Confidential documents from 14 UK schools leaked by hackers following cyber-attack

14 UK schools have fallen victim to a major cyber-attack, resulting in confidential documents, including children’s passport scans and staff contracts, being leaked.

 

The data was originally stolen in 2022, with hacking group Vice Society thought to be involved, but has now been leaked online after schools failed to pay the ransom demands set out.

 

The documents contained data such as children’s SEN information, staff contract details, including the headmaster’s salary, bursary fund receipts, and children’s passport scans which had been used for school trips.

 

Achi Lewis, Area VP EMEA for Absolute Software, commented: “The education sector is a lucrative target for malicious cyber-criminals due to the large volume of sensitive data stored on school and university systems. As a result, ransomware attacks are a case of when, not if, which demands educational institutions to ensure they are prepared to both prevent and respond to these attacks, else they risk having documents stolen and leaked.”

 

“Preventing a breach of IT systems requires strong network resilience, build on a platform of strong user verification to stop malicious actors breaching a network. Resilient Zero Trust, for example, works to verify users on a case-by-case basis, scanning for unusual activity in network and application access and alerting centralised IT teams to suspicious behaviour. These teams can then freeze, or shut down, potentially compromised devices to prevent threat actors from moving laterally across a network to cause further damage.”

 

“Recovery from a ransomware attack is a complex task so it is also important for organisations to prepare to react to these attacks when they happen. The investigation, remediation, and recovery can take years after the initial attack, which in itself can last several months, so schools and universities must ensure they have response protocols in place. Technology with self-healing capabilities can repair and re-protect breached devices to help restore both device and network resilience in order to prepare against repeat threats.”

 

The schools attacked included: Carmel College, St Helens; Durham Johnston Comprehensive School; Frances King School of English, London/Dublin; Gateway College, Hamilton, Leicester; Holy Family RC + CE College, Heywood; Lampton School, Hounslow, London; Mossbourne Federation, London; Pilton Community College, Barnstaple; Samuel Ryder Academy, St Albans; School of Oriental and African Studies, London; St Paul’s Catholic College, Sunbury-on-Thames; Test Valley School, Stockbridge; The De Montford School, Evesham.

 

 

 

Actioning change: Inspiring Learning announces new partnership with Youth Sport Trust

 

Inspiring Learning, a leading provider of outdoor education and adventure experiences has announced
a formal partnership with the Youth Sport Trust which will see its Kingswood brand become a
Changemaker Business, and the Youth Sport Trust become Inspiring Learning’s new charity partner.
The Youth Sport Trust is a UK leading children’s charity for improving young people’s wellbeing
through sport and play. Inspiring Learning aims to raise £10,000 per year, over three years, to support
the charity to tackle health inequalities affecting young people.
Only 45% of young people are meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines which recommend taking
part in sports or physical activity for an average of 60 minutes or more every day (Sport England, 2021).
Alarmingly, one in seven children is obese by the time they start school, increasing to one in four by
year six (NHS, 2021).
The new partnership builds on Inspiring Learning and Youth Sport Trust’s previous collaborative work
when Inspiring Learning sponsored the charity’s 2022 Conference. Going forwards, all Inspiring
Learning centres will have a fundraising target where the Inspiring Learning teams can devise their
own ways to raise money for the charity. In addition, Inspiring Learning will continue to develop their
own content and ideas to share with the Youth Sports Trust to help broaden and build the
development and adaptability of young people. With some children struggling socially and emotionally
following the COVID-19 pandemic, providing pathways to enable positive adaptability and the tools to
overcome challenges is an important goal that Inspiring Learning and the Youth Sport Trust share.
Alex Williamson, Chief Executive Officer of Inspiring Learning has said: “Our long-standing
relationship with the Youth Sport Trust has been further substantiated through our new partnership.
Inspiring Learning embodies the importance of being active in the outdoors across all our educational
programmes and we’re delighted to be fundraising for such a life-changing organisation.
Our diverse range of active residential, holiday camp and apprenticeship programmes, are designed
to modify individuals’ behaviour, equipping them with the skills to rise to challenges, to become more
adaptable, and to work collaboratively, enabling them to thrive in a changing world.”
Jen Rouse, Commercial and Fundraising Director at the Youth Sport Trust, said:
“Following the impact of the pandemic and at a time when 18% of children aged 7-16 have a
probable mental health disorder, these are difficult times facing young people and the challenge for
charities like ours is great. This fantastic partnership with Inspiring Learning will be a huge boost to
support our work post pandemic and to take urgent action to support young people most in need.
“We strongly believe sport has the power to change young lives, we are proud to be chosen as
Kingswood’s charity partner for 2023.”
Inspiring Learning launched its fundraising efforts this autumn and will continue fundraising efforts at
its various centres throughout the UK for the next year. For more information on Inspiring Learning
and its centres, please visit www.inspiring-learning.com and www.youthsporttrust.org to see more on
the YST.

