Posts

Teachers fear pupils without internet at home are becoming socially excluded and falling far behind

 

Many of the half a million pupils across the UK who don’t have internet at home are becoming socially excluded from their classmates and are falling far behind in their school work, teachers have warned. 

An online YouGov survey of primary and secondary school teachers across the UK, commissioned by EdTech firm Kajeet, found that almost a third of teachers surveyed (31%) think that lack of internet access over the last year has led their pupils to be socially isolated as children lead more of their lives online. 

Some 64% of teachers surveyed told the pollsters that pupils without internet access at home have not progressed nearly as well in their learning , while 31% say that this has led to social exclusion. More than a quarter (28%) say that no internet access has been detrimental to pupils’ mental health and made them lack confidence (27%).  

At least 550,000 children across the UK have no internet access at home, while more than 910,000 can only get onto the internet through a parent’s phone, according to the latest figures from the communications regulator Ofcom*. 

It is now a legal requirement for schools to provide ‘remote education’ during the pandemic – April’s 2021 Ofsted updated inspection handbook states that a remote learning provision is now required by all schools. However, many schools now set homework that needs to be completed or researched online and pupils without wifi, a monthly broadband connection or a device are increasingly left behind. 

More than a quarter of teachers surveyed – 27% – are particularly concerned about the issue of pupils without internet access at home for the coming year, the survey found.  

Shabaz Sayed,  Assistant Headteacher at St Mary Magdalene Academy in London, said: 

“As a school it is so important for us to ensure all our students have access to the same resources and to the same level of support and making sure everyone of our students can access great education.  We would not be fulfilling our role as educators if students were left behind.” 

St Mary Magdalene, alongside a growing number of other schools in the UK, has used the Kajeet SmartSpot, a device which allows pupils to access the internet from their homes for as long as they need without an existing internet connection. 

The wireless device, created by EdTech firm Kajeet, comes with safety features that block harmful content and has been successfully trialled in primary and secondary schools across the UK. 

Ben Mansell, Kajeet’s UK spokesperson, said: “The internet is something that many pupils, just like the rest of us, take for granted. Pupils now expect to just go online to do their homework and connect with their friends. 

“But for hundreds of thousands of pupils across the UK, this is not the case. As this survey of teachers shows, pupils without internet access at home are not just being left behind in terms of their schoolwork, teachers fear they are now being socially excluded too as pupils increasingly live their lives online.  

“We need to urgently reduce the digital divide between those pupils who have internet access at home and those who do not so that all pupils are able to do their homework and access virtual lessons, regardless of their socio-economic background.” 

The survey also found a staggering 64% of teachers who have children without internet access at home are printing out homework for them.  

Aldi and Team GB launch their new Design a Lorry Competition

To celebrate the forthcoming Tokyo Olympics, Aldi and Team GB are challenging young people aged 5–14 to get creative and design an Aldi lorry that celebrates fresh, healthy food. By taking part in the competition, students have the chance to see their designs come to life – with the two winning designs each used on their own Aldi lorry, ready to deliver produce to Aldi stores around the country! The winning student will also receive a Team GB goody bag and £50 of Aldi vouchers to spend on fresh produce or kitchen equipment, and their school will win £1,000 of Aldi vouchers for kitchen equipment or ingredients.

The competition, which is part of Aldi and Team GB’s award-winning school initiative, Get Set to Eat Fresh, encourages students to explore different ways to celebrate healthy, fresh food, and learn the skill to create a great design for an Aldi lorry.

The competition is supported by new Get Set to Eat Fresh resources that offer curriculum links to Art, Design & Technology, PSHE and sustainability. The teacher resources available for Design a Lorry include a series of adaptable activities to use with different age groups, including  compliment circle discussion game, which gets kids to discuss and get excited about their favourite healthy foods, and healthy food quizzes, which test pupils on key issues such as portion size and daily water intake. These resources help get students excited about the Design a Lorry competition and explore how their design could be seen by (and should aim to inspire) a diverse range of people from all over the country – from school children and athletes to Aldi farmers and suppliers – as the lorry makes its way around some of Aldi’s over 950 stores that reach every corner of the UK.

