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. 

END  

TEACHERS FEAR IT WILL TAKE PUPILS 18 MONTHS OR MORE TO CATCH UP

 

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
 

Acer Brings Windows 11 for Education to its TravelMate B3 and TravelMate Spin B3 Laptops

Acer yesterday announced that it will begin carrying PCs which run on Windows 11 SE, starting with the Acer TravelMate B3 and Acer TravelMate Spin B3 laptops. The portable 11.6-inch laptops were built to survive the school-day, boasting military-grade durability certifications[[i]] and a 10-hour battery life[[ii]], and now come pre-installed with Windows 11 SE or Windows 11 Pro Education. Additionally, the devices’ chassis have been constructed with over 14% post-consumer recycled plastic.

Acer has been working closely with Microsoft in order to provide devices for pilot programs that bring Windows 11 SE to schools around the world. It is one of the first brands to carry devices featuring the new operating system.

Acer TravelMate B3 and Acer TravelMate Spin B3

Featuring the latest Intel® Pentium® Silver and Celeron® processors, the TravelMate B3 and TravelMate Spin B3 are dependable laptops that were built to support the needs of K-12 schoolchildren. The laptops are MIL-STD 810H[[iii]] certified and feature shock-absorbent bumpers, making them tough enough to withstand up to 60 kg (132.28 lbs) of downward force and drops from up to 4 ft (1.22 m). A unique drainage design helps to protect internal components from moderate spills[[iv]]. A mechanically-anchored key design provides a double benefit: The entire keyboard can be easily replaced by administrators, but individual keys are well-secured so that they won’t be dislodged by restless fingers.

 

Durability aside, a number of thoughtful features help the laptops find their place within the classroom. Intel® Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) with 2×2 MU-MIMO technology helps with connectivity in multi-user environments, and optional 4G LTE provides students with a connection when away from a router. A webcam makes the laptops suitable for taking classes from home, while a 10-hour battery life means that they can make it through the full school day, too. Teachers will appreciate the battery indicator on the device’s front cover, allowing them to tell at a glance if a student’s device needs to be charged.

The Acer TravelMate Spin B3 comes equipped with Acer Antimicrobial Design[1,2] — it features not only an Antimicrobial Corning® Gorilla® Glass[1] touchscreen, but also an antimicrobial (silver-ion) coating on commonly-used high-touch surfaces (including the keyboard, touchpad, and palm-rest surface) to protect these surfaces. Users can further opt to include a dockable Wacom AES pen and 5 MP HDR world-facing camera, allowing schools to customize their laptops in order to suit their students’ specific needs.

Windows 11 SE

A new, cloud-first Windows edition built for inclusive and accessible learning, Windows 11 SE offers the performance and reliability of Windows 11 in addition to a simplified design and modern management tools that have been optimized for low-cost devices in educational settings. Featuring an easy-to-use interface plus an education-first menu of curated apps, Windows 11 SE comes on affordable devices that are pre-configured for student privacy and remote management. And, with a cleaner interface and fewer distractions, Windows 11 SE helps students focus on learning while preserving valuable class time for instruction.

The TravelMate B3 and TravelMate Spin B3 laptops are also available with Windows 11 Pro Education.

More information about Windows 11 SE is available here, or on Microsoft’s Education blog.

 

Pricing and Availability

 

The TravelMate B3 (TMB311-32) will be available in EMEA in Q1’22, starting at EUR 359; and in the UK from £210.

The TravelMate Spin B3 (TMB311R-32) will be available in EMEA in Q1’22, starting at EUR 539 and in the UK from £259.

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.

[i] MIL-STD-810H 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.

[ii] Battery life claim based on MobileMark 2014. Actual battery life varies depending on product specifications, computer settings and applications or features launched. All batteries’ maximum capacity diminishes with time and use. Battery life varies depending on product model, configuration, power settings and usage, among other factors.
[5]Up to 330 ml (11 fluid ounces) of water

[iii] Sand and Dust testing based on MIL-STD 810F.

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

1 in 8 children say time online harms their school work

Nearly one in eight children in the UK say their online life harms their school work according to a survey by The Children’s Society. 

 

The survey is among the evidence considered in the national charity’s new report, Net Gains? Young People’s Digital Lives and Well-Being.  

 

It found 13% of young people aged 10-17 said their life online had a ‘mostly negative’ impact on their school work, including homework, while 37% said it had a ‘mixed impact’ with both positive and negatives. In contrast, 35% reported a ‘mostly positive’ impact, while 16% said there was ‘no impact’. 