AVer Europe announces strategic partnership with Re Mago to deliver integrated solution for corporate and higher education users

LONDON, UK – 19 December 2022 – AVer Europe, the award-winning provider of video collaboration and education technology solutions, announces a new strategic partnership with Re Mago. This collaboration will deliver a powerful integrated solution for corporate and higher education users, combining state of the art AI auto framing and auto tracking cameras of AVer with the Valarea platform.

Valarea Room is a unified visual collaboration solution designed to eliminate any blocks to an immersive hybrid meeting or distance learning experience. Features include:

• A one tap start to an instant or scheduled meeting supporting Teams, Zoom, Google and other platforms in the same room.
• The ability to share content easily from any device without installing third-party apps – no dongle needed and network independent.
• The flexibility to present, co-annotate and brainstorm remotely in real time on any type of file.

The solution is designed to be installed on Windows 10 room computers, works with touch and non-touch displays and integrates perfectly with AVer premium quality cameras for a range of different meeting rooms. The AVer VB342PRO is designed for medium sized rooms, the AVer VC520PRO2 for large rooms and the AVer CAM570 for extra-large board rooms where speaker tracking and more than one camera point of view is a must.

Valarea Room is also ideal for training spaces, where the AVer DL30 series and AVer PTC300UV2 series are the perfect plug and play auto-tracking camera solutions to pair with.

The room systems can be easily operated with the Valarea touch controller. Users can start meetings, manage audio and video, screen share and launch apps from the controller. Alternatively, users can build their own touch controllers.
“AVer is delighted to collaborate with Re Mago to provide seamless communication solutions for our customers across Europe. Combining the AVer world-leading AI auto tracking cameras with Valarea Rooms from Re Mago offers our users the best possible environment for immersive and successful hybrid meeting and learning experiences,” says Rene Buhay, SVP of Sales and Marketing, AVer Europe.

“At Valarea, we consistently deliver high-quality video communications solutions for business and education. This collaboration with AVer enables users to combine the best hardware and software to create an enhanced, user friendly and flexible hybrid meeting and learning experience in a range of settings“ says Cristiano Fumagalli, CTO at Re Mago Ltd.

AVer users are able to trial the combined Valarea and AVer solution by registering for a 30-day free trial period at https://valarea.com/get-started.

British teachers turn to their own technology to do their job

87% of those working in the UK education sector say it’s essential teachers have access to a printer, but 67% admit they use their home printer for teaching needs

 

Nine in 10 (87%) education workers say it’s essential that teachers have access to a printer, yet only half (52%) of teachers use printers in the classroom, according to new research from Epson. Many are driven to using their own with three quarters (67%) saying they use their home printer for teaching needs.  

 

The survey of 3,460 people working in the education sector across Europe, the Middle East and Africa shows pressure is mounting for better technology provision in schools. Six in ten UK respondents (60%) say students expect higher levels of technology use now compared to before, and the majority (55%) are looking at greater ways to collaborate and generate student engagement.

 

But improving solutions comes at a price, so it is unsurprising that in the context of economic crisis in the UK, nearly two-thirds of those working in the sector (63%) are prioritising managing rising costs right now.

 

Considering those questioned say nearly four tenths (38.5%) of the average school day is spent using digital technology, it’s worrying that the current economic climate may be impacting the transition to better technology. The sector needs to look at how it can best support students and teachers in the wake of hybrid and digital learning. And at a basic level, provide easy and official access to tools such as printers – particularly as 57% expect an increase in print volumes over the next 12 months. 

 

Commenting on the findings, Richard Wells, head of office print sales UK&I at Epson, said, “Teachers appear to lack the basic technology needed – such as printers in the classroom. While using their own technology to deliver provision or produce materials fills a gap, it’s unfair to shift the cost burden to them and raises the question of education equality – as many students will have teachers that are unable or unwilling to support this.  