The winning design will be selected by a judging panel, including Aldi’s Team GB Athlete Ambassadors such as triathlete champions the Brownlee Brothers, Olympic gymnast Max Whitlock and sport climbing star Shauna Coxsey. The judges will be on the lookout for an inventive, exciting and eye-catching design that celebrates good food and will inspire others. Aldi and Team GB are encouraging students to get creative to win prizes for themselves, their schools and see their design skills on their own Aldi lorry.

Shauna Coxsey MBE, Team GB Sport Climbing Athlete, said:“It’s great to be a part of the Design a Lorry competition and to see how much passion young people have for healthy eating! Getting your own design on the side of an Aldi lorry is such an exciting prize and I can’t wait to what creative designs young people come up with.”[1] 

Mary Dunn, Managing Director of Corporate Responsibility at Aldi, said:[2]  “At Aldi, we are really passionate about supporting a healthy eating agenda with young people, and helping to support teachers in building their essential life skills. The Design a Lorry competition is the latest in a series of initiatives we’re delivering in partnership with Team GB to encourage young people to think about healthy eating.

“We are looking forward to seeing the entries and hope that those taking part will learn about the benefits of choosing to follow a healthy diet along the way.”

Tim Ellerton, Commercial Director at Team GB, said: “Throughout our partnership with Aldi on the Get Set to Eat Fresh programme they have continuously created new and innovative ideas to engage and inspire young people around the topic of eating fresh and healthy food.

This is a fun opportunity for school pupils to see their creativity rewarded and for their school’s to benefit also. We look forward to seeing the end results.”

Students can submit their entries up until Friday 25 June. To download the Entry Template and Cover Sheet for Entries, please visit: getseteatfresh.co.uk/designalorry

 

For more information about the Design A Lorry challenge and supporting resources visit: getseteatfresh.co.uk

 

Rubbermaid Commercial Products launches campaign to promote hand hygiene in schools

Rubbermaid Commercial Products (RCP) has launched ‘Hands Up For Hand Hygiene’: a campaign aimed at encouraging school-aged children to become more aware of the importance of good hand hygiene, now and in the future.  

Effective hand hygiene is more important than ever, and the COVID-19 pandemic has caused increased focus on washing and sanitising provision across the world. RCP is leading a mission to accelerate this change in behaviour, helping to instill good hand hygiene practice in children and create habits that will last a lifetime.

A leading international manufacturer of hand hygiene, cleaning, waste and recycling solutions, RCP has developed the Hands Up For Hand Hygiene initiative to engage young minds about the importance of thorough hand washing and sanitising.  Designed as a computer game style mission, the campaign will call on children in classrooms across Europe to create an informative poster which outlines why hand hygiene is so crucial in the present day and the future.  With a challenge to ‘spread the word, not the germs’, children are empowered to raise awareness of the importance of good hand hygiene among their peers.

The four winning designers will have their schools fitted out with premium RCP soap dispensers in washrooms and hand sanitiser dispensers throughout their schools, complete with a six-month supply of RCP refills. The winning designers will also delight their class, as they will receive £100 Amazon vouchers for their teacher to spend on fun activities or treats for pupils. 

Paul Jakeway, Head of Marketing – EMEA, RCP – said: ‘’Now is the time to embed strong hand hygiene habits in the next generation.  We’re delighted to be able to support schools and teachers with our engaging and informative campaign.  Hands Up For Hand Hygiene is designed to speak to children in a universal language:  that of computer games!  As the message about hand hygiene is constantly drilled into children, we feel that by bringing some fun to a very important topic we will capture children’s attention and participation more fully.’’

Participating schools can download a free resource pack which contains an interactive slide presentation to explain more to the pupils about good hand hygiene, a ‘gaming’ style video to explain the ‘mission’ to pupils and some top hand hygiene tips for education providers from the experts at RCP.  

The competition is now open here.

