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Report highlights impact of school exclusions on pupils

School exclusions have left some children at increased risk of harm – with decisions too often taken without efforts to understand and address issues which may be affecting their behaviour, a new report has found.

 

The Children’s Society’s report, Youth Voice on School Exclusions, includes both positive and negative insights from 11 young people on exclusions, but finds that many feel ‘written off’ and that they were not listened to.

The report includes young people’s ideas about how to improve the system and has been produced by the national charity’s Disrupting Exploitation Programme, which is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.

 

It found that challenges like being moved into care, learning disabilities, knife crime and child exploitation, and experiences of bullying and racism could all affect children’s behaviour in school, leading to them being excluded.

Some young people told how they were then exposed to drugs and criminal exploitation in Alternative Provision settings, and how feeling bored at home and closures of community facilities like youth clubs left them vulnerable to advances by those looking to exploit them.

They felt this could have been avoided had they been supported to remain in school with help to address issues in their lives affecting their behaviour.

As one young person put it: “Think schools should work with young people to resolve the situation and make it better…if a young person brings a knife to school they get permanently excluded. The young person might be scared, being bullied, schools just don’t try and find out.”

Another said: “No time for me to say what I had done…they used their own words… the meetings were 10 minutes long and not long enough for me to say what happened.”

Children said exclusions had also affected their learning, leaving them feeling isolated and uncared for, as well as impacting their relationships at home, their self-esteem, hope for the future, well-being and mental health.

There were mixed reports on the quality of support in Alternative Provision, with one young person describing their pupil referral unit as being ‘built like a prison’. But another told how smaller class sizes meant teachers had more time to listen to them.

The insights of young people have informed four principles the charity is urging schools to adopt to help ensure they are inclusive for all children. It believes that implementing these will lead to a happier, safer environment for pupils and help reduce the number of exclusions.

The principles include listening to young people, being flexible and taking into account children’s individuality, building and nurturing positive relationships and acknowledging power imbalances between teachers and children – giving pupils a voice in decisions affecting them.

Lucy Dacey, National Programme Manager for the Disrupting Exploitation Programme at The Children’s Society, said: “Being excluded from school can harm not only children’s learning but also their safety, well-being and life chances.

“Many of the children we support because they have been groomed into crimes like dealing drugs in county lines operations have been excluded from school or are at risk of exclusion.

“It’s therefore vital that schools do everything possible to identify and address issues in children’s lives which may be affecting their behaviour.  The Disrupting Exploitation Programme wants to be a part of this, training teachers, supporting schools to review their behaviour policies and working to prevent school exclusions.

“As well as digging deeper when pupils misbehave we want school leaders to ensure school systems and rules take account of the fact that some pupils will experience challenges in their lives which are likely to affect their learning and well-being.

“Rather than seeing vulnerable young people as outliers who do not ‘fit’ the system, we want schools to change where necessary to ensure they are more inclusive and supportive.”

The Children’s Society says examples could include mitigating the risks of children who live in poverty getting into trouble for not having the right uniform by ensuring uniforms are inexpensive, reviewing behaviour policies to ensure they take account of the additional needs a young person may have and ensuring letters to migrant parents are translated where necessary.

SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES URGED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF WINNING GRANT SCHEME

A new grant scheme for deserving school and college sports teams has been launched by the UK’s largest independent pest controller, Pestokill, to help support sport, exercise and activities as the nation emerges from the latest lockdown.

The Leigh based company is offering grants of £1,000, £500 and £250 to school and college clubs and teams located throughout the UK, regardless of whether or not they have received other grant funding or ever used Pestokill’s services. The company plans to hand out £19,000 worth of grants to a total of 46 clubs and teams.

To apply for the funding, schools and colleges need to complete a short online form on Pestokill’s website at www.pestokill.co.uk/sport that contains details about key activities and provide a brief explanation of what they would use the money for. The deadline for applications is Monday 31st May 2021, and the donations will be made shortly afterwards.

Pestokill was established in 1985 and operates throughout the UK protecting property, employees and clients from all types of pests and disease. The company works across every industry including education, as well as providing its services to a wide range of sports clubs and teams.

