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Accelerating Digital Transformation to Reimagine Education

LONDON, 16 December 2020 – Rene Buhay, VP of Sales and Marketing at AVer Europe, the award-winning provider of video collaboration systems, advices that schools need to keep on top of the new technology available to them in a post pandemic world.

When COVID-19 struck and we moved into a pandemic, the lack of digital capability of some schools was exposed. Many of these schools were likely planning for slow digitalisation before the pandemic. But their long-term plans suddenly became very short-term actions, and many administrators adapted admirably by accelerating digital transformation to reimagine education.

ICT directors  moved quickly to reconfigure everything from basic lesson plans to graduation ceremonies for online access. The contingency plans worked well enough in the short term, but what happens next? Should schools return to the traditional methods they relied on before the pandemic?

Post COVID-19 education is already being reimagined

It is likely that institutions that were on the fence about digitally transforming their curriculums and facilities, now have a little experience with technology solutions, so are more likely to embrace them going forward. Teachers are likely to feel they are better at using technology after going through the pandemic, which forced changes to their teaching processes.

Many teachers who were once passive about their education technology—simply using the few devices that the school forced upon them—will now actively seek more advanced solutions to help them teach, whether they’re doing so in hybrid classrooms or fully online.

Additionally, schools will be afraid of being caught off guard by unplanned disruptions again. This is especially true in the competitive, often profit-driven world of higher education. Digital transformation is now becoming a necessary means of survival as this new digital world requires educators to adapt and adopt digital technologies, methodologies and mindsets.

Many experts and leaders are pushing for what has been termed “reimagining education,” by developing an agile, innovative and future focused hybrid deep learning system.

What accelerating digital transformation means for you

Even if there were no COVID-19 pandemic to shake things up, your school would have eventually had to transform. Digital transformation revolves around agility. It doesn’t mean you need to bulldoze your school building and move your entire operation to the cloud. It does mean that you should be able to do so at a moment’s notice, while also capitalising on digital resources in traditional brick-and-mortar classrooms and homework assignments.

Investment will be required in technology solutions that are easy to install and implement. A good visualiser (document camera) is perfect for teaching from home or enhancing classroom interaction, showing incredible details and capturing step-by-step processes. Interactive Control Boxes instantly upgrade outdated equipment, enabling wireless connection of student and teacher devices for collaboration and sharing. AI Auto Tracking Cameras let you livestream or record content for full-fledged distance learning and online programs.

Buhay sums up that there is “No way” schools should revert back to old ways of teaching. “Digital transformation is here to stay and AVer can offer educational institutions  the flexibility to create customised teaching and learning solutions. By mixing and matching from a wide range of first-rate classroom technology, AVer can provide the latest and best in classroom solutions to enrich learning.”

50% of schools would like more support with remote learning

  • Jigsaw24’s lockdown learning survey finds 50% of schools would like more support when delivering remote learning.
  • 70% reported struggling during the UK’s first lockdown – in some cases, up to 80% of students did not engage.
  • However, 75% of schools say issues are on the mend thanks to resilient staff and investment in mobile devices.

 

At Jigsaw24, we’ve been providing IT solutions to schools, colleges and universities for nearly 30 years. And if there’s one thing we’ve learned in that time, it’s that things go better when schools work together. However, recent circumstances have made that difficult: communication has become harder, pupils and their families are facing huge challenges when it comes to accessing essential resources, and teachers have struggled to maintain access to their usual resources and support systems.

 

But schools across the UK have risen to the challenge, each finding their own way to handle remote learning and the pressures of lockdown. We spoke to teachers, IT teams, admin staff and school leadership teams from 12 schools across the UK to find out which devices, apps and strategies have served them best, and are sharing the results in our latest whitepaper. We hope schools will be able to see how organisations like theirs have adapted, and earmark solutions that they want to try going forward. You can download the full whitepaper here, or read on for a few of our key findings…

 

Platform-agnostic apps are the way to go

Because the initial lockdown happened so quickly, many schools struggled to provide devices for each child to take home. To offset some of this uncertainty, 33% of schools chose to connect with pupils primarily over email and 25% relied mostly on phone calls. However, multi-platform apps were also popular. Google Classroom, which can be installed on a device or accessed via a browser, was used by 33% of schools.

