• Courses are available in Yorkshire for individuals associated with community clubs, volunteers and others who wish to know more about mental health
  • Learners will have access to three nationally recognised courses


The UK’s largest online learning provider, The Skills Network, has joined forces with The Yorkshire Cricket Foundation to offer free mental health awareness courses in the region.


The Skills Network, who already has partnerships with the likes of NHS, Wakefield Metropolitan District Council, The Castleford Tigers, and now the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation, is offering the courses to raise awareness of mental health in both adults and children, providing the knowledge and resources to work or interact with individuals who may be struggling.


Individuals associated with community clubs, volunteers and others will have free access to three nationally recognised online mental health courses, which will focus on recognising poor mental health, as well as the signs of self-harm and suicidal thoughts. The fully funded courses will also look at managing and minimising self-harm risk, giving tips on how to support others dealing with grief after suicide.


Darren Clarke, Senior Account Manager at The Skills Network said: “The pandemic has affected everyone differently – some have lost family members, others have become unemployed or furloughed, while many are feeling extreme loneliness.


“If we can break the stigma by allowing communities to be more informed and aware about the topic, it will become easier to spot the signs and potentially be able to prevent individuals from suffering in silence. By providing access to these free courses, we hope to support local adults who wish to learn more about mental health and gain new certified qualifications, for free.”

Beth Cook, Health and Wellbeing Manager for The Yorkshire Cricket Foundation said: “We have been working with the Skills Network for several years now, promoting courses that align with our delivery at the YCF. Given the current national landscape, we thought there was more we could do to promote awareness of mental health and reduce the associated stigma and saw our partnership with TSN as an ideal way to achieve this.


We want to work with as many cricket clubs and community groups across Yorkshire to build a network of ambassadors who want to create a change in how we approach, talk about and help those living with mental health conditions.”


The virtual courses, available to individuals over the age of 19 and not in the education sector, last for eight to 12 weeks, allowing them to fit learning around their busy lives.


To browse the selection of courses available or to sign up, please visit

Landmark Year for Key Education Supplier

ESPO has grown from humble beginnings into one of the largest public sector buying organisations in the country, supplying more than 20,000 customers across the UK – including schools, police forces, councils and the NHS and this year ESPO celebrates its 40th birthday.


The business employs more than 300 people and supports £2.4billion of public sector spending every year. During the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s helped to distribute vital PPE to front line workers and emergency care packages to vulnerable people.


ESPO’s Chief Officer Kristian Smith said: “Going above and beyond for our customers is what we’ve always done and will continue to do. We’re very proud of what we’ve achieved over the past 40 years and it’s right that we celebrate it.”


ESPO is 100% owned by six local authority members including Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Peterborough City Council. Any operating surplus is returned to the public purse to help fund key services – resulting in a total reinvestment of more than £5m every year.


ESPO was set up in 1981 to help its member authorities buy everything they need – from stationery to multi-million pound contracts. Since then, the organisation has developed into a ‘one-stop shop’ offering everyday essentials and specialist services to public sector customers nationwide. The ESPO catalogue lists more than 25,000 different products and is a staple in thousands of schools across the country.


From their purpose-built warehouse and head office in Leicester, the ESPO team pick, pack and deliver more than 35,000 items every day helping to keep public sector services running smoothly.


ESPO also operates more than 100 framework solutions – recruiting a huge range of trusted suppliers centrally, so that public sector customers don’t have to duplicate this work, providing time and money saving benefits. Over the years the ESPO team have provided everything from energy and food services, to temporary staffing solutions, which has delivered 35million hours of work to the public sector, equivalent to 21,000 fulltime positions.


ESPO’s breadth and range has surpassed expectations over its 40 year history and continues to innovate and improve it’s offering to meet the ever changing needs of the public sector.


Pupils settle in at Oldham’s newest secondary school

Students from Oldham’s Oasis Academy Leesbrook have been enjoying their brand-new school again after it opened late last year, just prior to the recent national lockdown.

The school, designed by Pozzoni Architecture and built by Galliford Try North West, is operated by the Oasis Community Learning Multi-Academy Trust and is located on the site of the former Breeze Hill School on Roxbury Avenue off Lees Road in Oldham.

