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A member of

ISSUE 25.6

Business Information for Education Decision Makers OUTDOOR LEARNING




ADAPTING TO THE NEW NORMAL How schools are ensuring pupils continue to learn while dealing with the challenges posed by Covid-19


A member of

ISSUE 25.6

Business Information for Education Decision Makers OUTDOOR LEARNING





Coping with Covid The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has meant another lockdown in England, although schools remain open this time.


ADAPTING TO THE NEW NORMAL How schools are ensuring pupils continue to learn while dealing with the challenges posed by Covid-19


School guidance has been updated to reflect the growing rise in cases – face coverings are now mandatory in communal areas in all secondary schools in England, while older pupils in Scottish schools in high risk areas must wear face masks in classrooms, as do their teachers. Due to the continued threat posed by the virus, and the constantly evolving regulations, schools have had to adapt to the “new normal”. As Fiona Riley from IOSH points out on page 15, “it’s important we recognise how well schools have dealt the whole Covid-19 situation. There have been outbreaks, but these have been well-managed.” Fiona goes on to say that schools must also risk assess the mental health of staff to ensure they feel safe in their working environment, and are coping with the burdens caused by the pandemic. This is backed by Alison Powell, head of HR at Severn Academies Educational Trust (SAET), who says that providing support to teachers, and spotting early warning signs that they may be struggling, are key to reducing professional burnout and absenteeism. Read her feature on page 67.

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The Education Business Awards will be taking place digitally on 26 November, and the shortlist will be finalised imminently (keep your eyes on www.ebawards.co.uk). In the meantime, on page 51, we preview the event and take a look at past winners’ success stories. Angela Pisanu, editor

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226 High Rd, Loughton, Essex IG10 1ET. Tel: 020 8532 0055 Web: www.psi-media.co.uk EDITOR Angela Pisanu PRODUCTION MANAGER/DESIGNER Dan Kanolik PRODUCTION CONTROL Lucy Maynard WEBSITE PRODUCTION & ADMINISTRATION Victoria Casey ADVERTISEMENT SALES Raj Chohan PUBLISHER Karen Hopps

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Contents Education Business 25.6 15

07 News

45 IT & Computing

Face masks mandatory in communal areas

A Worksop school that is home to international students is setting the bar high when it comes to remote learning, having carried out more than 4,000 online lessons across four different time zones during lockdown and beyond

of secondary schools during second lockdown; Additional funding for NI schools to deal with Covid; DfE sets out measures to reform post-16 qualifications

15 Health & Safety Schools are having to deal with a dynamic situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Fiona Riley, Chair of the Institution of


Occupational Safety and Health’s Education Group, looks at how schools are managing risks including, psycho-social issues

19 Cleaning & Hygiene Transmission of Covid-19 can occur when contaminated surfaces are touched. Frequent cleaning and improved hygiene practices are therefore vital to keep schools safe and virus free. But how should cleaning be handled


during a pandemic?

Earlier in the year, the government set out its ten-year rebuilding programme, which will see school buildings in the worst condition receive investment to improve their estates. For those involved in new school building projects, Irena Barker investigates the best approach to get exceptional results

29 Design & Build There are hundreds of ways for schools to become more sustainable – but better-quality buildings and heating systems are two of the most important, writes Alex Green, schools manager at Ashden

35 Procurement Procuring energy can be a long and confusing process yet it doesn’t have to be. CPL Group outlines what schools should consider when thinking about buying their next energy contract

With free school meals in the national spotlight, LACA’s National Chair Stephen Forster sets out the LACA solution to help ensure that children are fed, whether in term time or the holidays

Education Business magazine

51 Education Business Awards This year’s Education Business Awards take place against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has highlighted even further the pivotal role schools play in society. The awards will be presented live and streamed across the internet on 26 November

Schools in England are nearly twice as likely to suffer a blaze than other types of commercial building, which has led to the launch of a parliamentary petition urging MPs to change the law on sprinklers in schools

67 Wellbeing School life is demanding at the best of times and recent months have only added to the pressures facing staff – so providing support to teachers, and spotting early warning signs that they may be struggling, are key to reducing professional burnout and absenteeism, says Alison Powell, head of HR at Severn Academies Educational Trust (SAET) in Kidderminster

69 Outdoor Learning Heena Dave from Learning through Landscapes talks through the My School, My Planet project to help children from communities hardest hit during the pandemic to have access to enriching outdoor learning environments

72 School Trips

41 Catering


At Dartford Grammar School in Kent, half of students take GCSE Computer Science and it’s one of the most popular choices for university applications. And now it’s sharing that expertise to drive up Computer Science standards across the region

59 Fire Safety

23 Design & Build


47 IT & Computing

There will soon come a time when teachers are able to look to the future and want to plan their class excursions. The School Travel Forum is asking for government support to help establish a pathway to restart overnight educational visits within the UK and overseas

www.educationbusinessuk.net Issue 25.6 | EDUCATION BUSINESS MAGAZINE




Face masks mandatory in communal areas of secondary schools during second lockdown

The government has published guidance for schools, which has been updated for the new lockdown which came into force from 5 November. During the national restrictions, face coverings should be worn

by students and staff in secondary schools and further education colleges in communal spaces, outside of classrooms, where social distancing cannot be maintained. The guidance is clear that primary school

children do not need to wear face coverings, and older children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities may be exempt from wearing them, depending on their need. No one should be excluded from education for not having a face covering. Primary schools continue to have discretion to recommend staff and visitors wear face coverings in communal spaces where social distancing cannot be maintained, but this is not a requirement and it is for individual schools to make these decisions locally. The requirements in relation to face coverings were already in place for schools in Local Alert Level High and Very High areas. Schools should work to implement the guidance as soon as possible, but have until Monday 9 November if they require additional time. CLICK TO READ MORE



Morrisons introduces meal delivery service for self isolating pupils

Ofsted visits will be done remotely during lockdown

Morrisons has launched a new meal delivery service for schools that are feeding primary school children who are having to self-isolate. The supermarket is working with schools to provide kids who would normally be eligible for free-school meals with breakfast, lunch and snacks, seven days a week for as long as they are self-isolating. Many school children are being asked to self-isolate due to suspected or confirmed Covid-19 cases within their school bubbles. In recent weeks, schools have told Morrisons they had been struggling with the costs of food and delivery. They had also expressed concern some pupils were missing out on vital support as a result of self-isolating. The Morrisons Kids Meal Pack was produced by Morrisons after reaching out to schools to establish their needs. It aims to provide healthy and balanced meals and has been developed in partnership

with Morrisons company nutritionist. The Morrisons Kids Meal Pack includes cereal, milk, bread, fruit, yoghurts, sandwich fillings, pasta and squash. It costs £12.50 for one child and provides breakfast, lunch and snacks for seven days a week. The cost is covered by the school as part of the Government’s free school meals programme. Schools can order the Morrisons Kids Meal Pack directly from the Morrisons Doorstep Delivery Team. Orders are then picked and packed by local Morrisons stores, and sent to children’s homes via its ‘doorstep delivery’ service. This saves the school time and costly transportation fees. Morrisons is also offering all teachers and school staff a 10 per cent discount on their shopping in stores nationwide until after Christmas. CLICK TO READ MORE

Ofsted has said it will conduct its visits remotely during the second lockdown which started 5 November. Making the announcement on twitter, Ofsted said: “During the national lockdown we will undertake our work remotely where we can – only going on site where it is necessary to do so, or in response to urgent concerns.” Ofsted’s visits involve inspectors going to mostly ‘inadequate’ schools to talk about running the school during the pandemic. While grades aren’t awarded, the watchdog does publish letters summarising the visit.






Face masks for older pupils in Scotland’s high risk areas Government guidance has stated that students in older year groups and their teachers must wear face masks in Scottish schools in high risk areas. The new rules will apply for pupils in their senior phase, who are usually aged 15 to 18. The new guidance says students in year groups S4 to S6 must wear face masks in classrooms if they are in places classified as Level 3 or 4, but only those in areas under the two highest alert levels for coronavirus will be affected.

Secondary school pupils in Scotland already have to wear face coverings in corridors, communal areas and on buses. John Swinney, the deputy first minister, said: “The evidence suggests there is slightly higher infection and transmission risks for people around the age of 16 to 17 so the use of face coverings is an additional precautionary measure in areas where there is increased incidence of the virus. “Keeping schools open remains our priority but that can only be the case if schools are safe. This strengthened



Catch-up tuition programme opens for students

Additional funding for NI schools to deal with Covid

Bookings have now opened for the new National Tutoring Programme, meaning that disadvantaged pupils in England could begin focused tuition as early as next week to make up for lost learning during school closures. The 32 organisations selected to deliver the programme are prepared to take tuition bookings for pupils from poorer families aged five to 16. The tutoring will be subsidised by 75 per cent and some sessions could cost schools as little as £50 for a block of 15, say the Education Endowment Programme, which selected the organisations. The scheme was designed by a group of five independent charities and is funded from part of the government’s £350 million allocation to tutoring through the £1 billion coronavirus catch-up package. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said that the programme was about ‘levelling up those opportunities’, stressing that, collectively, ‘we need to do everything in our power to help pupils make up for any lost time, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds’. CLICK TO READ MORE

Education Minister in Northern Ireland Peter Weir has welcomed funding of almost £64 million to help schools manage Education Authority pressures, COVID-19 pressures and provide free school meals. The funding, which has been allocated as part of the October monitoring round, includes £49.4 million to cover additional costs such as maintenance, staffing, cleaning and other pressures and £12.8 million to cover for a range of pressures including those in Special Educational Needs, and schools maintenance. There is also £1.4 million to cover free school meals funding over the extended half-term break. The Minister said: “I want to welcome this extra funding which will help my Department, the Education

guidance, produced in light of updated scientific and health advice, adds to the health mitigations that have been in place since schools opened in August.” Under the new guidance, adults are also being advised to wear face coverings in schools where they cannot stay at least two metres away from other adults and pupils - although there were some exemptions to this for primaries one and two. CLICK TO READ MORE

Authority and schools in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Schools and education settings are facing increased costs to help them maintain a safe environment for pupils, including additional cleaning and hiring more staff. We are also facing increased demand for free schools meals and uniform grants. “I am also pleased that we will be able to fund resources for blended learning and provide support for childcare. “Principals and school staff are working in a very challenging environment and it is important that they have the resources they need to keep our schools safe for our pupils.” CLICK TO READ MORE


Masks mandatory on school transport in Northern Ireland The wearing of face coverings on all dedicated school buses and public transport is now mandatory for all post-primary children in Northern Ireland. The regulation came into force when schools reopened following a prolonged half term due to Covid-19. Previously, the Department of Education guidance strongly recommended that all pupils should wear a face covering on all buses, trains or taxis for the journey to school, but now it is mandatory. Those aged 12 and under and/or those using a dedicated home to school transport vehicle are not required to do so. Education Minister, Peter Weir said: “Following agreement by the Executive, I have asked officials to amend the current regulations to make the wearing of face coverings on both dedicated

school transport and public transport mandatory for all post-primary children” The new regulations will not apply to pupils who are exempt from wearing a face covering. CLICK TO READ MORE





Teachers are among the happiest professionals

The wellbeing and mental health of teachers in England is similar to those in other professions, according to new Nuffield-funded research from academics at the UCL Institute of Education. The paper looked at data from more than 60,000 teachers in England collected over the last decade. The study, which is the first to compare the well-being of such a large number of teachers to other professional groups, found that teachers had similar levels of anxiety, unhappiness and life satisfaction to other professional groups.

Overall, the study found that 22 per cent of secondary and 20 per cent of primary teachers were unhappy, compared to figures of 21 per cent and 23 per cent for demographically similar individuals working in other professional jobs. Relatively few primary (five per cent) and secondary (seven per cent) teachers had low levels of self-worth, compared to around 11 per cent for other professional workers. Headteachers were found to be happier, have higher levels of life-satisfaction and were more likely to feel that their life is worthwhile than other occupational groups. Co-author of the study, Professor John Jerrim from the UCL Social Research Institute added: “A myth seems to have emerged that teachers have worse mental health and lower levels of well-being than other groups. Our study provides clear, comprehensive evidence that this simply isn’t true. On the whole, teachers have similar levels of wellbeing to other professional employees.” Dr Sam Sims, co-author from the UCL Centre of Education Policy and Equalising

Opportunities (CEPEO) added: “We should be encouraging graduates into the teaching profession, and not lead them to believe becoming a teacher is bad for your mental health. Like all jobs, teaching has its challenges – but not the excessively bad picture we sometimes hear about.” Of the other professional groups included in the study, authors and writers, graphic designers, journalists and solicitors were found to be amongst the most anxious and with the lowest levels of reported self-worth. On the other hand, accountants, IT professionals and Human Resources (HR) workers were amongst the happiest, least anxious and with high levels of life satisfaction. The researchers note that the data they used in the analysis was collected before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the UK. It is not yet known at a detailed level how this has affected wellbeing. CLICK TO READ MORE


Welsh exam regulator urges for 2021 GCSEs to be cancelled Next year’s GCSE exams in Wales should be cancelled, with grades awarded based on coursework and common assessments, Qualifications Wales has said. For A levels, in addition to coursework and set tasks, the exam watchdog said that learners would need to sit one exam per subject – but with a backup opportunity to take the exam if the pupil is ill or is self-isolating. This summer saw exams cancelled because of the Covid-19 lockdown, and grades were instead awarded by an algorithm. This was then scrapped and

replaced by teacher assessments. An independent inquiry into what went wrong this summer was commissioned by Welsh education minister Kirsty Williams. In response, Qualifications Wales is recommending that external assessments are retained for GCSEs, AS and A levels next summer but that there should be no timetabled exams except for A levels. Grades for GCSEs and AS levels would instead be awarded based on coursework and a set of common assessments taken during the year.

The exam regulator is also recommending that schools and colleges are given windows of opportunity for when assessments take place within which there will be some flexibility. Qualifications Wales is working on plans with fellow regulators in England and Northern Ireland for how vocational qualifications serving the three nations will be awarded next year. CLICK TO READ MORE


Memory and mental arithmetic top list of tutors’ concerns Following a prolonged period of time away from the classroom, Childcare.co.uk has worked with its tutors to identify the top skill gaps in children aged 7 to 18 years old, with memory, mental arithmetic and spelling the top skills tutors are concerned about. Memory was the area most concerned about, selected by 96 per cent. Working memory is a key skill children develop throughout their time in education, and plays an important role in processing information and concentration. Tutors identified working memory as being their top area of concern, with two thirds (66%) stating that they’ve noticed students are struggling to remember and recall subject matter and 81% have noticed a decline in concentration.

Mental Arithmetic was selected by 91 per cent. Basic mental arithmetic is taught in key stage 1, with more complicated mental maths introduced in key stage 2, such as multiplying and dividing. As a key academic skill, which is developed throughout a child’s education, tutors identified it as a top concern, with more than half (52 per cent) stating they are

currently working with students for exams such as the year 6 SATs arithmetic exam. Spelling was selected by 87%. Almost three fifths (58 per cent) of tutors stated that they’d seen an increase in students using text spelling or slang in written academic work, with one tutor further sharing that because it is often an unconscious habit, it is hard to correct. Spelling is judged throughout a child’s education, particularly within English literature and English language, however written essays in subjects such as History and Geography are also marked on spelling and grammar. CLICK TO READ MORE






DfE sets out measures to reform post-16 qualification

DfE issues guidance for keeping classrooms well ventilated in the colder months

The DfE is progressing its promised reforms to post-16 education, setting out detailed measures that will make sure students can be confident it will set them on the path to success. Last year the government announced plans to remove funding from qualifications that overlap with T Levels and A levels, and only fund qualifications at level 3 and below that are high quality and lead to good outcomes for students. The new measures, which are subject to a 12 week consultation process, include putting employers at the heart of designing and developing all level 3 technical qualifications. this is already happening with apprenticeships, T Levels and new higher technical qualifications, but the government is going further so students and employers can be sure they are gaining the skills they need to thrive. They are removing funding for qualifications that overlap with A levels and T Levels simplifying choices for young people - while offering funding for high quality alternatives to A levels, that support students to progress onto specialist Higher Education courses, such as performing arts and sports. The DfE also plans to ensure only qualifications that meet a high quality bar and help students progress into work or further study are approved for funding, and make more qualifications available to adults, including new T Levels, so more people can upskill or retrain. CLICK TO READ MORE

The Department for Education has updated its guidance for school operations during Covid-times, with additional information for keeping schools well ventilated but still maintaining a “comfortable teaching environment”. It says that schools should priorities opening high level windows in preference to low level windows, to increase the ventilation while spaces are unoccupied, such as between classes, during break and lunch, and to rearrange furniture where possible to avoid direct drafts. The guidance also says schools should “provide flexibility to allow additional, suitable indoor clothing”. The guidance says mechanical ventilation systems should be adjusted to increase the ventilation rate wherever possible, and checked to confirm that normal operation meets current guidance (if possible, systems should be adjusted to full fresh air or, if not, then systems should be operated as normal as long as they are within a single room and supplemented by an outdoor air supply). For natural ventilation, such as opening windows, the guidance says that in cooler weather windows should be opened just enough to provide constant background

ventilation, and opened more fully during breaks to purge the air in the space. Opening internal doors can also assist with creating a throughput of air. If necessary external opening doors may also be used, as long as they are not fire doors and where safe to do so. Further advice on this can be found in Health and Safety Executive guidance on air conditioning and ventilation during the coronavirus outbreak and CIBSE coronavirus (COVID-19) advice. CLICK TO READ MORE


UK schools pledge to go zero carbon within a decade The Let’s Go Zero campaign, which officially launches on 9 November, will support school efforts to reduce emissions and calls for government action on greening schools. Led by climate solutions charity Ashden, schools joining Let’s Go Zero 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. The campaign will officially launch with daily presentations and discussions at the week-long Youth Climate Summit, starting 9 November, in the year build-up to the United Nations Climate Conference COP26 in Glasgow next November. Let’s Go Zero will be driven by schools with input from students and support from a powerful coalition of sustainability partners including Ashden, Global Action Plan (Transform Our World) and organiser of the Youth Climate Summit, Fairtrade Foundation (Fairtrade Schools), Carbon Trust, EcoSchools, Sustrans (School Streets) and Soil Association (Food for Life). Let’s Go Zero will help schools learn from their peers, share best practice and connect with sources of support. Student Eco Clubs are proving key to boosting student and teacher commitment. Year 12 student Caroline Uttermann at North London Collegiate School is a school Eco

Rep and a Youth Ambassador at the Youth Climate Summit. She said: “I’m passionately doing what I can to educate my peers and elders on the climate crisis, and to encourage them to make changes in their lives – both big and small. I cannot stand silent as the beauty I have admired all my life disappears.” Getting to zero carbon will need to be a government-supported effort, says Harriet Lamb: “We cannot rely just on the good will of school management – they will need government support and funding mechanisms to make the necessary changes. We need to move at pace and scale to reduce severe climate impacts which will affect these children’s lives.” Sonja Graham, Co-CEO of Global Action Plan, says: “From car-free school runs and plant-based canteens, schools across the country are already inspiring entire communities to think and act differently – but many feel like they are doing so alone and with stretched resources. Let’s Go Zero provides a powerful route for schools to drive impact-led action and unite behind a call for much-needed funding to help all schools to become cleaner, healthier and sustainable learning environments.” CLICK TO READ MORE



Written by Fiona Riley, Chair of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health’s Education Group


Health & Safety

Adapting to the new normal

staff members need to be closely monitored and supported to ensure they remain resilient because dealing with mental health issues every day can impact wellbeing. There are also issues that may not have been considered. Some people who were shielding initially and are still teaching online may find it hard to return to the workplace because they prefer working in a virtual environment. This is particularly true of older members of Schools are having to deal with a dynamic situation caused by staff. Support staff may also be working from the Covid-19 pandemic. Fiona Riley, Chair of the Institution of home and could potentially feel isolated. It’s also important that risk assessments Occupational Safety and Health’s Education Group, looks at how are continually reviewed to ensure they schools are managing risks including, psycho-social issues reflect the current situation. Many schools will have prepared their Covid-19 risk assessment at the start of the academic year, Forty-six per cent of all secondary schools in the Focus on mental health but have they looked at it again? We are UK have pupils self-isolating, but attendance A topic being talked about a lot is the halfway through the autumn term and has fallen by just one per cent – according importance of people being confident things are changing all the time. to recent figures reported by BBC News. in the workplace and feeling We are reaching a point where This is important. It shows schools are that their physical as well People schools will be affected by ensuring their pupils continue to learn while as mental health risk should the general round of bugs dealing with challenges brought about by the is being managed. confide feel that circulate at this point Covid-19 pandemic. These issues include staff The World Health in the academic year. shortages, so where necessary schools have Organisation (WHO) workpl nt in the ace and Teachers are used to this, reverted to online learning or a combination warned that Covidthat the f e e l the nature of their work of both online and face-to-face teaching. 19 may never go as well ir physical makes them very good at Pupils need to be back in school, even away and predicts a managing risks, and they if this process is interrupted. It’s better for global mental health health as mental risk i are probably just adapting their wellbeing to be with their cohort, as crisis. So, when their normal pattern of risk they need to socially interact. Attending schools are looking manag s being ed assessment to work with the school is an important part of their life. at risk assessments, current Covid-19 guidelines. Working from home is challenging as an they need to focus on An emerging issue requiring adult and even more so for children and young mental health risks, too, attention is challenges faced by pupils people. Some schools are not well resourced and demonstrate how they and staff with auditory skills problems that and so struggle to provide laptops for pupils are managing psycho-social issues. were previously unknown or undisclosed. With learning from home. Not all children have the Most schools are already focused on pupil many schools encouraging or requiring face luxury of sitting at a desk either, yet another mental health and a large number will have coverings, those who rely on lip reading are E benefit of being back in the classroom. mental health first aiders in place. These


