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New Nordic Schools releases Kwizie to help teachers instantly create engaging and inspiring quizzes with AI

Kwizie instantly creates and grades quizzes from any text-based resource, giving insights into each student’s level of understanding and saving teachers endless hours.

ESPOO, Finland (April 21st, 2022) Finnish education company New Nordic Schools launches Kwizie – an online tool that helps teachers engage with their students and save endless hours by instantly creating and grading quizzes with cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

Research on the state of global education by the OECD has shown teachers have been stressed and overburdened with increasing responsibilities causing many to consider leaving the profession. Kwizie helps to decrease teachers’ burden by saving time spent on selecting quality resources and creating interactive quizzes. At the same time, students are empowered to explore their excitement to learn and test their own learning, both independently as well as together with their classmates.

“Kwizie is a great way to create a formative assessment for educators. An educator can give students a quick entrance ticket at the beginning of class to see what students already know and an exit ticket to see what knowledge students have acquired during the class. I liked that I could see how each of my students did on the Kwizie in real time. It was very easy to create questions! You can quickly add a true/false or multiple check question. My students enjoyed it, they said it was very easy to use and a great way to show what they know,” says Maureen Lamb, Grade 9-12 Teacher from Connecticut, USA.

Kwizie can be used as a stand-alone tool where no login information is required – students only need a code to start an assessment, like in Kahoot. However, unlike Kahoot, Kwizie generates the quiz automatically based on the chosen learning material, saving the teacher hours of manual work.

“We are super excited to launch Kwizie, as we truly believe in its capabilities to ease the workload for teachers around the world, improve active recall for students, and most importantly, make learning fun and engaging. Teachers save a lot of time on preparatory work by instantaneously creating quizzes for their students from any text-based resource in English. Kwizie brings excitement and interactivity to learning and assessment, with the help of cutting-edge AI,” says Janne Jormalainen, Co-founder and Chair of the Board of New Nordic Schools.

One of the major benefits of Kwizie is that users can easily access a vast library of quality resources from third-party providers. For example, Britannica School articles are integrated within the resource library and provide instant access to millions of fact-checked materials– a service that would normally need to be paid for separately.

“Research has shown that active recall testing is far more effective at building strong memories than passive study. Kwizie enables students to strengthen their understanding of passive learning material. For example, if a teacher sees that their class is struggling to understand the content they assign, Kwizie makes it easy for the teacher to plan future lessons,” says Christopher Petrie, Director of Digital Learning at New Nordic Schools. 

Future releases of Kwizie will feature personalized quizzes based on each student’s ability and recommend next steps for a mastery style of learning.

Kwizie is also integrated with New Nordic Schools’ own Nordic Learning Platform, a complete hybrid learning solution for students, teachers, and schools. This platform combined with New Nordic Schools’ educational system and consulting services offers a complete Finnish-based K12 system that can be used independently in a modular way or together as a whole.

“Finland’s education system has been awarded as the best in the world on several occasions. With New Nordic Schools’ technology and know-how, we can bring the best practices of the system to any corner of the world.​​ We continue to empower teachers and schools worldwide to transform outdated systems of education,”  Jormalainen concludes.

SEARCH IS ON TO FIND BRITAIN’S BEST MONEY TEACHER: INTERACTIVE INVESTOR LAUNCHES PERSONAL FINANCE TEACHER OF THE YEAR AWARDS 2022

  • Win money for your school by helping us identify Britain’s best personal finance teachers
  • £25,000 prize pot to be shared amongst winning schools
  • £50 vouchers for the first 250 teachers who enter
  • To nominate a teacher, email teacher@ii.co.uk
  • Teachers can also nominate themselves: email teacher@ii.co.uk with lesson plan and supporting statement

 

With a cost-of-living crisis hitting many hard, the importance of good money management skills has been brought into sharp focus. 

 

Debt management, and in particular ‘buy now, pay later’, has become a key classroom talking point for Britain’s top teachers over the past year, interactive investor reports.

 

The investment platform, Britain’s second largest for private investors, is hearing real concern from teachers around ‘buy now, pay later’ (BNPL) products, whose glossy advertising is very tempting – and perhaps even more so during tough times.

 

The time has come to recognise a new crop of inspirational teachers, as interactive investor launches the Personal Finance Teacher of the Year Awards 2022, one of the most prestigious awards recognising creative money education.

