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Wesleyan Foundation donates £11,000 to Evolve

The charity Evolve, which works with young people across the UK to improve their emotional and physical wellbeing, has received a donation of £11,000 from the Wesleyan Foundation to continue its life-changing work with vulnerable students.

 

The donation – from the Wesleyan Foundation, the charitable arm of financial services mutual Wesleyan – will help to support and nurture the development of 50 pupils through the final terms of the academic year by providing extra mentoring, health and classroom support.

Anglesey Primary and The Oaks Primary will also benefit from a specialist health mentor, who will be on site five days a week to work with selected pupils and provide a one-to-one mentoring service.

 

Evolve works with an average of 1,350 children every year across six different UK regions, and 65% of pupils at risk of falling out of training, education or employment have stayed in education as a result of the charity’s work. Last year it provided 45 health mentors to schools across the UK and managed to help reduce school expulsions by 50% and close the wellbeing gap for disadvantaged students.

Nathan Wallis, Chief of Staff at Wesleyan, said: “Evolve is an incredible charity that is transforming children’s lives through its mentoring and wellbeing support programme.

“As a mutual, it is part of our ethos to give back to the communities and organisations that matter to our members and we’re proud to support the organisation’s incredibly valuable work through the Wesleyan Foundation.”

Lewis Griffiths, Business Development Manager at Evolve said: “Since we started Evolve in 2003, we’ve had the privilege of working with hundreds of schools and thousands of children up and down the UK and have seen just how valuable mentoring and coaching can be.

“We want to continue transforming the lives of pupils across the country and we are immensely appreciative of Wesleyan Foundation for their donation which will enable us to further our work at two schools and provide one-to-one mentoring to a not only 50 of the direct individuals but also benefit the entirety of the school through our on site activities. Organisations like Wesleyan make such a difference to society and help to build better futures for the most vulnerable pupils, along with our partnering schools, we can’t thank them enough! ”

In 2017 Wesleyan, the financial services mutual, launched the Wesleyan Foundation as part of their commitment to supporting great causes that are important to their members and the communities in which they live and work.

The Foundation has since donated £4.3m and has supported over 100,000 people across 500 different groups.

New tech solution to create better learning environment for young people

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

PRIMARY SCHOOL CELEBRATES QUEEN’S PLATINUM JUBILEE BY DESIGNING ROYAL COMPUTER GAMES

Pupils at a Rochdale primary school have marked the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in a royally creative way this week – by designing their own Jubilee-themed computer games.

Year 4 pupils from Parkfield Primary School in Rochdale put their digital skills to the test to create the apps, which featured HM The Queen as the main character.

The children worked together to build the games, which sent her Majesty on a maze treasure hunt in search of corgis and crowns. Pupils used resources from Discovery Education Coding to code the royal apps, before sharing them with classmates who enjoyed playing them on tablet computers.

The fun activity marked the start of Parkfield Primary’s Jubilee celebrations, culminating in a school-wide party for staff and pupils on Thursday.

One Year 4 pupil said:

“I liked how I could add lots of royal themed images onto my design”

While another said:

“I liked programming the Queen to collect all her valuable objects in my game.”

Teaching Assistant Simon Haughton said:

” The children enjoyed showcasing their coding skills by designing Jubilee-themed games for their friends to play. Discovery Education Coding offers primary schools a great child-friendly interface with just the right amount of coding blocks to combine together to produce both interesting and fun programs to run. ”

 

Howard Lewis, Managing Director UK and International at Discovery Education said:

“We were delighted that Parkfield Primary School used our coding resources to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. It’s clear that they had great fun designing their royal-themed apps and we were very impressed by their imagination and creativity!”

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

The new normal – how exams are changing post pandemic

In-person exams have not taken place since 2019 for many students, with just over 600,000 Key Stage 4 students missing out on taking exams in 2021 alone[2]. Sussex-based, leading print-security firm, Zunoma, is preparing for the summer exam season by adapting to the new examination requirements that are now in place post pandemic.

 

The Department of Education said that all GCSE and A Level students will take in person exams this year[3], yet there are still a few modifications to ensure fairness across the board.