Steriloc can help you with the five things to consider when installing an effective hand sanitisation station

Steriloc (www.steriloc.com) is a cost effective, efficient, robust and environmentally friendly automatic hand sanitisation system which enables students, staff and visitors to ensure they have safely disinfected their hands. Steriloc can help you with the five things to consider when installing an effective hand sanitisation station for your education establishment. Firstly, how robust is your dispenser? Whatever mechanism you use to dispense sanitiser, it is important that it is strong enough to withstand the volume of doses it will need to make – this can often be significantly underestimated. Is your system touch-free? Multiple numbers of potentially infected fingers placed on a pump dispenser one after the other makes having a hand sanitiser


ultimately less effective. Touch-free systems will significantly cut down the risk of infection; and really should be the only method used. The third question to ask is how best to manage sanitiser storage and replenishment? It is important to ensure that your units include a secure space for the sanitiser liquid. The Steriloc system includes a separate lockable area to house the sanitiser. A connected, automated sanitisation system which notifies those responsible when liquid levels are low is the most effective way to ensure a seamless, continuous supply of sanitiser. The next point to consider is if users can choose whether to sanitise or not? Mandatory sanitising units integrated to building access systems, where access is

denied if hands are not sanitised, are by far the best way to ensure that every entrant has effectively sanitised their hands. What else can your Steriloc system do for you? Working with our partners, we have ensured that Steriloc units can now be enhanced to measure and record a person’s temperature, time of entry and exit whilst confirming sanitisation. The Steriloc system has the capability to link with your track and trace protocols. Steriloc will demonstrate your commitment to achieving a COVID-19 free learning environment and will form a key part of your risk mitigation strategy, offering reassurance to your students, parents and staff that they continued attendance at school, college or university is as safe as can be during the pandemic. Manufactured in the UK to exceptional standards, it is surprisingly affordable, especially under an innovative lease option, for something that can reduce the risk of infection, reduce sick days and offer added confidence and protection for all of your students, staff and visitors. FURTHER INFORMATION www.steriloc.com


Adapting to the ‘new normal’ When a school experiences an outbreak, they need to follow their business continuity plan to ensure all necessary actions are carried out. This ‘new normal’ is going to be with us for some time, so we must move forward with it. Some parents have complained about children having to self-isolate, but schools are just following government guidelines. Inevitably, some children will have to go home and unfortunately there have been issues with testing, but we need to accept we are going to be living with Covid-19 for a while and things are going to be operating differently Schools adapt all the time and have continued to do so throughout the pandemic. Teachers who are used to standing in front of a group of 25 to 30 pupils to deliver a class in secondary school tend to have agility and resilience covered. You have to be in that mindset to be an effective teacher and engage with your class. It’s important we recognise how well schools have dealt the whole Covid-19 situation. There have been outbreaks, but these have been well-managed. Much of the further education sector has moved completely online, so many of those learners are quite isolated. Senior schools are in and learning, which is great.

When a school experiences an outbreak, they need to follow their business continuity plan to ensure all necessary actions are carried out. This ‘new normal’ is going to be with us for some time, so we must move forward with it Most parents who have home-schooled are grateful schools are open and realise how hard it is for teachers who do this job every day. In fact, many people have a fresh appreciation for teachers and do feel schools have a good grip on managing the situation. Help is available My takeaway message is that we should reflect on how well schools have coped in an ever-changing landscape and reemphasise the importance of making sure mental health is properly managed. This should be the focus now. I would like to signpost the help available. My professional body, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), has supported its members throughout the pandemic with up-to-date information and continues to do so. This includes free resources such as webinars on a host of Covid-19-themed topics. IOSH has also approved a range of mental health and wellbeing-focused

Health & Safety

 struggling to deal with people wearing masks. In this circumstance, schools are having to be resourceful to provide additional support. Some schools are utilising clear face shields.

e-learning courses with iHASCO and these can be trialled free of charge. If people are struggling, it’s probably beneficial to take an hour out and do an online course. You can’t expect head teachers to have the capacity to manage every facet, so where there are options for people to go online and utilise these tools, I recommend they do. By focusing on mental health, we can try to ensure people are equipped to deal with any issues they may face. It’s a fact that people do better and are more productive if their physical and mental wellbeing needs are being met. School-specific information, produced by IOSH in collaboration with WHO, can be accessed at www.iosh.com/ returningsafely/schools and the Covid19 suite of resources can be viewed here: www.iosh.com/coronavirus/ L FURTHER INFORMATION www.iosh.com

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www.piercontractorslimited.com | info@pcl-limited.com | 01992576404 Issue 25.6 | EDUCATION BUSINESS MAGAZINE


If there’s a positive case If there is a confirmed case of Covid-19 in your school, the minimum PPE to be worn for cleaning is disposable gloves and an apron. Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds after all PPE has been removed. If a risk assessment of the setting indicates Transmission of Covid-19 can occur when contaminated surfaces that a higher level of virus may be present (for are touched. Frequent cleaning and improved hygiene practices example, where someone unwell has spent the night (such as a boarding school dormitory) are therefore vital to keep schools safe and virus free. But how then additional PPE to protect the cleaner’s should cleaning be handled during a pandemic? eyes, mouth and nose may be necessary. Public areas where a symptomatic person has passed through and spent minimal time but which are not visibly contaminated Transmission of Covid-19 mainly occurs through As a minimum, frequently touched surfaces with body fluids, such as corridors, can respiratory droplets generated during breathing, should be wiped down twice a day, and one be cleaned thoroughly as normal. talking, coughing and sneezing. This can happen of these should be at the beginning or the end All surfaces that the symptomatic person when the droplets get onto and contaminate of the working day. Cleaning should be more has come into contact with should be cleaned surfaces, which are then touched and introduced frequent depending on the number of people and disinfected, including all potentially into the mouth or eyes of an uninfected person. using the space. Reducing clutter and removing contaminated and frequently touched areas While infection risk from a Covid-19 difficult to clean items can make cleaning easier. such as bathrooms, door handles, telephones, contaminated environment decreases over time, When cleaning surfaces, it is not grab rails in corridors and stairwells. increased cleaning should be introduced to necessary to wear personal protective Use disposable cloths or paper roll eliminate any traces of contaminated respiratory equipment (PPE) or clothing over and and disposable mop heads, to clean droplets, as well as extra hygiene measures. above what would usually be used. all hard surfaces, floors, chairs, door In bathrooms, frequently touched surfaces handles and sanitary fittings. Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned regularly. Ensure suitable Cleaning can be done with either a combined Schools need to increase the frequency of hand washing facilities are available including detergent disinfectant solution at a dilution cleaning, using standard cleaning products running water, liquid soap and paper towels of 1,000 parts per million available chlorine such as detergents and bleach, paying or hand driers. Where cloth towels are used, (ppm av.cl.), or a household detergent attention to all surfaces but especially ones these should be for individual use and followed by disinfection that are touched frequently, such as door laundered in accordance with (1000 ppm av.cl.). Follow handles, light switches, work surfaces, remote washing instructions. T he manufacturer’s instructions controls and electronic devices (see box). Waste does not need ‘catch for dilution, application to be segregated it, bin i and contact times for unless an individual all detergents and in the setting shows it’ appr t, kill o a disinfectants. If an c h to respi alternative disinfectant r a t o ry hygiene is used within the commu must be organisation ensure n that it is effective pupils a icated to against enveloped nd staff viruses. E


Cleaning & Hygiene

How to approach cleaning during a pandemic

symptoms of or tests positive for Covid-19. Dispose of routine waste as normal, placing any used cloths or wipes in ‘black bag’ waste bins. You do not need to put them in an extra bag or store them for a time before throwing them away.


Cleaning & Hygiene

Contaminated waste should be stored safely and kept away from children. It should not be placed in communal waste areas until negative test results are known, or it has been stored for at least 72 hours  Avoid mixing cleaning products together as this can create toxic fumes, and try not to create splashes and spray when cleaning. Any cloths and mop heads used must be disposed of and should be put into waste bags. Personal waste from individuals with symptoms of Covid-19 and waste from cleaning of areas where they have been (including PPE, disposable cloths and used tissues) should be put in a plastic rubbish bag and tied when full. The plastic bag should then be placed in a second bin bag and tied. This should be put in a suitable and secure place and marked for storage until the individual’s test results are known. This waste should be stored safely and kept away from children. It should not be placed in communal waste areas until negative test results are known, or the waste has been stored for at least 72 hours. If the individual tests negative, this can be put indisposed of immediately with the normal waste. If Covid-19 is confirmed this waste should be stored for at least 72 hours before disposal with normal waste. If during an emergency you need to remove the waste before 72 hours, it must

be treated as Category B infectious waste. You must keep it separate from your other waste and arrange for collection by a specialist contractor as hazardous waste. There will be a charge for this service. When items cannot be cleaned using detergents or laundered, for example, upholstered furniture and mattresses, steam cleaning should be used. Hygiene practices Schools are asked to ensure that everyone washes their hands more often than usual, particularly on arrival, when returning from breaks, when changing rooms, and before and after eating or handling food, as well as after touching your face, blowing your nose and sneezing or coughing. Pupils and staff should be told to wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with running water and soap and dry them thoroughly, or use alcohol hand rub/sanitiser ensuring that all parts of the hands are covered. The ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach to respiratory hygiene must be communicated to pupils and staff. This involves covering your mouth and nose with disposable tissues when you cough or sneeze. If one is not available,

sneeze into the crook of your elbow, not into your hand. Dispose of tissues into a disposable rubbish bag and immediately clean your hands with soap and water or use a hand sanitiser.L FURTHER INFORMATION www.gov.uk

Frequently touched objects & surfaces Frequently touched objects and surfaces such as these should be cleaned twice a day as a minimum: Door and window handles Banisters Work surfaces (including desks and tables) Bathroom facilities (including taps and flush buttons) Remote controls Computer equipment (including keyboards and mouse devices) Classroom resources, such as books and games Furniture Light switches Reception desks Telephones Fingerprint scanners Communal kitchens or canteens (speak to your catering staff about whether they’ll be doing this)



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Applying for funding to improve your school As the deadline for applications for the 2021/22 Condition Improvement Fund is almost upon us, now is the time to act if you are planning an upgrade or improvement to your school buildings CIF is an annual government scheme designed to help upgrade and maintain school buildings in good condition in order to provide a safe and suitable working environment for students and teaching staff. One area where good condition and safety go hand in hand is a school’s sports hall, and more specifically, the sports flooring. As the premier supplier of solid hardwood sports and activity floors to schools in the UK, Junckers is ideally placed to offer help and advice to schools who need to put in a bid for new sports and activity flooring. To begin the process, Junckers can help with an assessment of the condition of the existing floor to establish if it needs replacing – is the floor worn, faded, scuffed, has it had multiple repairs, are there dead or soft spots, tripping points or broken boards? Junckers has a dedicated, UK based technical department on hand to offer help and advice. They will schools help formulate the most cost-effective and sustainable solution for each project. Alongside the technical team, Junckers works with a network of approved professional flooring contractors across the UK who will undertake condition assessments and prepare quotes for installation and maintenance work. Following the assessment, Junckers will work with the flooring contractor to provide cost estimates for supply and installation, as well as time frames and scope of work. Junckers’ sports floors are area elastic, categories A3 and A4, and fully comply with sports flooring criteria recommended by Sport England. Area elastic sports floors are also stipulated as a requirement by the

Education and Skills Funding Agency. The ESFA’s specification recommendation is a guideline to ensure public money is well spent as well as ensuring schools get a safe, lasting, quality product and value for money. Area elastic floors, which include solid hardwood sports flooring, are now the recommended product. Specifying the correct product can be crucial to securing funding; a point elastic sports floor which is no longer deemed adequate is therefore likely to be turned down for funding. Solid wood sports floors have always been regarded as a high quality choice providing a safe, high performing floor with unbeatable lifecycle costs that fall within, and in some areas exceed requirements. A hard-wearing and long-lasting choice, a Junckers floor is an investment that will outlast any other sports flooring surface. It can be sanded and re-finished eight to ten times during its life and with 12-year intervals between sandings, a typical lifespan of 60 years will comfortably be exceeded. Schools may take advantage of Junckers’ Approved Contractors

maintenance scheme and 25-year warranty to ensure periodic inspections of the floor are made and a regular maintenance programme is in place, which will keep the floor in optimum condition throughout its life. A solid wood floor from Junckers is also durable enough to accommodate retractable seating, a facility that makes it possible to turn a school sports hall into a venue for hire. Hosting sporting and performance events and opening the hall to the wider community can become a useful source of income for schools. Junckers floors can be strengthened in a simple way to cope perfectly with very high seating loads, whilst leaving the sprung quality of the floor unaffected. A solid hardwood floor will not be marked or damaged by the wheels, and surface “tracking” or rucking commonly seen with synthetic surfaces, is non-existent with a Junckers floor. In addition, a hardwood floor is one of the most environmentally friendly sports floor surfaces there is – all Junckers’ timber comes from managed forests with FSC® and PEFC™ chain of custody certification and are manufactured in a carbon neutral facility. Junckers has also completed EPDs (Environmental Product Declarations) for all its floors, a move towards simplifier specification for buildings targeting a net zero carbon rating. Junckers floors are A+ rated in the BRE Green Guide and have EMAS 111 and ISO 14001 Environmental Management Certification. Junckers’ products have low (E1) formaldehyde emissions under EN 14342. At the end of their long lives they can often be re-used and are very easy to recycle, in contrast to materials made from fossil fuels. Get in touch with Junckers if your school could benefit from a safe, high performing sports floor – the right flooring specification will make it easier to secure funding. L FURTHER INFORMATION 01376 534 700 sales@junckers.co.uk www.junckers.co.uk



Earlier in the year, the government set out its ten-year rebuilding programme, which will see school buildings in the worst condition receive investment to improve their estates. For those involved in new school building projects, Irena Barker investigates the best approach to get exceptional results “The design of schools is one of the most important areas of architecture, because it can have one of the greatest impacts on shaping lives. Yet, as an area of architectural practice, it has never received the attention it deserves.” The influential Dutch architect Herman Hertzberger highlights this issue in his introduction to a new book released by Laurence King Publishing, called Planning Learning Spaces. Hertzberger, who has devoted his career to creating innovative workplaces, cultural and educational buildings, is clearly still frustrated by the relatively lowly position of school design on the architectural agenda. While £50m schools designed by trendy architects have received much press in the past, the reality is: many new schools and refurbishments are distinctly off-the-peg and give little thought to the individual needs and desires of the staff and pupils inhabiting them. “I see teachers less than satisfied with the results of the new buildings and refurbishments they’ve had. They feel they weren’t consulted or listened to and they have ended up with an environment which doesn’t optimise learning and teaching,” says Murray Hudson, co-editor of Planning Learning Spaces and founder of the Gratnells Learning Rooms Project. Dissatisfaction can come from many places, he explains, from the colour of the walls to missing essential items in science labs such as sinks and fume cupboards. A lack of communication or a poorly drawn up brief can lead to these problems, says Hudson, who stresses the importance of taking a collaborative approach. Moving from one-size fits all Terry White, co-editor of the book and chair of the Association for Learning Environments UK, explains that above all,

Trumpington Community College © Avanti Architects and Jack Hobhouse

Design & Build

Designing educational spaces

and the process will be slowed up, but we are keen to bust this myth.” An example of good practice, White says, can be seen at Trumpington Community College in Cambridge, UK, a project that brings together a secondary school, a dedicated unit for students with autism and a community sports facility. Avanti Architects say that collaborative research between the design consultants, the client team and the wider community played a crucial part in the design and organisation of the building. An extensive collaborative design process led to the school site being far more physically open for community use. It is free of boundary fencing with the lecture theatre located near the main entrance to allow for it to be booked by groups from outside school. Sports facilities too are open for public use. “The investment in time provided a design that is highly tailored to the needs of the school and the local community,” says Amir Ramezani, Avanti’s director. So much for the principles of good collaboration in school design, but what of the design itself? Firstly, designers must not forget to get the basics right. Research has shown that it is vital that heat, light, air and acoustics are good in a school environment, to optimise learning. In his 2015 Holistic Evidence and Design study, Professor Peter Barrett concluded that classroom design accounted for 16 per cent of the variation in the learning progress of primary school children over a year. The study concluded that factors such as light, temperature and air quality accounted for about half of the impact on learning. But around a quarter of the difference was down to “individualisation” factors. These included to what extent the spaces were flexible, allowing break out spaces for different activities. They also included the extent to which children could create a sense of ownership of their own classroom, such as display of work on the walls and name labels on pegs.

architects need to be fully involved to understand the fundamentals about the learning community they are designing for. There needs to be, he stresses, a move away from the approach of “one size fits all”. “A learning environment needs to be a reflection of the culture, the values and the ethos of the school. Usually, not enough attention is paid to this at the starting point of the design process.” Architects, designers, authorities and school staff need to work together to reach a “learning brief” – a definition of how the school will approach learning and teaching. With this as a starting point, he says, those involved become true “partners” in the process, enabling them to come up with innovative and transformational solutions. “Once you’ve done that there needs to be more detailed discussion about how you intend to organise children in those new spaces; how you intend to organise the whole school,” he says. “Are you going to work in teams? Are you going to work across year groups? How much specialist space, how much generic space will you need?” Charettes – workshops where all stakeholders Re-thinking education gather to come up with design ideas and Expert contributors to Planning Learning Spaces solutions to particular problems – can be stress that designing or refurbishing a school a mainstay of the consultation process, can be a perfect opportunity for schools to White says. He is keen to point out that rethink the kind of education they this participatory approach to want to provide. Are educators architectural design need Archite happy to continue to provide not be time consuming c traditional, didactic forms or expensive. “It can be designe ts, of teaching and learning done relatively quickly,” authorit rs, – those best suited he says. The climate ie s a n school d to simple modular at the moment is staff ne to work ed classrooms off a corridor? that consultation This time-honoured takes too long and to discu together ss ho method E is too complicated

w school will app the learning roach



Outdoor areas Bosch also stresses the importance of outdoor space, especially at pre-school level. She writes: “If the learning environment incorporates the outside space, it allows the students the opportunity to be more creative. They get the freedom to construct, build and adapt their learning space — either in reality or using their imagination. Trumpington Community College © Avanti Architects and Jack Hobhouse

Design & Build

 can ensure students pass the gate-keeping exams they need to do well in life. Or would a more innovative approach, designed to help children think for themselves, lead their own learning, collaborate and problem solve be more appropriate for life in the modern world? Educational guru Sir Ken Robinson says great schools should help a child develop “physically, socially, cognitively, emotionally and spiritually” throughout their education. Ensuring this is one of the “creative challenges in contemporary education,” he writes. “The design process must work from the inside out, and evolve by looking at what motivates and empowers learners and teachers,” Danish architect Rosan Bosch writes in the book. She adds: “Although there are many constantly evolving learning methods, no one learns well by being continuously in the same mode – for example, sitting at a desk receiving one-way information. Instead, each learner needs to access a variety of learning environments and situations which engage both the mind and the body. Students’ learning needs differ according to the tasks in question, the time of day and whether it is an individual assignment, group project or a more practical learning activity.” Her own Rosan Bosch Studio takes inspiration from the futurist David Thornburg whose “primordial metaphors for learning” describe learning in terms of the features of a prehistoric landscape. Here, “caves” provide sheltered spaces for concentrating, “campfire” areas allow discussion and storytelling, and “watering holes” allow for informal learning.

West Thornton Primary Academy, London © Gratnells

The interior learning space must be connected to the outdoor areas, so the choice to go outside is always available. The variety of environments will motivate and inspire pre-school students to think differently about maths or learning languages.” Designers must also consider the design and positioning of specialist spaces for sports, the performing arts and creative subjects. Importantly, if a school is trying to integrate these subjects across the whole curriculum designers must consider the implication for the design and positioning of such spaces. Libraries also are a bone of contention and many options are available. Do designers choose

to keep them as distinct “resource areas” or do they decide they are now redundant, choosing to offer access to their resources at different points across the school? Technology Finally, it is important to consider technology and how it will be incorporated into the school. Rather than an afterthought, it should be at the forefront of designers’ thinking from the start, writes headteacher Gary Spracklen, who is chair of education technology at the Association for Learning Environments, UK. “It is important that technology is knitted into the fabric of school design — an unremarkable yet essential element,” he writes in the book. Gone are the days when technology was dependent on large items of furniture and dictated the organisation of a room. He writes: “A learning space needs to be enabled by technology, not driven by it and this static approach is redundant. Technology is now mobile, flexible and cheap.” “Today’s devices, whether carried in a pocket or worn around a wrist, are infinitely more powerful than the hardware used to send mankind to the moon in the 1960s. Digital technology now permeates everything we do and dominates the world of work. It is not unreasonable, therefore, to expect school design to adapt to this changing world and make the most of opportunities this technology offers.” L

Planning Learning Spaces is published by Laurence King Publishing. Available at all good bookshops and at laurenceking.com, RRP £24.99. FURTHER INFORMATION www.laurenceking.com



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Design & Build

The building’s role in zero-carbon goals Schools across the UK are pledging to work towards becoming zero carbon by 2030. The nationwide Let’s Go Zero campaign is helping them showcase improvements to classrooms, grounds, school food, and much more – as well as supporting further action and calling for government backing. There are hundreds of ways for schools to become more sustainable – but betterquality buildings and heating systems are two of the most important. Now schools taking part in the campaign are sharing their insights to motivate others and drive progress to this crucial goal. Let’s Go Zero The Let’s Go Zero campaign, which will launch at the Youth Climate Summit on 9 November, is also pressuring the government to support zero carbon schools ahead of the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow next year – a key moment for global action on climate change. Those behind the campaign say that with government backing schools can inspire change throughout communities.

