The Benefits of Smart Defibrillator Monitoring For Schools – words by Matthew Margetts, Director at Smarter Technologies.

Defibrillators save lives – and smart defibrillator monitoring ensures this important equipment is locatable and in good working order in an emergency. From 20 January 2023, defibrillators have become mandatory in all state-funded schools. Research has shown that the use of a defibrillator for three to five minutes from the time of a cardiac arrest increases the chance of survival by 40%. The availability of these devices in schools is a meaningful way to safeguard the lives of students, parents, staff, and visitors to schools.

The government’s defibrillator programme includes the installation of heated defibrillator cabinets outside school gates, which are accessible by communities. There are also provisions for two defibrillators in some schools, with the intention to have a second defibrillator in sports centres or near pools where the risk of a cardiac event is higher.

This forms part of the government’s broader plans to equip communities in need with defibrillators. One thousand community defibrillators and more than 20,000 school defibrillators are expected to be installed from a £1 million defibrillator fund.

The effectiveness of this programme relies on these devices being well-maintained, free from tampering and theft, and in a condition that does not affect their functionality. By using Internet of Things (IoT) smart technologies, the maintenance and care of defibrillators is simplified for schools and other organisations, ensuring they perform as needed in life-threatening situations.

Here are some of the benefits of smart defibrillator monitoring to maximise the effectiveness of these important devices:


Smart technologies provide data insights on the status and condition of defibrillators and cabinets in real time. Some of the metrics include temperature, battery levels, status, faults, and location. This information is remotely accessible and can be viewed on a personalised dashboard. These smart solutions provide alerts on unusual or undesirable activity that inspire immediate action in the case of tampering or theft.

Especially in the case of cabinets that are located outdoors, extreme temperatures pose a worry for the continued operability of defibrillators. Many outdoor defibrillator cabinets are usually fitted with a thermostat that regulates temperature. Smart defibrillator monitoring provides real-time reports on temperature changes that may affect the effectiveness of defibrillators.

Manual monitoring is time consuming and resource intensive. Smart defibrillator monitoring automates these processes and removes the risk of oversight and human error. This empowers greater control and reduced timespans in addressing faults.


Caring for defibrillators traditionally involves regular manual inspections. This ensures, for example, that batteries have not reached their shelf life and confirms the presence of pads and accessories. The functionality of smart defibrillator monitoring outlined above is also used to achieve optimal defibrillator maintenance, allowing for maintenance audits and comprehensive record-keeping.

This is a pragmatic approach to preventative and corrective maintenance. Defibrillators themselves also last for about five to seven years depending on servicing and usage. Smart monitoring solutions keep a detailed record of the events throughout the lifecycle of individual machines to guide replacement as needed.

Smart defibrillator monitoring solutions, like those from Smarter Technologies Group, should have simple retrofit capabilities that align with different defibrillator models. Smart defibrillator monitoring is a powerful and inexpensive solution. Finding out that a defibrillator is not functioning or has been vandalised eats into the critical minutes following a cardiac event. This data reporting tool works to keep defibrillators operational and increase their potential to save lives.


About the author

Matthew Margetts is a Director at Smarter Technologies. His background includes working for blue-chip companies such as AppNexus, AOL/ Verizon, and Microsoft in the UK, Far East and Australia.

About Smarter Technologies

Smarter Technologies Group will help to digitally transform your organisation with our market-leading expertise in hardware, software and proprietary communications. 

Smarter Technologies tracks, monitors and recovers assets across the globe in real time, providing asset tracking systems to the open market and fulfilling the world’s most complex asset tracking requirements. Our services cover a vast array of business sectors, products and equipment from container or pallet tracking to military-grade devices; and can be used across a broad spectrum of industries. As a leading IoT company, we also provide smart building solutions for modern businesses, offering wire-free, battery-powered and low-cost IoT smart sensor technology. Our solutions will put an end to scheduled maintenance and help businesses utilise their building’s efficiency, benefitting from real-time alerts and facilities management tools that will bring them into the 21st century.

