya. “Avaya customers are empowered to provide their employees – in this case, teachers and admin and staff – with the best communication experiences.”


John Wallis Academy was assisted in its search for a communication technology partner by Red Rose Technologies, which understood its requirements, did the research, and provided options, working closely with all parties to make sure the project met the functionality, budget and performance needs of the Academy. Red Rose’s role benefitted John Wallis Academy as the supplier marketplace is busy and over-crowed. It takes time and effort to root out the noise and non-applicable suppliers, which the school does not have. Red Rose believed that Avaya was one of the standout vendors due to its demonstrated history supporting the education community and the fact that when the school needed service and support, they could deal directly with the technology vendor, meaning only one number to call for support 24/7/365.



About Avaya

Businesses are built by the experiences they provide, and everyday millions of those experiences are delivered by Avaya Holdings Corp. (NYSE: AVYA). Avaya is shaping what’s next for the future of work, with innovation and partnerships that deliver game-changing business benefits. Our cloud communications solutions and multi-cloud application ecosystem power personalized, intelligent, and effortless customer and employee experiences to help achieve strategic ambitions and desired outcomes. Together, we are committed to help grow your business by delivering Experiences that Matter. Learn more at



Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

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All trademarks identified by ®, TM, or SM are registered marks, trademarks, and service marks, respectively, of Avaya Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.


Source: Avaya Newsroom


St Albert’s Primary School in Glasgow is championing inclusion through the creation of short storybooks that aim to challenge diversity of characters in children’s books. The project is tackling the lack of availability of suitable titles in children’s literature by writing, illustrating, and publishing their own stories.


After doing a survey of the books in their school and local library, the pupils from St Albert’s found that almost all the books featured white characters as well as a male author, illustrator, and protagonist. Looking to inspire and empower children and community members by seeing themselves reflected in the books they read, the pupils decided to create their own stories – portraying children and personalities like themselves.


In 2020, St Albert’s Primary school launched their storybooks which were produced despite school closures, working with their author mentors over Zoom. The three books are a collection of 18 short stories called “We Can be Heroes”, where 100% of the stories features Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) characters.


This project won the Glasgow Social Enterprise Academy’s Dragons’ Den in 2021 and was awarded a National Social Enterprise Champion Award. The pupils have also put the books up for sale through their own Etsy shop – ensuring further support for their social enterprise.


The pupils are now in the second phase of their social enterprise project and have secured a grant from the Scottish Libraries and Information Council’s School Libraries Improvement Fund to continue their work in partnership with Barrowland Ballet. Together, they are looking to develop interpretive performances that bring the stories to life.


Neil McLean, CEO at Social Enterprise Academy, said: “St Albert’s Primary School has been a participant of our Social Enterprise Schools Programme for years now, and they have created such a positive change in their community. The lack of diversity in our society is a massive issue, and it’s inspirational to see these young minds come up with ideas on how to tackle matters like this.

“A fundamental component of education is encouraging young people to believe that they can make a difference in their communities and the Social Enterprise Schools programme helps bring that to life. It’s exciting to see their ideas turned into innovative social enterprises.”


Shirley-Anne Brightman, Principal Teacher at St Albert’s Primary School and writing project lead, said: “The pupils, parents, writers and illustrators who have collaborated on these stories are all determined to create positive change through this project. All our stakeholders from the Scottish BAME Writers Network to the Scottish Book Trust have been fantastic. The St. Albert’s motto is ‘Creating Conscience-led Communities’ and this social enterprise work is just one strand of the issue-based work we champion.”


Nadine Cohen, St. Albert’s Social Enterprise lead, said: “The team at the Social Enterprise Academy have supported us and given the children much deserved recognition for their work. Helping our pupils develop their passion for creating the change they want to see within our local community is at the very heart of our culturally responsive curriculum at St. Albert’s, and it’s a privilege to help them to realise their potential and action their ideas.”


For more information on how to get involved in the Social Enterprise Schools programme, please visit:



A South Gloucestershire primary school has been recognised for showing excellence in supporting cycling, walking and other forms of sustainable and active travel.  


Lyde Green Primary School has received a Bronze accreditation this term from national scheme Modeshift Stars, which is aimed at helping schools, businesses and other organisations create active travel plans to cut congestion and air pollution.  