Dave Clements, managing director of Pestokill, said: “We know from our experience working with lots of sports clubs and teams up and down the country that many have had a really difficult time during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, these organisations are vital to the health and wellbeing of the nation, as well as the local communities they operate in.

“As a successful national business, we’ve launched this scheme to offer our support to schools and colleges as we begin to emerge from the latest lockdown and hopefully return to normal. We’ve kept the application process as simple as possible, and it takes less than five minutes to complete. We’ve asked applicants to provide a brief description of what the money will be used for and we’ll then select the most deserving 46 teams and send them a payment.”

Dave added: “We’re already receiving fantastic feedback about the scheme and we’re really looking forward to distributing the money and helping to make a difference.”

For further information about Pestokill’s scheme and to apply for a grant, visit www.pestokill.co.uk/sport and complete the online application form by Monday 31st May 2021.

DISCOVERY EDUCATION ANNOUNCED AS ‘EDUCATION EXPORTER OF THE YEAR’ FINALIST

Digital content provider shortlisted for prestigious industry prize at the Education Resources Awards

 

Discovery Education, the leading digital content provider for schools in the UK and around the world, has been announced as a finalist at this year’s Education Resources Awards (ERAs).

 

Organised by The British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), the ERAs celebrate success and innovation among the UK’s leading education suppliers and are widely recognised as a benchmark of excellence. Now in their 24th year, the awards focus on the resources, services and people that make a practical impact on learning and the day-to-day work of teachers in the classroom.

 

Discovery Education is proud to be nominated as Education Exporter of the Year in recognition of the company’s considerable achievements during 2020. Making great inroads into target markets in Asia, MENA and Latin America, the business has significantly increased its new channel partnerships, while supporting schools maintain students’ continuity of learning at this challenging time. 

 

Discovery Education’s key international partnerships include:

Egypt: Over 20 million students and 1.3 million teachers use Discovery Education’s digital content. Discovery Education is the primary STEM partner for the Egyptian Knowledge Bank – the world’s largest collection of online resources. 

Chile: Working in partnership with the Chilean Ministry of Education, Discovery Education supports the Presidential initiative Me Conecto Para Aprender. Over 100,000 Chilean students and 3,000 teachers now use Discovery Education Techbook.

Sweden: 437,000 primary school students use Discovery Education’s dynamic digital learning resources. 

Robin Headlee, Managing Director of Discovery Education International said, 

 

“We are absolutely delighted to be shortlisted as a finalist in the Education Exporter of the Year category. This accolade reflects the vision and hard work of Discovery Education International and our partners across the globe, and I believe this positive feedback will drive our team to continue finding new ways to help educators accelerate students’ academic achievement.”

 

Discovery Education is the global leader in curriculum-matched digital resources and professional development for teachers everywhere. Together we’re re-imagining learning, harnessing the power of technology to bring the real world into the classroom and ignite pupils’ curiosity. 

 

Serving 4.5 million educators and 45 million students worldwide, Discovery Education’s award-winning resources are accessed in over 140 countries and territories. In the UK, Discovery Education’s digital resources are trusted by thousands of UK primary schools, who choose the award-winning digital learning service Discovery Education Espresso along with Discovery Education Health and Relationships and Discovery Education Coding, to deliver the National Curriculum. 

Education Spends

How much are local governments spending on education around the country?

Education spending (of which EdTech such as Promethean interactive displays and teaching software is just one area) is one of the most important things that taxpayer money goes towards, from early years nurseries to post-16 education.

But with funding for schools being controlled by individual local authorities, which parts of the country are investing the most into the future of their youngsters?

We’ve analysed the latest government spending data to find out, as well as highlighting the areas where spending has increased and decreased the most in the last five years.

The areas spending the most per pupil

It’s clear that it’s pupils in London who enjoy the greatest funding in the country, with eight of the top ten highest-spending areas located in the capital, with Islington being the highest, at £8,105 per pupil.