 

We typically recommend using an app like Showbie, which is device-agnostic and allows for the sharing and feedback of work in a single, unified environment. Some anecdotal feedback we’ve received from parents shows they’re not familiar with apps like these, which are primarily designed to facilitate student-teacher interaction. In those cases, checking in with parents via methods like emails, phone calls or text to ensure they’re aware of what their children should be working on has proven to be hugely helpful.

 

Parental engagement is schools’ number one concern

As any educator will tell you, lockdown learning has not been without its issues. 70% of schools reported having issues at the start of their remote learning programme, the most common one being a lack of pupil engagement – in one case, up to 80% of students were failing to engage.

 

Other issues included pupils having to share devices with parents who were working from home (and therefore not being available for synchronised activities like class Zoom calls or live streamed lessons) and an inability to reach parents.

 

But staff have risen to the challenge

Teachers are nothing if not resourceful, and 75% of respondents said their initial issues – including that worrying dip in engagement – are now fixed. This is largely down to the amazing from staff across the school. 60% of respondents said teachers adapted quite well or very well to remote working.

 

If you’re one of the 40% of schools that are still struggling with the transition, we can provide training that will help boost your team’s confidence. As well as providing basic and subject-specific skills training on new apps and devices that your school has rolled out, we can deliver training on how best to structure remote lessons and keep pupils’ attention on task while they’re learning from home.

 

Mobile device management plays in a key part in safeguarding

Managing devices while they’re off the school network is a key safeguarding issue for schools. Asked how they managed their devices, 60% of respondents said they’d invested in dedicated device management software, which allows them to control permissions, block apps and send alerts to the school when students may have used their device inappropriately. 30% said they have outsourced device management to an external provider, while just 10% said they manage each device manually.

 

The great thing about software-defined MDM is that it can be done “over the air”: devices are managed over the internet, so IT teams have the same level of control (and can offer the same degree of protection) wherever a student or teacher may be. Applications like Jamf Pro and Apple Classroom make it easy for admin staff to group students into classes or year groups and apply granular, age- and subject- specific restrictions in a reliable (yet invisible) way.

 

Only 30% of schools received support from DfE – and 50% would like more support

It’s clear from our survey that schools have worked hard to make the most of limited resources and offset the very real hardships their students are facing. But 50% of respondents wanted more support in order to improve remote learning going forward.

 

That’s what we’re here for.

 

Our regionally based team includes former teachers and IT engineers who can help you make sure your remote and in-person teaching is perfectly synced. From supplying hardware (including pairing schools with compliant financing partners) to device management and ongoing support, we’re here to help schools tackle any technical issue they may face. You can get started by downloading the whitepaper here.

 

For more insights from lockdown learning survey, and to find out more about how Jigsaw24 can help schools manage remote learning, visit Jigsaw24.com/education. Alternatively, get in touch with the team on 03332 409 290 or email education@Jigsaw24.com

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.

 

STEVE CLARKE AND DAVID MARSHALL GIVE TOP MARKS TO SCHOOLS PROJECT THAT TAKES SCOTLAND’S UEFA EURO 2020 SUCCESS INTO CLASSROOMS ACROSS THE COUNTRY

  • 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.”

 

 

ABOUT LEARNING THROUGH FOOTBALL

 

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 https://euro2020.scottishfa.co.uk/learning-through-football. Teachers and schools are also encouraged to share their work on social media using #LearningThroughFootball, #EURO2020 and tagging @GlasgowEURO2020.

 

Primary pupils to learn how to be compassionate as first UK course launches

A new free course that teaches primary pupils how to be compassionate and resolve playground disputes themselves has launched in the UK – the first of its kind.

 

The Compassion Project, which is for Key Stage 2 pupils, teaches children to notice how others may be feeling and to think about different points of view to their own.

 

Pupils are introduced to a group of cartoon characters who are preparing for a talent show and playing games in the playground. Through interactive scenarios,  animated videos and offline activities, pupils are shown what compassion is and how to practise it to overcome disagreements and get along better with their classmates.

