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WICKED LAUNCHES NEW WEB-HOSTED EDUCATION RESOURCE

Free lesson plans include ‘Anti-Bullying’, ‘Diversity, Inclusion + Wellbeing’,

‘Secondary English’, ‘Secondary Drama’, andIntermediate ESOL/EFL English’.

 More than 60% savings on Wicked tickets with free teacher ratios and

free school trip planning guide including risk assessment supporting materials.

 

WICKED, the award-winning stage musical that tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz, today announces the official launch of Wicked Active Learning, the production’s new web-hosted teaching/learning resource. Created with teachers, free lesson plans are designed to inspire creativity in the classroom whilst over 60% savings on Wicked tickets (with free teacher ratios) provide opportunities for learning outside the classroom, in support of delivering a broad and rich curriculum.

Wicked Active Learning assets and experiences will also enhance students’ levels of cultural capital and personal development as well as contributing ideas and resources that support SMSC and the PSHE and Citizenship curriculum. Additional free assets include theatre-maker career videos, a 20-page resource guide to assist in the planning of education trips (including information to support the completion of risk assessments), lesson plans (currently including Secondary English, Secondary Drama and Intermediate ESOL/EFL English), together with Anti-Bullying resources developed in partnership with the Anti-Bullying Alliance, and Diversity, Inclusion + Wellbeing resources developed in partnership with Twinkl.

“With themes of self-esteem, discrimination, and identity,

Wicked delivers an enriching live theatre experience that supports

both the quality of education and personal development elements of the

Ofsted framework and enhances our students’ level of cultural capital.”

 Head Teacher, All Saint’s School, Sheffield

The acclaimed production, which has been proudly supporting the work of the Anti-Bullying Alliance and Mousetrap Theatre Projects since 2007 and the National Literacy Trust since 2010, has twice been voted ‘Best Theatre Production for Schools’ at the annual School Travel Awards and delivers an outstanding live London theatre experience, with a story that explores themes of self-esteem, identity, prejudice, victimisation, propaganda and fake news, peer pressure, ambition, and friendship.

Michael McCabe, UK Executive Producer of Wicked said: 

We recognise and value the benefits of creative education and do all we can to encourage participation in creative arts subjects, artistic expression, and cultural attendance. Alongside our ongoing charitable endeavours, we are pleased to provide free classroom resources and lesson plans for all schools, as well offering over 60% savings on class and year group tickets and free teacher ratios in support of learning outside the classroom, personal development, and the delivery of cultural capital. Our story of identity, prejudice, propaganda, and friendship continues to resonate strongly with schools, and we are grateful to the many teachers whose invaluable contributions and guidance have helped shape these lesson plans and resources, as well as for their shared vision and passion to deliver quality arts education and engagement for all.”

 One of the most successful musicals of all time” (BBC News), the London production of Wicked is now in its 17th year at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, where it has already been seen by more than 11 million people.

 R SMSC   R PSHE   R Citizenship   R Personal Development   R Anti-Bullying   R Wellbeing

  • School Class + Year Groups save over 60% on Wicked tickets
  • Free teacher ratios + extra tickets purchasable
  • Book now/pay later flexibility + free exchanges
  • Free 20-page ‘Planning Your Education Visit’ Guide
  • Free risk assessment supporting resources
  • Free classroom resources + lesson plans
  • Option to include an official workshop or Q&A
  • Coach/minibus drop-off/pick-up point directly outside the theatre
  • 1 minute from London Victoria Mainline and Underground stations

School Class and Year Groups + Youth Groups

 Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday 7.30pm + Wed 2.30pm term time performances:

 10-99 Tickets

Band A/B seats reduced to £25.00

Band C/D seats reduced to £19.50

 100+ Tickets

Band A/B seats reduced to £22.50

Band C/D seats reduced to £17.50

 For requests outside of the above parameters, please submit an enquiry to Hello@WickedActiveLearning.co.uk

Rates applicable to Primary (Year 3+), Secondary, HE, FE, EFL, ESOL, youth and performing arts groups.

