Page 1


January - April 2021

Choosing a Career

Why students should be looking at GREEN jobs



Keep Calm and Carry On How schools have strengthened communication, transparency and trust

Going the Extracurricular Mile Awards for young people explored

The New Normal Virtual open days

p01-20_covers 12/01/2021 19:50 Page 2

p01-20_covers 12/01/2021 19:50 Page 3

Educate Contents W

14 21-23



elcome to the January 2021 edition of Educate and to what, following an already difficult start to the year, continues to be an extremely challenging time for schools. Return to school now looks different as the planned reopening for the New Year has had to change in response to the new lockdown. With cancellation of exams, and remote learning back for many students, as well as a higher number of children attending schools this time, due to a widening of the critical worker definition, we understand just how hard all leaders, teachers and support staff are working. The Educate team would like to thank each and every one of you on behalf of parents and carers everywhere. School leaders have risen to many challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic – from social distancing, remote teaching, and ensuring the most vulnerable are protected. What leaders have also demonstrated is a superb ability to stay calm and carry on, whilst strengthening communication, transparency and trust in their communities. We take a look at how, in particular, primary schools have gone above and beyond with a comprehensive range of strategies to communicate with pupils, parents, carers and the wider community.




Appointments news A round-up of key education appointments

Keep calm and carry on Communicating in a crisis

13-15 Interview with Dr John Patterson, headteacher of St Vincent’s School

31-35 Going the extracurricular mile Youth award programmes explored

42-43 The new normal Open days with a difference

50-53 Leaders respond Education figures react to the latest lockdown

63-65 Careers explored Green is the colour

67 Entertainment reviews What’s new in DVD and gaming

68 Book review Must-have reads

82 My school days Matthew Ball - a principal ballet dancer with the Royal Ballet

The new normal, as it has been phrased, has also seen the beginning of something new for many schools and colleges across the country in how to enable prospective parents, carers and students to visit. The birth of the virtual event is providing the opportunity to get to know schools and colleges from the comfort of your home. We look at the benefits that students, parents and carers can expect to see from these events and how they can make the most of them. Something the pandemic has taught all of us is that certain skills can’t be learnt in the classroom alone. Resilience, strength and adaptability are just three of a long list of the all important skills required in life. These soft skills can flourish through extracurricular activities, and many of the UK’s leading Youth Award schemes have responded to COVID to allow students to still access these opportunities. Educate explores what’s on offer.

Published by CPMM Media Group, Suite 4 Pacific Chambers, 11-13 Victoria Street, Liverpool L2 5QQ. Tel: 0151 709 7567 Twitter: @EducateMag Website: http://www.educatemagazine.com Email: enquiries@cpmmmedia.com Executive Editor: Kim O’Brien kim.obrien@cpmmmedia.com @ExecEdEducate Editorial: Alan Birkett alan.birkett@cpmmmedia.com Elle Foster Advertising Sales and Sponsorship: Sam Lawrence sam.lawrence@cpmmmedia.com Louise White louise.white@cpmmmedia.com Social media support: Lawrie O’Brien, Will Lawrence Design and Production: CPMM Media Group Distribution: Barbara Troughton Tel: 0151 733 5492 Printed by Acorn Web Offset Limited The contents of this magazine are fully protected by copyright and nothing may be reprinted or reproduced without permission. Disclaimer The information contained within Educate we believe to be correct at the time of printing, no responsibility can be accepted for errors or omissions. © Copyright CPMM Ltd 2009.

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils


p01-20_covers 12/01/2021 19:50 Page 4

Primary News

It’s good to talk Liverpool primary school puts pupil wellbeing first A Liverpool primary school is leading the way in supporting pupils’ mental health and wellbeing during the pandemic, using digital technology. Broadgreen Primary School in Oakhill Road, Old Swan was one of the first schools in the country to sign up to Discovery Education Health and Relationships – a new digital PSHE programme which helps pupils to learn about mental health and cope with change. Designed to help teachers deliver the new RSE curriculum, the programme also teaches children about the importance of healthy and happy friendships and different types of families. Child-led videos feature children talking about key topics while role play activities help pupils to explore issues that affect their lives. Broadgreen is using Health and Relationships as part of a special ‘recovery curriculum’, which helps children adjust to being back at school and supports their wellbeing post lockdown. Suzanne Evans, assistant headteacher, says it’s having a positive impact across the school. “PSHE has always been a priority for our school”, explained Suzanne. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s become more important than ever. We didn’t know how our pupils had been affected by lockdown, but we wanted to give them the opportunity to talk about their feelings. Having been away from school we thought they might need help with building positive relationships, reminding about what a good friend is as well as support with healthy eating and better sleep routines. Health and Relationships covers all of these themes.”

Broadgreen Primary School champions diversity, and teachers were pleased to find that this was also reflected in the digital resources. Suzanne continued: “One of the key aspects of the programme is that it teaches children the importance of diversity and reflects Britain’s diverse communities. As teachers, we are always looking for resources to make sure our lessons are inclusive. It’s great to see lots of different children and types of families and relationships represented in the videos. It’s diverse on every front.” As pupils progress through the year Health and Relationships will continue to be at the centre of Broadgreen’s recovery curriculum. “Health and Relationships supports teachers and enables children to learn in a way that reflects their lives. It’s great when you find something that you know will make a difference.”

#RedWednesday at Faith Primary School School reflects on peace and love At Faith Primary School in Liverpool, the local churches arranged for each class to reflect on what the Aid to the Church in Need #RedWednesday, held at the end of November meant. The school held a special day to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians and all who suffer for their peacefully held beliefs. Christians are the most persecuted faith group in today’s world and #RedWednesday honours all Christians who suffer and die for their faithfulness to Christ’s message of peace and love. On a day which highlights people being persecuted for their faith, Red balloons were attached to the greeting cards given to each class to write their message of hope, and which were sent out by post to the contact list given by the Archdiocese of Liverpool Justice and Peace Greeting Card Campaign. Red is the Christian colour of martyrdom. The special day enabled children and staff to put into action their understanding of The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has been explored and shared across the school. The day remembered in prayer all those not allowed to celebrate or share their faith in public and highlighted the injustices taking place against all faith groups across the world. 4

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils

p01-20_covers 12/01/2021 19:51 Page 5

p01-20_covers 12/01/2021 19:51 Page 6

Primary News

Young Formby filmmakers plead for our planets future

A talented group of primary school pupils inspired by David Attenborough have made a film to highlight the importance of looking after our planet. Year 5 children at Redgate Primary School in Formby returned to school after lockdown in September shocked and worried about the enormous amounts of rubbish left behind by visitors to their local beaches. The children were studying the Oliver Jeffers book ‘Here We Are’ which focuses on the message that we only have one planet and it is everyone’s job to look after it and the children discussed the responsibility everyone has to play their part. Miss Gill Stratton, Year 5 teacher at Redgate Primary School said: “The children are worried, as we all are, about the environment and what is happening to our world. We have discussed in class documentaries, such as the recent David Attenborough one, and they are all concerned about climate change and the loss of habitat for wildlife. I am so proud of the way the children have made their voices heard in a really powerful way. “I think that when people see the film it will give them a real sense of hope for the future, but what the children are really calling for is for is action now and for everyone to play their part in 6

protecting our planet now, before it is too late.” Headteacher at Redgate, Mrs Webb said: “I was so moved that our Year 5 children could produce such a mature, thought provoking piece to share with our community. After being at home for such a long time during lockdown it was wonderful to see the children return to school with such passion to collaborate on this project and use their skills to highlight a ‘real life’ global issue.” The children had the exciting opportunity of working with Liverpoolbased award-winning film charity Clapperboard UK as part of their youth film charity, working with young people, schools and communities making short films on issues that affect them and the wider society. Maureen Sinclair, director of ClapperboardUK said: “It was an absolute pleasure to work in partnership with Redgate Primary School and their talented young pupils. We are delighted what we have been able to achieve with the kind support and funding from PH Holt Trust and look forward to celebrating the young pupils achievements at our next Clapperboard Awards Ceremony.” You can view their film at: https://youtu.be/bIut12ylSpo

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils

Well-read pupils launch 100 books scheme

Reading has always been a priority at Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Primary School in Netherton, but since March the school has become more mindful as many of their pupils were not able to access books and regularly reading. The school is in the middle of constructing a new library, which is well underway, and has been described as perfectly timed to help pupils. Headteacher, Claire McKinnon said: “As part of the library construction, we are launching a scheme entitled ‘100 books’ which incorporates 100 books that pupils should read before they leave primary school. “Pupils will also receive a very special library card which can keep record of the books they have read. “We have been scouring book shops across the country for these books, which were put into a list by the TES in 2015. “Our PTA has also helped us source a vending machine which dispenses books with a very special gold coin!”

p01-20_covers 12/01/2021 19:51 Page 7

p01-20_covers 12/01/2021 19:51 Page 8

School leaders have risen to many challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic – from social distancing, remote learning and ensuring the most vulnerable are

protected. Underlining all these challenges is the need for clear and effective communication, ensuring that pupils, parents and other key stakeholders know

what is happening at the school. Educate takes a look at how primary schools have kept calm and carried on by strengthening communication, transparency and trust.

p01-20_covers 12/01/2021 19:52 Page 9

191 countries closing schools, clos sing their schools colleges and other institutes to the majority of pupils and students, leaving 1.5 billion children unable to attend school physically. When we first learnt about the virus, there was a lot of misconceptions, concerns and fears, which were only heightened by social media and numerous press outlets. When schools shut their gates in March 2020 to all but vulnerable children and the children of key workers, there seemed to be no clear plan of what was expected of schools, but one thing was for cerrtain – communication would need to be accessible, timely and encouraging to mitigate the high levels of uncertainty.

near Ormskirk O has a dedicated COVID-19 page on its website, with links to online safety policies, risk assessments and remote learning contingencies. Redgate Primary School in Liverpool collated a series of home learning s to supporrtt pupils who are packs isolating or off sick. The resources can all be downloaded online or

Twitter Tw T witter w and other soc cial media social channels can be effective for one-way communication, twoway communication is important to engage parents, carers and pupils in a conversation and give them the opporrttunity to offer feedback, ask questions and aff directly y. speak to teaching staff ClassDojo is a free app which allows communication between teachers, students and families. Users can share what is being learnt in the classroom home through photos, videos and messages. According to pany y, it has the US company been used by 70% of schools in the UK, as of 2018. The app is used to encourage good behaviour and to communicate with parents, as teachers can upload photographs and videos on to the platform such as awards presentations and examples of pupils’ work. During the last 12 months, ClassDojo has also been used as a remote home learning tool to set tasks for pupils and provide a much-needed link between teachers, pupils and their families. ool in Wirral i Liscard Primary School lists ClassDojo as one of its main communication tools, alongside email, face-to-face meetings, letters and the school website. Its communication protocol clearly states how it will communicate with families, how parents can raise any concerns and its code of conduct for all communications.

From online parents’ evenings to one-to-one video calls, our technology-rich world has made it even easier to make communication stronger.

Over the last couple of years, primary schools have increasingly adopted a comprehensive range of strategies to communicate with pupils, parents and their communities. This year, the pandemic has pulled communication into sharp focus and the need for a two-way dialogue between schools and their families has never been greater. A 2011 government review investigated the best practices of parental engagement and research found that children perform better when parents are involved in their schooling. It also placed an emphasis on schools that ‘engage the community and build strong links with parents’ had sustained school improvement.

parents have the option to contact the school for paper copies. Digital platforms and online tools have arguably become the most common communication method schools use, even before the pandemic. Research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that in January 2020, 96% of households in Great Britain had internet access, up from 57% in 2006. Social media channels, such as T Tw witter or Facebook, are key platforms to send out announcements, last minute reminders and can unite school communities. Faith Primary witter School ol in Everrton uses its T Tw w witte account to share important information for parents/carers and to highlight its new ways of working, such as whole school assemblies over Zoom and virtual coffee mornings with parents. With i busy b family life constantly

Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams e and Zoom are all other platforms which are now regularly

p01-20_covers 12/01/2021 19:52 Page 10

return of a full national lockdown, nattional lockdown which is set to continue until after the February half-term. Online learning portals, such as Google Classroom offer schools some stability and a means of keeping communication strong. St Nicholas’ Catholic Primary School in Liverpool uses Google Classroom to set weekly homework and ensure pupils can continue their learning during any lockdown measures or COVID-19 outbreak which requires children or whole class bubbles to isolate. On its website, it has instructions on how to use the app, handy how-to videos for parents to view and even has a dedicated contact form for Google Classroom help. The rise of online learning between teachers and pupils tant questions has raised imporrtta about safeguarding and GDPR policies. While schools want to get information out as quickly as possible, especially when guidance can be updated daily, schools should always remember to use their approved communication channels in line with their safeguarding/ GDPR/home working policies. It’s also imporrttant to understand and parrty privacy review any third-par notices if you are using their platform to stream or record live lessons. The government issued guidance in April calling for schools, teachers and pupils to maintain professional practice as much as possible. It stated that h i ti li

ones), communicate via approved d school channels and use school devices over personal devices where possible. Another popular communications app, specifically targeted at parents is ParentMail. Essentially, the app connects parents to their child’s school, with the aim to make essential communications much simpler. Schools can choose services such as text, online payments, messaging, parents’ evening manager and online form tions such as dinner money y, collections parental consent and online surveys. The app makes it easy for parents to access everything they need in once place, and for schools, it helps them build meaningful relationships with parents which can influence the success of its pupils. The app also says its ‘socially inclusive’ and accommodates those who don’t have a smarrtphone or computer or prefer traditional

Pe ersonal timely information. Personal phone calls, particularly to those parents whose responses have been scarce through other means, conversation could help start a conv with those hardest to reach. While external communication with families is vital, it’s imporrtant that internally y, commu communication is strong and clear, so everyone from senior leaders to classroom teachers understand the latest news, policies and updates. A survey conducted by Teacher e schools reopened Tapp a before the schoo in September, found that 62% of classroom teachers were the most nervous about the return of face-to-face teaching. Internal communications are critical to the strength, direction and morale of staff, particularly this year. This could be as simple as holding virtual t mee meetings to communicate key updates to staff, setting up a WhatsApp group with senior management to discuss information or sending email bulletins with key headlines. With teachers’ workloads as hectic as ever, it’s imporrtant that any communication is easy to access with clear calls to action.

With i teachers’ workloads as hectic as ever, it’s important that any communication is easy to access with clear calls to action. ways of communication. While 96% of households in Great Britain have internet access, what about the 4% without? Using digital platforms alone could be alienating families who don’t have broadband or the equipment to stay up to date. Ensuring school

Even before the pandemic, schools have had to adapt an increasingly comprehensive range of strategies to communicate with parents, carers and the wider community. In the world we now live in, it’s becoming more for schools and more imporrttant fo to develop valuable two-way dialogue between teachers and parents. The teachers,

p01-20_covers 12/01/2021 19:52 Page 11

p01-20_covers 12/01/2021 19:52 Page 12

Primary News

The Power of Portrait The reception children at Our Lady of Lourdes RC Nursery and Primary school in Birkdale always enjoy their creative learning in school. They have become very proficient in the art of observational drawings and paintings despite their age. Assistant head and early years lead Helen McMullan felt sure that their skills and passion for painting would benefit the local community. She contacted a couple of local residential homes for the elderly and suggested that they may like to receive a portrait of their residents. Home Chase House and Locharwoods Care Home in Birkdale agreed and swiftly emailed photographs of their residents for the children to paint. The results were heart-warming as they brought a huge smile to the residents and staff. Catherine McDermott, headteacher, said: “Such a simple gesture goes a long way during a challenging time for many who are unable to see their loved ones during the current Covid restrictions. I am extremely proud of our children and the impact they have had on our local

community.” Last January the children invited the residents of Home Chase into school for a special reception wedding as part of their Come and See Curriculum when they were learning about different celebrations that take place in a church. The residents came dressed in their wedding outfits and everyone enjoyed a very memorable

afternoon together. The key worker children also sent beautiful rainbow pictures to the residents of Locharwoods Care Home during the long lockdown last summer. Despite the restrictions, the reception staff are working hard to continue to create further links with the wider community in more creative ways in the coming months.


The best job in the world Shaun O’Hara, a teacher at St Gregory’s Catholic Primary School in Lydiate, describes what it was like to return to the classroom back in September after the COVID-19 closure to the majority of pupils. Shaun said: “Back to school – and I, for one, was delighted. Within our school, staff returned with a renewed energy and optimism that we would be able to make the transition back to fulltime education as smooth as possible for our pupils. “Two INSET days provided us with the opportunity to meet, socially distanced, to finalise our plans. We implemented a staggered arrival into school for each year group as well as a new learning timetable, which took hand-washing into account at various points throughout the day. “Each class is grouped as a bubble. This means that the children and any adults working with them remain within their own bubble throughout the school day. We have designated areas 12

for each bubble to play in and any equipment used by another group must be either quarantined or disinfected before its next use. “We are all guilty of sometimes not giving the children enough credit and those first few days back were a shining example of that. Not only have they embraced the many changes to

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils

the school day, they have also returned with an increased thirst for learning and a desire to pick up exactly where we left off. “While we all wish we could meet as a school for assemblies, it simply can’t be done right now. Yet class assemblies are taking place each week and we are still giving out weekly awards to show the pupils just how much we recognise and admire their individual strengths. “There has been a lot of talk in the media about whether it is safe to return to school at this time. I can’t speak for anybody else but, in my school, I absolutely do feel safe. Adults are following social-distancing guidelines and the children have adapted to the new rules seamlessly. Throughout this crazy time, school has been a welcome slice of normality and I am grateful to everybody within St Gregory’s that it is such a positive environment. I feel very lucky to be spending my days in the best job in the world – long may that continue!”

p01-20_covers 12/01/2021 19:52 Page 13

p01-20_covers 12/01/2021 19:52 Page 14

Primary News

Making a difference Whitefield Primary School honoured in teaching awards Whitefield Primary School has been honoured with a Silver Award in ‘The Award for Making a Difference – Primary School of the Year’ for their outstanding commitment to changing the lives of the children they work with every day. Whitefield Primary School strives to provide an outstanding pastoral offer to help their pupils make the right choices in every aspect of their lives. Children thrive enabling Whitefield to succeed as one of the highest performing schools in Liverpool over several years, despite operating in one of the most economically deprived areas in the country. Attendance is in the top 10%

nationally, and has been for five years, while the school has recently been ranked 10th in the country in the Real Schools guide. Whitefield Primary School were also in the running for one of just 14 Gold Awards but narrowly missed out. The Pearson National Teaching Awards is an annual celebration of exceptional teachers, founded in 1998 by Lord Puttnam to recognise the lifechanging impact an inspirational teacher can have on the lives of the young people they work with. Jill Wright, headteacher of Whitefield Primary School, said: “This has been such a difficult time for families

everywhere and we have been thrilled to welcome our children back to school. Having been nominated for Primary School of the Year, back in June in the middle of our lockdown we asked our school community to share their experiences of Whitefield to the judges as part of our assessment- we can’t quite believe that now we are Silver winners. “This is so special to our children, families, staff and community who have pulled together as the Whitefield family so much this year. We have been so excited to share the award with that school family and to celebrate together, even though we can’t gather all together.