 

Around one in 11 children (9%) reported that time online had a ‘mostly negative’ effect on family relationships, with 35% reporting a mixed impact, 35% a positive impact and 21% no impact. 

 

Overall, children reported both pros and cons to time spent online. 

 

Almost half (46%) said that the impact of being online was mostly positive for their relationships with friends and more than four in ten (42%) said the same for the impact on how they felt overall. 

 

Nearly 4 in 10 (39%) children reported that being online had a mixed impact on how they felt about themselves (36% reported a ‘mostly positive impact, 7% a ‘mostly negative impact’, and 18% no impact) and a similar proportion (38%) said the same about how they felt overall.  

 

The Children’s Society’s report says that building a better understanding of how young people use technology and the effects this has on them is essential for improving the quality and safety of young people’s digital lives and for boosting digital equality – including not only the ability to access online content but also digital skills and the ability to appraise it.  

 

Young people were also asked to score out of 10 how happy they were with different aspects of their digital lives. They were most happy with things they did online, scoring on average 8 out of 10, and least happy with how they came across to others online and the amount of time they spent online, both scoring an average of 7.4.  

 

The Children’s Society says some children’s views about how they appear to others online could reflect unhappiness with their appearance or uncertainty over what they should say or how they should behave. It says unhappiness about the amount of time spent online could stem from concerns children have heard in media debates or restrictions their parents have imposed on them. 

 

The report also reviews international research on young people’s use of digital technology, the effects of time spent online and the influence of parents on how they use the internet.  The Children’s Society found that evidence of the impact of the digital world upon children has many flaws, often failing to account for the sheer number of things young people do online, consider the impact of things going on in their lives ‘offline’ or include young people’s views.  

 

Phil Raws, a Senior Researcher at The Children’s Society, said: “We wanted to know what young people themselves felt about their digital lives and how being online affected them, their relationships and some of the things they do offline. This was partly because their views have been missing from research and debates around safety, education, mental health and well-being and other issues which are often linked to their use of digital technology. 

 

“The survey responses tell us that many young people recognise that being online can have good and bad impacts on different aspects of their lives, although some feel that their digital life has no impact at all. This points to the challenges of understanding the effects of time spent online. We need to do more to explore this – to understand why some felt that the impact was negative on their school work, for example, and whether this has changed with the dependence on virtual schooling during recent lockdowns or when young people have been in isolation at home.   

 

“Young people’s ratings of what they do or experience online suggest that most of them are relatively happy, but some are having mostly negative experiences and may be developing a pessimistic outlook about their lives online. We need to find out more about this group – about who they are, why they are unhappy online, and what needs to change to address this.   

 

“One thing that came across clearly from our review of international research was that we need to widen our focus if we want to improve young people’s health and happiness overall, and reduce online harms in a sustainable way.  There is emerging evidence that negative online experiences or excessive time spent online may be symptoms rather than the cause of mental ill health.  Similarly, online harms seem to be more likely to be experienced by young people who come from a disadvantaged background.  

 

“Learning more about this can help us to not only make sure that all young people have the same opportunities and benefits online and feel safe and happy when using digital technology, but also to support better well-being in general.” 

 

Managing poor ventilation and CO2 levels in today’s ‘Covid world’

Today it is widely accepted, important and encouraged to keep indoor working spaces as well ventilated as possible to reduce the risk of Covid-19, other viruses and disease spreading. 

This is vital in many working environments where people congregate: such as education environments (e.g. schools and universities), hospitals, doctors’ rooms, hotels, restaurants, manufacturing and production facilities, and offices – the list is almost endless. Therefore, managing this problem for staff and customers entering these areas is crucial. 

During winter seasons, this challenge is worsened by the fact that cold weather results in people preferring to keep windows closed, in favour of warmth and comfort over fresh air. 

Chris Potts, Marketing Director, ANT Telecom explains how organisations can improve air quality by managing CO2 levels within working environments more effectively. He covers how manual approaches are time consuming and less accurate and how the Internet of Things (IOT) is currently solving this ventilation problem. 

What is the guidance on CO2 levels?

One of the challenges most organisations face here is that they don’t have a true gauge of how bad air quality is. This issue can be simply addressed by monitoring CO2 levels within air, as high concentrations would indicate stagnate or poor air quality. But, how is CO2 measured? 