New energy education programme launched to help schools save on sky-high utility costs


‘Energy in Schools’ provides energy management and educational tools that could help schools save thousands of pounds per year on energy costs and reduce carbon emissions


The programme will provide schools with smart meters, technology devices and learning resources to encourage lower consumption and energy efficiency education amongst students


SMS plc, a fully integrated energy infrastructure company, and MyUtilityGenius (“MUG”), an energy consultancy, have launched Energy in Schools (“EiS”) to help schools in Britain significantly reduce energy costs and carbon emissions, and to engage pupils in learning about energy efficiency.


A recent survey by the school leaders’ union NAHT[i] found that almost all respondents (99%) were expecting energy costs over the next 12 months to continue rising, with 16% anticipating an increase of 200% or more. More than a third of respondents predicted a budget deficit by the end of 2023, directly impacting their ability to invest in teachers and support for children.


The EiS programme will provide schools with everything required to get started on their energy-saving journey, including a smart meter, easy-to-use smart device sensors, pocket-sized programmable single-board computers (Micro:bit), a TV display, training, support and teaching resources. The integrated solution uses the energy monitoring software to draw data from the smart meters, to monitor energy consumption, and feed it to the TV in order to display the energy dashboard clearly to school users. This enables the school to engage pupils, teachers and visitors in analysing usage and support the behaviour change required to help manage and reduce consumption.


A pilot scheme for EiS across 20 schools, found the following results[ii] were achieved:


  • Schools implementing EiS could achieve savings of c.7% of on energy costs;
  • 85% of school participants reported more confidence in their knowledge across energy and climate topics with a better understanding of how much energy they used and how to reduce it;
  • 89% of schools were motivated to take action to reduce energy consumption, incentivised by the metrics provided by the EiS platform.


EiS – which is designed to help schools align with the Department for Education’s (DfE) ‘Climate Change Strategy’ and the UK government’s wider net zero 2050 goal – uses Microsoft coding and provides tailored lesson plans aligned to key stage two and three, engaging pupils in STEM subjects on climate change and energy consumption. The lesson plans were developed and tested by PGCE qualified experts at University of Lancaster and are designed to support staff, teachers and pupils. In addition, advice, training and an optional audit of school buildings to identify energy saving opportunities can also be provided under the scheme.


Schools can apply for the EiS programme through the website Schools may be eligible for funding support to invest in the programme through the DfE, local councils, or their energy supplier.


Tom Woolley, Smart Product & Strategy Director at SMS, and spokesperson for Energy in Schools, said:


“Unprecedented energy price inflation means schools are under immense pressure to find cost savings. This means finding ways to mitigate the destructive impact of rising bills on school finances, and also reducing the education sector’s contribution to climate change more widely. Improving awareness and education of energy efficiency within schools, whilst providing easier access to technologies that can help schools and students better understand, manage, and reduce their consumption is one the simplest ways of achieving this.


“Energy in Schools is designed to empower schools with technologies and learning resources that can make them role models of sustainable energy use within our local communities, whilst also providing better opportunities for young people to engage practically with the net zero agenda. Ultimately, our goal is to help safeguard the future prospects of our school system, our children, and our planet.”



David Page, Deputy Head & Computing subject leader, Jennett’s Park Primary School:


“The Energy in Schools project has been fabulous. It has provided the children with a rich and meaningful context that has been truly empowering to them. They have taken responsibility to monitor the energy use across our school and make meaningful differences to energy consumption. The project has also strengthened their views of themselves as global citizens.”



[ii] Analysis conducted by CSE and Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and separately by Carbon Trust

Ed-tech isn’t all bad

~ How VoIP can improve e-learning for teachers and students ~


Almost a third of university courses still combine face-to-face teaching with online learning, data gathered by the BBC suggests. However, as one disgruntled student labels virtual education no more than a “glorified online streaming service”, how can educators deliver quality, virtually? Here, Ross Slogrove, UK and Ireland country manager at business phone system provider Ringover, explains how VoIP technology can help overcome these challenges.


In January 2023, the BBC reported that 28 per cent of university courses are still being taught the hybrid way, compared to just 4.1 per cent pre-pandemic. For some students, blending the physical with the virtual has been beneficial, offering greater flexibility and reducing time on campus. Others, however, report a drop in the quality of their education. For educators, succeeding in 2023 has become a balancing act — offering the flexibility of hybrid education, without risking a subpar educational experience.