Maths Summer Learning Challenge Launched

 

10 June 2021:  Whizz Education, provider of the award-winning virtual tutor Maths-Whizz, has launched an exciting summer learning challenge for all 5–13-year-olds.  This new initiative is open to all schools and parents, designed to encourage students to continue ‘doing’ maths whilst having fun over the six-week summer holiday period (mid-July to the end August).  The aim of the challenge is to ensure measurable learning gains are made, helping students get ‘back on track’ by September and have fun doing so both on screen and outdoors. 

 

Fiona Goddard, Senior Education Consultant explains: “It’s been a hugely stressful year, with teachers facing unprecedented pressure as many students struggle to keep up despite the heroic commitment of staff.  The Summer Learning Challenge is being launched as a response to the extraordinarily difficult circumstances faced over the past 12 months and will support our schools, teachers, and parents keeping children’s maths learning simmering whilst away from the classroom.

 

“Our research shows that when students switch off over the summer, they tend to lose around two-three months’ worth of maths knowledge, known as summer learning loss.  Yet with just one hour per week of focussed individualised Maths-Whizz instruction, they can expect to move their learning forward by around eight-nine weeks over a six-week summer period.  In all gaining a 4-month advantage with just one hour a week; helping to turn learning loss into learning gains.

 

“As a solutions provider accountable for learning outcomes through a holistic approach, we offer a range of services to help pupils achieve learning gains.  Therefore, as part of the Summer Challenge, schools will be supported with three learning initiatives:

 

  1.  Virtual Tutoring: one hour a week of Maths-Whizz for students and a minimum of three Progressions for six weeks during the summer securing learning gains.
  2. Make Maths Stick: a set of recreational outdoor maths activities for children and families. Two activities a week for six weeks.  Yes, it involves sticks. And yes, it’s really fun!
  3. Daily Challenges: brain-busting maths teasers for students, parents and teachers alike.  Five challenges per week for six weeks.  The fun maths teasers get children thinking outside the box. There are ‘easier’ or ‘harder’ options to get them reasoning and problem-solving at their level of understanding.

 

A prize will be awarded to the school that achieves the highest number of Progressions per student, which includes an amazing half-day maths enrichment session in the Autumn, delivered by our experts at Whizz Education, in-person or online.

 

A ‘Golden Ticket’ invitation to an online Maths Extravaganza, an hour of fun-filled maths activities with Dr Junaid Mubeen, Director of Education and Fiona Goddard, will also be awarded to individual students who achieve 60 mins and three or more Progressions over the six-week summer period in each of the six weeks.  Golden Ticket invitations will also be offered to students who receive a shout-out from our marketing team after sharing an interesting Making Maths Stick activity photo or a solution to the Daily Challenges.

Goddard continues: “We understand the summer is an essential time for teachers, parents and students to relax and recharge.  Therefore, this initiative is intended to secure learning and engagement with minimal effort and maximum fun!   With just 60 minutes per week the potential impact on learning gains is significant.”

All activities are fully supported with quality resources including: implementation plan for schools, personalised progress tracker chart with QR codes for easy access to the activities for the students, resource packs, instructional guide, and school and parent webinars all detailing how to participate.

 

Goddard confirms: “We believe that every child deserves a learning experience that caters to their individual needs and pace of learning.  Our expertise lies in designing and overseeing implementations that embrace the unique context of each environment. We work in close partnership with schools and parents, to provide engaging and interactive content pitched at the right learning level, so progression can be a positive experience.  We are now looking forward to collaborating with more schools, parents and students looking to take up the Maths Summer Learning Challenge!”  

To find out more about the Whizz Education. Sign up for the Summer Learning Challenge please see https://www.whizz.com/summer-challenge-signup/    

Olympic Gold medallist Sally Gunnell and school kids team up to launch Olympic-inspired campaign between the British Red Cross and Team GB

Olympic legend Sally Gunnell has today, Monday 7 June 2021, visited a school in Brighton to launch a new Olympic-inspired campaign between the British Red Cross and its official partner Team GB, encouraging schools to get involved with a brand new fundraising challenge, Be Your Best.  

 

At a time when the pandemic has left people feeling lonelier than ever, the British Red Cross and Team GB are working in partnership to inspire the nation to come together and look out for each other.  

