Premier League launches Wellbeing Stars challenge, encouraging schoolchildren to carry out acts of kindness

The Premier League has today launched the Wellbeing Stars challenge, which encourages primary school-aged children across England and Wales to come up with and carry out five acts of kindness in a single week. 


The challenge tasks five to 11-year-olds with creating a ‘Wellbeing Week’ plan of activity that will help boost the mood of their family, or people they know in their school or community. It will also inspire classroom discussion on feelings and emotions.


Wellbeing Stars is the latest initiative from the Premier League Primary Stars education programme, which uses children’s passion for football to engage them in learning. The programme is supported by 110 professional football clubs in their communities, as well as via free online resources.


Teachers and families can download a free Wellbeing Stars resource pack, which includes a ‘Wellbeing Week’ worksheet where children can write down each of their acts of kindness and reflect on how they have made others feel. Teachers, parents and guardians are then encouraged to submit children’s completed worksheets by Monday 19 April to Premier League Primary Stars.


Clinical psychologist, Dr Hazel Harrison, who has assisted with the creation of the Premier League Wellbeing Stars activity, said: 


“All of us, but particularly children, need to connect – and re-connect – with our peers and wider community right now. Encouraging children to help others is a great way to do this. Making meaningful connections with others is known to trigger physiological changes that make us feel happier, braver and closer to one another. 


“I’d encourage schools and families to get involved in Premier League Wellbeing Stars. It’s initiatives like this that can ease the return to school and build up children’s wellbeing and focus on their strengths. Not only that, but we know that young people who take part in social action projects feel a stronger sense of belonging to their communities. ”


A selection of the weekly plans will be used to create a Premier League Wellbeing Stars calendar, which will be sent to participating schools and will also be made available for families to download. Three children who take part will also be recognised for their efforts with the Premier League Trophy visiting their school. 


Premier League Head of Community Nick Perchard said: “Social action has been an important part of the nation’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and is a key theme for all Premier League community activity. Premier League Wellbeing Stars will enable children to have a better understanding of how their acts of kindness can have a positive impact on others and will also give them the opportunity to learn from their peers’ projects.”


Children can also take inspiration from the acts of kindness of Premier League players who have helped their communities throughout the national lockdown. Videos within the Wellbeing Stars resource will feature Tottenham Hotspur’s Ben Davies who has supported his elderly neighbour, as well as Brighton & Hove Albion’s Neal Maupay who has made sure he checks in with family, friends and neighbours.


Are you ready for the academies budget forecast return?



It’s that time of year when minds in the Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) sector usually turn to the annual Budget Forecast Return Outturn (BFRO).


BFRO is typically used by the Department for Education (DfE) to review the in-year position and expected outturn of the sector to ensure this financial data can be accurately reported to the Treasury in May. However, for the second academic year running, there have been some changes to the process which Trusts must respond to.


This year, instead of the standalone BFRO form, the DfE has combined the BFRO and BFR3Y into a single online form which will also require the Trust’s three-year forecast. This form goes live on 22nd June, with a submission deadline of 27th July.


It should be noted that all academy trusts must compile longer-term forecasts for their own internal financial planning as required in the Academies Financial Handbook (section 2.11).


Here are my four top tips for MAT Chief Financial Officers and School Business Managers preparing for the academies budget forecast return, and getting ahead of the game with their financial forecasting.


  1. Always keep your forecasting up-to-date

As a general principle, whilst it can be easy to get caught up in the ‘here and now’ and decide that with so many unknowns (even with the welcome Covid catch-up premium) MAT forecasting will be lacking accuracy, it remains important to make sure this is up-to-date throughout the year. Having prudent financial forecasts at your fingertips is always needed by MAT leaders to aid decision-making and for boards to make informed decisions using reliable data, so never lose sight of the wider strategic need.


  1. Save yourself time, get into good habits

Not only is there a strategic need for keeping your forecasting up-to-date, there is also a workload issue. By keeping on top of a monthly cycle you reduce the effort for each forecast, and are also only ever a month away from your next set of financial data, so you can therefore ensure that decision-making is always based upon current financial information. Unfortunately we still see Trusts who may only prepare a forecast to satisfy the BFR requirements, when actually work on this should be ‘live’ and ongoing.