School unlocks Schools taking part receive support to £8,000 annual saving lower their emissions – from the campaign Upgrades and behaviour change at St Francis organisers and other schools working to Xavier School in Richmond, North become more sustainable. The campaign Yorkshire have saved over is spearheaded by climate solutions £8,000 per year. Now the charity Ashden with support from Schools trust that runs it, St high-profile partners including across t Margaret Clitherow Global Action Plan, Sustrans he UK are Catholic Academy and The Soil Association. Trust, is looking Radical energy efficiency to work pledging to introduce improvements will make toward becomi s ng zero similar measures significant carbon savings. carbon across 16 other by 203 English schools alone schools. Student spend £600 million per the Let 0 through ’s Go Ze engagement year on energy – the second ro has been key. largest budget item after campai gn Trust ustainability staff salaries. And 60 per lead Margaret Land cent of energy use by schools (formerly business comes outside of teaching hours. manager at St Francis Xavier) Change is about more than says: “Through regular sharing of the building work – it needs engagement school’s energy data with all our staff and with staff and students, smart use students they fully engaged with our drive of data, and a long-term approach to reduce our energy usage. This was helped to sustainability. But a whole-school by our investment in 48 solar panels on E approach can bring huge benefits.

Written by Alex Green, schools manager at Ashden

There are hundreds of ways for schools to become more sustainable – but better-quality buildings and heating systems are two of the most important, writes Alex Green, schools manager at Ashden

King’s Academy Ringmer Eco Club members with solar panels



keep your school safe and energy-efficient with ELe®

Driving energy efficiency in schools does not mean having to compromise the wellbeing of staff and students. By implementing some simple energy saving measures will not only improve conditions it will help to reduce energy costs. Multi award-winning low energy technology firm Extreme Low Energy Ltd is at the forefront of energy innovation providing schools with energy-efficient LED lighting, heating and solar PV power solutions. With the welcome news from the UK government £1 billion Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) to fund energy reduction projects and Education Secretary Gavin Williamson green light for £560 million for school repairs to make buildings more energyefficient, there is no better time to upgrade.


As lighting accounts for around 20 percent of a typical school’s energy costs upgrading to LED lighting is instrumental in helping schools to address environmental issues, saving up to 80 percent of their operating costs. The return on investment of replacing all lighting with LEDs can be as little as two or three years, with the added benefit of reduced maintenance costs because they last longer. Funding support for schools is available from Salix Finance who provides interest-free government funding to the public sector to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. If you are thinking of upgrading your school lighting system the ELe® team will manage the whole project from the initial site-survey, consultation, design, LED installation and will even write and submit

the Salix Finance application on your behalf making the switch could not be simpler. If you are thinking of going solar ELe® is leading the way in solar revolution with their innovative energy-efficient solar power solutions. Combining LED lighting with Solar PV will significantly reduce your schools carbon footprint and electricity bills, as every school has the potential to generate its own renewable energy it is a great investment to futureproof your school and modular classrooms. Energy-efficient schools are a sound financial investment and will help the UK meet its commitment to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. They also have a positive impact on how children learn helping incorporate sustainability into the curriculum. With improved health and wellbeing benefits for staff and students including Covid-19 safe door access solutions; Steriloc Shield anti-virus entry systems, ELe® can help keep your school safe, reduce costs and become more energy-efficient. Please contact us to arrange your FREE School Survey. FURTHER INFORMATION 01695 731 942 sales@extremelowenergy.com www.extremelowenergy.com


Design & Build

 the school roof in 2016 – an 11,000kwh system which helped to demonstrate our commitment to using clean energy. This also engaged and inspired our students. “We saved a massive 74,000kwh of energy in 2017/18 when compared with 2014/15. 64,000 kwh of this was entirely due to behavioural change – switching lights, PCs and projectors off at the end of the school day. “In last week’s whole school virtual eco team assembly our students revealed that if every monitor was left on overnight and throughout the weekends for a whole school year, this would cost the school in the order of £4k. They understand that everyone has a role to play in saving energy costs.” On-site energy generation brings big savings Few schools have embraced sustainability as much as King’s Academy Ringmer School in Lewes, East Sussex. The school already had a strong track record – having installed a wind turbine as well as being early installers of solar panels – when it began construction of a new school building with impressive low-carbon credentials. Stephen Green, Environmental Coordinator, says: “Students got involved with architects. They decided there would be no air conditioning, but passive ventilation, incorporated solar blinds which shaded the building from the heat and stopped the classes getting too hot in summer. We put a ground source heat pump in the ground which meant we were heating the building for next to nothing. A 450kW biomass boiler was installed to run our heating system.” Existing buildings were also retrofitted, and the school further cut energy bills by encouraging students and staff to turn off energy-hungry devices. Stephen Green

Change is about more than building work – it needs engagement with staff and students, smart use of data, and a longterm approach to sustainability says: “Now about 70 per cent of our heat energy is provided by biomass, and about 30 per cent of electric energy in winter is provided by solar panels. In summer it’s 100 per cent. We publicised what we did and used school as a teaching resource – we had schools, businesses, environmental groups visiting and learning from us.” Efficiency is not just about physical upgrades – the attitudes of staff and students are vital too. Stephen says: “A common problem with many schools is that the school business manager won’t necessarily understand about target temperatures, how much a school’s heating should cost – they’re not trained to do that. They also might have a site manager or caretaker who doesn’t really understand how the boiler works – when they started, they’ll just have been told to turn it on in October and off in April. And some teachers want to be very comfortable in a very warm classroom. So we need to look at all these, get people to understand what money is being spent and wasted. “There’s an enormous lack of knowledge. Schools were about educating kids, but as more schools have become academies or independent and broken away from the support of local authorities, they don’t have all the expertise in-house. How would you expect a headteacher to know how a boiler works?”

Buy local to cut emissions and support the community Thinking local can also help schools tackle their emissions – and drive positive change in school communities. Exmouth Community College is putting sustainability at the heart of its next 10-year building improvement plan, including steps to keep supply chains as short as possible. Premises manager Scott Fry says: “For example, if we need a new roof, the decisions on it will involve local procurement to keep the money local and reduce mileage, as well as choosing sustainable materials.” However, even the most forward-thinking schools need support. In June the UK government announced £1bn funding for 50 major school new building projects in England. But that’s just 0.2 percent of the nation’s schools. The campaign is calling for greater action, with retrofit of existing schools a priority. With around two decades of experience of sustainability in schools behind him, Stephen Green is convinced that schools can make massive changes, but they cannot do this alone. “The only way you will change policy in government, particularly at the moment, is through lobbying and a groundswell of opinion, which is why Let’s Go Zero with its specific call for government support is so important.” L FURTHER INFORMATION www.ashden.org



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Marmoleum: Striving towards a fully sustainable future As the nation works towards a net zero future, Lewis Cooper, segment marketing manager for education at Forbo Flooring Systems, explains why its Marmoleum floor coverings can help to reduce the carbon emissions of educational buildings, while contributing to a safe, hygienic and comfortable environment In June 2019, the UK government announced a statutory target of net zero for UK greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. If these climate change targets are to be met, decarbonisation of the built environment will need to intensify over the coming years. For the education sector, this means making a conscious effort towards reducing the environmental impact and carbon footprint of buildings both during construction and whilst in operation. In the building lifecycle, embodied carbon is the greenhouse gas emission associated with the non-operational phase of the project. This includes the construction materials and interior fixtures and fittings, before the building is even used. CO2 is emitted at each stage of a product’s life cycle: from raw material extraction and manufacturing to transport, usage, cleaning and end-of-life disposal, therefore minimising the embodied carbon of a building is a fundamental step in our journey towards achieving net zero. To help decision makers make responsible choices, manufacturers are continuing to look for new ways to be more sustainable and to minimise the environmental impact of their products and processes wherever possible. Indeed, the path to carbon neutral buildings is made from natural raw materials, not plastic – and thanks to solutions like Forbo Flooring Systems’ Marmoleum range, building a carbon neutral world can begin with the floor. Manufactured from 97 per cent natural raw materials, including flax, jute and linseed oil, which are grown and harvested annually, as well as wood flour and pine rosin sourced from sustainably managed forestry plantations; Marmoleum is one of the most sustainable floor coverings on the market. In fact, 62 per cent of the natural ingredients are renewable, of which 29 per cent are

rapidly renewable, meaning they will grow back within one year. Marmoleum also boasts 43 per cent reused and recycled content to reduce the demand for virgin raw materials. Quantified with an independent Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), the weighted average of our Marmoleum product range is confirmed as CO2 neutral (cradle to gate) – without offsetting. This shows that the CO2 produced in the extraction, transportation and manufacturing processes of Marmoleum is balanced out by the removal of CO2 through the growing of its natural ingredients. This means that, using Marmoleum on a 10,000 sqm education project could typically equate to a 66,200kg/CO2 saving when compared to a PVC vinyl floor, for example. The results of the EPD reinforces the many environmental labels Marmoleum already holds such as Nature Plus, Blue Angel and Nordic Swan. Creating better environments When choosing floor coverings for educational establishments, in addition to sustainability, multiple aspects need to be taken into account such as noise reduction, hygiene, colour choice and ease of cleaning. A natural winner, Marmoleum is also associated with durability, high quality and innovative design, therefore it is little wonder it is the desired flooring solution for many educational projects around the world. Available in over 300 colours across a variety of designs and formats, ranging from marbled to linear and concrete, in sheet, tiles and planks, Marmoleum offers true design freedom to create subtle or stand-out education interiors. Thanks to its natural raw materials, namely linseed oil, Marmoleum is naturally bacteriostatic

and independently proven to inhibit the growth and spread of infection, helping to contribute to a healthier and more hygienic environment. Marmoleum also contains no phthalates, no plasticisers and no mineral oil, providing a safe and low emitting floor. Featuring a high performance UV-finish, which is applied to all Marmoleum floor coverings, Topshield prevents staining, scuffing and scratching for lasting appearance retention and provides for easy cleaning and maintenance. These characteristics are perfect for classrooms where foot traffic and movement of chairs requires a durable floor covering. And in order to reduce noise in areas of a school building, acoustic Marmoleum floors create a healthy environment by combining sustainability with excellent sound reduction properties. What’s more, a report by Allergy UK estimates that there are at least 12 million people ‘allergic to their own home’ with 58 per cent citing house dust mites as a key trigger. This is an issue that should not be ignored by educational establishments, as nurseries, schools, colleges and universities are places where students and staff spend a prolonged period of their time. Indeed, Marmoleum has been awarded with the prestigious ‘Seal of Approval™’ from Allergy UK, as with the correct cleaning regime, it will not harbour allergens or house dust mites. With growing interest in the way that education buildings are being designed, and the interior products that go into them, careful consideration needs to go into the specification of flooring. As the country strives towards achieving net-zero over the next 30 years, Marmoleum combines ecological values with contemporary design and offers an important contribution to a sustainable world, ensuring that our schools are fit for the future. For more information about Forbo Flooring Systems’ Marmoleum Live Forward campaign, please visit www.forbo-flooring.co.uk/ liveforward or for more information about its work in the education sector please visit www.forbo-flooring.co.uk/education L FURTHER INFORMATION www.forbo-flooring.co.uk



Advertisement Feature

DfE supported deal can save schools thousands of pounds as demand for temporary staff soars The need for supply staff is greater than ever, with more and more schools coming to rely on temporary staff to stay open and provide pupils with the fullest educational experience possible

After months of disruption and with more uncertainty on the horizon, schools are under immense pressure with ever stretched budgets and rising costs. There has never been a more pressing time to take stock of your temporary staffing needs, and make valuable savings to free up money that is so desperately needed in other areas of your school. Empowering you to get the most out of your budget The Supply Teachers deal from Crown Commercial Service (CCS) is supported by the Department for Education (DfE). It can help you recruit temporary staff through local and national recruitment agencies, many of whom you probably already know and use.

A key aim of the deal is to reduce how much recruitment agencies charge you for each temporary worker, giving you the potential to save thousands of pounds. Another aim is to ensure your workers have higher takehome pay, leading to better job satisfaction and a higher likelihood of staff retention, without your school’s costs increasing. Our experience suggests most schools don’t know what proportion of the total fee they pay their agency goes towards worker pay and how much goes to the agency. This is known as agency ‘mark-up’. It is really worth getting to grips with as it doesn’t just affect the rate you pay, it can also make a big difference to how much your worker will get paid. By choosing to work with agencies through the deal you will also benefit from having no fees to pay to make temporary workers permanent after 12 weeks, which can lead to even greater savings and, again, help you to retain quality staff. Peace of mind and compliance You can recruit any type of temporary worker including teachers, educational support staff, admin staff, cleaners, caretakers and more, meaning that you have a true end to end solution for all your temporary staffing needs. All agencies are fully accredited to ensure quality and adhere to strict safeguarding and compliance requirements in line with the Keeping Children Safe in Education guidance, providing valuable peace of mind.

The deal is also fully compliant with the Public Contracts Regulations 2015. Did you know that if you spend over £189,330 on supply staff in a year you would need to go out to tender or use a procured framework to comply with these regulations? Many schools fall foul of this but the Supply Teachers deal is a simple and compliant solution to the problem. Flexibility There are two ways we can help you access the staff you need. Firstly a preferred supplier agreement can be put in place quickly and is fully flexible, enabling you to use as many or few agencies as you need to fill your temporary staffing needs, whilst reducing costs and ensuring quality and compliance. The second way is to offer a managed service solution to help you achieve even greater savings and better manage your budget and spend. It’s ideal for schools or trusts that have a high volume of vacancies or manage recruitment for several schools. A recent case study from Northern Education Trust explains just how beneficial a managed service agreement can be - it has already saved them over £100,000. Free 1:1 support CCS is offering 1:1 sessions over the phone or online to help you explore your current arrangements and get started on making vital savings on your temporary staffing costs. Investing 45 minutes of your time could save your school thousands of pounds. Book your free session by emailing supplyteachers@crowncommercial.gov.uk and a dedicated commercial expert will be in touch with you within 24 hours. We’ll also be at the Schools and Academies Show in November and would love to meet you virtually to discuss how we can make a difference to your school or trust. Please come and say hello and challenge us to help you save money on your temporary staffing costs. Who is CCS? CCS is a government agency and the biggest public procurement organisation in the UK. We are dedicated to helping you save precious public funds so you can spend them on things that really matter, in this case the education of children across the country. L FURTHER INFORMATION www.crowncommercial.gov.uk



When should I buy? You don’t need to wait until you are close to the end date of your existing contract. Most electricity and gas contracts can be agreed up to three years in advance of the start date and sometimes it can be done even further in advance. You have the opportunity to take time to understand the different product options available, get prices and agree your energy contract well ahead of time if your contract renewal isn’t imminent. Why does this matter? The cost of power and gas varies over time, it is similar to the stock market and if the market is at a low point at the time you arrange your next contract it could make you significant savings. Energy prices dramatically reduced when the Covid-19 Pandemic started but they have gradually increased since the beginning of lockdown earlier this year, although they are still much lower than they were a year ago. Beware of complex or unclear energy offers in the market The energy market can be complicated and unclear but using the services of a good energy consultant can help to make it clear, safe and simple. The market has a range of products, some are totally fixed and others have elements which have additional costs that may not be shown on your electricity contract offer but may still be on your bill. Make sure you are clear on the product you are buying and that you have seen the terms and conditions. It’s important to understand how the charges feed through to the total costs on your bill.

Written by CPL Group

Procuring energy can be a long and confusing process, yet it doesn’t have to be. CPL Group outlines what schools should consider when thinking about buying their next energy contract


Five things to consider when buying energy

informed about the energy market and when prices are low it may be worth considering a renewal for your contract even if it’s not due imminently. Most importantly stay on top of regulatory change. The UK Government have very recently put in place regulations whereby larger Multi Academy Trusts now have to report on energy usage and their carbon outputs on an annual basis. Should your MAT consume in excess of 40,000kWh of energy per annum and meet two of the three following criteria, these regulations apply to you: Income greater than £36 million; balance sheet greater than £18 million; 250 employees or more. Should you meet the criteria, you will need to publish your UK energy use for gas, purchased electricity and transport fuel plus your associated greenhouse gas emissions in your annual accounts for 2019/20 and these generally have to be submitted to the ESFA by 31 December 2020 and to Companies House by 31 May 2021. You are also required to publish your emissions intensity metric and calculation methodologies used plus a narrative on measures you have taken to improve energy efficiency. There isn’t a lot of time to collate the necessary information. An energy consultant will be able to help you if you need support with this, from answering any questions to writing the report for you, helping to eliminate risk of non-compliance or missing the submission deadline.

Find a provider who A will look after you Use a reputable consultant regulat i o n and your energy who will be honest, has bee needs transparent and support n p u in place t One of our biggest tips you to get the best larger M whereby is to ensure you find an product for your needs. energy consultant who They will be able to Trusts nulti Academy ow hav will provide you with a manage all the work report o e to hands-on, bespoke service which is associated and who will look after all with procuring an usage a n energy nd thei of your energy needs. Select energy contract such outputs r a consultant who will take as with dealing with the extra work away from you suppliers on queries and and make your energy buying easy. contracting, plus they will be able to help you avoid any CPL Group pitfalls. Ultimately a good energy consultant CPC and Tenet Education Services are notwill save you time and help you achieve for-profit organisations which are part of value for money for your energy contract. CPL Group, an education owned charity that gives back to the sector through Make sure you are clear on funding and support. CPC has a complete any termination clauses in range of framework agreements which are your existing contract designed for the education sector, including This is important because if the clauses are a comprehensive utilities framework. The not adhered to you may find yourself locked framework’s fully vetted energy consultant, into a renewal contract that you may not UPG Ltd, will compete your gas or electricity have chosen or want. Your energy provider requirements in compliance with the public will be able to help you with this and we sector procurement regulations and provide would always advise that you are clear you with expert advice. CPC membership on any termination clauses at the point of is free of charge to all institutions. Tenet contracting. It is worth checking the terms provides procurement consultancy support. L and conditions you are on now if you are unsure about your existing contract. FURTHER INFORMATION Stay informed of market trends www.thecpc.ac.uk/utilities or changes in energy regulations www.tenetservices.com Sustainability is important for all of us so www.cpl.group review renewable energy options. Keep



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Giving you a helping hand on all your procurement contracts – from facilities management to utilities YPO has created a Contracts for Schools offering, with a handpicked range of framework agreements to help save schools time and money when setting up their contracts

We understand that you’ve got a million and one things to think about when it comes to running your school. So here at YPO, we’ve created a Contracts for Schools offering, where we’ve handpicked a range of framework agreements to help save you time and money when setting up your contracts. Our recently established education procurement team is dedicated to simplifying the procurement process for primary and secondary schools across the UK. Research carried out by the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) found that 40 per cent of schools currently believe their procurement process isn’t costeffective. With education budgets increasingly tight, our education procurement team offers customers a way to maximise their buying power and simplify the procurement process, while also remaining compliant with public sector procurement regulations. Since YPO was first established in 1974, we’ve helped drive public sector efficiency savings through our bulk buying power for product supplies and centralised contract services initiatives. Our newly established team offers schools direct access to these benefits completely free of charge, reducing the need for costly in-house administration and procurement consultancy support. Ash Cartwright, Education Business Manager answers the most frequently asked questions around contracts for schools and how YPO can help you. How did YPO come up with this offering? Our research showed that some school business managers didn’t know where to start when it comes to contracts. Do you start looking at your utilities or catering? Where are your quick wins for saving money? How complex is this procurement? How do you write a specification? How much would it cost to get a consultant in to do this? The list goes on. That’s why we’ve handpicked and created bespoke framework solutions for education


establishments, to help save you time and money. Lots of our education customers are already using them, so we’ve been able to create over 40 solutions, knowing the challenges and budget restrictions you may be facing. Our team will help completely free of charge, it’s impartial, and you don’t have to use our frameworks. We’re here to give you the care and support you need. Can a school hand over all thing’s procurement to YPO’s education procurement team and is there a cost? We’d first look at the needs and wants of your school. It might be an array of things such as whether your contract is running out in the next six or 12 months; if you want to switch suppliers; guidance on writing a specification; if you need help with supplier management; or if you are reviewing prices you’re currently paying. As a team, we work out exactly what you’re trying to achieve and where we can give you support. So, whether it’s a simple task of looking at specifications or that full end to end process of carrying out the procurement. We then put a proposal together to see the timelines and what your expectations are, then take it onto the next stage. Does YPO have a benchmark figure of what a consultant would cost against YPO’s free of charge service? It depends on the size of your project. We’ve found that if it’s large scale projects some consultants have been charging £5,000 upwards just to do a little piece of work on the consultancy side of things. Whereas because we’ve already got those frameworks set up and we’ve got procurement qualified staff, it’s sort of incomparable to a consultant. We want you to view us as an extension to your team, an education specialist hub that’s there to support and advise on purchasing best practice for schools. This year a member of our team was on a secondment in a MAT as a free impartial procurement advisor. The good thing for YPO is if we do put our staff into a school and we haven’t got a certain framework for them, we’re learning as well. We’re getting that insight on what can be beneficial for schools first-hand and then we can put a solution in place to meet that need.