Specifically, it was those boroughs in Inner London which most commonly had a high level of spending, with Islington followed by the likes of Lewisham, Tower Hamlets, Camden, and Hackney, likely due to the higher salaries of teachers, but also due to increased social deprivation in these areas.

The only two areas from outside London in the top ten were Knowsley (£6,106 per pupil), on Merseyside, and North Tyneside (£5,751 per pupil), in the North East.

Rank Local authority Region Net education expenditure Number of pupils Net expenditure per pupil
1 Islington London £207,326,000 25,581 £8,105
2 Lewisham London £319,679,000 41,825 £7,643
3 Tower Hamlets London £363,955,000 48,127 £7,562
4 Camden London £218,195,000 32,371 £6,740
5 Hackney London £276,922,000 42,659 £6,492
6 Knowsley North West £126,748,000 20,757 £6,106
7 Barking & Dagenham London £264,106,000 44,517 £5,933
8 North Tyneside North East £179,805,000 31,264 £5,751
9 Merton London £188,987,000 33,133 £5,704
10 Lambeth London £227,356,000 40,043 £5,678

The areas spending the least per pupil

Interestingly, despite previously highlighting that spending per pupil is much higher in London than in other parts of the country, two London boroughs fell into the ten areas with the lowest spend per pupil too: Bromley (£1,599 per person) and Bexley (£1,599 per person).

The area with the lowest spend was England’s smallest county, Rutland and while this can perhaps partially be attributed to the area’s very low population (just under 8,000 pupils, the third-lowest in the country), the county still comes bottom when we take pupil numbers into account as well.

Other authorities that fall into the bottom ten are relatively spread around the country in areas such as Humberside (Kingston upon Hull and North East Lincolnshire), Essex (Thurrock and Southend-on-Sea), North Somerset, Bournemouth and Northamptonshire.

Rank Local authority Region Net education expenditure Number of pupils Net expenditure per pupil
1 Rutland East Midlands £11,881,000 7,980 £1,489
2 Bromley London £91,668,000 57,317 £1,599
3 Kingston upon Hull Yorkshire & the Humber £71,949,000 43,196 £1,666
4 North East Lincolnshire Yorkshire & the Humber £42,656,000 24,539 £1,738
5 Thurrock East £54,043,000 29,824 £1,812
6 Southend-on-Sea East £57,155,000 31,216 £1,831
7 North Somerset South West £59,726,000 31,909 £1,872
8 Bexley London £89,121,000 44,645 £1,996
9 Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole South West £110,541,000 54,078 £2,044
10 Northamptonshire East Midlands £262,122,000 125,484 £2,089

The areas where spending has increased the most

We also looked at how the total spending on education has changed over the last five years and again, it was London boroughs which came top of the tree.

Five London boroughs fell in the top ten areas with the biggest spending increase, with Hillingdon increasing the most, from £162 million in 2014-15, to just under £195 million in 2019-29, an increase of 20%.

In fact, each of the top ten areas was found in the South, with the sole exception being Sandwell, in the West Midlands, which saw a five-year increase of 14.45%.

Rank Local authority Region 2014-15 net expenditure 2019-20 net expenditure Five-year change
1 Hillingdon London £162,093,000 £194,627,000 20.07%
2 Richmond upon Thames London £115,362,000 £138,123,000 19.73%
3 Hampshire South East £780,970,000 £913,248,000 16.94%
4 Buckinghamshire South East £313,091,000 £362,434,000 15.76%
5 West Berkshire South East £97,645,000 £112,888,000 15.61%
6 Hounslow London £174,699,000 £200,346,000 14.68%
7 Sandwell West Midlands £238,286,000 £272,712,000 14.45%
8 Kingston upon Thames London £90,658,000 £102,378,000 12.93%
9 Barking & Dagenham London £234,447,000 £264,106,000 12.65%
10 Gloucestershire South West £286,468,000 £319,470,000 11.52%

The areas where spending has decreased the most

However, those areas where spending has increased are in the minority, with overall education expenditure falling in just under a third (63%) of local authorities.

Aside from the Isles of Scilly, which are something of an outlier due to their very low population, the area where spending has decreased the most is Kingston upon Hull, which saw expenditure drop by half in the last five years.

