Online Parent-Teacher Conferences should be encouraged

Once or twice a year, parents pay a visit to the school to meet with teachers and discuss about their children. Whether it’s about the academic progress their kids have made, or how they are doing in general within the school environment, the annual parent-teacher conference is a vital component within the education systems from all over the world.

So, what happened when the COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic? Well, naturally when the schools closed down, parent-teacher conferences were also cancelled indefinitely. But now that the schools are largely back to normal, it is time again for teachers and parents to come together and work towards creating an even better learning experience for the children. Many schools have shifted towards hybrid education, combining and alternating between in-person and remote learning. Consequently, there is also a growing trend of school administrators hosting both virtual and physical meetings for parent-teacher conferences.

According to Rene Buhay, SVP of Sales and Marketing at AVer Europe, “By utilising the latest education technology such as video conferencing, online parent-teacher conferences can be a powerful and effective way in building meaningful relationships between the families and educators. Contrary to what some may believe, having parent-teacher conferences online are not inferior to in-person meetings. In fact, these virtual conferences can bring many advantageous factors in areas where face-to-face meetings may be limited.”

 Here are some key reasons why online parent-teacher conferences should be encouraged.

Flexible and Accessible

In a time of uncertainty where the world is trying to establish new “norms”, flexibility is crucial in ensuring a level playing field for all children. The traditional parent-teacher conference often did not have a concrete schedule that the parents could follow. Instead, there would be some general timetable for when each teacher is available to talk, but often parents would end up waiting in line for prolonged periods before they got their turn. It’s also not surprising that sometimes parents can’t make it to the conference due to work shift hours, prior commitment, or long-distance commute. With the option of having the parent-teacher conferences online, it eliminates these problems and increases the chance of both parents being able to attend. An internet connection, a video conferencing camera, and open platform such as Zoom, TEAMS or SKYPE,  is all a parent needs to join a virtual conference. Parents can now communicate with teachers from the comfort of their home, or virtually anywhere through the tap of a few buttons.

Efficient and Easy

While parents can enjoy the flexibility and accessibility of attending virtually, teachers also benefit from these online conferences. No longer do teachers have to struggle with presenting students’ work to parents in a noisy gym filled with overlapping conversations, nor will they be restricted to stay at a designated table due to limited space. By implementing educational technology in online conferences, teachers can stream and show all the work a student has done through a visualiser that’s equipped with a rotatable camera head, giving them the option to show their face and the student’s work interchangeably. Alternatively, if the teacher also likes to move around the room and gesture to points written on a blackboard, a simple tracking camera with plug-and-play USB connectivity would allow them to do so in seconds. With the utilisation of these two, we can say goodbye to distracting noises and poor visibility in a room full of waiting parents.

Build an Engaged Community

Choosing to participate in online parent-teacher conferences is essentially taking a more digital approach. With technology weaving its way more into the field of education, the level of convenience and visibility it brings can encourage parents to attend online conferences more often and in turn allow both parties the opportunity to get consistent insights and communication from each other. In doing so, this will create a sense of community that is connected based on collaboration for the sake of the children’s growth and development.

About AVer Europe

AVer Europe provides intelligent technological solutions which harness the power of visual communications for business and education. With over 20 years of research, development and manufacturing excellence AVer holds numerous international design, innovation, application, and service awards for exceptional product usability, reliability and customer satisfaction.



One former head teacher’s struggle to secure classroom-ready staff for his school has led to the launch of Moxi, a specialist education recruitment and training company, which is set to revolutionise the way the sector sources talent. 

Moxi offers a nationwide service to fill schools’ recruitment needs at all levels, from support staff and teaching assistants to classroom teachers and senior management leadership professionals. It also specialises in supplying qualified professionals to support special educational needs. 


Founder, James Lowe has over 16 years’ experience in the education sector. Having been headteacher at specialist independent school EdStart for 9 years, James now owns and runs EdStart, whilst also sitting at the helm of Grolife, a group of organisations all designed to support the education sector.

