Posts

Legionella in Schools: Key points for good water management

Author: Paul Limbrick, Senior Consultant, Water Hygiene Centre Ltd

 

Good water hygiene management within school properties can be distilled into the following areas:

1 – Establishing the level of water hygiene risk;

2 – Devising an action plan proportionate to risk;

3 – Evidencing how risk has been suitably managed.

ACoP L8 and HSG 274 Part 2 provide practical advice and guidance on how this can be achieved – to help ensure compliance with health and safety laws.

Establishing the level of risk within school properties can be further compartmentalised into two main areas:

1 – Management policy;

2 – Operations.

Starting with management policy; it’s important to identify a hierarchy of authority (communications pathway/organogram) for water hygiene management ensuring that those responsible are demonstrably competent to undertake their role. Doing so will help the organisation to suitably delineate between management and operational water hygiene responsibilities. Moreover, estates, facilities and/or caretaking staff will invariably accept responsibility for planned preventative and reactive maintenance tasks (as ‘authorised’ or ‘competent’ persons), whereas staff members with a strategic water hygiene responsibility (often estates) may accept responsibility for managing the organisational written scheme of control (sometimes referred to as the water safety plan).

The responsibility to manage and deliver the organisational written scheme of control typically falls within the role of the ‘responsible person’ (RP). Nominating a demonstrably competent person (known as the RP) for water hygiene is a legal requirement and is a role of significant responsibility as the duty holder, or ‘directing mind’ of the organisation – often the Chancellor or Principal, may be the head teacher of a school (depending on the type of school) and may not necessarily possess the technical knowledge, qualifications, water hygiene experience or expertise to adequately execute the duties of the RP and therefore authority may be delegated by the duty holder to an RP. This may help to ensure that the estate is managed in accordance with accepted practices and that assurances are provided to occupiers of the estate (teaching staff, students) regarding protection from waterborne pathogens such as Legionella and associated infection and disease.

 

Whilst many of the operational and managerial water hygiene responsibilities may be delegated, it is noteworthy that the duty holder will retain accountability for ‘water and Legionella risk’. It may be prudent to consider this when planning the resources and budget required to ensure that all health and safety concerns are adequately addressed. The threat from Legionnaires’ Disease is considered ‘preventable’ and when contracted from an estate, invariably there will be legal ramifications…

Once the management structure has been agreed and formalised within a policy document, water management considerations now become more ‘operational’. For example, a good starting point for a school, as for any organisation, would be to commission a site-specific water risk assessment with accompanying schematics. Carrying out a site-specific risk assessment is an absolute requirement under health and safety law. Provided that the risk assessment is accurate and completed in accordance with British Standard 8580-1 then the full extent of the water safety risk will be captured. The risk assessment should include a survey that includes all the systems that may contribute to or cause a risk of waterborne infection. Risks should be evaluated and quantified based on the likelihood of Legionella contamination within a given system and the consequence of infection from this bacteria, using a scoring system for example.

School water systems that could present a risk will more than likely include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following:

  • Domestic cold-water systems – cold water (i.e. less than 20°C) is to be achieved at the outlet within two minutes. This should be confirmed by monthly monitoring from sentinel outlets (i.e. those nearest and farthest from the water source);
  • Domestic hot-water systems – hot water should be heated to at least 60°C and be distributed to all parts of the system at 50°C or above. Hot water should achieve temperature within 1-minute of opening the outlet. This should be confirmed by monthly monitoring of sentinel outlets or, where there is pumped hot water circulation, by monitoring the temperature at the farthest point on the recirculating pipework;
  • Showers – ensure that these outlets are cleaned and descaled at least quarterly and used or flushed at least once weekly. If showers are infrequently used they should be removed or flushed regularly. Flushing activities are to be captured in a documented programme with records kept as evidence;
  • Wash hand basin tap outlets – ensure that all outlets are used or flushed at least once weekly. Similarly, if there are infrequently used outlets then they should be removed or captured in the aforementioned flushing programme;
  • Cold water storage tanks (stored cold water) – ensure that temperature within the tank is less than 20°C and that storage capacity does not exceed 24-hours of supply;
  • Hot water generators/boilers (stored hot water) – stored hot water should be no less than 60°C and therefore flow at no less than 60°C from the boiler;
  • Thermostatic mixing valves (TMVs) – depending on the asset which the TMV is serving, then water temperature should be regulated to 41°C +/- 2°C in order to mitigate scald risk. However, this falls within temperature range that encourages the growth of waterborne bacteria (20-45°C ) and therefore these risk systems should be dismantled, cleaned, disinfected and functional checks at least annually.