  1. It’s difficult to do this retrospectively

Let’s use the single BFR online form as an example here. If you were to leave the form until the end of July, one element of the BFR submission is your actuals, which cover 1st September 2020-31st March 2021. It is therefore important that the full accounting month end procedure is completed at this point, with all of the necessary adjustments (accruals/prepayments etc) being posted as required. Re-creating historic ‘as-at’ positions is difficult, and accounting systems can struggle with retrospective reporting, so ensuring that this is addressed in April is crucial.


  1. Future proof your finances

What this past year has shown is that reliable management accounts are needed, as is agility of financial processes. Trust leaders are familiar with operating within a moving landscape and will know the importance of robust financial planning for the future. This means continuing with their in-year forecasting and formulating strategic budget plans even when information, assumptions and reporting deadlines are uncertain. The lack of a robust forecasting process could limit resources available for frontline application.


Here’s how our own MAT software can help:


Will Jordan is Co-Founder of IMP Software, specialists in MAT budgeting systems. You can also download our new insight report, A Growing Philosophy: How are Multi-Academy Trusts developing their operating models through centralisation? here


Dentsu UK partners with Co-op for the 2021 edition of pioneering schools programme The Code

Innovative training initiative to bridge the skills and diversity gap returns for fifth year after reaching 11,000 students so far 


London, 17 March 2021: Dentsu UK’s flagship schools programme, The Code, will celebrate its fifth year by partnering with convenience retailer Co-op for the return of the Rise Up Creative Challenge.  


The challenge, in collaboration with leading overlooked talent specialist MyKindaFuture, is open to young people aged 15 to 18, and supports dentsu in its aim to reach more than 15,000 young people in the UK by the end of 2021. So far, it has reached more than 11,000 through The Code programme.  


It will run for three months from 17 March and supports The Code’s aim to open the doors of the creative industries to students from under-represented backgrounds and communities. For example, last year’s edition saw 61% of participants identify as female and 52% from BAME backgrounds. To facilitate this, dentsu will continue to work with 13 partner schools from across the UK in areas with low social mobility, and higher than average BAME representation and students on free school meals.   


The Rise Up Creative Challenge supports young people’s development across the UK by asking them to come up with a creative digital advertising campaign that helps tackle a real client brief.  This year’s edition will see students work on three areas of focus for the Co-op: Community, Healthy Living and A Better World.  


Co-creating solutions to the world’s biggest challenges is a consistent theme for The Code and in the lead-up to COP26, the Rise Up Creative Challenge gives a platform to the next generation of leaders and activists to share their ideas on how to build back better and confront the climate crisis. 


Students will have access to The Code’s digital curriculum, which was developed last year using the knowledge of dentsu experts in digital, media and creative. The online curriculum was launched to help address the lack of support for young people’s development during the global pandemic. It includes access to mentors from dentsu and Co-op, and on-demand video courses around topics such as the importance of data and audience insights in marketing.  


Entrants will present their campaigns to a team of judges that includes: dentsu UK’s CEO of Creative James Morris, Co-op Customer Director Ali Jones, and Adweek’s UK Bureau Chief Stephen Lepitak. The winner will see their idea brought to life and – along with three highly commended entries – will receive work experience and a host of prizes from Co-op and dentsu.  


James Morris, CEO – Creative and Chair of DEI Council, dentsu UK & Ireland said: “The effect of the pandemic has been felt at every level of society, especially in education. Businesses must step up and help bridge the ever-widening skills and attainment gap for disadvantaged students. Co-op leads the way in supporting community actions. Together, we can take this further, providing the essential training and access needed to provide a pathway to a future career in the creative industries.”

Ali Jones, Customer Director, Co-op said: “We’re proud to partner with an agency business like dentsu, which has a clear, active Social Impact strategy designed to tackle the issues facing our society. That lies at the heart of what we do and supporting young people through the pandemic has been a key focus for us. We’re delighted to be partnering with The Code programme to give students across the country an opportunity to come up with tangible ways to support their communities while at the same time opening up greater opportunities for their own futures.” 