With EdStart schools spanning five sites across Greater Manchester recruiting quality teams was proving harder and harder.  Frustration and disillusionment with both the process and the quality of candidates finally prompted James to launch Moxi, bringing his hard-earned expertise to shake up education recruitment.

Moxi matches schools with candidates who are well trained and primed to hit the ground running in a range of education settings, so they are ready to serve the varying needs of pupils.  Like James, the whole Moxi team has worked at the coalface of education, meaning they understand the sector’s unique challenges.

James said: ‘’Over the years in my various management roles in schools, I’ve faced the situation of either having no support when short staffed or accepting support that is very much below par. This isn’t fair on the pupils, whose education suffers, or the existing staff who are already working incredibly hard to ensure every child receives the education and pastoral care they deserve. I’m passionate about helping schools to source the teams they need so they that they can continue to do the great job they do despite the challenges they face.”

For schools struggling to recruit, the latest Department for Education (DfE) figures will come as no surprise: there has been an 8 per cent fall in the number of people entering initial teacher training.  What’s more, only 82 per cent of secondary teachers needed for England in the 2021 -2022 academic year have been recruited.**

Moxi’s answer is to harness, and – importantly – train, talent from both inside and outside of the sector. As part of its recruitment service, Moxi offers a unique training provision which benefits schools seeking high-quality candidates as well as people looking for a role in the education sector who are keen to build their employability skills and boost their confidence. 

James said: ‘’We called the business Moxi, taking inspiration from the word ‘moxie’ which means confidence and determination. From my years at the frontline in schools, I know that skills can be taught, but natural energy and attitude are everything. That’s why we’re excited to help unlock the potential of people from outside the sector, or those just starting out in their career, who can bring invaluable transferable skills to a rewarding profession.

‘’From recent graduates who hadn’t considered teaching as a career option, to people returning to work after a career break, and even former professional sports people, there’s a wealth of talent just waiting to be accessed. We’re seeing lots of students, who are about to graduate in subjects like geography, sports science or sociology.  They’re not sure what to do with their degrees, and you can see that lightbulb moment when they realise teaching could be for them.  Our training course opens this door, it’s free to candidates and sets them up to feel confident and ready for an exciting new challenge.’’  UNIQUE TRAINING FOR CLASSROOM-READY CANDIDATES

Thanks to its close partnership with EdStart specialist schools, Moxi offers the unique opportunity for candidates to be trained at its own education facilities.  With a range of training available, its free, entry level course is already proving popular. Knowing that job seekers need flexibility to fit around their current work, study or job-hunting commitments, the course quickly readies them for success.  Totalling two weeks’ training, this very flexible course includes three days’ face-to-face learning in the ‘live’ EdStart educational setting, guided by a learning mentor. This is followed by online training, with modules that can be completed to fit around the candidate’s own timetable. From managing behaviours to working with additional needs, the training offers candidates a real competitive edge.

Further courses available through Moxi include teacher training with affiliated universities, the opportunity to ‘earn while you learn’ and to access part and fully funded training.


Stuart Howarth, 31 years old, enjoyed a successful career in rugby, playing in the Super League over 100 times, including for his hometown team Wigan Warriors. Ready for a change in direction, he has now built a rewarding career as a teacher at EdStart. He said: 

“Moving into EdStart gave me all the training and support I could have wished for in pivoting my career. It meant the world to me that the team recognised the value in my transferable skills as a sportsman.  Through the launch of Moxi, the team behind EdStart is now able to open doors for many more people, supporting them through the next steps in their career.  This will make a huge difference to lots of people’s professional woes. I, for one, am grateful for the opportunity to share my passion for science and make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable students.’’


James added: ‘’You can spot a Moxi candidate a mile off.  They’re calm, confident and classroom ready. They’re professional, well presented and fully prepared. It’s a win-win formula: schools can feel confident they’ll get the resource they need with Moxi supporting their recruitment, pupils are given the education and care they deserve, and candidates have a positive experience in education, helping attract and retain much-needed talent in the sector.’’ 


Pupils at a Rochdale primary school have marked the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in a royally creative way this week – by designing their own Jubilee-themed computer games.