Pupils create a virtual assembly for Remembrance Day Year 1 pupils from St Paul & St Timothy’s Catholic Infant School in West Derby, produced a virtual assembly for Remembrance Day. The video was shared with all the children in the school as they led them in prayer and helped pupils think about all those who have lost their lives or suffered in wars and conflict. Year 2 pupils worked with Sarah, a local artist, at the start of remembrance week to create willow poppies for their remembrance garden. On Remembrance Day all children went outside separately in their class bubbles to place poppies, wreaths and decorated pebbles next to their willow soldier who the children have named Captain Tom. At 11 o’clock everyone stopped for a minute’s silence while The Last Post was played throughout the school and outside in the memorial garden. Headteacher, Joanne Starkey, said: “I would just like to say a big thank you to all of the children and staff who helped to create each part of our Remembrance Day activities and reflections”. 14

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils

p01-20_covers 12/01/2021 19:52 Page 15

p01-20_covers 12/01/2021 19:52 Page 16

p01-20_covers 12/01/2021 19:52 Page 17

Interview with: Dr John Patterson, headteacher of St Vincent’s School

Bringing increased opportunities to young people with VI

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils


p01-20_covers 12/01/2021 19:52 Page 18

Interview with: Dr John Patterson, headteacher of St Vincent’s School

In this issue, Educate magazine speaks to Dr John Patterson, headteacher of St Vincent’s School in West Derby to find out more about his career and what inspired him to become a teacher, as well as how the specialist school for sensory impairment is leading the way in innovative education.

As we connect via Zoom, Educate is greeted by not only John sat at his desk in his office, but also a beautiful liver and white springer spaniel in his arms. “This is Penny!” John exclaims. Penny takes on a special role at St Vincent’s as the school’s therapy dog but you can tell that she also has a special place in John’s heart. As Penny settles down with her chew toy, the interview begins. Before joining the teaching profession, John was an engineer. It was his mother who inspired him to retrain and become a teacher. John said: “The joy of starting in engineering is that I know how to make stuff. I’m good at the ideas which is beneficial to my role now. “The reason I retrained was actually down to my mother. During one summer, as I’m covered in oil and all sorts of stuff, she said, “Come with me!” and we went down to Christ's and Notre Dame College, now Liverpool Hope University. It was a beautiful summer’s day, there were students sat outside enjoying themselves. She asked, “Wouldn’t you rather be here, son?” So, I said, “Well, yes!” and she said, “Right, leave, go and get your exams, and I’ll look after you.” So, I did and she did.” After university, John went in to primary education in inner-city schools. “The things I was doing meant that I was actually headhunted to write educational ideas for an educational programme. I was very fortunate as I got to pilot loads of creative ideas that connected technology with sports which was great as I was able to learn so much.


I felt like it was meant to be this is what all the learning was for!

“It was that, that got me into Liverpool Hope University and I became a lecturer and head of PE across teacher training and teacher education programmes. This gave me years of experience in research and how that impacts policies and that’s how I did my masters and my PhD - researching innovation in education.” John was at Hope University for 12 years. During his time there, he would get seconded out to do entrepreneurial learning at other universities and schools. He continued: “That was what I was good at – the enterprise, the innovation and the new ideas.”

“I was then asked to set up a free school by the government in the city so I wrote the curriculum and was asked to be the headteacher until the Department for Education was interested in finding another school to do the curriculum that I had written. I knew St Vincent’s and I had done projects with the school before and they told me they were looking for a headteacher and it was

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils

at that point in time, my strength and skills were what was needed at the school, so I applied and I got the job!” It was at this moment John realised the path he was embarking on was fate. He said: “It was strange, all the years of experience and all my knowledge, strengths and skills all came into what was needed here and that is where I wanted my energy to go. I felt like it was meant to be - this is what all the learning was for.” John has been at St Vincent’s for over seven years and has brought an array of opportunities and tailored learning to his students. He said: “The overall aim is to bring increased opportunities to our young people and to challenge the high unemployment rates that are around 85% - this sadly hasn’t changed much over the years. “On average, individuals with visual impairment (VI) have five to six less friends, so the challenge for this school is the individual learning outcomes. VI is different for every single child, it is really complex the teaching that needs to be designed.” A lot can happen in seven years and John recalls the many milestones he has witnessed. John said: “Being given the Freedom of the City of Liverpool was a key milestone. A corporate award from Liverpool John Moores University was key. An Educate Award for Innovation in Education was definitely a ‘Hallelujah’ moment, because that is where companies start to recognise you and ask for more information on what you are doing, which leads to more opportunities for our children.”

p01-20_covers 12/01/2021 19:52 Page 19

But it’s not just about the school’s milestones, John gets pleasure from individual success stories. He said: “One of our children won an international peace essay and he called it ‘Journey for Peace’. It was based on key statues in Liverpool and their journey for peace. These statues tell stories for example, the Ken Dodd statue, and we then made those stories into seven comics and each one has a citizenship theme.” The Journey for Peace idea is open for all schools to utilise now on the St Vincent’s website www.stvin.com. The project aims to bring people together via their school communities of learning through five simple steps which are adaptable to each school community. The common goal is to support and invest in VI young people around the world. Like all schools, it has been affected by the pandemic but the children at St Vincent’s are used to adjusting to new environments. He said: “Our children are used to adapting to things and are sadly, quite used to the feeling of isolation. The individual impact is obviously the friendship groups and being in small bubbles - that has been a real challenge for our children. “Quite a lot of our children have come from backgrounds where they are the only visually impaired child in the school but now they have come here, they are just the same as everybody so we were aware that some felt like they were going back to how it was before they came here.” Amongst the many initiatives St Vincent’s has created and developed, John seems most proud of Sightbox. It was created by his students who were extremely concerned with the lack of access to equipment and technology for visually impaired children and individuals living in third-world countries. The school began working with the Liverpool Rotary Club and worked to fund and create the Sightbox which

We need to invest in VI young people’s creativity and innovation

was shipped to children who were visually impaired. It is a container filled with equipment which provides blind and visually impaired children with the technology needed to access sports and have a more independent lifestyle. He said: “These boxes have been sent around the world, funded by the Rotary Club. Places such as Pakistan, India, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Indonesia, Uganda, Malawi and Ethiopia to name a few. “Now our children are using Zoom to teach those children how to use the Sightbox. Overseas the impact of those resources are phenomenal. A lot of children overseas don't have any education whatsoever so it's a local, national and global picture. I see it as a post-Brexit new trade innovation led by visually impaired young people. It is something that the government should be listening to.” Another project the school has rolled out is Reclaim the Green, Reclaim the Nature. It is aimed at taking pupils of St Vincent's and establishing them as leaders to encourage young people into not only becoming an agent of change but also innovators of innovators. “Our young people have designed a number of ideas but we're going to take into full production and make them. For example, carbon capture on the front of a car or green energy

that can be made by the sea. We are almost doing all of those innovative ideas so that they can be sold and our children can be trainers and can earn a living. “We need to invest in VI young people’s creativity and innovation. If we can showcase how well our education can work and that our children can be trainers of the trainers, this is where there is international new trade.” At St Vincent’s, technology and innovation plays a big part in the curriculum. John said: “Technology has its place and it is burgeoning for us, it is key in a sense of where the opportunities for employment may lie in the future. Who knows, our current 10 and 11 year olds may work in industries not yet created. We want to be involved in that teaching and learning because we want our children to be the innovators.” Employment opportunities for VI young people are unfortunately limited. John believes there needs to be more awareness raising. He said: “We need VI awareness to get off the ground more and there needs to be investment in VI creativity. These projects that I have talked about are helping to breakdown these perceptions and are generating awareness and increasing opportunities.” What does John hope to achieve over the next seven years? He said: “We want to do VI games, and we have already started the process for that. The disability games were going to be in Liverpool but there was not enough for VI so we're going to do our own VI games. “We of course want more children getting employment through our creativity and also more Sightboxes reaching more countries with our children being the trainers of the trainers.” He concluded: “Yes, we have got some big ideas at St Vincent’s but we believe they are achievable.”

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils


p01-20_covers 12/01/2021 19:52 Page 20

Secondary News

They shoot, they score St Cuthbert’s wins PE equipment for girls football Students from St Cuthbert’s Catholic High School in St Helens are enjoying a batch of brand new PE equipment, after enrolling in the FA and Youth Sport Trust girls football programme, Game Of Our Own. The school was awarded the equipment in a prize draw for completing a survey managed by the initiative. The programme aims to improve the PE experience for girls, through teachers adopting a life skills approach to PE using football as the vehicle. It also intends to increase the number of girls participating and enjoying football related activities, as well as developing girls in leadership roles as football activators This enables them to create and deliver relevant and enjoyable opportunities for more girls in their school, while also helping girls to access community football opportunities. The kit, which includes new football bibs, balls and drinking cups, will be used in PE lessons and also by the school’s girls’ football team, The Cyclones. Head of PE and health and social care, Mrs Vicky Jackson, said: “Winning the new kit is a fantastic opportunity for St Cuthbert’s and we hope that this, combined with the school’s sport and physical education programme, will

encourage more girls to take part in and enjoy football. “The Game Of Our Own programme is a fantastic initiative that not only drives participation in sport but also develops vital life skills that are transferable from pitch to classroom and workplace.” Year 7 student, Ruby Holden-Hunter, said: “Game Of Our Own is a great way to get more girls into football. We get to learn about the game and skills and tactics, but also how to talk to other girls

in the school about the sport so they feel motivated to be involved. The new kit is brilliant and we can’t wait to use it.” Headteacher, Catherine Twist, added: "Being a part of such a rewarding programme is not only beneficial for our students, so they can deliver football sessions to girls their own age but also to the wider community and we feel honoured and proud that we remain at the heart of our community."

From Liverpool with Love Alsop High School continues to develop its partnership with a group of Italian teachers who in 2017, visited Alsop High School to learn more about their award winning Hope Initiative. During the visit the Italian teachers learnt more about strategies used by the Liverpool school to build character and encourage young people to take responsibility. The school has now produced a video extending its link to Italy, an Advent Hope Act of Collective Worship with Italian subtitles. The video focusing on the ‘Liverpool Candle of HOPE’ was shown before Christmas in schools around Italy distributed by Mrs Franca Gambari, a teacher from Modena, Northern Italy. Mrs Gambari wrote to the school saying: “Dear friends at Alsop, my colleagues and I are receiving this film with Italian subtitles as a real Christmas gift. We wish to send our thanks and best wishes to all at Alsop High School. We look forward to showing the film to Italian schoolchildren.” The film has also been well received by colleagues in schools across Liverpool City Region and has been posted on the SPCK 20

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils

assemblies website. Mr Peter Bull, head of Religious Education said: “It was an absolute pleasure to share this film with these amazing group of teachers. During lockdown, Franca has been in touch providing updates on the situation in Lombardy. Once normality returns to hope we meet again to share our work and our passion for social justice.” Many of the Year 8 pupils from one of the schools in Italy who saw the video wrote to Alsop saying: “Our teacher is connected to Liverpool Alsop High School, England. It is a school where our teacher Franca was in visit for a while. It is a very large school, very beautiful and the students are very kind.” Another pupil added: “We saw a video that the English students from this school sent us. It's a religious video, in English with Italian subtitles, and it's beautiful. “The kids are 10 or 11 and are getting ready for Christmas. We thank them for sending us that video. We liked their presentation.”

p21-42_covers 12/01/2021 19:38 Page 21

Secondary News

Ambition is all around at ASFA

The Academy of St Francis of Assisi (ASFA) has appointed a new Student Leadership Team for the 2020/21 academic year. When the academy announced that applications for a place within the team were open, the response was overwhelming. Interested students were then tasked to prepare for an interview and give a presentation on a relevant topic; ‘Ambition - what it means to me’. The standard of presentations was outstanding with many preparing personal responses from the heart, all articulately delivered with passion, creativity and confidence. Many students, such as head boy, Amman and head girl, Noor, drew upon their journey to Liverpool from their native countries. They expressed their ambition to not only be the best they can be but to support others to achieve their dreams - a clear message and inspiration for others in the school. Amman defined ambition in the following way: “I see ambition as the fuel for the fire inside people. The thing that drives them to achieve their goals and reach success. Ambition is the first step you need to take in order to create or do anything.” A team of 13 has been appointed and each individual has been awarded a gold tie. They will each link in with a key member of staff with clearly defined roles, from charity ambassadors, academic and curriculum leads, pastoral support and wellbeing, as well as leaders of the student council and students' voice. Mrs St John, senior assistant head of school at ASFA, said: “Interviewing the team has been a truly humbling and inspiring experience. They had clearly practiced and didn’t look at their notes, speaking fluently and confidently throughout their presentations. “Their personalised view of ambition is inspirational. I believe we can learn as much from students, their experiences and their ideas as they can from us and this is a clear example this.” The student leadership team forms just one part of the academy’s growth programme - a values led approach to personal development, cultural enrichment, leadership and faith. The overarching aim, through the leadership ladder, is to develop a student’s character, confidence and to become an articulate young adult who can contribute to society and make a difference to their future.

Students support Ghana from afar A group of 14 students from Winstanley College have raised £4000 for the charity Enliven Mama Africa. The first and second year Winstanley College students, began fundraising last September with the original plan of travelling to Ghana in June to help build an IT centre, but due to COVID-19, the travel plans could not go ahead but that did not stop the fundraising efforts and an incredible £4,000 was raised and presented to the charity. The college also donated computers and books to kit out the centre and together with the money; the charity was able to go ahead with the plans. The centre is based in the community of Kpatinga, which has a literacy rate of just 23% of the population, and will be used by children between the ages of 8 and 18. Recently, Maxwell Donkor, the charity organiser sent videos to the college showing the newly opened centre and library and explaining the progress that had been made following the donation. Amanda Luyt, technician at Winstanley who was due to accompany the students to Ghana, said: “It was fantastic to receive the photos and videos from Maxwell showing the new centre. The students put so much effort into fundraising and although we were disappointed not to make the trip we are ecstatic that the project has gone ahead and is changing lives already”. Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils


p21-42_covers 12/01/2021 19:38 Page 22

Secondary News

Double success School celebrates as two teams reach national football finals

Students and staff at St Mary’s College in Crosby are celebrating after football teams in two age groups reached the final of a prestigious national competition. The college had never previously made it through to the last two of a national tournament, but this season both the under-12 and under-15 sides beat off the challenge of hundreds of rival schools to reach finals day of the English Schools’ Football Association (ESFA) Small Schools’ Cup. More than 6,000 teams entered the national cup competition which began in September last year, but the latter stages of the event - which should have been played in the spring - were delayed because of the national lockdown. The finals were eventually played last term at Lilleshall National Sports Centre in Shropshire. Spectators were not permitted because of COVID-19 restrictions, but the matches were broadcast live with professional commentary on YouTube. The St Mary’s under-12 side captained by Dylan Travis were crowned national champions following a 2-1 victory against St Michael’s Middle School from Poole in Dorset. Two first-half goals from Scott Johnson and ‘Player of the Match’ winner Hayden Allmark - gave St Mary’s a 2-0 lead at the interval and despite their opponents scoring a goal in the second half, the Crosby school defended their lead to complete a famous victory. Hopes were high for a dream double 22

but sadly it was not to be. Despite putting in a spirited performance, the under-15s skippered by Anthony Parker lost 3-1 in their final to Buckswood School from East Sussex. The St Mary’s goal was scored in the second half by Ben Jones and the ‘Player of the Match’ award went to his fellow St Mary’s forward Daniel Molloy. St Mary’s College principal, Mike Kennedy, said: “The school has never reached a national football final before so it’s remarkable that we had two teams in the finals of this year’s prestigious ESFA event. “It’s an incredible achievement and I’d like to pay tribute to the skills and hard work of all the players and staff members involved. “Obviously for the under-12s to win their final was the icing on the cake, but what’s really important is that the two teams have helped St Mary’s to make its mark on football at national level for the first time,” said Mr Kennedy. ESFA Chairman, Phil Harding, added: “Schools football is where young people develop knowledge alongside skills and values, and where players can be competitive, considerate and truly enjoy their football. “Our national finals showcase these characteristics, but they are only possible with the hard work and dedication of a huge number of people who give freely of their time and expertise.”