For that reason, it’s perhaps no surprise that Hull and two other authorities in the bottom ten (North Somerset and Southend-on-Sea), also fell into the list of areas with the lowest spend per pupil.

Rank Local authority Region 2014-15 net expenditure 2019-20 net expenditure Five-year change
1 Isles of Scilly South West £3,772,000 £894,000 -76.30%
2 Kingston upon Hull Yorkshire & the Humber £144,916,000 £71,949,000 -50.35%
3 North Somerset South West £115,699,000 £59,726,000 -48.38%
4 Southend-on-Sea East £110,104,000 £57,155,000 -48.09%
5 Rotherham Yorkshire & the Humber £168,254,000 £99,619,000 -40.79%
6 Redcar & Cleveland North East £91,179,000 £56,087,000 -38.49%
7 Staffordshire West Midlands £531,183,000 £340,058,000 -35.98%
8 Middlesbrough North East £96,395,000 £62,309,000 -35.36%
9 Suffolk East £407,131,000 £280,253,000 -31.16%
10 Plymouth South West £124,712,000 £85,897,000 -31.12%

Methodology

Education expenditure for 2014-15 and 2019-20 was sourced from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government’s local authority revenue expenditure and financing data collection.

The expenditure refers to the total net expenditure for early years education, primary schools, secondary schools, special schools and alternative education, post-16 education and other education and community budget. Note that due to changes in the structure of some local authorities in the last five years, some areas were omitted.

Pupil numbers were sourced from the Department for Education’s schools, pupils and their characteristics statistics 2019/20, and refer to the total number of pupils in all state-funded schools (aged 3-19).

Want to speak to someone about your EdTech spending?

Promethean is on hand to talk to you about your EdTech choices for interactive displaysteaching software and a full professional development support plan. Ready to talk more right now? Why not request a virtual demo with one of our friendly education team members?

ECO Primary School Receives £133k Government Grant

A Lincolnshire primary school has received over £133,000 funding from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme to become more energy efficient.

Kirkby la Thorpe CofE Primary Academy, in Sleaford, were successfully awarded a Government grant to fund a Low Carbon and Sustainability project, which involved installing an Air Source Heat Pump, energy efficient hand dryers, Energy Monitoring and Management.

 

The £1billion Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme provided grants for public sector bodies to fund heat decarbonisation and energy efficiency measures; and the ECO school were triumphant despite an oversubscription and stiff competition from across the country.

 

Katie Gravil, Headteacher at Kirkby la Thorpe CofE Primary Academy, said:

“Our ultimate goal is to improve our carbon footprint and achieve Net Zero, which is why we have already installed Solar PV and upgraded our lighting to LED. The grant has allowed us to advance our efforts even more so, and move away from a fossil-fuelled heating system, in order to become even more efficient. We are really happy with the end results and we couldn’t have done it without the expert advice and support from our Energy Consultants– UK Energy Watch Group.”

 

The carbon savings, 21.54 tonnes of CO2, are equivalent to planting 147 trees. The primary school will also benefit financially from the project, saving £1,177 annually, on their heating bills.

 

UK Energy Watch Group, a specialist Energy Consultancy based in Lancashire, helped the school by carrying out the feasibility study, grant application, contractor tender procurement, project management and on-going energy monitoring.

 

HVAC Technical Solutions Limited were appointed to carry out the mechanical engineering works. They installed the Toshiba VRV systems, two split AC system, central controller system, and stripped out the old plant room, radiators and additional electrical works.

 

Ashley Bullock, Managing Director at UK Energy Watch Group, added: “As a long-standing client of ours, Kirkby la Thorpe understand the crucial role they play in educating their staff and students of the importance of improving their carbon footprint. Now they have done their part to make a difference in the world’s global climate change mission, and as a by-product, they have saved money which is a win-win for them and the environment.”

 

Kirkby la Thorpe Church of England Primary Academy has been previously received an Eco-Schools Green Flag Award.

The Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, managed by the BEIS and delivered by Salix Finance, to date has launched two Phases with a total of £1.75 billion offered to public sector organisations.