 

As the sector begins to return to normal after almost two years of disruption, exams still look slightly different for students as educational institutions attempt to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on children’s education and the certification process.

 

For the 2022 exam season, the government has introduced a choice of topics and content for some GCSE exams, allowing teachers to tailor classes accordingly and give students more specific direction on what to study. Additionally, some exam boards offer advanced information on an exams content which is designed to provide specific guidance for revision. There will also be new and additional study aids that will be allowed in some exams that have not been allowed in previously.

 

Although there are plans for the education sector to eventually return to normal, online exams are still growing in popularity, especially seen with university students who prefer open-book or online examinations[4] compared to in-person ones. With online options making universities more accessible for many students, there has been many calls to keep a hybrid approach.

 

Additionally, reports from universities stress that the forced move away from traditional exams has had mental health benefits for many students, including less assessment anxiety[5].

 

As the education sector continues to evolve and adapt to new assessment methods, security and fairness also needs to be a key consideration in the examination process. It is vital that there is a substantial authorisation and authentication process to ensure the right student takes the right exam. Extensive cyber security measures need to be put in place to identify any potential security lapses.

Zunoma supports the education sector by delivering a complete design, print, personalisation and mailing service across a range of education related documentation.

 

 

Recognising the significant increase in online courses and the need to compliment traditional exams, paper certificates and more with secure digital counterparts, Zunoma’s secure portal solutions allow transfer of data, personalisation, fulfilment and delivery without any threat.

 

Roy Mullins, Business Development Manager at Zunoma, said: “The security of our customers data and documents is of utmost priority to Zunoma. A security breach in a test can have potentially disastrous consequences which can threaten reputation and the credibility of examinations.

 

“Zunoma’s experience of working with awarding bodies provides confidence that the security and integrity of test papers are maintained throughout the process.”

 

To find out more about the services Zunoma can provide to the education sector, please visit: www.zunoma.com/security-print-software/certificates-education.

[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/infographic-gcse-results-2021/infographics-for-gcses-2021-accesible

[3] https://educationhub.blog.gov.uk/2021/11/11/exams-in-2022-everything-you-need-to-know/

[4] https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1287129

[5] https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/what-we-do/policy-and-research/publications/lessons-pandemic-making-most

Kicking off our largest ever celebrations for World Book Day 2022 with over 100 partners

World Book Day celebrates 25 years

This year the National Literacy Trust is celebrating World Book Day with over 100 partners to inspire and delight children with the wonder of books – including hundreds of businesses, publishers, booksellers and authors.

This year will mark 25 years since the inception of World Book Day which was designed to help all children become book owners and inspire a love of reading. A vital step in building strong literacy skills for life.

Jonathan Douglas CBE, Chief Executive of the National Literacy Trust said:

“World Book Day is an important moment to inspire and delight children with the wonder of books and a powerful platform to reinforce the importance of building literacy skills for life. Through our fantastic partners, we’re able to reach more children in schools and communities than ever before, providing support to those that need it most.

Everyone has a role in raising literacy levels throughout the country and World Book Day is a fantastic opportunity to bring all our supporters together.”

Up and down the country we are marking World Book Day by distributing 60,000 books to encourage children to read for pleasure as well as producing a host of activities for schools and communities to take part in.

Activities include:

–          World Book Day Big Footy & Booky quiz, free to all teachers and pupils. This exciting online event, which will be hosted by sports presenter Kelly Somers, will feature Football School authors Alex Bellos and Ben Lyttleton, so make sure you sign up today.

–          Our 15 Hub areas across the country will also be working in partnership with local libraries and retailers like McDonald’s to distribute books across our hubs. Between 2nd– 15th March, £1 book tokens will feature on every single World Book Day themed Happy Meal® box.

–          Highlights from around the country include:

  • In Bradford we have author Harry Heape running a session on ‘Inspiration through writing’ and story telling
  • In Manchester we will be distributing 2,400 books across four libraries with more exciting author story telling sessions
  • In Peterborough you’ll find a ‘Bunny’s on the bus tour’ with exciting story telling sessions, fun craft activities and book giveaways
  • In Middlesbrough we’re running a fun World Book Day competition with Middlesbrough library services, for a chance to win a bundle of books and  distributing 2,400 books

–          We have a range of resources for schools focusing on ‘story telling’ and ‘reading for pleasure’ as well as fun activities for families to do at home.