 

Gunnell says: “I’ve supported the British Red Cross for years and I’m delighted that two organisations, close to my heart, have come together to support local communities”. 

 

“Loneliness does not discriminate and if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s how much we depend on one another. From experience, I know that whether it’s a Team GB athlete relying on their coach’s support, or someone turning to a Red Cross volunteer to get them through a tough time – connections and relationships are so important in life.” 

 

Launching on 28 June 2021, Be Your Best encourages children to set themselves a personal challenge to raise money for the British Red Cross. In the same way Team GB athletes are always striving to improve their performance, children can choose any activity – from running laps of the playground to long distance skipping to reading or baking marathons – setting themselves a personal goal to complete in the run-up to the start of the Tokyo 2020 Games.  

 

Gunnell continues, “Today I’ve been at Coldean Primary School in Brighton meeting some of the amazing children who are taking on the Be Your Best challenge for the British Red Cross. Not only does Be Your Best give the children a chance to feel like they’re a part of the Olympics but to feel connected again, boost their confidence and wellbeing after an extremely difficult time since the start of the pandemic” 

 

“The children’s energy and enthusiasm has blown me away – I can’t wait to see how other pupils across the country challenge themselves and get involved.”   

 

Gunnell spent the day with the children, putting them through their paces on the sports field and helping them to decide on their Be Your Best pledges.  

 

Awab, 8, a year three pupil from Coldean Primary School who took part in the activity and is taking on the Best Your Best challenge said: “I want to improve my running by doing further distances and gaining more swiftness. I’m the fastest in the class and maybe the fastest in key stage two. I just want to be really fast.”  

 

Scarlett, 9, a classmate added: “I want to get better at my drawing, drawing life like things. I usually do drawing after school – on YouTube there’s these how to draw videos that help me – I most want to improve my drawing of animals.” 

 

Andy Wilson, 39, their teacher said: “It was a pleasure to have Sally visit the school today – she was a huge inspiration to the children and we hope they will all strive to be their best as they get going on their chosen challenges.”  

 

Team GB and the British Red Cross first partnered in 2020 with the shared vision of the power of everyday people working together to achieve extraordinary things from athletes striving to achieve their incredible goals as part of a team, to British Red Cross’ volunteers in the UK and around the world performing incredible acts of kindness to support those most vulnerable. 

 

Mike Adamson, British Red Cross Chief Executive said:  

 

“We’re absolutely thrilled to be working with Team GB ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, launching this new Olympic-inspired campaign, to get kids active and bring communities together.  

From baking to swimming, school children across the country have already committed to some wonderful ideas to challenge themselves, and we’re looking forward to more schools getting involved as we get ready to cheer on the athletes at the Olympics this Summer. 

The British Red Cross is powered by a team of thousands of volunteers performing acts of kindness in their communities, making a huge difference to people in crisis, in the same way Team GB know the power of their team of athletes, working together to achieve incredible things” 

 

Scott Field, Director of Communications at Team GB, said:  

 

“Team GB is incredibly proud to partner with the British Red Cross. This past year has demonstrated that, as a nation, we are so much stronger when we come together to support each other. The Be Your Best imitative from the British Red Cross is an excellent way to engage communities with the Tokyo Olympic Games.”  

 

Through the power of kindness for over 150 years, The British Red Cross has been there to support people through the most difficult times, and the money raised from the partnership will help the charity continue its vital work.  

 

Pupils from 250 schools across the country have already signed up to take part in Be Your Best – to sign up for a fundraising pack visit: www.redcross.org.uk/beyourbest .’ 

 

Investing in a Distance Learning Solution: The Future of Educational Technology

By Nadav Avni, Chief Marketing Officer at Radix Technologies

With vaccination programmes in place and Coronavirus infections rates dropping, economies are reopening, people are going back to work, and students are back to school. Educational technology adopted during the height of the pandemic, helped schools make the transition from in-person schooling to remote learning, but what happens to these investments once the pandemic ends? And how can classroom technology remain flexible no matter the educational setting?