Will Roberts, CEO of Castle School Education Trust (CSET) which runs Lyde Green Primary School, said: “We are very pleased to receive this accreditation from Modeshift. The scheme is an excellent way of embedding and promoting sustainable and active travel to school which is important for cutting pollution and congestion at our school gates.  


“We are passionate about healthy living choices for our students and part of that is encouraging cycling and walking to school. We are now looking at implementing this scheme across all of our seven schools in South Gloucestershire.” 


The Castle School in Thornbury, also run by CSET, was awarded the accreditation too and is the first secondary school in South Gloucestershire to receive the accolade. To mark the milestone the school was presented with a collection of environmental books regarding climate change, nature and how children can make a difference to the planet.   


The CSET group includes Charfield Primary School, Lyde Green Primary School, Severn Beach Primary School, Downend School, Mangotsfield School, Marlwood School and The Castle School.  


For more information about the multi-academy trust visit 

Stress, anxiety and depression on the rise as two in five teachers contemplate leaving profession

  • Two thirds of schools are more concerned about managing staff mental health since pandemic
  • Increased workloads, longer hours, and taking more work home are contributing to poor mental health
  • One in 10 schools don’t provide any mental health support for teachers


New research1 from specialist education insurer Ecclesiastical has revealed schools have seen an increase in teacher mental health issues since the start of the pandemic and two in five (38%) have seriously considered leaving the education sector.


Previous research2 from Ecclesiastical suggests the number of teachers considering leaving the profession has increased since the start of 2021. In March 2021, it was reported one in three (34%) teachers were considering leaving the profession as a result of “unbearable pressure.”


Increase in teacher mental health issues since the pandemic


The pandemic has taken a huge toll on teachers and two thirds (66%) of schools are more concerned about managing the mental health and wellbeing of teachers.


Schools have seen an increase in teacher mental health issues since the start of the pandemic. More than half of teachers said stress (58%) and anxiety (56%) amongst teachers had increased, and two in five (45%) said depression had increased.


Increased workloads (44%), taking on additional responsibilities that are increasing working hours (36%), and taking more work home (32%) are the biggest contributors to poor teacher mental health.


Supporting teachers with mental health issues


Additional training for staff on managing mental health issues (38%), introducing mindfulness techniques, such as meditation (33%), and providing third party professional helplines (31%) are the top ways schools are supporting teachers with mental health issues.


Despite most schools taking steps to support teachers, one in 10 (14%) don’t provide any mental health support for teachers.


Faith Kitchen, Customer Segment Director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, said: “As one of the leading insurers of schools in the UK, Ecclesiastical is passionate about supporting the education sector. Covid-19 has put teachers under huge pressure and exacerbated mental health issues in the sector. The pandemic has created new risks for schools and seriously exacerbated existing challenges in the sector. Retention of staff is going to be a key concern for schools and our research has found two in five teachers have seriously considered leaving the education sector since the start of the pandemic. We encourage schools to think about the risks they may face and how best to protect their organisations for the future.”


Ecclesiastical Insurance’s Education Risk Barometer 2021 explores the top risks within the education sector and focuses on key areas of concern including pupil and teacher mental health and safeguarding. It is the latest in a series of sector insights from Ecclesiastical Insurance, combining independent research with specialist knowledge from the insurer.


Ecclesiastical Insurance offers a range of risk management support and guidance to help schools manage the risks they face. For more information, visit the Hub for Education.


Where’s Wally? Weekender is back and bigger than ever for 2022

Show off your stripes this spring by signing up for the National Literacy Trust’s iconic Where’s Wally? fun run event, and take on the challenge wherever you are!


Event:                   Where’s Wally? Weekender!

Date:                     Saturday 19 March – Sunday 20 March 2022

Time:                    Whenever suits you!

Venue:                 Your local area

Length:                 5k, 10k or 1k for under 12s

Price:                    £15 per child and £20 per adult

To register:


On the weekend of 19th March 2022, hundreds of runners, families and book lovers will once again take to the streets dressed as popular children’s book character Where’s Wally? and run, jog or walk to raise funds and awareness for the National Literacy Trust. Supported by Walker Books, publishers of Where’s Wally?, the virtual event is open to everyone across the UK to show off their Wally stripes and take on a 5k, 10k or even 1k challenge for kids under 12, in their local area.