The HSE’s HSG274 Technical Guidance, Part 2, Table 2.1 provides practical guidance on the minimum requirements for the management of these systems. Therefore, whilst it’s not mandatory to follow the guidance, bear in mind that should the guidance not be followed then an organisation will need to demonstrate that they have achieved either an equivalent or better standard.

Once the risk assessments have been completed, an assessment of perceived inherent and actual risk will be provided by the surveyor. In practice, this often generates recommendations on how water safety risk can be reduced within the estate. The risk assessment can therefore be used to inform the written scheme of control and assist with the development of an action plan that identifies the corrective action to be taken as well as realistic timescales for completion. Schools, as with all organisations, must at this stage identify what is reasonable and practicable to include within the action plan to help ensure that the water safety management approach remains sustainable for the organisation. Accepted health and safety principles in the UK encourage a balance between risk, cost and difficulty in the actions that are taken; which may necessitate the inclusion of some works and the derogation of others.

Finally, for all planned preventative maintenance works or reactive maintenance works, it is imperative that comprehensive and complete records are kept and are easily accessible. A failure to provide enough evidence to demonstrate that a system is under control could be interpreted as a failure to ensure that service users are safe.

 

 

EDUCATION LEADERS URGED TO UNPLUG AND RECONNECT AT BETT

Education leaders and teachers are being urged to ‘unplug and reconnect’ in person at Bett this coming January.

 

Organisers at the world’s biggest EdTech show are inviting the education community to emerge from behind the screen and come together face-to-face to connect, learn, share ideas and experiences and ultimately “create the future” of education.

 

The show is returning after 18 months of disruption and accelerated adoption of technology, where educators were forced to pivot and deliver lessons in unprecedented circumstances.

 

With all content sessions CPD-accredited, educators can even gain active learning CPD-points by taking part at the event, across the week.

 

Bett is the place for education leaders, teachers and tech pioneers to celebrate, find inspiration and discuss the future of education including the latest thinking on pedagogy, digital strategy and policy implementation.

 

Thousands have already signed up to the event, held on 19- 21 January 2022 at ExCeL London.

 

Exhibitors and sponsors will range from tech superpowers such as Microsoft, Google, Lenovo and Pearson to specialist education suppliers such as Arbor Education, NetSupport, Promethean and 2Simple to rising start-up stars – offering impactful solutions for institutions of all sizes and all budgets.

 

High-profile speakers include one of the world’s leading authorities on growth mindset, Eduardo Briceño, the comedian and actor Sally Phillips, who will speak about home schooling during lockdown and life with a SEN child, and Gogglebox favourite Baasit Siddiqui, whose Siddiqui Education organisation helps boost the morale and achievements of disadvantaged pupils.

 

Eve Harper, Bett Event Director said: “Bett brings people together to network and have meaningful conversations. Despite our focus on tech, we find that the best way to make sense of the plethora of technological solutions is to engage in-person. A range of new offerings coupled with familiar faces from the worlds of education and technology make this the main meeting point for the entire education sector.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She added: ‘We will have thousands of attendees and some exciting speakers and solution providers, from Eduardo Briceño, one of the biggest proponents of the growth mindset, to Sally Phillips, an actor with a passion for connecting pupils with SEND.”

 

A new esports feature will take place at Bett, allowing educators to see how esports is more than gaming and could in fact be the secret weapon in encouraging learning, promoting teamwork and communication.

 

Higher Education leaders will also welcome a new co-located event designed just for them – Ahead by Bett, while global education leaders and change makers can convene at Learnit.

 

Places are free for all attendees.

 

Registration is open now at:  

Tracking link: https://uk.bettshow.com/visitor-registration?utm_source=media_partner&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=pressrelease01

 

For more information see uk.bettshow.com

Tracking link: https://uk.bettshow.com/welcome?utm_source=media_partner&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=pressrelease01

 

For media and press enquiries, contact Alice Stephens, alice.stephens@withpr.co.uk or bett@withpr.co.uk  tel 020 7249 7769 

 

Submit your idea for speaking on stage – visit: https://uk.bettshow.com/about/contact-us?utm_source=media_partner&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=pressrelease01

 

Enquire about exhibiting or sponsoring – visit: https://uk.bettshow.com/exhibit-sponsor?utm_source=media_partner&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=pressrelease01

Ultra-protection for school technology: Survivor® launches All-Terrain antimicrobial iPad cases to help schools prioritise health and safety in the new term.

Survivor’s All-Terrain antimicrobial cases with embedded defence against surface bacteria offer the latest in safety and health technology, ultra-protection, engineering, and design.