Oasis Academy Leesbrook has been designed to be a school where all young people receive a personalised educational experience and holds 1,500 students between the ages of 11 and 16.

The main school building is a four storey ‘Super Block’ with an adjacent two storey sports hall and one storey building housing a fitness suite and PE classroom. Red brick was chosen as the primary material so that the school would be in keeping with the local design vernacular in Oldham, with the building’s form and materials reminiscent of the town’s industrial history.

The double height main visitor entrance is set back to provide a natural sheltered recess leading on from the external plaza, which offers a secure and welcoming arrival to the school. There is a second entrance for pupils which leads onto the performance hall while a third offers a dedicated entrance to the sports facilities for community usage.

To ease movement around the school, an ‘oval’ circulation system has been created, improving pupil circulation and reducing travel distancing between classes to reduce congestion. Staff areas are evenly distributed and positioned along circulation routes to enable passive supervision and wayfinding.

The social areas of the school include a large, bright and airy dining hall with two storey curtain walls, while a covered external dining area is also available for Year 11 students to use at lunch times as well as offering a social space for break time along with a nearby informal terracing area and grassed amphitheatre.

The school’s Learning Resource Centre takes pride of position on the first floor, acting as a mezzanine within the dining hall as well as offering views over the playing fields. The art department has also been positioned to enjoy inspiring views across the school grounds and neighbouring Leesbrook Nature Park.

The school’s sports pitches, multi-use games area and playground are also being made accessible to the local community, offering benefits for the wider health and wellbeing benefits of the residents across the neighbourhood as part of the Oasis Hub: Oldham, which runs activities designed to help build a strong, safe, and resilient community.

Catherine Mulley, Director at Pozzoni and head of the practice’s education team, said:

“We are delighted that the students at Oasis Academy Leesbrook have been able to start enjoying their new school again, which offers a truly exceptional facility for the local area as a whole. The project benefitted from being located on the very large site of a former secondary school and this has enabled the design to offer a spacious, inspiring and welcoming learning environment for 1,500 students.

“The opening of this school continues our ongoing relationship with Galliford Try in the education sector with Vanguard School, for the National Autistic Society Academies Trust via the Department for Education, which opened last January and received a Highly Commended status in the Education Estates Award 2020 for Inclusive Learning Spaces for All.”

Sarah Livesey, Principal at Oasis Academy Leesbrook, said:

“Oasis Academy Leesbrook is a school that is passionate about providing the very best for our families, our community, and our wonderful students who are our pioneers and the future of this community. This building is one small part of us delivering on our promise to do our best for this community by providing an inspiring, engaging and caring educational environment in which our students can flourish.

“We are proud that our Academy is already oversubscribed since opening in 2018; this is testament to our wonderful staff and students – the building now gives the staff, students and community the facilities that they deserve.”

Darren Parker, Managing Director for Galliford Try Building North West, commented:

“This has been a fantastic project for our business unit. By working closely with Oasis Community Learning we have enhanced the experience for the whole community creating greater social value along the way of the project, while in step with creating a new Academy for local students that we can all be proud of.”

For more information on Pozzoni Architecture’s work in the education sector, please visit:

Teachers will lead the digital learning revolution in schools

More than 20,000 teachers from around the world will come together on Saturday, the 17th of April to recognise the leading role teachers have played in developing digital and educational solutions to the pandemic crisis at the inaugural T4 Education Teacher Tech Summit.

The COVID-19 outbreak sparked the biggest crisis in the teaching profession around the world. According to the UNESCO Global Education Coalition, since the start of the pandemic an estimated 63 million primary and secondary teachers have been affected by restrictions forcing schools to fully or partially close.

For many of these educators, trends in remote learning have been dramatically accelerated as schools adopt and adapt new practices to ensure their pupils continue to receive a high-quality education.

The resulting disruption and rapid change has ignited a world-wide digital learning revolution with teachers on its frontline, embracing new tools and discovering new methods to deliver their lessons. During the pandemic there has also been an explosion in teachers sharing their best practices, promoting greater innovation and creativity through informal collaboration.

While the pandemic has posed huge challenges, the crisis offers an opportunity to transform and reimagine education with teachers leading the digital learning revolution.