Recently a school came to us asking about a contract for school uniforms, which we didn’t have at the time. But we’re now in the process of pulling that offering together. Where would YPO help us, where do you start? We start by putting together a procurement pipeline, looking at what you’d like to do over the next 12 – 24 months. Then look at what your goal is. Is it to make savings on some of your current contracts, or is it to set up a brand-new contract? We’ll review your current contracts and suppliers if that’s what your goal is and advise on how you can make savings. Then we can start planning out projects for you to review over the next six, 12, 18, 24 months, mapping out what needs to be completed when, and hopefully help your school become more efficient and make some savings along the way. What are the key frameworks that schools are looking for at the moment? COVID-19 has had a great impact on schools and buying patterns. Schools are wanting support around deep cleans and washroom services, so we’ve helped by looking at their current contractors to see if they’re getting the correct service. Remote working has become the new norm, bringing an increase in ICT solutions. We’re also seeing an uplift in printing and photocopiers. With each pupil having to have their own individual classroom packs there’s more of a demand on having to make copies of workbooks etc which means more people are using the machines. So there’s also that need for photocopiers to be more COVID-19 secure and transitioning over to infrared solutions to minimise the amount of cross-contamination. Other areas we’re seeing more of a focus around is office supplies. We’re looking at doing consolidated office supply deals too as people are wanting to secure and drive down better deals for their essentials and consumables so they’ve got a lock- in price, which we can do. How has COVID-19 effected procurement in the education sector? When COVID-19 started to affect our day to


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day lives back in March, the government put in place some emergency procurement rules and changes. These changes meant that schools could extend current contracts they were in at the time, rather than having to do a new procurement. We helped a lot of customers do that and get the best value. We also helped schools emergency award their contracts, whereas previously a school would have to do the full tender process to award. If it was related to COVID-19, you could bypass the standard regulations. This was used for schools to get some emergency deep cleans done or purchase essential cleaning equipment. What if a customer is completely new to procurement, doesn’t understand the procurement jargon? Can you help? Some of the frameworks that customers see in the public sector seem very complicated. When we carried out our research, we found that some of the terminology used in public sector procurement is quite complex and this was reflected in our framework offering that was predominantly used by our local authority customers. So, we’ve tailored our Contract for Schools offering to strip back the jargon, make

it easy and to understand, and the team will hand hold customers every step of the way. We’ve changed the titles of our contracts, reviewed our user guides and created a standardised template for each stage of a school’s procurement project. Procurement in general can be quite daunting as it encompasses a huge array of things. The team can help you with underperforming suppliers; if you’re paying too much money for something; or if the price of a service has gone up. The team can also help if your contracts need renewing; knowing where to start if you’re completely new to procurement; and pulling together templates and checklists. YPO also helps with credit checks and supplier insurance review; checking your supplier’s third-party contractors; advertising your procurement for you; holding supplier opening days; and working with you to answer any clarifications a tendering supplier may have. The team can also evaluate tenders with you or on your behalf, or leave it completely to you. We’d ask those high-level questions like how big is your premises? How many times will you need it cleaning? Who is your current supplier? Are they private or public sector or through

your local authority? How many staff members do you have on-site, how many pupils? Our team have a checklist of essential criteria and once we’ve got your background information, we’ll pull together some recommendations and guidance to see how we can help you, and how much support you need. We’ve also created templates we can give to customers so we can support you through the journey. So with setting up a CCTV contract, for example, you’ll need to know the point of entry within the building, the quality of camera you’re needing, your broadband speed to link the CCTV equipment up to. We pull together all the details to help us paint a picture of what’s required. Another thing we can do is supplier management. So over the life of the contract, we can help support you through that. We don’t just leave you to it once you’ve set up your contract. We’ve got a sales team that can help, they can be on-site or have regular zoom meetings, they can help stabilise that new supplier, ensure that they’ve got a physical presence on the ground. We can do that full end to end support. A customer might be someone who’s already been involved in procurement before that can hit the ground running, or maybe it’s somebody that requires more handholding. Whatever your procurement needs, we’re here to help! Does YPO have any DfE recommended frameworks? We have a few including our Gas and Electricity offering as well as Photocopiers and Printers. We also have our Home to School App, which helps parents monitor their children’s journeys on school buses. Featuring alerts and automated messages, the app uses realtime tracking to notify schools and parents of delays, route changes and absences. This has also been an approved route to market by the DfE during the COVID-19 pandemic. L FURTHER INFORMATION www.ypo.co.uk/contractsforschools



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SBC Online: the future of public sector procurement With the professionalisation of school business management in recent years, School Business Leaders (SBLs) have looked to develop their financial and operational strategies and create more efficient and effective functions across the school estate. Our research has shown that central to this is strategic procurement, but that one of the barriers to achieving efficiencies is a lack of time and resource to develop an in-depth understanding of public sector procurement regulations

Following eight years of researching and developing procurement services in the public sector, Schools’ Buying Club (SBC) developed SBC Online, a tool designed specifically for SBLs to manage their procurements, using a compliant and highly effective approach to securing best value contracts. Fully functional, the online portal allows SBLs to create tenders, review bids and manage contracts across all categories of spend, with remote support and guidance from qualified procurement experts. One year after its launch, Claire Delaney, Managing Director, provides insight into the service and why she believes this is the future of procurement in education. Bridging the Gap With SBC’s traditional bespoke procurement service, they completed the whole process, from writing the bid to evaluating the responses, and supplying the contract and audit trail for compliance. However, their research into the market showed that whilst SBLs understood the process for running compliant procurements, and the importance of maintaining accurate records, they often lacked the time and resource, and sometimes the confidence, to specify complex outsourced services and run tenders in-house. SBC saw the need for a self-servicing online product with access to remote procurement support; where the requirements and recommendations were not generated by an outside organisation, but internally. “This is where SBC Online bridges that gap; we created a private tendering portal with a compliant and easily accessible route to market tenders. Most importantly a dedicated procurement expert is on hand throughout the process.”


Division of work SBC’s procurement experts identified the areas within the process where SBLs would prefer to have more strategic control. The five-step procurement journey alongside access to a suite of templates, provides SBLs with the confidence and resources to gather the current contractual data, finalise the specification, facilitate bidder days, evaluate the bids’ technical aspects, and mobilise the new service. “The process was divided this way to ensure it can run as efficiently as possible. SBLs can gain the knowledge and understanding on how the process works, whilst being fully supported. We provide a timeline clearly showing the division of responsibility and milestones to keep the process on track.” From experience, this often aids internal communications, decision making and contract award as the decisions are made by the SBL with the consultant guiding and advising them. “We wanted to ensure that the SBL was firmly in charge of the contract choice, and it wasn’t an outside recommendation leading the decision. Our expert sense-checks the work and rationale, ensuring the tender process is both effective and compliant.” Moving to an online portal In the fast paced, busy SBL role, time is precious! In addition to building knowledge around procurement, SBC wanted to move away from planning numerous meetings and lengthy email chains, so created a portal where data capture forms can be populated and revisited, templates were accessible and documents are stored and dually accessed. “By moving the service to an online portal everything is hosted in one place. By meeting and communicating online, questions are asked and answered quickly.

As a bonus, arranging meetings, travelling or booking rooms are no longer required.” Moreover, by leading the technical evaluation and having overall control, the SBL has more of an understanding and discretion on whether to hold additional elements in the process such as bidder presentations. In some cases, after the desktop evaluation the leading bidder might already be clear, and it is a more efficient use of time to go directly to the award stage. SBC Online has not only become an effective procurement platform, but it has created a mentoring role where SBC is helping SBLs improve procurement capabilities. SBC has formalised this mentorship by partnering with ISBL and CIPS to offer discounted bursaries to the CIPS Awards for School Business Professionals training, for SBLs that receive live case study support and mentorship through using SBC Online. The way forward for procurement After launching SBC Online, SBC’s plans for a virtual procurement process was in place; so when national lockdown was introduced, they knew exactly how to support SBLs and continue running procurements seamlessly. They applied the virtual aspects of SBC Online to the bespoke procurement services without interruption or delay. The virtual aspect of the process has been successfully received by SBLs; the logistics of travel and meeting organisation are gone, creating a more efficient process. There is more flexibility, for example meetings with different suppliers can happen across a few days, so governors and senior leadership teams can fit them in their diaries easier. “The fallout of COVID-19 has highlighted the need and success of online services and solutions, where the client can get what they need instantly with immediate access to support. Virtual meetings, visits and presentations are the new normal and we see this process continuing once the restrictions have lifted.”L FURTHER INFORMATION www.schoolsbuyingclub.com/schoolsbuying-club-online contact@schoolsbuyingclub.com


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Unleashing new opportunities and growing potential in the advent of the pandemic The ISBL national conference will focus on how we can unleash our potential to allow for further growth and development and in turn further improve pupil outcomes and progress

During 2020, as school leaders and the nation have responded positively to the challenges the pandemic has created, we have witnessed unleashing further potential is possible. ISBL has seen the demand for developing knowledge and skills, and the sharing of information and good practice has grown as the sector has embraced new technologies and methods of interacting. Through these new virtually hosted discussions and forums, we have been able to engage with school business professionals (SBPs) from across the country and gained insights into the challenges and training needs that have arisen. One of the overriding comments has been there will be a demand and need for networking and peer interactions, and we have been overwhelmed with the bookings we have received so far and the growing demand for our national conference as we announced this will still to go ahead as a virtual conference. What to expect at this year’s event? You will see the same high-quality range of speakers and workshop sessions covering all aspects of ISBL’s Professional Standards, focusing on how we can unleash the potential from within ourselves, our colleagues, and our organisations.

We are thrilled to welcome a plethora of specialist speakers who are renowned in their fields to this year’s conference. Through her natural wit, honesty, and downto-earth approach, which is witnessed by millions through her role on The Apprentice, Baroness Karren Brady CBE will provide one of the motivational plenaries, sharing her account of her unstoppable success. Courageous Leadership Consultant Diana Osagie is known for her resilient school leadership and is skilled in urban leadership under challenging circumstances. Her insights will be invaluable to those leaders attending the conference who have undergone their own challenges in the advent of the pandemic. Meanwhile, Natalie Perera, Executive Director and Head of Research at the Education Policy Institute, an independent research institute that she co-founded in 2016, will give insights into what we can expect post the pandemic. She will also offer her particular knowledge gained from her time at the Department for Education, where she led on research and policy interventions, including on the narrowing of the gap between disadvantaged children and the rest and the reform of the school funding system. What’s in it for you? We know in previous year’s school business professionals have emphasised both finding the time to attend, and the budget had been the barriers to attend. There is no need to miss this year’s national conference as you can access over 20 hours of fully tailored CPD solely focused on school business leaders without leaving your office. ISBL’s dedicated event

platform will let you tailor your schedule around your objectives and working day in the most effective way, so you can prioritise live content and come back and watch on demand content at another time. There will also be the opportunity to share content with other school leaders in your school which brings extra value to the cost of attendance. Being part of the ISBL national conference will enable you to take part in practitioner- and stakeholder-led workshops with the opportunity to ask live questions at the end of every session or watch the sessions back later. Delegates will be able to interact with keynote and inspirational speakers during panel discussions and Q&As. The exhibition marketplace will allow delegates to see how suppliers can help you with your procurement needs. You will also be able to access over 20 hours of CPD across the event. This year offers you the opportunity to attend every workshop option and all of the main plenaries for just £125, so you don’t have to make the difficult choice over what to attend as you can see everything and watch and share again via the event platform until 13 December 2020. Ask your school to recognise your contribution and invest in you After a year of unleashing your potential, which has been recognised across the sector, now is the time to invest in your attendance at the event. We have considered practice at every level and across all types of school settings, so the content for the conference covers both maintained and academy schools of all sizes and types. Through our investment in our own development, we can unleash our own potential and that of our organisations and the pupils we serve. We hope you can join us at this year’s event. L

Panel: ISBL would like to offer particular thanks to the ISBL Headline sponsor Zenergi and our other sponsors Telephone Europe and IMP Software for supporting the event this year, and who recognise the contribution school business professionals make and have made over the last year to the delivery of education across our schools. FURTHER INFORMATION https://isbl.org.uk/National-Conference



Written by Stephen Forster, national chair, LACA



Highlighting the importance of school food

This year’s National School Meals Week, which takes place from 9-13 November, has added significance. It is now more important than ever that students are back enjoying hot school meals to fuel healthy minds, whilst supporting local British Food. It is also an opportunity to highlight the incredible role that our school chefs play as key workers. Alongside this important message, the week will have five educational themes to encourage uptake. On Monday, we will have a “go meat free” day which many caterers are already promoting once a week on their menus. On Tuesday, we will have the With free school meals in the national spotlight, LACA’s national “School Meal Oscars” focusing on a day of chair Stephen Forster sets out how LACA proposes to ensure that student’s favourite meals where parents and children can submit their favourite school children are fed, whether in term time or the holidays meals and dessert to be served at school. On Wednesday, we will be collaborating The issue of free school meals is at the centre to children during the Christmas holiday. with Food for Life for National Roast Dinner of political, media and public attention, The government is under immense political Day. On the Thursday, the focus will be on following the decision last month by the pressure to provide extra funding for free the Great British School Lunch with support government to reject calls to extend a voucher school meals over the holidays to ensure no from Love British Food. On Friday, we scheme for children to receive free school child goes hungry. We believe that the best conclude by asking parliamentarians meals over the half term and winter months. way to do this is to mobilise LACA’s to present certificates online to Subsequently, over the October Half extensive network of school catering teams and record a term, hundreds of businesses, councils, and caterers to provide food Over th message of support, to thank individuals came together to feed hungry parcels that are in line the vital role that caterers students during the week, supporting the with the guidance we Octobe e play to keep children fed. campaign started by the Manchester United have produced with term, h r half u and England forward Marcus Rashford. the Department for n d r e b ds of usine Allergens launch As Marcus Rashford so eloquently said, no Education. This will and indsses, councils, We were also proud to child should ever go hungry. And there are mean that not only ividuals launch our allergens now more children entitled to free school will hungry children came togethe guidance and risk meals than ever before. According to the be fed; they will r t o fee hungry analysis process to latest figures from the Food Foundation, receive a range of student d support schools, caterers 2.2m children are now registered for free ingredients to prepare s and pupils understand school meals, with 900,000 of these being nutritious and balanced best practice with regards registered since the pandemic began. meals that are imperative to managing allergens safely. When it comes to feeding disadvantaged for good child health. Over the last year, LACA has led children, LACA’s members are at the heart Thirdly, the government should the way in making allergens awareness a of this: we have the collective expertise, continue to work with LACA to deliver core part of menu development. Dealing knowledge, tools – and the passion – to do its healthy food parcels to disadvantaged with special diets and food intolerances is whatever we can to support the poorest children during term-time. Its members one of the biggest challenges that we have families during these difficult, and uncertain, are going above and beyond to ensure in our industry. In the UK, an estimated economic times. As the representative body children who are required to self-isolate do seven per cent of children suffer from a food for the school meals industry, we believe that not go without a healthy, balanced diet. allergy. While some reactions can be treated, our members are best placed to deliver this. We have had positive discussions on these some can be more severe or even fatal. three recommendations to date. However, Currently, more children are presenting with LACA solution we know that there is no comparison to allergies and requests for support and this Throughout the pandemic our members the nutritional benefits a child gets from has increased approximately five-fold since have been focused on feeding children, a professionally prepared, high quality, 2014. Children cannot take responsibility including those entitled to free school meals hot school lunch and that food parcels for managing their allergies. The legislation and children of key workers. More recently, only go so far. And for too many children, focuses on providing accurate allergen LACA has worked with the Department for the hot meal they receive at school is information; however only 39 per cent of Education and Public Health England to often the only one they will get. medical diet requests are for the 14 legislated provide guidance on food parcels for children allergens. There is also the expectation that who are entitled to free school meals but are Hot’ober and NSMW 2020 caterers should feed children regardless of self-isolating. Thousands of these healthy and LACA launched a campaign called “Hot’ober” whether allergies pose a safety threat. nutritious food parcels have been provided by to help school caterers return to serving hot LACA therefore worked to generate a our members to children across the country. cooked meals as soon as it is practicable and nationally agreed guidance document for As England enters a second national safe to do so. With social distancing in place the management of allergens in education lockdown, LACA have recommended a threemany schools have opted for cold lunches catering, the first of its kind. The guidance point plan to the government to ensure to ease the now more complex logistics of document was also presented to leading that there is a sustainable solution. Firstly, feeding pupils during the lunch break. allergen charities and the Department for extending term-time free school meals to We are continuing to encourage caterers to Education for their insight. The guidance all children whose parents are on Universal bring back hot meals in whatever way they is now available on the LACA website Credit. This is a key recommendation from the can, whether that is through a traditional and in the public domain. The analysis National Food Strategy interim report, and tray service or grab and go options. We were process is offered to members only. L one which would ensure that no child falls delighted that the minister for children and through the gap as the Covid-19 pandemic families endorsed the campaign and outlined puts further pressure on family finances. her support for another of LACA’s key events in FURTHER INFORMATION Secondly, the government should work with the year, National School Meals Week (NSMW), www.laca.co.uk LACA and its members to provide food parcels in a recent letter to all schools and academies.


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Endoxa Learning: visualising academic arguments Endoxa Learning puts academic arguments at the forefront of learning and embeds facts and contextual information where and when it is needed. Here’s how Endoxa allows students to succeed all of their academic material, ensuring students are more confident analyzing and creating strong, coherent arguments within essays and exams. Let’s break down how Endoxa Learning allows students to succeed:

At A Level, students need to make strong, coherent arguments in order to get the best marks. The need for persuasive argument has been further emphasised within humanities, business and social sciences following the move to linear A levels, with the requirements for argument creation and analysis increasing across all these subjects. Although argument is paramount to A Level success, many students focus on factual learning and struggle to link what they know into a strong, coherent argument in their essays and exam answers. Furthermore, as a consequence of the demanding nature of the A Level syllabus, there is often insufficient time to teach students these argumentation skills, resulting in many students not reaching their full potential. Endoxa Learning provides an innovative solution to this problem. The software represents a new type of pedagogy, which we call “argument first”. Traditionally, students learn the facts first and then start to think about the key arguments. Endoxa Learning puts the arguments at the forefront of learning and embeds facts and contextual information only where and when it is needed. This learning method helps students in developing their argumentation skills, whilst also learning

Visualisation Academic arguments are usually written as prose in essays and books. The arguments in these sources are hard for students to grasp for two reasons: in a body of text, it is not clear which parts comprise the argument; text is linear, but arguments are normally highly branched. These problems have been widely recognised in the argumentation literature: “Argumentative prose contains many more sentences than just the propositions that are part of the argument, but also... proceeding necessarily linearly, the prose obscures the inferential structure of the argument,” Eftekhari, M. et al. (ReCALL 30(3): 337–354. 2018) We provide a solution to this. Endoxa Learning presents arguments not as paragraphs of prose, but as diagrams called argument graphs. An argument graph presents academic arguments visually. This not only results in an enormous reduction of the word-count but also makes the structure of the argument immediately clear to students. These powerful argument graphs provide a visual medium for students to learn the academic arguments they need, think critically about academic content and create their own persuasive arguments; skills which are critical for student exam success. Step by Step Currently, students learn to create academic arguments mainly by writing essays. The essay

format is very flexible, but this makes it very easy to produce unargumentative “waffle” filled writing. Endoxa Learning focuses the student on argument structure whilst teaching the content the student needs for their subject; the use of the argument graph enables students to learn how to structure a concise and effective argument using a simple step by step method. To do this, each Endoxa Learning lesson moves through an argument graph one argument step at a time (one argument step is displayed in the example below). This breaks even the most complex of arguments into manageable and easy to understand “chunks”, whilst also clearly demonstrating how to write an argument effectively, showing the need for supporting evidence, counter arguments and strong, coherent conclusions. At the end of the lesson, the student can modify and extend the argument graph to add their own ideas. This then forms their visual essay plan for essay assignments or revision, allowing them to nail their argument conclusion and avoid unnecessary “waffling”. Argument Types Each argument step is based on an argument type. In Endoxa Learning there are 15 argument types, for example: Confirmation, Cause-andEffect and Analogy (as seen in the example). These 15 types have been derived from argumentation theory, but have been simplified for A Level use, and allow for any academic argument to be made. The argument types help students to construct precise arguments, including all the necessary premises. Each argument type has characteristic ways in which it can be supported or undermined; these are captured by the critical questions which are embedded within each argument type. When the student clicks on the argument type box, they will see these critical questions and are encouraged to think critically about counter or supporting arguments that could be used to decrease or increase the strength of the argument. The system keeps track of argument strength and coherence and displays this using colours and graphical symbols. Visualisation, the step by step approach and the use of argument types make Endoxa Learning a powerful tool for students to learn arguments and to construct their own strong and coherent arguments. To find out more about how Endoxa Learning can benefit your students and your school check out our website or get in touch via email, social media or live chat. Alternatively, find us at The Schools and Academies Show 17-20 Nov 2020. L FURTHER INFORMATION teachers.endoxalearning.com teachers@endoxalearning.com



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Virtual MAT Expo – bringing collaboration and innovation in education into 2020 There has not been a bigger disruption to the UK’s learners than the one caused by the COVID-19 pandemic for over 100 years. Educators, leaders, children and parents have had to rise to the difficult challenge of balancing home-schooling with providing in-school learning for key worker children are already helping MATs provide excellent teaching and learning in testing times. Agenda Highlights To speak around these themes, we’ve gathered some of the sector’s most experienced and respected senior leaders. Highlights include: Jennese Alozie, Director of Effectiveness and Performance at STEP Academy Trust will discuss the importance of embedding a culture of ongoing improvement in MATs in order to ensure the best possible learning experience and to shape the next generation of learners. Now more than ever it is vital that each andevery child is given the opportunity and thetools to learn. Paul Tarn, Chief Executive at Delta Academies Trust will discuss bridging the gap for disadvantaged children and the responsibility of a Trust in enabling andensuring a consistent and effective learningexperience for each and every learner.