 

As part of the course, pupils are taught how to identify which emotions each character might be feeling and to learn that it is ok to have different feelings about things. Pupils are taught that empathy is when you can imagine how others are feeling and that compassion is doing or saying something helpful, kind or caring.  

 

The course is the only one of its kind for primary pupils in the UK and has been adapted from a US version, which was the idea of LinkedIn Executive Chairman Jeff Weiner. The original version has already reached about 20% of all primary schools in the US.

 

The course, which is linked to the Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education programme of study, has been developed and tested by UK teachers. The PSHE Association has accredited the short blended learning course.

 

It has been launched in the UK by education company EVERFI and is underpinned by research from Loyola University in Chicago that shows teaching pupils compassion helps their social emotional skills as well as their capacity to learn.

 

Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn’s Executive Chairman, said: “Given the state of the world today and how much polarisation is taking place at a time when we actually need to be coming together to solve some of the world’s most challenging problems, I’m not sure I can think of anything more important than teaching compassion.”

 

Nick Fuller, EVERFI’s President (International), said: “We know from research that compassion enhances our overall well-being and our capacity to learn.

 

It is a quality that is very much in need in these troubling times and should be taught from an early age.

 

“Our hope, in launching the first UK course on compassion for primary pupils, is to help create a more equal society by providing young people with life skills that prepare them for a happier, safer and more resilient future.”

 

The course is completely free for all UK schools, with no plans to charge for any part of it in the future. It can be used in class or at home and teachers receive impact reports to show how much their pupils have learnt and understood.

 

The course has both online and offline resources, comprehensive lesson plans and pupil worksheets, all linked to the Key Stage 2 National Curriculum.

 

Schools can register to access the course – and others like it – here [everfiteachers.co.uk]

 

Teachers, parents and students must work together as Greenwich schools move back online

 

From Monday evening, all schools in Greenwich will be moving their classes online to reduce coronavirus transmissions between children in education in an effort to control the London borough’s infection rate, which is currently at its highest since March.

 

The move back to online learning follows council leader, Danny Thorpe, underlining that Greenwich is showing signs of a period of exponential growth which need immediate addressing, despite the government threatening legal action to keep schools open until the start of the Christmas holidays on Friday.

 

Following the news, Hilary Stephenson, managing director at Sigma, a user experience (UX) design agency, has offered some insight into how to make the transition online as successful as possible and why schools should be working to optimise their use of technology in teaching.

 

Hilary said: “Schools must update their approach to remote teaching based on previous lockdowns, as it moves back to online learning, while children are kept at home as Greenwich seeks to get the virus back under control.

 

“The transition between face-to-face and virtual education needs to be as seamless as possible to minimise the disruption of a child’s education. For the best outcomes, teaching staff, parents and children are going to have to work together to iron out any creases which were apparent earlier in the year, and any new issues that may arise as learning becomes remote again. Schools and local authorities shouldn’t lose sight of the need to make remote learning inclusive, with the same opportunities given to all pupils regardless of their home situation, accessibility or learning needs.

 

“Looking ahead, a blended approach to learning is the future of education as digital becomes more and more integrated in teaching. While the coming weeks will be challenging for all involved, schools in London should view the short-term closure of classrooms as a chance to assess which blending learning approaches work best for their teachers and pupils. Schools who do well to use this time to optimise their use of technology and will place themselves in an ideal position as we move to more remote, digitally-enabled ways of learning.”

 

How parents can help children improve mental health during pandemic with fun PE lessons at home

School closures, Covid-19 self-isolation and lockdown restrictions have made primary school children appreciate PE lessons and sport more than ever before.

A survey by the Youth Sport Trust found that more than a quarter of youngsters said sport and exercise made them feel better during the pandemic.

With most grassroots sports cancelled and ‘bubbles’ being sent home from school; parents are now being urged to help their children stay active during tiered lockdowns.

PE Planning, a team of experienced PE specialists, have created a free resource of ideas and tips on how primary school children can exercise safely at home, boosting their well-being and mental health.

Yorkshire-based PE Planning has published a series of free resource sheets online for both parents and teachers to keep primary aged children active.

Research by the Youth Sport Trust found that 27% of children said sport and exercise improved their mood. This was particularly true for junior school-age pupils aged eight to 11.