–          Take a look at our 25 ways to celebrate World Book Day and develop a lifelong reading habit

–          There are so many activities for you to get involved with. Want to find out what’s happening in your area? Find our more on our hub page

Jonathan continues: Our recent economic study with WPI showed that reading for pleasure can result in children getting better GCSEs, in turn boosting their lifetime earnings and raising the UK’s GDP. In the future, my hope is that more children will grow up to be adults who read and that reading and books are part of their world.” (The Power of Reading; WPI and National Literacy Trust 2021)

Take a look at the full range of World Book Day books available for just £1 here

If you want to find out more about how the National Literacy Trust can help your school, sign up here

 

Launch of askOLA by Education Taskforce

 

Combines academic ‘catch up’ and mental wellbeing  

Schools choosing additional catch-up programmes  

 Pupil-led support alongside tutoring 

 

Today (March 3rd) award-winning EdTech provider GLUU has spearheaded a taskforce of leading education partners to launch askOLA. The pioneering programme allows pupil-led learning with access to wellbeing support and saves teachers time by reducing their workload. 

 

askOLA is an on-demand, out-of-school learning and wellbeing support system.  The intention is for the system to support the whole student, both academically and emotionally; addressing their readiness to learn.   

 

askOLA is being launched in the run up to 2022 exams and vocational qualifications with schools able to choose how they spend ‘catch-up’ funding and amid wider concerns about mental health being expressed by the Children’s Commissioner and other leading education figures. 

 

The pandemic has also accelerated the digitisation of schools and a ‘hybrid’ approach to education with classroom learning backed up with remote provision. askOLA is a great example of a new online platform that provides academic and wellbeing support which is student-led and can be used outside of school hours.   

Students receive online academic support from vetted Online Learning Assistants (OLAs) and are signposted to the digital mental health and emotional wellbeing service provided by Kooth if they are experiencing difficulties – including direct access to counselling services or pre-moderated self-help content, if needed.  

askOLA adds capacity to the education system by allowing young people the opportunity to access pastoral and learning support outside of school in the same way that they can approach a teaching assistant if they were in a classroom. That way, children have access to support whenever it is needed, and teachers can rest assured that their pupils are being well supported outside of school, reducing workload.  

 

askOLA is currently being piloted at The Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust in the West Midlands after launching there in February with around 2,500 pupils currently registered to use askOLA.  Christine Major CEO of GLUU said: 

        Christine Major CEO of GLUU said: 

       “Everyone at GLUU is so excited to launch askOLA.  We know that the pandemic has created huge amounts of               upheaval for children, both in terms of their educational progress and their wellbeing and we wanted to design             something that could help address both those problems.  

           We know that children and teachers can benefit from what askOLA has to offer but we also hope to bring some             peace of mind to parents; with the help of an OLA, they can rest assured that their children have extra           professional support to underpin their learning recovery activity, reducing pressure at home.” 

 

 Sir Mark Grundy, CEO of Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust said: 

 

“We are delighted at Shireland to be the pilot Trust for askOLA. It’s been wonderful to see how helpful it is for pupils to have amazing online support at their fingertips outside of school. The combination of wellbeing advice and tutoring is so important as we help young people recover from the pandemic.”   

 

Sam Palombella, Director of Government Services, Kooth said: 

 

“As with us all, the lives of young people have been significantly disrupted during the pandemic, this has had an impact on both mental health and wellbeing. By signposting students to Kooth, this taskforce is ensuring that students have a safe, confidential, and welcoming place to access non-judgemental mental health support. One that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and easily accessed via a click of a button on a smartphone, laptop or tablet.” 

 

Chris Rothwell, Director of Education, Microsoft

 

EdTech has such an important role to play in the classroom – and at home, that’s why at Microsoft we want to see programmes like askOLA succeed because this pioneering programme is another example of how online support can give all-round benefit to young people.”  

