Global Survey of 37k School Students Reveals Desire to Modernise Education

World’s Largest Lesson Gives Voices to Students in One of The Largest Global Education Surveys Ever


London, UK: 15th March 2023 – The World’s Largest Lesson – an initiative led by Project Everyone and UNICEF – and NetApp a cloud-led, data-centric software company, today announce the findings from one of the largest global surveys of education ever which garnered 37k responses from young people in 150+ countries, many sharing their views for the first time.

The gamified survey revealed an overwhelming call for a modernisation of curricula to mirror more closely the realities, skill sets and demands of today’s society and the future.


The Reality

When students were asked what they believe the purpose of school should be 48% of responses related to gaining practical skills for the real world. However, the reality of their education does not reflect this.


“We’re in the middle of a global learning crisis, ” says Alison Bellwood, Executive Director of World’s Largest Lesson. “Students are imagining a future that is very different from the one their current curriculums were developed for. They want to be ready to thrive in new, green economies and to help build a sustainable world. Children have spoken. It’s the responsibility of education policy makers to listen to them.”


The good news is that 77% of students are happy to be back at school after COVID-19, and they’ve shared thousands of ideas about what they want to see changed in education.

The Future of The Education is Practical Skills

When asked whether they were learning enough about a range of topics, 61% of students worldwide said they feel they are learning not enough or not at all about digital skills like programming and coding. A close second with almost 59% calling for financial literacy or how to make a budget with 55% wanting to understand how to analyse and use data.


“In today’s world, it has never been more critical for data literacy skills to be taught in classrooms,” Michelle Mann, Director, Social Impact at NetApp. “Data is, increasingly, the foundation for informed decision making around so many important social, technological, and environmental issues—including a child’s own education. NetApp is committed to helping empower student voices and ensure leaders make room for them in educational discussions so they can share data-informed insights on how they would like to learn.”

To address the need for data science learning experiences, NetApp created a global social impact program call Data Explorers. It’s a hands-on afterschool program focusing on reaching under-represented students in under-resourced communities.


Understanding Mental Health, other Cultures and the Environment

While being prepared for jobs and the future were top of mind, a further 44% wanted to learn more about how to look after their mental health and wellbeing, with 33% reporting they feel anxious to be back at school after COVID-19. 42% of students reported wanting to understand different cultures, and a further 42% wanted to learn more about how to protect the planet.


Tanishi, 14, a member of the World’s Largest Lesson Student Advisory Panel member based in India, said “Asking what young people want from their education is the first step of change. It is similar to what the marketing division of a business does when they research what their customers want… If the customers here are students, to make their education more efficient and helpful, asking students about what they want from education is essential.”


Global Voices, Shared Needs

When asked for ideas on how to change education, the most common global theme was practical skills attainment, at 33% and a further 21% mentioned being more informed on key issues. As one student put it “It is important to study the past, I know, but now we are living in the present and I want to know how to live in this world”.

Nearly 20% talked about changing how they learn, for example reducing pressure to succeed in exams or allowing students more individual choice. One student said “This egg-carton model impedes professional growth and change”. Another said “I would reinvent the relationship with my teachers: today they act as they were ’superior’ while they should act as our mentor.”


Call to Action

While we’ve heard calls to modernise education before, this survey has allowed children themselves to speak up and add their voices, many for the first time. Together they’ve shared more than 25 thousand ideas of their own to transform education, from “allow students to choose the subjects they want to study” and “study in nature” to “being able to experiment” and experience “life learning lessons”.

Could this be the tipping point to a bold redirection of education? If so, the report argues that governments must consult and include children in their decision-making, so that education reflects those that it serves. As Matilda, 12, World’s Largest Lesson Student Advisory Panel member in Greece put it, “We are the future, and we need to decide what we want the future of the world to look like”.


Schools and environmental impact.



London, UK – November 2022. Since the Industrial Revolution, human polluting activity has caused 1.0°C of global warming and an increase to 1.5°C is expected between 2030 and 2052 if emissions continue to increase at the current rate. Despite the UK government’s Net Zero commitments and the Department for Education’s vision to be “the world-leading education sector in sustainability and climate change by 2030” only 38% of the responding organizations had so far committed to Net Zero as a target.


IT’s environmental impact.