More than a third (37%) said sport and PE was more important in their lives now than before lockdown.

Will Smith, founder of PE Planning, said: “Since the start of the pandemic we have seen just how important PE, sport and exercise is to our children and young people.

“Not being able to burn off that excess energy and let off some steam affects how they feel and their mental health.

“With grassroots sport cancelled and school life being very different now it’s important that children still maintain regular exercise.

“Home-schooling has meant parents have been more closely involved with the education of their children than ever before and physical exercise (or physical literacy) is just as important as academic learning.”

PE Planning are specialists in delivering PE planning for primary school age children which supports National Curriculum requirements.

But the company also publishes free exercise advice for parents. There are lots of ideas for family-friendly exercise and games, all with the accent on fun.

There are indoor games, ball skills, dancing and gymnastics – and even exercises that can be done at the kitchen table. There are also family fitness plans so mum and dad can join in too.

The ideas are all simple and inexpensive so everyone can take part even without sports or other equipment at home.

“Our sessions are active, engaging and fun,” said Will. “We want everybody to have access to high quality exercise plans and much of what we offer can be done without any equipment at all.

“We aim to inspire and motivate our children to get active and that’s more important today than ever before. Parents can really make a difference to their children’s physical and mental well-being with a few simple ideas.”

The free resources can be found at www.peplanning.org.uk 

Let’s Talk About Flex: Flipping the flexible working narrative for education by Emma Turner

Opening up the conversation around flexible working in education, this book explores what can work, what has worked, and what could work. Based on the experiences of a professional flex-pert this narrative encourages teachers and school leaders to revisit and rethink flexible working

‘This is a groundbreaking book and an exceptionally good read. Emma has a gift for a musical metaphor, stretched to provide remarkable insights into the possibilities and many of the barriers to flexible working. If any other sector was haemorrhaging highly trained and capable staff with such rapidity, then there would be serious questions asked. Emma poses these questions and provides a range of sensible solutions. We need to stop paying lip service to teacher retention, start taking it seriously and  this book points to the way to take solid steps to get there.’

Mary Myatt, education adviser, speaker and author

Let’s Talk About Flex by Emma Turner is an engaging and witty book that invites school leaders and teachers to re-examine flexible working. After being able to work flexibly for 14 of her 23 years in education across teaching, school leadership and MAT leadership roles, Emma Turner realised that sadly, she was actually in the minority and has just been very fortunate. Recently there has been a groundswell of support across the education system for developing more life friendly, innovative and flexible ways of working, however there are still a great deal of misconceptions, biases and prejudices about flexible working and flexible workers.

 

Through her ‘playlist’ of favourites and engaging, humorous musical analogies, Emma explores the countdown of successful ways that flexible working can be viewed by both employers and employees for staff at all levels, including senior and school leadership. This book examines the options and opportunities and asks the questions that need to be answered in order to open up the flexible working conversation.

 

After introducing the reader to her ‘disco in the kitchen’, and the thoughts behind her selection of educational floor fillers, the conversation turns to thinking about:

  • What flexible working means
  • Challenging historical working practices, allowing a more flexible approach that encourages continuous professional development that helps attract and retain teachers
  • Looking into the types of flexible working defined by the Department of Education: part-time working, job-sharing, compressed hours, staggered hours, working from home and what these options have to offer when combined with some innovative thinking about staffing
  • Providing opportunity for staff to request flexible working and its position within the school staffing structure
  • How flexibility fits with performance management, mentoring, coaching, facilitating and staff training and ensuring equitable opportunities to both full time and flexible workers
  • The ‘famous five’ common myths about why flexible working would be impossible to implement: opposition from parents, schools need one leader, complications with contracts and calculating wages, the school timetable, there are already too many part-time staff, each of these are thoughtfully debunked
  • The logistics: building shared expectations and designing systems for communication, events and meetings to ensure continuity for students and staff
  • Co-leadership structures and how they are built
  • Accountability and mechanisms for job-shares and support for lone workers.

 

Each chapter is full of examples of Emma’s first hand experiences as a teacher and a leader, illustrating the issues being discussed and ending with guiding questions for both employers and flexible workers to help continue the discussion.