 Free Teacher ratios

1 free secondary teacher ticket with every 10 tickets purchased (11th ticket is free)

1 free primary teacher with every 5 tickets purchased (6th ticket is free)

1 free Youth Group Leadership/Volunteer Team ticket with every 10 tickets purchased (11th ticket is free)

Extra tickets

Extra teacher/staff/Leader/Volunteer Team tickets can be purchased at the applicable group ticket price.

Tickets + resources: www.WickedActiveLearning.co.uk

Lesson Plans currently include ‘Anti-Bullying’, ‘Diversity, Inclusion + Wellbeing’,

Secondary English’, ‘Secondary Drama’, and ‘Intermediate ESOL/EFL English’.

Anti-Bullying resources developed in partnership with: Anti-Bullying Alliance

Diversity, Inclusion + Wellbeing resources developed in partnership with Twinkl

Benefits and resources presented may not apply when booking through third party agents.

Recommended for Primary Year 3+. Workshops & Q&As not included in ticket price. All sales subject to availability and T&Cs

Back-to-school internet safety advice as children return to the classroom

  • New research from connectivity provider TalkTalk reveals that 99% of children aged 7 to 13 will have access to internet enabled tech when they go back to school*
  • Half of parents are concerned about the content their child could access when using internet-enabled technology for school related tasks at home*
  • TalkTalk and Internet Matters share advice on how parents can keep children safe online

6th September, 2022: As we start the new school year, TalkTalk and Internet Matters have issued safety advice to parents whose children may be having access to internet enabled devices for the first time.

 

Research from TalkTalk reveals that almost every (99%)* child heading back to school this week will have access to internet enabled tech either at home or in school. Parents overwhelmingly see the internet as a force for good, and the advice is aimed to help those who may be unsure how to approach the topic with their young children.

 

8 in 10 parents say their child has developed new skills as a result of spending time online**. Parents cited the ability to access educational websites i.e. BBC Bitesize (65%) as a key benefit, as well as conducting research (52%) and playing online games that help to develop creative skills (51%)**. Despite this, a third do admit that they have no idea what their children get up to online **.

 

Over half (54%)* of 7 to 13-year-olds are now spending up to two hours of their after-school time online, with the top three most common school tasks being online homework (79%), reading (40%) and talking to classmates (29%)*.

 

However, this access to new tech has led to concern among parents about other content their child could access while using internet enabled technology for their schoolwork (50%)*. Network data from TalkTalk shows that the use of smart plugs, typically used to connect voice assistants to a power source, has increased by 47% over the past year***. Suggesting that the range of internet enabled technology available to young people at home is growing.

 

Earlier this year, TalkTalk’s research around the Online Safety Bill found that 65% of parents see unregulated online spaces such as chatrooms and the metaverse as a huge risk to their children***. Other concerns include talking to other online users (68%), social media (63%) and online gaming (45%)***.

 

In fact, 74% of parents say they use internet safety tools, such as blocking certain websites or filtering tools to limit their child’s access to certain content and 64% of parents say they are trying to reduce the amount of time their child spends online***.

 

Matthew, parent of two (aged 7 and 9) said, “From an early age my children have used mobile devices, tablets, and computers as part of their learning, at home and school. As they grow older, and begin to use internet enabled tech more, I have concerns around online safety on open platforms (i.e. social media) or socially interactive games. Both of my kids play with their friends on Minecraft for example, but they’ve been instructed not to talk to or “friend” strangers, and we monitor this on an ad hoc basis.”

 

“Having access to the right information when it comes to online safety – whether that’s tangible resources like home security tech or expert tips – is invaluable while navigating the transitional period as children begin to spend more time online.”

 

TalkTalk has partnered with Internet Matters, an organisation set up to help parents keep their children safe online. Internet Matters’ website holds an abundance of practical information about how to talk to children about their online presence, including a back to school online safety guide that parents may benefit from this week.

 

They advise a collaborative approach to back-to-school online safety: They advise a collaborative approach to back-to-school online safety:

 

  1. Practise open and honest conversations with your child, as it will mean they are more likely to approach you if they feel unsafe online.
  2. Ensure you are aware of the school’s online learning policy. Schools have now developed these for children’s safety, and you should be able to find it on your child’s school website.

 

  1. Set boundaries around when and for how long your child is allowed to use tech, which apps and websites they can access, who they can contact and how they should behave online. Agree this together so they feel part of the decision-making process.