Scientists and governments agree on the need to re-evaluate all aspects of human activity that cause pollution, education included. Low-carbon alternatives must be implemented if energy efficiency improvements are to grow by 4% annually; three times their current rate. EUC devices are responsible for 34% of IT-related pollution across the UK, with up to 80% of general pollution caused by their daily use. This creates 3m tonnes of CO2e equivalent to 650,000 cars driving on UK roads annually.


Green digital transformation.

Many are the signs that the IT industry is beginning to respond to environmental concerns pushing organizations and institution towards a greener digital transformation. To achieve this in a world influenced by the effects of climate change, Acer supports the education sector levelling up within a context of sustainability, giving all children, young people and adults the technological tools to thrive in a green economy and to help restore nature.


Start your green journey, with Acer.

As part of their wider sustainability strategy, Acer have designed the complete Vero range with eco-friendly PCR plastics, prioritizing ease of repair and optimum efficiency thanks to the inclusion of the custom eco mode. The Acer Chromebook Spin 513 and Chromebook Spin 311 allow for exceptionally low energy consumption; up to nearly 70% per annum when compared to a typical Windows device estate, as validated by the PX3 independent benchmarking.


Institutions can also benefit from the Acer Green Rewards programme for the sustainable, secure and affordable support of eco-friendly technological transformation. IT users are encouraged to register for instant valuations of their legacy devices, which can be sent to Acer for re-use. Green rewards may then be exchanged for new Acer devices, boosting energy efficiency by up to 84%.



Educational institutions have an important environmental impact that could be improved by implementing a green digital transformation with the support of Acer and not only its products, but also programs. Acer commissioned independent specialists PX3 to carry out benchmarking of devices to accurately quantify their use phase energy consumption. This data, available in technical reports and white-papers, provides with accurate information for CSR / ESG reporting as well as playing an important role in carbon reduction plans and “Net Zero” initiatives.



  Keep innovating with Acer for Education. Come to visit us at Bett show 2023 in stand NJ10 to stay current with the latest EdTech trends, discover innovative solutions for schools, update your skills and more!  

Free tool accurately assesses pupils’ online competencies and resilience for a digital life

Teachers can now accurately assess pupils’ online competencies and resilience for a digital life using SafeSkills – a valuable free resource for all schools featuring an online quiz for pupils in higher primary and lower secondary, and an inbuilt online safety diagnostic tool for staff.  Easy to set up, teachers simply register their school at to receive their login details with instructions for importing their classes.


Created by edtech charity LGfL-The National Grid for Learning, this important resource covers the digital knowledge and skills outlined in the Government’s Education for a Connected World framework, and as recommended in Keeping Children Safe in Education and statutory RSHE guidance.


Designed to promote the development of safe and appropriate long-term behaviours, and support educators in shaping a culture of safeguarding at school and beyond, the quiz covers:


  1. Self-image and Identity – which explores the difference between online and offline identity and the impact of technology on self-image and behaviour
  2. Online relationships – which looks at behaviours that may lead to harm and explores strategies for positive relationships online e.g. respect and giving and denying consent
  3. Online reputation – which covers how others can use digital content to form judgements and strategies to manage content effectively
  4. Online bullying – which explores the impact of technology on bullying and online aggression, legislation and strategies for effective reporting and intervention
  5. Managing online information – which looks at strategies for effective searching, critically evaluating data and managing online risks, threats and challenges
  6. Health, wellbeing and lifestyle – which reviews the impact technology can have on health, wellbeing and lifestyle – e.g. mood, sleep, relationships, and strategies for managing any challenges
  7. Privacy and security – which covers how personal information can be used, stored and shared, and strategies to protect data and systems from being compromised
  8. Copyright and ownership – which explores the concept of ownership of online content, legal implications and strategies for protecting content.


After using their pupil log in to access SafeSkills, children can select any quiz from the eight themes available. Once the quiz has been completed, they can download a certificate and view a summary of areas of achievement and areas for development. They can also download an overview of their overall progress. Pupil results data can also be exported easily for use in teacher markbooks.


As well as completing the quiz in school as part of a classroom activity, teachers can allocate questions for homework, which pupils can access from anywhere.


Because SafeSkills is intended as a diagnostic tool for both summative and formative assessment, teachers can monitor progress easily throughout the year – at school, class or pupil level – to identify areas for development. By viewing aggregate scores for each of the themes, teachers can revisit topics that had a low score and dedicate more time across the curriculum. Whilst some schools may concentrate on the high-level eight themes across the whole class, others can drill down to single competencies or individual pupils, so the approach is entirely flexible and needs driven.