Introducing VoIP

For hybrid education to work effectively, educators and their students need access to the right technology. Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, can allow educational facilities to merge their telephone and computer networks in a way that’s more secure, cost-effective and easy-to-use.


VoIP enables calls through the internet, rather than a fixed telephone line. By 2025, it’s going to become an absolute essential that all educational facilities replace traditional legacy services with internet-based calling. BT will switch off the public switched telephone network (PSTN) in just two years’ time and, giving the complexity of transferring multiple teaching departments, back offices and administrative bureaus, it’s best to act now rather than wait for the deadline.


The sooner the education sector acts, the sooner it can reap the benefits of VoIP. Having a VoIP telephone system in place, integrated into a customer relationship management (CRM) system, forms the backbone of any ed-tech stack. Not only will it help educators deliver better quality online teaching, VoIP can also be used for multiple other facets of education customer service, from prospecting to future students and helpdesk support, to executing marking campaigns and streamlining email management.


Securing the space

A huge benefit of VoIP, that also helps deliver a better education customer service, is its security credentials. All educational facilities keep large volumes of data on record, including student contact details, performance logs, medical information and attendance records. Keeping this data safe from security breaches is crucial, but old analogue phone systems are more vulnerable to hacking. In fact, it’s reported that just over 40 per cent of primary schools and 70 per cent of secondary schools experienced cyber breaches between 2021 and 2022.


One of the main cyber threats facilities can face is through a Voice over Misconfigured Internet Telephones (VoMIT) tool, where cybercriminals steal voice snippets and confidential information directly from calls. However, a cloud-based VoIP system encrypts calls to protect content, rendering it unreadable if it is hacked.


Bringing confidence back

One of the biggest barriers teachers face when delivering high-quality virtual lessons is the lack of confidence. And, three years on from the pandemic, a lack of digital skills still impacts the education sector.


The 21st Century Teachers report, published in July 2022, found that 20 per cent of teachers say they have little or no experience using digital technology for teaching, and 48 per cent feel increased work stress due to the lack of digital technology integrated into their teaching. Elsewhere, a YouGov poll of 536 staff revealed that only 21 per cent of teachers felt ‘very confident’ with online learning.


So how can VoIP make teachers feel more at ease with online learning? Firstly, a VoIP system like Ringover’s encompasses a range of communication tools such as in-app chat, video calling and SMS messaging, which are easily connected with existing CRM integrations, APIs and educational tools.


This unification of communication tools and technology provides educators with some relief knowing that a VoIP phone system works alongside their existing teaching technologies and doesn’t require any further technical skill or experience to manage.


With the reception of hybrid learning still unbalanced, it is essential educational facilities keep customer service in mind for every one of their deliverables. Going hybrid has presented some obstacles, but VoIP can change that. The ease at which VoIP can integrate with existing systems and improve teacher and student experience takes the challenge out of delivering at a distance.


New book REDCAP released by Purple Mash Publishing with free downloadable resources and additional material for Purple Mash schools

REDCAP, an inspirational and heart warming tale written to help children appreciate how love can overcome hardship, has been brought to life by Purple Mash Publishing, complete with a teachers pack accessible for all schools and a suite of supporting downloadable interactive activities available for Purple Mash users.


REDCAP is the uplifting story of a little boy who lives with his mother in an enchanted wood. After she falls ill, REDCAP is determined to look after her and make her well again.


As a little boy, REDCAP faces many challenges in his quest to navigate the unrelenting woods. but he discovers that he possesses infinite strength, self-confidence and a burning desire to never give up. Helped by his woodland friends, Robby Robin, Sammy Squirrel, Softy Sheepdog and a woodsman called Mr Bobbins. REDCAP realises that anything is possible when you have love, determination and good friends by your side.


The book is published by Purple Mash Publishing, part of the 2Simple group, who are the creators of Purple Mash – an award-winning cross curricular website for primary school children, enabling them to explore and enhance their knowledge in a fun and creative way. Cloud-based, it delivers an exciting mash-up of curriculum focused activities, creative tools, programs and games.


Purple Mash resources are currently used by over 11,000 schools and educational establishments across the UK. 


To support the publication of REDCAP, Purple Mash has created a selection of printable teaching resources including quizzes, character interviews, diary entry and storyboarding. All have been designed by experienced educational professionals to optimise learning, with the free resources focusing on the book whilst the additional Purple Mash activities hone in on the key themes raised during REDCAP’S adventures.