 

Commenting on her new book, Emma Turner said, ‘Whether you’re an individual wanting to know more about flexibility, an organisation wanting to shake up the way you flex in your own workplaces or you’re someone determined to take on rigid or outdated systems in your own organisations, then I want to let you know you are not on your own. There is so much happening on the flexi dance floor right now so pull on your dancing shoes, turn up the volume and whack on an edu floor-filler.’

 

To learn more or order a copy of Let’s Talk About Flex (priced at just £12), please click here.

 

Oxford International Digital Institute launched to meet growing demand for online courses following Covid-19

Oxford International Education Group has launched a new online academic hub bringing together an entire portfolio of digital courses to help international students learn in an education environment turned upside down by Covid-19.

 

Oxford International Digital Institute (OI Digital Institute) will provide students with high-quality online learning across the education provider’s three divisions – schools and colleges, university partnerships and English Language.

 

Demand for online courses from these divisions, growing steadily for years, accelerated during the recent worldwide closures of universities and schools and the accompanying disruption to study and exams. OI Digital Institute is responding to the growing need for online-only courses in traditional academic subjects for pre-university and university students, reflecting the increased long-term appetite for online learning post- Covid-19.

 

From March 2020, University of Dundee, Coventry University, University of Greenwich, University of Bangor, De Montfort University International College, University of Hertfordshire, University of Roehampton, University of Strathclyde, and others have worked with Oxford International developing online programmes and now use OI Digital Institute as their trusted digital pathway to higher education and admissions test partner.

 

Oxford International is one of just 25 institutions that has been recognised by the British Council for online course delivery.

 

Lil Bremermann-Richard, Group Chief Executive Officer at Oxford International Education Group, said:

 

“Online learning has come of age in the pandemic and it will play an increasingly important role in higher education in the future.

 

“We have launched Oxford International Digital Institute to help international students navigate the new educational landscape and provide them with the best quality online courses.

 

“The OI Digital Institute team has worked with over 15 higher education partners in 2020 alone to help mobilise online learning and keep over 4,000 students on track of their education journey. Further to this we have worked alongside partners to offer innovative blended solutions, engaging students in dynamic learning programmes featuring the best of face-to-face teaching in-country, and online support from the UK.”

 

OI Digital Institute courses at launch are:

  • Fully online English Language Test for admission to Higher Education.
    • Technology brings the student and examiner together rather than trying to automate exams, allowing students after a three-session preparation course to take the exam and get the results within 48 hours.
  • Higher Education Online Pathways, which include
    • PhD Preparation Programme;
    • University Pre-Master Programme.
    • Online Pre-sessional English (PSE);
    • Language Skills Booster Course;
    • In-Sessional English;
  • Online English Language Programmes
    • The Junior language syllabus accredited by the British Council previously available to students staying in residential camps now available online with a mix of live lessons and self-guided learning.
    • General English and a stream of subject specific electives such as Creative Writing, Journalism, Customer Service and 21st Century Business
  • Digital University Partnerships including
    • Blended Pre-sessional courses (Coventry University powered by Oxford International) combining UK language teaching with face-to-face teaching in China.
    • Digital language support programmes (test, online PSE, online Pre-Masters) for international campuses in countries like Vietnam.
  • Online A-Levels
    • Oxford independent school d’Overbroeck’s will first offer A-Level booster courses, followed by full A-Level courses to answer demands from international and domestic students for choice of study online or face to face.  

 

The Oxford International Digital Institute courses are available at www.oiddigitalinstitute.com

 

For further information and interviews, please contact the Public Relations team via:

Telephone: +44(0)20 8293 1188

Email: marketing@oxfordinternational.com

Website: wwww.oxfordinternational.com

How Schools Can Combat Waste

In 2018, the UK government published a waste management strategy for England. It set out various targets for waste reduction and sustainability. One of these targets was that 50 per cent of household waste should be recycled by 2020. The realisation of this target is yet to be demonstrated and published. However, the government remains optimistic.

 

However, while local authorities continue to combat household waste, another public sector is being neglected. Figures indicate that the education sector only recycles around 23 per cent of its waste.