The T4 Education Teacher Tech Summit will bring educators together from around the world and is designed to provide a platform for them to share their expertise and experiences using educational technologies. The event will focus on the following themes:

  • Designing learning for hybrid environments
  • Engaging learners online
  • How to create good digital content
  • Assessing learning online
  • Ensuring no-one is left behind in online learning

Attendees will get the chance to hear from pioneering frontline teachers who have led the digital revolution in their schools, as well as from renowned world leaders like the OECD’s Director for Education and Skills, Andreas Schleicher; Dr Sara Hennessy from the University of Cambridge; and, Ross Morrison McGill, the Founder and CEO of Teacher Toolkit.

T4 Education recognises that it is teachers who will be key to unlocking the global education recovery from this crisis. On the 8th of April, T4 Education will also be launching a new Insights Survey – the first of its kind and in collaboration with the Cambridge University EdTech Hub and OECD – that will learn directly from frontline teachers all over the world about their professional experiences over the past year, and how they have mobilised to overcome the numerous challenges this unchartered period has generated. You can participate in this survey by following this link.

The event is free of charge and will take place online on Saturday the 17th of April between 12 pm – 3 pm GMT. T4 Education will stream the event live and in English, with subtitles in the following additional languages: Arabic, Bengali, French, Hindi, Malay, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian, Spanish and Urdu. To register your attendance, please follow this link.

Vikas Pota, Founder of T4 Education, said:

“The past year has been an incredible journey for teachers worldwide. Teachers have rapidly gone from a situation where restrictions caused great uncertainty, to now using technology in innovative ways to deliver fantastic educational outcomes that are fulfilling their pupils and school’s ambitions.”

“Throughout, we have seen amazing collaboration amongst teaching peers in every country, where they have played a leading role in creating the solutions to the unprecedented challenges they have needed to overcome. The results are not only benefitting millions of children and whole communities worldwide, but also the profession.”

“However, much of this work has been informal. Our Teacher Tech Summit is designed specifically to provide a platform for teachers to share their knowledge from the past year and their techniques with a global audience.

“This way, together we can showcase the amazing work of teachers and share best practice that will support the global community.”

“If you are a teacher, join us and more than 20,000 other educators on the 17th of April to learn from the best – learn from teachers, like you.”

Ross Morrison McGill, Founder and CEO of Teacher Toolkit commented:

“I have been in touch with a number of teachers around the world, learning about their experiences and how they have juggled their workloads with the switch from physical to online teaching and learning.”

“What is very clear from my work is how the world needs teachers. While the profession has been knocked due to this crisis, I am extremely optimistic by the number of teacher-led digital initiatives that are generating great results.”

“From simple conversations, good ideas can filter to the top. Bringing people together who are passionate about education and edtech is essential. T4 places teachers back at the forefront of these conversations and enables those who are supporting schools, to be better informed.”

Mario Herraez Velazquez of eTwinz said:

“As a teacher and an advocate of digital learning, I have been astounded by the pace of transformation over the past year. The teaching profession has gone from having very little experience of edtech on the whole, to it becoming a core element of how we plan, prepare and execute our lessons.”

“The use of edtech and digital learning solutions – while necessary in the pandemic – will only serve to benefit teachers, schools and learners around the world in the future.”

“I am looking forward to sharing the teaching and learning practices I have developed with my brother with the international audience that will be attending the event.”

Matt Granados, a SEN Teacher at Swiss Cottage School’s Development and Research Centre, commented:

“Teaching colleagues around the world are incredibly adaptive, creative, and resilient to changes they encounter every day.

This last year really has shone a light on just how innovative practitioners are, utilising technology to overcome previously unimaginable circumstances.  Through this inventiveness and consistent drive to develop learners, whatever the circumstance, edtech has been at the core.  

This inspirational event brings together our pioneering global teaching community to celebrate the impact teaching teams have had on learners, and vitally, to share these invaluable insights using edtech.”