Commenting on the tool, Mark Bentley, Safeguarding and Cybersecurity Manager, LGfL-The National Grid for Learning, said, “Schools know all too well the importance of teaching their students how to navigate the online world, but with limited curriculum time and a fast-changing threat landscape, it is all the more important to understand where pupils’ needs are and focus time on the most relevant topics. That’s where SafeSkills comes into its own.”


To find out more, please visit


Highcliffe school joins HISP Multi Academy Trust

A Christchurch secondary school and sixth form has joined a multi academy trust (MAT) in a bid to expand facilities, resources and to improve investment in staff training.


Highcliffe School has partnered with HISP Multi Academy Trust to receive access to its extensive school improvement network and to receive funding to improve some of its buildings. 


HISP MAT currently works with schools across wider Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Southampton and Portsmouth areas. 


The partnership has brought in funding for staff training and development, as well as new facilities and opportunities for students – for example from the Solent Maths Hub and the Science Learning Partnership. 



Headteacher Patrick Earnshaw said he is excited to be working with HISP MAT and can’t wait to welcome the positive impact it will have on the students, teachers and overall quality of Highcliffe School. 


Acting CEO of HISP MAT Amanda Parry said: “Our partnership with Highcliffe School will uphold their outstanding standards of teaching and will provide students, teachers and staff with even more opportunities to succeed. 


“It is fantastic to see the students and teachers making use of our wider support and resources such as the Solent Maths Hub. 


“I am really excited about the future we are shaping for Highcliffe School.”


Patrick Earnshaw added: “Working with HISP will consistently ensure we are providing our pupils and staff with the resources they need to flourish. HISP is helping us lay the foundations for success.”

HISP MAT also works with Tanners Brook Primary, Portswood Primary and Thornden School, however it has five further schools set to join the trust in the near future. 


To find out more about HISP MAT, visit its website:


Cost of living is dramatically impacting key workers as new research finds nearly 37% of teachers are struggling financially

  • 37% of teachers are struggling financially
  • Yet, using discount schemes can save key workers over £2,200 a year across every area of household expenditure including the weekly shop, holidays, broadband, mobile phones, clothing, household goods, motoring, eating out, leisure, any many other categories
  • Of the 2.7m key workers who use Network’s discount schemes:
    • 91% say they have a better quality of life
    • 46% say they feel more loyal to their role
    • 37% are more likely to recommend their workplace to others


A new study has highlighted the acute financial burden on teachers amidst the cost-of-living crisis with 37% saying they are struggling financially.


Concerned about the impact of the cost of living crisis on its members, Network, providers of discount schemes for key workers commissioned research to understand the effect of the enormous pressures facing teachers in the current climate.


The research has found that 37% of teachers are in financial difficulty and describe their financial situation as either; ‘making ends meet, but no more’; ‘falling a little behind, relying a bit on credit’: or “a very difficult situation-heavily in debt’.


Prisha, a teacher, said: “Cost of living is constantly on my mind and it is stressful. Finances are always difficult to manage and no matter how much I cut down, I always feel like I’m not making any headway.”


Network is calling on policymakers to make key workers more aware of the availability of discount schemes so that all staff working across education are able to take advantage of the additional helping hand that these schemes provide.


Discount schemes also have the additional benefit of boosting morale at a crucial time when recruitment and retention are among the biggest challenges facing the education sector.


A teacher, Laura, added: “My workload is never-ending, and no matter how much time I have it never seems to be enough…I absolutely love teaching and working with young people, I am passionate about making a difference, but I am tired…I know I can’t keep this up.”


Significantly, the research reveals that 91% of key workers who have access to one of Network’s discount schemes have a better quality of life and save an average of over £2,200 a year. The study also shows the impact of discount schemes on recruitment and retention, with 46% saying they feel more loyal to their role and 37% are more likely to recommend their workplace to others.


Commenting on the impact that discount schemes have, teacher Maria said: “Being a member of the discount scheme does influence my attitude towards my job; it makes me feel a lot happier about my job and it makes me feel supported and as if my job is important and I do matter to people.”


Storm Postlethwaite, Managing Director of Network said: “Our frontline workers make an extraordinary and invaluable contribution to the country every day, and yet many are faced with financial hardship and increasing pressures due to workforce shortages and the cost of living crisis. 