 

  1. Make sure that they know what to do if they come across unpleasant content – depending on their age it may be more appropriate for them to tell you rather than try and deal with it themselves.

 

  1. Consider adding a web filter, such as TalkTalk’s HomeSafe feature, to your home Wi-Fi to block inappropriate content and set time limits for gaming and social media websites. You should also ensure that your security features are up to scratch.

 

TalkTalk’s Head of Customer Security, Mark Johnson, says: “As a parent I know how worrying it could be not knowing what your child is getting up to online. Online security is key to us at TalkTalk, which is why we work with Internet Matters to offer advice for parents who may not know how to approach the topic of online safety with their children or where to find resources and tools to help keep their children safe.”

 

How to Use Storage Containers as Educational Spaces in Schools

Storage containers have multiple uses. Not only do they transport everyday essentials around the world, but storage containers can also be converted into homes and offices. To go one step further and utilise all of the space in schools, professionals within the education system can introduce storage container solutions in the classroom and playground.

 

Here are some of the ways that storage containers can be used to further education.

 

Classrooms

First and foremost, storage containers can be converted into classrooms. They might have a steel exterior, but professionals can transform the interior to contain every comfort expected in a classroom, from electricity to running water and heating on a crisp afternoon.

 

Storage container classrooms can be placed outside in the school grounds, creating more space for children to get together and learn. This might help with growing class sizes in England. In January 2022, 494,675 primary school aged-children were taught in classes of 31 children or more, a 2.6% increase from the previous year.

 

In addition to the retirement and retention of teachers, these growing class sizes can be accredited on a lack of funding for schools. Shipping container hire can be an affordable alternative to traditional education rooms.

 

Eco-classrooms

Storage container classrooms are flexible. They are stationed outside of the main school building, presenting the perfect opportunity to create an eco-classroom. These are immersed in the grounds of your school and allow children to learn more about nature.

 

A typical day in an eco-classroom might involve anything from growing seasonal fruits and vegetables, learning about local ecosystems and taking part in educational scavenger hunts. This is a great way to bring variety into nursery, primary, and secondary timetables.

 

Outdoor education is beneficial to children of all ages and abilities. This educational approach can be particularly advantageous for younger students who’re spending time away from adults and developing important social skills in turn.

 

Bird hideaways

Storage containers can also be made into bird hideaways. Just as eco-classrooms allow children to learn about nature, bird hideaways are great for children wanting to learn more about birds. The steel coatings can even be camouflaged with leaves and bushes.

 

Bird watching might not be a conventional school activity – but it could be. Research shows that it can help children with their concentration levels. In fact, one study found that bird watching decreased confusion, fatigue, and tension in high school students.

 

Swimming pools

It’s no secret that swimming is beneficial for the physical health of children. This activity is also great for maintaining and improving students’ mental health, releasing serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins after swimming a few laps around the pool.

 

Despite many benefits, some schools might not have the space or funds to build their own swimming pool. This is where storage containers can become an unlikely solution, providing children with an outdoor swimming pool to exercise in.

 

Storage solutions

Last and certainly not least, storage containers can always be used for their original purpose. They can store spare educational equipment, from soft balls to jungle gyms, when schools don’t want to sacrifice fun for space.

 

 

These are some of the ways storage containers can be used as educational spaces in schools. They can be a short-term and flexible solution to expanding and improving the current curriculum, especially if schools are struggling with funding opportunities to build new amenities. So what is there to lose?

 

Sources

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/uk-news/primary-classes-england-more-30-24198512

 

https://www.brighthorizons.co.uk/family-zone/family-resources/blog/2022/01/benefits-of-nature-for-children

 

https://www.birdsandblooms.com/birding/birding-basics/birding-health/

 

https://www.zoggs.com/en_GB/news/post/kids/children-mental-health-swim/

 

 

Clearlake Capital-Backed Discovery Education Acquires DoodleLearning

Discovery Education—the worldwide edtech leader backed by Clearlake Capital Group, L.P. (together with its affiliates, “Clearlake”)—today announced the acquisition of DoodleLearning. The Bath-based DoodleLearning’s maths and English products create personalised learning experiences that help improve students’ academic achievement and confidence. Terms were not disclosed. 