Commenting on the publication of REDCAP, Nigel Canin, Co-Founder of 2Simple said: “We are delighted to bring the adventures of REDCAP to primary school children in a way which is informative and accessible to all. The teaching resources that support this book provide the perfect opportunity to extend discussions into the classroom and apply the themes to everyday life in a way that promotes inclusivity, compassion and camaraderie,”


A QR code is available to access free printable teaching resources. Purple Mash subscribers can access additional interactive online resources, just search REDCAP inside Purple Mash.


To start a free trial of Purple Mash or request a quote, click here.

Trinity Sixth Form Academy wins Dynabook devices in BETT competition to revolutionise learning.

Trinity Sixth Form Academy is an education institution exclusively for Year 12 and 13 students, located in West Yorkshire, England. Rated as outstanding by Ofsted, the school offers a wide variety of A-level and BTEC courses, and while only two years old, is growing fast with 700 students already.


The need to innovate, adapt to the increasingly digital world, and ensure the best tools possible for students, has been a crunch point for Trinity Sixth Form Academy ever since the pandemic bought with it a new age of education. Hybrid learning revolutionised what students expect from their educational experience, and a want to align more closely with the technology they use in their everyday lives.


To help supercharge this digital transition, Trinity Sixth Form Academy won a competition for 30 Satellite Pro C40-G Dynabook devices following their attendance at BETT 2022, the world’s leading education technology show. Implementation of the laptops proved seamless and efficient, arriving within two months, and ready to plug and play in time for the new school year, without the need for any additional support.


The impact the devices delivered for student and staff collaboration was significant. The Satellite Pro C40-G devices came equipped with the full Microsoft 365 office suite, and opened new lines of digital communication across the school via the Teams collaboration tool. Assemblies and large group meetings are also now able to run entirely across Microsoft Teams, allowing students to log on anywhere and connect, with the option to record sessions so they can easily catch up as needed. 


Prior to the Dynabook devices, there were limited options to store documents electronically or via the cloud. Now with the Satellite Pro C40-G devices, everything, from saving and sharing is done over the cloud, removing the stress of students submitting their work in paper form. The ability to host electronically was cited as a key benefit by the students, who all have their own folder system set up on Microsoft Teams so they can save and share work with confidence. The ultra-fast charging capabilities also proved perfect for the increasingly mobile learning environment of the sixth form, enabling devices to remain powered all day long.


Following the success of the devices, Trinity Sixth Form Academy has achieved its aim of transitioning to digitally led, reliable education and is looking into additional devices from Dynabook. This will ensure all staff and students feel the benefits this fleet has had on the learning experience.


Oliver Alcock, Director of IT at Trinity Sixth Form Academy, said “We were delighted when we won the competition following our attendance at BETT. It is so important that we move with technological innovation to bolster the education of our students. The devices supplied by Dynabook enabled us to achieve this goal, and the feedback from our students has been overwhelming positive, who prefer using the Satellite Pro C40-G laptops for schoolwork over old ways of working as it enhances remote collaboration. The devices have been reliable, and we have seen first-hand how this technology is supporting our student body in their education, which is the number one priority for us.”


Dawn Henderson, Education Sales Lead at Dynabook Europe, said, “Dynabook’s attendance at BETT aims to promote how digital learning is the future of education, so we were very excited to take part in this competition, and give the opportunity to Trinity Sixth Form to experience the benefits of this technology first hand. This has proved to be a great success, as Trinity Sixth Form is looking to continue its work with us in the future, so we can bring our technology to more students and help enhance digital education.”

TikTok teacher Kit Brown helps young people discuss diversity with help of free Premier League school resources

The end of last week marked the two-year anniversary of the launch of the Premier League’s No Room For Racism Action Plan, a key commitment of which is supporting communities and the education of young people on topics such as inclusion.  To mark this moment, TikTok teacher Kit Brown, led a special lesson with pupils on diversity.


Premier League Primary Stars provides teachers in England and Wales access to free downloadable curriculum-linked resources covering English, Maths, PE and PSHE, helping to support children’s learning both in the classroom and on the sports field.