 

Interactive investor is calling for help to find Britain’s best money teachers: topics might include budgeting, investment, cash savings, interest rates, credit, and much more, from reception right the way up to sixth form.

 

The main prize pot is £25,000, shared out amongst the winning teachers’ schools. The first 250 teachers who submit an entry will receive a £50 Amazon voucher.

 

How to enter

To nominate a teacher, parents, carers, or pupils should email teacher@ii.co.uk with the teacher’s name along with the name and address of the school, by Monday 25th July 2022. We will then approach the teacher and ask them to submit their lesson plan and brief supporting statement.

 

Teachers can also nominate themselves, by emailing teacher@ii.co.uk with a lesson plan and supporting statement by Monday 8th August 2022.

 

Richard Wilson, Chief Executive, interactive investor says: “In a world that defies prediction, and young people are seemingly confronted with life lessons earlier and earlier, the one investment that has infinite returns is education, and a constant within is the need for good money lessons. We owe so much to our teachers and it’s hugely important to find ways to recognise and celebrate their contribution.

 

“We have been blown away by the dedication and creativity of the UK’s best personal finance teachers. Entering the award is a brilliant chance to showcase these skills, and for teachers to not only be recognised by their peers, but also the local community, and – as we have seen – sometimes even local and national media.

 

“So, whether you are a teacher yourself, or would like to nominate one, please spread the word. It’s time we demonstrate how our teachers are getting children engaged about personal finance. And ultimately, winning the award is a tremendous accolade for teachers, and a prize for schools which can make a huge difference.”

 

Debt dominates

 

Nicola Butler, a maths and Finance teacher at Ysgol Eirias, a state secondary school in Colwyn Bay, Wales, was one of last year’s winners. She used the medium of hair extensions (on credit – they can cost upwards of £400), to engage teens about interest rates and the real cost of borrowing. Nicola says: “It is easy to see how the rise in this ‘BNPL’ culture could drive impulse purchases and put people in debt and severe financial difficulties. Indeed, my concern is not just how young people, once they turn 18, might start using these services, but also how they can impact parents and families.

“When you look at the world from this perspective, you see not just why we teach personal finance, but also why we are so passionate about it and its wider relevance.”

 

Buy now, pay later is also something that troubles Danny Topping, a teacher at Blackpool Sixth Form College and winner of ii’s ‘Ambassador’ award 2021: “In a county like Lancashire, where there are areas of real poverty even in working families [buy now, pay later] can turn a hard situation into a terrible one.”

 

Likewise, Nick Redfern, a teacher from Powers Hall Academy in Essex and last year’s primary school winner, says: “The environment of the schools that I teach in… I felt that it was only right that pupils got the opportunity, particularly to look at the pitfalls and perils of debt and how debt accumulates and how you can find yourself in a debt spiral before you know it.”

 

Levelling up

interactive investor, the UK’s second largest DIY investment platform, believes it is paramount that our younger generations are learning about money early, to help build a healthy relationship with their finances which will see them through to adulthood.

In December 2021, together with the judges of the interactive investor Personal Finance Teacher of the Year awards 2021, ii published an open letter to the Department of Education, asking for a series of crucial measures to help address the impact of a clear lack of financial capability in the UK. With the levelling-up agenda a long-term commitment, ii continues to call on the government to give personal finance lessons the priority they deserve.

 

Personal finance is still a relatively small part of curriculums across the UK, but the skills taught are vital. Through this award, ii is on the lookout for teachers who are designing lessons with imagination and skill.

 

Tackling the Digital Divide: How UK schools are dealing with digital poverty.

Paul Finnis, CEO of Learning Foundation and Digital Poverty Alliance

 

As we learn to live with the virus and establish a new way of life that allows children to continue their education, the true impact of the pandemic is only just emerging.

 

At the height of the pandemic in 2019, only 65% of children managed to reach expected standard of Key Stage 2 reading, writing and maths levels. With many children being forced to adjust to remote learning, admirable efforts to help children boost their academic circumstances saw many schools prioritise their students’ access to digital resources. These vital efforts to equip children struggling to adapt to a challenging new learning environment nevertheless left one important group neglected – teachers.

