Education Business 28.1

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BETT PREVIEW A member of Business Information for Education Decision Makers ISSUE 28.1 PAYROLL TRIPS TECHNOLOGY THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE IT & COMPUTING How can schools ensure their IT provision is inclusive, effective and tackles digital inequality? PLUS: CYBER SECURITY | DESIGN & BUILD | FIRE SAFETY | WATER MANAGEMENT | TRAINING


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Will 2023 be a smooth ride?

2022 was another turbulent year. With three prime ministers and five education secretaries, the unsettled political situation caused further upheaval for a sector that was still feeling the effects of the pandemic.

So what does 2023 have in store for the sector? The Department for Education, at least, seems settled, with Gillian Keegan in place as education secretary and the return of some familiar DfE faces – Robert Halfon and Nick Gibb. But of course, challenges remain, namely funding, the cost of living crisis, teacher recruitment, catch-up education, and so on. And there have not been many announcements from the DfE to truly understand the direction of travel for the sector.

In his first speech of 2023, the prime minister Rishi Sunak set out his new ambition of ensuring that all school pupils in England study some form of maths to the age of 18. This is to counter poor numeracy levels; figures show that around 8 million adults in England have the numeracy skills of primary school children. The prime minister has, however, acknowledged that it will take time, so realistically, it won’t be in place until 2025.

In this issue of Education Business, Niel McLean, head of education at BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, looks at how schools can ensure that their IT provision is inclusive, effective and tackles digital inequality. Meanwhile Gareth Jelley from edtech charity LGfL-The National Grid for Learning, shares his top tips on how to prevent a ransomware attack. We also look ahead to Bett 2023, which will once again gather the global education community to explore and learn about the latest education technology.

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BETT PREVIEW A member of Business Information for Education Decision Makers ISSUE 28.1 PAYROLL TRIPS
IT & COMPUTING How can schools ensure their IT provision is inclusive, effective and tackles digital inequality? PLUS: CYBER SECURITY DESIGN & BUILD FIRE SAFETY WATER MANAGEMENT TRAINING P ONLINE P MOBILE P FACE-TO-FACE
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07 News

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak sets out ‘maths to 18’ ambition; Health advice issued amid high levels of winter illnesses; and Cyber security identified as key risk for DfE

15 Payroll

Lora Murphy, editor at the Chartered Institute for Payroll Professionals, reflects back on a turbulent tax year for payroll professionals, and looks ahead to ensure 2023/24 gets off to a smooth start

19 IT & Computing

How can schools ensure that their IT provision is inclusive, effective and tackles digital inequality?

Niel McLean, head of education at BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, suggests five key questions to ask

25 IT & Computing

An Ofsted review into computing identifies factors that can contribute to high-quality computing provision and highlighted how the shortage of computing teachers must be remedied. We examine what the report uncovered

29 Cyber Security

Gareth Jelley from edtech charity LGfL-The National Grid for Learning, shares his top tips on how to prevent a ransomware attack on your school, as well as what to do should one happen

33 Bett Preview

Bett 2023 in March is the place to reconnect the education ecosystem, reimagine the potential of technology in education and renew a commitment to equitable learning for all

41 Design & Build

Alongside the need for our built environment to operate within the boundaries of our natural environment, the schools we build must perform well to meet the needs of teachers and pupils. So what does a successful, sustainable school building look like? The UK Green Build Council’s Alex Benstead shares some thoughts

Fire Safety

The pandemic sadly created a legacy of lost learning. But incidents of fire at a child’s school can also have an impact on education. Tom Roche, secretary of the Business Sprinkler Alliance makes the case that protecting schools from fire is about protecting continuity of education

51 Water Management

What is Legionella bacteria, where is it found and what risks does it cause? We outline what schools need to know

55 Training

Teaching School Hubs support the profession by providing the best possible training and development opportunities for teachers and leaders. Lynne Birch from Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Teaching School Hub shares the key learnings from her Hub’s development journey so far

59 Sport

The World Cup and other high-profile sport competitions have great power to inspire school children and create a grassroots legacy, writes James Keane, teacher and PE lead at Keys Meadow Primary School

61 Trips

There’s a lot to think about when planning an educational visit or trip – from selecting the right location or destination to organising transport and collecting money from families. This can be seen as stressful and timeconsuming. However, the longer you have to plan, the less stressful the process will be

64 Play

Tamsin Brewis from the Children’s Alliance discusses the importance of play opportunities in schools and what benefits play brings to wellbeing, fitness and academic attainment

Contents Education Business
Contents 15 29 33 55
Education Business magazine
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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak sets out ‘maths to 18’ ambition

Recognising the practical challenges involved, the PM will commit to starting the work of introducing maths to 18 in this Parliament and finishing it in the next.

The Prime Minister said: “This is personal for me. Every opportunity I’ve had in life began with the education I was so fortunate to receive.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has set out his new ambition of ensuring that all school pupils in England study some form of maths to the age of 18.

Around 8 million adults in England have the numeracy skills of primary school children. Currently only around half of 16-19 year olds study any maths at all and the problem is particularly acute for disadvantaged pupils, 60 per cent of whom do not have basic maths skills at age 16.