Matthew Robinson, Director of HVAC Technical Solutions Limited, commented: “It was a pleasure to help the school start its journey to decarbonise and move onto an electric based heating system. The installation was straight forward and had little impact on the children and teaching staff. We hope they enjoy the efficient heating.”

Stora Enso helps to accelerate sustainable schools from concept to reality

Experts showcase Cambridgeshire wooden school success story with low carbon footprint and improvement of student well-being

 

 Last Thursday, industry experts from the architecture, construction and education industry gathered to discuss how wood can successfully be used as a building material to create sustainable learning environments. Hosted by Stora Enso, in collaboration with The B1M, the webinar showcased the award-winning case study of the Northstowe Learning Community in Cambridgeshire, UK, a 15,000m2 project that utilised Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) to meet sustainability targets and provide an inspiring and healthy space for students.

 

The UK government’s hardening of the carbon emissions reduction target, from 68% to 78% by 2035* puts an increasingly acute focus on how industries can support this ambition. Rory Doak, Business Development Manager UK & Ireland at Stora Enso, noted on the webinar, “the biggest impact [of the Northstowe project] is that there’s nearly 3,000 tons of CO2 stored in the building that’s not getting put back into the atmosphere”. Pair this with the reduction of up to 75% of CO2 emissions that can be achieved using wooden construction methods versus concrete and steel processes, and it’s clear to see how building with wood can contribute to this journey.

 

Also touching on the biophilic design nature of wood, the panellists shared insights on its positive impact on the health and well-being of children as studies have shown that the material can improve concentration and reduce stress. With return to classrooms post-pandemic in motion, this will be an incredibly important factor for educational authorities and construction players to consider.

 

Despite the benefits of wood as a strong, versatile, and sustainable material, the webinar also assessed the barriers to adopting CLT as a construction material. For example, concerns around technical performance exist, as does a miseducation on cost-effectiveness. Dayo ShittuBalogun, Associate at EURBAN, one important enabler of the webinar and official partner from Stora Enso, provided insight: “We’re coming across a lot of risk aversion as people still consider wood construction as a new way of doing things. There is some miseducation on cost. People consider it to be a bit more expensive, but through some benchmarking work we established that if you’re talking in simplistic terms, the structural skeleton of a building is either equal or cheaper – and more work needs to be done to communicate that this is the case.” 

 

When looking at the path forward for sustainable school construction in light of the Northstowe project, ShittuBalogun, added, “We all have a commitment to not pour more CO2 into the atmosphere than we take out of it, so there is a moral obligation for all of us across the industry – and where better to see this play out than in an educational setting? This is exactly what we like to do, deliver buildings efficiently and sustainably.”

 

Fred Mills, Co-Founder of The B1M, and webinar moderator, added, “Construction methods have the power to truly effect people’s lives. It perhaps doesn’t get more important than thinking about this in the context of where future generations are learning. Wooden school projects create amazing spaces for schooling, both from an environmental, health and well-being point of view. The task now, is to raise awareness of how concepts can be moved to an implementable reality and Northstowe is a fantastic example of this.”

 

Catch up on the full discussion here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Y82uTdShSPakEZw-iKfLQw

 

*compared with 1990 levels

Promethean Launches 6th Annual Education Technology Survey

Promethean invites US and UK school administrators and educators to participate in 2021 State of Technology in Education survey

 

Blackburn, UK: 5th May 2021– Through 2020 and into 2021, education technology has played an integral role in supporting students, educators, and schools in the widespread adaptation to remote and hybrid learning. Against turbulent academic settings in an unpredictable climate, technology withstood changes in education and proved to be not only dependable in any environment but vital to maximizing successful learning experiences. Districts leveraged and ultimately invested in technology for a long-term shift in redefining what the academic experience is. As technology continues to establish its value of supporting teachers and empowering students, Promethean® is eager to arm educational leaders with the latest insights and trends that will shape the future of technology and education.