Year 4 pupils from Parkfield Primary School in Rochdale put their digital skills to the test to create the apps, which featured HM The Queen as the main character.

The children worked together to build the games, which sent her Majesty on a maze treasure hunt in search of corgis and crowns. Pupils used resources from Discovery Education Coding to code the royal apps, before sharing them with classmates who enjoyed playing them on tablet computers.

The fun activity marked the start of Parkfield Primary’s Jubilee celebrations, culminating in a school-wide party for staff and pupils on Thursday.

One Year 4 pupil said:

“I liked how I could add lots of royal themed images onto my design”

While another said:

“I liked programming the Queen to collect all her valuable objects in my game.”

Teaching Assistant Simon Haughton said:

” The children enjoyed showcasing their coding skills by designing Jubilee-themed games for their friends to play. Discovery Education Coding offers primary schools a great child-friendly interface with just the right amount of coding blocks to combine together to produce both interesting and fun programs to run. ”


Howard Lewis, Managing Director UK and International at Discovery Education said:

“We were delighted that Parkfield Primary School used our coding resources to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. It’s clear that they had great fun designing their royal-themed apps and we were very impressed by their imagination and creativity!”

For more information about Discovery Education’s digital resources and professional learning services, visit and stay connected with Discovery Education on social media through TwitterFacebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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New Headteacher for East Hunsbury Primary School as tributes are paid to retiring Head after 21 years’ service

“Be kind, work hard, believe” – that is the message to children at East Hunsbury Primary School from new Headteacher Kathryn Pennington, who has taken over from Rita Arundel following her retirement after 21 years in post.


Kathryn, who joined the school as Deputy Headteacher in June 2020 before assuming a dual role as Acting Headteacher alongside Rita from April 2021, began her tenure as East Hunsbury’s permanent Head last month. Having previously been Assistant Headteacher at Bridgewater Primary School in Northampton and PE Lead at Nicholas Hawksmoor Primary School in Towcester, Kathryn is a familiar face across the Northamptonshire education scene. Born and raised in the county, she gained a first-class BA (Hons) Primary Education degree at the University of Northampton, and also worked as a specialist literacy consultant supporting school leaders worldwide.


“I am proud and privileged to be Headteacher of East Hunsbury Primary School,” Kathryn said. “I always wanted to be a teacher from a very young age, and as my career has developed I have always wanted to be a leader. My vision is for us to be a community-driven, family-focused school that delivers an ambitious, inclusive and enabling curriculum in which all children achieve exceptionally high standards from their given starting points. We want to be a school where everyone wants to be because they feel happy, represented, valued and prepared for every stage of their lives: the village school in a town that achieves the same as a private school. Children only get one chance at primary education, and it is our responsibility to make their education the best it can be.”


The 429-pupil school, which includes a 47-placed specialist unit for children with significant learning difficulties, is part of Northampton Primary Academy Trust – and both share a common vision of ‘Extraordinary Children doing Extraordinary Things’. “We are one school, mainstream primary and specialist unit aligned, a flagship school for our successful inclusive practice where children all learn from each other and a community in which diversity is embraced and celebrated,” Kathryn said. “With the uniqueness of our staff and quality of teaching, together we can be the greatest school. As Headteacher I will always act with all children at the centre of my decision-making.”


Kathryn also paid tribute to her predecessor and vowed to build on her legacy. “I get very emotional talking about Rita – we both share a love of East Hunsbury – and she believed in me, guided me, listened to me, has been a big support in the transition, and I am so grateful to her,” she said. “The foundations laid by Rita are really solid. She has, and always will be, at the heart of the school’s DNA. Under Rita’s leadership the school has offered a wealth of experiences which inspire the children – and we will strive to develop opportunities further across areas such as the arts and sports.”