 

Tej Samani Founder Performance Learning said

 

“We are proud to be part of a task force helping young people with online support and askOLA is a programme that helps with both learning and mental health advice. It’s an extra tool for pupils, teachers and parents to use and hopefully shows how EdTech can be so beneficial alongside classroom teaching. 

 

More information about the pilot: 

 

The pilot of askOLA began at Shireland Collegiate Academy on the 14th of February and around 500 students are taking part. Feedback has been very positive with students finding the online platform easy to use and helpful – a selection of pupil comments so far includes:  

 

“I think it’s going to help a lot. Sometimes in lessons I don’t really get the questions and so I can use askOLA….they don’t just give me like the answer straight away but they lead me towards the answer. So they’re not just telling me [information], I’m actually learning something” – Kayleigh, 12 years old 

 

“It’s really helpful because…they’ve shown you how to work it out. That’s great”- Jasmine, 12 years old 

 

Staff have also found askOLA’s new catch up and wellbeing support helpful 

 

“The service has been well received by pupils and staff. During the launch assemblies our students were clearly enthused – they couldn’t wait to get started… especially outside of school hours and in homework club”. Louise O’Gorman, teacher at Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust 

  

Acer Boosts Learning with Four Durable Chromebooks for Education

Acer today announced four new Chromebooks with the latest technologies, durable designs and a collection of features that optimize them for the education environment.

“The popularity of Chromebooks continues to grow thanks to the robust features in the Chrome Education Upgrade combined with advances in Chromebook design, features and technology,” said James Lin, General Manager, Notebooks, IT Products Business, Acer Inc. “These new Acer Chromebooks deliver the foundational technology that help students strive for success at school, while also ensuring teachers and administrators have a powerful device for class preparation and IT management.”

 

Chrome Education Upgrade, Zero-Touch Enrollment Maximize Learning

With Chrome Education upgrade, teachers and administrators can leverage the full capabilities of the Chromebook and Chrome OS to ensure students can focus on learning with a robust, secure device. In addition, IT departments can easily manage them with Zero-touch enrollment — to drop ship new Acer Chromebooks to their school sites that will automatically enroll as soon as the end user connects to the internet.

Durable Design

All of the four new Chromebooks were built to withstand the challenges of a busy school environment, featuring impact-resistant chassis that meet MIL-STD 810H[[1]] standards. A shock-absorbent bumper and reinforced design protects them from drops as high 122 cm (48 ft) and withstands up to 60 kg (132.3 lbs) of pressure. The Chromebooks’ displays can also be opened a full 180 degrees, helping protect the devices when the screen is being handled, and a unique drainage system built into their keyboards helps protect internal components from accidental water spills[[2]].

The Acer Chromebook Spin 311, Acer Chromebook 512 and Acer Chromebook 511 also have mechanically anchored keys that are difficult for inquisitive students to remove, but at the same time, simple for IT personnel to repair or replace. Widened brackets and reinforced I/O ports further protect them from the wear and tear of frequent use.

Eco-Friendly Features Include OceanGlass Touchpad

A testament to Acer’s commitment to sustainability, all four of the new Chromebooks feature a unique environmentally-friendly OceanGlass touchpad made entirely of abandoned ocean-bound plastic waste. Not only does the use of this waste contribute to the reduction of plastics adrift in the ocean, it also gives the touchpad a glass-like texture and responsive tactile feedback.

Additionally, three of the Chromebooks—the Acer Chromebook Spin 311, Acer Chromebook 512 and Acer Chromebook 511—integrate post-consumer recycled plastics into their chassis design to further exemplify Acer’s commitment to sustainability.

 

Acer Chromebook 512 — Taller Display Boosts Productivity

The new Acer Chromebook 512 (C852) has as 12-inch display with a productivity-boosting 3:2 aspect ratio for 18% more vertical space compared to an equally wide 16:9 display, meaning that students can see more text, maps, photos and schoolwork before needing to scroll. An optional panel with integrated multi-touch capabilities is also available.