 

Last year’s State of Technology in Education reports revealed trending topics on both successes achieved and hardships faced with edtech, including:

  • Teacher wellbeing was a top issue, only to be accelerated during remote and hybrid learning models.
  • Investment in technology training for teachers was thought to be critical to success.
  • The majority of teachers and administrators felt that technology use would be routinely combined with traditional resources and teaching methods.
  • Teachers and administrators stated that they were “constantly striving to innovate by using technology as a tool for education.”
  • Remote learning would see the biggest growth in education over the next three years.

 

For its sixth annual State of Technology in Education report, Promethean invites teachers and school leaders to discuss their experiences of adapting and growing in the past year. Stay tuned for findings of Promethean’s largest education technology report to date and explore data informing how the evolving role of technology will determine what to expect for this new chapter of teaching and learning.

 

Promethean welcomes you and your colleagues to join thousands of educators from around the world in sharing the impact of edtech on your teaching or administrative experience.

 

Take the UK Survey and let us know your thoughts.

CST responds to the speech from Amanda Spielman, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools

In her speech to the annual conference of the Confederation of School Trusts, Amanda Spielman, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools paid tribute to Trusts which she said have taken a wider leadership role through the pandemic, – supporting each other, their communities and the wider sector. But she also cautioned that it is Ofsted’s job to remain agnostic about school structures.

 

Ms Spielman cited evidence from the inspectorate’s Autumn Interim Visits to Schools, which is summarised by Ofsted in the article entitled, The trust in testing times: the role of multi-academy trusts during the pandemic, published in January 2020.

 

 

 

CST asked Ofsted to delve a bit deeper into the ways in which trusts are supporting their schools through the pandemic. Ofsted opened an additional evidence card during the Autumn interim visits. For the school leaders Ofsted spoke to, the support of their trust was crucial. They told Ofsted about support with safeguarding, interpreting COVID-19 guidelines, developing remote learning and integrating this with the curriculum.

 

 

Daniel Muijs (then head of research at Ofsted) and Karl Sampson, the article’s authors, conclude: “One of the aims of bringing schools together in trusts is to provide them with levels of support and collective learning that would not be achievable for any school on its own. These findings show how important this can be to schools’ resilience in the most challenging of circumstances, and how being part of a greater whole builds that resilience.”

 

This is a significant piece of evidence which supports CST’s position that all schools should be in a strong and sustainable trust. It aligns with the announcement that the Secretary of State for education made at the conference on Wednesday in which he outlined his vision for all schools to be part of a multi-academy trust.

 

Ms Spielman also confirmed that Ofsted is prioritising monitoring schools rated less than good. She said that if Ofsted finds that school has significantly improved, then Ofsted has the option to carry out a full inspection so that schools will be able to get a new grade, rather than it being another monitoring visit.

 

 

She said that Ofsted will be inspecting a small number of good schools that haven’t been inspected for a long time and are outside their inspection window. She stressed that the vast majority of good or better schools will not be getting an inspection this term.

 

 

She emphasised that Ofsted will take time before an inspection starts to understand a school’s individual circumstances, and the effect COVID has had on the school and children. And she confirmed that Ofsted will be using external data differently, taking into account how old it is, and will not be taking teacher assessed grades into account.

 

 

 

Leora Cruddas, chief executive of the Confederation of School Trusts said:

 

“We were pleased that Ofsted responded to our request to look more carefully at how schools in trusts have been supported by their trusts during the global pandemic. This evidence is corroborated by research that we have undertaken jointly with the University of Nottingham.

 

“Amanda Spielman is right that there is a conversation to be had about how we can help persistently weak schools to improve.  It is our belief that strong and effective Trusts do provide resilience against failure, as Amanda Spielman noted. This is because Trusts a collaborative framework that intentionally develops a knowledge-building approach across their schools. As Ms Spielman has said, “strong trusts help schools move up a gear, if you like, and are quick to act if a school goes into reverse.”

 

“In reflecting on next steps, Ms Spielman said: “inspection isn’t just a ‘thing’. It should evolve – just as the education system evolves.” We agree. And we look forward to constructive discussions with the inspectorate as the system evolves.”