After the success of the 2021 event which raised over £74,000 for the charity, the iconic annual fun run remains virtual this year, in order to allow participants nationwide to join in and run, walk or jog their chosen distances wherever they are on the weekend of 19th March.


Once registered, all runners will be able to order their free Where’s Wally? costume, complete with the iconic glasses and bobble hat, ready for the weekender. Furthermore, every ‘Wally’ taking part will also receive a collectable medal and a virtual goody bag on completion of their challenge. Participants can also share their efforts on social media by using the hashtag #whereswallyweekender and tagging the National Literacy Trust @literacy_trust.


Jonathan Douglas CBE, Chief Executive of the National Literacy Trust, said: “Once again, I really look forward to seeing hundreds of Wallys walking, jogging and running around the country in all their red and white striped glory in aid of our charity. It is so uplifting to see a much-loved children’s book character bringing together families, runners, book lovers and many more for such a fun and positive fitness challenge for a good cause. Every single runner taking part will help our mission to change the life stories of disadvantaged children in the UK.”


All the money raised from the Where’s Wally? Weekender will go towards the National Literacy Trust’s vital work to help children across the UK who most need literacy support, providing them with a route out of poverty and a chance to change their life story.


Jonathan continues: “There are still many communities with low levels of literacy which can seriously affect people’s lives. One of the impacts of the pandemic is nearly two years of disruption to education services, and the National Literacy Trust is working tirelessly to support schools and families whose children have had their literacy and learning most adversely affected. That’s why we need your help to ensure that we can continue to be there for the children who need us most. Thank you to everyone who has already signed up to the Weekender – I’ll be out and about looking out for all the other Wallys. To those still thinking about it, take a chance on Wally and let’s change a young person’s life story together.”


To inspire a nationwide Wally ‘takeover’, the National Literacy Trust is calling on people and groups from around the UK to take part. Whether it be families and friends, running clubs, book clubs, school initiatives, hobby groups, work colleagues, sports teams or those simply looking for a fun way to work out, the Where’s Wally? Weekender is open to all. Along with a brilliant team from Walker Books, other teams can virtually compete to win the fastest team award and raise the most money.


What’s more, co-authors of hugely popular book Play Like Your Heroes: Pro tips for becoming a top footballer Matt Oldfield and Seth Burkett are also supporting the event. Matt and Seth will be wearing their Wally outfits and spreading the word on social media to encourage people to sign up to the fun run and raise money for the National Literacy Trust, a charity both authors have worked with closely.


Matt Oldfield, author, said: “I’m so excited to be part of the Where’s Wally? Weekender this year. I am passionate about getting children into reading and improving literacy levels through the medium of sport, and this fun run is a brilliant example of this. The National Literacy Trust works really hard to provide reading and writing support to those who need it most – and I have loved working with them on several sport and literacy projects.

“I can’t wait to wear my Wally stripes with pride and cheer on all the other Wallys supporting such a great cause.”


Seth Burkett, writer and former professional footballer, said: “I know first-hand how engaging in sport and fitness can encourage children to discover the magic of reading. The Where’s Wally Weekender is a fantastic way to do something fun and active while also celebrating the joys of reading and supporting the National Literacy Trust in their vital work.

“Reading is such an important skill and I am proud to be part of a sea of Wallys dressing up and doing their bit to help lots of children on their way to brighter futures.”


Ed Ripley, Sales and Marketing Director at Walker Books, said: “We are so excited to be a part of the Where’s Wally? Weekender for another year. It is always brilliant to see hundreds of Wally fans of all ages donning their best stripes to raise money for a fantastic charity and bringing the fun of the Where’s Wally? stories to life. We hope that Wally can continue to inspire people to keep reading and to get active. The team at Walker Books can’t wait to take on the challenge and will be looking out for other groups of Wallys along the way.”