 

A Digital Poverty Alliance report last year showed that only 53% of teachers working at schools with high numbers of children from low-income backgrounds had adequate access to digital equipment and would be suitably prepared for home working. These forgotten teachers were living in digital poverty.

 

Digital poverty has affected families across the UK long before the COVID-19 outbreak. A previous Cambridge University study found that 22% of the UK’s population did not have basic digital skills and internet access even before the pandemic. The sudden shift to home working and online school exposed the severity of digital poverty across the UK.

 

Many schemes were set up during the pandemic to help provide children with essential digital access, but there was little focus on ensuring that teachers had the fundamental skills and digital access they needed to help the children make academic progress.

 

Children living in poverty are already significantly disadvantaged academically, this combined with a lack of digital resources has built up even more pressure for teachers trying to support them when they themselves may lack not just equipment, but also connectivity and skills to pass on to their pupils.

 

With the help of Currys and the Learning Foundation, the Digital Poverty Alliance launched the Tech4Teachers scheme last year, and 1,000 more teachers throughout the UK now have access to new digital equipment and support. Now just 6 months later, we are hearing back from some of the participating schools, who have shared just how much of a difference these contributions can make for both teachers and children.

 

The Head of School at All Saint’s Primary school in Barnet, Holly Skinner, shared the importance of helping schools with low budgets provide their teachers with essential digital equipment. She said, “We have now been able to give each class teacher a laptop to support them with their role. This would not have been possible without this programme- we simply would not have been able to afford it.” 

 

The scheme was also able to help replace 10 laptops for the teachers at Lever Park Academy, SEMH (Social, Emotional Mental Health) special school. The school helps students that have been diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder), OOD (Oppositional defiant disorder), mental health issues, attachment disorders as well as learning and physical issues. Head Teacher, Matthew Taylor, explained that their teachers often relocate to accommodate to students who may need to be taught from home. He said, “Being a teacher is a challenge, to enable staff to produce the high quality of work that is expected we need to equip them with the best, your laptops will balance out these inequalities.”

 

The digital divide is not new, but its consequences were magnified during the pandemic. For many children in the UK, having access to a high-quality device and a stable internet connection has made all the difference to their academic achievements.

 

We can combat digital poverty and help supply devices for teachers across the UK using a combination of government and independent schemes. Teachers will hopefully be relieved of some of the pressure they are under as a result of the pandemic’s impact on children’s academic performance if they have access to updated digital technology.

 

With no certain end in sight to COVID-19, we must prepare and equip teachers so that they can continue to provide a sustainable education to children no matter the circumstances. Equipping teachers with the correct digital devices and ensuring that they are able to teach no matter what is thrown their way is just the beginning of what will hopefully be the end of digital poverty in the UK.

 

National Traineeship and Apprenticeship organisation is named Highly Commended Partner of the Year

Qube Learning, one of England’s leading independent recruitment and training providers who directly contracts with the government’s Education & Skills Funding Agency to deliver high quality interventions to economically inactive young people aged 16–24, has been given great praise with the Highly Commended Partner of the Year label at the inspiring Movement to Work awards.

 

The credible recognition was generated by Qube Learning’s commitment to driving employment through Traineeships, with the business making it their mission to tackle youth unemployment and create lasting change. At the core of this support for young people is Qube Learning’s Traineeship programme, which includes a work experience placement lasting seven to eight weeks, hosted by one of Qube Learning’s Employer partners. As part of this programme, they also deliver embedded employability skills, English and maths tuition, and the attainment of relevant licences to practice other accredited qualifications. The training provider set themselves apart from other institutions by only partnering with Employers who commit to offering job vacancies to achieving Trainees that lead to employment or an Apprenticeship.

 

Joe Crossley, CEO of Qube Learning, says ‘Our educational hubs provide young people with hope and are a touchstone of Information, Advice and Guidance on career options. The economically inactive demographic in Bradford is the furthest from the labour market, yet year on year, we have exhibited some of the highest positive progression rates for all providers in England against the Traineeship programme. We are so thrilled to play such a huge part in the rise of employment for so many people, and believe this is why we have been given the accolade of Highly Commended Partner of the Year’.