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils

British Council and QFI sponsor Arabic programme Students at The Studio, Liverpool are increasing their knowledge of Arabic with a new programme funded by Qatar Foundation International (QFI) and managed by the British Council. Students at the school – and its sister school, Liverpool Life Sciences UTC – have been supported by bilingual LSAs to sit exams in the language beforehand, but are now completing a programme that introduces them to the language, history and cultures of the Arabic-speaking world. It aims to counter negative stereotypes often portrayed in the media, making Arabic a realistic language choice for secondary school pupils. KS4 pupils at the CUC started learning Arabic in November, joining pupils at seven other schools across the country participating in the Arabic Language and Culture programme. Traditionally, results in the subject have been very strong and a great motivation and confidence boost for students who have found learning English understandably challenging. It also reflects the needs of the community in which the schools work, both culturally and from a demand perspective. Spanish teacher Miss Mallo is leading the programme at both The Studio and Liverpool Life Sciences UTC, and said: “It’s is a great opportunity for our students to gain knowledge and appreciate Arabic culture and language, get extra qualifications in Arabic language and develop oracy and leadership skills.” More than 400 million people all over the world speak Arabic and it’s one of the official languages of the United Nations. It’s also widely recognised as a valuable future skill – the British Council ranks Arabic in its top ten Languages for the Future report. While language uptake in schools has lagged in recent years, “the UK needs… the ability to work in a multilingual and culturally diverse marketplace, enabling firms to foster connections across borders,” it says. Future demand from business, trade, diplomatic and security sectors will make it a vital skill for many young people. Vicky Gough, schools’ advisor at the British Council. said: “The chance to learn Arabic is an incredibly useful opportunity for pupils, both personally and professionally. This programme will introduce them to the cultures of the Arabic-speaking world, equip them with sought-after language skills and open up new future career paths.”

p21-42_covers 12/01/2021 19:38 Page 23

p21-42_covers 12/01/2021 19:38 Page 24

Secondary News

Better together Students help develop new reading project Students across the Lydiate Learning Trust are developing a love of reading by participating in Project L – the Trust’s new reading initiative. Project L will see all students across the trust’s two secondary schools – Deyes High School in Maghull, and Childwall Sports and Science Academy - reading for pleasure with their form teacher every day. The texts that they are reading together have been chosen from a carefully selected canon to challenge preconceptions about reading that may prove a barrier for less fluent or reluctant readers: that “readers” only read fiction, or that reading is a natural process and you are either inherently a confident reader, or you’re not. The Lydiate Learning Trust Literary Canon launched last term with a nonfiction reader for every year group: You Are Awesome by Matt Syed for Year 7; I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai for Year 8; Born a Crime by Trevor Noah for Year 9 and The Amazing Teenage Brain Revealed by Nicola Morgan in Year 10. Claire Gillies, lead practitioner English at Lydiate Learning Trust said: “The books have been selected for their

relevance, pace and engaging narrative voices, underpinned by research that suggests that reading texts aloud and at a fast pace can help to reposition ‘poorer readers’ as ‘good’ readers over a

sustained period of time, this is a truly inclusive initiative to help to develop motivation to read, foster positive reading habits, and develop reading fluency across all subjects.”

Lydia’s pathway to success Ever since Lydia joined College@Deyes it has been clear that she has been motivated and driven by her goal to study veterinary science and achieve her aspiration of becoming a vet. Head of school, Mrs Beaney said: “As head of Year 13, Lydia has flourished over the past two years. As a student, Lydia personifies excellences, resilience and diligence. “Beginning her Sixth Form journey with the end in mind, she has sought opportunities to best prepare her for her future career choices. “Her commitment to a career in veterinary science is clear from the variety of experiences she has sought since Year 12.” Lydia has completed over 200 hours of work experience, across different settings, ranging from national dog training centres, city farms and zoos. She also engaged academically, through the production of an essay on the use of stem cells in veterinary. This was written for the life sciences department at Liverpool University. The essay discussed research into the 24

usage of stem cells in treating osteoarthritis in dogs, and tendon injury in horses. This involved independent research into clinical trials, evaluating the ethics of treatment, and linking the research to how it could help human medicine. This

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils

was later published in the life sciences department journal, Insider Imprint. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Lydia continued to pursue her goals managing home-learning, with online courses. She completed the EDIVET’s “Do you have what it takes to be a Veterinarian?” online course which covered, basic animal care, an introduction to body systems anatomy, veterinary professional skills and an introduction to clinical skills. Similarly, Lydia also completed FutureLearn’s “Virtual work experience and exploring the veterinary profession” which was ran by the University of Nottingham. Mrs Beaney said: “As a sixth form, we are incredibly proud of the commitment Lydia has shown to her future aspirations. It has been a pleasure to help support her through the UCAS process, offering tailored and bespoke feedback on her personal statement and hosting mock interviews. “Lydia has been invited to an interview for all her chosen universities and is currently in the process of completing them. We wish her the best of luck, as she goes through this process.”

p21-42_covers 12/01/2021 19:38 Page 25

p21-42_covers 12/01/2021 19:38 Page 26

Secondary News

Busy times for team UTC JLT steps in to care for local community The Junior Leadership Team (JLT) at Liverpool Life Sciences UTC has had a busy term! Alongside working on a number of projects like Black History Month, they’ve created food hampers for families in need, fundraised a gift for each student from the school so that no one goes without, hosted Christmas non-uniform days to raise cash for the local food bank and organised a regifting programme to redistribute unused gifts. They’ve also worked with sister school The Studio to run a present drive with staff, helping local families who might be struggling to have presents to open for their children. The team consists of students from Year 9 through to Year 13 from both Life Sciences UTC and The Studio, working in collaboration. It provides a bridge between students and teachers and allows young adults to develop their leadership skills and take responsibility for campaigns and issues which they care about. The JLT works together to make whole school decisions, promote equality and change, new kinds of learning and the importance of literacy, meeting regularly with principal of both schools, Jill Davies

and the schools’ business partners. The team is made up of committees and reflects the different areas of interest and expertise, such as an equalities and charity committee. The JLT is not a typical school student council. They are passionate about their role, saying: “We want the JLT to bring positive change for everyone at the Studio and Life Sciences UTC, in both our school and wider community. We want to be aware of the challenges that both we and others face and work to overcome them. “We want students to feel confident and assertive to discuss issues that affect them and take on roles leading and working with others.” Serena and Isaac are head girl and head boy respectively at the school. “This year has been a struggle for almost everyone, from the closing of school to a national lockdown, which included not seeing family or friends,” they say. “Day by day we’d go without seeing loved ones as well as staying home at all times, which impacted us socially, mentally and also financially. This pandemic has forced many members of different families to stay home from work and has had a negative effects on their lives, which has

led to smaller incomes, more worries and less joy. “The school has tried its best to make all the students to feel safe and secure – although things are still tough, our school has continued to support families during this pandemic. It was our goal that no family within our school community would struggle to afford food for the Christmas period. “Everyone has dealt with the effects of the pandemic differently, but the one thing we all experienced is the fear of the unknown: wondering what will happen next. “It is important that we all work together to make things work and spread positivity, as we're heading to a potential great new year.“ The school has reported a surge in applications this year, as young people have identified with the caring role of the NHS during the pandemic, and have engaged with the idea of a career in healthcare. Around a third of students leave Life Sciences UTC every year to start their career in the health sector, because of the school’s strong links with the NHS, and its popular placement and work experience programmes.

Don’t leave a generation behind: How careers advice and guidance is more important than ever By James Madine, CEO, CareersInc During these uncertain times it is more important than ever that we support our young people, ensuring that they are not left behind when the world returns to a Pre-COVID state. In times like this, it is easy to lose sight of our ambitions and goals, but by being able to access the right careers education, information advice and guidance, young people can still be supported to lay the foundations for a brighter future. As careers professionals, it is our job to work closely with young people to help them navigate the rapidly changing landscape. Young people have been subject to the social and economic repercussions of the pandemic, being the worst hit age group by unemployment rates. Between May – July 2020, unemployment rates for young people increased to 13.4%, numbers that are huge in comparison to the national unemployment average of 4.1% [1]. Through impartial careers advice and guidance, we can make those connections at the earliest possible stage and help prepare young people for what is to come. We can help identify strengths of the young people we support, and what job sectors those fit in to. We can highlight what industries are most in demand and help young people to reach their 26

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils

desired goals. Whether it is a hairdresser or an engineer, our specialist team will help a young person to find the right fit. At CareersInc we support students, and in turn parents and teachers across the 64 schools where we currently work, by offering impartial, careers, education, information advice and guidance. Despite the incredible challenges that face the labour market for the foreseeable future as a result of the pandemic, our careers advisers are there to ensure that every young person is guided to raise their aspirations and ambitions to their highest possible level. Our young people will be the future in a post-COVID world; it’s our job to ensure they are well prepared to rise to the challenge. To find out more about our careers services, visit: www.careersinc.uk

p21-42_covers 12/01/2021 19:38 Page 27

p21-42_covers 12/01/2021 19:38 Page 28

School Improvement Liverpool

Catch-up with The Government recently announced a £1 billion COVID Catch-up package to help schools reinstate a broad and balanced curriculum across a wide range of subjects. This includes a ‘Universal Catch-up Premium’ of £80 per pupil which the Department for Education (DfE) guidelines state “schools should use this money for specific activities to support their pupils to catch up”.

The Education Endowment Fund (EEF) recommends a tiered approach to this support, ensuring that the following are considered: • Quality First Teaching • Targeted Support (for small groups of learners) • Wider Strategies (for parents and carers to support learning)

School Improvement Liverpool (SIL) has recently launched a suite of materials for English, maths, science, PSHE and SEND which includes resources, video tutorials and live training sessions. Phase 1 includes support for leaders, teachers and teaching assistants and covers diagnostic assessment alongside teaching and targeted support for small groups or individual learners. Covering EYFS to KS3, SIL has also produced a number of resources for parents and carers with ideas on how to support children’s learning at home.

Educate magazine recently spoke to the teams behind SIL’s ‘Catch-Up’ programme to find out more: Alaine Sanders is a KS1 and KS2 moderator and has led on a number of projects across schools, including the Liverpool Writing Quality Mark, and also sits on the planning committee for Liverpool’s Year of Writing (2021). A key focus for phase 1 was developing diagnostic and planning tools for early reading and grammar and punctuation, to establish which aspects children were finding difficult. Alongside this, we produced a planning tool which supports practitioners in identifying areas of communication and language and phonological awareness, and suggests ways in which these areas can be developed. Subject leaders, teachers and teaching assistants are also able to access training on how to use the materials or deliver our teaching sequences. We have also produced booklets for parents and carers with ideas for how to support communication and language, reading and writing athome. Lisa Baggaley is an Every Child Counts Lead Trainer with Edge Hill University, an NCETM accredited Maths Lead and a member of the Liverpool Maths Society. “Our offer includes a set of diagnostic assessment materials linked to the DfE ‘Ready to Progress’ criteria, which can be used to support whole class teaching and formative assessment or with targeted children to identify any specific difficulties they may be experiencing. We have

produced a set of 10 intervention sessions for each year group to support targeted, small group intervention and online training for LSAs to support effective delivery of the sessions. We recognise the importance of engaging parents and carers to support practice and consolidation of number and have produced a booklet for each year group detailing key vocabulary and games to play at home. Derek Stanley has worked as a microbiologist and as both a classroom teacher and subject leader. He also sits on the national governing body for the Consortium of Local Education Authorities for the Provision of Science Services (CLEAPSS). We produced an audit tool which provides an approach to restarting the science curriculum post COVID and a series of booklets for key topics and themes which children may have missed during school closure. Each booklet includes background knowledge, key objectives and vocabulary, opportunities for scientific enquiry, assessment information and a range of scientific activities that can be delivered in school or at home to help fill gaps in scientific knowledge, skills and understanding. To help those who will be using the workbooks, whether that be teachers, learning support assistants or parents/carers, we have produced an online training session which runs through how you can make the most of them.

p21-42_covers 12/01/2021 19:38 Page 29

School Improvement Liverpool Yvonne Sutton is part of the SEND & Inclusive Learning Team and has extensive experience as a SENCo. She is at the heart of transformational change at Local Authority level and is passionate about inclusion. Our starting point was remembering that all children are unique in their strengths and the barriers to learning that they face, and that their personal experiences during the COVID 19 pandemic will also have varied greatly. Our resources and training have focused on the key elements of effective questioning and observation and using them as important tools in assessing gaps in learning, gaining a greater understanding of the barriers faced and misconceptions formed. We wanted to support practitioners in providing the right support at the right time in the right way to enable children to make progress. Using this wider approach will enable the child to become a more confident and independent learner across the curriculum. Julie McCann is a member of the National PSHE Association Advisory Council, having been both a Senior Leader and Advanced Skills Teacher in PSHE education. Through PSHE education, children learn the knowledge, skills and attitudes to enable them to learn effectively, and to build and maintain healthy relationships within their school communities. As children will have had fewer opportunities to practise these skills during lockdown we wanted to revisit relationship skills, as reengaging with others, albeit in a new way, is vital for classes to form in a cohesive way and to allow for successful learning. For many children, the experience of home-learning will have been positive, but for others it will have represented a time of anxiety, uncertainty and trauma. For some, the return to school will have represented an upheaval. In any classroom, there will be a range of experiences both positive and negative, and children will bring all of the associated emotions into school with them.

Sue Killen, primary learning strategy manager at SIL, coordinated the programme, and is really proud of the quality of the resources developed so far. Having used the ‘Capital Letters and Statement Sentences’ part of SIL’s English Catch-Up materials, a local primary school thanked us for such a ‘great resource’ and the measurable impact it has had on children’s use of punctuation to produce ‘incredible work. School leaders continue to work incredibly hard to ensure that a normal curriculum is resumed as quickly as possible. Ofsted’s third briefing note in the COVID-19 series (15 December 2020), highlights that their priorities include: PSHE, communication, phonics, grammar, spelling, place value, vocabulary and number. “Each of these are aspects covered in our Catch-Up Offer and it is our hope that as schools continue using the Phase 1 materials and begin to use the Phase 2 materials in spring term, they will see a positive impact on how they help and support all children to reconnect with and enjoy a full curriculum.

You can find out more at: www.schoolimprovementliverpool.co.uk/Catch-up-funding

p21-42_covers 12/01/2021 19:38 Page 30

p21-42_covers 12/01/2021 19:39 Page 31





Youth Award Programmes Explored By Hannah Fowler Whether it’s the arts, sport or STEM, many students take part in extra-curricular activities to gain new skills and stand out in their chosen career paths. Well-recognised

youth award programmes are now common place and give young people the formal recognition and accreditation for their achievements. Educate takes an in-depth

look at some of the most popular extra-curricular awards in the UK to explain the what, where and how of each opportunity.

p21-42_covers 12/01/2021 19:39 Page 32

Extra-curricular awards While teachers, schools and students still get to grips with the effects of COVID-19, it makes sense that the priority is catching up with the national curriculum and helping students prepare for their all-important exams or assessments. In January, Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, announced new measures of assessing, as fair as possible, students work for awarding 2021 GCSE and A-level grading. But if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that some skills can’t be learnt in the classroom alone. Resilience, strength, adaptability, time management and creativity are all important soft skills which can flourish through extra-curricular activities. And according to the World Health Forum (2019), 80% of businesses said soft skills were increasingly important to company success. For students considering university or entering the competitive jobs market, extra-curricular activities that lead to an award or qualification, can help them stand out among other applicants. For younger students, award programmes can ignite a passion in a particular subject area, help them become more confident and meet new friends.

For STEM enthusiasts -

CREST Awards Founded in 1986 by the British Science Association, CREST is a scheme that inspires young people to think and behave like scientists and engineers. The nationally recognised programme gives young people aged 5-19 the opportunity to complete project work in the STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths. It can also be used in conjunction with other activities and schemes, including the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and the Big Bang Competition. CREST provides activities and ideas for 32

a range of ages, group sizes and abilities to be as accessible as possible. Although mostly run by schools and colleges, both in the UK and internationally, young people can also access the Awards through youth groups, STEM clubs and home education. The Awards are broken down into levels which have signposted age ranges, resources, helpful tips and templates. The Star and SuperStar levels are designed for children aged 5-7 and 7-11 years respectively and see children complete eight onehour challenges which can be downloaded online. Students aged 10-14 can take part in the Discovery level, which is a one-day STEM project where students work in small teams to complete a project and present their work at the end of the day. The entry fees for the Super and SuperStar Awards start from £1 per child and £3 per student (based on UK entry fees, Wales and international fees may differ). The Bronze, Silver and Gold levels are aimed at students aged 11+, 14+ and 16+ respectively. The Bronze level (£5 per student) introduces young people to STEM project work and over the course of 10 hours, teams must design their own investigation and record their findings. The Silver and Gold Awards (£10/£20 per student) are highly sought after and a great way to enhance a UCAS personal statement or CV. Students choose their own project idea and gain in-depth experience of the scientific method or engineering design process. No two CREST projects are the same and at Gold level, students must complete a project which makes an original contribution to a STEM field of study. Upon completion of the Bronze Award, teachers must upload a sample of the students’ work using CREST’s online platform, for moderation purposes. Silver

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils

and Gold level projects are assessed externally by CREST’s trained assessors, using specific assessment criteria and result in a personalised certificate upon successful completion. Although no UCAS points are up for grabs, CREST is recognised on UCAS personal statements and is highly regarded. COVID-19 response – The British Science Association say the CREST Awards scheme has remained unchanged during the pandemic. It has a wealth of free, Awards-qualifying activities and resources on its website such as experiments to make the perfect cup of tea and making cheese using milk and lemon juice! While the closure of schools and colleges may have delayed students’ access to science labs and engineering facilities for the more advanced Silver and Gold Awards, there is no time limit to complete CREST, so students have been encouraged to complete research and plan their project ideas at home. Young people and teachers can also access the online platform 24:7 and upload project work, if required.

For the explorers -

Duke of Edinburgh The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) has come a long way since it was first introduced in 1956. Described as an opportunity to discover new interests and develop essential skills for life and work, DofE is open to 14-24 year olds at three progressive levels - Bronze, Silver and Gold. Over 295,000 young people started a DofE programme in 2019/20, allowing them to have fun, make friends, build confidence and gain essential skills to enhance their CVs and university/job applications. Run by schools, colleges, youth groups and clubs, the young people taking part (or their parents/carers) pay for a place

p21-42_covers 12/01/2021 19:39 Page 33

and are supported by leaders who help them through the programme. Fees are currently £22 for Bronze, £22 for Silver and £29 for Gold, but some organisers may add additional fees such as cost of transport and expeditions. Everyone taking part also receives a DofE Card which gets them discount from stores such as Go Outdoors, Blacks and Millets. There are four main sections of a DofE programme – volunteering, physical, skills, expedition and residential (for Gold only). For the volunteering section, young people must dedicate their time at a charity or not-for-profit, helping people, the community, the environment or animals. Physical includes any sport, dance or fitness activity for an average of an hour a week. For the skills section, participants need to choose an activity that allows them to prove that they have broadened their understanding and increased their expertise in a chosen skill; ideas include caring for animals, playing a musical instrument or film/video making. The expedition section requires young people to plan, train and complete an unaccompanied, self-reliant expedition with an agreed aim. It must be completed by participants’ own physical efforts, for example travelling by foot, bike, boat, canoe, wheelchair or horseback. For the Gold Award, the final section is residential, which involves a young person taking part in a shared activity or specific course with people they don’t know in a residential setting away from home. COVID-19 response – In response to the disruption this past year, DofE launched the #DofEWithADifference campaign to encourage organisers and young people to keep going and find new ways to complete their sections while at home or online. For the next academic year, any young person who has completed

the skills, volunteering and physical sections of their Award will receive a DofE Certificate of Achievement. Anyone who receives the Certificate can go on to complete their expedition and/or residential at a later date, and would then achieve their full DofE Award. Students can take a break from the DofE activities and pick them back up again when volunteering, expeditions and residentials can resume. Young people have until they’re 25 to achieve their Award, but they can speak to their DofE Leader if they require an extension. In April, over 8,000 new Gold Award holders attended a virtual event in celebration of their Awards, after the usual ceremonies at St James’s Palace and Buckingham Palace were cancelled due to the pandemic.

