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£60M REDEVELOPMENT OF ONE OF UK’S LARGEST INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS COMPLETES

THE multi-million-pound redevelopment of one of the largest independent schools in the UK has completed, delivering state-of-the-art facilities for students in Macclesfield.

The King’s School employs 250 people and provides education for more than 1,200 students from pre-school through to sixth form. This £60m redevelopment scheme unites two previous sites across the town into one central area, with the new campus sitting adjacent to the school’s existing sports pitches at Derby Fields. 

21,000m2 of new academic building has been built, creating 350 rooms, along with a separate sports centre and 75-acres of sporting and outdoor facilities. 

The new sports centre houses a 25m, six-lane swimming pool, a six-court sports hall, an indoor cricket centre, a dance and martial arts studio, a fitness suite and a café. Outside, students will have use of five new rugby football pitches, a rounders field and two floodlit AstroTurf hockey pitches, and netball courts.

National independent property, construction and infrastructure consultancy Pick Everard has provided full design and engineering services for the project. Duncan Green, managing partner, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have completed this large-scale scheme for The King’s School, creating a high-quality central site for its students to thrive in – especially important as pupils return to the classroom after months of online learning.”

Natalie Clemson, director and project lead, said: “We worked very closely with VINCI Construction UK, the main contractor for the scheme, from the pre-contract stage. This meant we were able to fully integrate the team into the design process early on, creating a synergy and ensuring that detailed knowledge of the scheme and design intent was retained from start to finish – something extremely important to the headmaster and governors. 

“Completing a significant project like this during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge, but it was here that our close relationship with VINCI Construction UK benefitted everyone. Like many construction projects across the UK, we felt the impact and we had to change our working methodology completely. We introduced virtual site visits during the fit-out stages to suit social distancing and safety measures and held our site project meetings remotely. Despite the challenges, this had minimal impact on the scheme itself, which is a testament to the working relationships developed throughout the project and the professionalism of all involved.”

It was important to the school that the new facilities provided a reduction in its carbon footprint, while also improving budgets through energy efficiency, so that money saved on fuel bills can be reinvested back into the curriculum for the benefit of the students. 

The new, sustainable facility has been rated as BREEAM ‘very good’, and incorporates eco-features including sustainable drainage systems (SuDS), bat and swift boxes, beehives and outdoor classrooms to further connect pupils to their natural surroundings.

Simon Hyde, who was Headmaster during the design and construction phase, said: “This has been without a doubt the most ambitious project for the school in its 518-year history, and we could not be happier with the finished product. 

“A connection to nature has been very important to us at the school, and we are incredibly lucky to be set in our rural, woodland location. The new campus will allow us to expand what we offer, for example the new floodlit netball courts will allow us to host netball tournaments, something we simply could not do before. We also have Cheshire’s only indoor cricket centre.”

Dedicated art, music, science and computing rooms for both the infant and junior divisions have been built, as well as a dedicated hall, lecture theatre and library. In the senior division, teaching and learning areas have been organised by faculty, with the science department also benefitting from 15 high-tech laboratories, prep rooms and office space.

Martin Horton, project manager at VINCI Construction UK, the main contractor, added: “The new school site sits perfectly in the landscape, and along with its spacious and naturally-lit spaces is a very impressive facility. We were very pleased to work in close conjunction with Pick Everard to deliver the new school, while ensuring the safety of all those on site.”

Preliminary works started in August 2018, with the aim of the school being ready for the start of the 2020/21 academic year. The school has now welcomed back its pupils in line with the latest government guidance regarding COVID-19. The large indoor and outdoor areas including extremely spacious corridors, are helping the school to operate in a Covid-safe way.

The project has been funded by the school selling its previous two sites in Fence Avenue and Cumberland Street to housing developers, areas which will provide sustainable and affordable homes, along with retirement and assisted living options.

Pick Everard employs more than 500 staff across its 13 offices, providing a range of project, cost and design consultancy services. For more information, please visit www.pickeverard.co.uk

Revealed on World Teacher’s Day: a remarkable rise in how often we tell them ‘thank you’

UK survey shows increase of 88 per cent in the space of one year

A remarkable turnaround in the way the nation feels about teachers on World Teacher’s Day has been highlighted by a survey which says appreciation from the public has risen by 88 per cent in one year.

Just 12 months ago a survey by public sector membership club Boundless asked public sector workers when they were last thanked for the doing their job.

It shockingly revealed that the average teacher had gone 65 days without a ‘thank you’.

Now the same survey has been repeated – and the overall figure has dropped to just eight days. That’s a difference of 88 per cent.