London, UK. – September 2021 – Survivor®, the award-winning designer and leading expert in
innovative device protection, launches its reimagined All-Terrain range of versatile and field-tested
protective iPad cases for education. Survivor® All-Terrain offers a carefully engineered antimicrobial
and drop protection solution to everyday on-the-go device operation for iPad 10.2" (8th & 7th
Generation).
Schools are looking for new solutions to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 and other viruses in
order to minimise school closures and student absence in the new term. The All-Terrain iPad 10.2"
cases were re-designed for schools and work settings as a response to the rising concerns around
general hygiene safety in our environments.
Survivor® All-Terrain was engineered with embedded antimicrobial defense that eliminates and
prevents 99.9% of surface bacteria while offering long-lasting antibacterial and antifungal
protection, making them more suitable for school and business settings. Health and safety is the top
priority for schools looking for ways to keep students safe while engaging them in technology-based
activities. Survivor® is a tried, tested and science-backed solution offering maximum protection
against germs.
Delivering the latest in safety and health technology, the All-Terrain tablet cases were designed with
smooth edges to eliminate bacterial traps, prevent bacterial growth, and allow easy wipe down. As
well as this, All-Terrain cases are built with durable materials capable of withstanding medical-grade
cleaning agents, to guarantee long lasting 360-degree device protection.
“The pandemic changed the way children engage with technology forever,” said Lorna Brightman,
Director Of Sales in EMEA.

“A top priority for school leaders right now is creating a safer more stimulating, and interactive
learning environment for students. Survivor’s solution aims to support schools to overcome this
challenge. The All-Terrain cases are an example of Survivor’s expertise in protection engineering for
everyone. Through careful testing, forward-thinking and innovation, we have created a product that
is designed to protect you as well as your technology.”
All-Terrain Survivor® cases are carefully engineered with 3X layers of shock-absorbing material upon
impact and 2X military-grade drop protection. Although slim, it features a raised edge screen bezel
that provides a shatter-resistant line of defence against face impacts, drops and bumps. A dust-
resistant port plug and button cover protector ensures your device stays clear of foreign debris while
preserving connectivity. All-Terrain is perfectly suited for hands-on, on-the-go device operation and
capable of withstanding the everyday challenges, work, play and clumsy fingers.
All-Terrain cases are impressively versatile, with a detachable kickstand/handstrap for precision and
easy manoeuvring. In addition to these features, these cases are easily adaptable to your everyday
needs and compatible with all accessories in the Survivor® Modular Ecosystem, including a shoulder
strap, pencil tether and cupholder mount. An integrated Apple Pencil and Logitech Crayon storage
on the side keeps the accessories secure, protected and easily accessible.
Survivor® products undergo rigorous testing to ensure optimal dependability, durability and
performance. They are guaranteed for life and backed by a limited lifetime warranty.

Pricing & Availability:
Survivor All-Terrain (2021) for iPad 10.2" (8th & 7th Generation) RRP £79.99
The All-Terrain iPad 10.2" cases are now available at Getsurvivor.co.uk/collections/ipad-10-2-2021.
For corporate/business-to-business sales and opportunities: lbrightman@incipio.com

Lessons learned from remote education

~ Teaching won’t be the same again, thanks to new technology ~

 

Before March 2020, catching ‘fresher’s flu’ was a right of passage for university students. Fast forward 18 months and students around the world stayed indoors to keep illness at bay. However, the pandemic has taught the education sector an important lesson — the value of selecting the right communication tools. Here, Ginelle Bell, UK country manager at Cloud communications provider Ringover, explains more.

 

According to UNESCO, more than 1.5 billion students around the world were forced out of their typical learning settings in 2020, with many participating in lessons online. Globally, education in the 21st century has never seen so much disruption and it has prompted critical conversations about the role of technology in delivering education.

 

Education isn’t the only sector that’s facing an overhaul. Over the course of the pandemic, and for several more years to come, communication technologies have grown increasingly more sophisticated. The UK increased its fibre connections by 50 per cent in 2020, and while its broadband connectivity stills lags behind many other countries, the nation is undergoing massive change. As Openreach switches of the public switched telephone network (PSTN), every business will be communicating differently by 2025.

 

Research by broadband company Zen shows that 17 per cent of large organisations are still unaware of the switch off. Education facilities also risk becoming out of the technology loop, if they don’t learn from the past 28 months.

 

Going remote

Throughout much of 2020 and 2021, educators had no choice but to deliver teaching remotely. However, even though in-person teaching has widely resumed, distance learning could become an increasingly favoured choice, rather than an obligation.

 

Distance learning isn’t a phenomena of today’s society. Back in 1969, The Open University (OU) pioneered the concept by offering students the chance to gain a degree without needing to set foot on campus. It was a radical idea for its time — yet proved highly popular. By the time applications closed for its first year of enrolment, the university had received over 100,000 applications.

 

However, The OU’s popularity has decreased over time with numbers of full-time enrolments slipping over the past decade. But things could be set to shift again. Increased demand for upskilling and reskilling, as well as an emphasis in the attractiveness of online learning spurred on by the pandemic, has caused a surge in OU registrations.