The Rise Up Creative Challenge is open to all students who can take part by visiting: 


Meeting the needs of young people in challenging environments is a key part of dentsu’s Social Impact programme globally. The Code first launched in the UK in 2016 and is now live in 11 markets globally including the US and Canada to support dentsu’s goal to support 100,000 young people globally to become empowered digital citizens. More information on The Code can be found at 


Education software provider launches innovative pre-order meal app for schools

Pre-order school meals on-the-go

International provider of cashless education software, ami Education, has launched Infinity+ Order, a pre-order app for schools globally. As part of their Infinity+ range of cashless retail and payment, ID management and registration software for schools and colleges around the world, the Infinity+ Order app enables pupils to pre-order their school meals in advance directly from their phones, ready to pick up at lunchtime.


Contactless meal ordering

To facilitate a contactless lunchtime for pupils, the Infinity+ Order app is linked with Infinity+ cashless software to ensure a simple payment and service process.

When pupils order their school meals via the app, the payment is automatically deducted from their cashless account. This function offers a fully contactless lunch service, and schools are encouraged to control traffic flow with designated pre-order pick-up points.


“When COVID-19 forced schools around the world to close, we knew that it was vital to ensure that there was a safe solution in place for pupils to pre-order and collect their lunch when schools reopen. We’re excited to offer schools a simple way to do this with the Infinity+ Order app, which allows pupils to order, pay and collect their lunches with just a few clicks.” – Tony Reeves, Head of Operations at ami Education.


Key features of the pre-order app include:


  • Removes the need for cash in the dining hall
  • Completely contactless lunch service
  • Pupils can check their live cashless balance anywhere and anytime
  • Software is linked to Infinity+ cashless system for a seamlessly integrated pre-order system
  • Pre-order school meals in advance, for the date of their choice
  • School catering teams are notified of meals ordered in advance and can prepare quantities of food accordingly, reducing food wastage
  • Pupils and parents can view current and previous orders

Following the app launch, a selection of UK schools implemented Infinity+ Order as part of their cashless catering solutions. When reviewing the app, one parent said:

“The app is amazing. My daughter downloaded it and now pre-orders almost every day.” – Secondary school parent, Preston


With retailers adapting to the COVID-19 crisis by switching to contactless order methods, many schools have implemented similar solutions, with ami’s Infinity+ Order pre-order app offering schools a way to mimic out-of-the-gate spending.


For school catering teams, Infinity+ Order is designed to improve efficiencies by notifying staff in advance of meals ordered to allow catering teams to prepare food accordingly and reduce food wastage.


About ami Education

With over 25 years of experience delivering software to education establishments around the world, ami Education is one of the UK’s leading provider of cashless catering and ID management solutions for the education industry. Ami’s Transact and Infinity+ software offers a suite of fully integrated cashless catering and biometric technologies designed to meet the needs of schools and colleges.

For more information on the Infinity+ Order app, please visit Infinity+ Order app.


Lockdown lifted your savings? Top tips for making your money work for you


Daniela Attenborough, financial consultant at Wesleyan Group, the specialist financial services mutual for teachers explores how teachers can get the most out of their lockdown savings.


In the face of long hours, high workloads and the challenges of adapting to remote and online learning,

managing personal finances might have understandably fallen to the bottom of your to-do list.


Lockdown might, however, have given you the opportunity to save more than usual. Our own research

found that, on average, individuals saved £276 a month during the coronavirus pandemic, compared

with £240 before.


If you have been able to put some extra away, it will be important to consider how you can use this

money to support your personal and financial goals and make it work as hard as you do.


Here are four key things to think about when it comes to using those extra lockdown savings.


Review your savings plans and targets


Any saving habit should be accompanied by a savings strategy – understanding what you need the

money for, combined with your own personal circumstances, will help you determine the best way to

manage your money.


Being able to save that little bit extra over the past year might have meant that you’re now closer to any

existing goals you had established, or in a better position to set-up new ones.


As a very first step it will be important to review your targets to ensure they align with your current



Before putting money towards any goals, however, consider whether you need to start, or top-up, an

emergency fund for a rainy day first.


Setting aside three months’ worth of net household income is a good starting buffer. With this in place,

you can then think about committing money to other savings pots.


Don’t overlook retirement


For some, retirement can feel like a long way off, but it’s important to start planning for the day you step

back from the classroom as early as possible.


You may want to consider putting any extra lockdown savings towards your retirement plans. Speaking

to a financial adviser can help you understand the best way to put your money towards your retirement

– be it investing, or by purchasing additional pension through the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS).