For future entrepreneurs -

Young Enterprise Young Enterprise (YE) is a national charity which works with young people to give them the work skills, knowledge and confidence to succeed in the changing world of work. Through its hands-on employability, enterprise and financial education programmes, it aims to reduce youth unemployment and help young people realise their full potential. Since 1962, the charity has worked with businesses, schools and the government to engage over four million young people – in 2018/19 alone YE’s partnership of teachers, volunteers, supporters and staff have engaged over 482,000 young people, helping them develop their financial, business and entrepreneurial capabilities. The charity has fun, interactive programmes for primary schools, such as its Fiver Programme and Tenner Challenge, where pupils are pledged £5 or £10 respectively and have one month to set up a business and get their enterprise

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils


p21-42_covers 12/01/2021 19:39 Page 34

Extra-curricular awards off the ground. The Tenner Challenge culminates with the teams selling their product or service and pupils get to keep or donate any profits they earn in the process. Pupils on the Tenner Challenge also compete at a national level against primary schools across the country, with winners invited to an Awards Ceremony in London. It’s secondary school programmes all aim to introduce young people to the world of work, and help students develop essential skills for their futures. One of the most respected and immersive programmes for young people aged 15-18 is the Company Programme. Running flexibly from 12 weeks to a full academic year, young people from year 9 to 13 start up their own student company, making their way through key milestones of idea development, market research, creating the product/ service, promotion and ultimately trading. The cost of one ‘student

company’, which allows up to 32 students to participate, is £530 for state schools. Finalists are invited to the UK Company of the Year Awards, which took place virtually this year, where a number of awards are announced including the overall winner, runner-up and sustainability award. The UK winner then represents the UK at the European finals, going up against schools and students from across Europe.

skills in real-world situations.

YE say that the programme is not just aimed at those with an interest in business, the programme can be used to provide real-life context to many subject areas, from using DT and computing to design a product, English to develop persuasive writing techniques for marketing and maths to understand profits and selling price. The programme can also support schools in meeting Ofsted criteria by providing young people the opportunity to apply

With work experience becoming increasingly challenging during the pandemic, YE describes the Company Programme as the ‘next best thing – experience of work’. Teams will have the opportunity to engage with a volunteer mentor from the world of work, apply classroom learning in a real context and develop important skills for their futures. Although the programme doesn’t carry any UCAS points, UCAS uses YE as an example of what to put on personal statements. Plus, post-16 students can use the Company Programme to gain an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), which attracts up to 28 UCAS points. COVID-19 response – Young Enterprise has adapted its programmes to provide the most flexible way of working for students and teachers during the next academic year. It has minimised the amount of teacher time required to support

A guide to the UK’s leading Youth Award schemes Award


Age group

Timescales to complete

Duke of Edinburgh Award

Self-improvement, Expedition, Leadership, Confidence

14 to 24 years

6-18 months


STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths)

5 to 16+

No time limit

Sports Leaders

Sport, Physical Education, Leadership, Dance

12 to 17 years

Total hours depending on level

NCS (National Citizenship Service)

Citizenship, Teamwork, Community, Leadership

16 to 17 year olds

1 to 4 week programme

Young Enterprise

Enterprise, Business, Leadership, Employability

5 to 19 years old

Total hours depending on programme


Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils

p21-42_covers 12/01/2021 19:39 Page 35

Extra-curricular awards students on its programmes and introduced a blended learning approach. Participating students and teachers now have access to a dedicated online platform, DBS checked and trained volunteer Business Advisors, a brand-new e-commerce platform for online trading and a series of webinars to support students with key aspects of the programme over the course of 20/21.

Impact and Diversity A recent report from 2019 (‘An Unequal Playing Field’), found huge disparities in children’s participation rates across a wide range of extra-curricular activities, depending on their social background. Whether it was arts, sport, music, or voluntary work, the research highlighted that participation in such activities depends on the schools they attend, the area they grow up in and their

socio-economic background. Many of the extra-curricular awards discussed offer costeffective, flexible options, so any student, regardless of background, can take part. For example, the CREST Awards offers grants and funding to schools and SEND schools, to help them offer the programmes to students on pupil premium or from ethnic backgrounds. To help young people facing disadvantage recover from the effects of the pandemic, the DofE has launched a Resilience Fund to reduce barriers to participation and help 12,000 young people start their programme until March 2021. Young Enterprise is committed to increasing its engagement in deprived areas, and in 2018/19 it worked with 57% of secondary schools in the 30% most deprived areas in England and Wales.

academic results. CREST reports that students who successfully complete a Silver Award or higher achieve half a grade higher on their best science GCSE result. Free School Meal (FSM) students who completed the Silver Award were 38% more likely to study a STEM subject at AS level (Quantifying CREST, 2016). A DofE survey from 2020 found that 62% of participants felt more confident in overcoming difficult situations as a result of completing their DofE Award, and 78% agreed or strongly agreed that it has enhanced their CV or UCAS application. 90% of students who completed the YE Company Programme said that they have built skills and knowledge in commercial promotion, which will be valuable for their future careers.

As well as developing soft skills, taking part in such award programmes can yield great

Award achievement


UCAS Points?

• Bronze & Silver: DofE badge and certificate

£22-£29 per student plus kit, expedition and/or residential costs

 (But recognised in personal statements)

• Personalised certificate

£1-£20 per student

 (But recognised in personal statements)

• A recognised level 1, 2 or 3 Sports Leadership qualification and certificate

Offers available to school cohorts

16 points from the Level 3 Award

• Certificate

Free in Autumn 2020

 (But recognised in personal statements)

• Certificate

Offers and funding available to school cohorts

 (But recognised in personal statements. The Company Programme can be used to gain an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), which attracts up to 28 UCAS points)

• Gold: Badge or brooch, plus an invitation to the Gold Award Presentation at a Royal Palace

• Many of the Awards offer finalists the opportunity to represent the UK at National and European Finals

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils


p21-42_covers 12/01/2021 19:39 Page 36

Secondary News

School faces challenges with confidence The transition from Year 11 into Year 12 can be a stressful time full of big decisions and of course excitement for the future. This is very important to Childwall Sports & Science Academy and they ensure that all Year 12 students feel supported and welcomed into their sixth form. Students join them from many schools across Merseyside and their goal is to make sure that they follow their own perfect pathway. Ms Vincent, headteacher at Childwall, said: We pride ourselves on their diverse offer. We have level 3 pathways in both A-level and BTEC, alongside level 2 resits for GCSE English and/or mathematics so you can be sure you will get everything you need to succeed. “Further support from our onsite careers officer will link you to business and people in the workplace and help you to source a work placement, which is an offer for every student in our sixth form. In this way you can start to secure your future as soon as you join us and aspire to join our array of former students who have gone on to be engineers, doctors, nurses, film makers, actors, designers, architects, sports coaches and entrepreneurs. “We value what our students say about their time in our sixth form and no one can say it better than them. One Year 12 student said: “I was always going to stay on into the sixth form at Childwall, it was the natural thing to do. The staff know how I learn best, and they push me in a caring way. I know they’ve got my back.” Ms Vincent said: “2020 has presented some challenges for

transition for our new Year 7 students. However, we are proud of the resilience and confidence our students have shown so far. “Year 7 have outstanding attendance and very positive attitudes to learning both at school and when working from home. They have received lots of rewards to celebrate their success so far. “We like to talk to our students at Childwall, and our recent feedback informs us that Year 7 students are happy and have settled well. They have all been able to make new friends, and students have appreciated the efforts of the transition team in listening to them and their Year 6 teachers when forming their new form group.


Liam thrives at Progress Schools thanks to exceptional support system After being excluded from mainstream school for a one-off mistake, Liam began attending Progress Schools in November 2018, he settled in quickly and made friends with his peers. Despite his previous circumstances, Liam made the conscious choice not to let his previous error in judgement affect his future career prospects and his hard work and dedication, combined with an effective support system at Progress Schools has enabled Liam to thrive, by the time he reached Year 11 he was an extremely focused learner. His commitment was not only evident in a classroom faced with being in lockdown, Liam had the choice of how to use his time. He continued to progress with his learning, and has since reaped the rewards of that hard work. He always excelled at maths and enjoyed these sessions in particular, he received an eight for his maths iGCSE and level 2s for his maths and English


functional skills, something Liam’s parents believed would not have been possible had he remained in mainstream education. Since achieving his functional skills and iGCSE, Liam has continued on an upward curve. He has recently been accepted at Corby Tresham College to study engineering, where he hopes to continue to university to study

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils

electrical/mechanical engineering. Liam said: “The most valuable lesson learned at Progress Schools was how to be a leader, to believe in myself and above all, to be yourself. Progress Schools have supported me in many ways. I was listened to and treated like an adult. The smaller class sizes meant I was able to get that extra little bit of support when I needed it, and that really helped me.” Liam’s head of school, Shannon Noone, praised him for all his hard work and his commitment to building the foundation for a successful future. She said: “Liam’s hard work over the past few months has really paid dividends to him, and the outcomes are a true testament of Liam’s ability and how well he responded to his teachers at Progress Schools. “We will now do everything we can to help Liam successfully transition into college, where we really hope that he will continue to flourish and achieve his goals.”

p21-42_covers 12/01/2021 19:39 Page 37

p21-42_covers 12/01/2021 19:39 Page 38

Secondary News

Education marketing experts produce a range of videos for Rainford High The team at CPMM Media Group has produced a selection of videos for its longterm, retained client, Rainford High. In September 2020, the school came to the marketing experts with a brief that required a week’s worth of videos for its virtual open events. From the initial concept, the team put together storyboards, a flexible filming schedule and brought in a film crew that captured the school, facilities, staff and students at their best. In order to keep the attention of prospective families and students, each video was kept to less than four minutes long. Later in the school year, Rainford High required a suite of animated videos for current students which highlighted the importance of keeping COVID-19 safe going to and from school, during lessons and moving around the school buildings. Each video was less than one minute long and was shown on the televisions around the school and on social media, reminding students to follow the set guidelines in order to control the virus. Ellie Adshead, senior account executive at CPMM Media Group, said: “The use of video has rocketed over the past few years, and now because of the pandemic it has really accelerated and become an effective way for schools to get their messages across to internal and external stakeholders. “With virtual open days and tours here to stay, the video investment by Rainford High will support their recruitment drive for some time. The campaign has been a great success and the power of video is really strong right now, with 60% of people staying longer on websites when a video is available to watch.” Ellie added: “Now is a really good time for schools to be thinking about how they are marketing and communicating to current and future students. We’d love to be able to share our expertise with other schools and colleges, so please contact us and we’d be delighted to help achieve your vision.” CPMM Media Group’s small core team of marketing experts have over 15 years of experience in delivering cost-effective, results driven campaigns for schools across the region. As marketing requirements continue to change during these unprecedented times, CPMM Media Group can offer a wealth of advice and services, stemming across digital advertising, video and animation, digital prospectuses and PR services. For more information and to contact the team, visit cpmmmedia.com or call 0151 709 7567. 38

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils

ASFA prepares to mark Holocaust Memorial Day This month, students and staff at the Academy of St Francis of Assisi will be coming together in memory of the millions of people murdered during the holocaust, alongside the millions of other people killed under Nazi persecution and in genocides that followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. In the run up to Holocaust Memorial Day, the academy plans to combine past and present and look at how ethnic groups still face prejudice and discrimination today. Head of history, Miss Kate Allen identified that within the student community are Roma children and families. Roma or Romani originated in the Punjab region of northern India as nomadic people and entered Europe between the eighth and tenth centuries. Hundreds of thousands of Roma people were killed during the holocaust. Miss Allen wanted to incorporate this part of history into the curriculum and reached out to students who identified themselves as Roma to find out more about their heritage. Many students told their stories of how they are still persecuted in countries across Europe for their Roma background, for example, not being allowed into shops and being bullied in school in their home countries. They identified links between the persecution of Jews and other minorities in the early days of the Nazi regime and of discrimination that still goes on today. Students then used their imagination to draw pictures relating to a story about Raymond Gureme, a Romani holocaust survivor. The drawings were then incorporated into an animation video with voiceovers by several students. The video was created by animator, Linda Bennett. Miss Allen said: “Every year, we commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day and think about all those people who needlessly lost their lives. “There is so much be learnt through our vibrant community at ASFA and by looking into the history of Romani people and Raymond Gureme, it will help our students gain a better understanding of the Holocaust over the next few weeks until the Memorial Day on 27 January.” The animation can be viewed on BenoToonz YouTube channel.

p21-42_covers 12/01/2021 19:39 Page 39

Find Educate online

www.educatemagazine.com educatemag


Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils


p21-42_covers 12/01/2021 19:39 Page 40

Secondary News

Testing times St Cuthbert’s rolls out rapid testing St Cuthbert’s Catholic High School in St Helens has started the new term with access to rapid COVID-19 testing, to help as many children of critical workers and vulnerable families as possible be able to attend school safely. The lateral flow testing facility was established from day three of the spring term, alongside a range of other previouslyestablished measures including temperature checks, wearing face coverings and more.. The test centre, which is located in an appropriate space on its Berry’s Lane site, was set up and ready for staff and students to use within 24 hours. The school was supplied with test kits and PPE from the Department for Education and training was provided by St Helens Borough Council. Speaking at the launch of its test centre, headteacher Catherine Twist said: “The tests aren’t compulsory, but they are offered on a weekly basis to enable students to carry on going to school and teachers will be able to carry on working. “However, those who experience COVID-19 symptoms must continue to follow government guidance as normal, including immediate self-isolation and should book a test through nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. “The scale of testing is planned to increase once it is announced that our young people can return to school, hopefully later this term. Whilst news of a vaccination programme implementation is welcomed, it is part of a collection of measures that all need to be in place to beat this pandemic. “The World Health Organisation maintains that a test, trace and isolate is the “backbone” of any pandemic response in its guidance. “We will also maintain our daily temperature checks on entry to the building, hand washing/sanitising, social distancing, the

wearing of face coverings and a one-way system throughout the school.” “The education and wellbeing of all our young people remains our priority so for now, they must access their learning online, stay at home wherever possible, protect the NHS and help save lives.”

Be the light in the darkness Students at Alsop High School recorded a special Act of Collective Worship for Holocaust Memorial Day. The short film, features the testimony of Auschwitz Survivor, Mr Zigi Shipper, BEM was shared with partner primary schools, as part of the Alsop Hope 2021 programme. Alsop has a partnership with Holocaust Educational Trust as part of their Lessons from Auschwitz Project, and Mr Shipper usually travels to Liverpool to deliver his Auschwitz Survivor testimony. This year the school were determined to produce a short film to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive and to commemorate this important event. Students from Year 12 and 13 speak about why it is so important to remember and to reflect on the depths humanity can sink to. The film also prompts students to consider the ways individuals and communities resisted that darkness 40

Mr Zigi Shipper, BEM

to ‘be the light’ before, during and after genocide. Mr Chris Wilson, headteacher at Alsop High School said: “It is a great privilege for Alsop students to produce this film which includes the inspirational testimony of Mr Zigi Shipper, BEM. His Auschwitz survivor testimony is a powerful reminder of the horrors so many experienced at the hands of the Nazis during World War Two.”

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils

Mr Peter Bull, head of RE and coordinator of HOPE 2021 at Alsop High School said: “We would like to thank Mr Zigi Shipper BEM and his daughters Michelle and Lu for co-operating with the recording of this film. We are also grateful to Mr Chuni Kahan MBE, Holocaust Awareness and Karen Pollock, Holocaust Educational Trust for their assistance. “We hope that by watching the film and hearing Zigi’s testimony, it will encourage young people to learn from the lessons of the Holocaust and make a positive difference in their own lives.” The Holocaust Memorial Day film is now available for use in Alsop and other schools. It can be downloaded from YouTube via: www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQQLnpchn 9c The film is dedicated in memory of Mrs Jeannette Lise Shipper (14-06-1931 - 1507-2020)

p21-42_covers 12/01/2021 19:39 Page 41

Secondary News

School support for Africa Rainford High sends gifts to Ghana The good news has been few and far between this year with lots of cancelled overseas trips, including the Rainford High annual charity project in Ghana, West Africa. Every year, a group of sixth form students from the school fly over to work with the Ghanaian charity, Thrive Africa, helping to build libraries across the region of Kumasi and provide reading books to school children who would normally have no access to these types of materials. Even though the COVID-19 restrictions put an end to their plans of travelling over, the school has still been able to send much needed books and materials in a shipping container organised by the Wigan-based charity, Book Cycle. Director of science at Rainford High, Richard Spedding, said: “When the GCSEs changed from the old A-E way of grading to the new 1-9 system, we had a lot of surplus text books that were no longer being used. It is great to know that they have gone to a place where they will be valued and that we can still make an impact, even though our students can’t be there this year.” Principal of Rainford High, Ian Young, said: “We are so pleased that we have still been able to support the charity. This is our ninth year working with the cause and we now have a wonderful relationship with them.

“For small charities like Thrive Africa, which rely on overseas volunteers to keep them going, it must be incredibly difficult. “I know the students planning on taking the trip have been really disappointed but with the help of Book Cycle, which has helped transport equipment and resources overseas, we have still been able to play our part.”