 

Overall, the total number of OU students enrolled for the 2020/21 academic year is up 15 per cent on last year — from just over 141,000 to more than 163,000. While distance learning has seemed like a short term fix to keep people safe, it’s also encouraged a newfound appreciation for the teaching method that could lead to long-term behavioural changes.

Getting prepared

We won’t be saying goodbye to fresher’s flu any time soon. While most forms of education continue in person, education facilities shouldn’t neglect the promise of distance learning.

 

What’s more, the past 18 months has taught every industry to expect the unexpected. Most businesses were not prepared to go remote overnight at the start of the pandemic, and education was no exception. However, having the right tools in place to ensure distance learning can be carried out effectively is the best way to plan for any other unforeseen circumstances.

 

One essential piece of any education facility’s armoury is the right communication tools. In particular, facilities should opt for a Cloud-based solution. Cloud-based platforms provide an easy way for educational institutes to streamline their academic communications and collaborations. They can achieve this by combining real-time voice, video and messaging capabilities with their business applications.

 

Using Cloud-based software that enables Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)  makes it easy for students and teachers to interact collaboratively by using real-time messaging and video. This can effectively improve completing group projects, enhances the way teachers communicate with students and cuts down obstacles in the system of education. Because technologies such as VoIP enable calls through the Internet, rather than a fixed telephone line, it’s far easier for education providers to interact with geographically dispersed students and with less ongoing costs.

 

90 per cent of data breaches are a result of human error, and using the Cloud to manage communication tools and store their associated data can help universities better manage sensitive information.

 

At Ringover, another huge benefit we see for VoIP technologies in education is its scalability. Our own software can be easily scaled to suit the size and needs of any business, whether it requires a complete professional phone system or additions to its existing infrastructure. With collaboration tools such as screen sharing, instant messaging and video conferencing, Ringover’s software can help facilities of any size communicate effectively.

 

After several weeks of getting to know each other, it’s likely many students are battling fresher’s flu right now. However, no matter which education route a person chooses, having access to effective communications tools is crucial. Post-pandemic education won’t look the same as it did previously, and having scalable, streamlined software in place will help any facility to future proof.

Over a quarter of teachers fear further Covid-19 disruption will be the biggest challenge to the Autumn term

  • Addressing the attainment gap arising from Covid-19 disruption (20%) and the mental health of pupils (14%) were also reported as expected challenges – with 1 in 4 teachers concerned that the maths attainment gap will be hardest to close
  • 71% of teacher’s reported their confidence in using edtech has increased – a 7% increase compared to June 2020

 

New research from Renaissance, a leading provider of edtech solutions to improve outcomes and accelerate learning, has revealed that over a quarter of teachers (27%) believe Covid-19 related disruption will be the biggest challenge this Autumn term. The research asked almost five hundred (472) senior school leaders, department heads, and teachers about their thoughts and concerns as the new school term got underway.  

 

Covid-19 disruption such as closures and children isolating were cited as the largest expected challenges. In addition, addressing the attainment gap arising from Covid-19 disruption (20%) and the mental health of pupils (14%) followed as the next biggest expected challenges; as research revealed 73% of teachers believe pupil attainment levels have fallen because of national lockdowns.

 

The maths attainment gap was of particular concern to teachers with 1 in 4 (25%) reporting they felt it would be the hardest gap of all the core skills to close this Autumn term. Teachers identified maths skills such as fractions, decimals and percentages as causing the most difficulty – with over a third of teachers (34%) saying they think these core skills have been most heavily affected by the Covid disruption to date.

 

But there is a silver-lining to the past 18 months as more of teachers (71%) said their confidence in using edtech had increased. This is a 7% uplift compared to earlier on in the pandemic – when in June 2020, 64% of teachers said their confidence had grown. 

 

With such a variety of online tools available, experts at Renaissance are encouraging schools to take advantage of teachers’ improved edtech confidence and expand their digital offering so they can tackle the attainment gap caused by Covid-19 school closures.

 

Renaissance believes that teachers can use curriculum-aligned Focus Skills, made freely available through dedicated Teacher Workbooks, to plan lessons that support pupils in learning year-appropriate skills. When combined with formative assessment, Focus Skills can save teachers time and support them in creating tailored lesson plans, meaning pupils spend more time learning and are given more specific support for their developmental needs.

 

 

John Moore, Director, Renaissance said We know teachers continue to face a wide range of challenges presented by Covid-19 in their classrooms. However there’s an opportunity too to take some real positives from the pandemic – building on the way in which so many teachers have embraced technology and worked tirelessly to upskill. Clearly the attainment gap continues to be a concern. At Renaissance we’re committed to supporting education professionals – building on the great strides in the use of technology and providing teachers with the right tools to identify and address areas of need, providing a roadmap for closing the gap. As we move forward through the pandemic, it’s time teachers were able to focus on what they are really there for – to educate pupils, guide their learning development and plan tailored programmes.”

