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New Headteacher for East Hunsbury Primary School as tributes are paid to retiring Head after 21 years’ service

“Be kind, work hard, believe” – that is the message to children at East Hunsbury Primary School from new Headteacher Kathryn Pennington, who has taken over from Rita Arundel following her retirement after 21 years in post.


Kathryn, who joined the school as Deputy Headteacher in June 2020 before assuming a dual role as Acting Headteacher alongside Rita from April 2021, began her tenure as East Hunsbury’s permanent Head last month. Having previously been Assistant Headteacher at Bridgewater Primary School in Northampton and PE Lead at Nicholas Hawksmoor Primary School in Towcester, Kathryn is a familiar face across the Northamptonshire education scene. Born and raised in the county, she gained a first-class BA (Hons) Primary Education degree at the University of Northampton, and also worked as a specialist literacy consultant supporting school leaders worldwide.


“I am proud and privileged to be Headteacher of East Hunsbury Primary School,” Kathryn said. “I always wanted to be a teacher from a very young age, and as my career has developed I have always wanted to be a leader. My vision is for us to be a community-driven, family-focused school that delivers an ambitious, inclusive and enabling curriculum in which all children achieve exceptionally high standards from their given starting points. We want to be a school where everyone wants to be because they feel happy, represented, valued and prepared for every stage of their lives: the village school in a town that achieves the same as a private school. Children only get one chance at primary education, and it is our responsibility to make their education the best it can be.”


The 429-pupil school, which includes a 47-placed specialist unit for children with significant learning difficulties, is part of Northampton Primary Academy Trust – and both share a common vision of ‘Extraordinary Children doing Extraordinary Things’. “We are one school, mainstream primary and specialist unit aligned, a flagship school for our successful inclusive practice where children all learn from each other and a community in which diversity is embraced and celebrated,” Kathryn said. “With the uniqueness of our staff and quality of teaching, together we can be the greatest school. As Headteacher I will always act with all children at the centre of my decision-making.”


Kathryn also paid tribute to her predecessor and vowed to build on her legacy. “I get very emotional talking about Rita – we both share a love of East Hunsbury – and she believed in me, guided me, listened to me, has been a big support in the transition, and I am so grateful to her,” she said. “The foundations laid by Rita are really solid. She has, and always will be, at the heart of the school’s DNA. Under Rita’s leadership the school has offered a wealth of experiences which inspire the children – and we will strive to develop opportunities further across areas such as the arts and sports.”


At her final assembly, Rita – who has given 40 years’ service to education – was presented with a jug made emblazoned with children’s fingerprints and a quilt they had made. She has since donated some money for a reading chair in the school. “It has been an absolute privilege to lead such a vibrant school with such enthusiastic and engaging children, supported and challenged by caring, dedicated staff,” she said. “I have always tried my best to lead the school firmly and fairly, with compassion and rigor, ensuring that every individual is valued equally, feels included and encouraged to aspire to be the best they can be. In Kathryn, I am delighted to be placing the school in such skilful, ambitious, caring and enthusiastic hands. I look forward to watching the school continue to improve and excel – and I know that the school will continue to make memories for generations to come.”


Louise Whaites, Chair of Governors at East Hunsbury Primary School, said: “On behalf of the Governing Body, I would like to thank Rita for her long service to the school and wish her a happy and healthy retirement. We will always remember Rita’s dedication to East Hunsbury, and that the school was one of the most important things in her life. She was very passionate about the school’s development as part of the community, initially its establishment within a new community and then over the years responding to the needs of the changing community. It was also very important to her that we were positioned as one school – mainstream and specialist unit together – and Kathryn shares that.

“Looking forward, we are really excited about Kathryn’s plans for the school. She has some brilliant ideas to carry on Rita’s vision as a place in the community for everyone, not just the children, and is already re-building links externally that we were forced to put on hold due to the pandemic. Educationally her mission is research and evidence-based, everything focused on facts, and all with the objective of helping each individual child to fulfil their potential, giving them opportunities to thrive and do their best.”


Julia Kedwards, CEO of Northampton Primary Academy Trust, said: “Finding a replacement Head for East Hunsbury Primary following the retirement of experienced and skilled Headteacher, Rita Arundel, was no mean feat and we are thrilled to welcome Kathryn into our school Trust. Kathryn has significant education and leadership experience and is already building on the solid foundations left by Rita to take East Hunsbury forward into the future.”


Reception places at East Hunsbury Primary School are still available for September 2022. For more information, please contact the school office on 01604 677970 or


Half of UK teachers have experienced harassment by students online

Half of teachers (49%) have been the target of inappropriate use of online devices and social media by students, according to new survey conducted by classroom management and safeguarding software provider, Impero. A similar number (43%) agreed that this type of behaviour is on the rise in UK schools.


Around one-fifth revealed they have been approached online (22%) or followed on social media by their students (21%), while 15% have been filmed without permission in the classroom. One in ten have been abused online (11%) and the subject of student group chats (11%).


Charlotte Aynsley, safeguarding expert at Impero, says:


“It’s not news to safeguarding experts that teachers are often on the receiving end of cyber-bullying, but the extent of the trend is unsettling – especially since harassment of other students is also on the rise. A natural curiosity from children will quite often lead to social media interactions such as follow requests from students; teachers therefore have a responsibility to ‘protect’ their identity so they can’t be obviously found on social media. They should also follow the professional standards around not allowing students to befriend them to prevent any unwanted interactions.”


She adds:

“In today’s world, you can simply pick up a mobile phone, create harmful or inappropriate content, and share it to a wide audience online without being held accountable. Whilst schools play a critical role in educating students about online safety, the long-anticipated Online Safety Bill will be a huge step towards a safer online world for both adults and children – making platforms more accountable for the harmful content being disseminated.”

Growing teaching pressures


The survey of 500 UK-based primary and secondary school teachers, also found that the vast majority (89%) have considered leaving the profession as they face growing workplace pressures and classroom challenges.


The most common reasons teachers have considered quitting, are:


  • Excessive workload (67%)
  • Anxiety and stress (53%)
  • Salary expectations (40%)
  • Lack of support from the school (30%)


However, almost one-fifth (17%) cited harassment by students as a key reason, while just 14% expressed a loss of interest in teaching itself.


A call for improvement


The research also found that the majority of teachers also believe their schools need to improve on issues such as teacher safety and wellbeing (71%), staff retention (65%) and diversity, equity and inclusion (52%).


Other areas where teachers called for improvement were:


  • More effective classroom management technology (69%)
  • Academic performance (66%)
  • Student safety and wellbeing (60%)


Justin Reilly, CEO, Impero and former headteacher, says:


“Teachers have a job unlike any other. Their workloads seemingly increase year-on-year, especially with the continued rise in concerns around student behaviour, academic performance, and safeguarding. There are clear actions which can be taken to remove everyday stresses if we are to empower teachers and retain them. After, all the top reasons for wanting to leave are not linked to losing interest in teaching but are instead rooted in safety and wellbeing concerns.


“It is vital to create a safe and open environment for teachers to work effectively and feel valued. This means reviewing practices for engaging, protecting and retaining teachers, as well as swiftly addressing emerging safeguarding issues, such as the myriad of online abuse which we know can cause great harm to both students and teachers alike.”


“Confident and highly competent teachers” developed by CTSN SCITT, as Ofsted awards ‘Good’ judgement to teacher training provider

CTSN SCITT, which provides initial teacher training (ITT) to primary and secondary school trainees throughout Cambridgeshire, North Essex and West Suffolk, has been rated ‘Good’ – with ‘Outstanding’ leadership and management – in its newly-published Ofsted report.


The School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) provider, which involves 86 partnership schools, was visited by an Ofsted inspection team in February and March and its report was released on 18th May. Every year around 120 trainees undertake a variety of routes, both salaried and non-salaried, leading to qualified teacher status with CTSN SCITT. Most trainees are non-salaried – supported by a student loan – and complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) with Anglia Ruskin University.


Led by The Cam Academy Trust, and supported by Teaching School Hubs in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Saffron (North Essex) and Unity (West Suffolk), the CTSN SCITT Ofsted report noted high-quality training centred around four training hubs at Bottisham Village College and Trumpington Park Primary School, in Cambridge; and Abbots Green Primary Academy and Kind Edward VI School, in Bury St Edmunds.


Positive comments in the Ofsted report included:


  • Primary and secondary trainees receive a good quality of education and training.
  • Trainees access a well-designed curriculum that supports them to develop the knowledge and skills to become effective, reflective and thoughtful teachers.
  • Trainees and their trainers share a passion and commitment for learning.
  • Trainees are well prepared to become confident and highly competent teachers.
  • Trainees are taught how to adapt learning effectively for pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and pupils who speak English as an additional language, so these pupils can access an ambitious curriculum.
  • Trainees speak very positively about the pastoral support they receive.
  • Trainees are given effective guidance and support to manage their workload.
  • Outstanding leadership has brought about good and improving quality of education and training.
  • As a result of their highly skilled leadership, school leaders and staff across the partnership wholeheartedly embrace leaders’ vision for excellence.
  • Leaders ensure that trainees place pupils’ learning and welfare at the heart of all they do.

“We are delighted with the Ofsted report which is the result of a great deal of hard work, from a wide range of people, drawn from a very wide network of partnership schools,” said CTSN SCITT Director Martin Lee. “I am particularly pleased that the inspectors noticed that the SCITT always puts the education of children and young people first, even in the training year. The sector has seen significant changes in the last two years, so it particularly satisfying that this report reflects our efforts to not only implement the requirements expected by the Department for Education, but also our ambitions to go beyond those minimum expectations to ensure our trainees become the best teachers they can be.”


Since it was formed in 2010, the SCITT has established an enviable reputation among education leaders across the region, who not only recognise the high-quality teacher training but also employ teachers directly from CTSN.

Stephen Munday, CEO of The Cam Academy Trust, explained: “Training the next generation of teachers is absolutely fundamental to our work as a Trust and our partnership with local Teaching School Hubs. Teachers are the single most important contributory factor to the quality of education received by young people in our country so providing a high-quality supply of future teachers for our own organisation and for others is crucial. It is really encouraging to have the work in this area so strongly vindicated by the recent Ofsted inspection of our CTSN SCITT, our School Centred Initial Teacher Training provision. High-quality provision is overseen by outstanding leadership according to this inspection and that is great for everyone. We are very grateful for all our partners in this work who make this possible and congratulate the leadership of the SCITT for their excellent work.”

Lesley Birch, Strategic Lead for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Teaching School Hub and Deputy CEO of Meridian Trust, said: “CTSN SCITT is one of three ITT providers in the region that partner with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Teaching School Hub. Through the Hub, and also CTSN SCITT’s delivery of ITT with schools in Meridian Trust, I have seen at first-hand how the team put children and young people at the heart of everything. Trainee teachers are very well supported, there is a real team approach with continuous improvement always the end goal, and this has led to a steady supply of teachers locally, regionally and nationally for the past 12 years. This Ofsted outcome is testament to the dedication of staff, excellent leadership, and the commitment of local multi-academy trusts to the system. We are also seeing the opportunity for staff in schools to become involved in CTSN SCITT in a variety of ways, including as mentors and as professional tutors, bringing a continuous CPD offer. Not only does CTSN SCITT collaborate effectively with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Teaching School Hub, its relationships extend to three other Teaching School Hubs. It is a major influencer of teacher supply and development.”


Jonathan Culpin, CEO of Anglian Learning, added: “We are absolutely delighted by the extremely positive report from Ofsted. Anglian Learning is proud to be working in partnership with the SCITT to deliver high-quality teacher training, which in turn leads to excellent outcomes and opportunities for the children and young people in all of our schools.”


Places on CTSN SCITT programmes beginning in September are still available, and Martin encouraged anyone with an interest in becoming a teacher to get in touch with him. “Whether you are an undergraduate seeking your first career or someone looking to change direction, teaching is an incredibly rewarding career,” he said. “Opportunities for young people really are limitless, and helping to prepare them for endless horizons is extremely satisfying. It is also an intellectually stimulating profession, allowing both creativity and rigour. It is not too late to start training to become a teacher this year; the classroom door is most definitely open.”


For more information, including an opportunity to chat about training to teach opportunities, please contact CTSN SCITT on 01223 262503 (extension 223) or email, or visit


The evolution and future of Edtech: A chat with Aaron Webb, Sr Product Marketing Manager at Jamf


How has the pandemic impacted the way we view edtech?

The pandemic has had a significant impact on the way that edtech is viewed within the education system. In the last two years, we have seen technology brought to the forefront, as schools have adopted platforms such as Microsoft Teams or Google Classroom in order to enable teachers to provide learning to children of all ages. There has also been an increase in device purchases or repurposing of existing devices in order to provide students with access to these platforms. While some schools have relied on student having access to their own device at home in order to keep teaching as best they could, others already had devices in the hands of students and the systems in place adapted in a different way. What started as reactive for most and a forced move to use technology has become a learning curve where all schools, even if they already had an established 1:1 programme or already used Teams or Google to reset. Technology in education has many benefits and schools have seen that, from accessibility and providing differentiated resources to cutting the amount of paper used. They have realised what can be done outside the walls of the classroom and they saw the importance of having a structure in place to flip to online learning whenever required. However, during the pandemic, there was little time to implement a strategy or enable staff with the new tools and skills. Some schools still had key worker children on site while teaching remotely so had to juggle both face to face and online learning. We are now in a period where schools are focused on students who are back in the classroom but they are also able to review the workflows they were using both prior and during the pandemic. Many schools are reflecting on those free offerings to blend with other paid-for solutions, for example using Google Classroom as a free offering but moving to Showbie for digital assessment and feedback. Apple devices are being used to blend Google tools with the Apple ecosystem and the need for both teaching training and IT management of devices has grown rapidly. There is also more focus on security, with devices being issued without the knowledge, skills or tools to secure them, and an increase in cyber attacks on schools and universities means protecting students, devices and the networks are now a huge requirement in education. The pandemic has certainly fast-tracked the digitisation of education considerably and will continue to shape the future of learning, professional development with tools and platforms to support.


What is Jamf and how are you making a difference in the education sector?

Jamf is the leading Apple enterprise management solution of scale that remotely connects, manages and protects Apple users, devices and services. Our flagship education solution, Jamf School, recently surpassed 5 million devices and provides simple education-focused tools and value-added workflows, not only for the IT admin to manage and secure Apple devices but Teacher, Student and Parent apps to empower student success. Jamf provides a holistic management solution for schools of all sizes that manages every aspect of Apple devices through to provisioning devices right from purchase, through to the deployment with zero touch for IT which gives the ultimate buy in for staff and students who unbox their brand new device, power on and see all their apps and setting configured based on their sign in. With our security solutions and management offers, we can help schools monitor and prevent malware threats, and provide safe online learning environments, all without invading user privacy. We support the use of our devices and tools with training and robust help for IT admins but also free online professional development for the Jamf Teacher app with our Jamf Educator platform. Teachers can learn, try and apply in a simulation environment before rolling out across the school. We celebrate their success with a Jamf educator badge to share on social media and as part of their professional development but also invite them to join our dedicated education hub within Jamf Nation, our online community of IT professionals.


What differentiates Jamf from other edtech solutions?

Jamf empowers student success. We know that many stakeholders play a huge part in this and we have tools and solutions to support those key personas. IT, teachers, the students themselves and parents and carers. Each tool and workflow enhances engagement between teachers, students and parents while simplifying IT workflows. It is a unique proposition that presents a variety of capabilities that allow for management of devices by a number of different stakeholders and participants regardless of IT knowledge and skills. Each of these is adapted and created specifically for its role in this journey. Jamf has carefully considered what is required for each participant and developed a capability to support their function.


These solutions become even more powerful with our integrations and solution partners. Our integrations with Microsoft and Google mean schools can choose Apple and use the systems they know and love to form a powerful combination that suits their needs. By choosing Apple they can still use their Google or Microsoft systems but blend the Apple ecosystem for a better together approach.


We extend that experience even further with solution partners through our Jamf Marketplace. There is a wealth of solutions and integrations that allow schools to use systems they already have or are looking to adopt with Jamf, whether that be IT solution or teaching and learning specific apps such as Showbie, Explain Everything or digital signage solutions for their Apple TV fleet such as Carousel or Trilby TV.


How is Jamf combating some of the main security concerns in the edtech space?

The technological landscape is constantly evolving, and it is imperative that learning institutions take the necessary measures to combat the latest threats and security risks to prevent any potential problems. The use of technology in the classroom can be invaluable but steps need to be taken to protect both children and teachers alike, while also respecting and conserving their privacy.


Our solutions offer an easy way to remove concerns around security and harness a safe learning environment. Jamf has a robust and comprehensive knowledge base of the potential threats and has solutions that work to mitigate them, giving teachers and students the tools for success while keeping them safe from harm.


Jamf have announced their latest tool to keep users safe while they work. Jamf Safe Internet will be available for macOS, iPadOS and iOS this summer, combining content filtering and network threat prevention features that block unsafe content and malicious attacks so students can learn safely anywhere. This protection also includes software to stop malware and phishing attacks in their tracks. Jamf Safe Internet uses a vast content-filtering database and lightweight technology, so the learning experience of the user is not hampered and continues to provide the best Apple experience teachers and students know and love, while avoiding an invasion of student’s privacy. This is yet another layer of protection in place in addition to the existing safeguards in place throughout the Jamf’s Education solutions.


What do you think about the future of edtech?

Edtech, at its core, looks to empower teachers, parents and students, both inside and outside the classroom, to use technology as a tool to simplify and progress learning methods and make education as effective as possible. We know that the pandemic has accelerated its progress, but I think we are still yet to see the best to come. Technology is constantly evolving and developing, and the possible applications are vast. However, there are still areas that need to adapt. Exams and assessment were impacted during the pandemic. Schools need to rethink how students are assessed and consider digital assessments – edtech can definitely play a huge part in it.

“Whilst some providers have been counted in, nobody has been counted out”: NASBTT responds to ITT accreditation process outcome

The Department for Education (DfE) has today notified providers who applied to Round 1 of the Initial Teacher Training (ITT) accreditation process of the outcome.


Figures released show that 80 providers spanning school and university-based ITT have been accredited.


In response, Emma Hollis, Executive Director of the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT), said:


“Whilst we are obviously disappointed by the headline figure that only 80 providers have been successful in Round 1, it is important to stress that we are only part-way through the process and as such no provider has been counted out.


Providers who have not yet been accredited are able to re-apply in Round 2 (which opens on 23rd May, deadline 27th June) and, importantly, have been given feedback from DfE which will support their resubmission. They will only have to submit responses to the question or questions they did not pass, so can invest time over the next two months developing their applications in the specified areas. Needless to say, we are committed to supporting all NASBTT members through the accreditation process, and would encourage all providers who have not yet been accredited to continue with their applications into Round 2.


We would also encourage all those who are resubmitting or planning to apply for the first time in Round 2 to attend our forthcoming online networking events on trainee curriculum (8th and 9th June), mentoring (13th June), partnerships (14th June) and brokering new partnerships (15th June), which are free to NASBTT members. These will bring ITT providers together to discuss their approaches to each of these elements of the application, and to share ideas and thinking to support one another in the accreditation process.


We remain confident, based on assurances that we have been given from DfE (who we are in constant dialogue with), that there is no pattern or preference emerging in the accreditation process for size and scale of provider – a fear expressed by many.


We are also confident that the government at large will want to avoid a potentially catastrophic risk to the teacher supply chain – and quality and availability of provision – which would come from losing significant numbers of providers from the market and further undermining teacher supply at a time when ITT applications are back to, or indeed below, pre-pandemic levels.”


Students and activists gather to mark Europe Day

Over 75 students from local schools were joined by people from the community to mark Europe Day in London yesterday (Monday 9 May 2022).


The young people were joined by representatives from the European Parliament, the EU Delegation in the UK, diplomats from all over Europe and beyond, friends and neighbours, as all came together to celebrate the European Year of the Youth with a special emphasis on showing solidarity with people in Ukraine.


Europe Day has been marked every year since 1964 to promote peace and unity in Europe. In 2022, the focus on youth was celebrated in the UK with a host of local schools being invited to London’s famed Europe House for a chance to experience the festivities in person, including a preview of the Gardens and Landscapes exhibition by young French artist Alexandre-Benjamin Navet, as well as the opportunity to meet the EU’s ambassador to the UK, João Vale de Almeida and Susanne Oberhauser, Head of the European Parliament’s Liaison Office in the UK, together with her whole team.


Further events took place across Europe, and in the UK a concert at St. John’s Smith Square included a performance by soloists of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Alongside standout pieces such as ‘Ode to Joy’ and a soloist performance of Olivier Messiaen’s “Abîme des oiseaux” from Quatuor pour la fin du temps, the orchestra also played the Ukrainian national anthem, highlighting solidarity with the people of. Susanne Oberhauser said: “Europe Day brings into stark focus the “raison d’être” of the European Union: UNITED IN PEACE. And as our President Roberta Metsola put it: Today we celebrate our values, today we stand with Ukraine.”


One of the young people taking part, secondary school student Clemmie Aargaard from London, gave a powerful speech, which really was the cornerstone of the European Year of Youth and Europe Day celebrations. To conclude her very moving and personal account of what it means to her to be European, she said: “When we think of ourselves as Europeans, or as citizens of a wider world, we are motivated to live alongside each other. Celebrating our differences as well as the many ties that bind us.”


The European Union Ambassador to the UK João Vale de Almeida said: “Europe is about bringing different people, languages and cultures together, to reach common goals, and based on shared values. United in diversity, as our motto says. It has not always been an easy job, nonetheless for the last 72 years we did it, we keep on doing it and we hope younger generations will continue carrying the torch for 72 more years at least. We are proud to see so many countries wanting to join us.”


The European Parliament Liaison Office is encouraging all young people throughout the UK who would like to take action on issues they care about such as global public health, the planet, security or human rights. Young people can visit the website and connect with others who share their enthusiasm for joint action for a better future.


Leicester School Marks Mental Health Awareness Week

Pupils at a Leicester primary school have been learning how to support their wellbeing and self-esteem ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week.

Elizabeth Woodville Primary School in Groby has been hosting special lessons and activities to mark the event using Discovery Education Health and Relationships – a digital programme which teaches children about healthy and happy relationships, and gives them the skills they need to look after their physical and mental health.

Organised by the Mental Health Foundation charity, Mental Health Awareness Week (9 to 15 May 2022) is an annual, nationwide event which encourages people to focus on achieving good mental health.  The theme of this year’s event is ‘Loneliness’, and it’s hoped that the campaign will shine a light on the mental health impact of the pandemic.

Year 5 pupils at Elizabeth Woodville Primary School began their Mental Health Awareness Week lessons by learning about the importance of self-image and self-respect. Using digital resources from Discovery Education, they explored how the way in which we see ourselves can affect our feelings and behaviour.


Inspired by this, the children took part in a lively discussion about the benefits of positive self-image and how this can improve their health and wellbeing. The children enjoyed debating and sharing their ideas. One of the pupils said, “It was good to hear what other people wanted to say and sometimes I changed my mind too!”


The class then produced some beautiful written work on the theme of self-esteem, in which they listed the things that they are good at and highlighted the achievements they are most proud of.


Helen Taylor, Year 5 teacher at Elizabeth Woodville Primary School said:


“Given the difficulties and challenges faced by children of all ages within the last two years, caring for their mental health has never been more important. At Elizabeth Woodville Primary School, we take our responsibility to promote and improve the mental health of our pupils very seriously. Discovery Education’s Health and Relationships programme has allowed us to teach the importance of a positive mentality, self-image and self-respect in a clear, interesting and age-appropriate way. Every lesson enables discussion and debate and the children learn from each other as much as from the teaching.”


Featuring a variety of engaging digital content including videos, activities and complete lesson plans, Discovery Education Health and Relationships helps children to learn about mental health and relationships in a safe and supportive environment. The resources, which support teachers to deliver the primary RSHE curriculum, are centred around child-led videos and animations to help pupils relate to the subject and encourage them to take part in discussions.


“Discovery Education is proud to support Elizabeth Woodville Primary School as they teach their pupils about the importance of good mental health” said Howard Lewis, Discovery Education Managing Director UK and International. “Providing pupils with engaging opportunities to learn about wellbeing is so 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.



Who is safeguarding the safeguarders? Study reveals school safeguarding staff are STILL suffering distress – yet are less likely than ever to seek support

                     30% of DSLs (Designated Safeguarding Leads) in schools admit suffering distress or upset as a result of carrying out their roles

                     DSL safeguarding distress similar to 2020 pandemic levels

                     Yet there is a 25% decline in DSLs seeking support compared with two years ago

New research released today for Mental Health Awareness Week, has revealed two years on from the pandemic starting, teachers and staff responsible for safeguarding are STILL suffering high levels of distress as a result of carrying out their role. However, they are less likely than ever to seek personal support to help address the issue.  

According to the data, released by Smoothwall, a leading digital safeguarding technology provider, nearly a third (30%) of those responsible for safeguarding in a school have experienced or seen something that has caused personal distress, such as upsetting images or content.

DSLs within private schools (20%) fare significantly better than those in state schools (31%). However, the levels of distress experienced by those responsible for safeguarding as a whole remains largely in line with comparative data from 2020 (33%).

Despite levels remaining high, there has been a significant decline in the number of DSLs seeking professional support, such as counselling, or personal help from colleagues or peers. In fact, when compared with two years ago, DSLs are 25% less likely to seek support of any kind, posing the question: who is safeguarding those with a responsibility to safeguard?

Safeguarding can be an extremely challenging role with seemingly ‘invisible’ issues such as students accessing harmful online material often flying under the radar and being difficult to spot. The research underlines this with 1-in-10 DSLs admitting they feel unable to spot mental health issues amongst children in their care.

Kat Howard, safeguarding expert at Smoothwall, said: “Those staff with a safeguarding responsibility are absolutely committed to providing the very best care and support for their students, and the fear of missing a vulnerable child can cause significant stress in itself. However, the experience of witnessing atrocious content, sexual imagery, online student chats with potential perpetrators and more through their day-to-day roles is not pleasant and over time can affect their wellbeing and mental health too.

 “Safeguarding issues are also widespread. Our own digital monitoring data shows that every 12 minutes, a child was found to have been involved in a serious sexual incident, and every 22 minutes, a child was involved in a serious cyberbullying, or violent incident.

“As such, it’s critically important we provide those with a responsibility for safeguarding, not only the right tools and technology to be able to do their job more efficiently and spot issues before they escalate, but also to recognise and provide the appropriate emotional and mental health support for those carrying out this crucially important job.”

Against this context, an active monitoring solution can provide DSLs with valuable support and reassurance in identifying those most at risk. Digital devices within a school are constantly monitored to check for signs of risk in children, quickly. 

Serious risks such as a suicide, grooming or a gang meeting can all be picked up in real-time if a child has used their keyboard to view content, message someone, look for information, type out their feelings – even if they delete it immediately or never press ‘send’ or ‘enter’. This approach can support the valuable ‘eyes and ears’ approach to safeguarding, that relies on teacher’s years of experience in intuition.

For more information on Smoothwall, or to access a full report into the research, visit  

Schools & Academies Show London 2022

The Schools & Academies Show London 2022 took place on 27th April at ExCeL, London for the first time in over three years.

The show’s return to London provided the perfect opportunity for the sector to continue moving from recovery to re-discovery. The event brought together over 3,000 attendees, 150 inspirational speakers and 140 leading education suppliers and provided the perfect meeting and networking space for senior leaders from schools to meet and discuss how to overcome the biggest challenges facing schools in the UK.

As the country continues to move beyond the effects of the pandemic, the education sector is still suffering from staff shortages, funding challenges and now has added pressures from pupil and staff wellbeing issues. Therefore, the Schools & Academies Show is positioned to tackle these challenges through showcasing good practice case studies, innovative suppliers and interactive networking and meeting spaces.

Our Headline Sponsor; Lyfta, presented an insightful presentation; ‘Nurturing Children for Our Changing World: The Amazing Power of Diverse Human Stories’ and stated:

“We were delighted to take part in the show and have the opportunity to meet sector leaders and staff, while sharing our message and vision with many schools that were not familiar with Lyfta.

Lyfta provides a powerful and accessible way for students to experience human diversity, and for educators to build cultural capital and nurture the vital skills and values children need to thrive in our changing world. We invite students to explore and connect with real human stories from across the globe, through interactive 360° spaces and powerful short films.

By taking part, we were able to share some of our work and our mission with Headteachers, MAT Leaders and wider Senior Leadership Teams and it was a great experience to see so many representatives from the sector in one place throughout the day.”

The show is heavily supported by the Department for Education (DfE) and we were delighted to bring back the popular Government Education Village which provides visitors with the chance to speak directly with representatives from multiple teams at the DfE as well as see a variety of live sessions and project demonstrations by the department.

This focus on insightful content and good practice was carried through the entire event, with the following themed stages on offer:

  • School Improvement Theatre
  • Trust & Trustees Theatre
  • Business & Finance Theatre
  • EdTech Theatre
  • Safeguarding & Wellbeing Theatre
  • SEND Theatre
  • Leaders’ Town Hall

As well as the 30+ hours of CPD-certified content on offer, over 140 exhibitors took part offering a wide variety of services, products, and solutions for every aspect of running a school. Discovering new suppliers, meeting with current service providers, and finding new and exciting services is one of the key benefits of the show and without this support from the sector, the show would not be such a huge success.

Stephen Morales, CEO, ISBL and Chair, GovNet Education Advisory Board stated:

“It’s always a privilege to part of one of the sector largest national events. Being able to interact with such large numbers in attendance, both in the margins of the sessions and as speaker provides me with a real sense of the mood of our sector, their challenges, their concerns, and their aspirations.

As ISBLs CEO I believe events like this are essential to the sectors ongoing evolutions and as a professional institute we look forward to supporting the Schools & Academies Show again in Birmingham in November.”

If you would like to find out more about how you can join the leading education suppliers already benefiting from exhibiting at the shows, then please contact

About the Events:

The Schools & Academies Show is the UK’s leading education policy event, tackling the biggest topics and changes across the sector in order to ensure better outcomes for pupils and staff and is organised by GovNet Education.