 

In 2018, Qube Learning launched their first ever satellite centre in the heart of Bradford, West Yorkshire, to support young people who live in an area that has demonstrated continued decline in social mobility into work. A recent study showed that Bradford is the 13th most deprived local authority in England out of 317, and its position has worsened between the 2015 and 2019 recorded Indices of Multiple Deprivation. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, in 2021 Qube Learning launched a second satellite centre in Bolton, Greater Manchester, a city exhibiting many of the same challenges as Bradford. Within each region, the business also works closely with independent partner organisations, such as nurseries, solicitors, veterinary practices, healthcare settings and small retailers.

 

The result is that local people are being placed in local jobs, which is a mission the provider will enthusiastically continue. Qube Learning believe that everyone deserves a chance, no matter where they are from. It is at the core of their business and the Employers they work with.

Qube Learning is a proud to be an OFSTED grade 2 (Good) Recruitment and Training Solutions Provider, delivering a range of training and qualifications to hundreds of Employers and Students across the country. If you are interested in finding out more about the positive opportunities an Apprenticeship, Traineeship or Qube Vision eLearning can bring, then speak with the experts at Qube Learning.

Email:  tellmemore@qube-learning.co.uk/ Telephone:  01235 833838 / Website:  www.qube-learning.co.uk

How to use Pupil Premium Funding for Social and Emotional Support

Exploring the growing need for social and emotional support as part of educational recovery in the wake of the pandemic is crucial. Here we examine the kind of interventions that will help deliver such support to children, helping build resilience, by making the most of pupil premium funding.

The pupil premium is a grant given by the government to schools in England to decrease the attainment gap for the most disadvantaged children. For many primary schools, the pupil premium forms a sizeable amount of the school budget.

Schools now face significant challenges to ensure its continuing success. The pandemic has disrupted education like never before and the road to recovery will require robust strategies. The pressure is intensified as pupil premium spending must cover social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs, as well as supporting disadvantaged children by contributing to catch-up opportunities.

Changes to the conditions of the pupil premium funding/grant mean schools will have to justify their spending through additional checks, and there will now be greater focus on evidence-based interventions.


What kinds of interventions and activities can support social and emotional learning and development?

The SEL curriculum should be sequential, active, focused and explicit (SAFE), and ensure continuity through all year groups and stages of development.

Strategies for SEL in primary schools should target skills that have been underdeveloped in children due to the Covid-19 lockdown. In addition, teachers and support staff should be offered training to take a trauma-informed approach to education as part of recovery from Covid-19.

An example of an SEL intervention is focusing on the ways in which students work with (and alongside) their peers, teachers, family or community. While teacher-led activities are very important, they should be combined with other forms of learning and interventions. These can include peer-to-peer collaborations and schemes that are away from the classroom.

There are three broad categories of SEL interventions identified by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF). These are:

  • Universal programmes generally taking place in the classroom
  • Specialised programmes that are targeted at students with particular social or emotional needs
  • School-level approaches to developing a positive school ethos, which also aim to support greater engagement in learning

 

Activities to support mental health and wellbeing could include:

  • Coaching children to recognise how they feel or how someone else might be feeling
  • Conflict-resolution and guiding students through the steps to help them apply a skill in a new situation
  • Enabling students to practice group decision-making by setting classroom rules together
  • Teaching reflective listening to pupils

Schools should carry out an assessment of social and emotional capabilities and evaluate the impact of SEL interventions.

The EEF has found that SEL interventions have an identifiable and valuable impact on attitudes to learning and social relationships in school, with an average overall impact of four months’ additional progress on attainment.


Examples of best practice and positive outcomes

Case studies shown in the EEF Guide to The Pupil Premium demonstrate examples of pupil premium in action. These include:

Springfield Junior School: With a third of pupils eligible for the pupil premium funding at this school, additional resources were dedicated to teachers’ development and pupils were provided with extra enrichment PSHE sessions. The interventions were adapted to suit the context of the school. Last year 90% of the school’s Year 6 Pupil Premium children achieved the expected standard in reading, writing and maths.

The Aspire Educational Trust: This trust of 10 primary schools adopted an evidence-based approach to improving the oral language skills of disadvantaged pupils. They used the EEF’s Guidance Reports (Improving Literacy in KS1, Improving Literacy in KS2 and Preparing for Literacy) to address barriers relating to vocabulary. The EEF Toolkit’s Oral Language Interventions section showed an average impact of +5 months with an extensive evidence base. The Trust found that disadvantaged students were able to access the curriculum more effectively and confidently, in contrast to previous years.

