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Virgin Media Business secures major deal with Falkirk Council to help schools deliver digital education

• Falkirk Council has appointed Virgin Media Business to support schools with next-generation digital connectivity
• The multi-year deal will provide additional bandwidth and Wi-Fi improvements for 58 local schools, making it easier and safer for students and their educators to benefit from digital learning
• Virgin Media Business redesigning schools’ wireless networks to improve coverage and security, ensuring students can learn digital skills to support them finding jobs in the future
Virgin Media Business has signed a major public sector contract with Falkirk Council that will see it improve connectivity in schools and support digital learning.

The operator will deliver new wireless networks in all the council’s 58 primary, secondary and additional support schools, providing more bandwidth to help them cope with the additional data traffic that will be generated by 18,000 new iPads given to students through the council’s Connected Falkirk project.

Virgin Media Business will provide safe and secure solutions for the schools, ensuring educators can help protect students from unsuitable content as well as provide a cloud management platform that gives the council greater flexibility in managing their connectivity. The dedicated Wi-Fi and connectivity provided through the contract also ensures equity of access in all Falkirk Council schools.

Martin McFadyen, Head of Public Sector at Virgin Media Business, said:

“We are proud that our cutting-edge technology will help Falkirk Council safeguard against network issues today, while also creating a digital learning environment fit for the future.

“With our support, thousands of children across the Falkirk area will be able to safely and securely access reliable connections that support their learning and help them build the digital skills they need to thrive in future.”

Over the next five years, Connected Falkirk will transform learning and teaching across all schools in the Falkirk area, helping to prepare children and young people to live, learn and work in a truly digital age.”

Part of the ambitious Council of the Future Change programme, Connected Falkirk is one of 23 projects that aim to modernise and improve services and help deliver the council’s three corporate priorities – Communities, Enterprise, and Innovation.

Robert Naylor, Director of Children’s Services at Falkirk Council, said:

“The investment in Connected Falkirk gives increased access to devices, coupled with a suite of powerful digital tools, increased connectivity, and a dedicated professional learning programme that will bring learning benefits to all.

“We believe our partnership with Virgin Media Business will enhance and support the delivery of learning excellence to all our children and young people.”

Carrot Productions announce a brand new arts package for schools this Christmas

Carrot Productions, the world’s leading performers of The Snowman with live orchestra, has created the perfect alternative to the traditional school outing, introducing some much-needed joy and happiness into pupils’ lives this Christmas, ALL DELIVERABLE REMOTELY IN CASE OF LOCKDOWN.

All music in the show other than The Snowman has been written by Daniel Whibley, whose orchestration of Four Notes – Paul’s Tune has gone viral, reaching number 1 in the singles charts.

Schooltime Showtime offers schools the opportunity to actively champion high quality art and cultural education in a meaningful and safe way, as well as having lots of fun. Each Gold package also provides essential and valuable work for our wonderful professional freelance musicians.

It’s much more than just a show
Schooltime Showtime also provides teachers with a comprehensive package of resources to create a hassle-free and memorable experience for all ages, including:

• Ready-to-go lesson ideas, differentiated for EYFS to Key Stage 2.

• Show and Tell live online session with a musician, conductor, composer or author.

• Fun videos of instrument-making from junk by the musicians and their families, Makaton Christmas Carols filmed at a special school, and dance instruction from a professional dancer.

• 7 day streaming of The Snowman Tour show, affording a close-up view of some of the UK’s finest musicians, handpicked from orchestras including the BBC Scottish, Hallé and BBC Philharmonic.

• The final performance features a Christmas medley, a fun introduction to the orchestra and even a visit from The Snowman himself. Additionally, there is an exclusive adaptation of the award-winning book The Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield, commissioned by Carrot Productions in 2017. This beautifully-illustrated tale of music, friendship and adventure features music by Daniel Whibley played live by the orchestra, and a narration recorded by Joanna Lumley.

Incredible value
The packages represent excellent value – starting at £295 for the whole school – and offer 100% risk free booking. They have been designed to be deliverable in a flexible way, are accessible entirely from within a school setting, can be shared with multiple bubbles at once, and the materials and final show can be shared online with pupils at home in the instance of a lockdown or isolation.

SafeToNet and the Anti Bullying Alliance stand united against bullying

SafeToNet are proud to announce their support for Anti-Bullying Week 2020, which will take place from Monday 16 – Friday 20 November. This year’s themeis United Against Bullying, which urges the nation to come together and play their part inpreventing and responding appropriately to bullying both face to face and online.  