Dr Sara Hennessy, Co-Director of the EdTech Hub, said:

“It’s been an incredible and seismic year for teachers worldwide, with an astonishing acceleration of digital technology use in education. At the EdTech Hub, we’ve been working at full steam with our partners to explore how to address the persistent challenges and inequities in access to devices and connectivity that the pandemic has brought into sharp relief – in high-income as well as low- and middle-income countries. We’ve seen schools employ a range of available low- and high-tech tools in creative ways, offering some glimmers of hope concerning what’s possible to ensure all learners globally can make progress. Teachers and their professional development are absolutely pivotal in this.”

“This event is vitally important because by showcasing the leading role that teachers have played in the adoption of tech, and sharing creative practices with peers around the world, we’ll continue to build on this going forward, aiming to leave no-one behind.”

John Baker, CEO of D2L, commented:

“Learning is what raises us up in every society; it ripples through generations. D2L is proud to support T4 in celebrating those educators who do this every single day and will continue to build the best technology platform to support them in creating the most impactful learning journeys.”

Denis Mizne, CEO of The Lemann Foundation, commented:

“The pandemic represented a serious threat to education all around the world, especially to the most vulnerable students”.

“Throughout, teachers have been fundamental to adapting the delivery of education online. I am proud of the numerous initiatives the Lemann Foundation has been a part of, working to support teachers and students.”

“The results are a number of inspiring collaborations between teachers and technology who have co-created solutions to overcome challenges. I am looking forward to sharing these initiatives with the other delegates at the T4 Education Teacher Tech Summit.”

One in three teachers thinking of leaving profession due to “unbearable pressure” during Covid-19

Schools are on the verge of a staffing crisis, as one in three (34%) teachers are considering leaving the profession as a result of “unbearable pressure”, according to new research from specialist insurer Ecclesiastical.


Covid-19 has created many challenges for teaching staff in primary, secondary and independent schools across the UK. A survey of 500 teachers found that the biggest challenges facing schools include pupil stress and anxiety (65%), increased pressure on staff to help pupils catch up (64%) and pupils struggling to catch up on time lost (58%).


The survey, commissioned by Ecclesiastical and conducted prior to some schools returning from the third nationwide lockdown, found that over half (56%) of teachers say that the pandemic has increased their workload, with two thirds (66%) finding the third lockdown more difficult to manage in terms of delivering online lessons, supporting pupils to cope with online learning fatigue and meeting expectations of online learning.


These pressures on school staff have resulted in two in five (41%) teachers say they are struggling to cope. 


Mounting pressure is taking a toll on teachers’ mental health


More than three quarters (77%) of teachers surveyed say that their school has seen an increase in staff mental health concerns since the start of Covid-19, with nearly one in four (24%) saying this has increased greatly. Furthermore, 80% of respondents say that they have seen an increase in staff anxiety overall.


Many schools have put additional measures in place to support their people through the pandemic – more than three quarters (76%) of teachers say that their school has provided additional wellbeing support in response to Covid-19 – though the impact has yet to be felt. Nearly six in 10 (57%) believe their school needs to do more to support staff wellbeing and 24% of respondents said that no additional support was being provided at all.


Teachers have also reported concerns about pupils’ mental health since the third lockdown. Three quarters (75%) of teachers say concerns about pupil mental health have increased since January 2021. Eight in 10 (80%) have seen an increase in pupil anxiety during this time.


Return to school was a cause of anxiety for teachers


Pupils and teachers across England returned to school on 8th March as part of the first step of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown restrictions. Yet ahead of schools reopening, 65% of teachers admitted to feeling anxious about returning to their school after the third national lockdown.


The survey found that concern about the risks of catching Covid-19 (70%), pupils not adhering to social distancing (59%) and concern about the extra workloads caused by Covid-19 (53%) are the top three reasons teachers gave for feeling anxious about returning to school.


Faith Kitchen, Education Director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, said: “Teachers have been faced with the monumental task of keeping pupils engaged and motivated through virtual learning. Now they must navigate the stresses and strains of physical teaching with additional safety measures in place. . It is clear that these huge challenges are pushing a number of teachers to breaking point. With long hours, health concerns and supporting pupils’ anxieties, teachers are understandably feeling the effects on their own mental health.


“This is a serious risk to schools and administrators and leaders need to make sure there is sufficient support for their staff, as pupils complete the rest of the year. They should also ensure that there are contingency plans to ease the pressure on teachers, should the country go into another lockdown.”