With the pandemic has come rapid innovation and upheaval around everything from facilities management to digital and virtual learning. Previously unexplored initiatives and innovations have been deployed in unprecedented timescales. Many schools and multi academy trusts have had to remodel, and on occasion, completely rethink, how teaching and learning is delivered in their organisations. As we head into an uncertain future with or without the threat of this virus looming over us - there is a huge appetite to continue the pace and culture of innovation that has sprung up around the crisis. Leaders in education are looking to tools, technologies and approaches that bridge the gap for the disadvantaged and enable them to deliver an outstanding learning experience now and into the future. Being able to collaborate with and learn from both peers and transformational suppliers at this time is vital. Clearly though, we can no longer rely on the more “traditional” methods of collaboration and learning. Face-to-face conferences, networking events and exhibitions will most likely not be going ahead for quite some time.

That’s why we’ve launched a new event model that’s a better fit for the times we’re in. Virtual MAT Expo is be a chance for senior leaders, managers and educators working in multi academy trusts and the wider education sector to hear the latest case studies and best practice, and view the most innovative solutions - without leaving their trust. This is the only virtual education event completely focused on multi academy trusts. Themes Virtual MAT Expo has been carefully curated with a steering committee of MAT leaders to speak to the most relevant arising challenges and opportunities the sector is facing. We’re structuring the event around four core themes that reflect these challenges. These include finance, operations and back office; buildings, estates and facilities; Edtech and digital innovation; and workforce, skills and recruitment. Aligned with each of the four themes will also be four virtual expo halls, where you’ll get a chance to engage with some of the most transformational suppliers to the education sector, showcasing solutions that

Panel Discussion Among the panel discussions hosted at the event will be “How can large MATs continue to manage improvement post COVID-19?” Panel members include Julian Drinkall, Chief Executive at Academies Enterprise Trust; Sir Steve Lancashire, Chief Executive at REAch2 Academy Trust; Dr Karen Roberts, Chief Executive at The Kemnal Academies Trust; John Murphy, Chief Executive at Oasis Community Learning; and Nick Hudson, Chief Executive of Ormiston Academies Trust. This panel brings together chief executives from some of the UK’s largest multi academy trusts to reflect on lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how we build on a foundation of innovation to continue to improve learning and outcomes into the future. To ensure we’re providing even more value, the event is CPD accredited - meaning the time you spend engaging with Virtual MAT Expo is fully trackable against your requirements. L Register free for the Virtual MAT Expo using our exclusive link for readers of Education Business - register here. Virtual MAT Expo will be held from 1st-2nd December 2020. FURTHER INFORMATION For more information, visit www.virtualmatexpo.com



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The distance learning solution you need for grade-A education Whether you’re offering distance learning, blended learning, or moving to online full time, having the right technology provides a host of benefits feeling unchallenged and others not capable of handling the pace. With technology, lessons can be adapted to challenge advanced students and provide additional (or even one on one) instructions for students that need help.

Technology today is more than just a new way to engage students. Students have grown up as digital natives. They’ve had smartphones, computers, and the internet as part of their entire life. Adding technology in the classroom has become an expectation for students and parents. Now with the rapid movement towards remote learning and distance learning due to COVID-19, this technology has become crucial to deliver a high-quality educational experience. Whether you’re offering distance learning, blended learning, or moving to online fulltime, having the right technology provides a host of benefits. Benefits of technology in teaching and learning The benefits of technology in teaching in learning include expanding course offerings, experience, and learning materials. Technology also helps build 21st Century skills, improves engagement and motivation, and accelerates learning. (Source: US Department of Education) It’s also been shown to reduce the costs associated with instructional material by linking teachers and students to professional content, resources, and systems. It reduces the administrative burden on educators and has been demonstrated to produce higher student outcomes and results in fewer absences. Distance learning will provide a different educational experience than most teachers are used to, but it also provides greater flexibility using the technology for remote instruction. 1. Flexibility Students can choose when, where, and how they learn. It provides more options without ignoring student accountability. Live class instruction, video conferencing, recorded videos, and work at your own pace all possible. In a traditional classroom, teachers must provide instruction that’s based on average learning styles. This may leave some students


2. Accessibility Distance learning can give every student access to education in the environment they believe is most effective. It also remains accessible for students that may be ill or facing absences from school due to inclement weather or transportation problems. 3. Accountability The electronic format makes it much easier for students to track assignments. Rather than having to remember due dates or write them down in journals that easily get lost or overlooked, assignments and deadlines are available with the click of a mouse. This also gives parents an easier way to track grades and monitor student learning. 4. Engagement Today’s students exist in a tech-centric world. Video games, smartphones, social media, videos, and technology is part of their everyday experience. By incorporating some of the same experiences into the learning environment, it can make education more engaging. 5. Automated Automation can take some of the burdens off of teachers. For many lessons, grading can be handled by automation. This gives teachers a break and can provide instant feedback for students. This reinforces learning lessons.

6. Preparedness When COVID-19 sent students home, educators had to scramble to pull together the hardware and technology needed for distance learning. Parents may have been forgiving in the early stages as everyone worked together to find solutions. With time to prepare, parents are less forgiving now and expect education leaders to have figured out the solutions. Having the tech and tools available now will make it significantly easier to deploy remote learning in the future if it becomes necessary. In the short-term, distance learning may be necessary for schools dealing with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Over time, the same technology that allows for remote classrooms will also play an important part in everyday education. It allows for additional opportunities to increase student learning and engagement, such as augmented reality or virtual simulations. The distance learning solution you need for grade-A education Some school districts have made the mistake of trying to piece together a technology solution using tools they’ve found online or expecting teachers to manage the technology on their own. A better solution is one that has the tools teachers need to manage their classroom and IT administrators need to manage the fleet of devices. Radix VISO Mobile Device Management MDM/EMM platform gives IT team members the ability to manage every device, including updates, applications, and policies. It also allows for remote troubleshooting so students or teachers can get immediate help. This saves on downtime, administrative costs, and frustration. Radix VISO TeacherView provides a robust toolset for educators. It creates a virtual classroom that emulates a traditional classroom. With integrated tools that allow teachers to see students, monitor work, and foster collaboration in real-time. Built-in functionality such as quizzes, whiteboard tools, and remote 1:1 conversation allow for customization and better student engagement. Cloud-based solutions are available which allows educators and IT professionals to work from anywhere. Get a free trial of VISO MDM or a free demo of VISO TeacherView. L FURTHER INFORMATION www.radix-int.com


A Worksop school that is home to international students is setting the bar high when it comes to remote learning, having carried out more than 4,000 online lessons across four different time zones during lockdown and beyond Worksop College, set in 330 acres of ones like science, and I don’t feel like woodland just outside the town centre on the I’ve missed out on anything at all. A57 in north Notts, is an independent, broad “The only difference is that my day starts a ability school with a rich 125 year history little later as there is a 2-hour time difference educating students from year 7-13, while its with the UK – but I don’t mind that!” feeder school, Ranby House, provides wraparound education for children aged 2-11. Prepared for lockdown The school was embracing online learning Headmaster at Worksop College and across the board before the pandemic Ranby House Dr. John Price said the fact struck, which meant it was a seamless that the school, which offers boarding transition for the students to learn from as well as day places, is home to several home when lockdown started – even for international students meant it was one of its pupils in Cyprus who hasn’t prepared for a remote learning scenario missed a single lesson despite his teachers well before other schools and academies. being more than 2,000 miles away. He said: “We could see what was coming 15-year-old Colin Worthen is a fullin the early months of this year, so we very time boarder at the school, so when swiftly ensured that all of our students lockdown happened in March he flew from year 4 upwards were trained in how home to Cyprus to be with his parents. to use Microsoft Teams and we introduced He said: “I’ve really enjoyed all our youngest pupils to Zoom as it of my lessons throughout allowed them to see lots of their lockdown and the fact friends’ faces on the screen. Once remote they’re being done “When lockdown was online doesn’t affect announced, we were ready. became learning t how much I’ve That very Monday all h e ‘no the con learn at all. I’ve cern w rm’, as for every s carried on with t my GCSE syllabus parent udent and for all my subjects, t they ha o feel that even practical d

st in their ructure day

IT & Computing

Becoming fully operational online

lessons went live online, all feedback and mark books were accessible online and of course all resources too, many of which we already used digitally, such as text books. “It wasn’t just a case of making do. We were and still are using the technology at our fingertips innovatively to ensure each and every one of our students gets the individual, tailored education they deserve. For example, during one practical Biology lesson I was teaching recently, our pupil in Cyprus, Colin, could momentarily see the experiment better via Teams than the students at the back of the classroom, so they logged on to Teams too in order to have as good a vantage point as Colin!” Dr. Price added that his overarching concern once remote learning became the temporary ‘norm’ was for every student and parent to feel that they had structure in their day. He said: “I keenly wanted structure for all of our pupils and parents, because we all immediately, overnight, found ourselves in a situation we’ve never experienced or expected – and I knew that structure was vital to everyone’s sense of wellbeing. The timetable was maintained, the lessons weren’t at all disrupted and our assemblies brought everyone together once a week. I’m extremely proud of how the teachers and pupils have worked together throughout this very unsettling time to ensure our sense of community was never lost.” Teaching younger children Reception teacher at Ranby House, Adam Newton, brought his creative skills to the fore to keep his very young class engaged during lockdown, making his own YouTube clips and kinesthetic lessons from scratch. He said: “Reception is perhaps the hardest year group to teach remotely, purely because of how young the children are. They didn’t associate home with school and so I had to think of ways to bring the lessons to life through the screen. “I made short YouTube clips for phonics and maths lessons which they could watch any time and basically got into the character of a CBBC presenter in order to bring as much fun and energy to the children as possible! Thinking creatively was key – for example I did a video where there were two of me, throwing a 3D object back and forth and in others I used puppets.” Adam also held a weekly parent-pupil quiz via Zoom during lockdown and sent suggestions for tactile learning such as having a star gazing session at home and coming to the Zoom call the next day with observations. Dr Price added: “As the pandemic continues, with no guarantee that schools won’t have to shut again, we feel fully prepared for all eventualities at Worksop College and Ranby House. It’s a credit to our teachers, parents and students that we’ve navigated such a chaotic and unsettling time so smoothly and I’m incredibly proud of the entire school community.” L FURTHER INFORMATION www.wsnl.co.uk



At Dartford Grammar School in Kent, half of students take GCSE Computer Science and it’s one of the most popular choices for university applications. And now it’s sharing that expertise to drive up Computer Science standards across the region Dartford Grammar is one of a network of 34 Computing Hub schools established by the National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE) across England to deliver computer science training to teachers and support to primary and secondary schools. Established as one of the NCCE’s first hubs in July 2019, Dartford Grammar started delivering its courses in January and, of course, had to quickly adapt its provision to cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. “We had to pivot quickly,” said teacher Steve Ireland, who leads the Computing Hub at the school. “But we were well placed to do that and to deliver CPD online. Digital skills and technology have been at the heart of what we do and, in many ways, the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need for these skills across so many sectors.” Since January, 150 teachers have attended the Computer Science Accelerator (CSA) course at Dartford, the NCCE’s course to develop GCSE subject knowledge for nonspecialist teachers. Support continued through the school summer break, significantly contributing to the 1,300 teachers who have come to the CSA across England, and the further 2,300 enrolled on the programme. “It’s been incredibly busy through the lockdown period and, since the start of term, the focus has on a blended learning approach,” said Steve. Darford’s expertise and enthusiasm was recognised when Schools Minister Nick Gibb visited the school in September. “What is so wonderful about this school is its ambition; its ambition for the students, ambition for the curriculum, and ambition for taking part in Hub programmes – it is a centre

of excellence that can spread out to other schools,” Gibb told staff and students. A whole school approach to Computer Science Dartford takes a whole school approach to Computer Science, which has been maintained through lockdown period, when Dartford also supported home teaching, supported with live Q&A sessions CS teachers. “In our KS3, middle years, we put the focus on projects with a lot of work on design, development and testing. We clearly have some success in building enthusiasm, as around half our students take CS GCSE,” said Steve. “We have three GCSE classes, of 30 students. And this year’s Y12 CS has 54 students, up on 35 the previous year.” As a school it works closely with primary and secondary and while many schools emphasise coding, Dartford’s Computing Hub encourages a broad approach. “Coding is vital, but we also look at a broader curriculum, delivering the national computing curriculum, but also looking at IT and digital literacy. It’s about being really varied and offering diversity,” said Steve. The school offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) rather than A levels, allowing students to study a broader range of subjects, including computer science. As part of the IB Diploma programme, students’ project work involves working with clients to address a real-world problem. “Over recent years we have seen several applications that demonstrate ingenuity and appropriateness,“ said Steve. “One student created an application for a cribbage club for members who could

IT & Computing

Inspiring a love of Computer Science

only meet once a week, but wished to play more often. A program was created to allow the members to play separately between meet-ups. The proposed program idea allowed the club members to play cribbage against somebody using preprogrammed strategy instead of needing another person, which enabled members to get extra practice between games. “Our Year 9 students also worked on designing an app, and explored concepts of family, loss, bullying and identity. They had to design, develop and test a mobile application, with many students using characters from the Lion King to explore these issues. The target audience for these apps were KS2 students.” Dartford’s work as a Computing Hub aims to increase the number and attainment of pupils studying computer science and A level as well as teacher confidence in teaching the computing curriculum. Diversity in those studying computing There’s also a real drive to increase take-up of computer science amongst girls and in disadvantaged areas, improving the diversity of all young people studying computing. It’s clearly delivering results. “In every year group around 10 per cent of our students choose to apply to university to study Computer Science. We’ve had up to 37 students in a year group looking to study Computer Science at university, and we’re delighted to send one of our girls to Cambridge University to study CS this year,” said Steve. “We know how valuable Computer Science will be to young people’s future, and the wider economy and we’re on track to make sure our students and those beyond our school, have the best possible start to their computer science journey.” Headmaster of Darford Grammar School John Oakes, commented: “Whenever front line educational professionals are given the opportunity to work together, schools and young people benefit. We are delighted to play our part in this exciting area of the curriculum and promote these increasingly important life skills as we move towards new ways of working.” Isabel Bajomo, a Y12 student at Dartford Grammar, explained why she’d chosen to study computer science: “Computer Science is relevant to the world, It’s an amazing and interesting subject that causes me to be more conscious of the world around me and where the future is heading. Plus, composing an algorithm, implementing and seeing your own creation function is extremely rewarding.” Explaining why she chose to study at DGS, Isabel said: “I believe I will be pushed and challenged at length and the emphasis on the content will be very efficient. Also, in the open evening, the student I spoke with sounded very passionate about the teaching and consideration put into this computer science journey at school.” L FURTHER INFORMATION www.bcs.org




Safe, remote learning online for schools, colleges and Multi Academy Trusts Now that all state-funded schools have a legal duty to provide remote education for children unable to attend school due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), the need for safe, remote online learning has never been greater beauty of Teams; that is the essential collaboration and engagement between students and students and their teachers.

Demand for Schools Broadband’s 4G filtered mobile connectivity has sky-rocketed in recent weeks; a mobile connectivity service providing the same level of Prevent Duty compliant web filtering at home as in school. This enables schools to provide safe, filtered and immediate access to remote education, for any children who do not have access to an internet connection. And now that the number of schools using Microsoft Teams to deliver lessons has risen sharply, so too has the need to ensure the Teams Chat facility is a place for students and teachers to collaborate safely. It’s important for any schools using Microsoft Teams Chat, to note that the Chat facility, without the newly developed Safeguarding Senso Microsoft Teams App, is unmanaged. That means it is an unfiltered, unmonitored platform, leaving students potentially vulnerable to bullying, extremism and child sexual exploitation to name just a few of the risks.

Using Microsoft Teams Chat safely In recognising the need for safe online collaboration for students, industry leaders in schools’ online safety, Schools Broadband, has joined forces with safeguarding partner Senso.cloud, to make learning using Teams, as safe at home as it is in school. Senso.cloud partnership with Microsoft, Schools Broadband’s online safeguarding partner, can now ensure full safeguarding of all students using the Microsoft Teams Chat including private one to one and Group chats, enabling continuation of group work and class collaboration, without the need to worry about inappropriate use of the Chat facility. Even better for teachers, this brand-new app means there’s no software to install or update and it’s easy to use. How can teachers monitor the Teams Chat facility with so many students using it at the same time? The delight of the Senso for Teams app, is that it does the monitoring element of the teacher’s job for them, leaving teachers to focus on teaching. Think of it as an extra pair of eyes for teachers; it monitors language and images used in Chat messages, whether a user is logged in at home or at school. Monitoring keywords relating to subjects such as bullying, self-harm, suicide, drugs and violence amongst others, supports teachers in their duty of care to students, enabling them to protect more

vulnerable children and guide them in more appropriate use of language and behaviour. Using Artificial Intelligence to scan any image sent within Teams Chat for harmful or unsuitable content, the app alerts teachers of inappropriate events, taking screen shots and logging details of the sender’s and recipient’s activity, with full chat transcripts to provide context for teachers. Useful dashboards logging events and violations allow teachers to proactively monitor trends and pinpoint issues before they become a reoccurring problem. Schools Broadband is a specialist Internet Service Provider to the education market, delivering Ultrafast broadband connections, together with globally unique cloud-hosted web filtering and network protection services. Visit their website: www.schoolsbroadband.co.uk Prevent Duty compliant 4G filtered broadband If any of your students require 4G mobile access to the internet, Schools Broadband’s 4G filtered mobile connection provides the same level of Prevent Duty compliant filtering as if accessing the internet in school. The connection integrates seamlessly with iPads, PCs, MACs and generic tablets and can be set up in as little as 48 hours on a 30-day rolling contract.L FURTHER INFORMATION www.schoolsbroadband.co.uk info@schoolsbroadband.co.uk 01133 222 333 (Opt 3)

What are the risks to using online collaboration platforms in schools? Chats between students sending potentially harmful or inappropriate images and cyber bullying for example, has seen a huge number of schools completely disable the Microsoft Teams Chat facility as they are unable to control or manage it. Disabling the chat functionality is however counterproductive, as it is the core fundamental



This year’s Education Business Awards take place against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has highlighted even further the pivotal role schools play in society. The awards will be presented live and streamed across the internet on 26 November The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted how vital schools are to society. In the height of lockdown, schools remained open to children with key worker parents and vulnerable children. They also had to keep pupils motivated and engaged from a distance. Now schools have re-opened, they’ve had the difficult task of balancing risk management while still providing a full educational experience, as well as ensuring remote learning is provided for those self isolating. The Education Business Awards have been recognising and celebrating school success stories since 2006. This year, due to social distancing restrictions, they will be presented live and streamed across the internet via Youtube, Facebook and Twitter on Thursday, 26 November. Presenting the Education Business Awards, sponsored by LocknCharge, will be voiceover artist and impressionist Darren Altman & award-winning comedy impressionist and classically-trained singer Jess Robinson.

Caroline Wright from BESA said: “The Education Business Awards provide a much needed platform to showcase the fantastic job our teachers do in the UK. It’s great to see so many hardworking people rewarded for their efforts. We at BESA always look forward to attending the awards especially to meet with inspirational teachers and to catch up with our members.” Sponsoring the awards this year are LocknCharge, Emotional Logic, PFU - A Fujitsu Company, Office Depot, Randstad Education, TG Escapes, and Churches Fire & Security. The shortlist for this year’s awards is due imminently, but in the meantime, here is a look at the excellent work of past winners. Outstanding progress There are three awards that recognise the outstanding progress that primary, secondary and independent schools

Education Business Awards

Recognising the commitment and resilience of schools

have achieved, looking at all the factors that lead to better educational outcomes. Last year Outwood Primary Academy Ledger Lane scooped the award for Outstanding Progress in the primary category, for its excellent turnaround, going from ‘requires improvement’ in 2012 to ‘outstanding’ in 2019. Leaders at the school are said to be ‘uncompromising in their determination to continually improve pupils’ outcomes.’ The Outstanding Progress award in the Secondary School category last year went to Pleckgate High School in Blackburn. In 2013, the school was judged ‘Inadequate’ by Ofsted and after converting to Academy status and winning an Educational Outcomes Award in 2017, the school has been hailed as a ‘Beacon of Success’ by the DfE. The school was rated Outstanding in its latest inspection report published in January 2019. Dunottar School in Surrey won the Outstanding Progress award in the Independent school sector. The school has been transformed since facing near closure in 2014 as a girls only school to becoming coeducational and over-subscribed. In just four years, pupil numbers have more than tripled.