New statistics from the Anti-Bullying Alliance show that a third of children in the UK have been bullied in the last six months, with one in five children on the receiving end of bullying behaviour once per week or more. Heartbreakingly, the number of children reporting they have more than one close friend dropped following the outbreak, going from 91% in 2019 to 86.5% in October 2020. 

As a leading safeguarding company, SafeToNet understand the long-term impact and consequences bullying can have on children and young people and are passionate aboutplaying their part in the fight against these threats. Their mission is simple; to safeguard as many children as possible against online risks such as bullying and to educate them and their parents on becoming safe, responsible digital citizens. By joining forces andchannelling their collective ambitions, efforts, and platforms, SafeToNet and the Anti Bullying Alliance are working to beat bullying together. They believe that everyone – from parents and carers, to teachers and politicians, to children and young people – all have a part to play in coming together to make a real difference.  

The app, which is downloaded onto both the parent and child’s devices, uses an AI-driven smart keyboard to detect and filter risks and harmful content in real time, before any harm is caused. The pioneering technology has been designed specifically to pick up on a user’s psychological wellbeing, recognising signs of doubt, low self-esteem and dark thoughts, and offering support and guidance in the moment. The privacy of the children is paramount; what they are looking at, who they are talking to and what they are typing is never seen or read by the parents or by SafeToNet. 

Due to the Covid-19 lockdown, children have spent more time than ever online this year,doing everything from socialising to schoolwork online with less adult supervision than normal, creating an even greater opportunity for online bullying. In this sense, there is an even greater need for SafeToNet as a real time safeguarding solution to ensure that children have the necessary tools to navigate the digital world safely and feel comfortable havinginformed, constructive conversations with parents or guardians about online behaviour.  

Anti-Bullying Week 2020 includes a number of events and activities in order to raise awareness and highlight the issues surrounding bullying; Odd Socks Day on Monday 16 November asks workplaces and schools to encourage everyone to turn up wearing odd socks to embrace their individuality and celebrate difference, whilst the School Staff Award  

allows pupils to nominate their favourite anti-bullying member of school staff for a prize, to celebrate the adults who are standing up to bullying and making a difference. There will also be a range of online activities with resources and ideas on how parents and schools can get involved and play their part,  

Co-founder of SafeToNet Sharon Pursey says ‘We are honoured to be supporting Anti-Bullying Week again and stand united against bullying; we are all a piece of the puzzle and have our responsibility to ensure children’s safety and wellbeing. As a safeguarding tech company, our vision is to create a world where all children are automatically safe online and are protected from digital threats such as bullying, so by supporting this initiative we hope to raise some awareness and start the conversation about digital safety and wellbeing in schools and households across the UK.”  

Martha Evans, Director of the Anti-Bullying Alliance says ‘It’s clear that bullying remains a significant problem for many children across the country, and we know that these experiences can have a lasting impact well into adulthood. But this year we have witnessed the power that people can have when they unite to tackle a common challenge. If we are serious about reducing bullying, we have to harness that energy and work together. Itsespecially important that the digital world is a safe place for children and young people to enjoy, and we are delighted to team up with SafeToNet again this year, who have been at the forefront in developing software to support families. But whether it is online, in the community or in school, we all have a part to play and its time we came together, friends and family, classmates and colleagues, and unite against bullying.’ 

Standing desks: School children choose to stand in class when given the opportunity, new study finds

  • Providing a standing desk to every primary school child in a UK classroom can reduce sitting time
  • Children who had access to a standing desk reduced their sitting by around 20% over eight months
  • Behaviour-related mental health scores deteriorated after desk exposure, according to teachers’ questionnaires

Providing a standing desk to every primary school child in a UK classroom can reduce sitting time throughout most of the academic year, according to a new study.

Researchers at Loughborough University installed standing desks at a school in Bradford for eight-months to measure the impact they had on children’s sitting habits and classroom behaviour.

The children, aged nine-to-10, were in control of whether they sat or stood, and were asked to wear monitors for two weeks before the new desks were in place, and again at four months and eight months after the desks had been installed.

The monitors measured sitting time as well as moving from sitting to standing.

After eight months, the children had reduced their sitting time by an average of 60 min (20%) compared to before the new desks were installed.

A similar class in a nearby school was used as a control and did not receive any standing desks. These children’s class time sitting did not change during the study

Compared to the control class, the children who had access to sit-to-stand desks reduced their sitting by approximately 25% at four months and 20% at eight months.