 

The acquisition of DoodleLearning supports Discovery Education’s mission to prepare learners for tomorrow by creating innovative classrooms connected to today’s world. DoodleLearning complements Discovery Education’s other award-winning digital services, which include Discovery Education’s K-12 platform, Mystery ScienceSTEM Connect, the MathScience, and Social Studies TechbooksEspressoCoding and Health and Relationships

 

“Discovery Education is dedicated to creating a best-in-class edtech ecosystem that supports our mission to prepare today’s students for future success,” said Discovery Education Chief Executive Officer Scott Kinney. “This acquisition is an important milestone in that effort, and we look forward to both partnering with the talented DoodleLearning team and scaling the reach of their innovative, adaptive maths and English products.”

 

Prior to founding DoodleLearning, Chief Executive Officer Nicola Chilman and Chief Operating Officer Tom Minor taught maths. In 2011, after experiencing firsthand technology’s ability to accelerate student learning, Chilman and Minor created an app combining high-quality digital content and educational supports that encouraged children to learn in an engaging and personal way. 

 

Today, DoodleLearning offers four products supporting instruction in maths and English for ages 4-14 that have been used by over one million children in the U.K. and around the world. As part of the Discovery Education family of services, DoodleLearning will continue to apply its educational ability to building and deploying affordable learning solutions for students worldwide.

 

“The entire DoodleLearning team is excited to join Discovery Education’s efforts to build and scale a powerful edtech ecosystem of digital resources serving teachers and learners worldwide,” said Nicola Chilman, DoodleLearning Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder. “Our team will naturally fit into Discovery Education’s mission-driven culture, and we look forward to working with our new colleagues on our joint mission to prepare today’s students for future success.”

 

“DoodleLearning is excited to join the Discovery Education team,” said Tom Minor, Chief Operating Officer, and Co-Founder of DoodleLearning. “The company has laid out exciting plans to increase the number of instructional minutes it supports each day, and DoodleLearning is poised to play a significant role in this effort.”

 

DoodleLearning is Discovery Education’s latest acquisition. In October of 2020, Discovery Education acquired Mystery Science and in July of 2020, Discovery Education purchased Spiral. In August of 2019, Discovery Education announced the acquisition of Inspyro.

 

For more information about Discovery Education’s award-winning digital resources and professional learning services, visit www.discoveryeducation.co.uk, and stay connected with Discovery Education on social media through Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

New tech solution to create better learning environment for young people

  • Nuance Hearing, a leading provider of focused listening technology, has created the Voice Selector Study, a new technological solution to help young people concentrate in noisy and distraction-filled classroom environments.
  • Developed by a team of technology and health experts, the device utilises Nuance’s world-leading advancements in tech to support focused listening.
  • The Voice Selector Study aids attention and focus in the classroom by cutting through background noise, honing in on the speaker and tuning out everything else. 
  • Aimed at any pupil who is struggling to concentrate in learning environments, the device is also useful for those with ADHD and other sensory and auditory processing difficulties.
  • Clinical study showed significant improvement in the ability to listen to the teacher in a noisy classroom.

 

 Nuance Hearing, a leading provider of focused listening technology, has launched the Voice Selector Study, a new technological solution to help young people concentrate in noisy and distraction-filled classroom environments. 

 

The device creates a better learning environment for young people, helping them to listen to the teacher and follow instructions, while tuning out other distractions. A clinical study* which tested the efficacy of the Voice Selector Study in classroom settings for 31 adolescents with ADHD showed highly significant improvements in the ability to focus on and listen to the teacher and in the ability to ignore distractions in the classroom.

 

Eight built-in microphones automatically track the teacher’s (or the dominant speaker’s) voice as they move around the classroom, reducing the level of background noise and enabling the user to focus with less cognitive effort. 

 

Nuance Hearing’s cutting-edge beamforming technology gives a world leading signal-to-noise ratio of 15db, (the relative reduction of overall noise in relation to the target sound), which compares to an industry-standard in real-time applications of 4-5dB.

 

The Voice Selector Study is an easy to use, small tabletop device that works with any wired headphones. In addition to automatically tracking the dominant speaker, the user can also manually select up to two dominant speakers to track.