At her final assembly, Rita – who has given 40 years’ service to education – was presented with a jug made emblazoned with children’s fingerprints and a quilt they had made. She has since donated some money for a reading chair in the school. “It has been an absolute privilege to lead such a vibrant school with such enthusiastic and engaging children, supported and challenged by caring, dedicated staff,” she said. “I have always tried my best to lead the school firmly and fairly, with compassion and rigor, ensuring that every individual is valued equally, feels included and encouraged to aspire to be the best they can be. In Kathryn, I am delighted to be placing the school in such skilful, ambitious, caring and enthusiastic hands. I look forward to watching the school continue to improve and excel – and I know that the school will continue to make memories for generations to come.”


Louise Whaites, Chair of Governors at East Hunsbury Primary School, said: “On behalf of the Governing Body, I would like to thank Rita for her long service to the school and wish her a happy and healthy retirement. We will always remember Rita’s dedication to East Hunsbury, and that the school was one of the most important things in her life. She was very passionate about the school’s development as part of the community, initially its establishment within a new community and then over the years responding to the needs of the changing community. It was also very important to her that we were positioned as one school – mainstream and specialist unit together – and Kathryn shares that.

“Looking forward, we are really excited about Kathryn’s plans for the school. She has some brilliant ideas to carry on Rita’s vision as a place in the community for everyone, not just the children, and is already re-building links externally that we were forced to put on hold due to the pandemic. Educationally her mission is research and evidence-based, everything focused on facts, and all with the objective of helping each individual child to fulfil their potential, giving them opportunities to thrive and do their best.”


Julia Kedwards, CEO of Northampton Primary Academy Trust, said: “Finding a replacement Head for East Hunsbury Primary following the retirement of experienced and skilled Headteacher, Rita Arundel, was no mean feat and we are thrilled to welcome Kathryn into our school Trust. Kathryn has significant education and leadership experience and is already building on the solid foundations left by Rita to take East Hunsbury forward into the future.”


Reception places at East Hunsbury Primary School are still available for September 2022. For more information, please contact the school office on 01604 677970 or


Celebrate Pride Month 2022 with British Army LGBTQ+ student resources


The British Army is marking the start of Pride Month by urging secondary school teachers to download its free, award-winning resource, LGBTQ+ Voices. It helps students build upon their understanding of the LGBTQ+ community, including trans rights. The LGBTQ+ Voices aligns to the Gatsby Benchmarks for good careers education, creating a space for discussion of careers and workplaces through curriculum learning. 

LGBTQ+ Voices has been downloaded more than 2,000 times since it launched last year and provides teachers with curriculum links to PSHE or Health and Wellbeing, Citizenship and History. It features both a lesson plan and an assembly with interactive tasks. Together, they aim to challenge perceptions of the LGBTQ+ community and help students aged 11–16 understand the importance of diversity and inclusion.

The award-winning resource enables students to explore the contributions of LGBTQ+ Army personnel past and present. It features four fascinating case studies, including Deborah Penny, the first trans soldier in the British Army.

Many teachers feel ill-equipped to answer any questions that students may have around trans rights. It is hoped that LGBTQ+ Voices will play an important contribution to the current debate. By giving students the tools that they need, they can play their part in addressing the inequality and discrimination felt by the trans community. Students will understand why being an LGBTQ+ ally is so very important, even if they don’t identify as LGBTQ+.

LGBTQ+ Voices was developed with teachers and support from the Army LGBTQ+ network. Teachers have remarked how the resources are “rich in information”. They offer “powerful” learning, are “self-contained” and are “simple to use”, especially for non-specialists and those less confident in discussing LGBTQ+ topics.

Lizy Watson, a lead practitioner for teaching and learning at Philip Morant School and College, said: “This resource challenges perceptions, linking modern day inclusion efforts with the exclusion of the LGBTQ+ community throughout history. The materials allow for discussion and reflection within the context of a self-contained presentation, making them well-suited to PSHE and history lessons or assemblies. It’s a powerful and engaging resource, without being overly complicated or time consuming. The links to modern day case studies and well-known historical figures will speak to a range of pupils and provide a unique perspective that can facilitate powerful conversations. As a form tutor myself, I consider this a ‘must use’ resource.”