If you haven’t yet established a retirement strategy, now could be the perfect time to do so.


It’s important to consider factors such as when you’d like to retire, and what retirement will look like to

you. From here, you can determine how much income you will need at different stages of your retirement

and how you can grow your pension pot.


Again, a financial adviser can support with this process – they can help you calculate the financial

implications of choices such as taking a phased retirement or working past your retirement date, and

understand when you can start to withdraw funds from your pension savings.

Investing, investing, investing


With interest rates currently lower than inflation, simply keeping cash in the bank means that the value

of your savings effectively falls over time.

Putting some of your extra lockdown savings into investments can provide a way to grow your wealth

by helping to beat low interest rates, outperform inflation and build new income streams. And you don’t

need huge sums to start investing – any amount of money can be put to work.


The very first thing to consider is whether investing is right for you. Investing isn’t a ‘quick win’ and generally takes place over longer periods of time – at least five years, but typically longer. If you know you might need your savings sooner, investing might not be the right option.


You will also need to consider your appetite to risk – the value of your investments can go down as well

as up. Each asset you can invest in, whether it’s property, bonds, cash or stocks, comes with its own level of risk, as well as its own degree of reward. Diversifying your investment portfolio by spreading investments across asset classes can offer a degree of protection against a single asset’s poor performance.

An easy way to do this is to put your money in an investment fund that covers many different types of

assets, spreading the overall risk. Each fund has a risk rating that you can use to see if it’s a good fit

for you. Please remember the value of investments can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you invest.


Maximise tax-efficiencies


Using your tax-free savings allowances can help you make the most out of the lockdown cash you’ve

put aside. Putting your money in an Individual Savings Account (ISA) could be a good option to consider.

You can save up to £20,000 tax-free into an ISA for both the 2020-21 tax year and for the upcoming

2021-2022 with no tax charged on any interest earned.


The deadline for using your ISA allowance for 2020-21 is midnight on 5 April, and you won’t be able to

carry over any unused allowance from year to year.

There are a range of ISA types you can use. For example, a cash ISA allows you to save money in

cash, meanwhile, a ‘stocks & shares’ ISA – such as Wesleyan’s With Profits ISA – allows you to make

investments with your money in assets like funds, bonds or individual stocks.**

Wesleyan’s With Profits Fund was recently ranked 1st place* for its five-year net return of 7.31% by independent actuarial services provider Barnett Waddingham. And because it’s an ISA, our customers didn’t pay tax on any returns they earnt.


At Wesleyan Financial Services , we understand the unique financial needs of teachers. Our specialist financial consultants are available who can offer advice at every stage of your savings journey, from setting targets through to reviewing your pension savings.


For more information visit: Stocks and Shares ISA for Teachers (



Please note that past performance is not a reliable guide to future performance and the value of your investment can go down as well as up, so you could get back less than you invested.



Tech start-up Wonde launch ‘TestRegister’ to aid schools with new COVID-testing regime

  • British tech start-up Wonde is launching a new platform to help schools automatically record and report COVID-19 test results
  • TestRegister will help save valuable school hours every day so teachers can concentrate on catching up pupils 
  • New platform will support Public Health England to manage the spread of the disease, by improving the speed and accuracy of schools test data reporting. 


British tech start-up, Wonde is today launching TestRegister, a new platform to help schools manage the new COVID-19 school testing system and help manage the spread of the disease. From 8 March, schools will need to make sure that test results from staff and pupils are safely and securely recorded and reported to the Government. Wonde will help them to do this automatically, saving valuable school hours so teachers can concentrate on catching up pupils who have lost out on education due to the pandemic. 


According to the new Government guidelines, pupils and staff will need to take two COVID-19 tests every week to prevent the virus spreading in schools. Wonde’s TestRegister is designed to save teachers time and help schools to record and report the data to the Government. The new platform will help Public Health England to manage the spread of the disease, by improving the speed and accuracy of schools test data reporting. 


TestRegister, which is launching in hundreds of schools, will help to manage and report the significant quantities of data in a safe, secure and timely manner. 


The portal will:

  • Give staff, students and parents a single portal to submit test results to – this can be done on desktop or mobile.
  • Allow schools to monitor and track who is and isn’t completing tests, and automate reminders to students, parents and staff. 
  • Allow for daily reporting of results to Public Health England, the Department for Education and local authorities, plus a further real-time positive test alert to notify the school and authorities if students or staff are required to self isolate. 