“While times are tough, it is vital that we offer a helping hand to relieve some of the pressures and provide some additional reward and support. Discount schemes are an important way in which we can achieve this and show our appreciation.


“Whilst we acknowledge the pay rise for public sector workers, we recognise that that these vital workforces remain under financial pressure. It is therefore important that the role of discount schemes is not overlooked in helping to make ends meet and to recognise these people for the amazing work they do.


“We are therefore calling on the Government to ensure that employers are aware of the schemes available to help their staff cope with the cost of living crisis.”

What is the outlook for food in 2022?

Oliver Hall, Managing Director at food procurement specialist allmanhall, looks at the outlook for the food industry for 2022, and concludes that there are still challenges to be faced




As the annual pace of consumer price growth in the OECD group of developed nations hit 5.8% in November, which was the highest rate since May 1996, we have seen a significant level of food inflation in the second half of 2021. This is set to continue for 2022, with some suggesting that it could further accelerate.


“Prices are expected to stay at high levels throughout 2022,” says Stephan Hubertus Gay, senior agricultural policy analyst at the OECD. Clive Black, Director and head of research at Shore Capital observed food chain price rises on core commodities of 35% – 45% over a 12-month period.


Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “the acute labour shortages across supply chains, amongst other factors, led to the year ending with a notable increase; for example, fresh food saw the largest rate of inflation in almost a decade.”


Food commodity prices are “now supported by inflation in the general economy”, according to Rabobank, and reinforced by “astronomical” shipping container costs, rising energy and fertiliser prices, and labour shortages in ports and factories.


Forecasting is notoriously difficult, with many input factors impacting the level of inflation. However, for budgeting purposes we suggest allowing for between 7.5-10% food inflation over the course of 2022.


Work force shortages


The labour shortages in the UK have been well documented through the loosening of the 2021 lock down. Like food inflation, these challenges are set to continue.  Now with Omicron an additional factor adding to the already acute situation. 


On 14 December, during a governmental Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Meeting on ‘Labour Shortages in the Food and Farming Sector’ the challenges with take up and processing of the Skilled Worker Visa, originally set up in December 2020, were debated. Chair of the committee, Neil Parish said: ‘Employers need workers and cannot get them in time. Pigs are being culled and wasted because there are not enough butchers in the abattoirs. Fruit is rotting on trees and crops are not being planted.’


Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said separately that: “The government needs a coherent food policy to maintain UK production, including a clear strategy for solving labour shortages throughout the supply chain.”


However, recent reports suggest that the government funded HGV training scheme has been widely welcomed by the haulage industry, with significant increased interest and uptake. Currently this is only due to run until the end of November, and calls are being made to develop it into a longer-term initiative.


Imposition of UK Border Checks


The 1st of January saw the commencement of UK border checks on imports from the EU.  Whilst border checks have been in place for exports into the EU since the end of the transition, they were delayed for imports into the UK to mitigate custom related delays. The first phase, which has now gone live, is the requirement to make customs declarations, give advance notification of imports of food and to pay tariffs. Physical checks on animal and meat products will be phased in from 01 July. 


Trade Deals – in the longer term


With the trade deal with Australia now signed, a precedent has been set for future negotiations.   According to NFU president Minette Batters, the “one-sided” deal, ratified on 17 December, gave Australia’s agriculture sector “all it asked for” with little in return for British farmers, who she said were already “facing extraordinary inflationary pressure and sustained labour shortages”.


“It’s also difficult to discern anything in this deal that will allow us to control imports of food produced below the standards legally required of British farmers, for instance on land deforested for cattle production or systems that rely on the transport of live animals in a way that would be illegal here,” Batters added.


With the specifics of this deal agreed, it is difficult to see how any future deals with other nations could be struck that have improved terms for the UK food and farming sectors. Other nations will surely not accept anything less.


Farming Subsidies – From CAP to ELM


Instead of paying farm subsidies based on the area farmed under CAP, the Environmental Land Management or ELM scheme will pay British farmers to use their land in what the government deems a more environmentally friendly way, including by re-wilding or planting trees as part of the government’s drive to reach ‘net zero’ by mid-century.


The House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee has said the government’s new Environmental Land Management scheme lacks detail and is based on “blind optimism”.


