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Surfers Against Sewage are launching free Teacher Training to help you get the most out of the Plastic Free Schools Programme.

 

This is a call to action. Primary School Teachers – sign up to our new training and gain the skills and confidence to lead change-making environmental education in your classroom. Let’s inspire a new generation of Ocean Activists.

How? Simply make sure you are signed up to our Plastic Free Schools Programme where you will receive the link to save your place.

Who is Surfers Against Sewage?

Surfers Against Sewage is a charity of water lovers campaigning to protect the ocean and all it makes possible, by taking action on the ground that triggers change from the top.  

Find out more about Surfers Against Sewage here.

 

What is Plastic Free Schools?

Plastic Free Schools is a system shaking, change making, pupil-led education programme. This ground-breaking programme equips and empowers young activists with the tools to create positive, lasting environmental change and teaches pupils that they should never underestimate the power of their voice.

Pupils will learn how to run their own campaign in the fight against single-use plastic; from challenging government and industry to creating tangible change in their schools and forming sustainable habits that will continue into adulthood.

Most importantly, Plastic Free Schools is free and easy to sign up to. Simply click here.

Want to find out more? Click here.

 

Why is this programme so important?

We know that in order to thrive as people, we need a thriving ocean. By signing up to this programme, you are taking direct action to address the ocean and climate crisis. With millions of young activists on board, we can end plastic pollution on our beaches by 2030.

When and where is the Teacher Training?

Wednesday 12th October – 16:30-18:00

Tuesday 1st November – 16:30-18:00

The sessions will take place online.

Why sign up to our new Teacher Training?

In these sessions, you will deep dive into what Plastic Free Schools is all about. You will further your knowledge, understanding and skill set needed to successfully deliver the programme and continue to fuel environmental action in your primary school and beyond.

What will the two sessions involve?

Session One: Wednesday 12th October 16:30-18:00

  • How to become accredited – the five objectives of PFS Primary.
  • From the classroom – talks from teachers on their PFS journey.
  • What are the challenges to accreditation? How do we overcome these? Small group discussion to generate and share new ideas to take back to your school.

 

Session Two: Tuesday 1st November 16:30-18:00

  • How to get your school onboard – tips and tricks from the teachers who have succeeded at this.
  • The PFS resource library – a digital scavenger hunt to explore the resources that have been created to help you on your PFS journey.
  • Launching the PFS online community – VIP access to the new online community – connecting teachers across the Plastic Free Schools network to each other, and to the SAS team.

 

 

How to save your place:

This training is exclusively for primary school teachers who are signed up to our Plastic Free Schools programme. If you’re not already set up, don’t panic! You can easily and quickly register your school here. (Did we mention it’s completely free?).

If you’re already onboard, you’ll find a notice with the link and event password at the top of your dashboard. Log in here.

 

Any questions? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch at education@sas.org.uk

Adveco AD Wall-Mounted Water Heating For Education Properties

The AD range of high-efficiency wall-mounted condensing gas-fired water heaters from hot water specialists Adveco is designed to provide a compact, high capacity and reliable method for delivering instantaneous hot water to a school building

AD wall-mounted is a range of ‘A’ class energy efficient water heaters available in three rated heat outputs, 27 kW (AD16), 33 kW (AD22) and 61 kW (AD37). When combined with a water cylinder, AD wall-mounted helps meet peak withdrawals without increasing the water heater power. AD wall-mounted can also integrate with solar thermal systems to supply top-up heating when solar radiation during winter months is not enough to guarantee the required temperature for DHW demands.

The water heater features a single high-quality patented heat exchanger constructed from a continuous, non-welded run of AISI 316 Ti (Titanium) stabilised stainless steel, providing exceptional construction strength and corrosion resistance. With radial variable circulation, the heat exchanger recovers the latent heat of the flue gas, improving heat transfer for a net efficiency of up to 107% to produce domestic hot water (DHW). The AD wall-mounted water heaters support either natural gas or LPG connections.