Researcher Aron Sherry, of the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences (SSEHS), said: “The findings suggest providing sit–stand desks to every child within a UK primary school classroom can reduce class time sitting throughout most of an academic year.

“Furthermore, positive changes were observed in standing and sit-to-stand transitions during class time at both follow-ups.

“This study was located within a deprived setting with a high proportion of ethnic minorities, making the findings more important in relation to reducing health inequalities.

“The sit–stand desks did not impact negatively on musculoskeletal discomfort, or cognitive function, and were generally well tolerated by pupils and staff.”

The study also looked at changes in behaviour-related mental health, using a questionnaire, completed by the teacher for each student.

It found that behaviour-related mental health scores deteriorated after four months of desk exposure, and then further again after eight months.

Aron said: “This decline does contrast with an interview with the teacher during the study, who suggested that classroom behaviour had improved because the children stayed at the same desk amongst the same students throughout the school day.

“Behaviour related-mental health scores remained stable in a control class throughout the study in a nearby school.”

Researchers also explored child and teacher attitudes, experiences, and behaviours towards the desks.

They found that the standing desks also had implications for teaching methods; teachers were unable to walk around the class when offering help.

Instead, children were asked to come to the front of the class if they needed assistance

“We concluded that the lack of classroom space, due to the stools and chairs blocking walkways, may have contributed to this observed decline in behaviour scores and challenges to teaching practicalities,” said Aron.

“Future standing desk models that enable the stool to be tucked under the desk may prevent such issues occurring.”

He added: “Larger trials, implemented within similar high-priority settings, and using more in-depth qualitative and quantitative measures are needed to better establish whether standing desks using a full desk allocation system are feasible, or effective in UK primary schools.

“This will however depend on the balance between the desired level of standing desk provision – full versus partial allocation – class size, and available budgets.”

The results have been published in the paper, Impacts of a Standing Desk Intervention within an English Primary School Classroom: A Pilot Controlled Trial.

Ultimate Cloud-Based Hybrid Learning Platform Launched to Support Schools

Impero unites new classroom management tool with safeguarding solutions, all in one platform

School safeguarding leader Impero today launches a cloud-based hybrid learning platform for schools, the Impero back:drop family, built on state-of-the-art technology. This platform brings together Impero class:room and Impero well:being, providing the tools teachers, pastoral staff and leaders need to create safe and productive digital lessons.

The Secretary of State for Education recently placed temporary continuity direction powers on schools to provide immediate access to remote education for pupils if they are absent because of Covid-19. In addition, the Department for Education recently updated its Keeping Children Safe in Education guidance with additional instructions on safeguarding in schools, furthering the need for solutions that combine hybrid learning and safeguarding.

Impero class:room puts teachers in control with powerful, easy-to-use classroom management features so they can confidently deliver online instruction and improve engagement, across every device. It’s the first of its type to fully embed into  Microsoft Teams, beyond chat monitoring. Features include the ability to view learner’s devices, control access to the internet, lock screens to individual pages, send messages securely and block certain websites.

Impero well:being provides a seamless link between on and offline safeguarding, enabling school staff to identify at-risk students and build a full picture for early intervention. Using Impero’s keyword detection software, it captures potentially at-risk online behaviour in real-time. Teachers can analyse the screenshot from the learner’s screen, log the incident and assign it to other relevant staff members.

Justin Reilly, CEO Impero says: “At Impero, we believe that every school’s first responsibility is to keep their learners safe wherever they are, which is why we developed Impero back:drop as a free to use cloud-based service. Once students are safe, schools must educate them. With the newly added Impero class:room and Impero well:being services, teachers can create the ultimate hybrid learning environment. The robust classroom management features help teachers keep children engaged in lessons by creating a slick virtual learning environment. Meanwhile, the safeguarding features help teachers keep a closer eye on their students. It’s the perfect tool for the current moment and the inevitable blended learning environments of the future.”

The cloud-based platform builds on Impero’s freemium safeguarding product, Impero back:drop, which provides the core features needed to record and manage safeguarding concerns. When paired with Impero class:room and Impero well:being, the functionality is enhanced to deliver classroom management and a holistic chronology of student’s wellbeing.

The Impero back:drop family works on all of the major operating systems, Windows, Chrome, Mac, iOS and Android.

World-class streamable arts package by Carrot Productions offers schools an exciting alternative to annual Christmas outings

Carrot Productions, the world’s leading performers of The Snowman with live orchestra, has created the perfect alternative to the traditional school outing, introducing some much-needed joy and happiness into pupils’ lives this Christmas.