Pupils at Martins Wood Primary School in Stevenage, where Mr. Brown is a teacher, received a Premier League Primary Stars assembly, learning about the League’s core values of being ambitious, inspiring, connected and fair before pupils could have their photo taken with the Premier League Trophy.


From there, the Premier League Trophy visited Mr. Brown’s Hazel Class, where Year 4 pupils discussed allyship, listened on as they had questions on diversity answered by Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira, before they designed a football shirt to promote diversity in a team.


Commenting on the free resources available for teachers, Mr. Brown said: “All the Premier League’s resources on anti-discrimination are fantastic.

“The lessons where I’ve based them on Premier League Primary Stars resources have been some of the most powerful lessons that I’ve had.

“Being a person of colour, now a teacher of colour, having those conversations a lot more and having them more in the classroom have been [beneficial] to me.

“Not only are [the resources] easy to deliver, but they also give you that starting point to open the door to what can be tricky conversations.

“The resources are really fun, they’re really engaging. You get the children out of their seats, you get the children being creative, you get the children to really think about those difficult conversations and how they can apply the values from them into real life.”


Mr. Brown is one of 8,900 teachers who has helped engage more 267,000 young people in primary schools across England and Wales, using Premier League Primary Stars No Room For Racism resources.


The free lesson plans and activities available via cover equality, diversity and inclusion, allyship and stereotypes, encouraging important conversations at both Key Stages 1 and 2 (five to 11-year-olds).

Take a look at Premier League Primary Stars No Room For Racism, Racism and Inclusion, resources here.


You can hear more from Kit and pupils at Martin Wood Primary School here


Since launching in March 2019, No Room For Racism has brought together the League’s work against racial discrimination and the Action Plan is embedded across all Premier League activity. 


Over the last five seasons, match rounds have highlighted the ongoing action undertaken by the League and clubs and send a clear message to fans, urging them to take action when they see or hear racism and the work done via Premier League Primary Stars plays a key part in the process of educating pupils about what it means to be an ally and what can be done to end racism.


Premier League Primary Stars offers a range of resources, mapped to National Curriculum topics in English and PSHE, which aim to educate pupils about the negative impacts of racism and what we can do to tackle it. Visit for more information.  



Vital Essex SEN school upgrades underway

Morgan Sindall Construction’s Essex business has begun work onsite to provide a new extension and renovate parts of the Cedar Hall SEN school in Benfleet, Essex. 

The tier one contractor was appointed to deliver the £4.3 million project by Essex County Council (ECC). When complete, the upgrades will enable the school to teach an additional 80 students in a high-quality environment tailored to the requirements of its pupils.  

The construction work was procured through Essex County Council’s Construction Framework 2 (ECF2) and is being delivered in partnership with design and property consultants Concertus. ECF2 is a local government programme designed to rejuvenate elements of the local area to meet modern requirements, such as a growing demand for SEN facilities.  

Scheduled to be ready for the September 2023 term, the new development includes a two-storey main building complete with admin space, five classrooms, art room, library and a vehicle maintenance workshop to support the current curriculum. 

As part of Morgan Sindall’s Intelligent Solutions approach, modern methods of construction (MMC) are being utilised throughout the project. This includes the use of Structured Insulated Panels (SIPs) as a key aspect of the new two-storey building’s construction. 

Cedar Hall school works with children aged 5-16 with moderate learning difficulties and additional needs. The design of the new spaces has been tailored to suit the needs of its students. This will include design features such as blocking corridors to soften the noise created by air vents. 

The Morgan Sindall team have factored in a number of logistical challenges, such as operating amongst the confines of an existing school complex while minimising disruptions for the pupils and staff. To ensure that the work will be completed on time intelligent scheduling of the works will play a key role, for example the extension of major works such as water mains during holiday periods. 

Cedar Hall SEN school is set to achieve an EPC rating of A*. An energy efficient building fabric, photovoltaic panels on the roof and an air source heating system will help the school to achieve its sustainability goals.  

Andrew Harper-Rowe, Morgan Sindall Construction’s Essex area director, said: “We’re aware of the invaluable role specialist educational facilities such as Cedar Hall play in delivering the educational support today’s communities require. Recent projections suggest that the number of SEN places across the country need to be significantly increased, and thanks to this extension Cedar Hall will be able to teach an extra 80 students in facilities that have been built with them in mind.  