 

Michael Tidd, Headteacher, Schoolworks Academy Trust said: “Addressing the gaps caused by Covid-19 shouldn’t be about cramming in every single thing pupils ‘missed’. Tools like Focus Skills have helped us hone in on the most critical building blocks they need at each stage in their development. Combined with formative assessment, we’re able to paint a picture of each child’s growth rate and any core areas they’ve missed out on so we can then group children and deliver targeted interventions to catch up”.  

How to spend less time on admin and gain more time with pupils

Graham Cooper from Juniper Education advises that if your teachers are snowed under with admin, stretched to the limit with tasks or spending precious evenings and weekends on planning, then workload is a problem for your school.

 

Heavy workloads have been a major issue for schools and teachers alike for the past few years.

 

In 2020, 31% of education professionals were working more than 51 hours a week according to the Teacher Wellbeing Index published by Education Support. Juggling planning, marking, pupil assessment and communication with parents all take their toll.

 

Naturally, these tasks come with the territory, but all too often they take longer than necessary and can spill over into personal time, making teachers feel like there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.

 

 

Task Prioritisation

 

No doubt your team already knows you are committed to reducing their workload but with all the changes schools have had to manage during the pandemic, new tasks have likely been added to everyone’s to-do list.

 

So, if you have not already done a review of what tasks are currently eating up staff time, now is the moment to start making change happen.

 

Although the idea of a task review may sound like another ‘task’ it’s quick to achieve and has long-lasting results.

 

You can start by asking your teachers to write down four or five administrative tasks that they do every day and rank them high to low in terms of time and effort to complete and their impact on teaching and learning.  Ask them to comment on what they think would be the consequence if they stopped doing these and whether it would have a negative effect on teaching and learning.

 

If there are tasks which chip away valuable time each day without helping children, then these are the ones to look at first to see if they can be done differently or not at all.

 

Effective Time Management

 

The next step is to encourage teachers to employ time management skills. One method that works very well is allocating designated times to each task and setting cut off points once that time is completed.

 

For example, teachers can set themselves a time of one hour for lesson planning. When that time is up, they move on to marking or whatever is next on their list. They can then do another hour of lesson planning another time but by breaking the process up into short slots, most people inevitably get more done, rather than when they try and spend three hours on the same task.

 

Again you can weigh each task up against their impact on teaching and learning and decide what tasks get the biggest chunks of your time.

 

Curriculum planning time

 

Despite the introduction of PPA time many teachers dedicate hours of their lives on the evenings, weekends, and holidays to creating great lessons. Often planning sessions in schools are interrupted by calls or other tasks.

 

It might be that by implementing a few small changes, your teachers would get more from their PPA time so they don’t have to use so much of their out of school time on the task.

 

You could carry out a straw poll to ask teachers what one thing would help them get more from their PPA time. Then check back in with your staff to let them know if you can accommodate their suggestions.

 

This could involve shifting someone’s PPA time to the morning when there are likely to be fewer interruptions or giving teachers a longer session every fortnight rather than once a week. Alternatively, it might make a world of difference to your teachers if they could work collaboratively during these sessions.

 

Or you could set up a workshop session and invite everyone to come with an example of a great lesson and the impact it had, as well as an example of a lesson that didn’t work so well, and some thoughts on why. It’s a positive way to share best practices and saves teachers reinventing the wheel in their planning.

 

 

Efficient Communication

 

Good communication has taken on a whole new importance in the age of coronavirus, with schools having to keep staff informed of urgent messages relating to health matters, absences, rotas and changing guidelines. However, if you mark every email ‘urgent’, people will soon switch off and the genuinely urgent messages get lost in the background noise.

 

Draw up a quick questionnaire to ask everyone what the best way is to contact them for an urgent message. Then ask which way they prefer to hear about a news item or an event announcement.

 

Give them a range of options such as a phone call, email or text message. You could also suggest other tools your school uses such as Teams, WhatsApp or the school app.

 

When you have your answers, set out a standard communications method for urgent and non-urgent messages.

 

People are likely to have strong preferences, so bear in mind you won’t be able to please everyone, but this will help select the best options for the majority. Ask everyone to stick with those communication channels, if possible, as this will simplify the way you communicate, eliminate duplication, and ultimately save time.

 

These strategies are key to helping schools win back more time for themselves and their staff. By asking staff to contribute to the changes, you will get everyone on board with your school’s new, more efficient ways of working, and teachers will have more time to spend with pupils.

