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THE SKILLS NETWORK PARTNERS WITH THE YORKSHIRE CRICKET FOUNDATION TO OFFER FREE MENTAL HEALTH COURSES IN YORKSHIRE

 

  • Courses are available in Yorkshire for individuals associated with community clubs, volunteers and others who wish to know more about mental health
  • Learners will have access to three nationally recognised courses

 

The UK’s largest online learning provider, The Skills Network, has joined forces with The Yorkshire Cricket Foundation to offer free mental health awareness courses in the region.

 

The Skills Network, who already has partnerships with the likes of NHS, Wakefield Metropolitan District Council, The Castleford Tigers, and now the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation, is offering the courses to raise awareness of mental health in both adults and children, providing the knowledge and resources to work or interact with individuals who may be struggling.

 

Individuals associated with community clubs, volunteers and others will have free access to three nationally recognised online mental health courses, which will focus on recognising poor mental health, as well as the signs of self-harm and suicidal thoughts. The fully funded courses will also look at managing and minimising self-harm risk, giving tips on how to support others dealing with grief after suicide.

 

Darren Clarke, Senior Account Manager at The Skills Network said: “The pandemic has affected everyone differently – some have lost family members, others have become unemployed or furloughed, while many are feeling extreme loneliness.

 

“If we can break the stigma by allowing communities to be more informed and aware about the topic, it will become easier to spot the signs and potentially be able to prevent individuals from suffering in silence. By providing access to these free courses, we hope to support local adults who wish to learn more about mental health and gain new certified qualifications, for free.”

Beth Cook, Health and Wellbeing Manager for The Yorkshire Cricket Foundation said: “We have been working with the Skills Network for several years now, promoting courses that align with our delivery at the YCF. Given the current national landscape, we thought there was more we could do to promote awareness of mental health and reduce the associated stigma and saw our partnership with TSN as an ideal way to achieve this.

 

We want to work with as many cricket clubs and community groups across Yorkshire to build a network of ambassadors who want to create a change in how we approach, talk about and help those living with mental health conditions.”

 

The virtual courses, available to individuals over the age of 19 and not in the education sector, last for eight to 12 weeks, allowing them to fit learning around their busy lives.

 

To browse the selection of courses available or to sign up, please visit www.theskillsnetwork.com.

Teachers will lead the digital learning revolution in schools

More than 20,000 teachers from around the world will come together on Saturday, the 17th of April to recognise the leading role teachers have played in developing digital and educational solutions to the pandemic crisis at the inaugural T4 Education Teacher Tech Summit.

The COVID-19 outbreak sparked the biggest crisis in the teaching profession around the world. According to the UNESCO Global Education Coalition, since the start of the pandemic an estimated 63 million primary and secondary teachers have been affected by restrictions forcing schools to fully or partially close.

For many of these educators, trends in remote learning have been dramatically accelerated as schools adopt and adapt new practices to ensure their pupils continue to receive a high-quality education.

The resulting disruption and rapid change has ignited a world-wide digital learning revolution with teachers on its frontline, embracing new tools and discovering new methods to deliver their lessons. During the pandemic there has also been an explosion in teachers sharing their best practices, promoting greater innovation and creativity through informal collaboration.

While the pandemic has posed huge challenges, the crisis offers an opportunity to transform and reimagine education with teachers leading the digital learning revolution.

The T4 Education Teacher Tech Summit will bring educators together from around the world and is designed to provide a platform for them to share their expertise and experiences using educational technologies. The event will focus on the following themes:

  • Designing learning for hybrid environments
  • Engaging learners online
  • How to create good digital content
  • Assessing learning online
  • Ensuring no-one is left behind in online learning

Attendees will get the chance to hear from pioneering frontline teachers who have led the digital revolution in their schools, as well as from renowned world leaders like the OECD’s Director for Education and Skills, Andreas Schleicher; Dr Sara Hennessy from the University of Cambridge; and, Ross Morrison McGill, the Founder and CEO of Teacher Toolkit.

T4 Education recognises that it is teachers who will be key to unlocking the global education recovery from this crisis. On the 8th of April, T4 Education will also be launching a new Insights Survey – the first of its kind and in collaboration with the Cambridge University EdTech Hub and OECD – that will learn directly from frontline teachers all over the world about their professional experiences over the past year, and how they have mobilised to overcome the numerous challenges this unchartered period has generated. You can participate in this survey by following this link.

The event is free of charge and will take place online on Saturday the 17th of April between 12 pm – 3 pm GMT. T4 Education will stream the event live and in English, with subtitles in the following additional languages: Arabic, Bengali, French, Hindi, Malay, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian, Spanish and Urdu. To register your attendance, please follow this link.

Vikas Pota, Founder of T4 Education, said:

“The past year has been an incredible journey for teachers worldwide. Teachers have rapidly gone from a situation where restrictions caused great uncertainty, to now using technology in innovative ways to deliver fantastic educational outcomes that are fulfilling their pupils and school’s ambitions.”

“Throughout, we have seen amazing collaboration amongst teaching peers in every country, where they have played a leading role in creating the solutions to the unprecedented challenges they have needed to overcome. The results are not only benefitting millions of children and whole communities worldwide, but also the profession.”

“However, much of this work has been informal. Our Teacher Tech Summit is designed specifically to provide a platform for teachers to share their knowledge from the past year and their techniques with a global audience.

“This way, together we can showcase the amazing work of teachers and share best practice that will support the global community.”

“If you are a teacher, join us and more than 20,000 other educators on the 17th of April to learn from the best – learn from teachers, like you.”

Ross Morrison McGill, Founder and CEO of Teacher Toolkit commented:

“I have been in touch with a number of teachers around the world, learning about their experiences and how they have juggled their workloads with the switch from physical to online teaching and learning.”

“What is very clear from my work is how the world needs teachers. While the profession has been knocked due to this crisis, I am extremely optimistic by the number of teacher-led digital initiatives that are generating great results.”

“From simple conversations, good ideas can filter to the top. Bringing people together who are passionate about education and edtech is essential. T4 places teachers back at the forefront of these conversations and enables those who are supporting schools, to be better informed.”

Mario Herraez Velazquez of eTwinz said:

“As a teacher and an advocate of digital learning, I have been astounded by the pace of transformation over the past year. The teaching profession has gone from having very little experience of edtech on the whole, to it becoming a core element of how we plan, prepare and execute our lessons.”

“The use of edtech and digital learning solutions – while necessary in the pandemic – will only serve to benefit teachers, schools and learners around the world in the future.”

“I am looking forward to sharing the teaching and learning practices I have developed with my brother with the international audience that will be attending the event.”

Matt Granados, a SEN Teacher at Swiss Cottage School’s Development and Research Centre, commented:

“Teaching colleagues around the world are incredibly adaptive, creative, and resilient to changes they encounter every day.

This last year really has shone a light on just how innovative practitioners are, utilising technology to overcome previously unimaginable circumstances.  Through this inventiveness and consistent drive to develop learners, whatever the circumstance, edtech has been at the core.  

This inspirational event brings together our pioneering global teaching community to celebrate the impact teaching teams have had on learners, and vitally, to share these invaluable insights using edtech.”

Dr Sara Hennessy, Co-Director of the EdTech Hub, said:

“It’s been an incredible and seismic year for teachers worldwide, with an astonishing acceleration of digital technology use in education. At the EdTech Hub, we’ve been working at full steam with our partners to explore how to address the persistent challenges and inequities in access to devices and connectivity that the pandemic has brought into sharp relief – in high-income as well as low- and middle-income countries. We’ve seen schools employ a range of available low- and high-tech tools in creative ways, offering some glimmers of hope concerning what’s possible to ensure all learners globally can make progress. Teachers and their professional development are absolutely pivotal in this.”

“This event is vitally important because by showcasing the leading role that teachers have played in the adoption of tech, and sharing creative practices with peers around the world, we’ll continue to build on this going forward, aiming to leave no-one behind.”

John Baker, CEO of D2L, commented:

“Learning is what raises us up in every society; it ripples through generations. D2L is proud to support T4 in celebrating those educators who do this every single day and will continue to build the best technology platform to support them in creating the most impactful learning journeys.”

Denis Mizne, CEO of The Lemann Foundation, commented:

“The pandemic represented a serious threat to education all around the world, especially to the most vulnerable students”.

“Throughout, teachers have been fundamental to adapting the delivery of education online. I am proud of the numerous initiatives the Lemann Foundation has been a part of, working to support teachers and students.”

“The results are a number of inspiring collaborations between teachers and technology who have co-created solutions to overcome challenges. I am looking forward to sharing these initiatives with the other delegates at the T4 Education Teacher Tech Summit.”

One in three teachers thinking of leaving profession due to “unbearable pressure” during Covid-19

Schools are on the verge of a staffing crisis, as one in three (34%) teachers are considering leaving the profession as a result of “unbearable pressure”, according to new research from specialist insurer Ecclesiastical.

 

Covid-19 has created many challenges for teaching staff in primary, secondary and independent schools across the UK. A survey of 500 teachers found that the biggest challenges facing schools include pupil stress and anxiety (65%), increased pressure on staff to help pupils catch up (64%) and pupils struggling to catch up on time lost (58%).

 

The survey, commissioned by Ecclesiastical and conducted prior to some schools returning from the third nationwide lockdown, found that over half (56%) of teachers say that the pandemic has increased their workload, with two thirds (66%) finding the third lockdown more difficult to manage in terms of delivering online lessons, supporting pupils to cope with online learning fatigue and meeting expectations of online learning.

 

These pressures on school staff have resulted in two in five (41%) teachers say they are struggling to cope. 

 

Mounting pressure is taking a toll on teachers’ mental health

 

More than three quarters (77%) of teachers surveyed say that their school has seen an increase in staff mental health concerns since the start of Covid-19, with nearly one in four (24%) saying this has increased greatly. Furthermore, 80% of respondents say that they have seen an increase in staff anxiety overall.

 

Many schools have put additional measures in place to support their people through the pandemic – more than three quarters (76%) of teachers say that their school has provided additional wellbeing support in response to Covid-19 – though the impact has yet to be felt. Nearly six in 10 (57%) believe their school needs to do more to support staff wellbeing and 24% of respondents said that no additional support was being provided at all.

 

Teachers have also reported concerns about pupils’ mental health since the third lockdown. Three quarters (75%) of teachers say concerns about pupil mental health have increased since January 2021. Eight in 10 (80%) have seen an increase in pupil anxiety during this time.

 

Return to school was a cause of anxiety for teachers

 

Pupils and teachers across England returned to school on 8th March as part of the first step of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown restrictions. Yet ahead of schools reopening, 65% of teachers admitted to feeling anxious about returning to their school after the third national lockdown.

 

The survey found that concern about the risks of catching Covid-19 (70%), pupils not adhering to social distancing (59%) and concern about the extra workloads caused by Covid-19 (53%) are the top three reasons teachers gave for feeling anxious about returning to school.

 

Faith Kitchen, Education Director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, said: “Teachers have been faced with the monumental task of keeping pupils engaged and motivated through virtual learning. Now they must navigate the stresses and strains of physical teaching with additional safety measures in place. . It is clear that these huge challenges are pushing a number of teachers to breaking point. With long hours, health concerns and supporting pupils’ anxieties, teachers are understandably feeling the effects on their own mental health.

 

“This is a serious risk to schools and administrators and leaders need to make sure there is sufficient support for their staff, as pupils complete the rest of the year. They should also ensure that there are contingency plans to ease the pressure on teachers, should the country go into another lockdown.”

             

Education software provider launches innovative pre-order meal app for schools

Pre-order school meals on-the-go

International provider of cashless education software, ami Education, has launched Infinity+ Order, a pre-order app for schools globally. As part of their Infinity+ range of cashless retail and payment, ID management and registration software for schools and colleges around the world, the Infinity+ Order app enables pupils to pre-order their school meals in advance directly from their phones, ready to pick up at lunchtime.

 

Contactless meal ordering

To facilitate a contactless lunchtime for pupils, the Infinity+ Order app is linked with Infinity+ cashless software to ensure a simple payment and service process.

When pupils order their school meals via the app, the payment is automatically deducted from their cashless account. This function offers a fully contactless lunch service, and schools are encouraged to control traffic flow with designated pre-order pick-up points.

 

“When COVID-19 forced schools around the world to close, we knew that it was vital to ensure that there was a safe solution in place for pupils to pre-order and collect their lunch when schools reopen. We’re excited to offer schools a simple way to do this with the Infinity+ Order app, which allows pupils to order, pay and collect their lunches with just a few clicks.” – Tony Reeves, Head of Operations at ami Education.

 

Key features of the pre-order app include:

 

  • Removes the need for cash in the dining hall
  • Completely contactless lunch service
  • Pupils can check their live cashless balance anywhere and anytime
  • Software is linked to Infinity+ cashless system for a seamlessly integrated pre-order system
  • Pre-order school meals in advance, for the date of their choice
  • School catering teams are notified of meals ordered in advance and can prepare quantities of food accordingly, reducing food wastage
  • Pupils and parents can view current and previous orders

Following the app launch, a selection of UK schools implemented Infinity+ Order as part of their cashless catering solutions. When reviewing the app, one parent said:

“The app is amazing. My daughter downloaded it and now pre-orders almost every day.” – Secondary school parent, Preston

 

With retailers adapting to the COVID-19 crisis by switching to contactless order methods, many schools have implemented similar solutions, with ami’s Infinity+ Order pre-order app offering schools a way to mimic out-of-the-gate spending.

 

For school catering teams, Infinity+ Order is designed to improve efficiencies by notifying staff in advance of meals ordered to allow catering teams to prepare food accordingly and reduce food wastage.

 

About ami Education

With over 25 years of experience delivering software to education establishments around the world, ami Education is one of the UK’s leading provider of cashless catering and ID management solutions for the education industry. Ami’s Transact and Infinity+ software offers a suite of fully integrated cashless catering and biometric technologies designed to meet the needs of schools and colleges.

For more information on the Infinity+ Order app, please visit Infinity+ Order app.

 

Lockdown lifted your savings? Top tips for making your money work for you

 

Daniela Attenborough, financial consultant at Wesleyan Group, the specialist financial services mutual for teachers explores how teachers can get the most out of their lockdown savings.

 

In the face of long hours, high workloads and the challenges of adapting to remote and online learning,

managing personal finances might have understandably fallen to the bottom of your to-do list.

 

Lockdown might, however, have given you the opportunity to save more than usual. Our own research

found that, on average, individuals saved £276 a month during the coronavirus pandemic, compared

with £240 before.

 

If you have been able to put some extra away, it will be important to consider how you can use this

money to support your personal and financial goals and make it work as hard as you do.

 

Here are four key things to think about when it comes to using those extra lockdown savings.

 

Review your savings plans and targets

 

Any saving habit should be accompanied by a savings strategy – understanding what you need the

money for, combined with your own personal circumstances, will help you determine the best way to

manage your money.

 

Being able to save that little bit extra over the past year might have meant that you’re now closer to any

existing goals you had established, or in a better position to set-up new ones.

 

As a very first step it will be important to review your targets to ensure they align with your current

circumstances.

 

Before putting money towards any goals, however, consider whether you need to start, or top-up, an

emergency fund for a rainy day first.

 

Setting aside three months’ worth of net household income is a good starting buffer. With this in place,

you can then think about committing money to other savings pots.

 

Don’t overlook retirement

 

For some, retirement can feel like a long way off, but it’s important to start planning for the day you step

back from the classroom as early as possible.

 

You may want to consider putting any extra lockdown savings towards your retirement plans. Speaking

to a financial adviser can help you understand the best way to put your money towards your retirement

– be it investing, or by purchasing additional pension through the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS).

 

If you haven’t yet established a retirement strategy, now could be the perfect time to do so.

 

It’s important to consider factors such as when you’d like to retire, and what retirement will look like to

you. From here, you can determine how much income you will need at different stages of your retirement

and how you can grow your pension pot.

 

Again, a financial adviser can support with this process – they can help you calculate the financial

implications of choices such as taking a phased retirement or working past your retirement date, and

understand when you can start to withdraw funds from your pension savings.

Investing, investing, investing

 

With interest rates currently lower than inflation, simply keeping cash in the bank means that the value

of your savings effectively falls over time.

Putting some of your extra lockdown savings into investments can provide a way to grow your wealth

by helping to beat low interest rates, outperform inflation and build new income streams. And you don’t

need huge sums to start investing – any amount of money can be put to work.

 

The very first thing to consider is whether investing is right for you. Investing isn’t a ‘quick win’ and generally takes place over longer periods of time – at least five years, but typically longer. If you know you might need your savings sooner, investing might not be the right option.

 

You will also need to consider your appetite to risk – the value of your investments can go down as well

as up. Each asset you can invest in, whether it’s property, bonds, cash or stocks, comes with its own level of risk, as well as its own degree of reward. Diversifying your investment portfolio by spreading investments across asset classes can offer a degree of protection against a single asset’s poor performance.

An easy way to do this is to put your money in an investment fund that covers many different types of

assets, spreading the overall risk. Each fund has a risk rating that you can use to see if it’s a good fit

for you. Please remember the value of investments can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you invest.

 

Maximise tax-efficiencies

 

Using your tax-free savings allowances can help you make the most out of the lockdown cash you’ve

put aside. Putting your money in an Individual Savings Account (ISA) could be a good option to consider.

You can save up to £20,000 tax-free into an ISA for both the 2020-21 tax year and for the upcoming

2021-2022 with no tax charged on any interest earned.

 

The deadline for using your ISA allowance for 2020-21 is midnight on 5 April, and you won’t be able to

carry over any unused allowance from year to year.

There are a range of ISA types you can use. For example, a cash ISA allows you to save money in

cash, meanwhile, a ‘stocks & shares’ ISA – such as Wesleyan’s With Profits ISA – allows you to make

investments with your money in assets like funds, bonds or individual stocks.**

Wesleyan’s With Profits Fund was recently ranked 1st place* for its five-year net return of 7.31% by independent actuarial services provider Barnett Waddingham. And because it’s an ISA, our customers didn’t pay tax on any returns they earnt.

 

At Wesleyan Financial Services , we understand the unique financial needs of teachers. Our specialist financial consultants are available who can offer advice at every stage of your savings journey, from setting targets through to reviewing your pension savings.

 

For more information visit: Stocks and Shares ISA for Teachers (wesleyan.co.uk)

 

 

Please note that past performance is not a reliable guide to future performance and the value of your investment can go down as well as up, so you could get back less than you invested.

 

 

Make Back to School Safety a Priority with AirPop Face Masks

AirPop Kids masks are designed especially for children aged 3 to 12-years-old and have been given the seal of approval by the BSI Kitemark scheme, alongside the Pocket mask – ideal for teens, older students and teachers

As thousands of children return to school next month, and with mask wearing recommended in secondary schools and higher education, how to keep youngsters safe from the risks of COVID-19 will be at the forefront of parent’s minds.

Award-winning air wearables brand AirPop has designed a range of masks with a two-way barrier giving children and teachers the defence they need against airborne threats, such as COVID-19, as well as providing optimum comfort and breathability.

The Kids mask, for children aged 3 to 12-years-old, has been specially engineered to suit smaller features, whilst delivering over 99% particle filtration.

AirPop’s Pocket mask also provides the same level of protection and offers the perfect solution for teenagers at secondary school, those in higher education such as college, and teachers and support staff.

 AirPop Kids Pink Lifestyle Image

The Government recommends the use of face coverings in Higher Education, Further Education and secondary schools.

Both the Kids and Pocket ranges fit in AirPop’s handy case, available in black and white and ideal for children to store their mask safely and hygienically in-between uses. The vent at the top of the case allows any moisture to evaporate naturally between wears, keeping the mask dry and fresh, ready for its next use. 

The Kids and Pocket masks have been awarded the prestigious BSI Kitemark, acknowledging AirPop has gone above and beyond to ensure its products provide appropriate levels of protection.

AirPop Pocket Black

Available in a range of colourful finishes such as pink, blue and white, the Kids mask, alongside the Pocket mask, is fitted with filters which last up to 40 hours. The Pocket is available in black and white.

Made of hypoallergenic materials as well as non-toxic dyes, both masks are also ideal for sensitive skin, even when wearing for long periods of time.

The masks have a unique 3D structure which creates a canopy of air, keeping them off the face for effortless breathability. Paired with low resistance materials, the range delivers unrestricted airflow for easy breathing, making them comfortable to wear all day.

Each mask is fitted with an ultra-soft, ergonomic foam nose seal cushion which conforms around the nose and promotes proper alignment, reducing fogging of eyewear for glasses wearers.

Reinforced, welded ribs provide compression strength during wear but also act as flexible folding joints for easy collapsibility when stowing.

AirPop Founder, Chris Hosmer, said: “For parents, protecting our children is always our number one priority. After my own children suffered the ill-effects of air pollution, respiratory health became hugely important to me. I created AirPop to protect people from the increasing threats posed by airborne pollution and to give people control over what they breathe.

“As children start to return to school, it’s important we take every precaution to protect them and those around them from transmitting COVID-19.”

AirPop Case

AirPop Kids masks come in blue, pink or white colours and retail for £14.99 for a 2-pack; £24.99 for a 4-pack. Compatible with Pocket carrying case.  Pocket case sold separately, in either black or white, for £9.99.

The Pocket also comes in black or white colours and retails for £14.99 for 2-pack; (£24.99 for 4-pack; £99.99 for 20 pack)   

The AirPop Difference

AirPop delivers superior performance by solving three key issues that plague most masks: fit, filtration and breathability. All of the materials used to manufacture our masks are tested by accredited 3rd party labs to exceed the World Health Organisation and FDA medical mask material performance standards. 

Fit: An accurate, close fit is essential to prevent the inhalation and exhalation of small particles and droplets. AirPop masks feature a patented soft-seal and frame that responds to different fit profiles to help ensure a snug, but comfortable fit. And the tented, 3-D Air Dome shape keeps the filter away from the face, increasing airflow and improving breathability and comfort. 

Filtration: When it comes to harmful pollutants, size matters. Anything smaller than 2.5 microns is known as “fine particulate matter” (PM 2.5) – think airborne bacteria, for example.  AirPop masks create a barrier down to 0.1 microns with greater than 99% effectiveness at this scale. Our unique combination of 4-layer filter material provides an effective 2-way barrier against particles and droplets.

Breathability: Superior breathability is also vital – consumers won’t wear what isn’t comfortable or doesn’t work. AirPop masks “give and take” in sync with your natural breath. And they have four layers of protection – from the droplet-resistant, non-woven outer layer to the filter and skin-friendly inner layer to ensure security and comfort.

About AirPop

AirPop is the world’s first Air Wearables company. Since 2015, the company has harnessed filtration science and technology to build high-performance products that deliver unrivalled comfort and breathability for millions of people worldwide. AirPop masks deliver superior performance by solving three critical issues: fit, filtration and breathability. The revolutionary mask design includes a patented seal ensuring a secure fit, while the 3D Air Dome increases airflow for better breathability and comfort. Furthermore, AirPop masks combine a 4-layer filter material to create a barrier down to 0.1 microns, and their filters deliver greater than 99% effectiveness. For more information visit: www.airpophealth.com.  

You can find all AirPop multi-use disposable masks at Amazon.com or the AirPop website (www.airpophealth.com).

Back to school but not just with a new pencil case; this term students will need a mask, a flow test, hand sanitiser & schools will need to disinfect as they never have before

8th March 2021 a confirmed date that parents around the country can put in the diary.  Finally, our children can be reunited with friends and teachers in the school environment.   But school life will have a different feel and lack the spontaneity that our young are craving.  Not only will they have to respect social distancing and wear masks, but they will be living in a highly sanitised world where washing their hands several times a day is the norm and schools disinfecting classrooms after every lesson is standard. 

Government guidelines stipulate that schools should ‘maintain enhanced cleaning, including cleaning frequently touched surfaces often, using standard products such as detergents.’  But at what cost to the health of our children and their teachers do we disinfect?  How can schools ensure that what they are using to keep their students and staff free from the virus does not pose other threats to their health? 

Covid-19 has forced us to look at infection control in a new way; and right now this focus is firmly on the school setting. There is mounting concern that many commonly used disinfectants may not be up to the job of dealing with a pandemic; contact time may be too long, efficacy questionable with often a moderate pathogen control and many include chemicals that could be harmful to our health and the environment, especially when used with the frequency required to prevent spread of the virus.

Enter MicroSafe®, a non-toxic, non-corrosive, non-harmful but highly efficient disinfectant distributed by Purazine in the UK.   The active ingredient of MicroSafe is HOCl, a weak acid that occurs naturally in the human immune system.   

MicroSafe is 99.9999% (Log 6) effective in killing viruses, bacteria and other pathogens within a contact time of 30 seconds and has a proven track record of combatting epidemics around the world (MERS, SARS, Ebola) as well SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) in Australia and the Middle East. Purazine introduced MicroSafe to the UK in 2020 in direct response to the pandemic.

The result of twenty years’ research, the patented and internationally approved Microcyn® technology that makes MicroSafe so unique, uses an electrochemical process to produce Hypochlorous Acid (HOCl) similar to the natural HOCl produced by the human immune system to fight infection.   This process results in a pH balanced disinfectant, that is free of harmful chemicals such as additives and alcohol.  MicroSafe can be ‘fogged’ as a fine mist to ensure that no surface is left un-sanitised.   Historically, HOCl disinfectant’s shelf life was very limited but uniquely, MicroSafe remains shelf-stable for a minimum of two years, needing no special storage, handling or disposal and is kind to the environment.

Dr Hugh Martin, recent former Head of Agricultural Science at RAU and consultant with HOCl Trust says:

“With this level of efficacy, contact time, shelf life and being non-corrosive, MicroSafe sets the gold standard in disinfectants making it ideal for use in school settings where it will be safe to be used all in areas such as classrooms, labs and dining halls as well as for general disinfection application.”

In preparation for pupils returning to Chippenham’s Abbeyfield School on the 8th March, Deputy Head, Mr Spencer Cutler has been in touch with Purazine to request a new portable, battery operated fogger and additional MicroSafe to help disinfect sports equipment which needs a fast turnaround time. He says:

“Keeping our school community safe is a priority during this challenging time and having the opportunity to use MicroSafe has been beneficial in doing this. Sanitising a school is an enormous task, the advantage of using MicoSafe is that large areas can be sanitised quickly and efficiently with no impact on the learning or safety of our students, staff or equipment. MicroSafe has given us an additional level of security that we didn’t have before; paramount especially in this phase of the pandemic.” 

Dr David Cox of Purazine who distributes MicroSafe in the UK says;

“It is clear that we are going to have to learn to co-exist with Covid-19 and other viruses in the future but it’s vital that our solution to the virus does not cause additional problems especially for our children in the school setting.  MicroSafe needs to be part of all schools’ mitigation measures to keep Covid at bay; it is a product that is free of harmful chemicals, efficient and easy to use, limiting further interruption in students’ education.  They have waited long enough to get back to school, now let’s make sure that they can stay there and continue with their education but safely.” 

For more please visit: www.purazine.co.uk

Children urged to thank teachers by drawing them

Teachers have endured their toughest ever year, facing increased workloads because of the unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic. Children are now being encouraged to create a special drawing to be in with a chance of winning a thank you gift for their teacher and resources for their classroom.

 

School stationery pioneer Maped Helix wants children to draw their teacher and those pictured in the five winning entries will receive an Oxford Metallics Premium Writing Gift Set. The prize will also include a range of stationery suitable for the child’s class, such as colouring pens for younger winners and maths sets for older pupils, plus Maped Picnik water bottles.

 

The Thank Your Teacher portraits can be created from pencil, felt tips, crayons, chalk, glitter, paint or anything else the children would like to use! The deadline for entries is Sunday 21st March.

 

Maped Helix marketing manager Lianne Fletcher commented: “It’s been a very difficult year for everyone but particularly so for teachers, facing the challenges of looking after key workers’ children in class and overseeing home schooling at the same time. With schools reopening to all pupils, we feel it’s a good time for children to show their gratitude by creating a picture for their teacher which may even win them a prize. We’re looking forward to seeing lots of colourful and creative portraits and rewarding teachers for their dedication and enthusiasm.”

 

Parents of children entering the competition should post the portraits on Facebook @MapedHelix or Instagram @maped_helix with the hashtag #ThankYourTeacher to be in with a chance of winning one of the five prizes for their teacher and class.

Maped Helix is based in The Black Country where innovative stationery has been created since 1887, most notably the Oxford Maths Set which has been used by children since the 1930s. Many of the company’s world class stationery products are designed to inspire and stimulate children’s creativity, such as the Maped Creativ and Color’Peps ranges.

 

For more information about Maped Helix please visit www.mapedhelix.co.uk, email info@mapedhelix.co.uk or call 01384 286860.

 

Trust Academy Business Manager completes Level 7 Certificate in School Financial and Operational Leadership

At the White Rose Academies Trust we like to recognise the hard work and achievements of our
dedicated staff members. As well as through our ‘Employee of the Month’ Award, we also like to
highlight and share stories of staff successes.
A recent achievement worth celebrating comes from Samuel Bradley, Academy Business
Manager for both Leeds East Academy and Leeds West Academy, who has worked at the White
Rose Academies Trust for almost five years.
Sam has demonstrated his dedication to continuing professional development by recently
completing the Level 7 Certificate in School Financial and Operational Leadership.
Developed by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy (CIPFA) and the Institute
of School Business Leaders (ISBL), this extensive blended-learning programme accounts for 200
CPD hours and covers topics such as education funding, accountability, and contract
management.
This accredited qualification is recognised by the Department for Education in the Academies
Financial Handbook and ensures school business leaders can meet the highest professional
standards when overseeing school finances, governance, and risk management.
Commenting on his achievement, Samuel said:
“I’m incredibly pleased to have completed this programme and to be awarded with this
prestigious qualification. I have thoroughly enjoyed working my way through the modules and
look forward to applying my new knowledge in practice.
“While I have personally enjoyed the benefits of this training programme, it will also have a
fundamental and positive impact for our students by ensuring I keep my knowledge and skills up
to date and relevant. In addition, the operations of the academies, for which I am responsible, will
continue to improve as we strive to create an exceptional environment for teaching and
learning.”
To further celebrate this achievement, we asked Samuel to provide us with greater insight into the
life of an Academy Business Manager:
What is it like to be an Academy Business Manager?
Today, the role of Academy Business Manager is more vital than ever as schools gain greater
responsibility and autonomy over managing their finances and resources.
There is evidence to suggest that school business managers can help senior leaders save almost a
third of their time, covering their own salary with savings. But an Academy Business Manager’s
contribution is about so much more than financial efficiency.
“While efficiency is obviously important,” says Samuel, “my role is also about supporting the
academies I work for to make strategic decisions across all operational areas, and therefore
enabling my colleagues to focus on industry-leading teaching and learning.
“For example, one of my regular responsibilities involves working with our Academy Principals on
strategically planning our finances and workforce through a process known as Integrated
Curriculum and Financial Planning (ICFP). This approach ensures that our schools can use their
resources efficiently to create the best curriculum possible for our students.”
Thanks to Samuel’s commitment to continuing professional development, he can draw from his
wide range of knowledge about developing and leading support services, which he can tailor to
the needs of each academy and help establish a strong culture of accountability.
“I strongly believe in the power of accountability and helping managers to be autonomous when
it comes to leading their departments. Since I joined the Trust, I have led on developing a robust
financial planning framework, which empowers others to participate in the planning process of
budget setting and ultimately gives academy leaders a greater sense of responsibility and
accountability when it comes to academy finance”.
As you learn more about his role as an Academy Business Manager, you will understand that Sam
is passionate about the development and improvement of systems, processes, and procedures:
“I like clarity and I think others appreciate this too. I dislike complex procedures or processes,
especially if they are unnecessary. If we can make an operating procedure clearer and more
accessible, it will have a greater impact throughout the academy.
“For example, I recently supported our Estates Managers to refresh their approach to monitoring
facilities requests and compliance work. The result is that these managers now have greater
control over tracking and quality assuring jobs through their teams, which means the process is
more user friendly and useful for all colleagues across the academies.
“Another example of an improved process is the launch of our professional standards and line
management framework across the operational provision, which clearly sets out expectations
and available support. The aim is to foster a culture of high expectations with high support,
ensuring our support services are integrated and strong, led by teams of skilled and
knowledgeable individuals that add real value. Everything we are doing is aligned with the vision
for operational excellence.”
What does the future hold for the ambitious Academy Business Manager?
“With my experience, training, and skillset I could confidently work within another sector or
corporate environment, but I would not feel like I was making the same positive impact that I do
in schools or feel the same level of reward and job satisfaction.
“However, despite my recent success in achieving the Level 7 Certificate in School Financial and
Operational Leadership, I am still focused on improving and developing further, I am currently a
full member of the Institute of School Business Leadership and I am keen to apply for the
organisation’s Fellowship Programme and build upon my skills and knowledge. I am confident that
this will further improve the operational and financial provision of our academies.”
If you’re interested in developing your skills, furthering your career and joining a culture of
excellence, then why not join the White Rose Academies Trust.
Our Trust is going through an exciting period of growth and transformation, having recently
welcomed our first primary school and formed a World Class partnership with High Performance
Learning.
Look out for current and upcoming opportunities on our careers page
https://www.whiteroseacademies.org/careers

What teachers need to know about online safety laws

Words by Charlotte Aynsley, safeguarding advisor at Impero

Given the incredible work they are doing during the pandemic, teachers and school staff may not be up to date on the latest news about internet safety legislation. But these laws will directly impact the safety of students in the years ahead, and teachers can be a powerful lobby for changes in their timing or extent, so it is important for teachers to understand the legislative landscape.

As children spend more time online, they are more likely to encounter threats. For example, the volume of child sexual abuse imagery has increased significantly during the lockdown. At Impero, our recent survey found that 64% of primary and secondary school teachers had dealt with reports of online bullying. It is clearer today than ever before that the work of safeguarding students must span both the virtual world and the real world, and these laws will affect this work. Here’s what teachers need to know about the two largest pieces of online safety legislation. 

Europe’s ePrivacy Directive

The first law worth knowing about is the European commission’s ePrivacy Directive. The directive, which has been in place for several years but is currently being updated, aims to improve the privacy of online communications. However, child safety has become an issue in discussions over the law. Debate in the European Parliament reached a deadlock at the end of 2020 about a potential exemption to the law designed to protect children from abuse.

Currently, the directive’s robust privacy policies offer respite for abusers and others who would harm children. For instance, Facebook has paused some scanning of private messages for child abuse because of the law’s current manifestation. The NSPCC has accused Facebook of going too far in this reading of the legislation and called for immediate resumption of message scanning.

Despite Brexit, many international companies and social media networks will still abide by the European directive. For that reason, the UK government has issued a statement calling for an urgent exemption to the law for child safety.

The UK’s Online Harms Bill

Some teachers may already be familiar with the Online Harms Bill. The legislation was first proposed in a 2019 white paper, intended to improve child safety online by establishing a new regulator to enforce clear rules for companies operating online. The law would create new codes of practice for companies and enforce a statutory duty of care, making it safer for young people to be online.

Unfortunately, the legislation has faced constant delays and obstacles from several directions.  For example, experts have recently suggested that a post-Brexit trade deal with the US may see the UK bow to pressure from American tech giants to water down the bill. Meanwhile, the coalition supporting a strong bill continues to grow and now includes educators, experts, and professional footballers who have experienced harassment online.

What does this mean for teachers?

Every day, teachers do an outstanding job of safeguarding students, both online and in the classroom. If handled correctly, these laws will support teachers by reducing  online threats to students and increasing the recourse that they will have if they experience bullying, abuse, or other online harm. In short, these regulations should make teachers’ lives easier – if they’re working properly – so it’s essential that the industry is aware of them and gets behind them.