Major Jennifer Close added: “LGBTQ+ Voices is part of the British Army’s dedication to addressing the inequalities within our organisation. We developed the free resource to help students understand the importance of creating an inclusive and supportive space for LGBTQ+ people – in and out of the classroom. Ethel Mary Smyth and Alan Turing are historical figures we all recognise. LGBTQ+ Voices addresses the selfless contributions of Ethel, Alan and every single LGBTQ+ service personnel. We do hope schools will choose to mark the start of Pride Month by downloading LGBTQ+ Voices.”

Teachers can download LGBTQ+ Voices for free at:

Half of UK teachers have experienced harassment by students online

Half of teachers (49%) have been the target of inappropriate use of online devices and social media by students, according to new survey conducted by classroom management and safeguarding software provider, Impero. A similar number (43%) agreed that this type of behaviour is on the rise in UK schools.


Around one-fifth revealed they have been approached online (22%) or followed on social media by their students (21%), while 15% have been filmed without permission in the classroom. One in ten have been abused online (11%) and the subject of student group chats (11%).


Charlotte Aynsley, safeguarding expert at Impero, says:


“It’s not news to safeguarding experts that teachers are often on the receiving end of cyber-bullying, but the extent of the trend is unsettling – especially since harassment of other students is also on the rise. A natural curiosity from children will quite often lead to social media interactions such as follow requests from students; teachers therefore have a responsibility to ‘protect’ their identity so they can’t be obviously found on social media. They should also follow the professional standards around not allowing students to befriend them to prevent any unwanted interactions.”


She adds:

“In today’s world, you can simply pick up a mobile phone, create harmful or inappropriate content, and share it to a wide audience online without being held accountable. Whilst schools play a critical role in educating students about online safety, the long-anticipated Online Safety Bill will be a huge step towards a safer online world for both adults and children – making platforms more accountable for the harmful content being disseminated.”

Growing teaching pressures


The survey of 500 UK-based primary and secondary school teachers, also found that the vast majority (89%) have considered leaving the profession as they face growing workplace pressures and classroom challenges.


The most common reasons teachers have considered quitting, are:


  • Excessive workload (67%)
  • Anxiety and stress (53%)
  • Salary expectations (40%)
  • Lack of support from the school (30%)


However, almost one-fifth (17%) cited harassment by students as a key reason, while just 14% expressed a loss of interest in teaching itself.


A call for improvement


The research also found that the majority of teachers also believe their schools need to improve on issues such as teacher safety and wellbeing (71%), staff retention (65%) and diversity, equity and inclusion (52%).


Other areas where teachers called for improvement were:


  • More effective classroom management technology (69%)
  • Academic performance (66%)
  • Student safety and wellbeing (60%)


Justin Reilly, CEO, Impero and former headteacher, says:


“Teachers have a job unlike any other. Their workloads seemingly increase year-on-year, especially with the continued rise in concerns around student behaviour, academic performance, and safeguarding. There are clear actions which can be taken to remove everyday stresses if we are to empower teachers and retain them. After, all the top reasons for wanting to leave are not linked to losing interest in teaching but are instead rooted in safety and wellbeing concerns.


“It is vital to create a safe and open environment for teachers to work effectively and feel valued. This means reviewing practices for engaging, protecting and retaining teachers, as well as swiftly addressing emerging safeguarding issues, such as the myriad of online abuse which we know can cause great harm to both students and teachers alike.”


“Confident and highly competent teachers” developed by CTSN SCITT, as Ofsted awards ‘Good’ judgement to teacher training provider

CTSN SCITT, which provides initial teacher training (ITT) to primary and secondary school trainees throughout Cambridgeshire, North Essex and West Suffolk, has been rated ‘Good’ – with ‘Outstanding’ leadership and management – in its newly-published Ofsted report.


The School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) provider, which involves 86 partnership schools, was visited by an Ofsted inspection team in February and March and its report was released on 18th May. Every year around 120 trainees undertake a variety of routes, both salaried and non-salaried, leading to qualified teacher status with CTSN SCITT. Most trainees are non-salaried – supported by a student loan – and complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) with Anglia Ruskin University.