The Acer Chromebook 512 provides an excellent remote-learning experience with two built-in microphones as well as a webcam with TNR technology for enhanced video quality. Furthermore, a blue glass IR-cut filter within the camera module helps to minimize the impact that background light flares (such as those from lamps or ceiling lights) have on a user’s webcam. Powered by the latest N-series Intel® processors, the Acer Chromebook 512 (C852) delivers the responsive performance and long 12-hour battery life needed to make it through a long day of classes and homework.

Acer Chromebook 511 — Classic Compact Design; Safe for Young Students

The Acer Chromebook 511 (C934/T) is an 11.6-inch Chromebook available with either a standard or multi-touch display on top of a compact, durable design that makes it ideal for 1:1 programs, technology labs and wireless carts. Plus, the Chromebook is safe and suitable for even the youngest students, featuring plastic coatings and having met the ASTM F963-16[[3]] Toy Safety Standard and UL/IEC 60950-1[[4]] standards.

The Acer Chromebook 511 provides up to 12 hours of battery life as well as responsive performance, since it’s powered by the latest N-series Intel® processors. For remote learning needs, dual microphones and a flare-reducing HD webcam let students take the classroom with them. Temporal Noise Reduction (TNR) technology further enhances video quality, particularly in low-light conditions, by analyzing and utilizing information from multiple frames simultaneously.

Acer Chromebook 314 — Large 14-inch Display

Ideal for administrators, teachers and older students who need to multitask for their classes and projects, the Acer Chromebook 314 (C934/C934T) has a large 14-inch FHD IPS[[5]] touchscreen display[[6]] with narrow 8.1 mm side bezels and an overall compact design. The display’s anti-glare coating allows it to be used even in bright lighting conditions, and it is also available with multi-touch options[6].  

The Chromebook 314 provides an excellent remote learning experience. A flare-reducing webcam with (TNR) technology enhances video quality, DTS Audio delivers high-quality, distortion-free sound, and a pair of built-in microphones capture clear audio. Plus, the Chromebook 314 features the latest N-series Intel® processors to ensure solid performance and up to 10-hours of battery life[[7]]. Students and teachers will enjoy a reliable Intel® Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) wireless connection with speeds up to 3x faster than Wi-Fi 5[[8]].

Acer Chromebook Spin 311 — Convertible with Long Battery Life

Designed for K-12 students, the Acer Chromebook 311 (R722T/R723T) is a convertible and durable device optimized for learning anywhere. Its responsive 11.6-inch touch display is protected by Antimicrobial Corning Gorilla Glass which is both tough and embedded with ionic silver that resists the growth of odor- and stain-causing microorganisms[[9]]. A pair of 360-degree hinges allow it to be used in four usage modes, such as clamshell mode for typing or presentation mode for showing off their work when in small groups. 

 

The Chromebook’s MediaTek MT8183 processor keeps students learning with efficient performance that contributes to a long battery life of up to 15 hours[7]. Its HD webcam has a camera shutter for privacy when not in calls. For excellent connectivity, the Acer Chromebook 311 is available with Wi-fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 (R723T) or Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2 (R722T), depending on configuration.

Pricing and Availability

The Acer Chromebook 512 (C852) will be available in North America in January starting at USD 349.99; and in EMEA in Q1 starting at EUR 359 and the UK for £329.

The Acer Chromebook 511 (C734/T) will be available in North America in February starting at USD 349.99; and in EMEA in February starting at EUR 329 and the UK for £299.

The Acer Chromebook 314 (C934/T) will be available in North America in 2H’22 starting at USD 429.99; and in EMEA in April starting at EUR 369 and the UK for £329.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (R722T) will be available in North America in March starting at USD 399.99; and in EMEA in Q1’22 starting at EUR 339 and the UK for £299.

 

Exact specifications, prices, and availability will vary by region. To learn more about availability, product specifications and prices in specific markets, please contact your nearest Acer office via www.acer.com.

 

[1] Sand and Dust testing based on MIL-STD 810F. MIL-STD 810G/H is a testing protocol conducted in controlled settings and does not guarantee future performance in all situations. Do not attempt to simulate these tests, as damage resulting from this will not be covered by Acer’s standard warranty.