CO2 levels are measured in Parts Per Million (ppm). Typically, outdoor areas will have around 400 ppm and guidance suggests organisations should keep as close to that as possible, without exceeding 1500 ppm where people gather (e.g. meeting rooms, bars, restaurants, cinemas), or 800 ppm where people congregate for long periods of the day (e.g. open plan offices). 

What is more, for office, hospitality and education environments, the law states, “employers must ensure an adequate supply of fresh air (ventilation) in enclosed areas of the workplace.” Not only is this crucial for Covid-19 safety, but it is vital for employee wellbeing – as well as other people entering these environments. 

Aligning with these requirements, though, means CO2 levels must be measured accurately and consistently throughout the day with findings recorded.  In doing this, the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) warns and advises organisations: “Single or ‘snapshot’ readings can be misleading. Take several measurements throughout the day, when the room is occupied, to represent changes in activities, the number of people using it and ventilation rates.” This then raises important questions for many firms about the best methods to use to track CO2 levels accurately?

Methods used to measure and record CO2 levels 

In many cases, organisations depend on manual, time consuming, paper-based monitoring processes to collect and record findings. These are not only inefficient, but also have a high likelihood of inaccuracy. With pressures increasing on organisations to improve productivity and streamline operations, they need a means of performing these critical processes in a way that not only saves valuable time, but also provides peace of mind that checks are timely and accurate, in line with HSE. 

For example, one approach that many organisations deploy is to use handheld CO2 monitors. This manual approach is less effective as CO2 levels develop over time, based on the number of people in a particular area (e.g. the office) – furthermore, the spot checks on ventilation in the morning won’t be sufficient to provide the useful consistent data advised by the HSE through the day either. 

Often, many companies already monitor equipment, appliances and environmental conditions with sensor technology for compliance and safety purposes. So the use of this technology to support here is not new either. However, the problem experienced today is that many older systems used make use of hardwired sensors, that are difficult and expensive to install. If equipment needs moving, sensors must usually be rewired, which is time consuming and costly. 

Moreover, these older sensors become less accurate over time and must be recalibrated regularly to provide reliable data to drive decisions. These systems and the data provided are not easily accessible either, making processes time consuming and inefficient. Even straight forward tasks like ‘creating a report’ to share with colleagues can be challenging – and simple requirements to change reporting intervals can be complex to implement too, so not ideal.

Cloud and IoT are game changers

This is where modern IOT monitoring solutions and sensors can improve operational efficiency and increase productivity – they help to replace traditionally manual processes. In the past, people would have carried out these labour intense tasks. But, automated monitoring systems using IOT technology provide accurate 24/7 data measurements in real-time, improve decision making and reduce costs. They also help to free up staff time to work in other areas of the business more productively instead.

Often infrastructure and sensors used here are low-energy and cloud-based too. The sensors are wireless too, making them easy and cost effective to install. Effective integration into organisational IT networks is not required, making it easy to overcome IT security concerns. Connectivity has generally been raised as an issue for many systems in the past, but today’s sensors are sophisticated. Many do not require WiFi or mobile data coverage, meaning they can be used within any number of CO2 monitoring situations and will even work in air ducts. 

Additionally, the array of wireless sensors available to organisations means that firms can expand their monitoring capabilities into other important areas if necessary. For example, to help with temperature monitoring on fridge / freezer and cryogenic containers; or to monitor energy consumption; or to ensure water safety and compliance, to reduce the risk of legionella.

£25 Million ventilation fund for Scottish Companies

The Scottish Government has recently made £25 million in funding available to improve ventilation and air quality in business premises, to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission. Small and medium-sized businesses, where people come into close proximity, such as in the hospitality and leisure sectors, can claim back costs of up to £2,500 to undertake work. 

This could include the installation of carbon dioxide monitors and remedial improvement work to windows and vents. Businesses will be able to fill in a self-assessment form to receive advice on improving their current ventilation systems and identify if they are eligible for financial support. The Business Ventilation Fund was opened to applications the week beginning the 22nd November 2021.

This investment in air quality solutions highlights the importance of solving this air quality issue in Scotland. But, it’s not just Scottish organisations where investments in air quality and CO2 monitoring must take place. This is a UK industry- and sector-wide issue to deal with. 

Conclusion

Through the pandemic, as many schools and workplaces opened, Covid-19 spread. Government guidance has broadly maintained that fresh air helps to mitigate the risk of infection, along with other measures – it lists good air quality, ventilation and CO2 monitoring as one of the most important measures to control the spread of infections,  and health experts confirm this. So as organisations look to protect their workforce, their productivity and their bottom line, it becomes important to consider, too, the best ways to monitor the amount of CO2 in the air, in order to ensure that employees (and customers) are breathing good quality air as much as possible. IOT systems and sensors play an important role here, as they can often be used to help track air quality more accurately and in real time.  