The same survey also revealed:

  • 45 per cent of teachers say they feel appreciated by the public, up from 39 per cent a year ago.
  • 88 per cent of teachers say they either love or like their job.
  • 58 per cent of teachers are proud to be part of the public sector.
  • 55 per cent of teachers feel a connection with other people working in the public sector.

Now the public is being encouraged to continue its appreciation by supporting World Teacher’s Day on Monday, 5 October.

Darren Milton at Boundless said: “The figures coming back from our survey are hugely encouraging because they show that millions of people have been saying ‘thank you’ to teachers and doing so far more often than a year ago.

“It’s not surprising that public appreciation rose dramatically during lockdown and it’s vitally important, as it is for all public sector and civil service workers, not to forget what they have done for us. Even when, hopefully at some time in the future, the Covid-19 emergency eases.

“We have already seen people in the UK mark Public Service Day in June, now World Teacher’s Day is another time to step back and think about what our teachers have been through and how they continue to do so much for society.”

Not everything in the Boundless survey was rosy, however.

For instance, 51 per cent of teachers still feel their profession is less valued than 10 years ago, whilst 26 per cent say they have never been thanked by the public during their entire career.

“It’s clear there’s more to do,” said Darren. “Although the number of teachers feeling appreciated by the public has risen, a figure of 45 per cent shows a lot of room for improvement.”

For more information, please visit www.boundless.co.uk.

ViewSonic Smart LED Projectors are the Go-To solution for Big-Screen Home Entertainment

ViewSonic LED Projectors Grew 30% in the First Half of 2020.
ViewSonic Corp., a leading global provider of visual solutions, announced today its LED projector sales grew
30% in the first half 2020 (Note 1), which is a new milestone for ViewSonic in LED projection. ViewSonic
entered the LED projector segment in 2017 and became one of the world’s top three LED projector brands
within three years. It boasted the fastest growth amongst the top five brands in the overall projector market in
2019 and continued its strong sales performance in the first half of 2020 with year over year growth of 30%.
“LED technology has now progressed to a point where it is an ideal audiovisual solution for all the activities
consumers partake in at home. ViewSonic’s mission is to deliver a feast for the senses at home,” said Dean
Tsai, Head of Projector BU at ViewSonic. “As an innovator and leader in LED projector technology,
ViewSonic is combining its advantages in LED know-how, and consumer insights to bring new smart LED
projectors to market. We are focused on redefining lifestyle-oriented, all-inclusive solutions, from mobile,
outdoor, to home. We want to light the way for more people to enjoy a new flexible big-screen audio-visual
experience in their daily lives.”
ViewSonic LED projectors’ achievements can be attributed to the continued innovation of product
development. ViewSonic began to focus on LED projector development three years ago when the
technology had advanced to an ideal level, aiming to offer consumers a more versatile option. By combining
great visuals and audio into a single, portable projector the M1 was born. Today ViewSonic provides a full
line-up of smart LED projectors for a wide range of applications, including the flagship X series for premium
home entertainment with enhanced smart functionality and the portable M series for an exciting on-the-move
lifestyle, such as the featherlight, 300-gram M1 mini Plus smart pocket cinema projector.
More than just a device, ViewSonic smart LED projectors are an audio-visual solution. ViewSonic smart LED
projectors combine the latest audio-visual technologies with smart integrated functionality and can connect
with mobile devices, home networks, and content services for a seamless viewing experience. Through four
main features – audio-visual excellence, smart capabilities, user-centric design, and eco-friendliness,
ViewSonic smart LED projectors are differentiated to deliver a new enhanced audio-visual experience for
home entertainment.
Audiovisual Excellence
ViewSonic smart LED projectors deliver true-to-life colours by proprietary Cinema SuperColor+™
Technology with 125% Rec.709, and a new level of brightness with industry-leading second-generation LED
technology. To complement their stunning visuals, all ViewSonic smart LED projectors incorporate
professional audio customised by Harman Kardon or JBL. From hardware design to rounds of audio tuning,
each projector has its own customisation to best fit each scenario.
Smart Capabilities
1/2
The smart features include wireless content casting from users’ smart devices via 5GHz Wi-Fi, and intuitive
touch control via their mobile devices as an alternative remote control. Bluetooth connectivity allows users to
broadcast audio from mobile devices with the projectors’ Harman Kardon speakers, or connect to external
Bluetooth headphones to immerse yourself in big-screen fun. Convenient voice control via Amazon Alexa or
Google Assistant, and USB Type-C connectivity offer a fun twist on streaming for direct projection from
phones, tablets, or gaming consoles.
User-Centric Design
ViewSonic places emphasis on user-centric designs to offer consumers the perfect balance of form and
functionality. By creating humanised, lifestyle-oriented products, ViewSonic has won iF Design Awards for
three consecutive years from 2018 to 2020.
Eco-Friendliness
ViewSonic smart LED projectors are more eco-friendly alternatives to other projector types, free from the
toxic mercury found in traditional projector lamps and consume significantly less power for improved
efficiency. LEDs are also a more durable light source than traditional lamps, offering a lifespan of up to
30,000 hours. As a result, it reduces the total cost of ownership.
To find out more about ViewSonic’s smart LED projectors, please visit:
https://www.viewsonicglobal.com/q/pj-new-led.php
Note 1: Source: Futuresource Q2’ 20 World Projector Market Track. The market share is assessed by the
sales volume.
About ViewSonic
Founded in California, ViewSonic is a leading global provider of visual solutions with a presence in over 100
cities around the world. As an innovator and visionary, ViewSonic is committed to providing comprehensive
hardware and software solutions that include monitors, projectors, digital signage, ViewBoard interactive
displays, and myViewBoard software ecosystem. With over 30 years of expertise in visual displays,
ViewSonic has established a strong position for delivering innovative and reliable solutions for education,
enterprise, consumer, and professional markets and helping customers “See the Difference”. To find out
more about ViewSonic, please visit www.viewsonic.com.