Wonde works with 21,000 schools across the UK to help them protect pupils’ data while using external applications, such as Google for Education. On a daily basis they handle the data of 33 million students, teachers and parents with the highest security accreditations. 


TestRegister, which Wonde built following the announcement on the 22 February, in response to requests from schools and local authorities, is the latest in a number of new services the start-up has created in response to the crisis. 


At the beginning of the pandemic, Wonde lept into action and built a platform to provide 750,000 families in need with Free School Meal vouchers. While the selected provider, Edenred, system crashed, Wonde was able to step in, identify eligible children and get them the vouchers quickly and securely. 


During the school holidays, Wonde’s voucher platform helped local authorities distribute vouchers through the Covid Winter Grant Scheme. Wonde supported over a third of local authorities in England to get vouchers to vulnerable families to access food and essential items – quickly and at scale. 


Peter Dabrowa, founder of Wonde said: 


“Headteachers and school staff are facing an enormous task in helping Public Health England to manage the spread of COVID-19 through the new schools testing system. We have built TestRegister to help schools with this task, saving them valuable teaching hours every day and improving the accuracy of reporting for the Government.


“TestRegister will help to ease the burden of schools so they can concentrate on catch-up teaching and getting pupils back on track.”


Peter Naudi, Head Teacher at Cheam High School said:


“Cheam High School has over 2,000 students. As a large secondary school we are always looking for systems to improve school wide efficiencies. Wonde’s voucher platform saved the school administrative staff a huge amount of time and stress, and vouchers were delivered to parents on time. We are confident that Wonde’s Test Register platform will save us significant time each week, in our delivery of the DfEs return to school COVID testing programme” 


Cllr Ray Gooding, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, said: 


“We know the best place for children and young people is in the classroom – not only in terms of their educational needs, but also their emotional wellbeing needs. As a Local Authority, our priority has been to support pupils transition back to on-site education and help all schools and colleges across the county to implement mass testing of secondary-age pupils as per the latest Government guidance.


“We absolutely support and encourage the roll out of increased testing as an additional protective measure for managing the potential spread of COVID-19 in the school community, however we also recognise the additional administrative pressure that this would have placed on schools in terms of logging and managing pupil’s test results. As a result, we have worked hard and at pace with Wonde to develop and implement an effective solution to save schools and colleges time and allow colleagues to continue with their important role in educating and supporting children and young people.


“Implementing the new Wonde TestRegister system across Essex will mean school colleagues can focus on creating a smooth and sustained transition back for their pupils. It also provides us with the intelligence and assurances that we need as a Local Authority to ensure appropriate processes are in place and being managed effectively.”


BenQ unveiled as hardware partner to government initiative, Oak National Academy

BenQ has partnered with Oak National Academy, an organisation providing free online classroom resources in the UK, to make their portfolio of over 10,000 videos, lesson slides and pupil worksheets available across its series of Interactive Flat Panels for learning environments.


Oak was created in response to schools closing during the pandemic to help educators’ transition to hybrid teaching models with resources for remote teaching, to aid in-school catch-up, assist lesson planning and subsequently lower teacher workload. 


BenQ is the first manufacturer to partner with Oak and has made the resources available on the BenQ Suggests store, so users can download it to their IFP and access the materials natively from the android operating system. Teachers who have been using the Oak lessons while teaching remotely can seamlessly continue their work as they transition back to the classroom. 


The Oak resources are created by teachers, for teachers and are completely free. They cover a broad range of subjects from Reception up to Year 11, and 600 lessons for students who normally attend specialist settings. In most subjects, there are enough lessons for the whole year that can be adapted by teachers, making the materials as flexible as possible. 


These can now be accessed on BenQ’s series of IFPs and in collaboration with EZ Write Live, BenQ’s proprietary interactive whiteboard software, that lets students annotate and collaborate on the materials from any location in real-time via the Cloud. 


Nicola Pearce, Head of Education at BenQ explains: 


“Through this partnership with Oak National Academy, we are extending our commitment to inspiring learning  and ensuring the best possible access to teaching resources, whether that is in the classroom or at home. As pupils return to school, they will be able to continue their work with no disruptions, using their classroom displays to collaborate and enhance the experience. 