“Having worked on similar projects in Essex, such as Ramsden Hall Academy in Billericay, we’re able to provide invaluable insights and experience into delivering SEN focused facilities. We look forward to working closely with Cedar Hall, Essex County Council and Concertus throughout the delivery of this vital work and we know that the upgraded site will provide an amazing educational experience for Benfleet’s pupils when it opens its doors later this year. 

Cllr Tony Ball, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Education Excellence, Life Long Learning and Employability, said: “Essex County Council’s Everyone’s Essex strategy set our desire to improve outcomes for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups including children with special educational needs and disabilities. 

“We are committed to ensuring every child in the county has the support they need to meet their educational potential, and that they receive all the necessary support and resources. 

“The total numbers of SEND school places in Essex is continuing to steadily increase and this extension at Cedar Hall School underlines our commitment to meeting rising demand within the county.” 

Liz Harris, architect at Concertus said: “We are really honoured to be working with Morgan Sindall Construction and Essex County Council to deliver the Cedar Hall SEN school expansion. Although construction has only just begun, we are confident that the high-quality teaching facilities being provided, will be instrumental to the learning and development of children in the local community.”  




Noise solutions for students and teachers

According to a study by Decibel Pro, a full classroom of children talking at the same time can reach decibel levels up to 95 dBA. Considering that the OSHA (the US Occupational Safety and Health Organization) permissible exposure limit is 90 dBA over an 8-hour day, levels above 90 decibels in schools can become very problematic and even dangerous. 


Experts at Framery agree, and their sound-proof pods offer noise solutions to students and teachers alike. Framery O pods allow for one student or faculty member to work in silence for heads down work, while Framery Q pods accommodate small groups and Framery 2Q pods allow for groups of up to six people. All Framery products are designed to use space as efficiently as possible. They feel spacious for users on the inside due to ergonomic design, while simultaneously making only a small footprint in the classroom. For example, Framery Q requires only 2.6 m² of floor space. 


Framery offers users a space to work on tasks that require concentration. The pods can be used for taking an exam and studying alone or for those seeking peace to concentrate, reading homework out loud, or for watching educational videos. For group projects, students in the pod can be as loud as they want, but thanks to its soundproofing, the classroom remains peaceful and quiet so as not to disturb those nearby. 

If you are interested in learning more about the importance of noise levels in classrooms and how Framery pods are designed to help students and faculty focus, I’d be happy to connect you with a member of the Framery team for more insight. 


Framery is an industry pioneer that cares about happiness. The brand’s product offering of pods, phone booths and soundproof private rooms solves noise and privacy issues in open-plan offices, making employees happier and more productive at dozens of the world’s leading companies, including Microsoft, Puma, Vodafone and Deloitte. In fact, 40% of all Forbes 100 companies use Framery.

See here for more.

In today’s tough teaching world, what makes a good primary leader? – Words by Emma Turner.


As Sir John Jones says in his book, “The magic weaving business”, great teachers possess “passion, wisdom and righteous indignation”. A good primary leader is no different.

Understanding the purpose of primary education is central to excellence in primary leadership. This may seem obvious, but when interpreting national guidance, research or training, the unique domain specific primary lens is needed through which to view associated advice, professional learning and development. In primary, Children join at the edges of toddlerhood and journey through to the cusp of adolescence. This is a huge developmental trajectory, and great primary leaders will develop teams who are skilled within and knowledgeable about the associated pedagogies and practices specific to the challenges, demands and joys of teaching children in this stage of their development.

The leader’s development of the culture of a school is key. It is possible to “feel” the culture of a school within moments of arriving on site. It permeates all aspects of the life and work of everyone in the building. It is not some will-o-the-wisp type magic that floats down corridors though, but the result of clear and shared understanding of what the school believes, champions and is willing to challenge. It is the school’s own passion, wisdom and righteous indignation. Culture is not set on an inspirational leadership day, nor does is reside in a verbose word document in a lever arch file somewhere or an expensive wall decal. It is developed through the relentless focus on everyone doing the right thing in the right way at the right time.

The behaviour of children in school, including their attitudes to learning and their in class learning behaviours are a key area for focus for any primary leader. Without the bedrock of behaviour established as a secure foundation, no further work in school can flourish. Behaviour and culture therefore need to be central pillars of the work of an effective school leader.