Community links The Academy Partnership Award is presented to the established specialist academy that can demonstrate benefits to the community through a partnership with an existing establishment, such as a primary school, secondary school, or university. In 2019, Castledon College won the award for the links it had built with numerous employers to develop work placements for learners with SEND. The Community Award The ann recognises schools working in partnership with other Educati ual public sector bodies on Busines on s Awa projects that bring E

rds have recogn been celebra ising and tin success g school s since 2 tories 006



Award categories Outstanding Progress - Independent School, sponsored by LocknCharge Outstanding Progress - Secondary School, Sponsored by LocknCharge Outstanding Progress - Primary School, sponsored by Emotional Logic

Education Business Awards

There are three awards that recognise the outstanding progress that primary, secondary and independent schools have achieved, looking at all the factors that lead to better educational outcomes

ICT Innovation Award, sponsored by PFU - A Fujitsu Company ICT Facility Award, sponsored by LocknCharge Environmental Practice Award, sponsored by Office Depot School Recruitment Award, sponsored by Randstad Education School Building Award, sponsored by TG Escapes  specific benefits to the local community. The 2019 winner was Gilbrook Primary School in Wirral for the work the school has done to help parents’ mental help and for the links it has forged with a range of professionals to help support community cohesion. Arts, music, trips and sport The Art & Craft Award is presented to the educational establishment that can provide first class learning environment and modern, flexible facilities for students of art & craft. Last year Queens Park Primary School, which serves as a local educational and community hub for extracurricular opportunity in the arts, was presented with the award. The School Music Award is presented to the educational establishment that can demonstrate a commitment to improving the quality of musical learning through the provision of a first class teaching environment. Last year Lindley Junior School won the award for its choir which won Barnardos Choir of the Year three years running. The Educational Visits Award is presented to the educational establishment that can demonstrate a commitment to providing students with a range of subject specific educational visits in order to further their learning experience. Last year, Ernesettle Community School in Devon scooped the award. It is in the highest quintile for deprivation in the country and offers fully-subsidised trips, visits and visitors to ensure the curriculum is as broad and inspiring as possible. The Sports Award is awarded to the educational establishment in the UK that can demonstrate an outstanding commitment to developing the sporting skills of its students through the provision of first class facilities and coaching programmes. In 2019 Winner, Fairholme Primary School for its excellent sports provision and after school clubs.

James Watson from Fairholme Primary School, said: “It is such a great feeling for our school to have been nationally recognised at these awards, and our pupils are delighted that they attend an award-winning school! I was absolutely thrilled to receive the Sports Award, from rugby league legend Jamie Peacock and am incredibly proud of the physical education and sporting opportunities afforded to our pupils. We try to engender a love of PE and sport and encourage our pupils to maintain a healthy lifestyle.” The environment The Environmental Practice Award is given to the school project that can demonstrate a benefit to the environment and the environmental education of its pupils. Bedford Drive Primary School in Birkenhead won the award last year. Its Eco Club started almost ten years ago and has since empowered pupils to improve their environmental awareness and drive change. The Excellence in Health and Safety Award celebrates best practice in operational health and safety and recognises the valuable work the responsible managers do to create and maintain a safe and healthy environment for teachers, pupils and the general public every day. The 2019 winner was Hallbrook Primary School in Leicestershire for its exemplary health and safety practices, including silent evacuations to ensure the school is successfully evacuated in the event of a terrorist attack. Technology in schools The ICT Facility Award is presented to the educational establishment that offers a first class environment for the teaching of ICT and related subjects. Last year the winning school was Minehead Middle School in Somerset. The school boasts three ICT suites, one of which was refurbished with new

Safety Communication Award School Safety Award, sponsored by Churches Fire & Security School Security Award, sponsored by Churches Fire & Security Play Space Award Community Award Educational Visits Award Art & Craft Award Excellence in Health & Safety Award Academy Partnership Award School Music Award SEN Provision Award School Sport Award

computers in September 2018. What’s more, a set of Lego Mindstorms robots are used to learn about programming and robotics. The ICT Innovation Award is given to the educational establishment in the UK that can demonstrate innovation in its approach to teaching IT and computing that furthers the learning experience of its students. St Swithun Wells’ Catholic Primary School in Middlesex won the award last year for being in the top three coding schools nationally. Facilities and play spaces The Play Space Award recognises the outdoor playground environment and spaces in nurseries/primary schools where innovative equipment creates opportunities for E Issue 25.6 | EDUCATION BUSINESS MAGAZINE


Office Depot…what inspires us?

Simple – working with leading education establishments and the amazing people who educate our nation and rightly deserve to be rewarded for their great work and dedication. We are proud to help our academic customers create great places to work and study – especially in these most trying of times. We’ve always been an expert in workplace solutions. But these days, we’re far more than just paper and pens. While we still provide quality general office supplies, we can support education establishments of all sizes with furniture, PPE, cleaning, hygiene and catering solutions; marketing collateral and services; social distancing and

queue management systems and signage. We can also help you meet your CSR agenda. We hold over 2000 external accredited sustainable products, operate our deliveries with reduced packaging and no box fill material…all delivered carbon neutrally through our carbon offsetting scheme. With next working day delivery on stocked items, free delivery on orders over £30 plus a 30 day no hassle return policy, you can confidently get everything you need to keep your establishment working… all from one supplier. Contact us today to…we may be able to help save you time, money and hassle with your procurement processes.

FURTHER INFORMATION ellie.hendrey@officedepot.eu +44 (0) 7929 780909

Enabling the learning experience in these challenging times

As the education spectrum adapts to the changes brought about by the impact of Covid-19, more and more are discovering the benefits of utilising dedicated scanning devices as a way to aid the seamless provision of the curriculum and to help with administrative processes including back-file conversion. Digital processes are helping with engagement between all parties as well as serving as a way to share material via systems between pupils, teachers, parents or even isolated family members. Scanning documents and course material through OCR (optical character recognition), can make the scanned information easily searchable, retrievable and editable, saving time and improving productivity. Once digitised, the information can be organised and stored for anyone to access

The use of Emotional Logic to build inner strength and improve behaviour

Developed by doctors to prevent stress-related illnesses, Emotional Logic teaches a medical view that emotions are healthy physical preparations for change, not merely feelings that get in the way of reasoning. If they cannot fulfill their useful purposes to energise adjustments, however, their emotional chemistry turns instead into physical or mental illnesses, and inner drives to socially disruptive behaviour. All of this can be reversed when people learn to activate their inbuilt Emotional Logic to build inner strength. Over fifty schools in Plymouth and Devon have enthusiastically integrated Emotional Logic in whole school community programmes. We are ready to roll this programme out nationally. Emotional Logic moves staff on from being trauma-informed to being trauma-responsive. We first train an Emotional


Logic Facilitator (the school’s ELF!) who sustains the method and skills in the whole school community system. A day workshop trains all the classroom and pastoral staff for stress reduction using the healthy emotional language of adjustment to setback and disappointment. Teachers use six lesson plans to teach the pupils Emotional Logic, who then take it home to their parents and guardians. Parents evenings, and peer support training follow. Attendance Officers are empowered to facilitate change in home dynamics, as well as Parent Support Advisers. The ELF provides individual support for needy pupils and parents. One secondary school recorded a 42 per cent reduction in disruptive behaviour as a result.

FURTHER INFORMATION http://emea.fujitsu.com/ scanners-in-education marketing@uk.fujitsu.com

Unlock a world of talented teachers and support staff for your school

Partnering with the right recruiter will help unlock a world of talented teachers and support staff for your school or academy. At Randstad Education, we work hard to provide high quality teaching, leadership, support, and non-teaching staff to primary, secondary and SEN schools, multi-academy trusts and federations. As genuine market specialists since 1960, more than 85 local authorities and 2,500 schools engage Randstad teachers

MFL teachers brought to you by Randstad FURTHER INFORMATION Education and www.elcentre.org 01752 892455 the DfE. Direct access to a pool of fully vetted teachers from Spain.

anytime and from anywhere. Finally, with the reality of data privacy documents can be easily tracked, with a clear audit path, so you know who has access, where, how and why the information is stored with visible retention periods. An ideal scanner model is the ScanSnap iX1500 for intuitive automated scanning of a range of material, the in-built touch screen with the ability to create multiple scan profiles makes operation a breeze for staff members, home users or other members of a household, it really is the smarter way to work.

and support staff every week, impacting the lives of over 85,000 children every day. We take pride in our network of candidates. With a database of over 45,000 active teachers and support staff, we have the solution to your staffing needs. We believe in working together, so we’ll get to know what works for your school or academy and tailor our approach to suit your needs. We’ll work with you to help you to anticipate challenges, supporting with pipelining talent, budget planning and delivering the right candidates to your school, when you need them most.

FURTHER INFORMATION For more information, visit www.randstad.co.uk To support recruitment of teachers in schools in England within Modern Foreign Languages (MFL), we are working alongside the Department for Education (DfE) to give you access to a pool of language teachers through Spain’s Visiting Teachers Programme (SVTP).

BUSINESS INFORMATION FOR DECISION MAKERS IN PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION | www.educationbusinessuk.net Teachers available for September starts.

The School Safety Award is new for 2020. It will be presented to the school which has provided an effective, timely response to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic in order to minimise the risk to staff and pupils. The Safety Communication Award, also new for 2020, will be presented to the school which has designed an effective communications plan to inform staff, pupils and parents of measures in place to minimise risks associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. Money matters The School Finance Award recognises effective financial practices, the results of which provide evidence of a positive impact on schools, academies and MATs. The Weald Community School and Sixth Form in West Sussex won the award last year for achieving a balance between an ideal curriculum and one the school can afford. The School Procurement Award recognises an individual project where a school has worked with an outside agency or local authority to refine its buying practices and increase value to the taxpayer. Camden Learning won the award last year for its school led procurement practices and saving over 14 per cent on spending. The School Recruitment Award is presented to an educational establishment which has invested in its recruitment methods and processes to ensure a timely intake of appropriate teaching and support staff. The 2019 winner was North Yorkshire Education Services which has developed a bank of talent to meet the demand for teachers.

TG Escapes builds modular eco buildings that inspire learning

TG Escapes design and build bespoke eco buildings in education. Its modular offsite process keeps the cost down, environmental impact low, timelines short and delivers an inspiring learning space. Using natural materials and providing plenty of natural light as well as access to the outdoors, teachers find the buildings good for mental well-being and educational outcomes. TG Escapes offer a full service to take care of everything from architect design and planning (if needed) to handover. From small breakout rooms to two

storey blocks, its bespoke designs are used for classrooms, sports facilities, studios, chapels, canteens, training centres, SEND facilities and staff rooms. TG Escapes has a considerable amount of project testimonials, and customers rate them 4.8 out 5 based on 149 reviews. The fast, low impact enveloped building process delivers innovative bespoke designs that are cost efficient and minimise site disruption. The Biophilic Designs connect the inside to out providing external views of nature and, using natural materials, ensure consistent working temperatures, optimum air quality, ventilation and acoustic comfort. TG Escapes is a member of BESA, Construction Line Gold, CHAS and an approved partner of ISBL.

FURTHER INFORMATION tgescapes.co.uk info@tgescapes.co.uk

Catering for SEND The SEN Inclusion Award is presented to the UK Mainstream School that can demonstrate an increase in the quality of care and education services provided to students with Special Educational Needs. The 2019 winner was Marine Primary Acdemy in Devon which has a full time Speech and Language Therapist, three teachers who have the National Award for SEN Coordination Qualification (including the Headteacher), a full time Inclusion Teacher and a Pets as Therapy Dog. The SEN Provision Award is presented to the UK SEN Establishment that can demonstrate an increase in the quality of care and education services provided to students with Special Educational Needs. The 2019 winner was Castledon School & College in Essex for the work pupils do within the community to raise awareness of the needs of the students with SEND. The STEM Award is presented to the educational establishment that has excelled in the provision of a first class environment for teaching STEM subjects. Kirton Primary School in Lincolnshire won the award. STEM involvement days with other primary schools, a STEM club and information evenings for parents have combined to help progress and attainment in science. L

Education Business Awards

î † learning. In 2019 Putney High School in London was awarded the recognition for its play space that features trapeze handles, acrobatic bars, scramble beams, clamber nets, and a raised tree-house den and tipi platform for creative role play. The School Building Award is presented to the establishment that has what is judged to be the most technically advanced building constructed for the purpose of teaching pupils. Bishop Chavasse Church of England Primary School in Kent won the award last year. Officially opening in April last year, the calm and spacious environment provides great opportunities for learning both inside and outside. The new library forms an integral part of the school, which features inspiring book areas in every classroom and breakout reading spaces. The School Catering Award is presented to an educational establishment in the UK that can demonstrate a commitment to healthy eating and a first class catering service available to all students. The Holmewood School in London won the award last year for its Occupational Therapy CafĂŠ, which started life as a way to help a student who was at risk of exclusion due to poor behaviour. The School Security Award recognises the UK school that has made outstanding efforts to increase security through a combination of increased awareness in staff and pupils and the procurement and installation of additional security measures. The 2019 winner was Hope View Independent School in Canterbury which has installed new security measures such as an anti-climb system.

FURTHER INFORMATION www.ebawards.co.uk

Trusted nationwide fire safety services

Churches Fire & Security has supplied quality fire safety and security services throughout the education sector since 1992. We are proud to partner with Education Business to recognise the achievements in the sector this year. Celebrating the school that best provided an effective response to the Covid19 pandemic, The Education Business School Safety Award demonstrates the best work of educators in a critical period. Operating as a nationwide business, Churches Fire & Security specialise in delivering the required fire safety measures to education settings, through a network of highly-qualified technicians. Offering standard services such as fire alarms, extinguishers, emergency lighting and fire training, we also service dry and wet

risers, sprinkler systems, CCTV and intruder alarms. Churches Fire & Security holds third-party accreditations from several governing bodies including BAFE, BAFSA, SSAIB and the LPCB. We work alongside our customers to provide the services for their business, as well as ensuring they meet their legal obligations through regular maintenance. Fire safety and security in education must be a high priority for all. For more on keeping your school safe from fire and theft, get in touch today.

FURTHER INFORMATION 0370 608 4350 customer.services@ churchesfire.com www.churchesfire.com



Trusted Nationwide Fire Safety and Security Services

Fire Safety Equipment in Schools If a fire breaks out in a school, college or university, the damage can be profound, not least to the learning of students. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO) dictates that fire safety equipment such as extinguishers, alarms and fire doors must be installed in education settings. The Responsible Person on-site is in charge of making sure these services are tested as necessary and wellmaintained to ensure good working order. A working partnership with a highly accredited fire safety services provider is encouraged, to ensure businesses meet their legal requirements and have all the necessary measures in place to avoid and detect fire.

Established in 1992, Churches Fire & Security is a nationwide company dedicated to supplying customers across the UK with the very best fire safety and security solutions.

Fire Safety Services & Maintenance Churches Fire & Security work with schools, colleges and universities as one of our key sectors. Providing fire safety services to vital locations, such as schools, sees our technicians installing and maintaining a number of items, including wet chemical, CO2 and water fire extinguishers to protect the various departments found in an education setting. Fire blankets, fire alarms and smoke detectors, fire doors and a comprehensive fire risk assessment are all essential elements of a school fire safety plan.

A fire risk assessment is a legal requirement under the RRFSO, detailing the fire risks and safety levels of the building surrounds. This assessment should be carried out and recorded to a suitable standard by a competent person on-site, or by a fire safety services company such as Churches Fire & Security. The three main aims of the assessment are to identify any potential fire risks and hazards, to reduce those risks to a level that is manageable and as low as reasonably possible, and to continually evaluate the precautions needed to be put in place to ensure the safety of those on the premises, and in surrounding building areas.

The Case for Sprinkler Systems Measures announced by the Housing Secretary in April 2020 include the mandatory

inclusion of sprinkler systems in all new highrisk blocks of flats above 11 metres tall. This step forms part of the building safety reform to better protect residents from fire in their homes. This new measure will go a long way to safeguard occupants in new builds. The Prime Minister announced a 10-year rebuilding program for schools in June 2020. Funding of over ÂŁ1 billion will be provided to settings in the poorest conditions, to ensure future suitability. Further funds for upgrades and repairs will also be offered to schools and further education colleges in 2021. Rebuilding projects will focus on modern construction practices, with the potential to include sprinkler systems in the upgrading. The financial impact of a fire in a school extends not just to the rebuilding costs,

but the students learning as well as employment for staff. The cost of school fires runs into the millions; a significant figure to contemplate in the decision-making about fire safety provisions. The cost of a sprinkler system being installed and maintained to high-quality standards is unquestionably justified when the threat to property and life is taken into consideration. Sprinkler systems work in a simple manner; when exposed to a quantified temperature, an even jet spray of water is released, quickly suppressing a fire. Working independently from each sprinkler head, it is a common misconception that if one head releases, all will follow suit. Well-maintained sprinkler systems save lives and buildings. They absolutely have a place in the education sector to protect the students of today and the future. Churches Fire & Security are honoured members of the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association (BAFSA), who actively promote the use of sprinkler systems in buildings throughout the UK. We operate an in-house specialist projects team, dedicated to the design, installation, and servicing of sprinkler systems for many industries, including the education sector.

We are third-party accredited which sees our business processes, technicians and equipment independently assessed to ensure best practices and British Standards are met.

Additional Services At Churches Fire & Security, we continuously look to improve our business practices across all departments. To this end, we employ an innovative mobile application in the management of our visual fire door inspections. A simple way to document the visual assessments carried out by our highly-qualified technicians, Bolster Systems easily provides evidence of fire stop compliance, an inventory of works completed and a secure cloud database. Other services available include all aspects of fire and security protection incorporating CCTV, intruder alarms, access control, fire alarms, extinguishers, fire training and suppression systems.

Contact the Churches Fire & Security experts today to protect your school

0370 608 4350

customer.services@churchesfire.com www.churchesfire.com

Fire Safety

Improving the resilience of schools at high fire risk Schools in England are nearly twice as likely to suffer a blaze than other types of commercial building, which has led to the launch of a parliamentary petition urging MPs to change the law on sprinklers in schools A new study from Zurich Municipal reveals to nearly 2,000 school blazes in England 480 primary and secondary schools endured alone in the last three years. Malfunctioning fires in 2019, that’s 40 incidents every month. appliances or equipment, faulty electrics, As a result, almost 20,000 school children arson and kitchen blazes are among the have had their education impacted or have leading causes of school fires. Larger fires been displaced from their usual school in schools cost on average £2.8 million to building over the same period. The research repair and in some cases over £20 million. was compiled by the Zurich data science team through a freedom of information Greater risk of fire request to the UK Fire and Rescue Services. Schools in England are nearly twice as likely Further data analysis by Zurich shows that to suffer a blaze as other types of commercial last year over 15,000m² of classroom space building. Zurich analysed the fire risks posed was damaged during blazes last year across by 26,866 primary and secondary schools in 271 primary and 209 secondary schools. England. It found the average school posed a Only two per cent (seven) of the schools fire risk 1.7 times greater than non-residential had sprinkler protection in place. According buildings (with a fire risk score of 0.58 and to official figures, only 15 per cent of all new 0.33 respectively according to Zurich’s model). schools built and open in the UK since 2011 When compared to 2.9 million nonhave been fitted with sprinklers. household properties, schools were also Whilst sprinklers are three times more likely to fall into compulsory in all new the “high” fire risk category Malfun or major refurbished (58 per cent vs 20 per cent), ct school buildings in as defined by the study. applian ioning c e Scotland and Wales, Data scientists analysed s o equipm r this is not the 33,000 fires from the e n t , fa electric case in England. last six years to identify s, arson ulty Firefighters factors that increase the kitchen and b la have been called likelihood of a blaze from z e sa among which they produced a the lead re cause ing fire risk score. These factors

s of sch ool fires

include listed status, presence of cooking equipment and size of the building itself. Bigger and older schools, including those with a canteen, and secondary schools – which have more complex and dangerous equipment – were identified as particularly at risk. A correlation between poor Ofsted ratings and greater risk of fire was also identified in the analysis. Despite being far riskier than average property when it comes to fires, many schools also lack the equipment and adequate fire protection needed to prevent small fires becoming major disasters. Of more than 1,000 school inspections carried out by Zurich, two thirds (66 per cent) were rated as having ‘poor’ fixed fire protection systems, such as sprinklers, which are proven to significantly reduce the damage caused by fire. Just 14 per cent were rated ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. A further quarter (24 per cent) were judged ‘poor’ for fire detection measures, such as smoke detectors and fire alarms. Designing in fire safety In June, Boris Johnson pledged £1bn to fund a decade long school rebuilding and repair programme and a further £560m in early August. Based on large fires alone, Zurich estimates that the repair for school fires could hit £320 million over 10 years – a significant portion of the government’s investment. E