Schooltime Showtime offers schools the opportunity to actively champion high quality art and cultural education in a meaningful and safe way, as well as having lots of fun. Each GOLD package also provides essential and valuable work for our wonderful professional musicians.

It’s much more than just a show

Schooltime Showtime also provides teachers with a comprehensive package of resources to create a hassle-free and memorable experience for all ages, including:

Ready-to-go lesson ideas, differentiated for EYFS to Key Stage 2.

Show and Tell live online session with a musician, conductor, composer or author.

Fun videos of instrument-making from junk by the musicians and their families, Makaton Christmas Carols from a special school, and dance instruction from a professional dancer.

7 day streaming of The Snowman Tour show, affording a close-up view of some of the UK’s finest musicians, handpicked from orchestras including the BBC Scottish, Hallé and BBC Philharmonic.

The final performance features a Christmas medley, a fun introduction to the orchestra and even a visit from The Snowman himself. Additionally, there is an exclusive adaptation of the award-winning book The Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield, commissioned by Carrot Productions in 2017. This beautifully-illustrated tale of music, friendship and adventure features music by Daniel Whibley played live by the orchestra, and a narration recorded by Joanna Lumley.

Incredible value

The packages represent excellent value – starting at £295 for the whole school – and offer 100% risk free booking. They have been designed to be deliverable in a flexible way, are accessible entirely from within a school setting, can be shared with multiple bubbles at once, and the materials and final show can be shared online with pupils at home in the instance of a lockdown or isolation.

LEAF Education leads the way in educating students about careers in farming and food production

In the last academic year, more than 9,000 students learnt about the many exciting career opportunities available to them in the food and farming sector, reveals national education organisation, LEAF Education, in its latest impact report – Our Work in Action 2019-2020.

The report also highlights the wider impact LEAF Education has had on reconnecting young people with food production, farming and the environment, especially given the challenges and disruptions caused by the global pandemic.

Carl Edwards, Director of Education and Public Engagement at LEAF Education, explains: “The education of millions of children was severely disrupted by the health crisis between April and July this year. But, despite the lockdown, the LEAF Education team were able to deliver an imaginative and immersive online programme of activity which ensured that thousands of young people of all ages could continue to learn and be inspired by the journey of their food – from farm to fork. A key part of this activity was to raise their awareness of the many exciting career paths and opportunities in the agricultural industry. As the consumers and decision makers of the future, helping them understand the important role farming plays in their everyday lives, has never been more important.”

Highlights from the report:

  • LEAF Education successfully engaged with and educated 9,238 students about a career in agriculture.
  • LEAF Education worked with 10,586 children and spent a total of 24,589 hours working with them.
  • LEAF Education developed a comprehensive range of online resources on Countryside Classroom, specifically for use in the home-setting in response to the first national lockdown.
  • Countryside Classroom saw a 77% increase in users to the website in 2020 and received over 158,000 unique users (over the past academic year 2019/20).
  • Over 134,000 Countryside Classroom resources were accessed this year.
  • 100% of teachers reported that LEAF Education had increased their confidence in delivering more food and farming work in the classroom.
  • LEAF Education worked with 1,357 teachers for 16,309 hours including 106 trainee teachers.
  • LEAF Education supported farmers to deliver high-quality educational activities working with 3,531 farmers in 2019/20. 100% of farmers said the training offered was ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’, 49 farmers received CEVAS (Countryside Educational Visits Accreditation Scheme) training.

LEAF Education works across the education, farming and food sectors to inspire and engage teachers and young people about food production, farming and the environment. It manages a number of leading industry and educational initiatives, including Farmer Time (live, on-farm virtual education sessions), CEVAS for outdoor learning providers, Countryside Classroom (online information portal), Chef on the Farm and LEAF Open Farm School Days. LEAF Education alsoprovides teachers with curriculum and exam specification – focused training, tools and resources to help them deliver high-quality learning experiences about food production, farming and the environment.

In 2021, LEAF Education will once again be on the search for the Innovation School of the Year in Food, Farming and Environment. As part of a partnership with Coleg Cambria Llysfasi, the national competition enables students to be immersed in practical farm activities such as milking cows, handling sheep, using drone technology, seeing agro-forestry in action and tractor driving.