Free children’s books given away The multi award-winning community venture The BIG Little Library gave away brand new children’s books the week before Christmas. The campaign was held in conjunction with the Belle Vale shopping centre in Liverpool and to celebrate the end to Liverpool’s Year of Reading. The BIG Little Library is the multi award-winning community venture by Gateacre School in Liverpool. The idea for the library came about from a simple idea, wanting to help improve literacy within the community. The book giveaway was inspired by a tradition from Iceland were books are exchanged on Christmas Eve, and you spend the rest of the night reading. People generally take their books to bed along with some chocolate. The tradition, known as Jolabokaflod, which means ‘Christmas Book Flood’ is a tradition that dates back to World War Two when foreign imports were restricted but paper was relatively inexpensive. Large organisations and publishers such as Book Trust, Read for Good, Walker Books, Bloomsbury Books, Liverpool Learning

Partnership and local author Natalie Reeves Billing donated the brand new children’s books aimed at all ages to The BIG Little Library initiative, in order to support and encourage reading in the local community. Lisa Mitchell, who heads up The BIG Little Library said: “We hoped that not only would this event help ease the monetary pressure of Christmas, but it will also start a tradition with families and friends to give and receive books at Christmas and spread the love of reading for pleasure. “We wanted to create a book flood and get as many children as possible excited about reading over the festive season.”

‘Star of Hope’ A charitable focus from St John Bosco students Staff and students at St John Bosco Arts College came together to make Christmas a little bit special. Helping to raise money for their local food bank they displayed stars of intention around their building, asking for a donation for each star with all the money they raised going to their local food bank. The college was delighted to send over £440 as well as lots of treats and essentials that the students and staff had collected. Students also enjoyed an advent service with their form class, where all of the intentions were made and students shared a very peaceful and prayerful time helping them to prepare for Christmas and spend some time thinking about those they were praying for and reflecting on the message of Christmas. The whole school community has embraced our charity focus for advent and were delighted to be able to make the donation to the food bank. Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils


p21-42_covers 12/01/2021 19:39 Page 42

Open days with a difference

The new normal

As we enter 2021 and with coronavirus still rife, life as we once knew it will not be returning back to ‘normal’ for a while. Instead, we must hit the ground running and accept these changes and make the most out of this bad situation. Last year saw the beginning of something new for many schools and colleges across the country: virtual events. From open days and tours to school productions and assemblies, schools have had to embrace the new normal and take many of their usual calendar events online. During summer 2020, senior leadership teams used that time 42

to plan how they were going to make open events and tours of the schools happen. As the use of video, Zoom and Microsoft Teams rocketed, this became the only viable option for many. Fast forward to September 2020 and the start of the new academic year. Schools welcomed ďŹ lm crews and video experts on to the grounds in order to

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils

capture their buildings, teams and students at their best. Following the launch of these virtual open events and tours, some schools had to host multiple dates in order to meet demand. The opportunity to get to know schools from the comfort of a living room, clearly had its advantages.

p43-62_covers 12/01/2021 19:48 Page 43

Whilst this new format is expected to continue for some time, what benefits can parents expect to see from this and how can they make the most it?




is available as it can be rare that such a wealth of information is available without stepping foot into a school. Many schools are offering the chance to get to know teachers, students and general student life including what lunch at the canteen looks like or what extracurricular activities are available.

Like you would have originally, carefully compile a list of the schools or colleges that you’re keen for your child to go to. Speak with them about where they want to go, they will usually want to go where their friends are going, but chat through the positives and negatives to help you both make an informed decision. Check the website of the schools/colleges in your shortlist to find out the dates of their virtual open events. Make a diary note of these and if the option is available, book a place before they fill up. This will give you the perfect opportunity to hear from the headteacher and find out all the important information, as if you were at the physical open day. To communicate to prospective students and families, schools have had to produce a lot more resources. Make the most of what



A virtual 360 tour offers you the chance to look around the school and get your bearings. Whilst it isn’t the same as the real thing, use this opportunity to really get to know the layout of the school and where things are located. Don’t forget you can go on the tour more than once, so by the time September comes, they will know where to go! Involve your child throughout this decision-making process, after all it is where they’ll be studying for the next few years and shaping

them as a person. If your child requires extra support, look at what is available to them or contact the school to find out more details.


Whilst the website offers all the key information, don’t forget to look at the school’s social media. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram offer a different, less formal insight.


Especially now, safety is key. Be sure to look at the measures the school has put in place in regards to the pandemic and how they will keep, not only your child, but others safe too.


Finally, whilst schools may not be welcoming hundreds of families through the door, check whether they are offering a one-toone tour for a parent and child. Some may be able to provide this after school hours but spaces will be limited, so contact them directly.

So, whether you’re choosing a place at a secondary school or sixth-form college, Educate recommends utilising everything that these schools and colleges are offering as this looks to be the future for some time. Let’s embrace the new normal! Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils


p43-62_covers 12/01/2021 19:48 Page 44

Education News

Over 50 schools and colleges shortlisted in the Educate Awards 59 primary and secondary schools, academies, colleges and alternative education providers from around the North West have been named in the Educate Awards 2020 shortlist. The awards, in partnership with Copyrite Systems and Ricoh, is in its ninth year and is the largest education awards in the North West. The shortlist was announced virtually on 12 November 2020 on the Awards’ YouTube channel with the help of sponsors and judges. It can still be viewed now at www.youtube.com/c/EducateAwards. Due to the pandemic and following the success of the shortlist announcement, the ceremony is also now going virtual and is set to take place on Friday 29 January at 6:15pm. Again, it will be premiered on the Educate Awards YouTube channel. From inspiring teachers, dedicated support staff to innovative projects across the curriculum, the awards recognises the work of schools and colleges which are delivering outstanding education and helping students achieve their full potential, even during these unprecedented times. Since launching in Liverpool in 2012, the awards has grown rapidly, recognising schools and colleges right across the Liverpool City Region, Cheshire, Lancashire and Greater Manchester. Kim O’Brien, founder of the Educate Awards, said: “A huge well done to all the schools and colleges shortlisted for the Educate Awards 2020! “It has been a really tough year for everyone and so we felt it was more important than ever to shine a spotlight on the heroes of the education sector and all the hard work that goes on in schools and colleges around the North West. Kim added: “The calibre of entries we received were incredibly strong - our judges really had their work cut out when deciding on the winners! We look forward to revealing the winners at the end of January.” Associate sponsors of the awards include: All About STEM, Angel Solutions, CareersInc, CER, CPMM Media Group, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool Diocesan Schools Trust, LSSP, Satis Education, SupplyWell and Winstanley College. The full Educate Awards shortlist: The Communication Award Abbot's Lea School in Liverpool Buile Hill Academy in Salford Chorlton High School in Manchester Litherland High School in Sefton St Cuthbert’s Catholic High School in St Helens The Academy of St Francis of Assisi in Liverpool

SEND Provision Award Bickerstaffe CE School in Lancashire Finch Woods Academy in Knowsley Netherton Moss Primary School in Sefton St Peter’s C of E Primary School in Bolton The Barlow RC High School in Manchester Wargrave House School and College in Newton-le-Willows Innovative and Creative Literacy Award Fairfield Primary School in Widnes Parish Church of England Primary School in St Helens Rainford High in St Helens Outstanding Commitment to STEM Bedford Drive Primary School in Wirral Cardinal Langley RC High School in Middleton The Mosslands School in Wirral Outstanding Arts in Primary School Netherton Moss Primary School in Sefton Riverside Primary School in Wirral St Oswald’s CE Primary School in Sefton Outstanding Arts in Secondary School Bedford High School in Leigh Formby High School in Sefton Fred Longworth High School in Manchester North Liverpool Academy in Liverpool The Belvedere Academy in Liverpool

Outstanding Commitment to the Environment Birchwood Community High School in Warrington Heswall Primary School in Wirral St Cuthbert's Catholic High School in St Helens St Vincent’s School in Liverpool

Community Partnership Award Gateacre School in Liverpool Progress Schools in Wirral The De La Salle Academy in Liverpool Wargrave House School and College in Newton-le-Willows

Careers & Enterprise Award Ellesmere Port Catholic High School Myerscough College in Preston Progress Schools – Hamilton Square in Wirral St John Rigby College in Wigan St Oswald’s CE Primary School in Sefton

Mental Health & Wellbeing Award The Belvedere Academy in Liverpool Evelyn Community Primary School in Knowsley Fairfield Primary School in Widnes Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Primary School in Sefton The Hollins in Lancashire


Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils

p43-62_covers 12/01/2021 19:48 Page 45

Education News Outstanding Commitment to Sport in Primary School Billinge St Aidan's CE Primary School in Wigan Plantation Primary School in Knowsley St Elizabeth's Catholic Primary School in Sefton The Belvedere Preparatory School in Liverpool Outstanding Commitment to Sport in Secondary School Hope Academy in Newton-le-Willows Rainhill High School in St Helens Ridgeway High School in Wirral Leadership Team of the Year Archbishop Blanch School in Liverpool Parish Church of England Primary School in St Helens Penketh High School in Warrington St John Fisher Catholic Primary School in Knowsley School Governor of the Year Father Harry Parish Church of England Primary School in St Helens Kayte Parlevliet from Queen’s Park High School in Chester Teacher of the Year Sharon Kormachu from Burscough Lordsgate Primary School in Lancashire Mark Hardy from Parish Church of England Primary School in St Helens Laura Harding from Penketh High School in Warrington Mary Lyons from Riverside Primary School in Wirral Rachael Chadwick from St Benedict's Catholic Primary School in Sefton Suaad Hussain from The Academy of St Francis of Assisi in Liverpool Catherine Lutman from The Barlow RC High School in Manchester School Support Star of the Year Julie Kelly from Bickerstaffe CE School in Lancashire Helen Greenway from Rainford High in St Helens Faye Lavelle from St Oswald’s CE Primary School in Sefton Lindsey Onslow from The Barlow RC High School in Manchester Nicola Fisher from The Barlow RC High School in Manchester Most Inspirational Alternative Provision by a School Leasowe Primary School in Wirral Progress Schools – Toxteth in Liverpool Queen’s Park Primary School in St Helens Three Towers Alternative Provision Academy in Wigan Wirral WRAP Most Inspirational 16-18 Education Provider Myerscough College in Preston The Manchester College in Manchester Wargrave House School and College in Newton-le-Willows Most Inspirational Secondary School Archbishop Blanch School in Liverpool Litherland High School in Sefton Stockport Academy The Barlow RC High School in Manchester

Tools to track progress

The Professional Judgements Tool: Adding value to assessments for teachers and school leaders Teachers are working incredibly hard to continually adapt to all of the changes and uncertainty that is going on at the moment. Angel Solutions’ Balance has a number of tools which will hugely benefit teachers during this third period of lockdown, one in particular being the Professional Judgements feature. The Professional Judgements tool allows teachers to record a simple, point-in-time assessment which gives an indication of how well each child is doing based on the curriculum they have been taught so far this year. This means that with all the disruption that schools are experiencing at the minute, school leaders will always have an up-to-date overview of how well the children in their school are progressing through the curriculum for each subject that is taught. The Professional Judgements are designed to be quick and easy for teachers to complete, whilst providing school leaders with a clear and informative ‘whole school picture’. What’s more, when used together with the learning wheel in Balance, teachers can use the formative assessments they have recorded in the system to inform their Professional Judgements. This has proved particularly useful for Pupil Progress meetings, as teachers are able to use their formative assessments in Balance to help explain and provide evidence for their chosen teacher assessment or Professional Judgement. The feedback they have received from teachers has been overwhelmingly positive as to how easy it is for them to record their judgements initially and then monitor them throughout the year. The clever ‘Time Frame’ function means that teachers do not have to re-enter their judgements each half-term, they can simply look through the previous judgements they recorded and only tweak those judgements that need tweaking! They don’t need to worry about calculating percentages or submitting their data to senior leaders either… that’s all taken care of and done automatically within Balance too. You can learn more about how Professional Judgements can really add value to the way assessments are carried out at your school or find out more about Balance and their free tool, Balance Lite here: angelsolutions.co.uk/balance

Most Inspirational Primary School Halewood Church of England Primary School in Knowsley Leasowe Primary School in Wirral St Peter’s C of E Primary School in Bolton WOW Recognition Award Ellesmere Port Catholic High School St John Rigby College in Wigan The Barlow RC High School in Manchester The Hollins in Lancashire The Manchester College Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils


p43-62_covers 12/01/2021 19:48 Page 46

Education News

Talented student showcases COVID-19 inspired comic A student from Oakfield High School in Wigan has exclusively shared their comic with Educate for everyone to see. The special needs school tasked a group of students with designing a comic that relates to COVID-19 in a bid to help them deal with this difficult time. One artistic student, Harley, put pen to paper and produced a comic that has helped process everything and understand what is going on in the world. Teacher, Georgina Heywood was particularly impressed by Harley’s work and shared it with Educate as a way of helping other students in the region who may be struggling at this time.

Future First and Northern Power Women launch partnership The life chances of young people across the country have been given a huge boost thanks to a new partnership just launched between Northern Power Women (NPW) and Future First. Northern Power Women - a groundbreaking network of business people and education charity Future First have joined forces to give the next generation the support and encouragement they need to make a success of their lives, while also allowing businesses to connect with up-and-coming talent. With NPW offering a powerful network of role models and Future First providing a decade’s experience of supporting alumni to give back to their former schools, the partnership promises to provide lasting benefits for both young people and businesses at a critical time for the UK. Central to the partnership is the development of a digital link between the two organisations’ networks. Future First will build a digital hub to connect with NPW’s existing Power Platform. Speaking exclusively to Educate magazine, Simone Roche MBE, founder and chief executive officer of NPW, said: “We are really excited to be forming this partnership with Future First. For years Northern Power Women has been creating a massive hall of role models so 46

when Lorraine, CEO of Future First, connected with me because of our shared values and passion around role models I really felt there couldn't be a better fit. Role models are in both our DNA and brining these two amazing organisations together to do wider, further good is powerful!” Discussing the benefits for both students and teachers, Simone said: “It will benefit students by growing the alumni community through the Northern Power Women community, directing them into schools to be those allimportant visible and relatable role models. “Equally for teachers, they will bring a different point of view being from different sectors, of different abilities and with different successes because everyone has a different story. By bringing these people into schools, we can help teachers guide our young people.” There are already a number of businesses and organisations on board. Simone continued: “There will be so many different businesses from all different sectors. United Utilities - the provider in the NW of England who ensure we have water coming out the tap every day and our loos are flushed. The Co-operative Bank, who have a national footprint and a real passion around community. Bank of New York Mellon, a

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils

massive and global organisation that does not just offer finance jobs. Liverpool Football Club, an organisation focussed on sport as well as the business of sport in a supportive role. The Royal Navy, as a recently decorated honorary Lieutenant Commander, I'm delighted to be working with the service and bringing those role models into schools. With the help of these organisations and many more we can and will make real impact offering wider opportunity to young people.” Set up five years ago, NPW was born out of a need to accelerate gender equality in the North and currently has a 60,000-strong network. It now spreads across the UK and spans all sectors, genders and race demographics. Future First was created 10 years ago with a vision to create a world where a young person’s start in life does not limit their future. The charity specialises in helping schools and colleges develop thriving alumni networks and build links with leading businesses, so students can meet, learn from and be inspired by relatable role models so they can see worlds beyond their own. This unique resource will be available from September 2021, with an exciting platform to better connect young people with business leaders, entrepreneurs, trailblazers - all with a different story to tell.

p43-62_covers 12/01/2021 19:48 Page 47

Education News

Supporting the Community School meal provider Food for Thought supports ‘BMX Eat Repeat’ initiative

Picture: Liam Deveney Photography

Liverpool-based social enterprise Food For Thought rounded off its 2020 by joining forces with local community groups to deliver a free event that addressed the issue of food insecurity and provided fun for young people from across the city. The ‘BMX Eat Repeat’ initiative saw the organisation join forces with Peloton Liverpool’s BMX Box L5, Transport Amateur Boxing Club and West Everton Community Council, to invite children to try BMX biking on a custommade outdoor track and make new friends, before enjoying a free hot meal. Food For Thought provided freshly made hot meals each day of the three-day event, with participants tucking into curry and rice, scouse with crusty bread and lasagne, as well as enjoying hot drinks with sandwiches, mince pies, fresh fruit and chocolate yule log for pudding. Tom Lambeth, from Food For Thought, said: “Last year was incredibly difficult for so many families across the city and we wanted to use our expertise in delivering school meals to ensure the children and young people involved in the free event had access to a nutritious hot meal for the first few days of the school break. “It was a successful and truly collaborative few days, with suppliers donating produce and people offering their skills, equipment and time to make it a reality. We would like to thank everyone who was involved and we look forward to working with Peloton Liverpool, Transport ABC, WECC, community members and the local Council representatives on similar events in 2021.” Food For Thought is a unique not-for-profit school meals company, which is owned and managed by all of its partner schools. It currently works with 53 primary, secondary and special educational needs schools in Liverpool and Sefton. Any headteacher from its member schools can become a director of the company and any profits made by the company are returned to its member schools or re-invested in the company. For more information on upcoming events follow Food For Thought on Twitter @fftliverpool