 Zurich wants the government to ring-fence some of its promised investment to improve the resilience of schools at high risk of fire. The findings have also led Zurich to launch a parliamentary petition to urge MPs to change the law on sprinklers in schools. Tilden Watson, head of education at Zurich Municipal, said: “With children’s education already severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, the last thing we need is further disruption as a result of preventable school fires. As insurers, we work closely with schools to help them manage their fire risks but a simple solution such as the installation of sprinklers could minimise the dangers from the outset, avoiding months or even years of upheaval while the repairs are being carried out. It also preserves the community space, for which schools are often used out of hours. “As well as protecting pupils, sprinklers drastically reduce the extent of damage when there is a blaze, often confining the fire to a single room. This gets children back into schools and classrooms quicker as well as saving taxpayers’ money so why is the government not willing to make this investment now, minimising the impact on our children, potentially saving lives and millions of pounds in repair costs?” Andy Dark, Fire Brigades Union assistant general secretary, commented: “The poor standard of fire safety provision in our schools is nothing short of a scandal. A major feature of this failure to invest is the lack of sprinklers. It makes clear and unchallengeable economic sense to have sprinklers fitted; it has huge support amongst teachers and parents and has universal support amongst fire service professionals and the wider fire community. It is impossible to imagine why the Government has dragged its heels on this issue. “Raising the level of fire protection and prevention in schools ticks all the boxes: protecting the education of students;

protecting the community assets which the school infrastructure provides; reducing the damage caused by smoke and fire; and reducing the risks to both school-users and the firefighters who are called upon to extinguish the fires. It’s time for the government to stop prevaricating. It’s time for MPs of all parties to press for the government to urgently introduce the mandatory fitting and retro-fitting of sprinklers in all schools.” Sprinklers save Flintshire school from ‘laser cutter’ blaze Connah’s Quay High School in Flintshire, north Wales, was saved from a potentially disastrous blaze when a laser-cutter caught fire. Around 1,000 pupils had to be evacuated at lunchtime when the fire broke out at the secondary school in June 2019. The school’s sprinkler system quickly extinguished the fire and contained the damage to a single room allowing pupils to return the next day. Emma Dale, Connah’s Quay school business manager, said: “Without sprinklers, the damage could have been devastating. “Sprinklers are a cost saving measure, not an expense. They save the cost of rebuilding and repairing schools, and can pay for themselves in lower insurance premiums.” Speaking at the time North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said: “This incident clearly highlights the importance of sprinklers in helping to avoid the spread of fire.” Further calls for sprinklers Following the second school fire to affect Derbyshire in a 48 hours period and the third school fire in the county since May, the government has been further urged to take action and change fire safety legislation that would see all new build and refurbished schools fitted with sprinklers as mandatory. The calls come from Derbyshire’s Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive (CFO) Gavin

Fire Safety

Bigger and older schools, including those with a canteen, and secondary schools – which have more complex and dangerous equipment – were identified as particularly at risk, according to data scientists

Tomlinson, who is also the National Fire Chief Council Lead for Sprinklers. A further five schools have been affected by fire in Derbyshire since April 2019. CFO Tomlinson said: “It is absolutely heart breaking to see the devastation caused by fire at two Derbyshire schools over the last 48 hours. “The effect that losing a school has on the community is huge. A school is right in the heart of a community, providing our children with the education they need, so to see this taken away at a time when schools are just starting to recover following Covid lockdown restrictions, is both a huge shock and totally unacceptable when there are fire safety measures that can prevent such devastation. “Over the last few years, through the National Fire Chiefs Council, we have been calling for government to make changes to fire safety legislation that would see sprinklers fitted as mandatory in all new build and refurbished schools. “Sprinklers are one of a range of fire safety measures that would not only protect our schools from fire and prevent injuries, but they would also protect against costly rebuilds and of course, protect against the stress and anxiety caused to the children who need their education.” CFO Tomlinson went onto say: “I am not sure what more evidence is needed to bring legislation in line with Scotland and Wales where it is mandatory for sprinklers to be fitted and for the government here in England to take notice and more importantly, to take action – we have a responsibility to build safer schools.” NFCC Chair Roy Wilsher said: “England is lagging behind Scotland and Wales when it comes to introducing legislation to fit sprinklers in schools. NFCC believes all new schools – and those undergoing refurbishment – should have automatic fire suppression systems fitted. “In our response last year to the ‘Technical Review of Building Bulletin 100: Design for fire safety in schools,’ we highlighted that the rate of schools being fitted with sprinklers may have fallen from 70 per cent to as low as 15 per cent of new builds. “We have a responsibility to ensure buildings are safer; sprinklers in schools is clearly a move in the right direction. Children across the UK have had their education severely disrupted this year due to the pandemic; a fire in a school will only make this worse, putting additional pressure on the education service and parents. Wilsher also pointed out that schools are important community assets which need to be protected. He emphasised the importance of ensuring fire safety remains a key priority during the pandemic and to make it part of the COVID-19 secure planning, along with revisited escape routes and fire drills. Fire investigations into the cause of the fires at St Marys’ School and Ravensdale School are ongoing.L FURTHER INFORMATION petition.parliament.uk/petitions/549558



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The legal responsibilities for fire resisting doors Since the Grenfell Tower Fire, there has been much greater focus on the importance of fire resisting doors and escape doors in both new and existing buildings. Building operators have a legal responsibility to maintain fire doors and escape doors in efficient working order and good repair Without doubt the single most influential event regarding the building of fire safety in to new and refurbished buildings has been the Grenfell Tower Fire. The effects of that tragedy will be felt for many years and the construction industry will feel them more than most. Since that event there has been much greater focus on the importance of fire resisting doors and escape doors in both new and existing buildings. Building operators have a legal responsibility to maintain fire doors and escape doors in efficient working order and good repair. At Fire Doors Complete Ltd, we specialise in helping our clients meet the requirements of the applicable legal requirements, regulations and standards. We can do that for existing buildings, new buildings and for refurbishment works. There are three key areas where we can help: fire door inspections; fire door consultancy; and fire door training. Here’s what we can do for you: Fire door inspections Fire doors should be inspected periodically for compliance in existing buildings and it advisable to inspect new fire doors during and post installation works. We provide this services across many sectors including healthcare, housing, education and commercial & industrial properties. With regard to existing doors in education premises it is important to identify the fire doors that are key to the safety of the people that use the buildings, we can help you identify the most critical fire doors and set-up an inspection and maintenance program to meet your legal obligations and help to keep the fire doors in efficient working order and good repair. Our inspection reports are easy to understand and will clearly identify which doors are compliant and which are not. We will not bombard you with unnecessary jargon but where doors are found to be non-compliant our reports will be clear about describing the necessary work required in order to make them compliant. The period of time between inspections should reflect the importance of the particular doors in terms of how critical they are to safety of the people at the building and the type of wear and tear they are subject to. By helping you to plan inspection intervals and by providing clear and concise inspection reports we can help you target resources to where they are needed and help you to avoid unnecessary expense. Where healthcare providers engage contractors to carry out refurbishments and to install new doors we can help to ensure


the works are carried out correctly so that the doors meet compliance requirements and that the contractor delivers in accordance with the specification. Very often, new fire doors are not installed correctly and the building owner or operator is left with unsatisfactory fire doors and has to meet the cost of the necessary remedial works. Our fire door inspection services will help you to stay legal, to stay safe and avoid unnecessary expense. What is a competent fire door inspector? The ‘Fire Safety Order’ became law in England & Wales in 2006 and the fire & rescue authority ceased to provide fire certificates. Any certificate previously issued under the Fire Precautions Act 1971 is no longer valid. This means building owners, occupiers and managers carry legal responsibility for fire safety at their buildings. Once the completed building is handed over the person or entity that controls the building must by law take

reasonable precautions to ensure people are adequately protected, in a fire. So where fire doors have been incorrectly installed at construction stage it’s the building owner, occupier or manager that’s liable for prosecution where issues come to light. This may be due to a fire at the building or because of a visit from the local fire authorities. Any search of media stories covering prosecutions under fire safety law will reveal that such breaches are severely punished and more common than you might think. Especially where there’s sleeping accommodation such as in the housing, healthcare and leisure sectors. Certificated Fire Door Inspectors (CertFDI) services are in demand to help building owners, occupiers and managers to improve standards. Their inspection reports carefully and comprehensively detail any installation faults, non-compliances and maintenance issues. CertFDI Inspectors findings are that the most common faults with fire doors stem from poor quality installation. These faults are often as basic as doors failing to self-close or having ineffective cold-


Why do the Certificated Fire Door Inspectors findings matter? Inspectors’ reports show that often installation faults are so basic that fire doors fail to self-close correctly and that the smoke seals, although installed in the door frame or door leaf, would fail to correctly restrict spread of cold smoke. Where such faults exist the building would be unsafe in a fire and a threat to life would exist. Thick black smoke would spread and have a huge effect on safety of people trying to escape. If the fire door fails to self-close its not just the smoke that may spread and cause death or injury, the fire itself would be allowed to spread and render the escape route unusable. Where stay-put or staged evacuation strategies exist people seeking safety would be placed at risk because the spread of thick smoke is allowed to reach so called places of refuge. A recent inspection of newly installed fire doors at a high rise block of flats revealed that the contractor performed so badly that they had to be brought back for a large program of remedial works. The fire door inspectors

report revealed that door and frames were misaligned; the door to frame gaps were too large, and doors failed to self-close because closing-devices were installed incorrectly. The report also found that the door leaves were unsuitable to meet the severity of use in common areas, the glazing was not securely held in place, and there was no fire stopping to large gaps behind door frames. Here problems stemmed from a combination of incorrect specification, incorrect product selection and poor installation. The same issues as highlighted by the Hackitt Review. Fire door consultancy Of course, the best way to achieve compliance is to ensure the fire doors are specified and installed correctly from day one. Our consultancy service provides you with an efficient way to help ensure that the doors will meet the requirements of the building users and be compliant with the necessary standards and regulations. Not only that but because we have complete understanding and experience of the many different types of door construction available, we can help to ensure the doors will be durable enough to meet the demands of the building users. Too often, the specification is not sufficiently

detailed and unsuitable fire doors are supplied and installed. Again, the end result is often that the building owner or operator is left with unsatisfactory fire doors and has to meet the cost of the necessary remedial works. We know our fire door products and our consultancy services will help to ensure new or replacement fire doors are suitable for the type of use to which they will be put.

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smoke seals. So the CertFDI Inspector is the competent person under fire safety law that has brought these important issues to light.

Fire door training During the course of their life fire doors will require routine maintenance and repairs. We provide training for maintenance operatives so that they can understand the standards and requirements for the doors at your building to meet compliance requirements. We specialise in fire door installation and fire door maintenance training and at our training centre in Queniborough near Leicester we can accommodate the needs of your personnel so that they are able to install fire doors and maintain them to prolong the service life of the doors. How can improvements be delivered? Many building owners now engage Inspectors to undertake post-works inspections so that contractors may be held accountable and brought back to rectify non-compliances. Building owners are consulting Inspectors to assist with specifications so that compliant installation can be better achieved. Installation and maintenance contractors are seeking dedicated training so that they better understand the particular requirements necessary for fire doors over normal doors. In providing inspection, training and consultancy services that improve standards of specifications, installation and maintenance of fire doors we can help to make buildings safer. That matters now and it will matter again in future. Contact us today to discuss your requirements and find out how we can help. Our credentials Of paramount importance to us as a company is that our clients are always satisfied with the service we provide. We always work hard to do our best for our clients and help them to avoid the pitfalls of non-compliance with legal requirements, regulations and standards. We are able to do that every time for every client because we have many, many years of experience and because we possess the necessary qualifications. All inspectors will have not only passed the FDIS certificated inspector assessment but also hold additional fire door inspector qualifications. As a company we are certificated to a UKAS accredited third party certification scheme for fire door inspections and with regard to our training services we are assured by NOCN to deliver SiteRight fire door installation training. Whatever your needs regarding timber-based or composite construction fire doors and escape doors, we are here to help. L FURTHER INFORMATION neil@firedoorscomplete.com www.firedoorscomplete.com Issue 25.6 | EDUCATION BUSINESS MAGAZINE


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TG Escapes provide timber frame offsite solutions for schools

There are occasions when schools need extra space quickly, cheaply and with minimal disruption. TG Escapes modular offsite process means they can deliver projects that would not normally be achievable. Rather than temporary or volumetric solutions, TG Escapes’ designs are bespoke and provide inspiring learning spaces that have a real impact on a school setting. Smaller buildings can be completed on site in as little as 6 weeks and the construction areas are self-contained with deliveries managed to minimise disruption to the school. They offer a free bespoke building design to all customers in education which can support funding applications like CIF bids without obligation. From single classrooms or breakout rooms to chapels, canteens, sports pavilions and performing arts studios, all buildings can be net-zero in operation. They enhance well-being by following biophilic design principles; • incorporate natural elements • provide easy access to the outdoors • use materials and textures that reflect those in nature • maximise penetration of and exposure to natural light • provide a healthy level of interior air quality • provide views of the natural world outside Schools benefit from energy saving in the long term as well as an eco-friendly addition to the school estate. Buildings can include living roofs, sun pipes, covered

decking for easy outdoor access, flexible partitions, multiple access points and separate security. Customer feedback shows that they become very special spaces in an educational setting. The calming, natural buildings are good for student and staff well-being and enhance educational outcomes. “This building has a real ‘Wow factor’ that lifts the whole school. I am over the moon with the final result. It is a great building and we are incredibly proud of it.” Bursar “You are in effect getting a permanent building for half the cost of bricks and mortar. We were intrigued by TG Escapes’ different approach to learning environments and after visiting their other projects we were blown away.” Head of Finance Their fully inclusive fixed price turnkey service also includes • planning permission/ building regulations • foundations and clearance • service connections TG Escapes’ eco-buildings are fully compliant, their sites are managed with safety first and more than half their business comes from recommendations. Members of Construction Line Gold, ISBL and BESA, they have built over 700 eco-buildings and customers score them 4.9 out of 5 based on 151 reviews. Buildings range in price from £60k to over £2m and larger sizes can cost from as little as £1500 per m2.

www.tgescapes.co.uk www.linkedin.com/company/tg-escapes www.twitter.com/learningescape www.instagram.com/tgescapes www.youtube.com/user/TGescapes

Taking the Schools & Academies Show online The UK’s largest education policy event returns this November to deliver the UK’s largest online virtual experience for the education sector Education Policy Institute (EPI). Professor Adam Boddison, CEO of nasen and Stephen Morales, Chief Executive of the Institute of School Business Leadership (ISBL) will also be speaking. Each speaker, dedicated to their respected craft across the education sector will lead in either a keynote session, live debate or discussion, or tailored workshops, ensuring visitors feel empowered, inspired and ready to implement key techniques, guidance and resources at the forefront of their institution. To ensure visitors receive an unrivalled experience, the show will be hosted on an innovative smart app, SwapCard, which will provide attendees the opportunity to interactive with live content led by leading experts, meet suppliers, ask questions and join discussions. This highly intuitive smart app will help visitors to easily navigate through each session, facilitate meaningful networking opportunities and connect visitors with solutions providers.

At a time of huge change, the education sector has demonstrated exceptional strength and resilience in adapting to the ‘new normal’, ensuring efficiency is at the forefront of each operation. With the growing uncertainty on how the education sector can move forward, the Schools & Academies Show has taken the opportunity to transition to an online virtual summit, ensuring to continue to serve as the sector’s leading platform that unites school leaders and dynamic educations with leading content, best practice and key resources at a time where the sector needs it most. Taking place over four days, from the 17th to the 20th November 2020, and supported by the Department of Education and the Education & Skills Funding Agency, there is no other event in the country that will attract such a large and senior audience at a time when supplier’s solutions, networking and practical insights are needed to overcome the mounting challenges across the sector. Due to this unbelievable demand from the sector, the Schools & Academies Show have been working hard to bring together the sector’s most decorated and influential speakers to share their knowledge, expertise and guidance on

how schools, academies and MATs can better adapt to the changing landscape in a post pandemic world, including: The Schools & Academies Show will aim to galvanise the sector by bringing together the sector’s most decorated and influential speakers to share their knowledge, expertise and guidance on how schools, academies, and MATs can better adapt to the changing landscape in a post pandemic world. Speakers include Ofsted’s Amanda Spielman; Dominic Herrington, National Schools Commissioner at the Department for Education; and Emma Knights OBE, Chief Executive of the National Governance Association (NGA). Other speakers include Saheel Sankriwala, Deputy Director, Head of Technology Delivery, at the Education and Skills, Funding Agency; and Stella Pearson, Deputy Director, T Level Delivery, at the Department for Education. Lavinya Stennett, Chief Executive Officer at The Black Curriculum will also be speaking, as will Paul Whiteman, General Secretary at NAHT. Also speaking will be Camilla Turner, Education Editor at The Daily Telegraph, and David Laws, Former Minister of State for Schools and Executive Chairman,

EdTech Summit New for 2020 and taking place alongside the Schools & Academies Show, the EdTech Summit, will be taking place online on the 18th and 19th of November 2020. Now more than ever, technology has become a leading driver for the education sector in delivering key teaching & learning initiatives. This event is designed to bring together education technology leaders across schools, academies & MATs, colleges, and universities to assess solutions on how they can further adapt their institutions’ digital strategies in-line with teaching and learning. With the new, innovative virtual app and the launch of the co-located EdTech Summit, the Schools & Academies Show has reacted to the overwhelming demand for new content and resources, and a platform to hear from industry experts sharing insights on ensuring successful outcomes for learners during the global pandemic; making these shows the must-attend events of the education calendar. Registration for The Schools & Academies Show & EdTech Summit is completely free for those working in schools, multiacademy trusts, charities, and local and central government. Click here to register your free place and be the first to receive the latest insights, initiatives and guidance on the changes shaping the ever-evolving education sector. L FURTHER INFORMATION www.info.schoolsandacademiesshow.co.uk



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Health and Wellbeing in the Education Sectors

It is essential that, whilst dealing with the pressures and challenges of day to day life in a school, you don’t lose sight of your own wellbeing and the importance of looking after yourself. Ensuring you get plenty of sleep, taking time out for yourself, communicating with others, implementing good time management practices, amongst many other healthy habits, are just some of the ways in which you can achieve this. It is always worth checking that your school has access to an independent wellbeing service, that can offer counselling and practical advice to staff, as this can help you to support them during the times that they need the assistance most and, in turn, reduce the occasions or length of absence in your school. Staff should look to actively promote mindfulness and wellbeing around the school, to pupils and each other, and make sure a support system is in place, should anyone ever need such services.

• That figure comprised predominantly of anxietyrelated calls, as a result of the increasing awareness of the COVID-19 pandemic. • 78% of calls were counselling-related, while 22% were for legal advice. • ‘Low mood’ was recorded as the most common reason for counselling calls, accounting for nearly 25% of the total. • The majority of legal advice calls were related to ‘employment’, at 40% of the overall legal total. • Call volumes started to settle down in April and May. • Within the 22% for legal calls, over the COVID-19 period, an increase in calls was related to employment (‘furlough’ and ‘the workplace’), with ‘divorce’, ‘separation’, ‘wills’ and ‘probate’ also featuring.

Support Services for Schools Taking into consideration the effect we all know COVID continues to have, we thought you might like to see some interesting findings shared with us by our helpline provider, Health Assured*:

Towergate Insurance are delighted to be supporters of Mindfulness in Schools Project, a national charity aiming to bring mindfulness to young people and those who care for them, and look forward to working with your school to help bring teachers and pupils health and wellbeing to the forefront of the education sector.

• Throughout the period June 2019 – June 2020, 23% of calls were recorded in February 2020 alone, which was, by far, the highest month.