School safety standards: How to teach our children about allergens

As schools welcome students back, albeit with greater COVID-19 health and safety measures in place, leaders must begin to give thought to other areas of concern too. Namely, food safety standards.

With over 30,000 schools in the UK, all focusing more vigilantly on health, safety and risk mitigation to contain the spread of the virus, cross-contamination and hygiene are perhaps being given the greatest attention when it comes to food.

However, Kirstie Jones, environmental health officer at Navitas Safety, administrators of digital food safety management, compliance and training, urges that more must be done by schools and education leaders, if we are to protect children against other food-related risks too.

“Education on allergens and food safety should ultimately form part of the national school curriculum. Children learn best when they are young and learned behaviours can influence lifelong habits and routines.

“Therefore, knowing the basics of food safety at an early age will not only protect children from tragic accidents while young but also stand them in good stead to ensure they do not fall foul to food poisoning later in life, too.”

In the UK, it is reported that 7% of children have a food allergy. While reactions can be treated in most cases, some can be more severe and even fatal. And it’s these that can be prevented with effective education and being better informed.

But how exactly can children be taught about food safety, particularly when many of us adults are unaware of the basics, such as the eight legally defined food allergens?

Well, Kirstie explains simple solutions that can be integrated with school practices, which can help children make better lifelong choices and protect those most at risk.

Make information easily digestible for children

As with any information aimed at children, presentation is key in breaking down the barrier of comprehension. While technical terminology and bold lettering might not be the best way forward, Kirstie offers a solution that is.

“Like we are used to seeing with nutritional labelling, a similar traffic light system could be adopted for allergen details on the front of packaging. Red could be used to indicate allergens, amber for ‘may contain’ and green for ‘free-from’ items, for example.”                           

Creative communication goes down best

How well information is taken on board has a lot to do with how it is communicated. While repetition and frequency are common tactics used in marketing and communications, Kirstie explains that creativity is key when it comes to getting messages across to children.

“Teaching practices should be interactive and engaging. This could include promotional launches, daily pre-lunch briefings, infographics or videos displayed on TV screens, discussions and activities, such as puzzles and quizzes which are linked to allergens.”

Remember, teaching is a team effort

We’ve all heard the saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and when it comes to teaching children vital information, like allergens, this is certainly the case. 

“In order to ensure information is retained, it must be reinforced by all those involved in the food-related activities in a child’s life. Included in this is teaching staff, catering managers, lunchtime supervisors and parents.

“Keeping messages consistent requires collaboration and training which involves all parties. This is particularly important for children in early years who are unable to make their own food choices and depend solely on the adults getting it right. 

“But, whatever practices are adopted, it is important that they are kept under continual review to keep up with children’s changing dietary requirements.”

Help yourself

While education is important, what should be remembered is that allergen information is, in fact, a matter of life or death. That said, integrating teachings into lessons and daily routines should be supported with fool-proof aids to minimise the chance of any accidents.

Kirstie emphasises that this isn’t about finding flaws in teachers but rather a way to experiment with teaching methods, safe in the knowledge that the system you have in place will see no child’s wellbeing put at risk.

“Aids could include ‘free-from’ menus, the use of pictorial symbols or even integration with digital systems, whereby when a child scans their thumb to purchase a lunch, any allergies they have can be flagged up and their tray cross-checked by a supervisor.

“In an ideal world, there would be one chosen method that is implemented consistently to avoid instances of inaccurate information provision, which could result in harm to an allergy sufferer. While we wait for this universal solution, for now, it is up to school leaders to take the issue further and do what they can to protect the children in their care.”