 

Aimed at any pupil who is struggling to concentrate in learning environments, the device can also be particularly useful for those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), auditory processing difficulties (APD) or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), who tend to struggle more with concentration in classroom settings. ADHD is estimated to affect about 2-5% (around 1 in 30) studentsat school. APD is estimated 0.5-1% of school aged children. 

 

A clinical study which tested the efficacy of the Voice Selector Study in classroom settings for 31 adolescents with ADHD showed highly significant improvements in the ability to focus on and listen to the teacher and in the ability to ignore distractions in the classroom. 

Tami Harel, Director of Clinical Research at Nuance Hearing, said: “Classrooms nowadays can be very noisy and full of distractions. It is difficult for everyone to tune in on the teacher in a noisy environment, but for some children this task is even harder. Some children struggle to concentrate and focus on the teacher, and this effort affects their ability to learn and participate in the classroom. We’re proud to launch the Voice Selector Study to help children ignore the unwanted noise and distractions and focus on the teacher. We believe this can facilitate learning and empower students.”

 

According to the ADHD Foundation, the ‘core symptoms’ of ADHD are usually present before the student is 12 years of age and can persist throughout their school life. ADHD students typically have a short attention span and so can find it hard to concentrate and learn, especially in group situations. This can impact on their education and many of these students underachieve at school. Among children aged 6–16, there is a clear association between ADHD symptoms and academic attainment. Furthermore, recent research has found that medication alone does not help children with ADHD to learn.

 

The Voice Selector Study is available to purchase from www.nuancehear.com.

 

Campus Crime: London School of Economics reports over £250k of thefts

 

Laptops, mobile phones, and Rolex watches reported as lost or stolen by students and staff

 

London, 8th June 2022 The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), a leading research institution, has recorded nearly £250,000 in stolen electronic devices, including laptops, tablets and phones, over the past five years according to official figures.

 

The data which was retrieved via the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) and analysed by the Parliament Street think tank, observed the number of stolen electronic devices from LSE year on year from 2017 to 2022, as well as the total cost of devices lost.

 

In total, £242,744 worth of devices were listed as stolen, with laptops, tablets and phones accounting for 78 per cent of the devices.

 

Overall, the 208 stolen laptops, tablets and phones totalled £189,934 worth of lost devices, with 126 laptops, 61 phones and 21 tablets reported as stolen.

 

The year with the greatest monetary loss was 2017, with 54 stolen devices totalling £50,740 whilst 2019’s 57 stolen devices was the highest volume of devices during the reporting period.

 

Outside of laptops, tablets and phones, a further £52,810 in devices including network switches, cameras and a Rolex watch were reported stolen.

 

The news comes following the government’s Cyber Security Breaches Survey, revealing that an alarming 92 per cent of universities have been targeted a cyber-attack in the past 12 months.

 

Cyber crime expert Achi Lewis, Area VP EMEA for Absolute Software, commented: “Large organisations naturally have a greater task of ensuring that devices are fully protected, and the vast number of interactions that happen at universities like LSE can increase the chances of devices being stolen or misplaced. As such, it is essential that cybersecurity measures are put in place, such as resilient zero trust solutions to restrict the access of malicious actors trying to breach stolen devices.

 

“Particularly in industries like the education sector, it is essential that staff, and even students, are properly trained on the key security issues at hand given the volume of sensitive data stored across devices. Effective training will not only aid the prevention of breaches, but also assist staff and students on how to react once a device has been stolen.”

 

Online Parent-Teacher Conferences should be encouraged

Once or twice a year, parents pay a visit to the school to meet with teachers and discuss about their children. Whether it’s about the academic progress their kids have made, or how they are doing in general within the school environment, the annual parent-teacher conference is a vital component within the education systems from all over the world.

So, what happened when the COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic? Well, naturally when the schools closed down, parent-teacher conferences were also cancelled indefinitely. But now that the schools are largely back to normal, it is time again for teachers and parents to come together and work towards creating an even better learning experience for the children. Many schools have shifted towards hybrid education, combining and alternating between in-person and remote learning. Consequently, there is also a growing trend of school administrators hosting both virtual and physical meetings for parent-teacher conferences.