Despite these poor standards, the UK remains one of the only countries in the world to not to require children to study some form of maths up to the age of 18. This includes the majority of OECD countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Finland, Japan, Norway and the USA.


“And it’s the single most important reason why I came into politics: to give every child the highest possible standard of education.

“Thanks to the reforms we’ve introduced since 2010, and the hard work of so many excellent teachers, we’ve made incredible progress.

“With the right plan – the right commitment to excellence – I see no reason why we cannot rival the best education systems in the world.”

The government does not envisage making maths A-Level compulsory for all 16-year-olds. Further detail will be set out in due course but the government is exploring existing routes, such as the Core Maths qualifications and T-Levels, as well as more innovative options.


Decline in teacher numbers in Scotland highlights need for better pay

There is a particularly large decline in the number of primary teachers.

This year’s census confirms that the first overall decline in teacher numbers in more than five years, has taken place over the past year.

EIS General Secretary Andrea Bradley said: “This is a national disgrace given the desperate need for more teachers in our schools to support young people in education recovery and it is a waste of the efforts made by almost a third of the Initial Teacher Education graduates who went on to complete their probation years.

Slough has the most pupils per primary school in the next academic year, according to new research from education software specialist, The Access Group.

The ‘school squeeze’ campaign reveals which areas in the UK have the highest volume of pupils entering primary school year per school in the area – and where parents have the best access to their first-choice school.

The figure was calculated by taking the number of children set to attend primary school in the 2023/24 academic year, and comparing it to the number of primary schools per local authority, Slough is the most squeezed location. With only 38 schools within the local authority area, there are 2,340 children moving up to primary education in the next academic year, which is 62 children per school. To provide some context, the average infant school class size in 2022 was 26.7 - meaning a two-form intake would be between 53 and 54 pupils - a shortfall for Slough of between 8 and 9 places.

This is followed by Waltham Forest, which is the most squeezed London Borough and the second most squeezed across the UK. Despite having 66 primary schools in the local authority area, almost 60 children will be competing for a place per school with 3,936 children set to begin primary school next year.

Whereas the most squeezed locations are mainly in the South, towns and cities in the North, Midlands, Yorkshire and coastal areas are proving less competitive for parents looking to secure admission at a first-choice school – and where there may be surplus places.

England’s smallest historic county, Rutland, offers the best access to primary school places, with just 309 children entering each of the region’s 24 schools next year. This equates to 13 per school, and is followed by North Yorkshire, with 14 children to 384 schools, and Cumbria, also with 14 children to each of its 310 schools.

Scottish union EIS has said that the decline in the number of teachers across Scotland highlights the need for an improved pay deal to help recruit new teachers and retain experienced teachers.

Annual school census data show that pupil numbers have risen while there has been an overall decrease in the number of teachers employed across Scotland.

“It is also further evidence that precarity is a growing issue in Scottish Education and that Scotland’s teachers deserve and need a properly funded pay increase since salary levels and job security are currently insufficient to recruit teachers for the long-term who will have other career opportunities open to them – often better paid, and with less workload and lower levels of stress.”

Research shows which areas are most ‘squeezed’ for pupils


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Health advice issued amid high levels of winter illnesses

as much as possible. If a child is unwell and has a fever, they should stay home from school or nursery until they feel better and the fever has resolved.

“Helping children to learn about the importance of good hand hygiene is also key, so practice regular handwashing at home with soap and warm water. Catching coughs and sneezes in tissues then binning them is another simple way to help stop illness from spreading.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is issuing advice to schools and childcare settings on minimising the spread of illness, as winter illnesses continue to circulate at high levels.

UKHSA says that flu and coronavirus (COVID-19) are currently circulating at high levels and are likely to continue to

increase in coming weeks. High numbers of scarlet fever, which is caused by group A streptococcus, also continue to be reported.

Professor Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said: “It’s important to minimise the spread of infection in schools and other education and childcare settings

“Adults should also try to stay home when unwell and if you do have to go out, wear a face covering. When unwell don’t visit healthcare settings or visit vulnerable people unless urgent.” CLICK TO

Funding for holiday activity clubs continue in 2023

The government has announced it will be continuing its Holiday Activities and Food programme for 2023 with £200m funding, supporting children from low-income families.

These free holiday clubs run across England, supporting parents with childcare costs over the Christmas, Easter and summer holidays by providing free, nutritious meals and enriching activities, such as football, play sessions and cooking classes.

New figures show that around 600,000 children benefitted from the scheme over summer 2022 across over 8,000 clubs, events or organised activities in England.

Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan, said: “Giving children access to nutritious meals and fun, enriching activities over the holidays supports children’s mental, physical and social development and offers them opportunities that they may otherwise not have, whilst helping parents who may not be able to afford similar childcare.

“It’s fantastic to see that over half a million children benefitted from the programme over

the summer, and I’m delighted to announce the continuation of the programme into 2023.”

The Government’s Holiday Activities and Food programme started as a pilot in 2018. It was created in response to the pressures that low-income families can face over the holidays, with some children being less likely to access organised out-of-school activities, and more likely to experience social isolation and ‘unhealthy holidays’ in terms of nutrition and physical health.