 

“This is a major concern and technology manufacturers like us must do all we can to help solve the problems faced within the sector. Energy efficient, cost effective and easy-to-use solutions are available both when it comes to staple products like printers and with newer digital and collaborative technologies such as projectors.  Getting this right is imperative if students and teachers are to maximise the benefits that technology can offer and advance the way in which students learn.” 

 

The full findings of the research are available to download in the report IT peripherals are no longer peripheral.

 

Eco-Schools launches new campaign to help schools ‘Cut Your Carbon’

When it comes to cutting carbon emissions it can be difficult for schools to know where to start.  

Eco-Schools’ new ‘Cut Your Carbon’ campaign is here to help schools do just that with a few very simple actions. 

We have less than seven years to reach zero emissions if we are to have a 50% chance of staying below 1.5 degrees of global warming *1.  

Yet in seven years’ time no current primary school pupils will have even had a chance to start taking action as adults to solve the climate crisis.  

With UNICEF’s latest report calculating 1 billion children are at extremely high risk from the climate crisis, it’s now up to every individual and organisation, including schools, to work together towards our shared goal of reducing emissions as far and as fast as possible.  

What every school does now has to go beyond education for the future, we must also implement concrete actions that improve the life chances of children around the world.  

Eco-Schools’ programme manager Adam Flint said: “As we all work towards a better future for our country’s young people, it’s important that we raise awareness and reduce our carbon consumption as much as possible. Every day is a new opportunity to make positive change.” 

‘Cut Your Carbon’ is here to help pupils raise awareness about the everyday changes that their school and wider community can make. It also outlines actions that can make an immediate impact in three areas that have big carbon footprints: clothing, energy use and school meals. Together, schools across England are committing to taking action to cut their carbon. 

  • Reusing 50% of school uniforms could save the same annual carbon emissions as everyone in Chichester *2 (the same weight as the Empire State Building – every year!) 
  • Cutting schools’ energy usage by just 10% could save the same weight of emissions as 3 Empire State Buildings *3 
  • More environmentally-friendly school meals could save the same carbon emissions currently produced by everyone in Oxford each year – the same weight as 6 Empire State Buildings *4. 

Eco-Schools is asking schools to pledge to participate in the campaign through a few simple actions that any school can take in each of these areas that will collectively make a huge difference. You can find out more about the incredible difference schools taking part in the programme are marking in Eco-Schools’ 2022 impact report

The campaign launches on the 14 February and runs to the 10 February. Those wanting to find out more about the campaign or take part should go to the Eco-Schools website: eco-schools.org.uk/cut-your-carbon 

HYUNDAI TO OFFER 25,000 CHILDREN SCHOOL TRIPS IN 2023

 

The Great British School Trip is open to all teachers across the UK by registering interest at https://greatbritishschooltrips.co.uk/ 

  • Hyundai is investing £1 million in a programme of school trips   
  • The initiative launches today with Tim Campbell MBE as Hyundai’s Educator in Residence 
  • Research shows that children are missing out on essential and accessible school trips due to the cost of living, lack of funds and staffing issues
  • 61% of teachers admit they are less likely to plan a school trip now, versus 5 years ago  
  • 52% of children have intentionally not told a parent about an upcoming trip, due to money worries 

Tuesday 6th December 2022: Children are missing out on school trips due to the cost of living crisis, lack of funds and staffing issues. 

A study involving 2,000 teachers and parents across the UK and commissioned by Hyundai, has revealed that school trips remain on the decline with the cost of travel, parents not being able to afford to cover additional expenses, entry fees and lack of staff being listed as the key factors.    

 

As part of the study, research of 1,600 parents of school aged children revealed over half (52%) of UK children have intentionally not told a parent about an upcoming trip, with a further 54% of parents admitting it was over their child’s concerns of affordability. Three in 10 parents revealed that finances are the main barrier to sending their children on school trips. 

 

Specific research of 433 teachers revealed that of those who organise school trips, 61% are less likely to plan trips now – compared to five years ago. Over half (56%) of teachers who organise school trips have had outings cancelled or not approved in the last 12 months, and more funding to help cover the costs would benefit in supporting them to run more trips. 