Bill Sinclair, technical director, Adveco said, “For property renovation where space is at a premium or when existing gas appliances need modernising, the AD wall-mounted range delivers highly efficient operation in a compact form factor. The titanium-stabilised stainless-steel construction of the AD’s heat exchangers is also the perfect response to counter the concerns of corrosion in soft, or softened water applications. “

With an efficient pre-mix burner and ultra-low NOₓ (16-29 mg/kWh) and CO (11-19 ppm) emissions, the AD range is an eco-friendly way to serve a domestic hot water (DHW) system with a net efficiency of up to 107%. The unit additionally features a high 1:8 modulation ratio to ensure maximum efficiency even during periods of low demand.

By reducing energy consumption, AD can deliver operational savings of up to 30% compared to traditional water heaters for a wide range of education applications that demand large production of DHW, such as gym & sports facilities, wash rooms and catering.

Also included is an intuitive inbuilt controller with LCD display that ensures full temperature control and a maintenance self-check of primary components and functions.

www.adveco.co

 

Seckford Education Trust and Springwell School partner with Kooth Work to support employee mental health

Seckford Education Trust and Springwell School have become the latest educational establishments to partner with Kooth Work to support the mental health and wellbeing of employees. 

 

Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Kooth Work will provide access to online counselling and wellbeing support when and where they need it.

 

Seckford Education Trust is a multi-academy trust running primary and secondary schools across Suffolk and East Anglia. Southampton based Springwell is a primary school for children aged 4 – 11 years with complex learning difficulties. Both selected Kooth Work for its holistic approach to mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. 

 

Kooth Work provides employees with a safe, confidential and welcoming place to access early intervention and non-judgemental mental health support. For both organisations this includes all teachers, teaching support staff, on-site staff and governors. For Springwell School, Kooth Work will also be made available to the partners of employees or one family member aged 18+.

 

Kooth Work offers a digital mental health platform that allows employees to book one-to-one text based sessions with experienced counsellors and wellbeing practitioners via anonymous chat. They are accessible without waitlists or thresholds to meet. In addition, Kooth Work provides an easily accessible, fully safeguarded and pre-moderated community with a library of peer and professional created content.  

 

Kooth Work’s Flourish Mental Health Check runs alongside the award-winning anonymous digital mental health platform. It is a benchmark tool that, unlike others, is based on the ‘whole self’, and recognises that home life and past experiences play an important part in people’s wellbeing at work. 

 

The anonymous insights garnered from the Flourish Mental Health Check will help Seckford Education Trust, and Springwell School identify priority issues, ensuring that they invest in the right initiatives, as well as developing and implementing new policies, practises and support programmes, that meet the needs of all staff. This will aid in the creation of a mentally healthy workplace where everyone can flourish and no one is left behind. 

 

Kooth Work will help Seckford Education Trust, and Springwell School with the retention and recruitment of new staff, positioning both as an ‘employee of choice’. 

 

Dr Lynne Green, Chief Clinical Office at Kooth Work, commented: 

 

“Seckford Education Trust and Springwell School are leading the way in the education sector with their mission to promote positive mental health and emotional wellbeing within their schools. It’s not often easy for those working in the education sector – be it teaching or support staff – to ask for help and reach out for support with mental health and wellbeing concerns at work. This is why it is extremely important for multi-academy trusts and schools to both check-in and proactively support the mental wellbeing of their workforce.

 

“Digital mental health services can help to reduce the stigma often associated with mental health. Our Kooth Work offering does this by providing people with a choice of safe and confidential options that match with their individual needs, as well as being accessible in a way they feel comfortable with. We are looking forward to supporting everyone in their community of schools; from teachers, staff and governors, to pupils and their families with any mental health concern. However big or small the issue, Kooth Work is available to help when and where it is needed”

 

Mark Barrow, CEO at Seckford Education Trust explained:

 

“At Seckford Education Trust, we understand the pressures that our talented team faces both in and outside of work. To ensure all staff have access to the support they need, we wanted to partner with a mental health and wellbeing service that truly understood their needs. Kooth does this and will enable us to make sure that our staff members have the tools at their fingertips to help them maintain good mental health. We encourage everyone across our community to sign up to the service.”