Led by The Cam Academy Trust, and supported by Teaching School Hubs in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Saffron (North Essex) and Unity (West Suffolk), the CTSN SCITT Ofsted report noted high-quality training centred around four training hubs at Bottisham Village College and Trumpington Park Primary School, in Cambridge; and Abbots Green Primary Academy and Kind Edward VI School, in Bury St Edmunds.


Positive comments in the Ofsted report included:


  • Primary and secondary trainees receive a good quality of education and training.
  • Trainees access a well-designed curriculum that supports them to develop the knowledge and skills to become effective, reflective and thoughtful teachers.
  • Trainees and their trainers share a passion and commitment for learning.
  • Trainees are well prepared to become confident and highly competent teachers.
  • Trainees are taught how to adapt learning effectively for pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and pupils who speak English as an additional language, so these pupils can access an ambitious curriculum.
  • Trainees speak very positively about the pastoral support they receive.
  • Trainees are given effective guidance and support to manage their workload.
  • Outstanding leadership has brought about good and improving quality of education and training.
  • As a result of their highly skilled leadership, school leaders and staff across the partnership wholeheartedly embrace leaders’ vision for excellence.
  • Leaders ensure that trainees place pupils’ learning and welfare at the heart of all they do.

“We are delighted with the Ofsted report which is the result of a great deal of hard work, from a wide range of people, drawn from a very wide network of partnership schools,” said CTSN SCITT Director Martin Lee. “I am particularly pleased that the inspectors noticed that the SCITT always puts the education of children and young people first, even in the training year. The sector has seen significant changes in the last two years, so it particularly satisfying that this report reflects our efforts to not only implement the requirements expected by the Department for Education, but also our ambitions to go beyond those minimum expectations to ensure our trainees become the best teachers they can be.”


Since it was formed in 2010, the SCITT has established an enviable reputation among education leaders across the region, who not only recognise the high-quality teacher training but also employ teachers directly from CTSN.

Stephen Munday, CEO of The Cam Academy Trust, explained: “Training the next generation of teachers is absolutely fundamental to our work as a Trust and our partnership with local Teaching School Hubs. Teachers are the single most important contributory factor to the quality of education received by young people in our country so providing a high-quality supply of future teachers for our own organisation and for others is crucial. It is really encouraging to have the work in this area so strongly vindicated by the recent Ofsted inspection of our CTSN SCITT, our School Centred Initial Teacher Training provision. High-quality provision is overseen by outstanding leadership according to this inspection and that is great for everyone. We are very grateful for all our partners in this work who make this possible and congratulate the leadership of the SCITT for their excellent work.”

Lesley Birch, Strategic Lead for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Teaching School Hub and Deputy CEO of Meridian Trust, said: “CTSN SCITT is one of three ITT providers in the region that partner with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Teaching School Hub. Through the Hub, and also CTSN SCITT’s delivery of ITT with schools in Meridian Trust, I have seen at first-hand how the team put children and young people at the heart of everything. Trainee teachers are very well supported, there is a real team approach with continuous improvement always the end goal, and this has led to a steady supply of teachers locally, regionally and nationally for the past 12 years. This Ofsted outcome is testament to the dedication of staff, excellent leadership, and the commitment of local multi-academy trusts to the system. We are also seeing the opportunity for staff in schools to become involved in CTSN SCITT in a variety of ways, including as mentors and as professional tutors, bringing a continuous CPD offer. Not only does CTSN SCITT collaborate effectively with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Teaching School Hub, its relationships extend to three other Teaching School Hubs. It is a major influencer of teacher supply and development.”


Jonathan Culpin, CEO of Anglian Learning, added: “We are absolutely delighted by the extremely positive report from Ofsted. Anglian Learning is proud to be working in partnership with the SCITT to deliver high-quality teacher training, which in turn leads to excellent outcomes and opportunities for the children and young people in all of our schools.”