Vodafone today announced it is providing free access to a top-quality virtual tutoring service to support students as they prepare for important in-school assessments that will replace exams this year. Through its partnership with leading online education provider Vodafone customers are being offered a free two-week trial of all educational resources available on the platform, followed by 50% discount for either monthly or annual membership packages. The offer is available via Vodafone’s loyalty programme VeryMe from 1 to 16 April. offers award winning English and Maths resources designed to identify and address learning gaps and help students feel prepared and confident ahead of assessments or exams. The content is delivered by enthusiastic experts – all of whom are either experienced teachers or examiners – in short videos lasting between three and seven minutes per topic. There are also interactive quizzes and films to support every type of learner. The resources have been specially designed for children in years 5 and 6 (ahead of Key Stage 2 SATs) and years 9-11 (ahead of GCSEs). data suggests that daily use can improve GCSE maths grade by 35% in just 6 weeks[1].


Keeping children connected to education during the pandemic has been a priority for Vodafone. Its schools.connected programme launched in November, giving 350,000 data SIMs to more than 9,000 schools and further education colleges across the UK. Vodafone also joined the Department of Education’s Get Help with Technology programme to increase data allowances for disadvantaged children. It has also zero rated Oak National Academy’s online lessons so that customers can access the site without using up data allowances.


In March, Vodafone announced it had donated 10,000 dongle devices to Business2Schools to distribute to schools across the UK and made a £200,000 donation to the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Learn at Home campaign.


Customers can redeem this offer via Vodafone’s VeryMe Rewards in the My Vodafone app. The offer is available from 1 April 2021 to the 16 April 2021.


[1] Figures based on a Summer 2020 trial by For further information see here.


Digital resources will help parents boost kids’ activity during the school break


Families across the UK are being encouraged to access a popular digital programme this Easter – to find tips and ideas to keep kids active during the school holidays.


Created by Nike and Discovery Education—the leader in curriculum-aligned digital resources, engaging content, and professional learning for classrooms worldwide—Active Kids Do Better provides fun activities to keep kids busy and moving throughout the day, whether in school or at home. Freely available at, the resources include short-burst exercises, ideas for mini-workouts and fun family games. 


Launched by Olympic sprinter Daryll Neita in 2018, Active Kids Do Better has already helped thousands of UK primary school children to stay active. As the school Easter holidays approach, and with many restrictions still in place, it’s hoped that the programme will be used by parents as an easy way to inject fun movement into every day. 


Today in the UK, less than a quarter of children get the physical exercise they need – and the pandemic has had a huge impact on kids’ activity levels. Sport England’s Active Lives – Children and Young People surveyshowed that last year only 45% of kids averaged an hour of physical activity each day, with over a third saying that not being in school made them less active. 


Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the survey also found that many parents are actually spending more time being active with their children than before lockdown. As parents look for new ways to keep children moving and entertained, Active Kids Do Better offers plenty of ideas to help families have fun together while boosting kids’ physical and mental wellbeing. 


Howard Lewis, UK Managing Director at Discovery Education said:


“Discovery Education is delighted to be working with Nike to make our Active Kids Do Better resources available to parents across the UK . As the pandemic continues to impact children’s usual activities, these engaging exercises will help parents to introduce fun movement and play into every day. Active kids are healthier, happier and show stronger academic performance. Active Kids Do Better makes it easier than ever for families to stay active at this challenging time.” 


Active Kids Do Better’s fun activities and resources are linked to the National Curriculum, meaning that parents can also combine movement with learning during the Easter holidays. 


Some of the activities include:

  • Spell Check – a hopscotch-style outdoor game which teaches spelling
  • Clock Lunges – an indoor activity to help kids learn to tell the time
  • Compass Jumps – a fun indoor movement that helps kids understand direction


Parents can also discover fun activities which are perfect for getting the whole family moving together, indoors and outdoors, at any time. From learning how to recreate sports like tennis or ping pong with everyday household items, to calming family yoga sessions, the Active Kids Do Better website has something for everyone.  


Parents and families are encouraged to get started at An Active Kids Parent Pack is also available to download from the website. 


Find out more about Nike’s commitment to getting kids moving and providing opportunities for equal playing fields for all at


Active Kids Do Better is nominated for a prestigious 2021 Bett Award in the Free Digital Content category. 