 

Lisa Needham and Maria Burrows, Co-Headteachers at Springwell School added: 

 

“Our decision to commission Kooth Work at Springwell School is based on our underlying premise that a positive, caring ethos and environment, where staff are listened to and feel supported and appreciated will have a significant impact on the wellbeing of staff and, most importantly, the children. We recognise that, when wellbeing and mental health are prioritised  school staff have the potential to flourish and Kooth Work provides a safe and secure means of accessing support from a professional team of qualified counsellors.”  

 

Kooth Work is the only digital mental health provider to hold a UK-wide accreditation from the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). It is available to Seckford Education Trust and Springwell School  employees immediately, once registered, they can access the platform via any internet-connected device such as a laptop, smartphone or tablet. 

 

Milton Keynes’ first fossil-free ‘all-through’ school opens its doors

A brand new all-through school in the parish of Wavendon in the south east of Milton Keynes welcomed its first pupils today (Tuesday 6th September).

 

Glebe Farm School, part of the Inspiring Futures through Learning (IFtL) multi-academy trust, has opened its doors to 250 children and this will eventually rise to over 1,530 pupils. As an all-through school, children can enter at reception and stay all the way through to Year 11. There is also a 39-place full-time equivalent nursery.

 

“Our inclusive, all-through school will provide exceptional education for children from three years old to 16 years – what a privilege it is for us to be able to engage, inspire, shape and grow with our young people for such an impactful period of their lives,” explained Headteacher Matthew Shotton. “Underpinned by our strong Glebe Farm School values of Integrity, Responsibility, Endeavour, Bravery and Empathy, our school will be the ‘beating heart’ of its new and developing community. Serving children and young people from the immediate residential area and nearby towns and villages, we will offer unrivalled curriculum and enhancement opportunities, enabling pupils and students from all backgrounds to pursue their interests and fulfil their potential. As a centre of innovation, equipped with the latest education technology, and a commitment to outstanding pastoral support, we will give every learner the tools to be successful in the ever-evolving and challenging modern world. It is truly wonderful to welcome our first cohort of early years, reception, Year 1, Year 2 and Year 7 children.”

Sarah Bennett, Chief Executive of IFtL, said: “Glebe Farm School has already started on its journey shaping the future through its innovative and sustainable design and build. We are delighted that our doors are now open and we are excited and privileged to build the futures of all our young people, families, community and colleagues together. This is a school for everyone, and the local community will be able to enjoy its sports facilities, including indoor courts and outdoor pitches which can be accessed via a separate community entrance. We fully expect that Glebe Farm School will become a valuable space for community events. I would like to thank everyone who has made our vision of this school a reality and the inspirational school team that will continue its journey.”

 

Since 2015, Milton Keynes City Council has opened six new schools and expanded 22 others, creating thousands of new local school places. The council is well on track to be carbon neutral by 2030 and carbon negative by 2025, and in each case planners, architects and builders have aimed to have a positive impact on the environment by using clever designs and new, greener technologies.

 

Billed as Milton Keynes’ first fossil-free new build school, Glebe Farm School is ‘gas free’. Instead, air source heat pumps which absorb heat from the outside air provide all the energy needed for air and hot water. All lighting comes from ultra-efficient LEDs whilst hundreds of solar panels generate power for the building. Energy-saving technology such as zero carbon site hoarding and an onsite solar powered generator were employed during the construction, minimising any impacts on the local environment. 840 trees, donated by the Woodland Trust, have been planted on the grounds. The school was funded and developed by Milton Keynes City Council with building works carried out by Morgan Sindall Construction.

Cllr Zoe Nolan, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “This major new school is essential for the future of this fast growing area of the city. The whole site has been designed to have a minimal impact on the environment and will provide access to high-quality facilities for the local community. I am excited that this is an all-through school. Glebe Farm offers continuous support for pupils as they progress through full-time education. This creates unique opportunities for pupil-led mentoring, removes any anxiety associated with moving between schools, and provides stability and certainty for families. As Milton Keynes continues to expand, we will continue to invest in and prioritise our network of high-quality, local schools.”