Find out more and register for the 2022 Where’s Wally? Weekender, visit:


Andria Zafirakou MBE, Lord Jim Knight, Dame Alison Peacock and Ross McGill call on trailblazing UK schools to enter inaugural $250,000 World’s Best School Prizes

Award-winning teacher, Andria Zafirakou MBE, former Minister of State for Schools and Learning Lord Jim Knight, Chief Executive of the Chartered College of Teaching, Professor Dame Alison Peacock, and founder of @TeacherToolkit, Ross McGill, have joined the Judging Academy for the new World’s Best School Prizes, launched this year by T4 Education in partnership with Accenture

Award-winning teacher, Andria Zafirakou MBE, former Minister of State for Schools and Learning, Lord Jim Knight, Chief Executive of the Chartered College of Teaching, Professor Dame Alison Peacock, and founder of @TeacherToolkit, Ross McGill,  today urged trailblazing schools in the UK and across the globe to apply for the inaugural World’s Best School Prizes, launched by T4 Education in partnership with Accenture. Andria Zafirakou, Lord Jim Knight, Dame Alison Peacock and Ross McGill have joined leading figures from around the world on the Judging Academy of the new $250,000 Prizes that will celebrate schools everywhere for the pivotal role they play in developing the next generation of learners and for their enormous contribution to society’s progress especially in the wake of COVID.

The World’s Best School Prizes have been launched this year to create a powerful new platform to tell the stories of schools that are transforming the lives of their students and making a real difference to their communities.

With over 1.5 billion learners impacted by school and university closures, global education is emerging from the greatest crisis it has ever faced. Even before the pandemic, the UN found progress was already too slow to achieve its Sustainable Development Goal 4 of quality education for all by 2030. The World’s Best School Prizes provide a grassroots solution to help build the systemic change needed. They will enable inspirational schools from every corner of the globe to share their best practices, help others replicate their innovative ideas, and democratise school-based expertise to improve education.

Andria Zafirakou said:

“As a teacher, I know first hand the tireless work schools in the UK and across the globe have put in throughout the pandemic to keep children learning.

“The first ever World’s Best School Prizes will help showcase and celebrate the incredible work our schools are doing across the planet. I urge them to apply so that the whole world can see their greatness.”

Lord Jim Knight said:

“Schools are essential expressions of our communities and our hopes for the future.  As the world becomes more connected, our schools reflect a global community.  Now is the perfect time to establish the World’s Best School Prizes.”

Dame Alison Peacock said:

“Schools and all who work within them deserve recognition and praise. The pandemic has brought the world closer together in our shared endeavour of supporting children and young people to learn in the face of adversity. I hope these new global Prizes will increase cooperation, collegiality and kindness.”

Ross McGill said:

“Teaching is a team sport; what better way to support all teachers by celebrating some of our amazing schools from across the world.”

Vikas Pota, Founder of T4 Education and the World’s Best School Prizes, said:

“As the world seeks to rebuild from the devastation of the COVID pandemic, we must always remember the vital role our schools will play. Strong schools will not only equip the next generation to fulfil their full potential, but empower them to tackle the greatest challenges our societies face, from inequality to environmental destruction and rapid technological change.

“We have launched the World’s Best School Prizes to bring to light the stories of schools that are building stronger societies, and give them a voice at the top table to help transform education so that every child can achieve the quality education that should be their right by birth.”

There are five Prizes schools can apply for:

  • The World’s Best School Prize for Community Collaboration
  • The World’s Best School Prize for Environmental Action
  • The World’s Best School Prize for Innovation
  • The World’s Best School Prize for Overcoming Adversity
  • The World’s Best School Prize for Supporting Healthy Lives

A Top 10 shortlist for each Prize will be announced later this year, followed by the Top 3 finalists for each Prize. After a public advisory vote, the winner of each Prize will be chosen based on rigorous criteria by a Judging Academy comprising distinguished leaders all across the globe including academics, educators, NGOs, social entrepreneurs, government, civil society, and the private sector.

The winner will be announced in October 2022 at World Education Week. A prize of US$250,000 will be equally shared among the winners of the five Prizes, with each receiving an award of US$50,000. 

All 50 shortlisted schools across the five Prizes will share their best practices through toolkits that showcase their “secret sauce” to innovative approaches and step-by-step instructions on how others can replicate their methods to help improve education everywhere.

The Prizes are open to all schools who teach students in compulsory schooling, and are legally registered with their respective Ministry of Education or government regulatory authority, including early childhood centres, kindergarten, primary and secondary schools, and online schools.

Schools can apply online at 

Applications close on March 1st, 2022, at 11.45pm GMT.


Multi-Academy Trust makes substantial changes in their IT infrastructure and becomes a technology leader. 