CONSTRUCTION has started to create a number of new classroom blocks at three secondary schools across Essex – adding 750 much-needed school places for pupils in the county.

The modular units will be installed at Clacton County High School, in Clacton-on-Sea; The Colne Community School and College, in Brightlingsea; and Sweyne Park School, in Rayleigh, as part of the Essex County Council-led scheme.

The designs for all three schools have been tailored to be as flexible and efficient as possible to maximise the benefits of a modular solution, while simultaneously meeting both the client’s educational needs and environmental requirements.

Leading independent property, construction and infrastructure consultancy Pick Everard has been appointed to deliver architecture, civil, structural and MEP engineering, and principal design services.

Keith Prendergast, director at Pick Everard, said: “We are really pleased to be working with Essex County Council to improve the school facilities and increase the number of pupil places in the county. These three projects are the latest to be delivered by Pick Everard for this client, continuing a longstanding relationship with the council.

“We have worked closely with the client and had close collaboration with a modular supplier to ensure the brief was achieved and the design was conducive with an offsite modular solution. This will provide the high-quality education facilities the next generation of students deserve.

“The implementation of modular for these projects has also allowed the overall programme time to be greatly reduced, meaning that schools will be able to make the most of their new classrooms much sooner than if the traditional construction route were taken. We look forward to seeing all three schools open their new modular buildings, and to seeing students enjoying and making the most of their new environments.”

Construction at the three sites is expected to complete later this year. 

Property, construction and infrastructure consultancy Perfect Circle – a company jointly owned by Pick Everard, Gleeds and AECOM – was appointed by Essex County Council to deliver project management and quantity surveying services, which have been procured via SCAPE Consultancy, a direct award framework that drives collaboration, efficiency, time, and cost savings.

Tom Wint, quantity surveying associate at Pick Everard, said: “Modular builds are a new breed of structure that offer modern facilities and a greater level of flexibility and innovation. However, completing them for schools is still a relatively new concept. As a result, strong collaboration between all partners is required to ensure a successful delivery programme that is completed on time.

“When compared to traditional on-site methods, Essex County Council has reduced the overall project time by six months by opting for modular builds, which are a great way to save time and money on a scheme due to providing an efficient solution – allowing Sweyne Park School to open its new building at the start of the new academic year in September 2021.”

A spokesperson for Essex County Council, said: “It’s really important for us that all pupils in Essex receive the best possible education and that there is enough capacity within the county’s schools for every single child. We’re pleased to be working with Pick Everard on a series of projects to provide high quality learning environments and meet the increased demand for school places.

“Taking a modular approach to these schools will mean that we can provide these all-important spaces and additional pupil places quicker than using traditional construction methods. It is so important to minimise any disruption to the operation of the school – especially now schools have welcomed back all students.”

For more information, please visit

Britannica teams up with TrilbyTV to bring ‘World Facts’ to schools digital signage

Digital signage software company TrilbyTV has announced an exciting new partnership with Britannica Digital Learning! This means that schools can now access World Facts, which shows a country, capital, population and one of five country-specific facts every day. It’s great to expand students’ understanding of the world and for using as starter topics in geography. 


Britannica Head of UK Sales, Emma Lamb, had this to say on the partnership,

“Britannica Digital are excited to be working with TrilbyTV.

I first discovered TrilbyTV when I was sitting in a school reception, waiting for a presentation with the Head. Usually, there is a screen in reception that is either turned off and gathering dust or occasionally the news may be on.

In this case, I was pleasantly surprised that I was entertained by what the school was up to, sports days, interviews, blogs, award days, announcements, and in between all this, the screen intermittently showcased publishers’ content.

I made a mental note to get in touch with TrilbyTV as I very much wanted to see if we could get involved and appear on the 1000’s of screens in schools across the UK and EMEA.”

TrilbyTV Director Neil Emery added,


“I’m so excited to be partnering with Britannica for our latest content catalogue offering. Growing up as a young person, my Mum and Dad had a full set of encyclopedias that I found so interesting and often used to support my homework. I have no doubt our World Facts content will provide the exact same inspiration for pupils I gained all those years ago”.