[2] Up to 330 ml (11 fluid ounces) of water

[3] Plastic coatings used on Acer Chromebook Spin 311 surface have been strictly tested and certified under ASTM F963-16 Toy Safety Standard and Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPCIA) of 2008.  For more information visit:   https://standardscatalog.ul.com/standards/en/standard_60950-1_2

[4] Acer Chromebook Spin 311 is designed and tested to meet UL/IEC 60950-1 safety standard, investigated by UL 696 safety electric toys and meets the ASTM F963 toy safety for kids over 3 years old. For more information visit:  https://www.astm.org/Standards/F963.htm

[5] All brands and product names mentioned herein include trademarks of their respective companies and are used solely to describe or identify the products

[6] Specifications may vary depending on model and/or region.

[7] Battery life may vary depending on model and configuration.  For Chrome devices, the battery test is based on a standard test tool published by Google and it is called power_LoadTest. (http://www.chromium.org/chromium-os/testing/power-testing).

[9] Acer Antimicrobial Design may vary depending on models/region. All antimicrobial solutions including Antimicrobial Corning® Gorilla® Glass and silver ion antimicrobial technology do not claim to protect users or provide any direct or implied health-benefit. The antimicrobial protection is limited to the touch surface.

1 in 8 children say time online harms their school work

Nearly one in eight children in the UK say their online life harms their school work according to a survey by The Children’s Society. 

 

The survey is among the evidence considered in the national charity’s new report, Net Gains? Young People’s Digital Lives and Well-Being.  

 

It found 13% of young people aged 10-17 said their life online had a ‘mostly negative’ impact on their school work, including homework, while 37% said it had a ‘mixed impact’ with both positive and negatives. In contrast, 35% reported a ‘mostly positive’ impact, while 16% said there was ‘no impact’. 

 

Around one in 11 children (9%) reported that time online had a ‘mostly negative’ effect on family relationships, with 35% reporting a mixed impact, 35% a positive impact and 21% no impact. 

 

Overall, children reported both pros and cons to time spent online. 

 

Almost half (46%) said that the impact of being online was mostly positive for their relationships with friends and more than four in ten (42%) said the same for the impact on how they felt overall. 

 

Nearly 4 in 10 (39%) children reported that being online had a mixed impact on how they felt about themselves (36% reported a ‘mostly positive impact, 7% a ‘mostly negative impact’, and 18% no impact) and a similar proportion (38%) said the same about how they felt overall.  

 

The Children’s Society’s report says that building a better understanding of how young people use technology and the effects this has on them is essential for improving the quality and safety of young people’s digital lives and for boosting digital equality – including not only the ability to access online content but also digital skills and the ability to appraise it.  

 

Young people were also asked to score out of 10 how happy they were with different aspects of their digital lives. They were most happy with things they did online, scoring on average 8 out of 10, and least happy with how they came across to others online and the amount of time they spent online, both scoring an average of 7.4.  

 

The Children’s Society says some children’s views about how they appear to others online could reflect unhappiness with their appearance or uncertainty over what they should say or how they should behave. It says unhappiness about the amount of time spent online could stem from concerns children have heard in media debates or restrictions their parents have imposed on them. 

 

The report also reviews international research on young people’s use of digital technology, the effects of time spent online and the influence of parents on how they use the internet.  The Children’s Society found that evidence of the impact of the digital world upon children has many flaws, often failing to account for the sheer number of things young people do online, consider the impact of things going on in their lives ‘offline’ or include young people’s views.  

 

Phil Raws, a Senior Researcher at The Children’s Society, said: “We wanted to know what young people themselves felt about their digital lives and how being online affected them, their relationships and some of the things they do offline. This was partly because their views have been missing from research and debates around safety, education, mental health and well-being and other issues which are often linked to their use of digital technology. 

 

“The survey responses tell us that many young people recognise that being online can have good and bad impacts on different aspects of their lives, although some feel that their digital life has no impact at all. This points to the challenges of understanding the effects of time spent online. We need to do more to explore this – to understand why some felt that the impact was negative on their school work, for example, and whether this has changed with the dependence on virtual schooling during recent lockdowns or when young people have been in isolation at home.   