“As well as pioneering healthy learning environments through BenQ’s Healthcare+ features, including antibacterial screens to prevent touch-based transmission within the classroom. Smart Eye-Care Solution combining Flicker-Free, Anti-glare and Low Blue Light features to reduce eye strain and fatigue.” 


Jonathan Dando, Director of External Relations,  Oak National Academy comments: 


“Since April 2020, pupils have taken part in over 100 million lessons while transitioning between the classroom and remote learning. Through this partnership with BenQ, we are excited to keep supporting teachers as all pupils return to the classroom. We hope teachers  are able to access our videos, lesson slides and worksheets inside classrooms in a user-friendly way, reducing teacher workload and helping children learn.” 


BenQ are encouraging existing IFP users to download the Oak National Academy app from the BenQ Suggests store to maximise use of Oak’s resources. As well as offering virtual demonstrations to new users. 




  • Vodafone is donating 10,000 dongle devices to help children access online learning and catch-up classes from home.
  • It is also making a £200,000 donation to the Raspberry Pi Foundation to enable it to distribute 500 computer kits to disadvantaged young people.
  • The donations follow consultation with head teachers and education trusts who highlight the continuing need for connectivity to access online learning and catch-up classes.


Today, Vodafone announced it is donating 10,000 dongle devices to Business2Schools, which will distribute them to schools in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales*. Heads can give them to children who still lack the connectivity they need to access online learning and catch-up classes, which are likely to play a key role even as schools reopen from 8 March.


Vodafone also announced it has made a £200,000 donation to the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s ‘Learn at Home’ campaign. This donation will enable it to distribute 500 computer kits to disadvantaged young people and provide specialist training to youth workers so they can teach digital and coding skills.


Head teachers and education trusts report that while many schools have received laptops, a significant number of children still lack the connectivity they need to access online learning and catch-up classes. The donations follow Vodafone’s successful schools.connected programme which gave 350,000 SIM cards to 9,000 schools and colleges across the UK. Schools that received SIMs via the programme can pair them with the dongle devices**.


Business2Schools is one of the fastest growing charities in the UK and is currently working to distribute thousands of laptops donated by businesses to schools that need them. To date, it hasn’t had access to dongles, which will help children with limited broadband access at home. More than 4,000 schools are already registered with Business2Schools.


The Raspberry Pi Foundation has helped millions of young people learn at home by delivering direct-to-student learning experiences, supporting teachers to deliver remote lessons, providing online coding clubs and by getting computers into the hands of children who previously didn’t have one at home.


Ahmed Essam, CEO, Vodafone UK, said: “The pandemic has highlighted the tragedy of digital poverty and its impact on the most disadvantaged children and young people. As the education recovery mission begins, both face-to-face and online learning will be crucial, so it’s vitally important that every young person has access to connectivity.


“These donations will give thousands more children access to the internet and I’m delighted we’re working with specialists in tackling digital exclusion – Business2Schools and the Raspberry Pi Foundation – to deliver connectivity where it is needed most.”


Lindsey Parslow, CEO, Business2Schools said: “We’re pleased that in addition to laptops, we can now provide Vodafone dongles to schools and children that need them. Many of the schools registered with us have already requested an allocation, highlighting the ongoing need for connectivity as well as devices.


“In addition to the obvious benefit of access to remote learning, the digital skills children gain by using tech in their day-to-day lives is invaluable.  Any school that would like to register with Business2Schools can do so here.”

Philip Colligan, CEO of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, said: “Having a computer and connectivity to learn at home is transformational for young people. The pandemic has highlighted the digital divide that already existed and that will continue to hold back young people unless we solve it. 


“Vodafone’s donation to our Learn at Home campaign allows us to provide Raspberry Pi computers for young people who need them the most, along with the support and training that makes sure they can use them to learn.”


This programme is being supported with a radio campaign in which Vodafone again asks the public to donate unwanted smartphones and tablets as part of its Great British Tech Appeal.  Vodafone will cover the cost of postage and packing, add six months of free unlimited data connectivity, and send the devices to disadvantaged families via charity Barnardo’s. To donate visit:


Vodafone is also part of the Government’s Get Help With Technology programme to increase data allowances for children in need and is giving unlimited data to Vodafone customers who join the scheme.  In addition, it has ‘zero rated’ the Department for Education-funded Oak National Academy so its customers can access the online resources and lessons without using up their data allowances.  