 

Premier League launches ‘Draw Together Challenge’ to inspire allyship among children

The Premier League has launched the ‘Draw Together Challenge’ aimed at empowering children to help and support others who face discrimination. 

 

Primary school pupils across England and Wales are encouraged to draw or paint a picture on the theme of allyship, detailing the positive action they will take to help challenge discriminatory behaviour, wherever they see it.

 

Draw Together is a free downloadable activity created to support the Premier League’s ongoing No Room For Racism initiative. It is available through Premier League Primary Stars, the League’s curriculum-linked education programme, which uses the appeal of professional football clubs to inspire children to learn, be active and develop important life skills.

 

As part of the initiative, Helen Raley-Williams, Headteacher of Holy Trinity Catholic Primary School in Liverpool, invited CBeebies presenter Ben Cajee to talk to a Year 6 class about his personal experiences of racism. 

 

Helen Raley-Williams said: “All children should be heard and be able to explain how being discriminated makes them feel. Being open and allowing discussions about discrimination supports the children’s mental health and reinforces the fact that it is totally unacceptable to discriminate against another human being.”

 

Ben Cajee, CBeebies presenter, said: “Having faced discrimination myself when at school, I know first-hand the importance of education on this issue.

 

“To have videos of Premier League footballers talking about their own experiences of racism and the importance of looking out for each other as part of this challenge, is key in showing children how vital it is for us all to support others. It’s something I would have appreciated at that age.”

 

The challenge will run until Friday 11 June 2021 and teachers are able to submit artwork on behalf of their class at Key Stage 1 (5 to 7-year-olds) or as individual submissions for Key Stage 2 pupils (7 to 11-year-olds), via the online teacher form on the Premier League Primary Stars website: plprimarystars.com.

 

All schools that submit entries ahead of the deadline will be entered into a prize draw for the chance to receive Premier League goodies for their school. One lucky entrant will see their school receive a special visit from the Premier League Trophy.

 

The artwork and pledges of 20 pupils will also be selected at random to be displayed in a No Room For Racism gallery on the Premier League and Premier League Primary Stars websites, while all primary schools that enter the challenge will receive copies of the official PL Writing Stars poetry book ‘Beautifully Different, Wonderfully the Same’ for their libraries.

 

Nick Perchard, Premier League Head of Community, said: “The Premier League Draw Together Challenge will enable children and teachers in classrooms up and down the country to have safe and open conversations about racism and the detrimental impact that discrimination has.

 

“We hope this will encourage children to create artwork and pledges that demonstrate their support for others and will lead to further discussions with family members and friends about the importance of us all playing our part in helping to tackle racism.”

 

The education of fans, children and young people is just one of the ways in which the Premier League is tackling discrimination as part of its No Room For Racism Action Plan.

 

 

You can watch a video of Ben Cajee’s visit to Holy Trinity Primary School here: https://we.tl/t-dZJl18ogE1

 

How to improve energy efficiency in schools

Energy management can be a primary focus for senior management within schools as they look to make cost savings. Reducing energy consumption is one way that schools can minimise their spend, whilst also reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the learning environment.

For school managers looking to improve their school’s energy efficiency, the first port of call is to identify where changes, both in culture and processes, need to be made. Here, we speak to Ceri Williams, a Schools Energy and Finance Officer at Torfaen County Borough Council with over 20 years of experience, about the best ways for schools to tackle their energy usage and carbon footprint.

Where to start when it comes to a school’s energy usage?

Energy spend will of course vary between schools but an easy way to find out your school’s energy spend per pupil is to divide your annual energy bill up by the number of pupils. The higher your cost per pupil, the more adjustments you will need to implement. 

What is the first step to reducing energy consumption?

The best place to start is to identify sources of energy waste, whether that’s from old inefficient technologies, or down to behaviours such as leaving windows open when radiators are in use, or keeping lights on when they are not needed.

Replacing inefficient technologies with more efficient upgrades will not only be more effective performance-wise but will also help to bring down costs significantly. Conducting a site walk in collaboration with the site manager, who will be familiar with any day-to-day issues, can help to establish areas for improvement.