 

As a direct response to the study findings, Hyundai announces its ‘Great British School Trip’ programme. This activity has been designed to inspire school children aged seven to 14 and to help them to shape their future goals.  

 

Through the ambitious initiative, Hyundai is investing £1 million in the programme and is committed to sending 25,000 pupils on school trips across the UK over the next academic year, kicking off from January 2023. The automotive company will offer bursaries to help the schools most in need to fund their school trips, including booking fees and travel costs. 

 

Ashley Andrew, Managing Director, Hyundai Motor UK, said: “School trips should provide some of the most exciting and memorable times for our young people. They help to bring their learning to life, encourage greater engagement and inspire their future ambitions. I know that’s what they did for myself and for my children. 

 

“I firmly believe that they are an essential part of our young people’s development and something that every child should have access to. As a company that strives to support humanity and to foster  

an ambitious next generation, we are delighted to launch this pioneering initiative, which will deliver these life experiences as well as supporting teaching staff and parents.” 

 

The Great British School Trip has been shaped around Hyundai’s vision for the future, Progress for Humanity. This vision focuses on how connections and collaboration can help accelerate progress and innovation. The programme will support the curriculum by covering important subjects such as art, maths and STEM as well as being centred around four themes: Imagination and Curiosity, People and the Planet, Journeys and Adventures and Breakthroughs and Discoveries.  

 

Over 200 venues have shown their support for the initiative by signing up as trip locations already. Children will be able to explore locations including RAF Museum Midlands, PGL, The YHA, Disney Theatrical and Nottingham Playhouse, amongst others. 

 

Tim Campbell MBE has been announced as Hyundai’s Educator in Residence as part of the initiative. Tim sits on the City of London Education board and is Chair of Governors at an outstanding London secondary school. Tim spoke about The Great British School Trip: “School trips are an integral part of a child’s education. Not only are they a fun day out but allow children to properly cement their learning outside of the classroom. I firmly believe in education as a facilitator of social mobility, so it’s shocking that our younger generation are missing out on this opportunity due to circumstances outside of their control. I’m thrilled to be involved with this programme and feel that it is exceptionally timely, not to mention necessary, to put school trips firmly back on the agenda.”  

 

The research of 1,600 parents of school-aged children revealed 60% agreed more needs to be done to ensure all children have an equal opportunity to go on school trips. Furthermore, its drawn attention to the benefits of school outings, according to teachers, with the opportunity to visit places outside of the classroom cited as the main advantage, as well as being able to link topics and subjects in a more meaningful way and allowing children to contextualise their classroom learnings.   

 

Parents also acknowledge the pros of educating children outside of the classroom, with 38% saying the new experiences it gives them beyond the classroom is a huge plus. As well as this, they also listed that creating fond memories (34%), building confidence (34%) and it simply being more fun for their children (31%) were other advantages.  

  

However, 39% recognise there is a chance their youngster won’t be offered the opportunity to go on school trips during the 2022 to 2023 academic year because of a lack of school funding and volunteers. As many as 70% of the parents polled said their children enjoy the visits they go on, with science museums, the zoo and adventure activities, like kayaking or climbing, among the favourites.  

 

Teachers can now register their interest in the programme at https://greatbritishschooltrips.co.uk/ to be among the first to access the full programme when bookings open in January 2023.  

 

 

Learn from anywhere: The future of education and how technology can support it

 

By Neil Bailey, Senior Sales Manager, Education at CDW UK & Matt Eccles, Education Business Development Manager at Lenovo UK & Ireland

In a world of “work from anywhere,” people also want to “learn from anywhere”. As Higher Education institutions establish themselves in a hybrid era, they are faced with a new set of challenges as they navigate increasing cost pressures that have far reaching effects.

During the pandemic many institutions rushed to implement expensive short term hybrid learning solutions to ensure they could continue supporting students’ education. Now as a hybrid approach becomes the new staff and student expectation, many universities and colleges are looking for technology solutions that fit a dual purpose, excellent user experience and security that are fit for purpose for the future context of learning.

The hybrid learning journey so far

The pandemic and consequent work from home experience saw most learners become accustomed to a home learning environment where they not only have multiple devices at their fingertips to switch between but are also equipped with lightning-fast Wi-Fi. Universities are now faced with the challenge of how to recreate this user experience on campus.