Places on CTSN SCITT programmes beginning in September are still available, and Martin encouraged anyone with an interest in becoming a teacher to get in touch with him. “Whether you are an undergraduate seeking your first career or someone looking to change direction, teaching is an incredibly rewarding career,” he said. “Opportunities for young people really are limitless, and helping to prepare them for endless horizons is extremely satisfying. It is also an intellectually stimulating profession, allowing both creativity and rigour. It is not too late to start training to become a teacher this year; the classroom door is most definitely open.”


For more information, including an opportunity to chat about training to teach opportunities, please contact CTSN SCITT on 01223 262503 (extension 223) or email, or visit


The evolution and future of Edtech: A chat with Aaron Webb, Sr Product Marketing Manager at Jamf


How has the pandemic impacted the way we view edtech?

The pandemic has had a significant impact on the way that edtech is viewed within the education system. In the last two years, we have seen technology brought to the forefront, as schools have adopted platforms such as Microsoft Teams or Google Classroom in order to enable teachers to provide learning to children of all ages. There has also been an increase in device purchases or repurposing of existing devices in order to provide students with access to these platforms. While some schools have relied on student having access to their own device at home in order to keep teaching as best they could, others already had devices in the hands of students and the systems in place adapted in a different way. What started as reactive for most and a forced move to use technology has become a learning curve where all schools, even if they already had an established 1:1 programme or already used Teams or Google to reset. Technology in education has many benefits and schools have seen that, from accessibility and providing differentiated resources to cutting the amount of paper used. They have realised what can be done outside the walls of the classroom and they saw the importance of having a structure in place to flip to online learning whenever required. However, during the pandemic, there was little time to implement a strategy or enable staff with the new tools and skills. Some schools still had key worker children on site while teaching remotely so had to juggle both face to face and online learning. We are now in a period where schools are focused on students who are back in the classroom but they are also able to review the workflows they were using both prior and during the pandemic. Many schools are reflecting on those free offerings to blend with other paid-for solutions, for example using Google Classroom as a free offering but moving to Showbie for digital assessment and feedback. Apple devices are being used to blend Google tools with the Apple ecosystem and the need for both teaching training and IT management of devices has grown rapidly. There is also more focus on security, with devices being issued without the knowledge, skills or tools to secure them, and an increase in cyber attacks on schools and universities means protecting students, devices and the networks are now a huge requirement in education. The pandemic has certainly fast-tracked the digitisation of education considerably and will continue to shape the future of learning, professional development with tools and platforms to support.


What is Jamf and how are you making a difference in the education sector?

Jamf is the leading Apple enterprise management solution of scale that remotely connects, manages and protects Apple users, devices and services. Our flagship education solution, Jamf School, recently surpassed 5 million devices and provides simple education-focused tools and value-added workflows, not only for the IT admin to manage and secure Apple devices but Teacher, Student and Parent apps to empower student success. Jamf provides a holistic management solution for schools of all sizes that manages every aspect of Apple devices through to provisioning devices right from purchase, through to the deployment with zero touch for IT which gives the ultimate buy in for staff and students who unbox their brand new device, power on and see all their apps and setting configured based on their sign in. With our security solutions and management offers, we can help schools monitor and prevent malware threats, and provide safe online learning environments, all without invading user privacy. We support the use of our devices and tools with training and robust help for IT admins but also free online professional development for the Jamf Teacher app with our Jamf Educator platform. Teachers can learn, try and apply in a simulation environment before rolling out across the school. We celebrate their success with a Jamf educator badge to share on social media and as part of their professional development but also invite them to join our dedicated education hub within Jamf Nation, our online community of IT professionals.


What differentiates Jamf from other edtech solutions?

Jamf empowers student success. We know that many stakeholders play a huge part in this and we have tools and solutions to support those key personas. IT, teachers, the students themselves and parents and carers. Each tool and workflow enhances engagement between teachers, students and parents while simplifying IT workflows. It is a unique proposition that presents a variety of capabilities that allow for management of devices by a number of different stakeholders and participants regardless of IT knowledge and skills. Each of these is adapted and created specifically for its role in this journey. Jamf has carefully considered what is required for each participant and developed a capability to support their function.