 

“It is a great feeling to know that families and children are walking through the doors of Glebe Farm School,” added David Rowsell, area director for Morgan Sindall Construction in the Northern Home Counties. “This project is a great showcase for how to rapidly create a high-end educational environment that is not just at the cutting edge of sustainable design but which has been delivering tangible social benefits to the local community at every stage of its development. Thanks to this combination of factors, the local area has a significantly increased student capacity and the school’s pupils will go through their educational journey in Milton Keynes’ first fossil-free school. The close and collaborative working relationship we have enjoyed with the project’s stakeholders, including Milton Keynes City Council, Inspiring Futures through Learning and the Pagabo national framework for major construction works, has been key to creating such a transformational facility.”

Ecclesiastical urges schools to take steps as Met Office announces storm names for 2022/23

 

Ecclesiastical Insurance is encouraging schools to take precautions to help prevent potentially catastrophic damage to property ahead of the winter storm season.

It comes as the Met Office has published its annual list of storm names for the upcoming storm season serving as a reminder to property owners to prepare for extreme weather.

In November last year Storm Arwen caused widespread disruption and damage as winds in excess of 90mph battered the country. The Observatory School in Bidston, Wirral was forced to close after part of its roof blew off, travelling 75 metres and smashing into play equipment.

Schools can help to prevent experiencing damage to property by carrying out some basic steps before the storms arrive:

  • Arrange for any bushes or trees that could damage windows in high winds to be trimmed back
  • Ensure the property is properly maintained throughout the year paying particular attention to areas most likely to bear the brunt of any storm such as the roof
  • Secure loose objects in the grounds of the school that could be blown into windows
  • If working at height, make sure that all health and safety steps are taken or appoint a professional contractor to carry out the work
  • Close and securely fasten doors and windows, particularly those on the windward side of the building and especially large doors

Schools should also prepare a recovery plan which covers how to deal with severe weather events which cause flooding, high winds or other damage to minimise the risk to property.

It is also important to keep safe during after storms. Do not visit the school to repair any damage while the storm is in progress. If you have to go into the property or are inside the school during a storm, make sure to enter and leave the building through doors on the sheltered side, closing them behind you. When the storm has passed if there is damage, and it is covered under your policy, contact your insurer as soon as possible and always use reputable contractors to make safe fallen trees or walls.

Jo Whyman, risk management director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, said: “The storm name announcement by the Met Office always generates a lot of interest and as an insurer we are no different. We know the impact storms can have on our customers and this is a timely reminder for them to take steps to prepare for the winter.

“Some of the steps customers can take include carrying out simple visual checks of the property to identify issues such as overgrown vegetation, loose roof materials, damaged guttering, or blocked rainwater gullies and allow simple maintenance measures to be put in place.

“Similarly, checking of drains and gullies in the land surrounding your buildings, such as access roads and car parks, is key to identifying potential flooding risks in advance of any storm conditions. Signing up to receive the latest alerts from the Met Office or the Environment Agency can also help to prepare for the worst.

“As ever, our expert risk teams are on hand to deal with any risk management queries customers may have – while our dedicated team of claims handlers will be able to support them if they are affected by storms this winter.”

More guidance and advice is available on the Ecclesiastical website.

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGION INTRODUCES LIVE LESSONS TO ITS NEW REMEMBRANCE RESOURCES FOR SCHOOLS

The RBL’s latest teaching materials include two brand new live lessons – a poetry project with spoken word poet Tomos Roberts and a special Live Remembrance Assembly for schools

The charity has also added to its existing range of Remembrance lesson plans, assemblies and bitesize activities

The Royal British Legion, together with the National Literacy Trust, has launched a new range of free teaching resources to help children in Key Stages 1-5 understand the importance of Remembrance and its relevance today.

The charity is encouraging teachers to register their interest in two exciting new live learning opportunities – the Alive with Poppies poetry project taking place from 3rd – 6th October, and the Live Remembrance Assembly on the 11th November. Using his specially commissioned poem for the Festival of Remembrance last year as inspiration, renowned poet Tomos Roberts will be delivering four virtual lessons helping children plan, create and perform their own Remembrance poetry. The Live Remembrance Assembly on Armistice Day, co-produced by the National Literacy Trust, will be an interactive live stream for Key Stage 2 classes, exploring why we remember through poetry and music and bringing children across the country together for the Two Minute Silence.