The UK has some of the best and most highly-regarded universities in the world and often with that comes best in class equipment at their fingertips – yet far too many are still using this technology in a pre-pandemic way. The way we use technology has fundamentally shifted in the past two years; there is now an urgent need to review security and user experience to keep pace with new expectations.

 

However, cost remains a key challenge for Higher Education Institutions. This is a historic issue for many establishments which has now exacerbated by the cost-of-living crisis. Not only in terms of how this will affect future learners’ affordability, but also the increasing cost of devices and other technology solutions.

 

Security fundamentals

 

Education Institutions are among the most targeted industries in terms of ransomware, and at a time when the prevalence and sophistication of security threats is increasing, it is incredibly important that they have the right security systems in place.

 

One of the factors that makes university network security so complex is that higher education institutions require open networks to allow for the breadth of resources that staff, and students need to access for specialist research. Many learning organisations now host documents such as theses and doctorates exclusively in the cloud and they require peace of mind for themselves and their learners that this information is protected and accessible at all times.

 

In many institutions, the devices and infrastructure are already in place, the question is: are education institutions implementing measures effectively? In the new hybrid world, there is so much more to consider when it comes to safely and securely accessing the university network. For example, it’s no longer just about protecting on-campus technology and ensuring a seamless user experience, the same level of security and access needs to apply to those working and learning from home.  

 

 

A first in class experience Often Universities have an enormous number of different software applications to fulfil niche requirements, many of which are out of date, and navigating these can be a challenge even for the most tech savvy of people. As user experience (UX) becomes more embedded in our everyday lives, moving forward a simple stocktake of which applications are fit for purpose will help to streamline UX for staff and students alike. Taking stock of apps that are no longer used or fit for purpose is a good exercise for organisations to go through to get rid of technology that is taking up space for no good reason.

 

Student wellbeing and mental health is also a major concern when it comes to ensuring students have a positive university experience. According to data by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the suicide rate for higher education students in the academic year ending 2020 in England and Wales was 3.0 deaths per 100,000 students. Technology can play an important role in protecting and supporting students, for example safeguarding tools can be used to help identify students at risk of self-injury.

From student wellbeing to accessibility of resources, technology solutions play an integral role in the delivery of a first-class university experience.

 

The future of hybrid education

As we adapt to a hybrid world, navigating and striking the balance between online and in person interaction will likely remain a challenge for universities and higher education institutes moving forward.

 

Universities are increasingly seeing demand for courses and qualifications that provide students with transferrable skills for careers of the future. For instance, the esports and gaming industry has seen huge growth and investment over the past few years. Collaboration, problem solving, and communications skills are all valuable skills for this sector.

Choosing a technology partner that can understand the unique challenges that the sector faces will be instrumental in delivering a seamless and secure user experience. At CDW we call this the art of listening, and it includes understanding every possible user perspective to deliver solutions that are fast, efficient and deliver tailor made solutions that solve for specific client needs.

 

The past two years have seen an enormous amount of change in how we teach and learn, however it is not only the way we learn that has changed – the context of learning is also shifting. Views on the future of hybrid teaching reflect an increased demand for a hybrid approach, in fact many higher education institutions offering this style of learning have seen a boost in enrolment numbers. Not only does it increase the accessibility of higher education but allows it provides students with skills that are now considered mandatory for the future workforce.

 

To support a new generation of learning, education institutions must embrace hybrid technology and choose a knowledgeable technology partner that is able to support them on this journey.

 

 

Encouraging a love for reading during the holidays and beyond

By David Camps, headteacher at Nechells Academy, E-ACT

It’s well documented that reading provides benefits beyond children’s academic success, including supporting cognitive development; improving imagination and creativity; enhancing wellbeing and concentration; and raising awareness and understanding of different cultures, languages and beliefs. But key to this lies a foundational effort in simply encouraging more children to read for pleasure and helping them develop a passion for picking up a book time and time again.

While there are certain moments and events throughout the year that inevitably help spark excitement and enthusiasm for adventures and tales, it’s important that this doesn’t become something done in isolation. Instead, as educators and parents, we must continue to foster a love for reading throughout the year and find ways to engage children and help them uncover the genres, topics and characters that inspire them. We’ve found that teachers and parents who love reading themselves are our biggest advocates in motivating pupils and creating reciprocal and interactive reading communities.