These solutions become even more powerful with our integrations and solution partners. Our integrations with Microsoft and Google mean schools can choose Apple and use the systems they know and love to form a powerful combination that suits their needs. By choosing Apple they can still use their Google or Microsoft systems but blend the Apple ecosystem for a better together approach.


We extend that experience even further with solution partners through our Jamf Marketplace. There is a wealth of solutions and integrations that allow schools to use systems they already have or are looking to adopt with Jamf, whether that be IT solution or teaching and learning specific apps such as Showbie, Explain Everything or digital signage solutions for their Apple TV fleet such as Carousel or Trilby TV.


How is Jamf combating some of the main security concerns in the edtech space?

The technological landscape is constantly evolving, and it is imperative that learning institutions take the necessary measures to combat the latest threats and security risks to prevent any potential problems. The use of technology in the classroom can be invaluable but steps need to be taken to protect both children and teachers alike, while also respecting and conserving their privacy.


Our solutions offer an easy way to remove concerns around security and harness a safe learning environment. Jamf has a robust and comprehensive knowledge base of the potential threats and has solutions that work to mitigate them, giving teachers and students the tools for success while keeping them safe from harm.


Jamf have announced their latest tool to keep users safe while they work. Jamf Safe Internet will be available for macOS, iPadOS and iOS this summer, combining content filtering and network threat prevention features that block unsafe content and malicious attacks so students can learn safely anywhere. This protection also includes software to stop malware and phishing attacks in their tracks. Jamf Safe Internet uses a vast content-filtering database and lightweight technology, so the learning experience of the user is not hampered and continues to provide the best Apple experience teachers and students know and love, while avoiding an invasion of student’s privacy. This is yet another layer of protection in place in addition to the existing safeguards in place throughout the Jamf’s Education solutions.


What do you think about the future of edtech?

Edtech, at its core, looks to empower teachers, parents and students, both inside and outside the classroom, to use technology as a tool to simplify and progress learning methods and make education as effective as possible. We know that the pandemic has accelerated its progress, but I think we are still yet to see the best to come. Technology is constantly evolving and developing, and the possible applications are vast. However, there are still areas that need to adapt. Exams and assessment were impacted during the pandemic. Schools need to rethink how students are assessed and consider digital assessments – edtech can definitely play a huge part in it.

“Whilst some providers have been counted in, nobody has been counted out”: NASBTT responds to ITT accreditation process outcome

The Department for Education (DfE) has today notified providers who applied to Round 1 of the Initial Teacher Training (ITT) accreditation process of the outcome.


Figures released show that 80 providers spanning school and university-based ITT have been accredited.


In response, Emma Hollis, Executive Director of the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT), said:


“Whilst we are obviously disappointed by the headline figure that only 80 providers have been successful in Round 1, it is important to stress that we are only part-way through the process and as such no provider has been counted out.


Providers who have not yet been accredited are able to re-apply in Round 2 (which opens on 23rd May, deadline 27th June) and, importantly, have been given feedback from DfE which will support their resubmission. They will only have to submit responses to the question or questions they did not pass, so can invest time over the next two months developing their applications in the specified areas. Needless to say, we are committed to supporting all NASBTT members through the accreditation process, and would encourage all providers who have not yet been accredited to continue with their applications into Round 2.


We would also encourage all those who are resubmitting or planning to apply for the first time in Round 2 to attend our forthcoming online networking events on trainee curriculum (8th and 9th June), mentoring (13th June), partnerships (14th June) and brokering new partnerships (15th June), which are free to NASBTT members. These will bring ITT providers together to discuss their approaches to each of these elements of the application, and to share ideas and thinking to support one another in the accreditation process.


We remain confident, based on assurances that we have been given from DfE (who we are in constant dialogue with), that there is no pattern or preference emerging in the accreditation process for size and scale of provider – a fear expressed by many.


We are also confident that the government at large will want to avoid a potentially catastrophic risk to the teacher supply chain – and quality and availability of provision – which would come from losing significant numbers of providers from the market and further undermining teacher supply at a time when ITT applications are back to, or indeed below, pre-pandemic levels.”