This year the resources will explore the theme of ‘service,’ highlighting the role of the civilian emergency services, the work of the intelligence services, and the service provided by our Armed Forces. During times of conflict or national emergency, service can also include a wider group of people, for example, the thousands of volunteers that supported the NHS during the Covid pandemic. The teaching resources will help explore what service means, the backgrounds of those who serve, and the impact it has on them and their families.

The Royal British Legion’s Remembrance Lead, Philippa Rawlinson, says:

“The live lessons for schools are an innovative addition to RBL’s new range of materials to help teachers show the next generation why it is important to remember those who serve. Understanding our shared heritage of Remembrance helps bring communities together and ensures we recognise the service and sacrifice of past and present generations. These new resources will help us ensure Remembrance is understood by and available to all children in every community in the UK.”

Fay Lant, Head of School Programmes at the National Literacy Trust, says:

“We are so proud to be partnering with the Royal British Legion for Remembrance. The new live lessons will provide a creative, interactive way for children to learn about the importance of Remembrance whilst also improving their literacy skills. Combined with the updated resources, activities and lesson plans, schools across the country will be able to get involved with Remembrance and explore the theme of service. We look forward to working closely with the Legion to produce these events and activities and help children understand the relevance of Remembrance in the modern day.”

The RBL is committed to passing the torch of Remembrance to the next generation, ensuring that children have a comprehensive understanding of what Remembrance is and why it is relevant to their lives today. As time passes since the Second World War, when a generation experienced conflict first-hand, the RBL aims to teach children to appreciate how today’s Armed and civilian services continue to defend our democratic freedoms and way of life. Designed to engage children through poetry, music and art, these resources will help pupils discover how Remembrance traditions have evolved and how they might grow and change in the future.

The Royal British Legion’s free Teaching Remembrance resources can be downloaded on the RBL’s website:  www.rbl.org.uk/teachingremembrance.

To register interest in the Alive with Poppies Poetry Workshops or the Schools Festival of Remembrance, email remembrance@britishlegion.org.uk  

The latest Teaching Remembrance Resources include:

  • Alive With Poppies Poetry Workshops, 3rd – 6th October

Four virtual lessons, supported by digital resources, and delivered with poet Tomos Roberts. Children will use the original poem ‘Alive with Poppies’ as inspiration for their own Remembrance poetry.

  • Live Remembrance Assembly Friday 11th November 10.30-11.05am co-produced with the NLT

The interactive live streamed Remembrance Assembly will explore the meaning of Remembrance through poetry and music and bring KS2 school children across the country together for the Two Minute Silence.

  • School Assemblies (KS1-5)

The new versions of our extremely popular annual assemblies, which focus this year on how we can remember by exploring service – who serves, how they serve and why they serve. Case studies, photography and film provide examples of the different types of service that keep us safe.

  • Cadet Unit Meeting Assemblies (Navy, Army, RAF, Police, Fire & Ambulance)

Using the KS1-5 School Assembly format we create tailored resources for each of the Cadet sections, pitched to a KS3 age range. Using case studies and images from their own Cadet Sections, children explore Service and Remembrance.

  • KS2-3 Service Class Lessons – These are school-style class lessons which provide children with an understanding of Service and Remembrance.
  • KS2-3 Bitesize Activities – These are quick and engaging short activities helping children to understand different aspects of Remembrance and their links to Service in ‘bitesize’ sessions.

 

For further information please contact:

 

Emily Prestidge, PR Officer, The Royal British Legion: 07458 021735 /

eprestidge@britishlegion.org.uk

Adveco ARDENT Electric Boilers For More Sustainable Hot Water

ARDENT is a new range commercial electric boilers from hot water specialist Adveco. ARDENT can be combined with heat pump systems to provide a high-temperature energy source during the coldest months, or, as part of an indirect hot water system, can help eliminate damaging scale build-up commonly seen on direct electrical immersion heaters in hard water areas.