Balancing the demands of the primary curriculum are huge. With only approximately 228 hours available to teach the whole of the National Curriculum Key Stages 1 and 2 for each of the foundation subjects, devising a curriculum to serve your school community, inspire, challenge and support which at the same time is academically robust and suitably resourced is a vast challenge. Developing and accessing curriculum networks across primaries, liaising with secondary colleagues, and sharing subject leader expertise is therefore a key way in which to enrich and develop the curriculum offer. This is especially important where staff may be leading more than one subject or there may not be a subject expert on the staff. Developing communities and network to support the work of curriculum therefore not only supports staff but provides further opportunities for collaboration and sharing of ideas and practice across the sector.

A great culture, a well devised and resourced curriculum and a focus on developing excellence in primary pedagogy can ensure that staff, any school’s most precious resource, are then unencumbered to focus on teaching and learning. Great school leaders get things out of the way which would otherwise prevent or impede the work of the teachers and support staff. A culture which supports staff to do their most important work – that of the face to face interactions and teaching with the children is a staff which is likely to then have a manageable workload – an unmanageable one often cited as a reason for leaving the profession.

Devising systems and structures which allow teachers to teach, which have a focus on reducing extraneous workload and which enable staff to focus on their core business of teaching and learning is therefore one of the hallmarks of a great primary leader.

Enabling teachers daily to demonstrate their passion for primary practice and to develop and use the wisdom of experience should therefore be an aspect of primary leadership “righteous indignation”.


Emma Turner

Emma Turner has served in primary education for 25 years across multiple schools within teaching, leading and headship. She has worked as national strategy consultant and as Trust Research & CPD Lead and is due to begin a new role as Deputy Director of Education for a West Midlands MAT.

Emma provides school improvement support locally, nationally and internationally, and regularly guest lectures within ITE and ECF.

She has written four previous books on education – Simplicitus, Be More Toddler, Let’s Talk about Flex, and The Extended Mind In Action. She co-hosts the John Catt Podcast ‘Mind the Gap’ with Tom Sherrington.

She is also a Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching and Advisory Board Member for the Global Equality Collective.

Twitter handle @Emma_Turner75



Wigan Pupils Celebrate Safer Internet Day


Pupils at a Wigan primary school have been using the latest in educational technology to celebrate Safer Internet Day.

St Oswald’s Catholic Primary School in Ashton-in-Makerfield hosted a day of activities to teach pupils how to stay safe online, using digital resources from Discovery Education.

Now in its 20th year, Safer Internet Day is a nationwide celebration, organised by the UK Safer Internet Centre. This year’s event on 7th February saw schools and organisations come together to inspire positive changes, raise awareness of safety issues and participate in activities right across the UK. 

Pupils at St Oswald’s began their Safer Internet Day celebration by watching a Discovery Education video, with tips for staying safe online. They learned a special rhyme to help them remember internet safety rules, including the importance of keeping personal details private, being kind to others and not talking to strangers online.

After watching the video, the children completed a quiz to test their knowledge and understanding. This promoted a lively classroom discussion about the benefits and risks of using technology. The children also discussed who they could go to if they were worried about anything they had seen or heard online. 

Class Teacher Mrs Emma Hart said,

“ The children really enjoyed our Safer Internet Day celebrations. Making space for conversations about life online is so important and Discovery Education’s digital resources helped us to talk to the students about how they can stay safe when gaming, creating content or interacting with friends and peers.”

Featuring videos, activities, assemblies and complete lesson plans, Discovery Education’s online safety content helps pupils build digital literacy skills and understand who and what to trust online. Designed for pupils from Foundation to Year 6 and suitable for remote or in-class teaching, the resources inspire the safe and positive use of technology and empower children to take control of their digital lives. 


“Discovery Education is proud to support St Oswald’s Catholic Primary School as they teach their pupils the fundamentals of internet safety,’ said Discovery Education’s UK and International Managing Director Howard Lewis.  “Providing pupils with engaging opportunities to learn how to stay safe online is critically important, and we are glad to offer teachers the materials to do so.”


For more information about Discovery Education’s digital resources and professional learning services, visit and stay connected with Discovery Education on social media through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.


Find out more about Safer Internet Day at