Many issues can be easily addressed by simply speaking with staff and pupils to encourage behavioural changes, or by implementing measures such as lighting sensors, which will ensure lights are only on when needed. Energy consumption can also be reduced by installing new smart energy control systems which allow for more precise control, giving schools the ability to quickly and easily adjust energy usage in real-time to meet their needs.

Should schools get students involved?

Getting students involved in any energy efficiency initiatives you are working on is important as it will not only help to educate them on important environmental issues but inspire them to play an active role in reducing their energy use.

Offering engaging and interactive workshops and presentations on climate change, to enable pupils to learn about energy savings, is a great start. Setting up eco-clubs to boost energy awareness and encourage discussions and learning around the subject is another good option. In particular, I’ve found that involving pupils in competitions, such as mini switch off walk arounds, and rewarding them for their energy saving efforts, is particularly effective.

Allow pupils to present evidence of the savings they have achieved for their school, either as individuals or in groups, during assemblies or lessons. This will keep them engaged in energy saving efforts and encourage them to feel pride in the role they have played. For example, as part of one of my projects with Torfaen County Borough Council, we held a ‘switch off fortnight’ campaign where students were urged to go around switching appliances off to save energy. Changes in usage were monitored through meter readings and pupils received certificates and bronze, silver, gold or platinum eco awards from staff. They loved demonstrating how they made a difference.

Which technologies should schools invest in?

Aside from replacing inefficient resources, investing in additional new energy efficient technologies should be at the forefront of any energy efficiency plans, helping to maximise financial and energy savings.

As lighting accounts for a significant proportion of electricity expended within schools, upgrading old, inefficient lights to more modern light emitting diode (LED) lighting alternatives is one of the most effective ways to reduce consumption. Installing lighting controls and adding motion sensors further reduces energy usage, while the longer lifespan of LEDs also decreases maintenance requirements and costs. As well as these benefits, new LED lighting can also improve the aesthetics of old buildings and enhance learning and teaching environments.

Elsewhere, simple steps such as adding insulation or heating controls, can substantially reduce energy usage and bills, with the potential for thousands of pounds a year to be saved through such investments.

Lastly, installing Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS), which act as a central point of control for multiple building services, can be really effective. Used to control heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) all in one, BEMS provide a way to monitor and rapidly adjust equipment, improving the reliability and performance of buildings and delivering substantial savings.

What about renewable options?

Renewables such as solar PV and heat pumps are great methods to help future proof buildings. As the cost of Solar PV has fallen, it’s a really good measure for schools looking to lower their carbon footprint and reduce their dependency on grid electricity. Solar PV installations are also a popular way to raise awareness of the sustainability agenda among students and the local community.

How many technologies should schools invest in?

This of course depends on what you are practically able to do but choosing to address energy efficiency holistically – that is, implementing multiple projects at the same time rather than investing in just one type of technology – is the most effective way of maximising energy, carbon and cost savings.

 

Many schools begin addressing their energy usage by installing LED lighting, however, a school taking a holistic approach would consider whether they could also install lighting sensors, energy management systems, new insulation, low-carbon heating and solar PV within the same project. As well as significantly boosting annual savings, such an approach also helps save money on design, installation and labour costs, while also minimising disruption on site.

 

How can schools fund energy efficiency projects?

The case for investing in energy efficiency in schools is obvious, but concerns over how to finance such investments may hold many back from doing so. However, funding options are still available to help schools invest in such technologies.

These include interest-free loans from Salix Finance – a government funded organisation which provides 100% interest free finance to the public sector to invest in energy efficient technologies. The loans are paid back over several years from the savings made on energy bills, meaning no capital outlay is needed. Funding is available for both large-scale and small-scale projects, covering over 100 technologies, including LED lighting, building energy management systems and renewables.

Over the last 10 years, funding from Salix has allowed me to implement  a considerable amount of energy efficiency upgrade projects across the public sector, including over 45 projects spanning a range of technologies in schools, so I would encourage any schools to investigate the funding options available.

To find out more about the funding available for schools from Salix, visit www.salixfinance.co.uk or contact the Salix team on info@salixfinance.co.uk