You can see the full LEAF Education Our Work in Action Report here: https://issuu.com/linking-environment-and-farming/docs/leaf_20education_20work_20in_20action_202019-20?fr=sZWZhMDIwOTQwMDA

Attainment drops across all primary school years in England, with seven-year-olds most impacted

Pupils eligible for pupil premium disproportionately affected by Covid-19 school closures, as attainment gap increases

New data ontest resultsin maths, reading, grammar, punctuation and spelling show that attainment has dropped across all subjects and year groups in 2020. The data on over 250,000 primary school pupils across England is based on widely used tests by RS Assessment from Hodder Education, with insights provided by education data analytics company SchoolDash. The tests show the most significant decreases in maths papers, while Year 3 and 2 pupils faced the steepest drop-off of any cohort.

The data shows an average standardised score decline of 8 points in maths, 6.3 in reading and 7.2 in grammar, punctuation and spelling across all pupils compared to 2019 data, with greater reductions seen for pupil premium eligible pupils. This is a stark contrast to the average annual gains of 0.5 points since the current curriculum began in 2016. The tests were scheduled to take place during the summer term; however, pupils sat them four months later, at the beginning of this autumn term, due to the school closures.

Students eligible for the pupil premium face steepest attainment drop

The attainment gap between pupils eligible for pupil premium and those who are not has widened significantly. Across all three standardised subject papers offered by RS Assessment and all six year-groups, those eligible for pupil premium experienced a steeper decline in standardised scores than other pupils. There are also considerable differences by school type. Those with higher levels of deprivation, situated in urban areas or located in the north or midlands, tended to show more significant declines.

Among Year 2 pupils – who are between six and seven years old – those eligible for pupil premium dropped by an additional 2.4 points compared with their peers in maths, and an additional 2.3 points in reading. Pupil premium eligible pupils in Year 6 were most affected in grammar, punctuation and spelling, dropping an additional 1.4 points beyond their classmates.

The least difference between pupils eligible for pupil premium and others were seen in Year 3 maths, a difference of 0.8 points; Year 5 reading at 0.5 points; and Year 4 grammar, punctuation and spelling, where pupil premium eligible pupils were just 0.6 points behind their peers.

Biggest attainment drops across all pupils

Beyond the significant overall drops in subjects, notable differences were also seen between topics within subjects. For example, attainment in fractions was affected more than number, while punctuation fared worse than spelling.

In maths, fractions and geometry topics were the most affected, with attainment dropping by 14 percent across all year groups. Meanwhile, operations and statistics dropped by 12 percent, measures by 9 percent, and number by 8 percent.

In the grammar, punctuation and spelling tests, punctuation was hardest hit with an average 14 percent drop in attainment. Grammar followed closely behind, dropping 13 percent, followed by vocabulary at 11 percent and spelling at 10 percent.

For the reading tests, comprehension dropped by 10 percent across all years, while inference decreased by 9 percent and Language, Structure and Presentation (LSP) by 10 percent. The Year 1s taking the Reception paper also showed concerning drops in attainment. Comprehension scores decreased an average of 15 percent, phonics attainment dropped by 16 percent and Reading for Meaning (RFM) lost 14 percent.

Katie Blainey, Publishing Director at RS Assessment, says: “This year, more than ever, it is important we use every resource we have to quickly understand what impact school closures may have had on attainment across the country. By providing this detailed analysis of primary test results from the first six weeks of the autumn term, we hope to provide evidence to help focus support to help those children most affected by the closures. There have clearly been significant impacts on learning, but not all children have been affected equally, so we hope this analysis will help to work towards a fairer start in life for all pupils, regardless of background. That’s a fundamental and guiding principle of the work we do at RS Assessment from Hodder Education, and of each primary school in the country.”

Download the full report here.

NEW STUDY REVEALS SHORTAGE IN MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS SKILLS WITHIN EDUCATION SECTOR

  • Mental health awareness is one of the most sought-after skills in the education and early years sector due to COVID-19 pandemic – according to new skills and employment trends report
  • Mental Health awareness was listed within 15,000 education and early learning job postings since the start of COVID-19 lockdown
  • Online learning provider, The Skills Network, is now calling for schools to add mental health learning onto the curriculum following rise in skills-gap

A skills and employment trends report* published today (11 November) by The Skills Network, in partnership with Emsi, has highlighted a mental health awareness skills gap in the education and early learning sector, due to COVID-19 pandemic.

With 71% of early years staff furloughed between March and August 2020, and 11% made redundant, online learning provider, The Skills Network, has issued a report to highlight the top 10 skills*** in demand across the sector.