At Nechells Academy, reading for pleasure is something we’re hugely passionate about and here are our five top tips to help make it happen:

  1. Using Christmas as an example, there are lots of exciting activities that take place in the lead up to the holidays, including the annual nativity play. Often conjuring up huge amounts of enthusiasm and fun, it can be used as a steppingstone to be engaging pupils with plays and dialogue in other stories. Once they see a play in action, or take part in one, there is more of a natural appreciation and enthusiasm, which can then be used to explore other texts and tales.
  2. Linking games and including a competitive element with reading can help create excitement and encourage children to read a whole variety of books. For example, hosting a ‘reading bingo’ scheme based on a range of authors or selected themes will not only help drive engagement, but will push children to pick up books that they may not normally select. Adding a competitive element among peers will further motivate pupils to make their way through texts and is useful in sparking group discussions, promoting 1:1 conversation and triggering further reading recommendations.
  3. Being flexible in what children read is also useful in fostering a passion for reading. While it’s important for books to complement curriculum learning where you can, it’s equally as important to provide freedom of choice. For example, look at setting a task that encourages children to pick any book they choose, loosely based on an agreed theme, rather than simply providing them with a reading list. This way, they are more inclined to read not only in class but in their own time too.
  4. Offering reading challenges that can be done during class and at home is an important lesson in teaching children that reading can be for pleasure, and not just as part of the learning process. This Christmas, we’ve signed up to Pickatale’s free 24-part Christmas read along, where children are given access to a new snippet of the Christmas adventure, written by award-winning author Katya Balen, each day. This not only helps peak children’s interest but develops a habit of reading daily. Katya is also doing a live read along on day nine to involve as many children across the UK as possible to ‘read for pleasure’ together.
  5. Ensuring your school or reading environment is suitable for the needs of children is key to reading ‘buy-in’. This spans not just the design of reading corners, or library spaces, but also the platforms with which children can engage with reading. For example, while physical books will always have a role to play, increasingly children are using tablets and mobiles. Therefore, using online platforms and resources to access an array of books is a helpful way to better suit some pupils’ lifestyles – not to mention being kinder on school budgets that may not allow for hundreds – or even thousands – of new books. Using well-known stories and imagery is also powerful in engaging EAL learners or those with additional needs as it captures their attention and helps to forge connections via recognisable characters.

Reading for pleasure is crucial in a world where we teach our children to be kind and empathetic global citizens, with the ability to think creatively and problem-solve. That starts from a young age. By encouraging this both in and outside the classroom, we can build an ecosystem that helps children discover the joy of reading; both now, at Christmas and in many years to come.

 

Extracurricular activities during a cost-of-living crisis? Yes, it is possible

 

 

By Sue-Ellen Lamb, Head of School – Race Leys Junior School

One of the main goals of the education sector is to enrich and improve the lives of all students. This includes reaching out to support the wider community and is a major part of the way that Race Leys Junior School, part of the Griffin Schools Trust, operates.

Let’s explore how Race Leys creates a welcoming, nurturing and inspiring place for students and the community, and how important this is in the current climate.

What does Race Leys Junior School do?

Race Leys is positioned in an area of deprivation yet strives to offer opportunities often only experienced by the most affluent in our society. The school has a particular focus on culture-led education, teaching students about the importance of values throughout wider society. These values extend beyond the classroom, with Race Leys offering further support such as music and dance lessons, VR classrooms, swimming lessons on-site, and fully funded trips.  This culminates in a culture that is highly aspirational, and one that provides our pupils with a plethora of opportunities that are far above and beyond the normal day to day curriculum.

Music and dance lessons

Having skills beyond academia is a fundamental cornerstone of a child’s development. After all, growing a talent in playing the violin or ballet dancing means that a students can widen their horizons and learn to develop their creativity and imagination. These are not only activities to look forward to, but in some cases opportunities to enrich the rest of their lives. As a part of the Griffin School Trust, music in which children learn an orchestral instrument and dance lessons supported by the Royal Ballet are a significant part of Race Leys Juniors’ offering.

VR classrooms

Teachers draw on their own creativity when planning the most engaging ways for young to learn, and the more complex the subject matter, the more creative teachers try to be. VR lessons, with VR headsets for a full class, are an excellent way of providing that support to students. By entering the world of virtual reality, students have a more active and appealing environment around them, delving deeper into their subject thanks to this greater level of immersion, in ways simply not possible in the real world. This is a proven way to help children to learn more and remember more.