 

 

For more ideas on how to save time, visit https://junipereducation.org/10dayproject/ for a set of free resources from Juniper Education aimed at primary school leaders.

 

 

 

NetSupport further enhances classroom.cloud’s online safety provision by including integration with Microsoft Teams

NetSupport today announced that its newest solution for classroom management and online safety, classroom.cloud, will now further enhance students’ online safety at all times – and, critically, in any location – by including integration with the widely-used communication and collaboration solution, Microsoft Teams.

With many students equipped with their own school learning devices to enable blended and individual learning to occur both inside and outside of school hours via platforms such as Teams, online safety no longer stops at the end of the school day or applies to only certain applications.

Schools can now widen their safeguarding provision by connecting their Microsoft 365 tenancy to classroom.cloud to allow keyword and phrase monitoring of  Teams channels and chats. Powered by more than 14,000 phrases across multiple languages, classroom.cloud’s keyword and phrase monitoring tool enables schools to monitor what topics their students are typing or searching for across diverse applications and learning environments – helping to identify, support and protect students engaged in any concerning activity. It also allows schools to share and exchange local terms with other schools and add any new ones to their database to further broaden their eSafety net.

Going beyond highlighting concerning words or phrases, classroom.cloud expands on the context in which these terms are being used (i.e. whether they are accidental, academic or indicative of risk) using contextual intelligence. From looking at the time of day, the device used, the history of similar searches a student has carried out, and whether the search is within a school lesson or in their own time, helps schools determine a false alarm versus a genuine risk.

Linking the accounts couldn’t be any easier (simply sign into the Microsoft 365 account through the classroom.cloud portal and accept the link) and, once linked, the school’s tenancies will be listed, so they can see and edit the details and monitoring settings for each tenancy. For example, schools may wish to exclude selected channels and users from monitoring – such as teachers’ chats – helping to maintain privacy and reduce false positive alerts.

Al Kingsley, CEO of NetSupport, comments, “With this latest integration to classroom.cloud, schools can offer a comprehensive solution to keep students safe while using their school devices online, as well as ensuring that they are fully monitored and protected across a range of applications and environments, including Microsoft Teams.”

“With Microsoft Teams becoming an effective learning environment for students and educators worldwide, online safety is of paramount importance to us,” said Yaron Hezroni, Teams Ecosystem Principal Program Manager at Microsoft. “We are pleased to see NetSupport classroom.cloud’s online safety measures integrate with Teams Graph APIs to monitor chat and ensure students are protected at all times.”

About classroom.cloud

Already deployed by schools, Districts and Ministries of Education across the world from the US to the UK, UAE and beyond, classroom.cloud provides award-winning teaching, classroom management and online safety tools – all hosted and protected by Microsoft Azure. From screen sharing and monitoring (all within one environment) to remote control and assessment tools, classroom.cloud makes it easy to lead learning in classrooms and with remote learners. For more information, visit https://classroom.cloud/

University of Birmingham invests in largest ZEISS Digital Classroom in Europe

176 state-of-the-art ZEISS microscopes are partnered with the award winning Labscope teaching software

 

The University of Birmingham cemented its position as a pioneer of cutting-edge education in 2018 with the creation of the largest digital microscope classroom in Europe. The ZEISS Digital Classroom suite is part of the university’s Collaborative Teaching Laboratory (CTL) and boasts a networked set of 176 ZEISS microscopes – a combination of the ZEISS Primotech and Stemi 305 models. These state-of-the-art microscopes, in combination with the award-winning Labscope teaching software, have transformed how teaching is done at Birmingham and raised the bar on what teachers and students can achieve together in the lab.

 

Transforming the Student Experience

 

We talked to three members of the CTL’s teaching staff for this case study, and the first thing we learned is that the ZEISS microscopes, with their intuitive design and high-definition built-in  cameras,  have radically transformed the student experience and boosted engagement. “The ZEISS Digital Classroom has profoundly changed the way we teach,” says Mrs Aruna Mistry, Dry Lab Manager for the CTL, who managed the microscope procurement process. “It’s the sheer interactivity of it that has changed everything: all the students can have an individual image on their device, and we teachers can pick up those images and instantly share them on the big screens. Alternatively, the lecturer can display whatever they are looking at on their teaching microscope on the students’ personal screens.”

In addition to looking through the microscope, students also use networked PCs to explore their slides, while the ZEISS Labscope. software enables them to take high-resolution photos and videos  of their samples, make accurate measurements, and much more. Students have embraced the system, says Mistry. “They like the  idea of everything being at their fingertips. The optics are so good, sometimes they just want to come in to look at their thin sections. And being able to take an image if they want to, straight away, because it is all connected… they just love it.”