An Educational Technology Overhaul Is Due

Given its importance, many educators believe that remote learning will enjoy the biggest growth in the next three years. Many school systems will focus on addressing the divide between students with access to those without while being inundated with requests and recommendations for equal access to the internet when students are at home.

Educational technology is a means to achieving the goal of providing equal access to education. Given the possibility that COVID-19 will linger a while longer, it makes sense to adopt systems that do not have a singular method. Post-coronavirus, schools should feature learning systems that can accommodate in-person training, remote learning, or a hybrid of both.

After the Pandemic, Hybrid Learning Will Follow Remote Learning

Because of the stay-at-home orders called for by the pandemic, schools undertook large-scale efforts to utilise education technology in support of remote learning. It enabled teachers and students to remain connected regardless of distance.

Now, schools are open and welcoming back students, pandemic or not, remote learning isn’t going away soon. Therefore, having a choice of educational technology modalities is important. Ideally, these systems work pre and post-coronavirus.

Post-COVID, hybrid learning offers the best way to combine in-person classes with online learning. A special set of tools for teachers is required. This includes an intuitive classroom management solution that allows access to learning materials for both in-person and online students. This helps teachers stay in control of their hybrid classes. At the same time, students, whether in-person or online, receive the same degree of attention and access. As such, they won’t feel that the method of learning seems to favour the other group.

Managing the Post-Pandemic Classroom

Unless the pandemic disappears tomorrow, learning methods will be subject to change depending on the COVID-19 situation. In times like these, it’s best to have both the school system and the educational technology capable of switching between in-person, remote, or hybrid learning modes in an instant.

The new normal brings new expectations as coronavirus transformed the teaching profession. With the right equipment, teachers can continue with the “over the shoulder” teaching experience even in online and hybrid situations. Sharing learning materials shouldn’t also pose a problem with modern classroom management solutions, as it incorporates popular mobile technology such as screen sharing, file sharing, and whiteboard collaboration. Integrating the communication functions instead of depending on a separate application can also provide additional convenience. Instead of requiring teachers and students to switch between applications, a single all-in-one solution can cover the functions of classroom management, learning management, and video conferencing. Finally, both students and teachers shouldn’t worry about potential breaches of private data. The optimal system should provide robust security measures that secure school and student information and keep them private and confidential.

Heightened Expectations for Education Technology

Hybrid learning offers an advantage of the flexibility needed sorely in a post-COVID scenario. It allows schools and students to continually adjust to any situation without the need to automatically suspend classes. Individual students also benefit from the flexibility of hybrid learning as they can still join classes from home when circumstances prevent them from leaving the house.

At the same time, teachers are expected to leverage modern educational technology to successfully manage different kinds of classes. Securing modern and effective classroom management solutions to help them do so should be a priority programme for educational institutions.

After all, investing in education technology isn’t a cut-and-dried operation. Instead, it should be seen as a continuous process for improvement that benefits the school and improves the students’ learning experience. Treating it as a one-time expense can potentially cause schools to fall behind over time as they deal with outdated software, hardware, and processes. Instead of choosing a singular system, it makes more sense to invest in an option that provides the flexibility and functionality needed for effective classroom management.

Academies Put Teacher Wellbeing First Trust Invests in Digital Partnership to Support Staff

A Multi Academy Trust is leading the way in supporting teachers during the pandemic by investing in a new digital partnership which puts wellbeing first. 

 

St Ralph Sherwin Catholic Multi Academy Trust – a family of 25 schools in Derbyshire and the surrounding counties – is using Pathway, a new online programme which delivers professional and personal development to primary and secondary schools. Launched by the award-winning ed-tech company Discovery Education and teaching union NAHT, Pathway is used by thousands of teachers across the UK. 

 

Designed to support ‘the whole teacher’, Pathway is a holistic programme with a strong focus on wellbeing. By bringing professional and personal development together online, it offers a unique approach to CPD, helping teachers at St Ralph Sherwin CMAT to flourish at this challenging time.