Schools encouraged to get involved in Census 2021 The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is launching educational resources to teach pupils all about the census. The ONS set up a census secondary school programme back in September to support Census 2021. The programme, developed by EVERFI EdComs, aims to teach pupils about the importance of the census and how data can benefit their local areas through engaging, crosscurricular activities. Currently, over 500 secondary schools across England and Wales have already registered for the free programme and registration is still open for this unique opportunity. Iain Bell, ONS deputy national statistician, said: “We want to engage pupils in schools across England Wales in the census and by doing so make Census 2021 a huge success. Our school programmes offer a great opportunity for students to learn about the importance of the census. They help students learn more about maths and their own local area, and they will also raise awareness of the census, which informs many important issues like the number of school places or hospital beds. If your school hasn’t yet signed up, I’d urge you to get involved.” Michelle Gigi, KS3-KS5 maths teacher at Queens’ School in Bushey, Hertfordshire, added: “I think it’s a brilliant idea to get students more involved in these types of activities, relating school-based lessons to real life scenarios.” A brand-new set of resources have now been launched for the programme, including in-depth lessons specific to curriculum topics like maths, geography and history. Students will have the opportunity to explore patterns of change in their communities and identify geographical and historical themes that may have caused this. Students will be asked to interview a family or community member to find a story they want to tell and create a group display or installation to discover how their individual story is part of a bigger picture. The secondary school programme has been cocreated with teachers and students alike across England and Wales. The programme aims to engage young people, empowering them to use their voices to encourage their families and community to complete the census. They will explore what matters to their communities and the importance of census data in making national and local decisions. The ONS has also launched a primary school programme, Let’s Count!, that aims to excite pupils and families about the census. With more than 3,000 secondary schools already registered, the free programme offers engaging activities and flexible resources, including 14 lesson plans. Schools can sign up for the programme by visiting census.gov.uk/education Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils


p43-62_covers 12/01/2021 19:48 Page 48

Education News

Let’s go Zero Calculations don’t add up for Government’s plan for warmer and greener schools Let’s Go Zero, the new national schools campaign launched in November 2020, welcomes the government’s inclusion of schools in their 10-point green plan to net zero but calls for a clearer road map of how the government will fund the vital carbon reductions. Alex Green, schools manager for the Let’s Go Zero campaign which is being spearheaded by climate solutions charity, Ashden, said: “While the spotlight on schools is welcome, we call on the government to scale up their ambition and the detail of the plans. Making all our schools warmer and greener is much needed and will deliver significant benefits for our children and communities, but the announcement does not give us the plans, policies or funds for schools to play their part in reaching zero carbon.” Ashden, which has been working with schools on sustainability plans for over a decade, point out that for all education buildings alone in England to be net zero by 2030 will cost at least a predicted £23.37 billion* – that is nearly five times the amount announced to fund the whole of the UK’s journey to net zero carbon. Alex Green added: “In June 2020, the UK government announced £1bn funding for 50 major school new building projects in England but with 24,000 schools in


England that’s just 0.2 percent of schools. The money available for repairs was even lower at just £560m committed to by the UK government when in fact billions are needed.” Let’s Go Zero will be working with the education sector to support setting interim targets for new low-carbon builds but, as 72 per cent of current school buildings in the UK are expected to still be in use in 2050, the big opportunity for carbon reduction has to sit with retrofitting the existing building stock, as well as reducing emissions from people travelling to schools, and other indirect emissions such as from food and procurement. The national campaign will be reaching out to the UK’s 32,000 schools in the run up to November 2021 in time for COP26, and beyond. Alex Green continued: “Let’s Go Zero is working with schools to help them set out their journey to zero carbon over the next decade, helping share information and experiences of how to lower energy use, change behaviours from food to fuel.” “But schools want Government backing and support. Schools can’t make the big, significant changes alone – government needs to provide the funds to make those happen – whether it’s thoroughly insulating old, energy-guzzling buildings or providing the funds for an overhaul of

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils

the heating system to a zero carbon one.” Research* by Ashden in summer 2020 showed that while schools are keen to show leadership on climate action, their confidence was impacted by (in order of priority) lack of funding, technical support, and not having a dedicated resource to help them through the journey. This was followed by concern for the climate emergency, a desire to align with other schools and local authorities, and finally, the benefits of publicity. Confidence to publicly declare their commitment was found to be impacted by their lack of knowledge and understanding of what climate action in the school environment is and how to achieve it. Barriers to action were tied to funding, resources and practical tools. And the current lack of clear direction or pressure from Government departments – DfE, OFSTED and BEIS – meant that schools aren’t currently naturally motivated to drive decarbonisation as a key priority – hence the need for a concerted campaign such as Let’s Go Zero working with the schools and government and for a clear roadmap to be laid out by government. Schools across the UK are now starting to sign up to a campaign declaring their aim to become zero carbon by 2030 and demanding more support from government to reach this goal. 79 trailblazing schools have signed up since the launch in November 2020 and over 10 local authorities are keen to promote it to schools in their areas including the Greater London Authority. Let’s Go Zero will help schools learn from their peers, share best practice and connect with sources of support. Signatory schools are committing to cut carbon in seven key areas – energy, food, procurement, waste, water, travel and school grounds, as well as addressing the place of climate in the curriculum. By joining Let’s Go Zero, schools are clearly stating their ambition to be zero carbon by 2030, agreeing to do more, and acknowledging that they need government help to reach the target. For more information, visit the campaign website: https://letsgozero.org

p43-62_covers 12/01/2021 19:48 Page 49

Education News

LSSP secure funding from the UEFA Foundation for Children LSSP (Liverpool School Sports Partnership) has been approved for funding from the UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) Foundation for Children. On World Children’s Day 2020, the UEFA Foundation for Children approved 55 new projects across the world. One of these successful projects was submitted by LSSP – just one of two organisations to receive funding in the UK. ‘Finding My Potential’ aims to develop employability and leadership skills in young people across Liverpool. The project will provide equality of opportunity regardless of circumstances for targeted children and young people to be educated, trained and prepared for a successful adulthood. Finding My Potential will increase confidence and self-efficacy of 160 young people aged 14 years plus, and develop employability and leadership skills by

providing them with accredited qualifications, which will enable them to coach and lead sport and physical activity sessions in the local community. The 160 young people will be from 16 different secondary schools in Liverpool. They will have access to National Governing Body of Sport courses and Youth Sport Trust Active in Mind training. In turn, the programme will increase and widen opportunities for 500 young people aged 8-12 years. They will become more active and improve their health and wellbeing, by increasing the number of physical activity sessions delivered by the above trained sports role models. The UEFA Foundation for Children was established on the initiative of the former UEFA President, Michel Platini, reflecting UEFA’s desire to play a more active role in society. For many years, the governing body of European football has been supporting

initiatives and programmes that help children in difficult circumstances, working with numerous different partners to develop projects across Europe and beyond. James McGinn, partnership manager at LSSP, said: “I saw this brilliant funding opportunity online over summer, during the first lockdown. I put my ideas onto paper and submitted it to the UEFA Foundation for Children. “When I received confirmation that LSSP was successful I was absolutely over the moon! Finding My Potential will be a fantastic opportunity for the young people in Liverpool. Not only will they receive the relevant training and they will also obtain the right qualifications to pursue a career in sports and health and fitness.” The Finding My Potential programmed is set to be rolled out this month.

Abbot’s Lea School receives National Autistic Status A pioneering specialist school in Liverpool has been awarded an Advanced Accredited School Status by the National Autistic Society. Abbot’s Lea School, based in Woolton, Liverpool, was recognised as an expert institution for its unrivalled commitment to understanding autism and setting the standard for autism practice in education. Autism Accreditation is the UK’s only autism-specific quality assurance programme of support and development for those providing services to autistic people. It is an internationally recognised quality standard, and with 25 years of accreditation expertise, it is the longest running programme in the world. Following an in-depth inspection of the school, assessors gave most positive feedback, including: “The leadership team are highly aspirational about the school, students and staff. The team work closely to strategically plan the school development around the needs of the students.” “The school is actively involved in the development of supported internships across Liverpool and nationwide. The internship programme has led to students finding employment, including directly from the school.” “The school has an overwhelmingly positive, calm and supportive atmosphere.

Relationships between staff and students are very positive, respectful and trusting.” The National Autistic Society also required parents and guardians of students to express their own thoughts and feelings about the school and their own experiences as families. One parent said: “My son was diagnosed aged 7 and in mainstream school. I fought for a place in Abbot’s Lea for him and although it took months, we have never looked back. They are amazing at what they do, and how they treat our children. “The school is outstanding and the staff are just as outstanding as the school. I really could not fault anything. The opportunities they offer the children is amazing and I just think it’s the best school ever! Thank you, Abbot’s Lea for making my son feel safe, secure and happy!” Abbot’s Lea School’s visionary headteacher, Mrs Ania Hildrey, supported by her leadership team, ensures a combination of high quality traditional and innovative education is delivered to all students aged 3-19. The accreditation makes the school a leader in the special education and lives to fulfil the school’s mission statement to be the best specialist school in the world! As believers in lifelong learning, staff at every level receive regular training to

ensure they understand autism and in all that they do – regardless of their job role are the best they can be. The ethos of the whole school is no different; while the school is rated as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted, it doesn’t rest on its laurels and strives to keep on getting better and better. The headteacher, Mrs Ania Hildrey, is delighted that the school has received Advanced Accredited School Status. Mrs Hildrey said: “We are completely overjoyed to have received this accreditation. Since I joined Abbot’s Lea School nearly five years ago, we have worked together – with the staff, external advisers, as well as our in-house experts: our students and their families – to continually challenge the status quo and do better! “Whilst this work is never truly done, we have worked incredibly hard towards the highest of NAS standards and I am so delighted to have our practice recognised as exceptionally good. “I am also so very proud of our team’s effort and want to extend my sincere thanks to all those who continue to support us – through encouragement and constructive challenge – to improve and develop our knowledge, understanding and practical skills in teaching, specialist therapeutic support and development of essential life skills.”

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils


p43-62_covers 12/01/2021 19:48 Page 50

Education and lockdown

Leaders respond Education figures react to the latest lockdown and impact on schools Following the Government’s announcement on Monday 4 January 2021, Educate reached out to headteachers and senior leaders to find out how they are feeling about the new lockdown and some school closures.

Mr Stephen Brierley headteacher of St Margaret’s Church of England Academy in Aigburth, Liverpool. As I write, Gavin Williamson has just announced that this summer’s GCSE, AS- and A-level exams have been cancelled. Instead, teachers will (again) be providing centre-assessed grades. To be honest, I have mixed feelings about the announcement. On the one hand, it was probably inevitable, given schools’ latest partial closure, and given ongoing 50

concerns about the safety of having hundreds of students in a confined space for a few hours.

reflect that exams have their advantages as well as their disadvantages!

But because it was inevitable, I was hoping that ‘Plan B’ might have been a bit more developed. As it is, many students, parents, teachers and leaders will now have a lot more (perfectly legitimate) questions about how things are going to work out. To anyone reading who has such questions – you have my sympathy; I have those questions too; we’re all in the same boat!

So whatever is put in place now, I’d like to think that there could be some way, even if only at school level, for students to be given some sort of opportunity to demonstrate what they’ve learned. The outcomes of any such exercise would need to be interpreted very carefully, of course – some students have endured prolonged periods of absence from school, through no fault of their own – but such an exercise could add an extra element of objectivity to mitigate any risk of the process being tainted by subjectivity. Maybe it won’t be possible to do that this year. But I’d like to think it would be considered.

So what should happen now? I’d like to offer two observations. Firstly: exams aren’t perfect. There’s an element of chance in what questions come up. Students are not always in the best place to do their exams (I remember once working with a Year 11 student who had witnessed a road traffic accident on their way to an important GCSE exam). Marking exam scripts is not a completely precise science. In many ways, to misquote Churchill: “Exams are the worst form of assessment – except for all the others”. Last summer certainly gave me cause to

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils

Secondly: we need to be very clear what this year’s GCSE grades tell us. I was a bit concerned to hear some talk, after Gavin Williamson’s announcement, that students should receive grades that reflect their efforts. GCSE grades should reflect learning, not effort. I put in a considerable amount of effort when I ride my bike – but that doesn’t mean

p43-62_covers 12/01/2021 19:48 Page 51

I’m a particularly fast rider – I’m certainly not! Granted, for most people, learning requires significant effort; but the effort itself isn’t enough – you’ve got to make the effort in a way that ensures the learning sticks. How best that happens is a gloriously individual thing. For me, silly little mnemonics helped me remember my ‘O’-level History content (that ages me!); for others, spider diagrams or flash cards may work better. Working out what’s best for each individual is one of the many joys of teaching! But let’s not kid ourselves that those who’ve tried hardest should get the top grades: hard work has to be effective for it to count. Those who have learnt the most, who’ve committed it to their long-term memories, and who can apply it – they’re the students who should get the top grades. The two aren’t quite the same. So those are my two requests. But however things pan out, our young people need – indeed, we all need – rapid clarity on what’s going to happen, and a fair process that enables everyone to make the most of a truly horrid situation. And of course, we need good leadership of the process too: we saw how important that is last summer. Above all, we desperately need to get this right. The future of our young people is too important to get wrong. Gavin: over to you.

Last summer certainly gave me cause to reflect that exams have their advantages as well as their disadvantages!

How will the latest lockdown affect the Abbot’s Lea School community? As the headteacher of a special school, we are expected to be open to all students, as 100% of our population is classed as vulnerable by the governmental guidance. Regrettably, this is simply not possible, when concurrently, the health advice is for the staff with complex underlining health conditions is to shield. Our workforce, whilst wonderfully committed, everwilling to go the extra mile and hard-working well beyond the definitions of their contract, are all human, too and personally affected and so, simply cannot render a reliable service at this extraordinary time. As a result, we had to risk assess our school operation and make some really difficult decisions about who, amongst all of our students, must be offered onsite provision as otherwise, their progress might be seriously inhibited; in fact, some may regress beyond what would be seen to be acceptable. For a school with 271 students, age 319, we have prioritised the following groups for our onsite provision:

Mrs Ania Hildrey, headteacher of Abbot’s Lea School in Woolton.

1. Children of essential key workers, as defined by the central government 2. Children currently on Child Protection Plans (CP, section 47) 3. Children currently classed as Child in Need (CiN, section 17) 4. Children who are Looked After (LAC) 5. Children currently subject to Early Help Assessment Tool (EHAT)

6. Children eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) 7. Students in our Early Years and Key Stage 1 (the youngest of our learners) 8. Students in our Nurture Provision (most complex special educational needs requiring therapeutic support) 9. Students completing internal Supported Internships (students whose employability support is essential at this point in time for them to secure best future) All other students will receive twice daily direct live interactive teaching via Zoom and will also have access to a wide range of non-interactive learning via our platforms. All students, families and staff will continue to have access to our Multidisciplinary Team support, including direct therapy, advice and guidance. Additionally, we support our staff and their families with Employee Assistance Programme which offers 24/7 advice, support, guidance and discreet therapy. This service is free of charge on the point of access for our team and their loved ones and offers wide-ranging services, including financial advice. In short, it is tough, really tough, but we are doing all that we can to continue working with all students – some onsite and some remotely – in order to ride out this storm…. How will it impact both younger and older students with autism? The impact of COVID-19 as a whole, this (and previous) lockdown specifically, and the interruptions to reliable, predictable, and socially-

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils


p43-62_covers 12/01/2021 19:48 Page 52

Education and lockdown

School exists to serve and give benefit to pupils, parents and together with ‘frontline troops’, our connected communities

enriching direct delivery is difficult for everyone.

our ways of working to make the child we focus on thrive.

There is already a professional and societal consensus about our commitment to the key workers (whether NHS staff or many, many others) and our acceptance of the widening impact for those who are deemed socio-economically disadvantaged. There is another group though – and I speak from my own experience as a headteacher and a mother – there are also major challenges for those who can be classed as money “rich” but time poor. As a headteacher, I know I spend more hours of my life serving my students than I do my own children; this will be the reality for all essential key workers….

Dr John Patterson, principal of St Vincent’s School - a specialist school for sensory impairment and other needs.

All of the above groups experience circumstances that challenge parenting. This, in turn, impacts our children – no matter what age they are – at the time when we feel torn, are exhausted and just hope to return to some kind of normality. Arguably, challenges are more complex, as your child’s complexity of needs increases. I would not, however, say that all children with EHCP are more complex than all children without one. Every person is different, every family’s circumstances are different and every child copes differently with the reality around them. All we need to do is to seek to understand, seek to help and seek to always look to improve and diversify 52

Do you think teachers should be given priority for the COVID-19 vaccine? If so, how would this benefit your school? Across government updates and news reports, reference has been made to the ‘battle’ against COVID19. Decisions on who should be given ‘priority’ for vaccinations rests in this context, on who is and will be in the frontline trenches facing our common enemy, i.e. the virus itself. Our quite incredible NHS are ‘hand to hand’ at that front, as are our wonderful Merseyside Police, both put themselves at risk and simultaneously face those who ‘fraternise’ with the enemy by not keeping to the rules, opening thus new battle fronts.

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils

Teachers are also part of the frontline. Every teacher can tell you what happens when a child comes into school with an illness and how rapidly it spreads. Every teacher can tell you how at the very least, their first four or five years in school is a continued cycle of illness catching the relentless procession of ‘bugs’ children bring into classrooms. If children can carry coronavirus, and no matter what sanitising measures are in place, just as NHS staff, police officers and ‘people facing’ professions, teachers will catch it and pass it. If we value teachers as part of the frontline, keeping the country moving forwards, and in unprecedented times protecting the wellbeing of future generations, the vaccine should be available to them. Certainly, having enough well teachers to teach benefits school… but school exists to serve and give benefit to pupils, parents and together with ‘frontline troops’, our connected communities. How do you think schools can function safely in the future? E.g. continual routine testing for all students... There is no one hundred per cent safety assurances schools can offer, and we must be real about this. We can, however, do as much as possible by operating common sense, keeping up to speed with the guidance and research, and working collaboratively. Routine testing and sanitisers are all good practice and to be encouraged; we know in the immediate and for the best part what we should be doing. As the country looks at the overall impact of the virus and future safety; a way forward would be for future Government offices to have a closer relationship with those groups in the frontline trenches, and listen to them…. we really are the ones who advancing together, have a better view of the barbed wire we face.

p43-62_covers 12/01/2021 19:48 Page 53

Mrs Catherine Twist, headteacher of St Cuthbert’s Catholic High School in St Helens.

all students have applied for post-16 courses or training opportunities for September. We know it has been a real rollercoaster for these students and all we can say is hang on in there Year 11! You’ve got this and the whole of our teaching and support staff are here for you. James Madine, chief executive officer at Progress Schools

How do you feel about teachers’ predicted grades/assessments replacing GCSE exams this summer? What is the overall feeling amongst your teaching staff? How do you think students should/can be assessed given all the circumstances? On Monday 4 January the Education Secretary told Year 11 students that their GCSE exams were cancelled. My mind flashed back to March last year when the same message was given to another cohort of young people who have spent the vast majority of their young lives building the foundations of their education in preparation for these exams which would then take then to the next stage in their careers, whatever that might be. We were determined then and are determined now to ensure that our students are not forgotten, ignored or disadvantaged in their futures. Our Year 11 students have not stopped working since September and in fact teachers report that they are working harder than ever to complete their studies and to prepare for a series of assessment tasks throughout the remaining few months of Year 11. Every assessment will build up a portfolio in subjects that will inform the final grades to be submitted to the exam boards. Our fantastic careers programme is ensuring that

How are you feeling about the latest lockdown and school closures? First and foremost, it is absolutely right that decisions are taken to ensure the health, wellbeing and safety of all is safeguarded as much as possible and clearly the information which we all see every evening from the medical experts, scientists and politicians shows us that the situation is going to get tough. From the perspective of schools and the wider educational sector, I believe that we have two key roles to play; firstly, using our experiences of previous lockdowns and a turbulent first term littered with isolation

bubbles, we can ensure that our ability to switch a remote learning platform goes to the next level and the quality of intervention, teaching and learning is better again and secondly, we must ensure that we support the mental and physical wellbeing of our students, parents, staff and wider communities alike. We have to ensure that every child is not lost in the panic and chaos and that the educational and pastoral needs of every child continues to be met. How will the latest lockdown affect the Progress Schools community? Following the initial announcement by the Education Secretary that nonexam year groups would be taught remotely upon the return this week, we were putting the messages out to our students, parents and staff that as all of our students are considered vulnerable, we will be remaining open and operating in the usual COVIDsecure way for all students and all year groups. However, following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday evening, some parents and carers were understandably reluctant to allow their child to attend school so we quickly ensured that a remote programme of learning was readily accessible. I am sure that I speak for all leaders across the wider sector but I could not be prouder of the efforts of the Progress Schools team in distributing laptops, food parcels, planning an online programme and face-to-face programme of lessons in the space of 24 hours – and that is without training and getting ready to be able to test staff and students who may be asymptomatic from next week!