 

“Young people’s ratings of what they do or experience online suggest that most of them are relatively happy, but some are having mostly negative experiences and may be developing a pessimistic outlook about their lives online. We need to find out more about this group – about who they are, why they are unhappy online, and what needs to change to address this.   

 

“One thing that came across clearly from our review of international research was that we need to widen our focus if we want to improve young people’s health and happiness overall, and reduce online harms in a sustainable way.  There is emerging evidence that negative online experiences or excessive time spent online may be symptoms rather than the cause of mental ill health.  Similarly, online harms seem to be more likely to be experienced by young people who come from a disadvantaged background.  

 

“Learning more about this can help us to not only make sure that all young people have the same opportunities and benefits online and feel safe and happy when using digital technology, but also to support better well-being in general.” 

 

MENTAL HEALTH RATED AS BIGGEST CONCERN FOR SCHOOLS

 

*Nearly four in five schools rated mental health as having the biggest impact on their organisation in the last year

*Almost three quarters (73%) of school leaders expect mental health and wellbeing to continue to be one of the biggest challenges over the next five years

*Zurich Municipal report reveals the biggest challenges facing public and voluntary sector organisations and their future concerns

*The insurer is currently working with Fika, a mental fitness learning and skills development partner, to address mental health in education

 

Nearly four in five school leaders say mental health and wellbeing was the biggest challenge for their organisation in the last year, according to a new report, which highlights the scale of the mental health crisis facing schools.   

 

The study by specialist insurer, Zurich Municipal and YouGov, revealed that for 78% of senior decision makers in primary and secondary schools, mental health and wellbeing had a “very big” or “substantial impact” on their organisation in the last 12 months – the highest out of seven challenges facing the sector. This was markedly higher than the average of 60% when looking at all public and third sector organisations surveyed.

 

The research went on to reveal future drivers of change and concerns, and predicts mental health will continue to have a major impact in schools. Nearly three quarters (73%) of school leaders expect mental health and wellbeing to continue to be one of the main challenges over the next five years – ranking second out of seven factors. However, it is issues related to funding and government policy that will become the primary worry in the future, with 85% of school leaders believing this will impact them the most.

 

In its study – The Future of the public and voluntary sectors – Zurich Municipal explored the general sentiment about the future of the public and voluntary sectors; views on current and future drivers of change and their relative impact; and future challenges and opportunities.  

 

Across all respondents, the study found the impact of mental health and wellbeing was most keenly felt in schools, followed by further and higher education establishments (71%) and charities (53%).  But while mental health and wellbeing had the greatest impact, primary and secondary school leaders also cited funding and government policy and the changing nature of work as having had a significant bearing on them in the last year – 71% and 63%.

 

Zurich’s findings come as a recent report by the charity, Education Support, found 77% of school staff are stressed (rising to 84% of senior leaders) and that over a third (38%) of education staff had experienced a mental health issue in the past academic year. 

 

Alix Bedford, Risk Proposition Manager, Zurich Municipal comments: “Working in the school environment has always been high pressured, but for nearly two years now, education staff have experienced an ongoing situation of unpredictability and stress. It is understandable that this would have a huge impact on mental health and wellbeing.  There are also concerns over the adverse impact of the pandemic on pupils, adding to the other issues already affecting young people’s mental health.

 

“Schools have a duty of care for the mental health and wellbeing of their staff and students. Awareness and understanding of the scope of this issue is rapidly evolving, but the policies, strategies and actions needed to respond must evolve rapidly too. If left unchecked, this risk could dwarf some others.”

 

Zurich Municipal is currently working with Fika, a mental fitness learning and skills development partner, to address mental health in education and offer training.  The three-month pilot, running until March, is part of Zurich’s aim to help schools protect their people as well as their property.   