Defra had given “no detail about how either the necessary productivity increases or environmental benefits [demanded by the new scheme] will be brought about”


“We have known we were replacing the CAP since 2016 and still we see no clear plans, objectives or communications with those at the sharp end – farmers – in this multi-billion pound, radical overhaul of the way land is used and, more crucially, food is produced in this country,” said committee chair and veteran Tory MP Sir Geoffrey Clifton Brown.  


A longer-term outcome to the change of farm payment may actually result in a reduction of the amount of food produced in the UK leading to lower levels of food self-sufficiency, and potential security.


National Food Strategy


The National Food Strategy, led by Henry Dimbleby, was published in July 2021. It aims to address the key challenges in the UKs food system, from food poverty to its environmental impact. It calls for serious action to be taken to escape the ‘junk food cycle’, including sugar and salt taxes on manufacturers. It also highlights the need for a 33% reduction of red meat consumption per capita by 2030 for sustainability reasons.


The Government is due to officially respond this month, and although unlikely, if it were to endorse and action the National Food Strategy recommendations in full, it would have a transformative impact on the food industry.


Calorie Labelling


Following on from the implementation in October 2021 of Natasha’s Law, requiring pre-packed food for direct sale to clearly label allergens, from 01 April, English hospitality businesses, such as restaurants, pubs, and takeaways, will be required to display the calorie content of the food being sold on their menus and labels.  Initially the law will apply to English businesses with more that 250 employees preparing food and drink for immediate consumption.  


This legislation, currently focused on the larger foodservice operations, again shows the direction of travel of providing information for the consumer at the point of purchase.


It appears that the challenges we saw in 2021 will continue into 2022, with further factors to be considered, too.


The digital revolution in teaching during the pandemic – world’s largest international study on teachers and education

15 September 2021 – T4 Education has today published a landmark report revealing for the first time how teachers around the world have turned to technology to overcome barriers to education brought about by the pandemic.


Launched in Spring 2021 and informed by 20,679 teachers across 165 countries, T4 Education’s survey is the largest in the world. The report findings provide a unique and untold perspective documenting how covid restrictions have inverted understandings of disadvantage among school pupils and created a new comprehension of educational inequality. 


The Covid-19 outbreak sparked a global crisis in education. Governments worldwide took unprecedented action in responding to the pandemic by closing schools and entering national lockdowns for long periods. Throughout, teachers and their schools have had to overcome unique challenges in continuing teaching and learning by adapting to remote or hybrid forms of education.


While the evidence details the overwhelming devastation unleashed by the pandemic on children’s education, the findings in this report also tell another story of how teachers stepped-up to meet the extraordinary challenges created by the pandemic. They did so by turning to technology, by embracing and mastering new digital tools for instruction and by exploring and developing new pedagogies.


Furthermore, it was not the generation of younger and more recently qualified teachers who pivoted to adapt to technology and remote learning and instruction. Instead, it was the most experienced, predominantly older teachers who used digital tools the most, who taught more classes online and who deployed the most sophisticated and creative types of remote teaching.


Faced with a once-in-a-generation challenge of switching to a new model of remote learning, the teaching profession worldwide rose to this task. But by having to do so, the digital divide has become the number one factor of inequality in education worldwide.


Nonetheless, despite well-known limitations such as poor internet access and inadequate supply of digital devices, the vast majority of respondents consider their experience of the pandemic has made them better and more enthusiastic teachers.






In summary, the key findings of the report are:


  1. 55% of teachers with between 21- and 30-years’ experience said they taught lessons online in the year before completing the survey in spring 2021, compared with 38% who had taught for between three and five years.
  2. Linked to the point above are the findings that among teachers who said they undertook more than 10 whole days of training over the previous year, 54% were teachers with 30-plus years’ experience, falling to 31% of teachers who had been in the classroom for 5 years or fewer.
  3. Maths teachers were consistently the least likely among teachers of all curriculum subject areas to use a range of digital tools for teaching and learning.
  4. The use of digital tools for assessment is surprisingly very low. The survey found that 27% used technology for assessments daily, 29% weekly and 20% once or twice a month. Another 7% of respondents used technology for assessments once or twice a year and 17% never or almost never did so.
  5. The vast majority of surveyed teachers considered that the experience of teaching during the pandemic had made them better teachers and over half had become more enthusiastic about teaching.
  6. Teachers reported the most frequently observed group of children to suffer learning loss during the pandemic were those with less access to the internet or to technology (60%). This factor accounted for more than other indicators of deprivation including economic status, unemployment, unstable home environments or special educational needs.
  7. Schools are proving to be a greater leveller in providing children with access to digital equipment and the internet. However, the survey exposes a sharp digital divide in which children in government-funded and, especially, low-cost private schools and schools in rural locations were much more likely to miss out and their education suffered in consequence.
  8. Almost a quarter of teachers (23%) reported that their school did not have access to the internet at all. More than half (53%) said insufficient online access hindered their schools’ ability to provide high quality education.
  9. Shortages of technology hardware for instruction also constrained the capacity of schools, more than half of teachers (52%) said. More than four in ten teachers (42%) said that they brought their own digital device, whether it be a laptop, tablet or even a smartphone, into their school to teach.
  10. Schools in rural areas made less use of technology than schools in cities and metropolitan areas. While this might be expected, the digital divide between urban and rural schools is still stark and means that hundreds of millions of children lost out on their learning due to where their families live. The gap in percentage points between rural and urban schoolteachers was 14 points on whether their children’s education was hindered by poor internet access (61% versus 46%) and 13 points on inadequacy of digital resources (59% versus 46%).


Vikas Pota, Founder of T4 Education, said:


“The past 18-months have been an incredible journey for teachers worldwide. This unique report documents globally how teachers have heroically responded to the world-wide education crisis being driven by the ensuing pandemic.”


“This report is distinctive and noteworthy because it shows us the viewpoint from those who have been on the frontline delivering education. We see amazing ingenuity, innovation, creativity, and collaboration amongst teaching peers in every country. The results of which are not only benefitting millions of children and whole communities worldwide, but also the profession.”


“I am really pleased to be launching this report today and want to send my gratitude to the tens of thousands of teachers in 165 countries who have taken the time to respond. Capturing the experience of teachers, the findings present a real opportunity with teachers and schools around the world, as well as with global partners to bring about the required change.”


Whizz Education Calls for Virtual Tutors to Become Part of National Strategy to Help Lost Learning

25 May 2021:  Whizz Education, provider of the leading virtual tutor Maths-Whizz, is calling on the Government to use catch-up funding for virtual tutors as a cost effective, scalable option to help lost learning due to the Pandemic.


The Institute for Fiscal Studies states: “By the time the Pandemic is over, most children across the UK will have missed over half a year of normal, in person schooling. That’s likely to be more than 5% of their entire time in school. The unprecedented nature of the current crisis makes it hard to predict the actual effects and the negative effects are also likely to extend beyond educational attainment.”   


Richard Marett, CEO, Whizz Education explains: “Over 2020-21, more than £350 million of public funds will be spent on the provision of subsidised human tutoring organised by the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) as an unrivalled means of supporting student catchup.   However, there is a missed opportunity in the form of virtual tutoring.  A virtual tutor is an automated online system that simulates the most effective instructional behaviours of a human tutor.  Virtual tutors have been shown to be as effective as human tutors and far more scalable.


“For example, our research shows with just 60 minutes per week of the Maths-Whizz virtual tutor over a six-week summer period, students can expect to acquire a four-month learning advantage.  In addition, Maths-Whizz provides more than 1,250 pre-prepared lesson plans, reducing the burden for teachers and assisting them to deliver measurable learning gains for children with a range of abilities.


“The rates payable by schools for just 15 hours of 1:1 human tutoring from the NTP subsidised tutors is a typical total cost of £700 per pupil.  By comparison, virtual tutoring costs approximately £30 per child per subject per annum when deployed at an individual school level and would be substantially less if adopted at scale, reducing to around £10 per child.  Therefore, we are calling for virtual tutoring to become part of a long-term national strategy bringing real-time accountability and measurable gains.


“Virtual tutoring now has the potential to form an integral part of education and serve as a safety net for all students irrespective of their background, to enjoy uninterrupted access to quality education.  It offers the real chance to help to close the learning gap and help students get back-on-track in a cost effective and scalable way.”  


To find out more about Whizz Education and the Maths-Whizz virtual tutor please see:


Disadvantaged pupils have no less enthusiasm for science than their more affluent counterparts

UCLan researchers share first-stage findings of Blackpool-focused research project to improve engagement with science and technology


Primary school children from low socio-economic areas are just as interested in science as their more affluent counterparts, according to new research from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). However, a lack of knowledge about possible science careers means their aspirations for scientific roles later in life could be lost.