For more information on Navitas Safety please visit: www.navitas.eu.com

What we can learn about distance learning technology in light of COVID-19

Rene Buhay, Vice President Sales and Marketing at AVer Europe, explores different approaches to teaching and learning across Europe in light of the pandemic.

The delivery of classes and lectures has been transformed all over the world because of COVID-19. Different regions have adopted different approaches to learning depending on the severity of the pandemic in the country, the digital capacity of the nation and the availability of technologies to deliver and receive content to the homes of students.

In the UK, schools have reopened and formed class or year bubbles in a bid to maintain school attendance and counter the pandemic. Across Europe, we’re seeing hybrid models and alternative methods adopted. What’s the best approach to distance learning and what can we learn from the delivery of classes in other countries?

A business conferencing approach

Classrooms in Spain and Italy are taking their lead from the business world by utilising technology that is typically seen in boardrooms in corporate environments. By using a professional video conferencing system, teachers can make the most of high-quality optical zoom, true WDR and impressive audio so that they can continue their lessons remotely for as long as they need to. Some conferencing systems – like the AVer VC520 Pro – also enable daisy-chain speakerphone capability, which means this solution can flex to a hybrid model when some students return to the classroom.

Equipping educators for delivery

While teachers and lecturers globally may have relied on built-in webcams and existing technology to deliver content to students up until now, the pandemic and requirement to deliver content remotely is not going away. These existing solutions will likely be showing their limitations, and educational institutions are investing in technology now more than ever. Higher quality cameras are being used in universities across Europe to improve the content delivered to students. While these are still plug-and-play solutions, the 4K premium quality and wide-angle lenses can offer so much more. In addition, visualizers are being utilized by teachers more and more for distance learning.

Educational establishments In the UK are making great strides in combatting the current pandemic. We are delighted to be working with many of them to provide AVer solutions to ensure continuity of learning.

About AVer Europe

AVer Europe provides intelligent technological solutions to harness the power of visual communications for business and education. With over 20 years of research, development and manufacturing excellence, AVer holds numerous international design, innovation, application, and service awards for exceptional product usability, reliability and customer satisfaction.

www.avereurope.com

Daily COVID-19 testing in schools is vital to save children’s education

Daily COVID-19 testing in schools will keep children in full-time education, stop mass COVID-19 spread, and help keep the economy afloat, according to Professor Abderrahim Taamouti, an Economist at Durham University Business School.

Professor Taamouti previously developed an epidemic model to study the trade-off between Covid-19 control, lockdown and testing. The model shows that mass testing is the safest and cheapest way to reopen the economy and society. Professor Taamouti’s model suggests we would need to test 4-7% of the UK population each day to effectively control Covid-19 infection rates, without needing to enforce another lockdown again. 

This testing policy also applies to the education sector, to ensure children’s education is not a stop-start process. The education sector is a critical one in terms of covid-spread, given the difficulties in enforcing social distancing, and the sheer volume of children and teachers from numerous households all interacting indoors.

Current measures in school’s for preventing COVID-19 include encouraging all to wash their hands, creating bubbles within the school years, wearing masks between classrooms and socially distanced seating. However, there are currently no mandatory testing procedures in place for teachers or pupils.

If anyone within school bubbles displays symptoms, all members are currently required to be tested or isolate, meaning children and teachers face missing out on vital education and classroom time over the next academic year. The Children’s Commissioner has suggested around one in 20 children in England are currently out of school due to issues linked to the pandemic and lockdown. 

Professor Taamouti says,

“Schools cannot be left to their own fate. They must be equipped with testing to help them properly fight the spread of the virus and avoid the outbreaks that can lead to their closure. Daily testing for teachers and pupils could help run schools smoothly and reduce the anxiety of parents, ensuring children have no unnecessary breaks in their education, and can continue to learn without disruption”.

Professor Taamouti says governments should provide schools with enough tests, which ideally return results in a short time-frame, to be used at any time when needed. By employing his mass, daily testing strategy in all schools children will only have to self-isolate if they test positive themselves and not if someone in their bubble does, meaning the number of children missing school will drastically reduce. In turn, the knock-on effect on the economy and public health will also decrease.

Professor Taamouti says,

“Taking children out of schools forces parents to stay at home to look after them. Some parents might manage to work from home, but many will not due to the nature of their work. That is why it is so important that we are able to keep schools open, not only because children need their education, but also because of the knock-on effect closures would have.”

With the winter, and flu season, ahead many parents may mistakenly stop children from going into school by confusing suspected covid-19 symptoms with the flu. Whilst, alternatively, other children with covid-19 may be sent to school as parents assume a flu diagnosis. Professor Taamouti’s strategy would help to identify both the false alarms and the more worrying asymptomatic cases that can cause further outbreaks and subsequent school closures.