 

Written and presented by some of the UK’s leading education experts, the Pathway programme provides a wide range of easy-to-access courses, webinars, resources and tools to help teachers develop professionally and personally. Delivered fully online and available on demand, Pathway will enable teachers from the St Ralph Sherwin CMAT to access training, advice and support as they deal with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

Jeremy Spencer, Senior Director of Performance and Standards at St Ralph Sherwin Catholic Multi Academy Trust, said: 

 

“Investing in, and looking after, our staff team is one of our absolute priorities at the St Ralph Sherwin CMAT. We looked hard to find a programme that would balance the personal development of our staff with a strong focus on their professional development. The Leadership Pathways Programme, from Discovery Education, provides staff with exactly what we were looking for. We look forward to enabling more teachers to benefit from this innovative and high-quality resource.”

 

Pathway includes a special wellbeing programme, written and presented by Professor Tim O’Brien and Dr Dennis Guiney, designed to help teachers stay healthy and motivated. A new advice hub, powered by NAHT experts, will also help schools to keep abreast of the latest education policies and guidelines. 

 

Andrew Hammond, Senior Director of Learning and Community at Discovery Education said:

 

“We believe that teachers’ wellbeing, motivation and creative ambitions deserve as much consideration as their professional skills. We’re delighted to partner with St. Ralph Sherwin Catholic Multi Academy Trust to bring the Pathway programme to schools across Derbyshire and the surrounding counties, helping teachers to stay motivated and feel supported at this exceptionally challenging time.”

 

Pathway’s contributors are some of the UK’s leading education experts and include Hywel Roberts, Dr Debra Kidd, Professor Tim O’Brien, Pranav Patel, Julie Keyes and Professor Max Coates.

 

Teachers, leaders and schools can find out more by visiting: www.discoveryeducation.co.uk/naht  

 

Teach Active to launch the UK’s largest active learning day

As part of the Youth Sport Trust’s National School Sport Week (19-25th June 2021), Teach Active is set to host the largest active learning day for schools on Wednesday 23rd June.

 

On this day, English and maths lessons in primary schools around the country will be transformed into active lessons where children move around the classroom and have fun while they learn. Activities include setting up multiplication stations, and pupils must run to each station to pick up a multiplication problem card to solve, aiming to complete the whole course in less than 30 minutes. In another lesson, children play at being punctuation police. They march around, noting down punctuation errors written out on cards around the class or playground.

 

Jon Smedley, a former teacher and founder of Teach Active, said: “After a year of so much inactivity, we want to use the day to show that being active is not just about PE and sports but reducing the amount of time we spend sitting down overall.

 

“Any primary school can join in and see the benefits of active learning. It helps children engage with lessons, learn more effectively and improves their overall mental health by having fun with their classmates.”

 

Ali Oliver MBE, chief executive officer at the Youth Sport Trust, said: “We’re delighted Teach Active are supporting this year’s National School Sport Week.

 

“Young people have missed out on so much and had their worlds turned upside down by the pandemic. It is brilliant that Teach Active are helping more young people benefit from the important role physical activity has to play in their recovery.”

 

To help teachers prepare, Teach Active will provide 50 free active English and maths lesson plans for pupils from foundation stage through to year 6.

 

All schools who download the lesson plans and pledge to take part on social media with the hashtag #ActiveLearningDay2021 will have the chance to win £100 Decathlon vouchers to spend on school sports equipment. The top prize of a school visit from one of the Youth Sport Trust’s athlete ambassadors will be on offer for the school that posts the best video of their active learning day on Twitter with the hashtag #ActiveLearningDay2021.

 

The largest active learning day lesson plans are free to download to all schools here: https://www.teachactive.org/active-learning-day/.

 

Schools can register to take part in the Youth Sport Trust’s National School Sport Week by visiting www.youthsporttrust.org/join-us/national-school-sport-week

 

#ActiveLearningDay2021 @TeachActive #NSSW2021 @YouthSportTrust 

 

 

Acer UK adds even more value to the Acer STEM Rewards Programme.

 

Acer UK is launching a new promotion to deliver the best value and service to schools, colleges and universities, offering a free extended warranty on two of the most popular products available for the education sector.