These findings, published in the Journal of Science Communication (JCOM), come from the ongoing four-year Blackpool PIER (Physics: Inspire, Engage, Research) project conducted by Professor Robert Walsh and Dr Cherry Canovan from UCLan. The research is funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) as part of a Fellowship in Public Engagement held by Walsh.


It involves pupils from three primary and two secondary schools in Blackpool, one of the most socio-economically deprived areas of the UK, and aims to improve engagement with science and technology, especially space science, amongst a very low participation group.


The project is following the same cohort of pupils as they progress from Year 6 to Year 9. Initial findings, drawn from surveys, interviews and other assessments with Year 6 pupils at the beginning of the study, found that as a group the children are as interested in science as their peers from more affluent backgrounds.


This study suggests that attempts to increase science participation among these groups should not simply promote the subject as ‘fun’ or ‘interesting’ but could have a greater impact by demonstrating clearly how science can open up possible future career opportunities.


Research Associate Dr Cherry Canovan, lead author on the paper, said: “It is heartening to speak to these young people and find that they are enthusiastic about science, yet we often don’t see this interest translates into an expectation of future job opportunities involving science.


“There are likely a number of factors involved here. The pupils we spoke to know it is useful to study science, but don’t really know why, and have a limited understanding of the breadth of science-related careers. Many just can’t see themselves ‘being scientists’ despite saying they enjoyed the subject, with some fearing it would be incompatible with how they like to be perceived, for example being sporty, ‘girly’, or the class joker.


“In addition, the pupils we interviewed didn’t have science role models to emulate and while many said their parents had an interest in science, the proportion among the PIER cohort who said their parents would expect them to go to university was around ten percent lower than among the same demographic nationally*.”


Professor Walsh and Dr Canovan have used these results to plan a series of engagement activities with the pupils over the following three years to see if they can influence decisions to study science to GCSE level and possibly beyond.


Professor Walsh said: “Much government policy towards boosting science in higher education in particular focuses on an assumed lack of interest and desire in low-socioeconomic groups. However, the enthusiasm is already there and this ‘hidden science identity’ needs to be revealed and translated into real-life prospects for these young people.


“It is concerning that while pupils stated that science was useful, they did not have the understanding to back this up; this suggests that often methods used to disseminate this message could be lacking in practical effectiveness, information that may provide some cause for reflection among the wider science communication community.


“We’re recommending that programmes instead allow young people to explore their science identity more fully and provide innovative ways for them to discover the kinds of jobs that studying science may lead to.”


The PIER project has been conducting four different types of activities each year for the PIER participants, which translates to around 36 hours of science contact for each pupil overall. This includes ‘meet the scientists’ events, trips to UCLan’s Alston Observatory and Young Scientist Centre as well as family science events at school. All pupils will be reassessed at the end of the process to see if their attitudes, understanding and relationship to science has changed.


Dr Canovan is also conducting an ongoing research project into the impact of Covid-related school closures on primary science learning and said the pandemic could exacerbate scientific inequalities.


“We are beginning to see evidence that science learning loss due to lockdown is a much greater problem in traditionally low-participation communities. Teachers felt less able to set science work due to concerns about internet access and asking parents to provide resources for activities. For many of these children, school is their only opportunity to access science; ongoing Covid restrictions could further widen the gap between the science ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’.”


She added: “Blackpool is just one example of a community where young people are being left behind. It is not just in the interest of the pupils themselves to see working in science as a realistic prospect, but as the government looks to increase jobs in areas such as the space industry, cybersecurity and clean energy, then the UK needs a much larger pool to draw this future workforce from.”


The paper, A space to study: expectations and aspirations toward science among a low-participation cohort, is available to download on the JCOM website.



  • Scotland Head Coach supports digital teachers’ resource that allows “next generation to share in the achievement” of reaching next summer’s finals
  • Penalty-save hero Marshall says initiative underlines “importance of what we achieved” for next generation
  • Learning Through Football platform puts historic qualification on the curriculum in schools across Scotland as Hampden prepares to co-host tournament


Scotland head coach Steve Clarke and penalty-save hero David Marshall have given their backing to a new initiative which will enable thousands of children across the country to add Scotland’s UEFA EURO 2020 adventure to their studies. Learning Through Football, a classroom-based teaching resource, was today launched at Miller Primary School in Castlemilk and is designed to use the power of football to improve literacy and numeracy. 