Implementing a pupil premium strategy

pupil premium strategy only works effectively when a holistic approach is taken.

This is the conclusion that Sir John Dunford found when he spent two years examining what works best, acting as a channel of communication between the Department for Education and schools. He found that the most successful schools used a range of strategies that were also targeted to meet individual needs.

The 15 strategies recommended by Sir Dunford include:

  • Collecting, analysing and monitoring data on groups and individual pupils
  • Focusing on teaching quality
  • Identifying key barriers to learning for disadvantaged children
  • Engaging with parents and carers
  • Referring to existing evidence about the effectiveness of different strategies

 

Keen to learn more?

 

Join the EEF, NFER, Inclusion Expert and more, at the Pupil Premium Conference 2022 on 13th July in Central London!

 

Learn more and register: https://pupilpremiumstrategy.co.uk/

THE NOTTINGHAM MARKS NATIONAL CAREERS WEEK 2022 WITH LAUNCH OF FLAGSHIP EMPLOYABILITY PROGRAMME

 

Recently appointed CEO Sue Hayes will also host an exclusive ‘A Day in The Life of a CEO’ Q&A session for one winning school

This National Careers Week sees Nottingham Building Society launch its flagship employability programme, Career Academy, to support 16 to 18-year-olds as they build key life skills through meaningful interventions that will help to prepare them for the world of work.

Supported by community engagement specialists EVERFI, the brand-new resources further develop The Nottingham’s existing employability activity with the aim of helping young people fulfil their potential by igniting their future career ambitions. EVERFI is an international technology company driving social impact through education. 

As a result of the societal challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, employers, teachers, and other educators had to quickly adapt and incorporate new and flexible styles of careers learning and delivery to minimise disruption to their educational experience. Against this challenging backdrop The Nottingham sharpened their focus on providing young people with meaningful educational interventions to enhance their knowledge of the world of work.

With Career Academy, the Nottingham Building Society has developed a catalogue of online, downloadable resources for educators which follow the Gatsby benchmarks and are linked to the PSHE Association’s programme of study. They include a video shot entirely on location in Nottingham charting the journey from education to employment of 17-year-old Sabina, who wants to work in IT.

Following a successful project pilot from mid-September 2021, the full resource suite is now available for free to schools across England in time for National Careers Week. The materials, which contain lessons aligned to the curriculum that teachers can choose from to suit student needs, are based on the following five areas: 

  1. Navigation: “I know how to find out about work” 
  2. Practice: “I can experience what being at work is like” 
  3. Skills: “I have the skills employers want” 
  4. Networking: “I can get ideas from different people” 
  5. Reflecting: “I understand why an employer might value me” 

Teachers who have taken part in the pilot to date have shared that: “Students learnt a lot about themselves in the content. It allowed them to think about how their own personality and skills align with different employers and what employability skills different industries are looking for.”

Another teacher praised the resources adding that: “The worksheets provided are an excellent resource to get students thinking about their futures and reflect on the industry which would best suit them,” with a further teacher highlighting that “where students had a career but no plan to it, they have now investigated a route and had the inspiration to research this further.”

As part of The Nottingham’s ongoing focus in driving awareness and developing students’ skills into future careers, May 2022 will see recently appointed CEO Sue Hayes host an exclusive ‘A Day in The Life of a CEO’ Q&A session for one winning school. The winning educational establishment will be selected at random from those who have registered for the Career Academy online.

Sue Hayes, most recently chief executive of GB Bank, says: “We’re delighted to mark this year’s National Careers Week with the launch of Career Academy, our flagship employability programme.

“It’s our aim to help prepare young people for the world of work and, looking at the positive feedback we’ve received from educators to date from our pilot, we’re well placed to continue supporting employability and financial capability during these challenging times – with the hope of building brighter futures for youngsters.

“Young people have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic so our current focus on supporting them to fulfil their potential by igniting their future career ambitions is something close to my heart. Through my upcoming student Q&A session I’m excited about the opportunity to share practical insights to inspire the next generation of brilliant young minds.”

Teachers can register to the Career Academy here for the chance to win an exclusive Q&A class session and discover the range of free curriculum-linked resources for their school.