We have to ensure that every child is not lost in the panic and chaos

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils


p43-62_covers 22/01/2021 12:20 Page 54

Education News

BBC delivers biggest education offer in its history The BBC has announced that it will deliver the biggest education offer in its history across more of its platforms. It will bring together BBC Two, CBBC, BBC Red Button, BBC iPlayer and online to deliver a new education offer to children, teachers and parents as a third national lockdown begins. Following the new lockdown and the closure of some schools, the new offer from the BBC will ensure all children can access curriculum-based learning even if they don’t have access to the internet. Starting on Monday 11 January, each week day on CBBC will see a three-hour block of primary school programming from 9am including BBC Live Lessons and BBC Bitesize Daily, as well as other educational programming such as Our School and Celebrity Supply Teacher and much loved titles such as Horrible Histories, Art Ninja and Operation Ouch. BBC Two will cater for secondary students with programming to support the GCSE curriculum, with a least two hours of content each weekday. Content will be built around Bitesize Daily secondary shows, complemented by Shakespeare and classic drama adaptations alongside science, history and factual titles from the BBC’s award winning factual programming units.

Bitesize Daily primary and secondary will also air every day on BBC Red Button as well as episodes being available on demand on BBC iPlayer. This TV offer sits alongside a wealth of online content which parents, children and teachers can access when and where they need it: • For primary school pupils, BBC Bitesize online has an expanded offer of structured lessons in maths and English for all year groups – these can be used at home or in the classroom. ‘This Term’s Topics’ also covers other curriculum subjects and curates learning content that works for the Spring curriculum. This content can be easily incorporated into a learning plan or used to explore different topics at home. Visit bbc.co.uk/bitesize, click on the year group and subject and all the content is there. • For secondary school students, Bitesize is also home to twoweek learning packs for English and maths in KS3 (Years 7, 8 and 9) as well as ‘This Term’s Topics’ for other subjects to be used at home or to support teachers in the remote classrooms. • For students in Years 10 and 11, the Bitesize GCSE offer allows students to pick their exam board and subject to find everything they need to help with their studies. Visit bbc.co.uk/bitesize/secondary for details.

All About STEM deliver support Throughout the pandemic All About STEM have continued to support schools to promote exciting and rewarding opportunities in science, technology, engineering and maths. Alongside online STEM resources, STEM ambassadors, STEM Clubs and CREST Awards, their offer includes careers, apprenticeships, research placements and more – nothing will stop them inspiring young people right across the North West! Take a look at the links at some of their events. Contact All About STEM for school support www.allaboutstem.co.uk/form-contact-us/ All About STEM: Online STEM events, training, CPD www.allaboutstem.co.uk/events All About STEM News: Online STEM inspiration, resources, offers, funding, competitions & More! www.allaboutstem.co.uk/news/ All About STEM: Twitter twitter.com/allaboutstem Nuffield Research Placements (Year 12) - Virtual Y12 students can apply skills and knowledge learned at school and work alongside researchers and industry professionals. www.allaboutstem.co.uk/2020/12/nuffield-research-placements/ Nuffield Teacher Information Event: www.allaboutstem.co.uk/events/ STEM Clubs Champions, STEM clubs resources and online STEM clubs Discover everything you need to start a new STEM club in school or enrich an established club. www.allaboutstem.co.uk/stem-club-champions/ Zoom: STEM Club Champion workshops – How to be successful and thriving Gain inspiration, ideas and practical tips for developing your STEM club. www.allaboutstem.co.uk/2020/12/zoom-stem-club-championworkshop-how-to-be-successful-and-thriving/ NEW STEM Club Champions – Shaping Futures: 6 Week 54

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils

STEM Club Resources (Download) Who says a STEM club has to run every week? Take a look at these awesome resources. www.allaboutstem.co.uk/2020/12/new-shaping-futures-6-weekstem-club-resources/ CREST Awards CREST Awards encourage students (5-19) to work like scientists, researchers, engineers and designers to investigate and explore their own project ideas. www.allaboutstem.co.uk/crest-awards/ Careers & Enterprise Company Comprehensive careers support for young people. http://bit.ly/2mGUyHa ASK Project – Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge for Schools and Colleges A blended offer including apprenticeships, traineeships and T Levels support. http://bit.ly/3l6eFZd Inspirations Stations Thousands of online resources for home & school. http://bit.ly/2Wuhbi5 Michelle Dow, managing director, All About STEM, said: “We know that schools are not ‘closed’. We know our teachers, support staff and learners are working so hard, in-person and online. We know they are all doing an amazing job in an extremely difficult time and we are here to support them.”

p43-62_covers 12/01/2021 19:48 Page 55

Education News

CER Education are supporting the next generation of trainee teachers! With the anxieties and challenges that trainee teachers face when starting their QTS course CER Education fully understand that in the current climate, students are facing a whole new era of teaching, as they learn to adapt to online lessons and remote teaching. CER Education say they want to reach out and offer as much support as possible to NQT’s as they start their careers to become the next generation of teachers. Here in Liverpool, CER Education have always had a strong relationship with the local Teacher Training Universities including Hope University, Liverpool John Moores and Edge Hill University. They have been invited to support this year’s cohorts across the city and deliver their workshop. This focuses on offering expert employability advice on how to apply for your first teaching role, how to set up and manage your social media accounts to support your career, develop your online network, and how to stand out and be visible in the world of education. Alongside this CER Education are offering free CPD courses on managing workload, wellbeing, behaviour management, as well as mock interview days with an expert interview panellist to offer feedback on interview techniques.

CER Education are hoping that this will enable trainee teachers across the region to feel supported every step of the way until they secure their first role.

All details of their courses can be found on their social media pages, or by contacting the Liverpool branch on 0151 242 6020 or Liverpool@cer.co.uk

SupplyWell leading UK schools innovation project North West based Edtech-for-good scale-up, SupplyWell, has been awarded an Innovate UK government grant. The award reflects the company’s vision to create innovative solutions to address a number of issues faced by schools and the wider education sector. Co-founded by Michael Heverin, a former teacher and leader in schools, SupplyWell has been supporting teachers and schools in the Liverpool City Region and beyond. The company helps schools recruit and retain teachers via its proprietary tech platform, saving schools significant sums of money, reducing teacher absence, while improving teacher pay and wellbeing. Michael’s experience was what led him to seek ways to bring about positive change. Michael said: “I’ve seen first-hand the issues caused by teacher absence: the teacher suffering from stress, the huge associated cost to schools, and the adverse impact on student attainment and ultimately social mobility. “We exist to keep teachers and money in schools and our innovative tech allows us to do this. We are serious about the

problems we are solving, and being awarded this grant can help us use our technology to make a real impact on education.” Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up collaborative research and development projects as part of the Sustainable Innovation Fund over the next two years. The aim is to help all sectors of the UK rebuild after the effects of COVID-19. Innovate UK Executive Chair Dr Ian Campbell said: “In these difficult times, we have seen the best of British business innovation. The pandemic is not just a health emergency but one that impacts society and the economy. “SupplyWell, along with every initiative Innovate UK has supported through this fund, is an important step forward in driving sustainable economic development. Each one is also helping to realise the ambitions of hard-working people.” SupplyWell are taking on partner schools to be part of their Innovate UK project, if you would like to know more you can contact them at innovate@supplywell.co.uk

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils


p43-62_covers 12/01/2021 19:48 Page 56

SupplyWell’s growing team The New Year marks a fresh start and new beginning for many. Despite the unusual start to 2021, SupplyWell is still embracing the opportunities that will unfold in the early months of the new year. Excitingly, Emma Morris has joined the SupplyWell team as the latest staff acquisition for the ‘ed-tech for good’ company. Emma has joined SupplyWell as a teacher partner this role means that she is instrumental to growing their fantastic teacher community helping them to navigate their careers and to find fulfilling roles in their partner schools. Emma joins as a former teacher who left the profession at Christmas having amassed 18 years across numerous middle leadership positions over that time. Emma’s experience and insight means that she understands the issues and problems SupplyWell are solving in education. She will be instrumental to help deliver their vision to teach more, earn more and smile more. SupplyWell’s CEO and co-founder Micheal Heverin said: “SupplyWell are extremely thrilled to be welcoming Emma Morris to the team as our teacher partner. Emma has been a supporter and champion for SupplyWell for a while, and it is fantastic that she is joining us as a permanent team member. “Emma’s first hand experience of the

Left to Right, Michael Heverin (CEO & co-founder), Robin Brabyn (chief operations operator), Raina Heverin (co-founder) Dan Price (co-founder and chief product officer).

teaching profession is so valuable, she is a real asset to SupplyWell. Although 2021 hasn’t had the start that we had all hoped for, we are very enthusiastic to have Emma’s contribution to our growing company, and look forward to what the rest of the year will bring.” As well as welcoming Emma into the fold, SupplyWell have also recently given opportunities to two local Merseyside new starters: Louis as a junior developer

and Sophia as a communications and marketing executive. The Liverpool area is bursting with talented individuals who are keen to start working post college and university, a difficult task in regular years but even more so now with many young people struggling to navigate the intimidating waters of the Covid-19 workscape. SupplyWell look forward to growing further in 2021.

Satis Education appoints director of client services Satis Education is preparing to welcome Craig Keady to the team in April, when he will take on the role of director of client services. Craig comes from a varied background in education, with his most recent position being at David Ross Education Trust. As trust wide vice principal, Craig was responsible for pastoral care, safeguarding and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Prior to that Craig worked as a senior education consultant for the NSPCC, where he delivered safeguarding training and 56

bespoke consultancy. Craig is currently based in the East Midlands but spent many years working in Greater Manchester. He will work alongside directors, Helen Stevenson and Laura McGunigle to further develop the Satis offer. As director of client services, he will support national recruitment at senior leadership levels and offer consultancy services to schools and trusts, with a particular focus on safeguarding, pastoral and attendance, as well as SEND. Speaking about his new position, Craig said: “I am delighted to be joining Satis

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils

Education in the spring. Having started my career in education in 2006, I believe my knowledge and expertise will be a great advantage to the company’s growth and to all the clients we serve.” Helen Stevenson said: “Here at Satis Education, we are as busy as ever and we feel extremely fortunate to be expanding the team during this climate. Craig’s background in education is the perfect fit for this role and will help us to continue to go above and beyond for our clients during this difficult time. We are particularly excited about the wider range of consultancy services we

will be able to offer. We have a number of clients in the North West who have commissioned safeguarding audits.” For more information on Satis Education, please visit: www.satiseducation.co.uk

p43-62_covers 12/01/2021 19:48 Page 57

St Cuthbert’s welcomes nine new NQTs Despite the unprecedented circumstances of the past 12 months, St Cuthbert’s Catholic High School in St Helens has expanded its school family to welcome nine new NQTs. The new appointments include Jessica Carney, who joins the team as teacher of science, Harry Bredbury, who joins as teacher of English and Victoria Gwyther, who joins as teacher of maths. All three formally started their new roles in September 2020. Speaking of her appointment, Victoria said: “As an NQT, I was very nervous to start this year. I was worried that we may not receive the same support that we would under 'normal' circumstances. However, every single member of staff I have come across has been warm, welcoming, and supportive in every way. “Now that we are in another national lockdown, it is clear that I have managed to get a job in a school that puts its team’s welfare as just as high a priority as our young people’s, and for that I feel so lucky. We are not just a school, we are a community, with the education and wellbeing of our young people at its heart. The environment around school is almost indescribable.” Edge Hill graduate, Harry, added: “As an NQT at St Cuthbert's, I could not have been made to feel more welcome. Throughout the hardships of the pandemic, I have been supported by my colleagues who themselves have had to find new methods of teaching. “My NQT mentor and the English department has been extremely active in offering practical advice on classroom management, planning and how to best

support our students. It may not have been the start to my teaching career that I envisaged, but thanks to St Cuthbert’s I feel I have built solid foundations for my future and I look forward to working alongside a great network of teachers.” Headteacher, Catherine Twist, said: "We appointed our nine NQTs in such extraordinary times and they have taken everything in their stride. "It may not have been the start of their teaching career that they envisaged, but each and every one of them has stepped up to the mark in supporting our young people and their families in these difficult circumstances. “Their tireless hard work and efforts have never gone unnoticed. They have all fitted in quickly and become key members of our community, but more importantly that have become an important part of our St Cuthbert's family.”

Harry Bredbury

Jessica Carney

Victoria Gwyther

p43-62_covers 12/01/2021 19:48 Page 58

Appointments News

Winstanley welcomes new director Winstanley College has announced the appointment of Stephen Brockley as director of external relations. Stephen has worked as a PE teacher at the college for 16 years, and two years ago became a professional mentor with Learning Futures Partnership, co-ordinating the college’s teacher training programme. His new role will see him head up the college’s strategy in terms of marketing and work with external partners. In particular, he will be focusing on links with local high schools and developing the already comprehensive programme that Winstanley offers to support learning and promote further education. Stephen said: “Inspiring young people to learn and achieve their goals has always been a passion of mine and is why I went into teaching. “In my new role as director, I’ll be working with the existing team to develop how we can involve schools in our mission to achieve academic excellence in a supportive and inspiring learning community. “The pandemic has meant we have had to adapt our offering but in some ways has allowed us to be even more creative. Once we are through these challenging times we look forward to some exciting new initiatives.”

Edge Hill appoints inclusion expert Edge Hill University has appointed inclusion expert Professor Jonathan Glazzard as its new head of children, education and communities. Professor Glazzard began his career as a teacher at primary schools in Barnsley before becoming a senior lecturer at the University of Huddersfield in 2005. He then gained his professorship at Leeds Becket University before joining Edge Hill in October. He was drawn to Edge Hill University by a shared passion for social justice, something the university has championed since it was founded as a teacher training college for women 135 years ago. Professor Glazzard said: “I wanted the chance to lead a department and got really excited by Edge Hill’s focus on social justice, something that has always been at the heart

of my work. “I can’t wait to bring my ideas and knowledge to the University, especially about the need to improve inclusion and support the mental health and happiness of pupils.” Professor Glazzard brings more than 25 years of teaching experience with him and is keen to put his experience to use by developing a new curriculum that addresses inclusion for the BAME community, LGBTQ+ pupils and children with disabilities. He will also use his extensive research on the subject of mental health awareness in the education system. He firmly believes keeping track of the happiness of children in the same way as their attainment can improve standards in schools.

p43-62_covers 12/01/2021 19:48 Page 59

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils


p43-62_covers 12/01/2021 19:48 Page 60

EDUCATE16+ Education, training and employment

National honour for school Liverpool specialist school scoops national award Abbot’s Lea School in Woolton has been honoured with a prestigious award by charity, nasen (National Association of Special Educational Needs) nasen, which supports and champions those working with, and for, children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and learning differences, announced the 2020 winners in an online celebration. Abbot’s Lea School received The nasen Award for 16-25 provision, sponsored by Ambitious about Autism, for its successful supported internship programme for students aged over 16. The school launched the programme in 2018 as part of its dedicated approach in promoting equal employment opportunities for people with disabilities. A supported internship is a type of study programme specifically aimed at young people who have an education, health and care plan (EHCP) and want to move into employment but need extra support to do so. In its first year, the school successfully partnered with facilities management company, Amey, based at its Speke office in Liverpool. The second year of the programme saw new students secure exciting roles with Aloft Hotels, Cadent Gas, The Regenda Group, and the Speke Hall Garden and Estate, which is part of The National Trust. During the 10-month programme, students worked four days a week during which they learnt employability skills, visited other employers and industry professionals and worked on building life skills and personal and social confidence. Additionally, they had one study day a week to continue developing their 60

essential literacy and numeracy competencies. The interns got to further develop their independence as they were tasked with travelling on public transport to and from work each day. Whilst it may seem like a small challenge to most, for some individuals with autism it can be a daunting and anxiety-raising task. Headteacher of Abbot’s Lea School, Mrs Ania Hildrey, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be recognised for our work in helping students, who have autism and other learning differences. Our collective passion for ensuring that

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils

our students work towards meaningful future destinations has always been strong and now, more than ever, schools must work differently to meet the challenges of the labour market. “This award is not only for all of my staff, who have worked tirelessly educating our students and securing the jobs for them, but also for our senior students, who have shown willingness and commitment to join the world of work. We are so pleased with their successes and so proud to have received this recognition.”