The programme has been developed in line with the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) and includes more than 40 activities centred around the UEFA European Championship for teachers to download and deliver after the Christmas holidays. 


Building on the excitement of the Scotland Men’s National Team qualification for the first major tournament in 22 years, Learning Through Football will launch in Glasgow – with Hampden Park one of 12 host city venues for the 60th anniversary of the UEFA European Championship – and will be rolled-out across the country as excitement builds. 


Pupils taking part will get an exclusive insight into the world of the Scotland National Team and the broader football industry, tailored to literacy and numeracy outcomes: from the stats behind the successes of captain Andy Robertson and goalkeeping hero David Marshall; presenting like STV’s Sheelagh MacLaren; to trying-out the art of commentary made famous by BBC Scotland’s Liam McLeod and Sky Sports’ Ian Crocker.


Steve Clarke, Scotland Head Coach: “It is important that football, as our national sport, is back on the national curriculum and it’s encouraging that the whole country can share in what the Scotland National Team has achieved, especially the next generation of young people we want to inspire. Whether it’s playing the game or being involved in the many jobs around football, Learning Through Football is a great initiative that will allow young people to learn all about the EUROS in anticipation of Scotland taking part and especially with Hampden Park being one of the host venues.”


David Marshall, Scotland goalkeeper: “It’s great to see that qualifying for a major tournament is already having a positive influence on young people through the school curriculum. Learning Through Football is a terrific initiative and one I wished was available in the classroom when I was that age.


“In a way it makes you realise the importance of what we have achieved and hopefully it inspires kids across the country to interact with football in a way that will help their education but also  their careers with the possibilities that now exist in and around the game.”


Based on the established ‘inter-disciplinary learning’ model, the tool has been developed in conjunction with Glasgow’s Physical Education, Physical Activity and School Sport (PEPASS) team and Glasgow City Council Education Services.


Miller Primary School in Glasgow is one of the schools already using the tool in class, with pupils trying a range of new activities from designing football strips to making their own national anthem for the tournament. Two pupils have also re-enacted the Head Coach’s post-match interview after Scotland qualified in a dramatic penalty shootout against Serbia in Belgrade.


Jacqueline Church, Principal Teacher at Miller Primary School: “We’ve thoroughly enjoyed bringing the Learning Through Football tool into the classroom. Everyone loves their football at Miller Primary and the activities are really flexible and allow the children to explore their own interests in the sports industry. Not only are the assignments fun and interesting, but the children are able apply a range of skills to meaningful life contexts, boosting their confidence and leadership skills.


“By exploring jobs within the industry, they are also recognising the teamwork, communication and perseverance skills we need to work in any job, which sets them in good stead for the future.”


David Weir, PE Lead Officer at PEPASS, said: “It’s been a pleasure working with the UEFA EURO 2020 Glasgow team and the Scottish FA over the past couple of years to develop this extremely valuable teaching and learning tool.  


“The commitment to detail and desire to create an educational resource which not only acknowledges and references many aspects of Curriculum for Excellence but specifically delivers a relevant, coherent, challenging, enjoyable and lasting tool for all, was particularly appealing.


“We will all be celebrating when Scotland run onto the pitch for their first game at Hampden, none more so than our young people, and this tool will really help them feel part of it.”





The tool is accessed through a newly launched area of the UEFA EURO 2020 website, which will give primary and secondary teachers easy access to the resources needed to deliver in schools.


This new digital format of the inter-disciplinary learning tool allows teachers to see the cross-curricular links between project ideas, showing the wealth of learning areas that football can be part of. Alongside learning topics, there are a number of projects and assignments aligned to Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) learning outcomes in literacy, expressive arts, health and wellbeing, maths and numeracy, science, social studies and technologies.


Each curriculum area can be downloaded as a handy summary, as well as the whole snapshot of the curriculum and related project ideas. There is a guidance note for further information.


Teachers are being asked to use, share and feedback on experiences with these resources, as the Scottish FA and partners continue to develop the project.


For more information and to download the resources please visit Teachers and schools are also encouraged to share their work on social media using #LearningThroughFootball, #EURO2020 and tagging @GlasgowEURO2020.