 

Dr Amanda McNamee, Senior Mental Fitness Scientist at Fika said: “The state of declining mental health in education presents a risk in academic performance and stress to learners and burnout amongst staff. Current approaches pose a significant risk by reacting to declining mental health instead of preventing it. Fika has set out to mitigate the risk of decline and improve performance through a formal, proactive education-for-all solution and online mental fitness training tool.”

 

Fig 1. Issues that have had a big or significant impact schools in the last 12 months

 

Challenge Primary / Secondary Education Average across public and third sector
Mental health and wellbeing 78% 60%
Funding and fiscal policy 71% 67%
The changing nature of work e.g. hybrid working and workforce challenges 63% 68%
Changing community expectations and needs 62% 57%
Digital, data and automation 50% 52%
Changing organisational structures 39% 40%
Adapting to climate change 10% 18%

 

 

Fig.2 Issues that are predicted to have a big or significant impact schools  in the next five years

 

Challenge Primary / Secondary Education Across pubic and third sector
Funding and fiscal policy 85% 78%
Mental health and wellbeing 73% 57%
Changing community expectations and needs 58% 63%
Digital, data and automation 48% 56%
Changing organisational structures 44% 43%
 The changing nature of work (e.g. hybrid working and workforce challenges) 33% 55%
Adapting to climate change 21% 34%

Three resources from Premier League Primary Stars to encourage discussions on wellbeing in the classroom or at home

Pupil wellbeing is a top priority for teachers and Premier League Primary Stars is supporting discussions about this topic with flexible and accessible resources that encourage pupils aged 5-11 to think about the importance of self-care and helping others.

 

Leading wellbeing practitioner Dr Hazel Harrison, Clinical Psychologist and Founder at ThinkAvellana, who works with Premier League Primary Stars, spoke about the importance of wellbeing as millions of pupils return to the classroom during current Covid-19 related uncertainty: “Supporting young people’s mental health is really important, perhaps now more than ever. A healthy mind has a direct link to increased engagement in lessons and building positive relationships with others.”

 

Helping teachers increase pupil knowledge and understanding of wellbeing through resources that are engaging is an important way to make school a more positive experience for everyone, now more than ever. Premier League Primary Stars resources help pupils explore themes around wellbeing through relatable concepts and the power of football.

 

Here are the top three wellbeing resources:

 

  1. Wellbeing – feelings and emotions Pupils are encouraged to identify the different emotions people typically experience, including during times of transition and change. Pupils will explore ways to take care of their own and each other’s emotional wellbeing, while learning that it is normal to experience different feelings at different times. In this pack teachers can also download an emotional check-in poster for their classroom!
  2. Wellbeing – managing our emotions We all experience emotions in different ways. Managing our emotions encourages pupils to talk about their feelings and emotions and to use what they have learned to identify changes that a character could make to their lifestyle to help their mind and body. This resource can be used as a standalone lesson or as a follow on activity from the Wellbeing – feelings and emotions pack. The resource pack includes an uplifting film that shows Premier League players expressing a range of emotions on the pitch. As part of the resource, players also give their personal tips on what they do to help manage their emotions.

 

      3. Premier League Wellbeing Stars: Pupils can watch videos that explore the concept of social action and then create their very own wellbeing week full of kind acts to support others’ wellbeing. To inspire pupils, teachers can download the special Wellbeing Stars Calendar, which features some of the kind acts carried out by the Premier League Primary Stars community as part of the challenge.

 

Premier League Primary Stars is here to help teachers support their pupils, whether that be in the classroom or at home. Wellbeing is also important outside of the classroom and these resources are designed to help engage families as well as being flexible and accessible for home learning.

 

Dr Hazel Harrison continues to discuss Premier League Primary Stars’ commitment to supporting wellbeing in more than 18,000 primary schools: “Alongside their resources that focus on improving pupils’ mental health, the Wellbeing Stars Calendar from Premier League Primary Stars is a great way for young people to spread kindness throughout their community, connect with others and focus on the good stuff.’’

 

 

All Premier League Primary Stars resources are mapped against the National Curriculum and are suitable for use in primary schools across England and Wales. All resources are free to download and can either be used off-the-shelf or tailored to suit teachers’ needs. Join over 50,000 teachers and sign up at plprimarystars.com