MENTAL HEALTH RATED AS BIGGEST CONCERN FOR SCHOOLS

 

*Nearly four in five schools rated mental health as having the biggest impact on their organisation in the last year

*Almost three quarters (73%) of school leaders expect mental health and wellbeing to continue to be one of the biggest challenges over the next five years

*Zurich Municipal report reveals the biggest challenges facing public and voluntary sector organisations and their future concerns

*The insurer is currently working with Fika, a mental fitness learning and skills development partner, to address mental health in education

 

Nearly four in five school leaders say mental health and wellbeing was the biggest challenge for their organisation in the last year, according to a new report, which highlights the scale of the mental health crisis facing schools.   

 

The study by specialist insurer, Zurich Municipal and YouGov, revealed that for 78% of senior decision makers in primary and secondary schools, mental health and wellbeing had a “very big” or “substantial impact” on their organisation in the last 12 months – the highest out of seven challenges facing the sector. This was markedly higher than the average of 60% when looking at all public and third sector organisations surveyed.

 

The research went on to reveal future drivers of change and concerns, and predicts mental health will continue to have a major impact in schools. Nearly three quarters (73%) of school leaders expect mental health and wellbeing to continue to be one of the main challenges over the next five years – ranking second out of seven factors. However, it is issues related to funding and government policy that will become the primary worry in the future, with 85% of school leaders believing this will impact them the most.

 

In its study – The Future of the public and voluntary sectors – Zurich Municipal explored the general sentiment about the future of the public and voluntary sectors; views on current and future drivers of change and their relative impact; and future challenges and opportunities.  

 

Across all respondents, the study found the impact of mental health and wellbeing was most keenly felt in schools, followed by further and higher education establishments (71%) and charities (53%).  But while mental health and wellbeing had the greatest impact, primary and secondary school leaders also cited funding and government policy and the changing nature of work as having had a significant bearing on them in the last year – 71% and 63%.

 

Zurich’s findings come as a recent report by the charity, Education Support, found 77% of school staff are stressed (rising to 84% of senior leaders) and that over a third (38%) of education staff had experienced a mental health issue in the past academic year. 

 

Alix Bedford, Risk Proposition Manager, Zurich Municipal comments: “Working in the school environment has always been high pressured, but for nearly two years now, education staff have experienced an ongoing situation of unpredictability and stress. It is understandable that this would have a huge impact on mental health and wellbeing.  There are also concerns over the adverse impact of the pandemic on pupils, adding to the other issues already affecting young people’s mental health.

 

“Schools have a duty of care for the mental health and wellbeing of their staff and students. Awareness and understanding of the scope of this issue is rapidly evolving, but the policies, strategies and actions needed to respond must evolve rapidly too. If left unchecked, this risk could dwarf some others.”

 

Zurich Municipal is currently working with Fika, a mental fitness learning and skills development partner, to address mental health in education and offer training.  The three-month pilot, running until March, is part of Zurich’s aim to help schools protect their people as well as their property.   

 

Dr Amanda McNamee, Senior Mental Fitness Scientist at Fika said: “The state of declining mental health in education presents a risk in academic performance and stress to learners and burnout amongst staff. Current approaches pose a significant risk by reacting to declining mental health instead of preventing it. Fika has set out to mitigate the risk of decline and improve performance through a formal, proactive education-for-all solution and online mental fitness training tool.”

 

Fig 1. Issues that have had a big or significant impact schools in the last 12 months

 

Challenge Primary / Secondary Education Average across public and third sector
Mental health and wellbeing 78% 60%
Funding and fiscal policy 71% 67%
The changing nature of work e.g. hybrid working and workforce challenges 63% 68%
Changing community expectations and needs 62% 57%
Digital, data and automation 50% 52%
Changing organisational structures 39% 40%
Adapting to climate change 10% 18%

 

 

Fig.2 Issues that are predicted to have a big or significant impact schools  in the next five years

 

Challenge Primary / Secondary Education Across pubic and third sector
Funding and fiscal policy 85% 78%
Mental health and wellbeing 73% 57%
Changing community expectations and needs 58% 63%
Digital, data and automation 48% 56%
Changing organisational structures 44% 43%
 The changing nature of work (e.g. hybrid working and workforce challenges) 33% 55%
Adapting to climate change 21% 34%