 

UK digital literacy to receive major boost as 57k BBC micro:bit coding devices donated to primary schools

  • The Micro:bit Educational Foundation alongside partners Nominet and the Scottish government will donate 57,000 BBC micro:bits across UK primary schools   
  • Support from the Scottish government will see every primary school in Scotland receives devices  
  • In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, priority will be given to the schools that need additional support the most  
  • With many secondary schools now using BBC micro:bits in the classroom, the project aims to boost support for younger children and provide essential teacher resources   

    30 March 2022 The Micro:bit Educational Foundation, the organisation behind the pocket-sized BBC micro:bit computer, has announced plans to help even more primary school children take their first steps into digital creativity and computing. In partnership with Nominet and the Scottish government, 57,000 BBC micro:bit devices will be donated to UK primary schools, alongside comprehensive teaching resources and online Continuing Professional Development courses.   

    As digital literacy and computing become increasingly important core skills, this major boost to teaching these subjects will see approximately 3,000 UK primary schools receive around 20 devices each. Support from the Scottish government will see every primary school in Scotland receive 20 devices, with the Foundation and Nominet working with primary schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to prioritise 22,000 devices to those that need additional support the most. Delivery of devices will begin from April onwards.  

    Having launched in 2016, today there are 6 million BBC micro:bits being used by children all over the world, including most UK secondary schools. The Foundation has also seen growing adoption and demand from primary schools to teach 8 – 11-year-olds with the devices. With this major project, the Micro:bit Educational Foundation aims to boost usage in primary schools even further, providing the devices and resources to help teachers make coding exciting, accessible, and something they can teach confidently to younger children.   

Teaching digital skills from a young age has impressive results and understanding computational thinking can greatly enhance a child’s creativity and life chances. However, research underpinning the project from the Micro:bit Educational Foundation and Nominet found that  61% of UK primary teachers responsible for teaching computing have no background in the subject, 3 in 5 also cite lack of resources as a barrier to teaching computing and digital skills.   

Gareth Stockdale, CEO of the Micro:bit Educational Foundation, said: “Digital literacy and computational thinking are critically important not only to the future of our society, but to the future of children who will one day shape that society. They are increasingly important core skills, and we know that the earlier you learn them, the better. The BBC micro:bit has become an essential tool that teachers and students alike have come to love. We’ve seen fantastic adoption in secondary schools, and we’re delighted to support and empower even more teachers to unlock children’s creative potential at primary level.”  

Roll-out of the micro:bits will also complement a three-phase research programme, as the Foundation looks to assess, monitor and address the challenges, concerns and successes UK primary teachers experience improving digital literacy and in bringing micro:bits into the classroom.  

Interested teachers and schools can visit the Micro:bit Educational Foundation website for more information.  

Adam Leach, CIO, Nominet, said: “We are so pleased to see the continued roll-out of micro-bit in classrooms across the UK, enabling so many more primary school children to explore and develop their skills in digital creativity and computing. It’s exciting to think about the potential passion for technology this programme could set alight. On practical level, it is really important that access to learning these essential skills is provided to children who might not otherwise have the opportunity to discover, experiment and master them. Each one of the 57,000 devices will impact on developing children’s core digital skills as citizens of a digitalised world – and perhaps even put some of them on a pathway to help fill the digital skills gap in the UK’s digital workforce of the future.”    

 

SMART Technologies and Kooth join forces to transform student and teacher wellbeing

  • SMART partners with Kooth to bring vital mental health resources and support to more students
  • The partnership is an education industry-first for supporting students and teachers with their mental health
  • At least 17% of six to 16-year-olds now suffer from probable mental disorders

London – 29 March 2022 – SMART, the edtech company with a 35-year track record of pioneering learning solutions, has partnered with Kooth, the leading digital mental wellbeing platform, to provide educators with engaging lessons on how to support students and teachers with managing mental health.

This industry-first collaboration will see SMART Technologies apply its interactivity and engagement expertise to Kooth’s clinically proven mental wellbeing content and activities, and embed it into SMART’s digital learning tool, Lumio™ . In doing so, SMART will be able to provide teachers with readily available and digitally engaging lessons centered around mental wellbeing, connecting more educators and learners to Kooth’s resources and community. This includes making Kooth’s integrated platform – currently available to over 20,000 schools across the UK – available in North America, too.  