According to Rene Buhay, SVP of Sales and Marketing at AVer Europe, “By utilising the latest education technology such as video conferencing, online parent-teacher conferences can be a powerful and effective way in building meaningful relationships between the families and educators. Contrary to what some may believe, having parent-teacher conferences online are not inferior to in-person meetings. In fact, these virtual conferences can bring many advantageous factors in areas where face-to-face meetings may be limited.”

 Here are some key reasons why online parent-teacher conferences should be encouraged.

Flexible and Accessible

In a time of uncertainty where the world is trying to establish new “norms”, flexibility is crucial in ensuring a level playing field for all children. The traditional parent-teacher conference often did not have a concrete schedule that the parents could follow. Instead, there would be some general timetable for when each teacher is available to talk, but often parents would end up waiting in line for prolonged periods before they got their turn. It’s also not surprising that sometimes parents can’t make it to the conference due to work shift hours, prior commitment, or long-distance commute. With the option of having the parent-teacher conferences online, it eliminates these problems and increases the chance of both parents being able to attend. An internet connection, a video conferencing camera, and open platform such as Zoom, TEAMS or SKYPE,  is all a parent needs to join a virtual conference. Parents can now communicate with teachers from the comfort of their home, or virtually anywhere through the tap of a few buttons.

Efficient and Easy

While parents can enjoy the flexibility and accessibility of attending virtually, teachers also benefit from these online conferences. No longer do teachers have to struggle with presenting students’ work to parents in a noisy gym filled with overlapping conversations, nor will they be restricted to stay at a designated table due to limited space. By implementing educational technology in online conferences, teachers can stream and show all the work a student has done through a visualiser that’s equipped with a rotatable camera head, giving them the option to show their face and the student’s work interchangeably. Alternatively, if the teacher also likes to move around the room and gesture to points written on a blackboard, a simple tracking camera with plug-and-play USB connectivity would allow them to do so in seconds. With the utilisation of these two, we can say goodbye to distracting noises and poor visibility in a room full of waiting parents.

Build an Engaged Community

Choosing to participate in online parent-teacher conferences is essentially taking a more digital approach. With technology weaving its way more into the field of education, the level of convenience and visibility it brings can encourage parents to attend online conferences more often and in turn allow both parties the opportunity to get consistent insights and communication from each other. In doing so, this will create a sense of community that is connected based on collaboration for the sake of the children’s growth and development.

About AVer Europe

AVer Europe provides intelligent technological solutions which harness the power of visual communications for business and education. With over 20 years of research, development and manufacturing excellence AVer holds numerous international design, innovation, application, and service awards for exceptional product usability, reliability and customer satisfaction.

http://www.avereurope.com

UK digital literacy to receive major boost as 57k BBC micro:bit coding devices donated to primary schools

  • The Micro:bit Educational Foundation alongside partners Nominet and the Scottish government will donate 57,000 BBC micro:bits across UK primary schools   
  • Support from the Scottish government will see every primary school in Scotland receives devices  
  • In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, priority will be given to the schools that need additional support the most  
  • With many secondary schools now using BBC micro:bits in the classroom, the project aims to boost support for younger children and provide essential teacher resources   

    30 March 2022 The Micro:bit Educational Foundation, the organisation behind the pocket-sized BBC micro:bit computer, has announced plans to help even more primary school children take their first steps into digital creativity and computing. In partnership with Nominet and the Scottish government, 57,000 BBC micro:bit devices will be donated to UK primary schools, alongside comprehensive teaching resources and online Continuing Professional Development courses.   

    As digital literacy and computing become increasingly important core skills, this major boost to teaching these subjects will see approximately 3,000 UK primary schools receive around 20 devices each. Support from the Scottish government will see every primary school in Scotland receive 20 devices, with the Foundation and Nominet working with primary schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to prioritise 22,000 devices to those that need additional support the most. Delivery of devices will begin from April onwards.  

    Having launched in 2016, today there are 6 million BBC micro:bits being used by children all over the world, including most UK secondary schools. The Foundation has also seen growing adoption and demand from primary schools to teach 8 – 11-year-olds with the devices. With this major project, the Micro:bit Educational Foundation aims to boost usage in primary schools even further, providing the devices and resources to help teachers make coding exciting, accessible, and something they can teach confidently to younger children.   