*Health Assured, June 2019 - June 2020

To talk to us about your school’s insurance and wellbeing requirements, please call Jo Taylor on 07483 930515 or 01438 739626 or you can email joanne.taylor@towergate.co.uk Towergate Insurance is a trading name of Towergate Underwriting Group Limited. Registered Address: 2 Minster Court, Mincing Lane, London EC3R 7PD. Registered in England with company number 4043759. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

As pupils and teachers get back into the swing of school life in such unusual circumstances, there has undoubtedly been a significant increase in the pressure facing all involved compared to a more traditional autumn term. In such a pressurised environment, the threat of teacher burnout cannot be ignored. With so much emphasis on pupil attendance in schools, it is perhaps no surprise that some teachers have previously felt they have to be stoical and come into work, no matter how unwell they are feeling. On the other hand, there are time when you might get pockets of recurrent absences that mean some student groups regularly end up being taught by supply teachers, which can be disruptive to their learning and expensive for the school. Given the impact we have already seen on pupils’ learning of Covid-19 and the continued risk of periods of quarantine for students and staff, the need to reduce preventable absences is paramount. Both absenteeism and presenteeism are undoubtedly detrimental to the individual, their colleagues and pupils. Professional burnout is a familiar story, as teachers try to soldier on but end up becoming physically and mentally exhausted and have to take extended periods off. There has certainly been an increase in long-term absences across the profession in recent years, and mental health problems also seem to be on the rise, although this could be down to more conversations around wellbeing. It is still too early to tell yet what impact Covid-19 will have on teacher health and wellbeing in the long term. As a society, we’ll all be more aware of the risks of passing on infection, particularly to those who are vulnerable, so won’t simply carry on when we’re ill. We must also consider how the period of long-term isolation at home could lead to, or exacerbate, mental health issues among staff. Cultural change Stress is a common cause of ill health but the reasons why someone might be struggling varies enormously. Cultural change, such as the transition to academy status or joining a MAT, may derail staff who must get used to different ways of working and a new school identity.

in this field. We can implement consistent Yet, while major upheaval inevitably brings reporting methods then generate data for us an element of uncertainty, the processes for to map trends and spot problems before they managing it tend to be more transparent escalate. School management software, such and embedded. Small changes, that happen as Access Education People, makes almost out of sight, can actually be more this task easier, with prompts damaging, especially when there is that alert us to issues that no clear policy to address them People need to be addressed. and communication is poor. are you Line managers, of Creeping budget cuts, for most va r course, play a vital instance, may result in bigger role in looking out class sizes that eventually resourc luable e for members of become overwhelming for , s o they need to their team who are some teachers, while others heart o be at the struggling – but could find themselves f everyt we can alleviate in a management you do h the admin and position without the and sha ing pe your po empower them to right skills or training. licies talk to their staff. The reasons behind Another measure absenteeism and presenteeism we have introduced is are complex – but there are ensuring that pupils have frameworks you can put in place to consistency, even when staff are tackle them effectively. It is about developing absent, by providing stable cover. Rather people-centric policies that give everyone than relying on supply teachers, we utilise a voice, ensure they feel valued and the skills of our permanent workforce, empower them to seek support if needed. many of whom can teach more We have worked hard to create a culture than one subject. This adaptability of transparency across our trust, with staff will be more important than ever if forums and representatives who sit on the staff are required to self-isolate. staff council. People are your most valuable Investment in CPD also helps staff feel resource, so they need to be at the heart valued and we always account for it in of everything we do and help shape our our budget. That said, there are ways policies. Mirroring our student councils to learn that cost little or nothing – for and parliament, we are able to engage example, sharing good practice across the both young people and adults alike. trust, shadowing colleagues and spending time at one of our other schools. Wellbeing ingrained in school life The ongoing impact of Covid-19 will Wellbeing is a standing agenda item on our certainly have an impact on staff absence forums and developing policies to support it and wellbeing, and the data for this should be ingrained in school life. Until Covidperiod is likely to be skewed by it. Some 19, we held a regular staff café where teachers teachers may be unwell but continuing can relax and chat, but simply buying cakes for to work at home or perhaps struggling your team every so often makes them smile. with childcare responsibilities. Other measures include challenging people to What matters most is that we are flexible cut their workload and that of others by using to individuals’ needs and communicate with technology and being mindful that what they them regularly. As well as offering resources do could impact a colleague’s stress levels. on managing their mental health, we make Addressing the causes of persistent absence sure we check in with staff on a regular basis. means looking at how it is reported. Capacity During uncertain times, we must prioritise is an issue in many schools and line managers our people more than ever and reassure them may lack the time for in-depth back-tothat normality will resume once again.L work interviews. Schools within the same trust could have vastly different absence rates, simply because of how it is tracked. FURTHER INFORMATION The advantage for MATs is that it can be www.saet.co.uk managed centrally, by a HR team trained


Written by Alison Powell, head of HR at Severn Academies Educational Trust (SAET)

School life is demanding at the best of times and recent months have only added to the pressures facing staff – so providing support to teachers, and spotting early warning signs that they may be struggling, are key to reducing professional burnout and absenteeism, says Alison Powell, head of HR at Severn Academies Educational Trust (SAET) in Kidderminster


Can a supportive culture prevent teacher burnout?


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Opening schools safely: How to (re)activate lettings with confidence COVID-19 has shown the true importance of schools for our communities and, as lockdown eases, they will be at the heart of helping people to reconnect – from classmates who have been learning online to local businesses, community groups and sports clubs egress from buildings and outside spaces, managing capacity, introducing appropriate cleaning measures, locating sanitising stations and providing new staff training.

Many schools have financially benefitted in the past by letting their fantastic facilities to the wider community, using the additional revenue created to invest in new educational resources, buildings and site improvements. So, for schools, the reasons for beginning or reactivating lettings are multiple: conserving client relationships, reigniting revenue streams and, importantly, providing a safe and supportive space for the community and students to come together again. But managing lettings effectively can be hard work without the right support. As we return to a ‘new normal’, schools are understandably turning to letting management solutions for support, to introduce new efficiencies and free up time for other priorities including health and safety and support for students. With a fully managed lettings service such as BookingsGuru or a lettings management system like BookingsPlus, our software, services and experienced specialists are on hand to help power an effective and safe reopening for your school. Prioritising safety Government guidance suggests that outdoor activities could be a good first step in reopening lettings safely, while a phased reopening beginning with outdoor spaces can help to test the efficacy of your new procedures and protocols, providing a blueprint for rollout across the site or allowing adjustments to be made at a soft opening stage. Identifying which facilities are suitable for use – including lower-risk spaces such as outdoor MUGA’s and pitches – and completing risk assessments of how the use of specific areas will affect staff, hirers and users is a crucial first step. Kajima Community is well equipped to support with this, providing expert advice and access to free resources like our handy COVID-19 Risk Assessment template, which schools can use to assess site risks and consider aspects such as safe access and


Inspiring confidence with robust planning Introducing a robust COVID-19 safety plan and appropriate training for staff, are both vital steps. Schools will no doubt need to revise their cleaning processes to ensure that these are COVID-compliant, but this can be both a daunting and time-intensive process. Experts in safely managing lettings, our sample COVID-19 cleaning guide outlines suggested timescales for cleaning, venue hirer and site staff cleaning duties and additional measures that schools may want to implement, such as additional equipment and signage. Schools should also be sure to outline expectations for clients and their users whilst on site. Our free Sample COVID-19 Hirer Code of Conduct is an excellent resource for schools looking to communicate this clearly to their hirers. Our sample COVID19 Terms and Conditions of Hire are also a crucial resource for any schools to outline new responsibilities to hirers whilst they are on-site, covering important aspects such as cleaning responsibilities, obliging hirers to supply a risk assessment for their own activities, and ensuring that both the school and hirers have a process in place to temporarily collect up-to-date contact details for track and trace processes. Introducing new guidelines, safety measures Terms and Conditions and Codes of Conduct for hirers should all be high on the agenda for a safe reopening and are vital to ensure that people feel confident returning to sites. Yet, there is no denying that this can be an overwhelming and logistically demanding process. With over 40 years combined knowledge of school lettings, Kajima Community are here to help.

Bringing the community back together with BookingsPlus At The Grange School in Hartford, Cheshire BookingsPlus has played an important part in supporting the school to prepare for a soft launch and subsequent full reopening of its facilities, with easy tools for contacting and communicating with hirers on new precautions and solutions for managing space safely, such as blocking out time between bookings for safe entry, exit and cleaning. The system offers a simple way to centralise bookings management, streamlining the booking and payment process for both the school and clients through its accessible online portal. For The Grange School, this has freed up between 15 and 20 hours of the week that can now be dedicated to other important areas of focus, including health and safety planning, marketing and business development following lockdown. Automation is key to easing the burden for schools through BookingsPlus, with invoicing, credits, marketing and communication all integrated, automatic functions within the software. An easy-to-use system not only benefits schools, but also those hiring the facilities – who themselves are navigating the impacts of COVID-19. BookingsPlus’s customer support team have been on hand throughout lockdown, helping The Grange School as it navigates the new and unique challenges of COVID-19 for its lettings business. What does the future hold? As students return to the classroom for a new academic year, BookingsGuru and BookingsPlus are valuable options for schools looking to make the most of their exceptional facilities and reopen lettings safely. With the dedication and knowledge of the Kajima Community team, we are perfectly placed to support this endeavour – unlocking important revenue streams and keeping schools at the heart of our communities in the wake of COVID-19 and for years to come. L FURTHER INFORMATION www.bookingsplus.co.uk


Learning through Landscapes (LtL) is a charity deeply committed to its vision of creating a society where the benefits of spending regular time outdoors are valued and appreciated. We believe that outdoor learning, play and connection with nature are fundamental parts of education, at every stage, for every child and young person. In service of our vision and with the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, since June 2020, we have been passionately delivering a £275k pilot project developed in partnership with and funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund through their Covid-19 emergency fund. The main focus of My School, My Planet is to work with children in schools in disadvantaged communities during the Covid19 crisis to support their physical and mental wellbeing, helping them re-engage with learning and encourage a greater connection to their natural heritage through the delivery of an outdoor learning programme.

We know that children from these A matter of social justice communities need the most support, At LtL we passionately believe that access they have been the hardest hit during to outdoor learning for all children is not the Covid-19 pandemic and are less only essential to a child’s development and likely to have had access to enriching wellbeing but is also a matter of social justice. outdoor learning environments. As Spielman, Chief Inspector of Ofsted (2019) Our project, developed in direct response highlights, we know that those who are born to the findings by the National Foundation in more advantaged circumstances get a for Education Research (NFER) Report on major head start in life. Spielman continues, schools’ response to Covid-19 (2020), has the role of education in delivering been designed to support schools in social justice doesn’t stop marginalised and disadvantaged at the beginning of communities by utilising our Outdoo children’s education. expertise in outdoor learning r learning We know from to alleviate the pressures for all child our curriculum on the school workforce. r e only es n is not research that it We are actively working is disadvantaged to enact the findings child’s d sential to a pupils who are from the NFER report e v e and we lopment disproportionately who conclude that there l lbeing b affected by the E is scope for agencies is al u

t so a m social juatter of stice


Written by Heena Dave, programmes and partnerships manager at Learning through Landscapes

Heena Dave from Learning through Landscapes talks through the My School, My Planet project to help children from communities hardest hit during the pandemic to have access to enriching outdoor learning environments

Outdoor Learning

Tackling social injustice through outdoor learning

to work together more closely to provide social and welfare support for vulnerable children, especially in deprived areas. A network of expertise My School, My Planet is currently being delivered by Learning through Landscapes in 49 schools across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. In a groundbreaking first, we are leading a network of community-based outdoor learning agencies from the Garden Classroom in London to the STEM Learning Network in Northern Ireland to support children to explore key environmental issues such as biodiversity, climate change and soil degradation. They will be inspired by expert outdoor learning trainers to connect their learning with their own cultural heritage through a carefully sequenced and enriching outdoor curriculum.


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Persona - life skills e-learning for teens and beyond

Persona Life Skills is a web based e-learning platform for schools and colleges, using a unique personality insights framework to help students age 13-18 navigate their life journey, boosting wellbeing and employability. The scaffolded curriculum works equally well in the classroom, remote teaching or independent learning, guiding teenagers in building over 20 life skills that map to benchmarks including PSHE Association, Ofsted, ISI and Skills Builder. A socio-emotional crisis made worse - Even before COVID-19, wellbeing among UK children fell sharply from age 12, and was 21% lower at 16 than at age 8. Loss of agency among teenagers was rising and the UK scored lowest among 37 OECD countries on pupil life satisfaction. On top of this, the pandemic is now wreaking further damage on wellbeing for many students. The OECD warned about the disruption caused by the shift to blended learning, and short-notice school closures - this disruption has now become the reality for much of the UK.

understand others and make better decisions about their thinking, communication and behaviour to achieve positive outcomes in different situations.

Wellbeing MUST come first - More attention is currently being given to the continuity of academic progress than to students’ socio-emotional learning (SEL) - a gap which schools must address to avoid further declines in wellbeing, which in turn will impact upon academic achievement, and - longer term - upon employability.

Your students will use it, for life - The personality insights framework at its heart makes Persona Life Skills unique. The curriculum guides students in using this framework to develop life skills, during their secondary years and into the future. Each learning module takes 45-60 mins and fits perfectly into a PSHE lesson or tutor group session.

Help your pupils navigate their life journey - The Persona Life Skills framework is social, practical and memorable. Carefully combined psychology, pedagogy and technology guides pupils to know themselves, www.persona-life.com

Web-based e-learning - Designed both for the classroom and online home learning, the Persona Life Skills platform is hosted in the cloud. It is easily accessible with no more than a browser on Chromebooks, PCs, laptops and tablets, and includes in-app guidance, so any teacher can facilitate the learning journey - no training required.

Persona Education is currently offering a free 3-month trial for any number of students. Sign up on the website or contact Persona for a demo. info@persona-life.com

Outdoor Learning

 narrowing of key stage 2 and the shortening of key stage 3, or who in various ways become less likely to take more academic subjects in key stage 4. But the consequence of this narrowing is that pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds do lose out on building that body of knowledge that should be every child’s entitlement. Natural England’s own survey (2016) demonstrates that it is children from disadvantaged backgrounds who are less likely to visit urban or rural wild places. Addressing the imbalance More and more we see that the misconceptions about the benefits of outdoor learning in mainstream education has created a gap between disadvantaged pupils and their more advantaged counterparts in three main areas: a narrowing of the experiences that promote pupil engagement with learning, stimulate curiosity and improve social relations, a decline in physical activity, social wellbeing and school motivation and an increasing distance from nature which reduces young people’s sense of responsibility towards the environment (Passy, Bentsen, Gray & Ho, 2019). In addition to this, at LtL we regularly witness firsthand some of the practical barriers children from disadvantaged communities face when attempting to access the outdoors. For example, the lack of provision of highquality warm and waterproof clothing has a real impact on the emotional and physical comfort learners experience and is often not seen as a priority in enabling children to participate in outdoor learning.

Learning through Landscapes’ key mission is to address this imbalance through projects like My School, My Planet. We are committed to tackling the challenges brought about by complex socio-environmental issues, both from the context of Black Lives Matter as well as the disproportionate impact COVID19 has had on Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. To fully support and work alongside school communities we are working with two new key partners. The Centre for Education & Youth will be undertaking the project evaluation. This highly-specialist think and action-tank will use their expertise to rigorously assess the project’s impact, while the Louder Than Words cultural agency will embed a truly unique approach to inclusivity and diversity throughout the project. We have also listened to the voices of environmental activists from diverse communities to understand the issues faced by young people living in marginalised and disadvantaged communities. As Carley Sefton, our CEO at Learning through Landscapes says: “Connection to the natural environment has never been more important. As we see children and young people return to education post-lockdown I think we will begin to understand the crucial role school grounds play in education, as a place of inclusivity to learn, play and connect with nature.” This pilot project is currently being delivered in schools and we are eagerly waiting for the evaluation report to understand the true impact of My School, My Planet and will help inform how we go about offering this project to even more schools. So far, we know that

this project has been a great source of support for the schools we are working with. In one of our pilot schools, the teacher reported that the project had been a fantastic experience for their children. They reported that the children were focused and engaged when working outside and their teamwork and confidence had grown. One of their children who struggles to form positive relationships due to social and emotional needs, benefited enormously by being actively engaged throughout the whole day and bonding with his classmates. The teacher noted a marked improvement with the child’s social skills and confidence, when working on this project. Helping schools With teachers in the most deprived schools over three times more likely to report that their pupils are four months or more behind in their curriculum learning than teachers in the least deprived schools (NFER 2020), it is important for schools to tap into the wider expertise of charities and agencies that are able to support the education sector. Working with charities like Learning through Landscapes, who have a track record for over 30 years of working collaboratively with schools has many benefits, both in developing the learning capacity of schools, but also in enabling impactful access to outdoor learning – an opportunity which is a fundamental part of every child’s education.L FURTHER INFORMATION www.ltl.org.uk



School Trips

Restarting educational trips

Written by School Travel Forum

There will soon come a time when teachers are able to look to the future and want to plan their class excursions. The School Travel Forum is asking for government support to help establish a pathway to restart overnight educational visits within the UK and overseas As the Department for Education starts its review of guidance for schools regarding residential educational visits, and an All Party Parliamentary Group, chaired by Robin Millar MP, is established to explore the subject, School Travel Forum repeats its call for urgent government action so schools can start planning ahead. Gill Harvey, chief executive at School Travel Forum, the leading association for overseas school travel, said: “Our members fully understand that the primary focus for teachers at the moment is to ensure schools remain open and pupils are able to attend lessons safely. However, there will soon come a time when teachers are able to look to the future and want to plan their traditional class excursions. We are asking for support from the Department for Education to help establish a pathway to restart overnight educational visits within the UK and overseas.” Insurance issues School Travel Forum has identified that one of the major barriers to future residential


positive impact that educational visits visits is the lack of insurance cover for have on student learning, understanding, these experiences. Gill Harvey explains: confidence and independence. “Currently no insurance body, including Fraser Doherty, entrepreneur and the government-backed Risk founder of SuperJam and Beer52, Protection Agreement will said: “School trips are a very cover school trips for Scho special chance for young Covid-19 related Travel F ol o people to have experiences cancellations. This r u m has ide of other cultures, visit has effectively n that on tified companies and listen to stymied the sector talks from people outside and prevented major b e of the a their local community. schools from r r i e r s to future r For many young people planning ahead and e visits is sidential it is their first time making bookings t abroad and I know from for the future.” of insurhe lack my own experience that Far from being ance school trips are a great ‘nice to have’, school cover way of inspiring future career residentials have paths. It is really important a powerful and longthat all young people get lasting impact on pupils and opportunities to broaden their horizons.” teachers. For many pupils, their school residential is their first opportunity to Addressing the risks visit a museum, go to the theatre, travel School Travel Forum and its members on a ferry, or visit another country. have worked with independent risk Research also shows the overwhelmingly


for children and young people, School Travel Forum is asking for government to reiterate clear guidance that schools can take their learning off-site and on day visits, and that they can work with other learning providers who can take their services into schools, as long as these follow school Covid secure guidelines. The School Travel Forum is also calling on the government to extend RPA to include cover for Covid-related cancellations and work with organisations within the sector to develop a roadmap for the future. The government should also provide targeted support for those organisations,

including many domestic and overseas residential providers, to help them sustain jobs and businesses through an anticipated 18-month period of zero income. Gill Harvey continues: “If we do nothing then there is a very real risk that the opportunities and benefits that these life-changing experiences offer will no longer be available when restrictions are finally lifted. If we fail to act, then a whole generation of children will miss out.” L

School Trips

management consultants to understand the different risks posed by the Covid19 pandemic and to establish protocols and policies to address these risks. Gill continues: “Our members are all LOtC Quality Badge holders and have been working hard to review every aspect of their operations to ensure they are ‘covid-secure’. “We are doing everything possible to ensure school leaders, teachers and parents can be confident that future trips will be delivered to the highest of standards and that every stage of the journey has been newly risk assessed in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, however government intervention is urgently needed to address the lack of availability of insurance, which is a significant barrier to schools. “We ask that government shows its commitment to educational visits, just as it has done to the Film and television industry, and extend the Risk Protection Arrangement (RPA) for schools to include cover for Covid-related cancellations. RPA is a government-backed alternative to commercial insurance and aims to protect schools against losses due to any unforeseen and unexpected event. It is available to all publicly funded schools. “We know that now is not the right time for schools to be travelling however, if RPA included Covid-19 cover teachers would have the confidence to make plans for the future.”

FURTHER INFORMATION www.schooltravelforum.com

TV presenters give their support to school visits TV presenters and adventurers, Paul Rose and Kate Humble, have given their support to school visits as a generation of young people risk missing out on these experiences.

Government action needed In order to support the educational visits sector and protect these vital opportunities

TV presenter Kate Humble

Due to Covid19 restrictions, there has been a dramatic decrease in school groups undertaking educational visits. This is impacting on the educational opportunities available to children and is threatening the survival of those organisations providing these experiences. Paul Rose, television presenter, expedition leader for National Geographic’s Pristine Seas Expeditions and former vice president of the Royal Geographic Society, said his life was turned around by a school trip when he was a teenager: “I failed my Eleven Plus and hated school. I just couldn’t see the point of anything. Then in Secondary school my Geography teacher took my class to the Brecon Beacons. All the horrors of education and learning disappeared. It was truly inspirational. At last things made sense – if I wanted to use a map and compass then I needed Maths. If I wanted to understand the map and

the ground, then I needed Geography. That trip was the making of me, it was what I desperately needed. That was my door opening, it was me becoming Paul Rose. We cannot let these opportunities disappear.” Kate Humble, television presenter, wildlife specialist and author, said: “Lessons in a classroom can only achieve so much. School trips I took to see the geological features we were learning about in geography, or to the Natural History Museum, or simply to our local park to collect leaves & pinecones, brought those lessons alive. They made sense of things, gave us all a greater understanding & appreciation of what we were learning, and made our newfound knowledge something exciting. They were an invaluable part of my education.” To support the educational visits sector and protect these vital opportunities for children and young people, the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom, the Outdoor Education Advisers Panel, School Travel Forum and the Expedition Providers Association are working with government to recognise the positive benefits that learning outside the classroom and educational visits can deliver and their role in helping address widening inequalities. They are reiterating the recommendation that schools can take their learning off-site and on day visits, and work with other learning providers to bring their services into schools, as long as these follow school Covid secure guidelines. They also advocate working with insurance companies to ensure future educational visits are covered for cancellations due to Covid so schools can start planning for the future.




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Leading radiator manufacturers, Contour Heating, share the success of its most recent project – which involved the supply and installation of their DeepClean Radiator Guards to improve a nursery school’s hygiene standards. “Due to the MDF construction of the radiator covers, cleaning and maintenance operatives found it increasingly difficult to access the internal elements of the radiator, causing significant dust and bacteria build-up,” commented Robin Mansel, Contour’s commercial director. The wall-mounted installation of Contour’s radiator guard enabled cleaning and maintenance staff access underneath the heat emitter, and the drop-down cover allowed operatives to clean


the radiator’s internal elements, providing a much more thorough clean in a fraction of the time. Enhancing safety standards further, the poignantly-titled ‘pencil-proof’ grilles can be found on all of Contour’s DeepClean range of radiators and guards, as well as their exclusive antimicrobial protection – BioCote®. This nursery didn’t want to miss out on the opportunities colour psychology can have to improve the learning experience for children. So, the nursery opted for a light grey colour for the radiator guard.

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Education Business 25.6