The partnership comes at a pivotal time for supporting mental wellness for students, with CDC data showing that rates of anxiety, depression, and substance abuse continue to rise. In the UK, data from NHS Digital finds that one in six, 6 to 16-year-olds in the UK now suffer from probable mental disorders – up from one in nine in 2017. The importance of an integrated approach to early education and support for mental health has never been greater. 

Kooth is the UK’s largest digital wellbeing mental health platform for 10-25 year olds, and delivers clinically proven, and research-evidenced therapies for those dealing with stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health and wellbeing concerns.

The strategic partnership will also see SMART help to propel Kooth’s North American expansion and beyond by coupling Kooth’s wellbeing expertise with SMART’s global scale and reach to roll-out vital mental health lessons and support to schools and educators across the globe.

Nicholas Svensson, CEO of SMART Technologies, said: “As a company, we have always worked to deliver technology platforms and solutions that boost student and teacher wellbeing and build connections that matter – whether that’s through creating engaging content where students can interact with one another, providing active, collaborative learning options, or supporting social and emotional learning (SEL).”

“As a leader of wellbeing in education in the UK, Kooth can further improve our offering with its clinical expertise that’s underpinned by extensive research and experience in supporting hundreds of thousands of students every year. Together, we’re excited about what we can achieve as a collective unit in alleviating one of the most prevalent issues in classrooms today.”

Tim Barker, CEO at Kooth, said: “The pandemic accelerated mental health challenges amongst students, and as a result, educators are now working tirelessly to provide support where they can. Our collaboration with SMART leverages its trust and scale in education to make accessing our clinically developed content and platform easier for teachers and students across the US, UK, and beyond.”

Hear more from Tim Barker and Nicholas Svensson in this conversion from Bett: https://youtu.be/eIEjdi8Cncc 

New resources launched for schools to help make sure school uniform is affordable

The Children’s Society is launching new resources today for all state primary and secondary schools to help them navigate the changes set by new school uniform laws. These resources were developed in partnership with the Child Poverty Action Group and Children North East, and based on years of hands-on work with schools and families. 
 
The new law, the Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Act 2021 which passed in April 2021, requires schools to follow new statutory guidance on uniform costs, instructing them on how they must keep prices down so their policies are more inclusive for children from low-income families.   
 
Schools are required to implement the guidance in time for parents buying uniform for the new school year in Autumn 2022 – or Summer 2023 if it breaches a pre-existing contract or formal agreement with a supplier. The new resources have been designed to help schools understand the guidance and be able to implement the changes to their policies.   
 
The new cost of school uniform law was a result of seven years of campaigning from The Children’s Society to make school uniform affordable and a Private Members Bill from Mike Amesbury MP. Young people had told The Children’s Society back in 2014 how not being able to afford the correct uniform meant they were given detentions or even being excluded. It also made them feel embarrassed amongst their peers and resulted in being bullied or feeling isolated.   
 
The charity went on to publish three research reports The Wrong Blazer in 2015, 2018 and 2020 revealing that many schools have unnecessarily strict uniform requirements, such as making families buy uniform at specific and often expensive shops or having lots of branded items. This meant that for families living on the breadline, it was the choice between letting their child turn up with incorrect uniform and facing the consequences or going without the basics.   
 
Mark Russell, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said: “School should be a place where every child feels they belong. A uniform can bring the school community together and develop a sense of school identity but high standards shouldn’t have to mean high costs. Long uniform lists put pressure on family finances and expensive uniforms can even push parents into debt or force them to make hard choices to ensure their children have the right kit.  

“Our research in 2020 found that 1 in 8 families were having to cut back on essentials, such as food or heating to cover the cost. The stress of having the wrong uniform, and fear of being singled out, has a real impact on pupils’ confidence and well-being. They may even be taken out of lessons because of incorrect uniform, losing essential learning time. 

“We have designed these resources to help schools understand and be able to navigate the new statutory guidance in front of them. We invite all schools to download our resources so they find it easier to update their school uniform policies making them more affordable by the start of the next school year.” 

Head of Child Poverty Action Group’s Cost of the School Day programme Kate Anstey said:  

“We know that parents struggle with the cost of school uniform and that kids are excluded from activities and even given detentions for not having the right kit. Following the new government guidance, we’ve brought together our insights in this series of resources to support schools to develop affordable approaches to uniform and ensure children are not priced out of school life.”   