Teaching digital skills from a young age has impressive results and understanding computational thinking can greatly enhance a child’s creativity and life chances. However, research underpinning the project from the Micro:bit Educational Foundation and Nominet found that  61% of UK primary teachers responsible for teaching computing have no background in the subject, 3 in 5 also cite lack of resources as a barrier to teaching computing and digital skills.   

Gareth Stockdale, CEO of the Micro:bit Educational Foundation, said: “Digital literacy and computational thinking are critically important not only to the future of our society, but to the future of children who will one day shape that society. They are increasingly important core skills, and we know that the earlier you learn them, the better. The BBC micro:bit has become an essential tool that teachers and students alike have come to love. We’ve seen fantastic adoption in secondary schools, and we’re delighted to support and empower even more teachers to unlock children’s creative potential at primary level.”  

Roll-out of the micro:bits will also complement a three-phase research programme, as the Foundation looks to assess, monitor and address the challenges, concerns and successes UK primary teachers experience improving digital literacy and in bringing micro:bits into the classroom.  

Interested teachers and schools can visit the Micro:bit Educational Foundation website for more information.  

Adam Leach, CIO, Nominet, said: “We are so pleased to see the continued roll-out of micro-bit in classrooms across the UK, enabling so many more primary school children to explore and develop their skills in digital creativity and computing. It’s exciting to think about the potential passion for technology this programme could set alight. On practical level, it is really important that access to learning these essential skills is provided to children who might not otherwise have the opportunity to discover, experiment and master them. Each one of the 57,000 devices will impact on developing children’s core digital skills as citizens of a digitalised world – and perhaps even put some of them on a pathway to help fill the digital skills gap in the UK’s digital workforce of the future.”    

 

New resources launched for schools to help make sure school uniform is affordable

The Children’s Society is launching new resources today for all state primary and secondary schools to help them navigate the changes set by new school uniform laws. These resources were developed in partnership with the Child Poverty Action Group and Children North East, and based on years of hands-on work with schools and families. 
 
The new law, the Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Act 2021 which passed in April 2021, requires schools to follow new statutory guidance on uniform costs, instructing them on how they must keep prices down so their policies are more inclusive for children from low-income families.   
 
Schools are required to implement the guidance in time for parents buying uniform for the new school year in Autumn 2022 – or Summer 2023 if it breaches a pre-existing contract or formal agreement with a supplier. The new resources have been designed to help schools understand the guidance and be able to implement the changes to their policies.   
 
The new cost of school uniform law was a result of seven years of campaigning from The Children’s Society to make school uniform affordable and a Private Members Bill from Mike Amesbury MP. Young people had told The Children’s Society back in 2014 how not being able to afford the correct uniform meant they were given detentions or even being excluded. It also made them feel embarrassed amongst their peers and resulted in being bullied or feeling isolated.   
 
The charity went on to publish three research reports The Wrong Blazer in 2015, 2018 and 2020 revealing that many schools have unnecessarily strict uniform requirements, such as making families buy uniform at specific and often expensive shops or having lots of branded items. This meant that for families living on the breadline, it was the choice between letting their child turn up with incorrect uniform and facing the consequences or going without the basics.   
 
Mark Russell, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said: “School should be a place where every child feels they belong. A uniform can bring the school community together and develop a sense of school identity but high standards shouldn’t have to mean high costs. Long uniform lists put pressure on family finances and expensive uniforms can even push parents into debt or force them to make hard choices to ensure their children have the right kit.  

“Our research in 2020 found that 1 in 8 families were having to cut back on essentials, such as food or heating to cover the cost. The stress of having the wrong uniform, and fear of being singled out, has a real impact on pupils’ confidence and well-being. They may even be taken out of lessons because of incorrect uniform, losing essential learning time. 

“We have designed these resources to help schools understand and be able to navigate the new statutory guidance in front of them. We invite all schools to download our resources so they find it easier to update their school uniform policies making them more affordable by the start of the next school year.” 

Head of Child Poverty Action Group’s Cost of the School Day programme Kate Anstey said:  

“We know that parents struggle with the cost of school uniform and that kids are excluded from activities and even given detentions for not having the right kit. Following the new government guidance, we’ve brought together our insights in this series of resources to support schools to develop affordable approaches to uniform and ensure children are not priced out of school life.”   