Essex-based Multi-Academy Trust became a beacon of technology in the area and an attractive choice for both students and schools looking to join the Trust thanks to the fully-managed, highly secure, cloud-based network solution designed to scale as they grow. 


A big challenge: upgrade of disparate IT systems in Multi-Academy Trust. 

Bridge Academy Trust are Essex based, medium Multi-Academy Trust (MAT). Their mission is that each school within the Trust is a place of learning, where young people enjoy coming, are enriched with opportunities and achieve high standards. The Trust incorporates 4 secondary and 8 primary schools. Their whole IT infrastructure consisted of a large number of disparate onsite equipment. Each of the schools had its own connectivity and on-site Firewall filtering. Many of these old networks had low bandwidth, limited features, and high prices.  

Following excellent references from other Trusts, the Bridge Academy Trust chose a well-established provider of IT services and products for the Education Sector – M-Tech Systems to resolve those problems and improve performance. 


Stress-free, smooth transformation into a technology leader.  

M-Tech proposed a proven and scalable solution. The first was the M-Tech cloud hosted firewall, a core routable wide area network, which brought together old and diversified IT architecture.  

Centrally managed filtering was also an important aspect of improving the Trust’s IT infrastructure. They wanted to keep all devices (Windows, Chrome, and iOS) protected and managed. Lightspeed Solution Suite came out as the most secure and flexible solution. Administrators are now able to filter, manage, protect, and monitor from a cloud-based single unified platform. All the access is given through policy-based controls with detailed settings for blocking and filtering. The Trust’s defence remains current due to the continuous updates, target threat analysis and automatic intelligence tools.  

Finally, M-Tech Systems ensured that the Bridge Academy Trust can maintain vital operational functions during and after a disaster. The backup and disaster recovery platform was chosen as the best choice for the Trust. Now, their backup traffic doesn’t move across the internet but flows directly into their cloud backup repository for added security.  


M-Tech are easy to work with and understand our needs. Support has been excellent when we have needed them.  

Mark Fuller, IT Manager, Bridge Academy Trust  


The result and further plans.  

The Bridge Academy Trust can now benefit from fast, reliable connectivity, on a highly secure and highly available, fully managed network. The visibility was significantly improved, now detection and blocking of threats is much quicker. Moreover, traffic management is more comprehensive. Thanks to the backup and disaster recovery platform the Trust can be confident in their disaster recovery abilities.   

The whole model is simple to upgrade and scale up, so more schools can be easily brought on board. Especially the smaller ones, which wouldn’t have a possibility to achieve such a high level of technology on their own.  

That’s not everything! All schools benefit from lower power costs and reduced environmental impact as all services are centrally hosted.  

Four new schools have recently joined the Bridge Academy Trust. They were temporarily connected to VPN and currently trialling some additional, cloud hosted VMs for central Domain Services and their HR system to achieve their cloud-first centralisation goal. After their contracts expire, they hope to follow the steps of other schools and improve their whole IT infrastructure.  


If you would like to talk about the best solution for your school or trust, don’t hesitate to contact M-Tech Systems at or via our website:


Free maths resources based on real-life scenarios, such as planning a summer holiday or analysing business performance, have been made available for GCSE pupils by chartered accountancy body WICAE.


ICAEW has partnered with online education company Nebula Learning to launch the resources, which are designed to make GCSE maths more relevant to teenagers’ lives.


The resources will also help pupils prepare for their exams; a quarter of GCSE maths questions involves the application of maths to real-life settings.


The new teaching resources have been mapped against the national curriculum for Key Stage Four pupils and cover a wide range of topics. These including using algebra to compare mobile phone contracts, analysing business performance with statistics, and using geometry to budget a home renovation.


The downloadable resources are now available for all secondary schools across the UK following a successful pilot phase in 2021.


Sharon Spice, Director, Global Marketing, Brand and Belonging, ICAEW, said:


“These new resources will help teachers provide an engaging approach to maths lessons by bringing the subject to life, so young people can use maths in the situations they may face in the real world.


“Given that a quarter of GCSE maths exam questions are set in a real-world context and cause pupils the most struggles, we were keen to ensure that our resources cover these scenarios and link back to the national curriculum and exam content. We hope teachers and pupils find them useful.”