 

Primary schools generate about 45kg of waste per pupil, while secondary schools produce 22kg per pupil. This totals 250,000 tonnes of waste every year.

 

While the figure is disappointing, it does not detract from the enthusiasm of students to utilise more sustainable practices in their schools. Many students have encouraged authorities to ensure that the environment is a priority. Recycling, composting, and litter picking are all aspects of waste management that children are helping to put into motion.

 

Here, we look at why waste is a problem for educational institutions, and how schools and local authorities can help combat this problem.

Wasteful spending

Education requires a lot of resources. It is unsurprising, therefore, that 70 per cent of all education waste is made up of food, paper, and card. However, while 80 per cent of this waste is recyclable, the reality is that only 20 per cent of it is actually recycled.

 

Food waste in the education sector is particularly expensive. The price of procurement, labour, utilities, and waste management means that food waste can cost £2,100 per tonne. Over the course of a year, local authorities will dish out £250 million to manage food waste.

 

Equally, Landfill Tax adds to an avoidable cost which schools could manage better. Estimates suggest that local authorities could save £6.4 million by utilising more sustainable methods of waste management.

 

The problem can be tackled by both local authorities and individually at education organisations.

 

Sustainable schools lead the way

The Eco-School campaign has registered 52,000 schools across 67 countries. These schools follow a seven-step framework to claim a coveted green flag. The steps include forming an eco-committee of students, making an action plan, and putting that plan into motion. Some schools can compost more or grow their own fruit and vegetables on school grounds.

 

Meanwhile, other schools are taking more proactive measures to reduce waste. Biomass digesters are used to transform food waste into biofuel. This can then be used for heating and energy. On school grounds, this device not only reduces waste. It can also cut emissions from transporting waste to disposal facilities.

 

Composting is also a common practice at many schools getting to grips with sustainability. Most unavoidable waste, such as eggshells and tea bags, can be composted. Meanwhile, cooked food is better suited to wormeries. Primarily, avoiding food waste is achieved by encouraging students to eat all of their lunch.

Local authorities tackling problems

The main focus for local authorities regarding waste management is to reduce overheads and operating costs. With increasing budget restraints, new solutions are needed to combat this problem.

 

Avoiding landfill is an obvious option for local authorities to save money. However, school waste going to landfill may be an unavoidable consequence. Public waste services are also struggling with stripped budgets. Instead, contracting waste management businesses may be the solution. They can implement waste strategy plans and organise waste effectively.

 

Single-stream waste recycling is becoming increasingly common across all sectors. And even local government offices are becoming more aware of their waste responsibilities. Most use waste procurement and waste removal companies. They can organise and dispose of their waste, with assurance that sustainability is ensured.

 

Education centres can also benefit from this approach if it’s implemented by local authorities. Commercial businesses must follow stringent guidelines when it comes to waste. They must ensure that everything is done to reuse, recycle, or recover waste—in this order. It’s therefore surprising that education isn’t currently achieving the same. With recycling targets for household waste at 50 per cent, it should be possible for the education sector to meet those targets too. Especially when education waste consists of predominantly recyclable materials.

 

One waste removal specialist company indicates that education is pivotal to ensuring waste is disposed of properly. Michael Taylor, General Manager at Skip Hire UK says: “Schools have a duty to lead by example and give the next generation the tools, ideas, and logic to make sound decisions with regards to environmental best practice.

 

“Education is key here — and while there is no perfect world, doing the right thing in the most cost-effective manner will always be a solid principle to adhere to. Companies like ours and others across the industry will always look to assist schools to promote and educate future generations.”

 

Leading by example is the best form of education. Depriving students of the opportunity to work in an environment where sustainability is a priority is damaging. Students have a considerable enthusiasm for climate change. They understand the consequences of unsustainable practices. Schools must continue to use their platform to inspire the next generation to use waste responsibly and ensure they remain leaders in the green revolution.

 

 

Sources

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/resources-and-waste-strategy-for-england

https://www.wrap.org.uk/content/new-study-shows-great-potential-recycling-school-waste

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rates-and-allowances-landfill-tax/landfill-tax-rates-from-1-april-2013

https://www.eco-schools.org.uk/about/howitworks/