“Designed to serve an indirect water heater or heating system, multiple electric heating elements immersed into ARDENT’s integrated water storage tank provide a rapid and reliable source of thermal energy for estate managers seeking to avoid a reliance on gas energy supplies,” said Bill Sinclair, technical director, Adveco.

Encompassing wall-hung and floor-standing variants with heat outputs from 9 to 100 kW, ARDENT provides an easy to integrate, high capacity, reliable, and compact response for electric hot water and central heating demands in schools and tertiary education buildings.

ARDENT commercial electric hot water boilers, use electricity to more efficiently to provide rapid heating with consistent water temperatures. With stepped power control ARDENT reduces start-up current and provides optimum heating output by economically adjusting the output when approaching the set point temperature. Range rating allows the maximum output to be limited to reduce wear on the heating elements and operate within the power availability on site. ARDENT includes integrated overheat protection as standard to ensure safe operation.

With no requirements for flueing, ARDENT will typically benefit from lower installation costs and can be an easier to install option for smaller plant rooms or awkward spaces. With silent operation and no combustion by-products ARDENT electric boilers offer a safer more sustainable option for water heating.

The ARDENT Standard 24 kW and 36 kW model features three heating elements with thermostat input and output control to an external pump.

The ARDENT Plus 9kW, 12 kW and 24 kW models feature two or three heating elements with six or nine circuits controlled by the front-mounted controller with LCD display.  Models include an integrated expansion vessel, relief valve, and circulation pump. Additional controls for a 3-port valve and fault output are available.

For larger-scale applications, ARDENT is also available as a floor-standing appliance with 60 kW, 80 kW and 100 kW heat outputs. Stepped element control is included, as well as an automatic air relief valve, safety valve, and temperature and pressure sensors. The integral controller boasts an LCD display and fault output.   

www.adveco.co

askOLA & YPO: a future for EdTech

Schools are, by and large, back to functioning in a way that is similar to before the pandemic. In-person teaching, and the use of physical resources are once again the basis of how teachers educate children, as opposed to a reliance on online technologies and digital learning methods.

However, during the pandemic, YPO, one of the UK’s largest public sector buying organisations in the UK, surveyed educators and found that 79% believed the crisis would have a lasting impact on teaching. Respondents outlined their belief that the result of this would be a hybrid approach that combined traditional ways of teaching with educational technologies and online resources.

Digital technology served teachers well during the pandemic – they were an absolute necessity and successfully allowed for education to continue whilst many other sectors were brought to a halt. It’s no surprise that teachers continue to find these tools useful, as professionals in schools continue to face a myriad of challenges ; be that to overcome teacher shortages or assist students with their mental health.

As a key support to the sector, YPO is always focused on finding new ways to alleviate pressures felt by education professionals. Recently, this has led to a partnership with edtech tutoring platform, askOLA.

askOLA

askOLA is an online, on-demand platform developed by GLUU, which acts as an alternative to private tutoring. Young people can access professional academic support from online learning assistants(OLAs) via the platform – qualified and vetted professionals who deliver personalised academic coaching across English, maths and science – whenever pupils feel that they need it.

YPO has always been a helping hand for schools, identifying and providing high-quality resources to assist with learning. askOLA is a tool that provides appropriate out-of-school support to children, whilst relieving pressure on teachers, who can then focus on in-classroom teaching. This is a particularly important benefit given the current teacher shortages that the country is facing.

Teacher shortages

According to a recent survey from the Association of School and College Leaders, 95% of schools are currently experiencing difficulties recruiting staff. Teacher shortages, which result from a culmination of factors including a lack of national recruitment and low retention rates, are having a real impact on the education system and the students within it. For example, 69% of schools are using non-subject specialists to teach classes. askOLA and YPO’s partnership can help to alleviate some of this pressure.

In a term-length pilot at Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust, the askOLA platform extended student’s learning time by 1,500 hours. Previously, this would have made up for lost learning time resulting from Covid-19, but going forward, schools can rely on askOLA to provide additional support that teachers are currently too stretched to give themselves.