p43-62_covers 12/01/2021 19:48 Page 61

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils


p43-62_covers 12/01/2021 19:48 Page 62


Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils

p63-72_covers 12/01/2021 19:37 Page 63

s r e e r a C : d e r o l p x E

Green G r een is the colour is As the e UK strives to recover fr from om the pandemic and with un mp unem unemployment rising, there is the chance to create millions of n jo which suppor new jobs supportt the UK UK’s ’s net-zer net-zero o carbon tar targets. gets. R ecen en ntly y, the UK government government announced its ambition n to create e Recently, morre ‘green jobs’ and launched more ed a Green Jobs T a askforce in a bid id Taskforce to alte a alter the direction of the job market and implement a highhskill, low sk l carbon economy y. economy. These jobs tend to be focused on sustainability,, ecology and the sustainability protection pr otection of the envir environment. onment. As climate change and other ecological concerns concer ns are are such pressing pressing issues right now, now, a green green job could really really provide provide satisfaction’’ feeling. you with that ‘job satisfaction Prime In November 2020, the P rime Minister that £80 million Ministe er announced a on UK’s will be going g into i the th UK ’s Green Green n Recovery Challenge Fund partt of the Recover y Challe lenge F u - par und e government’s gover nm ment’s ’ wider id green green economic rrecovery, ecover y, jobs and skills package. projects are e set A wide range of pr ojects ar from to benefit fr om the funding, which include action towards creation towards the creation or restoration restoration of priority habitats, preventing preventing or cleaning up pollution, woodland creation, creation, peatland and wetland restoration restoration and actions to help people connect with nature. nature. This will in

turn d turn create create and retain retain a range of skilled and unskilled jobs, such as ecologists,, project project managers, tree tree planters and teams to carry carr y out nature nature restoration. restoration n. Educate spoke to Dr Tim Lane, Tim L ane, senior io lecturer lectur er in geography aphy and an programme programme me climate leader for clima mate change e at Liverpool po Moores John Moor res University and a also, the th Educate e Awards’ Awar w ds’ newestt judge, to o find why wh students should be looking at green gr een n jobs. jobs He explained: “The environmental “The envir onmental sector is a growing growing part par t of the job market, and I believe the e sector or will continue to grow. of grow. Many aspects of society are are realising realising the importance impor tan nce of the environment, environment, and the growing owing grow requirements requirements of businesses to be ‘green’ in ‘green’ means that th graduates gradu environmental onmental degrees degrees will envir env w become very ver y desirable.

p63-72_covers 12/01/2021 19:37 Page 64

Choosing a career “Working in the environmental sector also provides, to me at least, a sense of purpose and actual feeling of contributing to make the world a better place. While it may only be in a small way, it should give a sense of satisfaction to those who really care about our environment, and making society a better place for all.” The market place is vast and varied when it comes to jobs. Sectors can include agriculture and forestry, manufacturing, recycling, transport, renewable energy, wildlife conservation and many, many more. Over the years, Tim has seen his students graduate and go into many different career directions. He said: “We see our students going into a wide range of different careers after graduation, and have a very high employment rate after graduation. Recent graduates have gone into careers such as environmental consultants (at both transnational and local companies), town planners, air

quality analysts, primary and secondary school teachers, and geographical information systems officers.” The job of an air quality analyst is to measure, sample and analyse the data gathered from polluted air. After theorising or discovering the source of the pollutants, they work with other specialised scientists to develop future techniques for reducing or eradicating air pollution. Analysts play a vital role of controlling human pollution outputs to preserve the atmosphere and the air that we breathe. Meanwhile, town planners are involved in the management and development of cities, towns, villages and the countryside. This role must balance the conflicting demands of housing, industrial development, agriculture, recreation, transport and the environment, in order to allow appropriate development to take place. But not all green jobs require a degree. Myerscough College, which has centres in Preston, Blackburn, Liverpool,

Manchester and Warrington, offers a broad range of courses. Head of greenspace at the college, Andy Taaffe, said: “Sportsturf, arboriculture, countryside management, horticulture, landscaping and garden design are hugely popular, especially so this year because of lockdown and ongoing restrictions. It’s a sector where skilled workers will always be required with boundless opportunities. Grass will always need to be cut, trees will always need to be maintained, the countryside will always need to managed. “This makes for fantastic career opportunities across the greenspace sector. While many choose to study to degree level or beyond, the great thing about these types of careers is the practical nature of the skillset required means there are a wealth of highly paid jobs that only require qualifications at Levels 2 or 3, through either vocational study programmes or apprenticeships.”

p63-72_covers 12/01/2021 19:37 Page 65

Choosing a career so much uncertainty, the sector is arguably one area where opportunities will remain excellent. Skilled workers in these areas will help futureproof the UK from the economic impact that leaving the EU might bring in the months ahead. We anticipate an increase in demand for qualified workers, as many businesses in the sector bring activities ‘in house’ and therefore there isn’t a better time to entry the industry.” Finally, are school’s CIAEG (careers information, advice and educational guidance) doing enough to promote green jobs? Andy doesn’t believe so. He added: “There are not enough people who know that this is such a

He added: “There’s often a common misconception that these careers are for the ‘less academic’, when in reality it is the opposite. All programmes are underpinned by strong theory-based learning, that goes hand-in-hand with practical skills. A Level 3 vocational qualification or apprenticeship provides the same number of UCAS points as 3 good A-Levels, meaning a student going down this route not only has a high-level qualification and skills, but can carry on to degree level study later if they wished to do so.” With the government’s recovery fund in place and the pandemic accounting for thousands of job losses, does Dr Tim Lane foresee a need for new green jobs to be created in response to this? He said: “Potentially. I think the pandemic has highlighted the ability of governments to rapidly implement large-scale changes. It has also made people more aware of their local environments, and improved their understanding of their local environments. This will hopefully lead to more green jobs. “However, regardless of the pandemic, I think more green jobs need to be created in order to deliver the UK’s targets of becoming carbon neutral.” But it’s not just the pandemic that will affect jobs. Brexit will too. Andy Taaffe said: “Brexit could see huge challenges and opportunities in the UK for the greenspace sector. With

great career. People at school are not aware that working outside is a really great living. It’s highly skilled, highly technical and uses a great range of personal attributes. It’s not just school leavers though. At any stage you can choose a career in greenspace. As the years go by, the sector will need people to plant millions of trees, to design the woodlands, to care for the land, whether you work perhaps for the local council, or in private practice.” With so many different pathways and career options available for every ability, Educate recommends watching this (green) space!

p63-72_covers 12/01/2021 19:37 Page 66


Tree-mendous effort Wargrave plant trees to support the environment The Post 16 provision of Wargrave House School and College marked the first planting of 420 saplings at a tree planting ceremony at Enovert Community Trust site in Haydock. The saplings, which will not only improve the air we all breathe, will also help to enhance local green spaces for the benefit of the residents in the

community and wildlife alike. Staff and students from the Post 16 provision were joined by Cllr GomezAspron, deputy leader of St Helens Council in planting the very first saplings, which were kindly donated by the Woodland Trust. Cllr Gomez-Aspron said: “It was my pleasure to go and support Wargrave House School and

College in their plans to try and expand to a post 18 site at the community base at Lyme and Wood Country Park.” The event was covid secure with all involved having a temperature check on arrival, directed to a hand sanitisation station and using anti bacterial wipes before handling any planting equipment. The Post 16 students, managed by Tara Thomas, developed a pop up cafe table as part of the Cosy Corner Café, with takeaway drinks and wrapped treats for the staff, students and visitors to enjoy. Julliet Doherty, head of Post-16 Education said: “Big thanks go to the Woodland Trust who very kindly donated the saplings, to Cllr Gomez-Aspron for giving his time to support us and importantly to all the staff and students involved in this fantastic initiative which continues our drive to have a positive and long lasting impact on our local community.

Top reasons to study computer science Want to be part of the tech revolution? LJMU: developing the next generation of digital innovators A degree in computer science can provide the right tools to build a satisfying and potentially lucrative career in a wide range of industries. At LJMU, the team is committed to developing graduates who are ready to go out into the world and make a real difference. The brilliant minds of computer scientists have created the modern digital world that is often taken for granted. Computing is now essential in almost every walk of life from transport to retail, banking and even healthcare. The gadgets and technologies that are used every day were all developed by computing graduates. LJMU is committed to equipping its students with the skills to drive forward these technologies and become the next generation of digital innovators! The School of Computer Science and Mathematics at Liverpool John Moores University is a supportive and forward-thinking learning environment with a range of courses to suit any scientific mind. Students can choose from computer games development, computer security, forensics or even software engineering. The LJMU team is passionate about network and information security, networking and distributed systems, computer games technology, online security, applied computing and critical infrastructure protection. The university collaborates closely with industry and professional experts, and works alongside organisations like the BBC, Panasonic, EPSRC and Thales. This means students get to see how big ideas can translate into practice in real-world settings, fully preparing each individual for the world of work. Students are offered the opportunity to undertake a paid placement year. These placements facilitate the practical application of the skills learnt on the course and provide 66

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils

invaluable industry experience. The vast majority, if not all, students completing this sandwich degree go on to obtain fulltime employment in the computing industry. Academic support in the school is second to none. Each student is allocated a personal tutor who helps to create a personal development plan and provide one-to-one support on course-related or other matters. If a student decides to undertake a year’s work placement, this support will continue as a supervisor will stay in close contact and visit each student at their workplace. The university is incredibly proud of the high-spec facilities that is on offer to students. The school is based in LJMU’s Byrom Street campus, which is engineered to guarantee success thanks to the investment of £6million in state-of-the-art laboratories and teaching facilities. Its computer laboratories provide access to over 150 high-performance computers, including PC/Linux Workstations and Networked Multimedia PCs for general use, in addition to the campus computing cluster. Teaching rooms are also designed to enable the multimedia delivery of teaching materials and demonstrations. A degree in computer science is not the easy option. It will take a lot of hard work and dedication to achieve your goals as a student and progress into the career of your dreams. LJMU's job is to provide students with the tools and support needed to achieve those goals. To find out more about the courses on offer or apply now for entry in September 2021 please visit: ljmu.ac.uk/study/subjects/computing or contact Faculty of Engineering and Technology Admissions Team: Tel: 0151 231 2777 Email: fetadmissions@ljmu.ac.uk

p63-72_covers 12/01/2021 19:37 Page 67

Entertainment Reviews


A Perfect Planet (DVD) Narrated by David Attenborough Planet Earth is perfect. Everything about our world - its size, its distance from the Sun, its spin and tilt, its moon - is perfectly suited to our existence, and our planet's natural forces perfectly nurture life. A global weather system circulates and distributes fresh water to all corners of the globe, marine currents deliver nutrients to even the deepest reaches of the ocean, sunlight warms and energises everything it touches, and powerful volcanoes create and fertilise the land. As a result, there is literally no part of our planet where life can’t be found. There are five episodes which include some really fascinating facts: Volcano: Without volcanoes life on Earth would never have begun. They are responsible for both our breathable atmosphere and our oceans. The Sun: Life on our planet is solar powered. Every single part of Earth’s surface gets 4,380 hours of sunlight a year, but in different strengths depending on where you are. Weather: all the water on Earth, just 3% exists as freshwater, and almost all of that is locked up as ice or hidden in underground aquifers. Only a tiny fraction of our planet’s water is held in rivers and lakes Oceans: They’re home to as much as 80% of all life on Earth, and nearly three billion people rely on them for their primary source of food Humans: Life on our planet is shaped by the earth’s natural forces, but there is a new force, one so powerful, it is upsetting the balance of life on Earth and threatening our perfect planet – that force is us.


Super Mario 3D World Available February 12 Nintendo Switch That old favourite is back – Super Mario! I am a huge fan of Mario and his many adventures over the years and it is by far and away the best platformer I’ve played in the last couple of years. Pounce and climb through dozens of colourful stages as Mario and his friends Luigi, Peach, and Toad embark on a quest to save the Sprixie Kingdom. You can use power-ups like the Super Bell, which grants catlike abilities, like climbing and scratching. You can work together locally or online with up to three other players to reach the goal…and to see who can get a high score. Like many former Mario games, Mario 3D’s levels are split into worlds and segments of each. You get the traditional mini-map which you can run about

on and then jump into a level. Each level offers a number of secrets and stars to find as you aim to finish them to unlock the path to the next section. The Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury game features the same great co-op gameplay, creative levels and powerups as the original game, but also so much more! Andy Kelly

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils


p63-72_covers 12/01/2021 19:37 Page 68

Book Review

In association with

5-8 Years The Kitten Next Door - Holly Webb £4.99 Sophia loves cats but her parents think she and her sister are too young to have one of their own. So when a tiny kitten creeps through the fence from next door's garden, Sophia immediately falls in love with her. Then Sophia hears that her neighbours are moving away. She won't get to see Willow any more! To her surprise, though, the little kitten is left behind. Can Sophia convince Mum and Dad to give Willow a new home? Ways to Make Sunshine - Renee Watson £6.99 Ryan Hart and her family live in Portland, Oregon, and her dad lost his job a while ago. He finally got a new one, but it pays less, and he'll have to work nights. And so they're selling the second car and moving to an (old) new house. The Harts are an everyfamily - a family with siblings who bicker, parents who don't always get it right, but a family that loves. The 130-Storey Treehouse - Andy Griffiths £6.49 This is our Treehouse, come on up! We've added thirteen news levels to our Treehouse, including a soap bubble blaster, a GRABINATOR (it can grab anything from anywhere at any time), a time-wasting level, a toilet paper factory (because you can never have too much toilet paper) and an extraterrestrial observation centre...

9-12 Years Fiction The House at the Edge of Magic - Amy Sparkes £5.99 Nine is an orphan pickpocket determined to escape her life in the Nest of a Thousand Treasures. When she steals a house-shaped ornament from a mysterious woman's purse, she knocks on its tiny door and watches it grow into a huge, higgledy-piggeldy house. Inside she finds a host of magical and brilliantly funny characters. Darwin's Dragons - Lindsay Galvin £5.99 Cabin boy Syms Covington is on the voyage of a lifetime to the Galapagos Islands with the world-famous scientist Charles Darwin. But when Syms falls overboard during a huge storm, he washes up on an unexplored island. Stranded there, he makes a discovery that could change the world... How to Be a Hero - Cat Weldon £5.99 When failing trainee valkyrie Lotta mistakes an unconscious viking thief, Whetstone, for a fallen hero and takes him triumphantly to Valhalla, things are definitely not turning out to be epic or glorious. Having lost a precious talking cup, Whetstone is also desperate to cover up his mistake and the two embark on a quarrelsome journey to find it and regain their heroic status.

Teenage Fiction The Conference of the Birds - Ransom Riggs £7.99 With his dying words, H - Jacob's final connection to his grandfather Abe's secret life entrusts Jacob with a mission: Deliver newly contacted peculiar Noor Pradesh to an operative known only as V. Noor is being hunted. She is the subject of an ancient prophecy, one that foretells a looming apocalypse. Save Noor, save the future of all peculiardom. The Boy I Am - K L Kettle £6.49 Jude is running out of time. Once a year, lucky young men in the House of Boys are auctioned to the female elite. But if Jude fails to be selected before he turns seventeen, a future deep underground in the mines awaits. Yet ever since the death of his best friend at the hands of the all-powerful Chancellor, Jude has been desperate to escape the path set out for him. Mark My Words - Muhammad Khan £7.99 Fifteen-year-old Dua Iqbal has always had trouble minding her own business. With a silvertongue and an inquisitive nature, a career in journalism seems fated. When her school merges with another to form an Academy, Dua seizes her chance and sets up a rival newspaper, exposing the controversial stories that teachers and the kids who rule the school would rather keep buried. Are you a librarian, teacher or purchasing manager? Do you buy books for your school? Waterstones Liverpool offers a comprehensive account sales service. Contact Sarah Hughes, Children's Department, Liverpool ONE, 12 College Lane, Liverpool, Merseyside L1 3DL. Tel: 0151 709 9820


Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils

p63-72_covers 12/01/2021 19:37 Page 69

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils


p63-72_covers 12/01/2021 19:37 Page 70

My School Days Matthew Ball – A principal ballet dancer with the Royal Ballet

Matthew Ball is an English ballet dancer who is currently a principal dancer with The Royal Ballet in London. His mother is a GCSE dance teacher and his father works in arts education.

My schools: Childwall C of E Primary School, The Royal Ballet School (White Lodge, Upper School Covent Garden).

bedroom. I think it was an early outlet for my energy and need to be expending it.

My favourite teacher: My favourite teacher was Mr Roberts, a kind gentleman at Childwall who was always fair and encouraging. I had lots of influential teachers at The Royal Ballet School almost too many to count. Many of them were interesting characters and deeply passionate about their craft.

My favourite extracurricular activity: Dance, dance and dance. It did become an obsession for me by the time I was about nine years old, although I did also really enjoy karate and basketball.

My favourite subject at school: My favourite subject at Primary School was always maths and history, dance took the driver’s seat by the time I was 10 or 11.

Do you remember your first school crush? Not really, I think I fell in love with my babysitter first.

Were you streetwise or a bit of a geek? I would say somewhere in between, I maybe had some geeky hobbies but having an older brother I wasn’t totally clueless either.

My favourite book: My favourite books growing up were the Brian Jaques tales of Redwall series and The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini, I loved the fantasy elements as well as the idea of training and becoming stronger and more powerful.

My favourite childhood singer/band: My favourite band was Sum 41, I would be screaming the lyrics to their entire album in my

School dinners: I fell in and out of love with school dinners, potato smiley faces were a personal favourite otherwise it would be back to mum’s butties as a safe bet. My ambitions at school: Before wanting to become a dancer I dreamt of being a fireman. I wore a plastic helmet pretty much all day until my mum took it off my head once I fell asleep. 70

Educate The Magazine for Parents and Pupils

Matthew started dancing at age six, and entered the Royal Ballet Lower School at age 11. He moved to the Upper School at age 16 and graduated in 2013. He has danced lead roles in the ballets such as classical version of Swan Lake, La Bayadère, Don Quixote, Ashton’s Marguerite and Armand and McGregor’s Infra. In 2020, Ball was featured in the BBC documentary Men at the Barre. Later that year, in the first series of performance since the Royal Opera House’s closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was broadcast online, Ball and Mayara Magri performed an extract from Christopher Wheeldon’s Within the Golden Hour, after learning the pas de deux in five days.

p63-72_covers 12/01/2021 19:37 Page 71

p63-72_covers 12/01/2021 19:37 Page 72

Profile for Educate Magazine

Educate January - April 2021  

The Magazine for Schools, Parents and Pupils

Educate January - April 2021  

The Magazine for Schools, Parents and Pupils