By analysing 1.5 million job adverts between March and September 2020, The Skills Network report published, in partnership with Emsi, has highlighted welfare, autism, child protection, mental health and auditing, amongst the top 10 most in demand skills in the education and early years sector.

Mark Dawe, Chief Executive from The Skills Network, is now calling for schools across the country to add mental health learning onto the curriculum to help close this growing skills gap. He said: “Being able to identify and address mental health is a growing requirement for staff in the education and early learning sector. With half of mental health problems beginning by age 14, it is clear why understanding mental health is currently the seventh most demanded skill for early years and educational roles.

“Both teachers and support staff play a significant role in tackling mental health issues within the classroom, and mental health training can equip today’s candidates with the right tools to help children experiencing personal problems.

“With many employers across all industries now looking for employees to have mental health awareness, we’d urge schools and learning providers to look to improve the current curriculum, and to ensure that education around mental health is being offered.”

To assist those looking to discover the most in-demand skills in their local area, The Skills Network has also developed an online app, which will provide a personalised list of the top 15 sought-after skills and roles available in your postcode area.

Mark Dawe continues: “At The Skills Network, we offer distance learning, as a way of learning remotely without attending lessons in a classroom or having regular face to face contact with a Tutor. We’d urge any employers looking to upskill their current team to consider online training.”

Andy Durman, Managing Director of EMSI UK, added: “The huge disruption to the economy this year has revealed a number of new labour market challenges, such as the widening skills gap and increased automation. We need to better understand exactly what skills employers are demanding, and how this is changing over the period of economic upheaval and beyond.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with The Skills Network to bring some of our data and insight to these issues, helping to shine a light on changing employer demand for occupations, job roles and skills in various critical sectors throughout the country.”

To access the full skills and employment trends report, or to review the online courses available – please visit www.theskillsnetwork.com.

Teach Active launches nationwide campaign to get pupils moving during Maths Week

Teach Active is inviting primary schools to deliver active maths lessons during Maths Week 2020 (9th to 14th November 2020), in a national drive to increase primary school pupils’ activity levels while they are learning. 

As part of the scheme, every primary school teacher can download five free maths lesson plans for their class, one for every day of Maths Week.

The lessons, which combine the learning of maths with movement, are designed to make maths fun and get children moving again after many months of reduced activity as a result of lockdown and other restrictions on activities.

The free resources include a lesson plan for a treasure hunt around the school to find clues, which are maths problems that need to be solved.

There is also a ‘Shark Attack’ lesson, where pupils can only save themselves from a shark attack in the playground by jumping on an island marked out by skipping ropes and displaying a prime number. If they mistakenly jump on an island with an incorrect number, they can only stay in the game if they can correctly explain why the number they stood on is not a prime number.

Ali Oliver MBE, chief executive of children’s charity the Youth Sport Trust which works in partnership with Teach Active, said: “Prioritising physical activity and wellbeing in our schools has never been more important as the nation again experiences localised lockdowns and partial school closures enforced by Coronavirus. We also know there is considerable evidence of the impact of daily physical activity on learning in the classroom and congratulate Teach Active on raising awareness of embedding movement across the curriculum through Maths Week.”  

Jon Smedley, a former teacher and founder of Teach Active said: “Teachers are facing a huge challenge at the moment. Their main priority is to address the learning gap created by school closures, but they are also aware of how important physical activity is to children’s mental wellbeing and their ability to concentrate and learn.

“Active lessons are a great way to target both issues. The lesson plans also make learning a lot more fun which means the knowledge gained sticks with the child.”

The Holy Family Catholic School in Addlestone, Surrey is a user of Teach Active and has found that active lessons change the psychology of learning. Children forget that it’s maths they are learning as they are simply enjoying the lesson. “I love the fact children are proactively channelling their natural competitiveness into maths challenges. They are often learning so many maths concepts without realising they’re doing maths. It’s fabulous to see so many smiling faces as we increase in achievement in the subject,” says Steve Tindall, the headteacher.

Teach Active has been developed by Jon Smedley, a former teacher with over 21 years’ experience in education.  The site offers almost 3500 maths and English active lesson plans and resources for teachers from foundation stage through to year 6 that are closely mapped to the national curriculum.

Teachers wanting to get involved in Maths Week can visit https://www.teachactive.org/maths-week/ and download the free lesson plans.  Resources are available for each year group from reception to year 6.

Participants can also share images or videos of their active maths lessons on Twitter with the handle @TeachActive using #TeachActiveMathsWeek with a chance to win a six month licence to the Teach Active site.