With new research from the National Foundation for Educational Research estimating that shortages will continue until 2025, its important that schools consider this type of alternative support to ease the pressure on teachers in the long-term.

Wellbeing

askOLA’s point of differentiation from other, similar platforms is that OLA’s are trained to check in on young people’s wellbeing alongside their provision of academic support. YPO’s research on education during the pandemic found that 64% of parents were concerned about their children’s mental health and wellbeing, and NHS figures show that the likelihood of a child experiencing a mental health disorder has increased following COVID-19, so it is imperative that the support extended to children covers this ground too.

In its pilot, students reported feeling that askOLA had helped them with their wellbeing, including stress felt over homework, anxiety about not knowing the answers to questions and general mental health. If students show signs of needing more serious mental health support, OLA’s are also able to point students in the direction of wellbeing resources or to a professional mental health support platform, Kooth.

Looking ahead

Investment in resources such as askOLA is absolutely key to the functioning and continued modernisation of the UKs education system, but it’s important to acknowledge that this must come alongside a consideration of how many young people can feasibly access these digital platforms when they are at home. YPO’s research found that ensuring digital inclusion was the biggest challenge that schools faced during the pandemic, so it must be a continued focus for young people to have access to basic digital services and technology.

It’s clear that digital learning methods have a place in the future of education; teachers and students alike value them strongly, and they can be developed in a way that pinpoints what the education system needs. Having education professionals fully embrace these technologies, and ensuring access to them for all pupils, is the next step.

 

 

Early trials of automarking software for maths papers indicate 99% accuracy

Automarking software developed by Cambridge AI company, Blutick, achieves 99% accuracy across marks in two GCSE papers when checked by a human marker.

 

Ofqual research suggests that, in maths, 30,000 students (4%) receive a mark which does not align with the ‘definitive grade’ given by the principal examiners. However, following a successful trial, an automated marking tool developed by Blutick was found to be 99% accurate when assessing scripts across two GCSE exam papers. This is an important step in helping to significantly reduce any margin of error, and ensure students receive the grades they deserve. 

Blutick is a Cambridge AI software company focused on teaching, learning and assessment in maths. The organisation is currently working with exam boards to improve marking consistency by augmenting and supporting the work done by examiners, and ultimately, champion a fair system for all students.

Once the automated marking was conducted across the exam papers, an examiner reviewed the students’ responses and the Blutick mark, correcting any marks where necessary and returning an accuracy rate of 98.6% to 98.75% by the AI software.

Currently, a sample of only 1.2% of questions are double marked (Ofqual 2018, p. 9). However, a 2013 review of literature on marking reliability research by Ofqual indicates the value of multiple marking for exam scripts. Despite this, it raises the recruitment of examiners, cost implications, time constraints and logistical issues as barriers to its introduction across the board. With other experts also disputing the accuracy of the current examination and grading system, this new automated marking software would help remove these barriers and challenges, increasing the feasibility of multiple marking.

Rob Percival, Blutick’s CEO and a former maths teacher, said:

“With so few questions double marked, there is a lot of scope for error. A system like this can review 100% of marked papers and flag potentially erroneous responses for further checking.

“It in no way replaces the work done by examiners, but instead acts as a safety net in ensuring more students get the grade they deserve with almost no extra cost or increased workload for examiners.”

Beyond eradicating errors, more automation in marking processes is a growing focus for exam boards and for Ofqual. With barriers to recruiting suitable examiners exacerbated by Covid, automarking software provides a solution to these problems that benefits students, teacher–examiners and exam boards.

Simon Armitage, Deputy Head at The Perse School, Cambridge, said:

“Whilst examination grades should never be the sole measure of ‘output’ from a school or the nature of any student’s achievements, it is self-evident that any grades must be fair.

“Anything that helps exam boards to deliver accurate results more reliably is good news for everyone – students, schools, universities and employers. It is one of the reasons why The Perse School has been pleased to be involved in the Blutick Maths project.

“If an Artificial Intelligence system is part of this improvement, then it also helps reduce inevitable human error and could help exam boards to circumnavigate the difficulties of finding well-qualified markers.”