Kramer Makes Education Accessible for Everyone with Two New Hybrid Learning Solutions

Kramer has launched two new hybrid education solutions designed to help teachers get back to the classroom to educate in a professional quality and in real-time, while at the same time ensuring those in-class and remote students have the same great experience.


Kramer EDU-Hybrid-ZR is a Zoom Rooms solution that starts lessons at the touch of a button with no personal device needed. Kramer EDU-Hybrid-1 is a software agnostic wireless presentation and collaboration solution. It provides educators the flexibility of running any Windows® based conferencing application like Zoom™ or Microsoft Teams.


Both facilitate unique integration with Kramer Control to allow all classroom devices to be controlled from one user interface, streamlining the presentation process.




EDU-Hybrid-ZR creates an intuitive learning environment with one display utilized for video conference participants, and a second separate screen for sharable lesson content. This supports up to 4K resolution and can be combined with any of Kramer’s professional quality powered speakers for crystal clear audio and an incredibly immersive learning environment.


Using a dedicated Kramer KT-107Z touch panel, teachers simply launch Zoom Rooms to begin the session. The solution uses dedicated Zoom Rooms™ hardware so no additional personal devices, like a laptop or PC, are needed, saving time and ensuring that lessons start promptly. In-class teachers can also connect wirelessly to the display, for real-time content sharing.




EDU-Hybrid-1 is a software agnostic wireless presentation and collaboration solution that enables teachers to easily connect and present lessons from any wireless device to in-class and remote students simultaneously.


Lecturers launch their preferred Windows™ based video conferencing platform and automatically connect to professional grade microphones and speakers to enhance the two-way communication. This integrates with their preferred in-room teaching displays including projectors and interactive whiteboards and provides access to cloud storage for saved documents.


At the heart of the solution, Kramer’s VIA Campus2 displays and streams full, uninterrupted 4K video and displays six user screens simultaneously, ideal for keeping classes connected. A relay screen allows teachers to see their remote students as they present.


Lessons are transformed into interactive and engaging sessions with the multiple screen sharing support and whiteboard functionality, allowing participants to view, edit and comment on documents in real-time.


At any point, a collaboration session or a lecture can be recorded, shared or archived.  Alternatively, the same session can be streamed over the network to live servers such as Kaltura®, Panopto® or YouTube® Live, allowing remote students to follow the lesson.



Kramer Control


Kramer adds additional value to the EDU-Hybrid-ZR learning set up with built-in integration with Kramer Control, the manufacturer’s agile, cloud-based control platform. The Kramer Control BRAINware allows integration with all other controllable devices and infrastructure, giving the teacher complete control of the learning environment without having to move around the room. Some of these integrations include the camera position, the lighting, AC, projectors, interactive whiteboards, and the speaker volume to enhance the two-way communication.



Yael Chicheportiche, Director of VIA Offering Solutions at Kramer, explains:


“Our hybrid education portfolio is helping to bring teachers back to the classroom and environments that they feel comfortable in. They don’t need to worry about the technology, at the touch of a button they can resume their lessons in familiar surroundings using their preferred in-room teaching aids and their chosen application like ZoomTM, or Microsoft TeamsTM.


“Both EDU-Hybrid-ZR and EDU-Hybrid-1 are complete end-to-end solutions designed to suit the desired space and are scalable, to grow as teaching requirements do. Both are agnostic when it comes to the peripheral AV devices, working with all recognized cameras, microphones and speakers, enhancing the flexibility, and making them accessible to a wide range of budgets.”


Make Back to School Safety a Priority with AirPop Face Masks

AirPop Kids masks are designed especially for children aged 3 to 12-years-old and have been given the seal of approval by the BSI Kitemark scheme, alongside the Pocket mask – ideal for teens, older students and teachers

As thousands of children return to school next month, and with mask wearing recommended in secondary schools and higher education, how to keep youngsters safe from the risks of COVID-19 will be at the forefront of parent’s minds.

Award-winning air wearables brand AirPop has designed a range of masks with a two-way barrier giving children and teachers the defence they need against airborne threats, such as COVID-19, as well as providing optimum comfort and breathability.