 

From 1st June 2021 up until 30th September when schools or universities purchase the Chromebook 311 (C733U and C733T) or TravelMate B3 (B311-31) they will receive a free 3-year warranty. https://uk-offers.acer.com/education-laptops-promo/

 

Acer Chromebook 311 

The ultraportable Acer Chromebook 311 is designed for classes, projects, and everyday activities. Combining a pleasant typing experience and long battery life, this Chromebook is not only easy to use, but also stands up to the daily wear and tear of an active lifestyle.

 

Weighing in at only 1kg, this Chromebook combines extreme portability with the ARM Octa-Core processor, giving enough processing power to get through a day’s work, even whilst on the go. The Acer Chromebook 311’s concave keycaps and substantial travel distance are designed to make typing faster, more accurate and comfortable for the user. The HD Touchpad is also moisture resistant and with an all-day battery life of up to 15 hours, users can stay active and engaged.

 

Acer TravelMate B3 

Stimulate student learning with the TravelMate B3’s high performing, ultra-durable design. Featuring a long battery life, mechanically anchored keys, and blazing fast connection speeds, empower students to get even more out of their classes.

 

 

The new promotion is offered as part of the extensive STEM rewards programme which offers primary, secondary schools and colleges an opportunity to enhance STEM learning outcomes. When schools participate in programme they benefit from the opportunity to refresh devices, free teaching and learning resources and exclusive offers and promotions.

For more details on the Acer STEM Rewards Programme, contact your local IT reseller or click here – http://www.acer.com/gb-stem-rewards/enduser/

 

ONE IN TEN HEADTEACHERS SET TO RETIRE NEXT YEAR

Research by Wesleyan – a specialist financial services mutual for teachers – has found that more than one in five (21%) headteachers at schools in England have accelerated their retirement plans over the past 12 months, with nearly one in 10 (8%) now planning to retire before the end of next year.

Schools in England are facing a ‘retirement rush’ as their most senior and experienced teachers bring forward their retirement plans amid the pressures of the pandemic – despite many lacking confidence that they are financially ready for retirement.  

The research found that almost a fifth (19%) of teachers with more than 20 years’ experience are now planning to leave the classroom early, with those who have changed their plans pointing to a lack of work-life balance (83%), workload (72%) and stress (70%) as their biggest drivers for an earlier retirement. 

Despite this new ‘retirement rush’, just six per cent of teachers with more than 20 years’ experience and nine per cent of headteachers said they were highly confident that they were financially prepared for retirement – that they had enough in savings, investments or their pension, and that they had a plan in place.

Worryingly, more than a quarter (28%) of the most experienced teaching staff and a fifth (21%) of headteachers admitted they were not confident at all about their financial preparations.

Simon Rake, head of the teachers division at Wesleyan, said: 

“Considering the stresses teachers have faced this past year it’s not surprising that many are now reconsidering their retirement plans. But what is worrying is that so many  are doing so despite not feeling ready financially to leave work.

“Some teachers will find themselves between a rock and a hard place – deciding whether to risk retiring earlier without understanding how and when they can access the money they need, or continuing to work in conditions that may be taking a toll on their wellbeing and mental health.” 

Wesleyan’s research also found that a majority of senior and long-serving staff members were unaware of what ongoing changes to their pension schemes – particularly measures to remedy discrimination in public sector schemes often referred to as the ‘McCloud’ case – would mean for them.

Three fifths (60%) of teachers with more than 20 years’ experience and more than half (51%) of headteachers said they had never heard of the changes – despite it having a potentially significant impact on their pension pots.

 

Simon continued: “Planning for retirement has become increasingly complex for teachers, which could be feeding into their lack of confidence when it comes to financial plans.  

“Over the past six years, those in the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) have seen a move to a career average revalued earnings scheme, the new choices offered by pension freedoms and, more recently, the ongoing changes brought about by the McCloud case.

“Understanding what each one of these changes will mean for their own pensions is key to being able to retire with confidence.

“Even if they’re not considering early retirement, it is essential that teachers take the time to assess their own finances, understand what options they have available and put a plan in place so that they are in the strongest possible position when the day eventually comes.”