Maximising teaching time

 

The state-of-the art ZEISS units are sleek, intuitive and “student- proof”, says Mistry: “In practical classes or exams, I can just take the dust cover off and it is ready to go. This changed my life. Before   the ZEISS installation, I’d have to give the equipment a quick service before we could start.”

Dr Alan Hastie, who teaches petrology and geochemistry at the university, is equally enthusiastic about how the linked microscopes of the ZEISS Digital Classroom maximise teaching time: “With the digital set up, with one click on one screen I can tell if 70 students have their microscopes set up correctly. I no longer have to check everyone individually, which can take an age.” Not only is time saved – teaching is accelerated. “I can pull images from individual students’ microscopes and instantly share them with the class to demonstrate very good examples to the other students. It makes teaching a lot easier and more streamlined.”

 

Boosting Exam Results

 

It not only feels like it is working better. The proof is in the pudding. “The ZEISS equipment allowed me to get my students to a satisfactory level faster than I could in previous years. And this was borne out by exam results,” says Hastie. This accelerated teaching is facilitated by ZEISS’s Labscope Teacher software, which puts the lecturer in charge of all the microscopes in the network while they move freely around the lab. Labscope Teacher also lets the lecturer define working groups, set group-specific tasks and implement all sorts of teamwork-boosting practices.

 

Digital Documentation and Feedback

 

No one on the teaching staff in the new CTL is yearning for the old days. Dr James Wheeley, a senior lecturer in sedimentary geology, remembers them all too well. “Before, we used very traditional microscope set ups, where students had to draw what they  looked  at.  One  of  our  top priorities for this new system was the capability to instantly capture, in high resolution, what the students were looking at, so that they could work with these images after the lab and use them for presentations. That was really important to us.”

The ZEISS Digital Classroom ecosystem also gives faculty the flexibility to feed back to students electronically on things they have imaged through the system. “We’ve been able to teach students how to properly present microscope images and annotate them up afterwards in software, which was difficult to do previously,” says Wheeley.

 

Preparing students for industry

Having students learn these modern working practices feeds into a central motivation for equipping the CTL with ZEISS systems in the first place. “The idea behind the CTL was that we are preparing our students for industry; that they acquire the skills they need here, so that when they start their careers they won’t need retraining,” says Mistry. “We wanted the equipment to be state-of-the-art, the lab to be state-of-the-art, the staff to be fully trained into what they are delivering. Buying the right type of microscopes was crucial.”

Wheeley agrees: “Everything the students are working with now is digital. This system allows them to present work to a professional standard, which is what will be required of them in their first jobs after university.”

Being one of the most advanced teaching labs in Europe, and indeed the world, inevitably makes the University of Birmingham particularly attractive to new students. Though, admittedly, this gold-standard status is not always fully appreciated. “Sometimes, new first-year students don’t realise quite how good they have it,” says Hastie. “At other universities, the equipment is – how do I put this diplomatically? – a wee bit antiquated. Our students come in fresh and get to use this fantastic equipment straight off. This is their normal. I’m in the privileged position to know that they have it very good indeed!”

 

The ZEISS Digital Classroom was part of a £45 million investment at the University of Birmingham, so naturally multiple suppliers were consulted. What was it that won over Mistry and her many colleagues? “The decision to buy took nearly two years and we really explored our options – we had workshops and demonstrations with many potential suppliers,” says Mistry. “Ultimately, the ZEISS system is the only one that could deliver what we said we wanted – we couldn’t ask for more. And   the ongoing support from ZEISS has been brilliant. Anything we asked, anything    we needed, they were there.”

 

To learn more about the ZEISS Digital Classroom, visit: www.zeiss.ly/digitalclassrooms

Classroom space: Why it’s the right time to think about organisation.

Since the start of the pandemic, the education sector has seen a dramatic change to teaching with local authorities advising schools and colleges on COVID guidelines. And with the educational financial year coming to an end in July, now is the time to start planning for the new academic year, as advised by Jeff Hibbert, Sales Director at Rackline Storage Systems.

 

With restrictions due to be eased from July 19th, it’s crucial for schools, colleges, and libraries to reevaluate their teaching and study environments whilst still being able to practice ‘COVID safe’ for the new academic year in September.

 

The layout, design and environment of a classroom, library or research lab has an impact on distractions, discomfort, and hygiene. It’s important for items and teaching equipment to be disinfected and stored away from any potential risks that could contribute to the spread of a virus. It’s also key to ensure your teaching or studying environment allows for plenty of space to ensure the practice of social distancing.

 

Classrooms and other educational areas need to have clear surfaces and ensure that all equipment is stowed away to increase efficiency, so pupils and students aren’t in a restricted space. The right storage solutions for your organisation also will support your admin team to run efficiently and effectively whilst ensuring data protection and safeguarding is adhered to. Rackline’s shelving and storage will be designed to meet the requirements of your facility and adapted to overcome and challenges you may have.