 
Luke Bramhall, Head of Youth Services and Poverty Proofing at Children North East, said: 

“At Children North East we frequently hear directly from children and their families about the impact uniform costs have on household income through our Poverty Proofing© the School Day work. The recent government guidance is an important step in the right direction, enabling educators to create accessible uniform that will reduce costs and remove stigma associated with not being able to afford expensive uniform costs. We are pleased to have worked with both organisations to produce this series of resources aimed at supporting schools to implement affordable uniform policies.” 

 

 The Resources can be downloaded for free from http://childrenssociety.org.uk/school-uniform-resources 

‘Going Too Far–Extremism and the Law’- LGfL wins award for resource developed in partnership with DfE… and its Technical or IT Support Services

LGfL-The National Grid for Learning strikes gold with a double award win at BETT 20221

LGfL-The National Grid for Learning celebrated striking gold at this year’s BETT Awards 2022, when it scooped  both the Best Wellbeing, Digital Wellness & Safeguarding Resource for its ‘Going too Far–The Law and Extremism’, developed in partnership with the Department for Education, and the Best Technical or IT Support Services. The BETT Awards, organised in association with the British Education Suppliers Association (BESA), celebrate the inspiring creativity and innovation that can be found throughout technology for education. The awards form an integral part of BETT each year, the world’s leading showcase of education technology solutions.

John Jackson, CEO, LGfL-The National Grid for Learning said, “We are absolutely thrilled to win these two awards – my thanks goes out to our talented online safeguarding team and colleagues from the Department for Education for producing Going too Far, designed to  promote critical thinking online and equip teachers with scenario-based activities to lead discussions around extremism and behaviours that are dangerous or illegal. I would also like to thank our dedicated team for rolling out significant technology initiatives to ensure that no child is left behind and for delivering exceptional customer care. (Please click on the video and move to 1.10 to see LGfL featured on the BETT Awards site  https://bettawards.com/)

Going Too Far? – Extremism and the Law

Going Too Far?-Extremism and the Law (https://goingtoofar.lgfl.net) –  the result of a partnership between the Department for Education and LGfL – is an open-access interactive teaching resource to help students understand extremism and how certain online behaviours may be illegal or dangerous. Cross-curricular activities facilitate a whole-school approach, complementing and complying with RSHE guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education and the UKCIS Education for a Connected World Framework.

The resource aims to promote critical thinking and build resilience to help young people face the abundance of extremist content online by exploring the techniques used by extremists and evaluating digital content, making positive choices about who/what is trustworthy online,  challenging extremist narratives and considering the consequences of their actions and making a positive stand.

Going too Far includes case studies and discussion stimuli, videos featuring subject experts,  scenarios to explore potential risks e.g. gaming and social media, signposting to trusted sources for support and reporting channels and printable teacher notes, extension activities, mini video guides and suggested answers to help lead informative discussions.

Its SEND and Inclusion area features audio narrations and alternative texts, as well as differentiated questions to support as wide a range of learners as possible.

Best Technical or IT Support Services

LGfL is one of the fastest growing edtech charities in the UK.  Its mission is the advancement of education. It is passionate about tackling inequality, promoting diversity and ensuring no child is left behind. Its #BridgeTheDivide initiative –  a huge national procurement for up to 2 million Chromebooks and Windows Laptops – enabled it to drive down the cost, save schools millions of pounds and increase access to devices and technology for children, including those disadvantaged. By making its Free School Meals Eligibility Checker free to schools nationwide it was able to help them to identify a potential £112.5M of Pupil Premium Funding and to support communities facing huge challenges.

“Our empathy and understanding of schools’ needs has enabled us to design, build and provide solutions that have been consumed at an unprecedented scale,” said John Jackson.

“Our standards of customer care are exceptional, with a retention rate of over 90%, sometimes involving incredible risk on behalf of our customers.”

  1. LGfL-The National Grid for Learning strikes gold with a double award win at BETT 2022 – Right to Left: Sindu Vee, Event Host and award winning comedian; Mubina Asaria – Online Safeguarding Consultant, LGfL; Bob Usher – Content Manager; LGfL; John Jackson – CEO; LGfL; Gareth Jelley – Product and Security Manager, LGfL.