On-site swimming lessons

Having opportunities outside the classroom is a necessity, especially when those opportunities involve learning major life skills. The recently installed pool at Race Leys provides students with the opportunity to learn how to swim at a much more rapid pace, with daily lessons, and even opens the potential for several extracurricular clubs and groups.

Trip funding

The school funds all the trips that students take part in, and this has been the case since well before the cost-of-living crisis. School trips are opportunities to integrate lessons into the real world and show students that what they are learning has a tangible impact. Race Leys is prioritising these trips as a pillar of students’ education, the impact is proven and everyone in the school community benefits.

The school budgets prudently to enable the children to experience as many wonderful things as possible during their time at Race Leys. From trips to Harry Potter World to annual arts festivals, from theatre trips to sports festivals, the goal is to help children develop a sense of curiosity and open new horizons for them through the art of exploring and discovery.

Why this support matters

The support that the Griffin School Trust, and schools like Race Leys Junior, has to offer is vital, especially now. The cost-of-living crisis means that parents are increasingly anxious, having to make choices between heating and eating with education and enrichment suffering as a result.

Parents are struggling enough and as a school it is a responsibility for us to, not only educate children, but also support our families in any way we can. No parent wants to say no to a trip for their children and it shouldn’t ever be the case to have to choose between bills and new experiences for children.

Race Leys looks to take as much of this burden away as possible, offering free extra-curricular support and activities so no student gets left behind.

 

Teacher Wellbeing Index 2022: record numbers plan to leave profession as mental health suffers

 

Record numbers of UK teachers and education staff have considered leaving the sector in the past academic year due to pressures on their mental health and wellbeing. Over half of this group have actively sought to change or leave their current jobs, citing workload as the main factor:

  • 59% of staff have considered leaving the sector in the past academic year due to pressures on their mental health and wellbeing (67% senior leaders, 59% schoolteachers)
  • 55% of those who have considered leaving have actively sought to change or leave their current jobs (58% senior leaders, 53% schoolteachers)
  • 68% of staff who have considered leaving cited volume of workload as the main reason for thinking about leaving their jobs (83% senior leaders, 66% schoolteachers)

 

The findings, part of the 2022 , conducted annually by the charity Education Support in conjunction with YouGov showed that overall, stress levels have increased when compared to 2021. Staff working in education also continue to experience higher levels of depression and anxiety than those reported in the general population.

  • 75% of all staff are stressed (84% of senior leaders, 72% of schoolteachers)
  • 47% of all staff always go into work when unwell (61% of senior leaders, 45% of schoolteachers)
  • 78% of all staff experienced mental health symptoms due to their work (87% senior leaders, 76% schoolteachers)

The sector has been further hit by the cost-of-living crisis with school leaders warning of “catastrophic” measures they will be forced to take this winder – including restricting heating in classrooms and cutting staff. [1] 

 

Matt Quigley, Headteacher said:

 

 “This report correlates directly with my current experience as a school leader. Stress, anxiety and depression are prevalent amongst staff; funding cuts really aren’t helping with me having to ask staff to give even more when they’re already on their knees; it is reasonable to expect that this would then negatively impact on the long-term health and well-being of staff; and, despite working really hard over the last few years – with the challenges we have all faced – in order to create a ‘compassionate culture’ amongst our staff, even for a great staff like ours we are all starting to fray at the edges. This way of working simply isn’t sustainable for much longer and some wide-ranging changes need to be made.”

 

 Commenting on this year’s Index, Sinéad Mc Brearty, CEO of Education Support said:

 

“These findings paint a grave picture for the future of education. The Prime Minister has made clear his commitment to growth and the skills agenda, but the reality of the education workforce crisis will not magic itself away. No-one has sought to create this situation, but these chronic, entrenched dynamics around workload, stress and mental ill health will limit our national ambition for a generation. We are witnessing the slow disintegration of the workforce.”  

“Whilst these data make difficult reading for everyone involved in trying to make the system the best it can be, the simple fact is that we are failing.  Our children and young people deserve so much more from us. It is time to invest in the workforce and to remove the well documented drivers of significant stress in the system.”

To download a full copy of the report, including conclusions and recommendations visit Education Support’s website.