 

With guidance from reputable storage solutions manufacturers, you will make the most efficient use out of classroom organisation. At Rackline we always focus on project management from concept to reality, which means, in a busy driven sector such as education, we handle planning, designs and any regulations to ensure you can continue to teach.

 

The end of the educational financial year is drawing close and the approaching annual summer holidays means now is the ideal time to prepare for the new academic year. Rest assured your teaching or study environment will be future proof from any sudden changes in government restrictions.

 

We work with a range of educational bodies including the University of Aberdeen and University of Glasgow to provide the right storage solutions.

We’ve listed our featured storage solutions for the education sector:

Gratnell tray storage

Shelving systems are very versatile and can be fitted with tray support brackets to maximise storage capacity. Rackline can design and manufacture storage bays to accommodate any size of tray, from gratnells trays for the classroom to larger collection trays that are better suited to storing subject resources for art and science.

 

Mobile shelving

Electronic mobile storage is another product that is perfectly suited to the learning environment. You can optimise floor space with this convenient and movable solution that’s great for storing heavy loads. Rackline’s stylish and secure storage system can be tailored with programmable controls, such as PIN access for staff, time access control and automatic lighting, ideal for securing confidential or valuable items.

 

Static shelving

Offering a wide range of static shelving options, Rackline can boost your storage capacity with a fully tailored product that meets your school’s specific needs. While it’s made from solid steel, the shelving is free from sharp edges which ensures you can safely store your items in a busy educational setting.

 

Archive shelving

Ideal for heavy or bulky items, archive storage systems can help you to store items efficiently and neatly. Rackline’s archive shelving is great for organising gym equipment and storage cupboards allowing you to easily access and find what you’re looking for.

 

Lockers

One of the most commonly seen storage examples in the education sector, lockers are popular for a reason. High quality, durable and secure, Rackline’s lockers deliver a functional personal storage system for both students and staff. Steel welded and riveted, the powder coated lockers come in a range of colours, you can even match them to your school branding.

 

For more information, contact Rackline on 01782 770 144 or head to www.rackline.com to transform your school’s learning environment.

Schools must not rely on children being vaccinated to curb Covid infections

The ‘theatre’ of technological solutions can provide further reassurance and reminders to staff and pupils to maintain high hygiene levels

 

As the government looks at scrapping the rules around groups of pupils having to self-isolate if a single member of their bubble tests positive for coronavirus, schools must go further to mitigate the risk of infection spread, according to hygiene experts.

 

Jarek Salek, head of engineering and technical operations at Uvisan, said: “While there are ambitions to vaccinate all secondary school-aged children before they return to the classroom in September, schools and other educational establishments should implement further and more stringent hygiene measures, to continue to curb infection risk.

 

“With Covid-related absence from schools at its highest rate since schools reopened in March 2021 and concerns expressed by educational staff around their own wellbeing, it is clear that we are not yet out of the woods, and targeting virus transmissions in schools and universities should be a priority.

 

“On top of the vaccination programme, which continues its roll out to younger members of society, schools and universities must implement visible and frequent disinfection measures to remind staff and pupils to be aware of the continued need for the highest hygiene standards. The ‘theatre’ of technological solutions can provide further reassurance and reminders to staff and pupils to maintain high cleanliness levels at all times.

 

“As well as reintroducing masks in the classroom, schools and universities should be progressing with rigorous disinfection processes, which allow them to continue to use shared equipment and resources, in order to retain the same level and quality of learning. For example, using UV-C disinfection cabinets to decontaminate small, handheld items such as tablets, headphones and VR headsets, provides an efficient means of disinfection, killing 99.9% of bacteria in five minutes, as well as saving teaching staff’s time manually wiping down all surfaces of the shared equipment.

 

“Entire classrooms, halls and bathrooms can be made safer using ambient UV-C lamps or air purification systems which will reduce the spread of Covid, as well as future-proofing facilities from future contagious illness outbreaks.”

 

Uvisan’s UV-C cabinets use medical-grade lamps on a cleaning cycle that kills 99.99% of bacteria in five minutes. UV-C has been scientifically proven to kill bacteria, spores, viruses, protozoans, moulds and yeast, protecting tech users from general illness, as well as coronavirus. The cabinets are currently in use in schools and universities in the UK, with many more organisations planning to incorporate the futuristic technology into their disinfection management plans ahead of the September return to school and university.

 

The UV-C cabinets can store a range of other appliances and equipment, including phones, laptops, tablets, toys and games, VR headsets, peripherals and accessories, plus Uvisan is 100% recyclable, with no waste going to landfill. Cabinets are lockable, meaning valuables can be safely stored inside.

 

For more information, visit www.uvisan.com.