Britannica’s “World Facts” can be added to digital signage screens via TrilbyTV’s Content Catalogue which works as if you had added the content yourself. You can add or remove slides, edit times and dates, and add your information to the mix.


Britannica’s ‘World Facts’ is a fantastic way to get students thinking about Geography. You can use the facts to inspire pupils to think about the World around them. The ‘World Facts’ work well on any screen, but if you have a digital display in your Geography or Humanities department, it would be an excellent content item to share there.



TrilbyTV created in 2015, is the number one digital signage platform made for education. Founders Ben Stanley & Neil Emery were technology trainers, who were fed up of walking into reception areas and seeing TV screens switched off. After investigating further and plugging in a cable or two, they’d usually find the Christmas play pictures from five years ago. When looking into why the screens were switched off initially, there seemed to be a pattern; the software was too hard to use and had to be constantly micromanaged by the IT department. This is why they created TrilbyTV, the easy to use digital signage software that gives users ownership and control of their own content. 

The platform offers a full range of content options for digital signage including video, slideshows, Twitter feeds and web content. It also contains a content catalogue, full of education-focused ready to use content from well known and trusted organisations.

More About TrilbyTV – 

Why literacy skills can help mitigate the impact of the pandemic

There’s an urgent need to support children in literacy so their life chances are not affected by Covid-19, says Andrea Welter, assistant head teacher from Pheasey Park Primary School and Early Years Centre.

The pandemic is creating new inequalities among the youngest in our society. A survey from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) suggests the gap between disadvantaged children and those from more affluent households has increased by 46%.

With schools having to close to most pupils once again this spring, the task of plugging these gaps will be all the more challenging.

Inequality of opportunity

The extent of the damage is widespread because not only has Covid disrupted face-to-face teaching and learning, it has also deepened the economic divide.

Many families’ circumstances have become more difficult and parents may be less able to support their child’s learning while dealing with financial pressures or health worries.

There is a growing digital divide too. While government, schools and charitable organisations are finding ways to put laptops in the hands of learners, some children still don’t have the devices or connectivity they need to access online learning and build their digital skills along with their English and maths.

Redressing the balance

We cannot turn back the clock and make up for all the face-to-face teaching a child has missed, but what we can do is give that child the building blocks to support their future learning.

One of these is reading which is a skill for learning and for life. If a child doesn’t have a strong foundation in literacy they will find it harder to access other subjects, which could hold them back right through their schooling.

As well as being able to read aloud, children need to be able to read in their head, develop a wide vocabulary and decode the meaning of what they see on the page. When a child can do this, they open doors to a whole world of learning.

Hidden reading difficulties

The challenge for schools is that issues with reading can be difficult to spot. It’s sometimes hard to tell if a child has problems with silent reading, or lets their minds wander away from the page.

To see beneath the surface of reading ability we use software which follows a child’s eye movements as they read. The technology measures how long a child’s eyes rest on one word and how quickly their eyes move forwards and backwards across a series of words.

This tool helps us see which children are at risk of specific reading difficulties such as dyslexia so we can get the right support in place quickly.

Assessment without pressure

In a year when children have been through so much, schools are very mindful of pupil wellbeing, and the need to help children ease back into the school routine. However, it is still important to set a baseline to see where pupils are in their learning.

The best way to assess children without raising anxiety levels is to take a low-stress approach, such as an on-screen activity or digital quiz. These can be more accessible and enjoyable than a traditional pen and paper task.

Making tests a positive experience can go a long way towards building confidence as well as aptitude. Some of the screening technology we use is so much fun, pupils want to take the test all over again.

Another advantage of technology-based assessment is that teachers generally find it quicker to access digital results than to work through heaps of paper tests. Reducing workload and saving time is good for teachers’ wellbeing too.

The impact of the pandemic on children’s education has been far-reaching, but by tackling the literacy gap, schools can accelerate pupils’ recovery in all areas of their learning.


Andrea Welter is an assistant head teacher from Pheasey Park Farm Primary School and Early Years Centre in Walsall, West Midlands which is part of the Elston Hall Multi Academy Trust. Andrea is currently working across two of the trust schools which use Lexplore Analytics, an eye tracking tool which quickly assesses reading attainment. You can find out more at: