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Canva for Education empowers teachers during lockdown with free, easy to use resources to keep learning alive remotely.

 

Carly Daff, Canva for Education’s Director of Product, explained it’s important to equip teachers with free, easy-to-use and intuitive tools to ensure they can keep students engaged in their learnings and looking forward to every class.

 

“Even before schools moved to an online environment, one of the biggest challenges facing educators was maintaining students’ engagement and shifting their attention away from everyday distractions like their phones and computers. With many schools still online around the world, and students in the comfort of their own homes with computers and phones at the ready, it’s now more important than ever to find ways to keep students proactively engaged virtually, paying attention and keeping them on track with their education.

With thousands of education-focused templates to work with, from online whiteboards, worksheets suitable for a range of subjects, group work activities, infographics, to posters, presentations, classroom decor kits, educational videos, flashcards plus many others, Canva for Education is a free one-stop-shop for creating and collaborating in an online classroom.

Our top tips for teachers includes:

  1. Focus on tools that offer real time collaboration– it is important students and teachers can continue to work and collaborate together, regardless of where they are located
  2. Use interesting tools, elements and content to keep students engaged – with remote and hybrid learning here to stay, we know the tools and elements educators use in the classroom not only need to contribute to a student’s learning experience, the output needs to be interesting, impressive and memorable to ensure full engagement.
  3. Make the technology easier and accessible to all – instead of using multiple platforms and softwares to teach, focus on using tools that offer the most value, all in one place, that are also useful across multiple platforms and devices. Less worries about technology and difficulties accessing certain platforms means more time to focus on remote learning, class collaboration and engagement

The Canva for Education platform is driven by one simple belief, technology should break down barriers, not build them, and this has been more essential than ever during lockdown. We’re proud of the way we have been able to keep learning alive and well during this unprecedented time, helping educators and students work together, even when they’re apart, and we will continue to evolve our product to ensure it truly supports the education sector in moving forward.

Canva for Education is entirely free for teachers and their students globally. Sign up today at: www.canva.com/education

Most say teachers should be in same group as NHS staff for jab

THE UK public (87%) think teachers should be included in a priority group for vaccinations so that schools can re-open.  More than half (55%) think teachers should be in the same group as frontline healthcare workers.

Digital pollsters Findoutnow.co.uk asked over 4,000 people: It is argued that teachers’ vaccinations should be prioritised so that children can return to school sooner. In which priority group, if any, should teachers be included?  The answers are:

Same time, or sooner than frontline healthcare workers:  55%
Same time, or sooner than over 70s: 63%
Same time, or sooner than at risk groups: 77%
Same time, or sooner than over 60s: 83%
Some kind of priority: 87%

You can see the full results here

There is growing concern for the mental health and education prospects of children who cannot attend school.

Chris Holbrook, founder of findoutnow.co.uk, said: “The results show people are desperate to get schools re-opened.”

 

About the survey

The survey of 4,214 members of Pick My Postcode was conducted on Wednesday 6th of January. Find Out Now adjusted the results to get a nationally representative sub-sample of 1,500 within +/-1% of ONS quotas for Age, Gender, Region, social economic group and past voting using machine learning. 

 

For further information, or to request a poll or survey, contact us on ask@findoutnow.co.uk.

“Our sector’s willingness to work towards our common goals positively does pay off – but we have to get this review right”

NASBTT has today responded to the Department for Education (DfE) Initial Teacher Training (ITT) market review policy paper https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/initial-teacher-training-itt-market-review and announcement on a new Institute of Teaching https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-institute-of-teaching-set-to-be-established

 

Executive Director Emma Hollis said: “We are pleased that the ITT market review expert group plan to work closely with the sector in developing and testing thinking as the ITT review progresses. We have been invited to meet the group later this month and look forward to being part of an open, collaborative discussion. We expect this discussion to include the new Institute of Teaching, which we broadly welcome in terms of its focus on evidence-based approaches in teacher education, as this will further support high-quality ITT. We note that when the Institute is at full capacity it will train around 1,000 ITT trainees annually. Of course, every year 35,000 trainee teachers and their mentors must be trained. In order to achieve this, multiple ITT providers, of all shapes and sizes, are needed. 

 

Since we were formed in 2000, NASBTT – and our staff, Trustees and members – have acquired arguably unrivalled experience in school-based ITT and, as per the review’s aim, we all want to ensure the sector continues to provide consistently high-quality training, in line with the Core Content Framework, Early Career Framework and Ofsted ITE inspection framework, all of which we have been involved in developing and implementing in partnership with the DfE and some members of the review expert group. Ahead of the review’s conclusion, we will represent the views of all our members: SCITTs, School Direct Lead Schools, Teaching Schools and HEIs, and underpin these views with the evidence of the impact of their provision.  

 

Our sector’s willingness to work towards our common goals positively does pay off. It was a result of this trust that we were able to work with the DfE on a number of key policy adaptations during the last academic year and into this. This included the agreement that QTS could be rewarded based on a trainee’s trajectory, the trust given to providers to ascertain who needed retrieval placements, and the additional funding that we helped secure to support those placements. It also included the relaxations to the ITT criteria, something we worked extremely hard on with the Department, as well as the assurances that we were able to secure that trainee teachers could be classed as critical workers, allowing them to work in schools and providing reassurance to placement school headteachers. We are very positive about working in partnership with the review expert group. 

 

Clearly there is a lot at stake with this review, and we have to get this right. As we have previously said, by every objective measure, the ITT sector is performing exceptionally well. Ofsted inspections have 99% of providers rated good or better, so on that metric alone existing provision must be judged to be high quality. Whilst, as with everything, progress is to be welcomed, the ITT market is not fundamentally flawed – evolution, not revolution, is the way forward.”

 

How parents can help children improve mental health during pandemic with fun PE lessons at home

School closures, Covid-19 self-isolation and lockdown restrictions have made primary school children appreciate PE lessons and sport more than ever before.

A survey by the Youth Sport Trust found that more than a quarter of youngsters said sport and exercise made them feel better during the pandemic.

With most grassroots sports cancelled and ‘bubbles’ being sent home from school; parents are now being urged to help their children stay active during tiered lockdowns.

PE Planning, a team of experienced PE specialists, have created a free resource of ideas and tips on how primary school children can exercise safely at home, boosting their well-being and mental health.

Yorkshire-based PE Planning has published a series of free resource sheets online for both parents and teachers to keep primary aged children active.

Research by the Youth Sport Trust found that 27% of children said sport and exercise improved their mood. This was particularly true for junior school-age pupils aged eight to 11.

More than a third (37%) said sport and PE was more important in their lives now than before lockdown.

Will Smith, founder of PE Planning, said: “Since the start of the pandemic we have seen just how important PE, sport and exercise is to our children and young people.

“Not being able to burn off that excess energy and let off some steam affects how they feel and their mental health.

“With grassroots sport cancelled and school life being very different now it’s important that children still maintain regular exercise.

“Home-schooling has meant parents have been more closely involved with the education of their children than ever before and physical exercise (or physical literacy) is just as important as academic learning.”

PE Planning are specialists in delivering PE planning for primary school age children which supports National Curriculum requirements.

But the company also publishes free exercise advice for parents. There are lots of ideas for family-friendly exercise and games, all with the accent on fun.

There are indoor games, ball skills, dancing and gymnastics – and even exercises that can be done at the kitchen table. There are also family fitness plans so mum and dad can join in too.

The ideas are all simple and inexpensive so everyone can take part even without sports or other equipment at home.

“Our sessions are active, engaging and fun,” said Will. “We want everybody to have access to high quality exercise plans and much of what we offer can be done without any equipment at all.

“We aim to inspire and motivate our children to get active and that’s more important today than ever before. Parents can really make a difference to their children’s physical and mental well-being with a few simple ideas.”

The free resources can be found at www.peplanning.org.uk 

Let’s Talk About Flex: Flipping the flexible working narrative for education by Emma Turner

Opening up the conversation around flexible working in education, this book explores what can work, what has worked, and what could work. Based on the experiences of a professional flex-pert this narrative encourages teachers and school leaders to revisit and rethink flexible working

‘This is a groundbreaking book and an exceptionally good read. Emma has a gift for a musical metaphor, stretched to provide remarkable insights into the possibilities and many of the barriers to flexible working. If any other sector was haemorrhaging highly trained and capable staff with such rapidity, then there would be serious questions asked. Emma poses these questions and provides a range of sensible solutions. We need to stop paying lip service to teacher retention, start taking it seriously and  this book points to the way to take solid steps to get there.’

Mary Myatt, education adviser, speaker and author

Let’s Talk About Flex by Emma Turner is an engaging and witty book that invites school leaders and teachers to re-examine flexible working. After being able to work flexibly for 14 of her 23 years in education across teaching, school leadership and MAT leadership roles, Emma Turner realised that sadly, she was actually in the minority and has just been very fortunate. Recently there has been a groundswell of support across the education system for developing more life friendly, innovative and flexible ways of working, however there are still a great deal of misconceptions, biases and prejudices about flexible working and flexible workers.

 

Through her ‘playlist’ of favourites and engaging, humorous musical analogies, Emma explores the countdown of successful ways that flexible working can be viewed by both employers and employees for staff at all levels, including senior and school leadership. This book examines the options and opportunities and asks the questions that need to be answered in order to open up the flexible working conversation.

 

After introducing the reader to her ‘disco in the kitchen’, and the thoughts behind her selection of educational floor fillers, the conversation turns to thinking about:

  • What flexible working means
  • Challenging historical working practices, allowing a more flexible approach that encourages continuous professional development that helps attract and retain teachers
  • Looking into the types of flexible working defined by the Department of Education: part-time working, job-sharing, compressed hours, staggered hours, working from home and what these options have to offer when combined with some innovative thinking about staffing
  • Providing opportunity for staff to request flexible working and its position within the school staffing structure
  • How flexibility fits with performance management, mentoring, coaching, facilitating and staff training and ensuring equitable opportunities to both full time and flexible workers
  • The ‘famous five’ common myths about why flexible working would be impossible to implement: opposition from parents, schools need one leader, complications with contracts and calculating wages, the school timetable, there are already too many part-time staff, each of these are thoughtfully debunked
  • The logistics: building shared expectations and designing systems for communication, events and meetings to ensure continuity for students and staff
  • Co-leadership structures and how they are built
  • Accountability and mechanisms for job-shares and support for lone workers.

 

Each chapter is full of examples of Emma’s first hand experiences as a teacher and a leader, illustrating the issues being discussed and ending with guiding questions for both employers and flexible workers to help continue the discussion.

 

Commenting on her new book, Emma Turner said, ‘Whether you’re an individual wanting to know more about flexibility, an organisation wanting to shake up the way you flex in your own workplaces or you’re someone determined to take on rigid or outdated systems in your own organisations, then I want to let you know you are not on your own. There is so much happening on the flexi dance floor right now so pull on your dancing shoes, turn up the volume and whack on an edu floor-filler.’

 

To learn more or order a copy of Let’s Talk About Flex (priced at just £12), please click here.

 

New Suffolk school opens in Grade II listed Wetheringsett Manor to boost outcomes for vulnerable pupils from Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridge

A new specialist school with state-of-the-art facilities has opened in Stowmarket, Suffolk in Grade II listed former rectory Wetheringsett Manor, in response to the growing demand for personalised learning to meet the needs of pupils with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) difficulties. An architectural gem set in beautiful grounds, Wetheringsett Manor School has been extensively refurbished and extended to provide an inspiring and therapeutic learning environment for vulnerable pupils aged 11-18 – and its specialist approach is already attracting pupils from the surrounding counties of Essex, Norfolk and Cambridge as well as Suffolk.

At Wetheringsett Manor School, part of Acorn Education & Care and Outcomes First Group, education is adapted to meet each individual’s learning needs while ensuring they also feel safe, secure and nurtured. Catering to pupils who have a wide range of social, emotional and mental health needs – for whom a mainstream environment is often too overwhelming – the school provides a variety of learning spaces suitable for one-to-one and small group teaching to optimise outcomes. Classes have a maximum of six children with one teacher and a teaching assistant, with additional support from a team of specialist staff – including speech and language therapists, educational psychologists and occupational therapists.

A brand new extension adjoining the main building, which dates back to 1843, houses spacious modern classrooms, each equipped with the latest education technology including interactive whiteboards and laptops. Calming sensory areas provide essential spaces for pupils to regulate their senses, which in turn helps to support their emotional wellbeing. While literacy and numeracy skills underpin the school’s curriculum, great emphasis is placed on ensuring that the education delivered is relevant to pupils’ experiences of the real world so that they can apply what they learn in everyday situations.

Set in extensive grounds in the picturesque village of Wetheringsett, the school provides plenty of opportunities for outdoor learning. Forest school is an integral part of the school week and takes place every Wednesday, giving pupils the chance to develop self-confidence and life skills through teamwork activities such as building fires and shelters. Each child has their own section of an allotment, with home-grown produce used in lessons to prepare lunchtime food. Resident muntjac deer, pheasants and guinea fowl add to the enriched learning environment, and the school is also looking to welcome a therapy dog and chickens.

Further plans in the pipeline include a new sports centre, as well as developing the existing on-site factory to provide vocational training opportunities for pupils in sectors such as mechanics, health and beauty, decorating, plumbing and joinery. The school is also looking to develop further learning links with local colleges.

Drawing referrals from local authorities in Suffolk and the surrounding counties of Norfolk, Essex and Cambridge, Wetheringsett Manor is growing its intake to support more pupils with SEMH and other complex needs. Some of these vulnerable young people have been out of the education system for up to two years due to a lack of suitable placements within reasonable travelling distance.

Commenting on the opening of Wetheringsett Manor School, Headteacher David Bishop said, “We are delighted to be welcoming our first students and supporting them on their education journey, helping to unlock both their personal and academic potential. Our traditional manor house has expanded to include a modern classroom block with everything teachers and students could need. We believe in delivering an exceptional education and to do this we’ve invested in creating an environment to inspire learning, which, coupled with our professional teaching team, gives our students a first class start in life.”

Parents and carers interested in finding out about Wetheringsett Manor School and its suitability for their child are welcome to get in touch directly with the school at office@wetheringsettmanor.co.uk or call 01449 703935.

What Asbestos Taught Us About Managing Risk

The UK’s asbestos industry ended on 24th August 1999 after being used heavily from the 1950s to 80s. Over 20 years on, we’re starting to see the delayed latency period taking effect as asbestos deaths have peaked over the last year or so.

 

Asbestos was unknowingly dangerous to public health. Fibres that are too hard to be broken down by the body are breathed in and lodged in our lungs, causing many adverse health effects. Inhaling asbestos is directly linked to multiple diseases, including:

  • Mesothelioma
  • Lung cancer
  • Asbestosis

These diseases can have high fatality rates. Furthermore, these asbestos-related illnesses have a delayed latency period. This means they don’t usually develop until many years after exposure. This material was used heavily industrially and residentially.

 

Asbestos Audit, asbestos removal professionals, commented: “Asbestos is still a significant risk on sites and buildings throughout the UK. Even with some of the most stringent regulations and legislation in the world, people are still being exposed to asbestos on a daily basis.

 

“The majority of exposures occur due to either negligence or simply not knowing the legal requirements for surveying and removing asbestos products. If asbestos management is undertaken correctly, with the correct training in place, the danger and associated risks are reduced significantly.”

 

Here, we’ll explore the biggest asbestos failings and what we’ve learnt from them.

 

Is asbestos still a risk?

Although asbestos was banned in the UK two decades ago, the dangerous carcinogen lingers. It is the leading cause of occupational death, with 5,500 deaths caused last year. A new report revealed that although there have been significant efforts across the board to have the material removed to avoid risking life, there are an estimated six million tons of asbestos remaining inside around 1.5 million buildings. Some of these buildings include schools and hospitals built before 24th August 1999.

Failure to plan, manage, and monitor

Several construction companies have been heavily fined due to failing to recognise the risk of asbestos on school sites, putting subcontractors, staff, young children, and their families at risk. It is not only the direct inhalers of the fibre that are exposed to harm—secondary asbestos exposure occurs when those working with the material bring it home, for example, on their clothes, and affect their families.

 

The construction companies at hand failed to:

 

  • Effectively plan, manage, and monitor the work to prevent the accidental disruption of the asbestos
  • Communicate information about the asbestos
  • Secure the site with barriers or signs warning of asbestos, putting lives at risk

 

Speaking on the case, Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Inspector Andrew Bowker commented: “The exposure to asbestos could so easily have been avoided if the two companies involved had put sufficient effort into planning, managing, and monitoring the ceiling tile removal work.

 

“HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

 

Hundreds of teachers have sadly lost their lives due to asbestos exposure at work over 15 years. Teachers have since been campaigning to have asbestos removed from 32,770 schools across the UK.

 

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “On average, a teacher has died of asbestos-related disease every fortnight over the past 15 years.

 

“This death toll will continue until the ­Government develops a planned and costed programme for its removal from ­educational buildings.”

 

The importance of a duty holder

In 2014, Marks and Spencer admitted negligently exposing an employee to asbestos, who now has mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer. In this case, employees suffering from asbestos-related diseases was caused by owners of premises failing to comply with legal safety procedures.

 

The duty to manage asbestos is enshrined in law—the Control of Asbestos Regulation 2012 places a legal responsibility on a person assigned as the duty holder so that suitable asbestos management action is planned and taken so that buildings are safe. Duty holders who fail their responsibilities can be faced with legal action.

 

If you’re a duty holder and are unsure of the risk in your building, find out more about asbestos survey types.

 

The fatal impact of cutting corners

Kate Richmond, who worked as a medical student and junior doctor at the NHS, was given a few months left to live in early 2020. She was negligently exposed to asbestos at the old Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry. Around the same time, many compensation claims were placed by NHS staff for asbestos-related diseases since 2013, which has cost the health service over £26m.

 

Similarly, in 2011, major multinational retailer Marks and Spencer was faced with a £1m fine for exposing customers and employees to asbestos in Reading and Bournemouth stores during refurbishments. The judge accused the retailer of choosing profit over health and safety and effectively neglecting to ensure a safe working and shopping environment.

 

Negligence like this can certainly be more costly than simply conducting an asbestos audit or providing the correct preventative measures. It can tarnish an organisation’s reputation by failing to provide a duty of care.

 

 

 

Make sure you take the appropriate safety measures—the effects of asbestos cannot be undone, but it can easily be prevented.

 

 

Sources

https://www.asbestos.com/news/2019/11/27/report-million-uk-buildings-contain-asbestos-infographic/

 

https://www.shponline.co.uk/in-court/asbestos-failures-lead-to-fines/

 

 

How Technology is Helping Tackle the Widening Maths Attainment Gap

With recent findings predicting maths to be the subject most affected by school closures, it’s time to harness the power of tech to address the maths attainment gap once and for all, argues Joy Deep Nath, co-founder of SplashLearn – a game-based maths programme for primary aged children that is free for all UK schools.

The impact of Covid-19 on a generation of school children and their families has been well documented, as school closures around the world triggered an almost overnight shift to home learning. Despite the tireless efforts of both teachers and parents to facilitate remote lessons, many children struggled to focus during this time of high stress, whilst others lacked essential digital devices and internet connections to effectively complete their work. Without the support of a traditional school environment, each pupil faced their own individual challenges and unfortunately, the obstacles of 2020 are now evident in recent estimates – with the Education Endowment Foundation recently warning that maths skills in children will be disproportionately affected by the lockdown.

Covid-19 has highlighted existing structural inequalities across society, from healthcare to employment stability, and education is no exception. School closures have exacerbated existing weaknesses in the curriculum, like maths, which require high levels of engagement, confidence and personal attention to succeed. Technological solutions like tracing apps, mathematical models to chart future outbreaks and assembling ventilators and PPE, have played a key role in our response to Covid-19. So how can technology be similarly applied to education to help solve one of the teachers’ most pressing concerns during the pandemic?

 

Educational equity

If educational technology is to play even a minor role in closing the attainment gap, it is vital that we first begin to bridge the ‘digital divide’. Edtech enabled many schools to create a virtual classroom and support pupils remotely during the lockdown, with recent figures estimating a 400 per cent global increase in the implementation of edtech solutions since March 2020. Yet with a high proportion of children from low-income families lacking hardware or a high-speed broadband connection, schools and edtech providers must ensure that no child misses out on an education due to their socio-economic background. It is vital that now, more than ever, edtech companies design their products with all kinds of different devices and systems in mind to provide as equitable access as possible. 

One example is something we built into SplashLearn which is an offline synchronisation functionality that allows the program to work seamlessly without the internet, and syncs with its cloud server when the connection is re-established enabling cross-platform usage. This means the programme is not dependent on an internet connection at all, let alone a high-speed one.

Organisations can also help children from disadvantaged backgrounds sustain their learning by offering printable worksheets. Encyclopaedia Britannica, for instance, has recently partnered with HP to provide content for print resources which are distributed to students without reliable internet access at home. 

Many edtech providers have also temporarily offered their services free of charge to teachers and schools, in order to help pupils catch up on lost learning during the lockdown and ensure school budgets are spent on procuring digital devices to enable continued learning in the event of pupils shielding or local lockdowns.

Game-based learning and engagement

Another consideration is the importance of engaging students in their learning at a time when they may not be getting the 1:1 focus they need. Although research into the outcomes of game-based learning continues to progress, studies have consistently found that video games can improve problem-solving skills, knowledge acquisition, motivation and engagement. Furthermore, gamified learning can be easily integrated into the classroom or home to provide a balance of fun and learning. For Generation Z, who grew up with the Internet, screen time and digital devices, game-based programmes allow students to interact and engage with educational material in a way more commonly associated with video gaming. 

The most compelling game-based learning resources offer a wide range of pictures and graphics to represent problems and demonstrate concepts. This visual provision helps children master mathematical concepts and skills through visual representations. The learning experience itself is the reward as pupils can blend fun with learning through creating profiles, choosing customised avatars and exploring the new digital environment. 

Changing perceptions and boosting confidence levels

Despite being a core curriculum subject, a combination of poor parental experiences, societal attitudes and anxiety has left many people with a negative perception of maths. It is hard to fathom a world where children proudly declare they are bad at reading or “not a reading person” – so why have these attitudes been allowed to set in with maths?

Many edtech programmes offer high levels of autonomy for children to set their own pace, with inbuilt AI tracking their progress to gradually suggest more challenging exercises. This allows pupils space to safely make mistakes without the fear of embarrassing themselves in front of their peers or stressing about answering a question in time. Moreover, the information collected on a child’s progress provides parents with a valuable opportunity to engage with their child’s progression and learning journey. This can all take place in a safe, risk-free environment – ideal for children whose schools are in local lockdowns or are self-isolating/shielding.

Ultimately, maths is a crucial tool rather than just an academic subject we need in order to fully understand the world around us. Although 2020 has been a year of upset and uncertainty, it has also offered us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rip up the rule book and reshape education for the better. As children around the world continue to return to reopened schools, educational technology is playing a core role in shaping educators’ response to the widened attainment gap.