The Kids mask, for children aged 3 to 12-years-old, has been specially engineered to suit smaller features, whilst delivering over 99% particle filtration.

AirPop’s Pocket mask also provides the same level of protection and offers the perfect solution for teenagers at secondary school, those in higher education such as college, and teachers and support staff.

 AirPop Kids Pink Lifestyle Image

The Government recommends the use of face coverings in Higher Education, Further Education and secondary schools.

Both the Kids and Pocket ranges fit in AirPop’s handy case, available in black and white and ideal for children to store their mask safely and hygienically in-between uses. The vent at the top of the case allows any moisture to evaporate naturally between wears, keeping the mask dry and fresh, ready for its next use. 

The Kids and Pocket masks have been awarded the prestigious BSI Kitemark, acknowledging AirPop has gone above and beyond to ensure its products provide appropriate levels of protection.

AirPop Pocket Black

Available in a range of colourful finishes such as pink, blue and white, the Kids mask, alongside the Pocket mask, is fitted with filters which last up to 40 hours. The Pocket is available in black and white.

Made of hypoallergenic materials as well as non-toxic dyes, both masks are also ideal for sensitive skin, even when wearing for long periods of time.

The masks have a unique 3D structure which creates a canopy of air, keeping them off the face for effortless breathability. Paired with low resistance materials, the range delivers unrestricted airflow for easy breathing, making them comfortable to wear all day.

Each mask is fitted with an ultra-soft, ergonomic foam nose seal cushion which conforms around the nose and promotes proper alignment, reducing fogging of eyewear for glasses wearers.

Reinforced, welded ribs provide compression strength during wear but also act as flexible folding joints for easy collapsibility when stowing.

AirPop Founder, Chris Hosmer, said: “For parents, protecting our children is always our number one priority. After my own children suffered the ill-effects of air pollution, respiratory health became hugely important to me. I created AirPop to protect people from the increasing threats posed by airborne pollution and to give people control over what they breathe.

“As children start to return to school, it’s important we take every precaution to protect them and those around them from transmitting COVID-19.”

AirPop Case

AirPop Kids masks come in blue, pink or white colours and retail for £14.99 for a 2-pack; £24.99 for a 4-pack. Compatible with Pocket carrying case.  Pocket case sold separately, in either black or white, for £9.99.

The Pocket also comes in black or white colours and retails for £14.99 for 2-pack; (£24.99 for 4-pack; £99.99 for 20 pack)   

The AirPop Difference

AirPop delivers superior performance by solving three key issues that plague most masks: fit, filtration and breathability. All of the materials used to manufacture our masks are tested by accredited 3rd party labs to exceed the World Health Organisation and FDA medical mask material performance standards. 

Fit: An accurate, close fit is essential to prevent the inhalation and exhalation of small particles and droplets. AirPop masks feature a patented soft-seal and frame that responds to different fit profiles to help ensure a snug, but comfortable fit. And the tented, 3-D Air Dome shape keeps the filter away from the face, increasing airflow and improving breathability and comfort. 

Filtration: When it comes to harmful pollutants, size matters. Anything smaller than 2.5 microns is known as “fine particulate matter” (PM 2.5) – think airborne bacteria, for example.  AirPop masks create a barrier down to 0.1 microns with greater than 99% effectiveness at this scale. Our unique combination of 4-layer filter material provides an effective 2-way barrier against particles and droplets.

Breathability: Superior breathability is also vital – consumers won’t wear what isn’t comfortable or doesn’t work. AirPop masks “give and take” in sync with your natural breath. And they have four layers of protection – from the droplet-resistant, non-woven outer layer to the filter and skin-friendly inner layer to ensure security and comfort.

About AirPop

AirPop is the world’s first Air Wearables company. Since 2015, the company has harnessed filtration science and technology to build high-performance products that deliver unrivalled comfort and breathability for millions of people worldwide. AirPop masks deliver superior performance by solving three critical issues: fit, filtration and breathability. The revolutionary mask design includes a patented seal ensuring a secure fit, while the 3D Air Dome increases airflow for better breathability and comfort. Furthermore, AirPop masks combine a 4-layer filter material to create a barrier down to 0.1 microns, and their filters deliver greater than 99% effectiveness. For more information visit:  

You can find all AirPop multi-use disposable masks at or the AirPop website (