 
Luke Bramhall, Head of Youth Services and Poverty Proofing at Children North East, said: 

“At Children North East we frequently hear directly from children and their families about the impact uniform costs have on household income through our Poverty Proofing© the School Day work. The recent government guidance is an important step in the right direction, enabling educators to create accessible uniform that will reduce costs and remove stigma associated with not being able to afford expensive uniform costs. We are pleased to have worked with both organisations to produce this series of resources aimed at supporting schools to implement affordable uniform policies.” 

 

 The Resources can be downloaded for free from http://childrenssociety.org.uk/school-uniform-resources 

‘Going Too Far–Extremism and the Law’- LGfL wins award for resource developed in partnership with DfE… and its Technical or IT Support Services

LGfL-The National Grid for Learning strikes gold with a double award win at BETT 20221

LGfL-The National Grid for Learning celebrated striking gold at this year’s BETT Awards 2022, when it scooped  both the Best Wellbeing, Digital Wellness & Safeguarding Resource for its ‘Going too Far–The Law and Extremism’, developed in partnership with the Department for Education, and the Best Technical or IT Support Services. The BETT Awards, organised in association with the British Education Suppliers Association (BESA), celebrate the inspiring creativity and innovation that can be found throughout technology for education. The awards form an integral part of BETT each year, the world’s leading showcase of education technology solutions.

John Jackson, CEO, LGfL-The National Grid for Learning said, “We are absolutely thrilled to win these two awards – my thanks goes out to our talented online safeguarding team and colleagues from the Department for Education for producing Going too Far, designed to  promote critical thinking online and equip teachers with scenario-based activities to lead discussions around extremism and behaviours that are dangerous or illegal. I would also like to thank our dedicated team for rolling out significant technology initiatives to ensure that no child is left behind and for delivering exceptional customer care. (Please click on the video and move to 1.10 to see LGfL featured on the BETT Awards site  https://bettawards.com/)

Going Too Far? – Extremism and the Law

Going Too Far?-Extremism and the Law (https://goingtoofar.lgfl.net) –  the result of a partnership between the Department for Education and LGfL – is an open-access interactive teaching resource to help students understand extremism and how certain online behaviours may be illegal or dangerous. Cross-curricular activities facilitate a whole-school approach, complementing and complying with RSHE guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education and the UKCIS Education for a Connected World Framework.

The resource aims to promote critical thinking and build resilience to help young people face the abundance of extremist content online by exploring the techniques used by extremists and evaluating digital content, making positive choices about who/what is trustworthy online,  challenging extremist narratives and considering the consequences of their actions and making a positive stand.

Going too Far includes case studies and discussion stimuli, videos featuring subject experts,  scenarios to explore potential risks e.g. gaming and social media, signposting to trusted sources for support and reporting channels and printable teacher notes, extension activities, mini video guides and suggested answers to help lead informative discussions.

Its SEND and Inclusion area features audio narrations and alternative texts, as well as differentiated questions to support as wide a range of learners as possible.

Best Technical or IT Support Services

LGfL is one of the fastest growing edtech charities in the UK.  Its mission is the advancement of education. It is passionate about tackling inequality, promoting diversity and ensuring no child is left behind. Its #BridgeTheDivide initiative –  a huge national procurement for up to 2 million Chromebooks and Windows Laptops – enabled it to drive down the cost, save schools millions of pounds and increase access to devices and technology for children, including those disadvantaged. By making its Free School Meals Eligibility Checker free to schools nationwide it was able to help them to identify a potential £112.5M of Pupil Premium Funding and to support communities facing huge challenges.

“Our empathy and understanding of schools’ needs has enabled us to design, build and provide solutions that have been consumed at an unprecedented scale,” said John Jackson.

“Our standards of customer care are exceptional, with a retention rate of over 90%, sometimes involving incredible risk on behalf of our customers.”

  1. LGfL-The National Grid for Learning strikes gold with a double award win at BETT 2022 – Right to Left: Sindu Vee, Event Host and award winning comedian; Mubina Asaria – Online Safeguarding Consultant, LGfL; Bob Usher – Content Manager; LGfL; John Jackson – CEO; LGfL; Gareth Jelley – Product and Security Manager, LGfL.