 

Students call for greater teamwork between teachers during the pandemic

 

  • Study by Teacherly finds that almost two thirds of pupils would like teachers to work together to create online lessons to help everyone achieve their potential amid coronavirus pandemic
  • Pupils believe schools of all reputations can learn something from each other and should work together more in delivering education during this time
  • Derby High School adopts a more collaborative and flexible approach to teaching pupils in response

 

LONDON 25th November 2020: As the EPI warns of varying levels of attendance in schools across England amid the coronavirus pandemic, a new study conducted with pupils in Britain has identified that almost two thirds (66%) of children would like teachers to work collaboratively together – joining forces and combining their skills to create online lessons that will help everyone better achieve their potential during this time.

 

The findings come as schools continue to decide how best to utilise the COVID-19 catch up funding announced by the government in June. The study, conducted by Teacherly, highlights how pupils are open to creativity, greater flexibility and collaboration within education in order for them to have a better learning experience during this highly disrupted time. The study identified that over half (53%) like the idea of attending a virtual school where they can learn through both online courses and in-person online lessons that cover a wide range of subjects – even those not available at their school. Almost a quarter (23%) of pupils who weren’t home schooled before coronavirus said they liked the idea of attending a virtual school because they’d be able to learn from a wider pool of teachers beyond those available at their school.

 

The research also found that nearly 7 in 10 (67%) pupils who weren’t home schooled before coronavirus agree that everyone should be allowed access to the best education possible, with 41% of pupils agreeing that, regardless of where they live, pupils should be able to access the best teachers. In addition, when asked about school rankings and perception of different schools as good or bad, nearly half (46%) said they believed schools of all reputations can learn something from each other and should therefore work together more closely. 

 

Atif Mahmood, CEO, of Teacherly says: “Education has been on the back foot when it comes to collaboration because schools have often been more focused on competing for the best Ofsted reviews and performance. The COVID-19 pandemic has, in many ways, removed these silos and taken the focus away from competition – in the short term at least. Evidently, there is enthusiasm among students for greater collaboration and the opportunities this creates for better education and learning. During this time in particular, where schools are having to contend with catching-up on lost time, changes to exams and ongoing disruption to in-classroom teaching, the value in collaborating should not be underestimated. We’ve started to see senior leaders from different schools uniting to share ideas and come up with solutions for tackling the challenges in this unprecedented time, but there is a clear need for this to go further.”

 

Mrs R Hamilton, Year 4, Derby High School: “In response to the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve adopted a more collaborative and flexible approach to teaching our pupils. We recognised that we needed to streamline the process of planning lessons by working together as a team across departments, making use of new online solutions that allow for collaboration and teamwork. Collaborating with other teachers within the school has helped not only with creativity but has helped to improve teamwork and reduce workloads during what is an extremely demanding time. Pupils are no longer learning from one single teacher but from all of us as a community, where we share our knowledge and skills collectively online as well as where we can in the classroom in order to provide them with the best education possible.”

 

National competition underway to improve maths skills during Maths Week England

Prizes to be awarded to winners in each category

To celebrate Maths Week England, from 9th to the 14th November, students from across the country are taking part in a national maths competition, the M-Fluencer Maths Week Quest.

Open for schools with students from any year group, this competition will help boost student engagement, improve attainment and help maintain maths performance in schools during Covid-19 bubble closures, as well as winning prizes for their school.

Participants will be tasked with completing a series of online maths challenges, with each challenge adding to the school’s total score. Amazon vouchers will be awarded to the top 10 schools and digital certificates will be awarded to students who achieve over 150 points.

All learning activities included in the competition are aligned to the national curriculum, supporting a national commitment to raising standards.

The competition, run by maths resource provider Mangahigh, is open to all schools across England, both existing users and non-users. Once registered for the competition, schools can also access Mangahigh’s maths resource free of charge.

Mohit Midha, CEO and co-founder of Mangahigh, said:

“Each student from early years to upper secondary school age can take part free of charge. The maths activities on Mangahigh are designed in a fun ‘game’ format to really engage the students and encourage them to return for more, while developing their conceptual knowledge of key maths topics.”

For full prize details and to register for entry free of charge, teachers and schools should visit:

https://www.mangahigh.com/en-gb/competitions/maths-week-quest-england