It provides for school-aged children from reception to year 11 who receive benefits related free school meals and is available for local authorities to fund clubs over summer, Easter and Christmas breaks.

Evidence suggests that attending holiday clubs can have a positive impact on children’s attainment, health and wellbeing. This is especially true of clubs that provide enrichment activities as well as meals – and that involve children and parents in preparing healthy food.


of living support for schools and families

The Scottish Government has set out spending plans for 2023-24 with a budget of £4.85 billion for education and skills, much of which will go towards helping families with the cost of living crisis.

New investment will see free school meals expanded to primary six and seven pupils in receipt of the Scottish Child Payment, and will see that the school clothing grant continues.

It also includes £22 million of continued support to provide meals during the school holidays to children who need them most, along with £200 million for the Scottish Attainment Challenge.

In addition, the budget allocates £50 million of funding to continue to support the Whole Family Wellbeing programme of activity, and will see that subsidy arrangements for the provision of milk continues.

It also includes £20 million towards the commitment to ensure every school-aged child has access to a digital device to support their learning.


Serious structural issues identified in school buildings Cyber security identified as key risk for DfE

The loss of access to critical departmental systems and services, as well as a loss of critical departmental data, has been identified as a key risk for the Department for Education, according to its Consolidated annual report.

The report says that while the impact of a cyber attack has decreased due to progress made in maturing the cyber operation capabilities, the “risk is expected to remain high in the next financial year”.

The report says that Ransomware remains a threat of significant concern to the Department and that the Department’s capability remains low.

Issues have previously been reported with poor supplier security behaviour which exposed data. The supply chain is an area of high concern for attacking any organisation. Cyber and Information Security have recruited staff and opened the supply chain security function. The DfE is now in the process of analysing priority suppliers to focus initial attention on.

The report says that increasing the maturity of the cyber security operational capability remains a high priority. However, development of the security monitoring platform ceased at the end of September 2021 with the cessation of the supplier contracts. The service has been effectively forced into operating on a “best-efforts” basis - which the report says is an “unacceptable risk to the Department”.

The issue of cyber security has been escalated to the Civil Service Board as a cross-governmental risk.

The Department for Education’s Consolidated annual report has highlighted “serious structural issues” in school buildings.

The “risk of collapse of one or more blocks in some schools” is cited as one of the DfE’s key issues.

The report says: “There is a risk of collapse of one or more blocks in some schools which are at or approaching the end of their designed life-expectancy and structural integrity is impaired. The risk predominantly exists in those buildings built in the years 1945 to 1970 which used ‘system build’ light frame techniques.”

The report also says: “The impact and likelihood are unlikely to reduce in 2022, as there was no agreement to increase


condition funding or the scale of the rebuilding programme at SR21.”

As such, the report says that school buildings safety, as well as cyber security, have been escalated to the Civil Service Board as cross-governmental risks.

The report says that The Department provides annual condition funding to schools and those responsible for school buildings to improve and maintain the school estate and that it has opened the next round of our School Rebuilding Programme, which “will prioritise those schools for selection where there is clear evidence this risk is present.”


Record 91 per cent of college leavers in positive destinations

That is an increase of 6.6 percentage points on the previous year.

Of those leaving the college sector, almost half (49.3 per cent) gained employment within three to six months, with over two-fifths (41.7 per cent) going on to further study at university.

The proportion who were unemployed or unavailable to work fell to a record low of nine per cent, down from 15.6 per cent in 2019-2020.

Higher and further education Minister Jamie Hepburn said: “It is fantastic that nine out of 10 full-time college leavers are going on to positive destinations.

The Scottish Funding Council has released figures showing that the proportion of college leavers going on to positive destinations is at a record high.

Figures from the Scottish Funding Council show that 91 per cent of those completing college courses and leaving the college sector in 2020-2021 were in positive destinations, including further study, training, or employment, within three to six months. CLICK TO READ MORE

“These figures clearly show the crucial contribution that Scotland’s colleges make to equipping their students with the skills and training they need to take their next steps.

“The growth in the proportion of college-leavers securing employment, as the job market continues to recover following the pandemic, is an important sign of progress in strengthening Scotland’s economic prosperity.”



Reasons to work in the United Kingdom

to the UK could have a positive impact on your career by providing new opportunities within an industry looking to grow.

Work-based benefits

The UK government continues to accept skilled workers into the country, with 76,638 skilled worker visas granted in the UK in 2021. The rich and diverse culture and expanding career opportunities make it a fantastic place to live and work for people from all over the world. The UK’s economy benefits from this mutual exchange and is always looking for foreign workers to join the UK workforce.

The expansive British culture Britain has a diverse range of cultures which is partly due to immigration and working with other global businesses. Diverse art sectors including literature, theatre, comedy, music and cinema allow all those residing in the UK to experience a wide range of cultures.

Leaving your mark

The UK is known for many famous scientists such as Stephen Hawking and Isaac Newton. With the UK government looking for foreign workers in the health, science and technology sectors, coming

Every UK employer comes with its own benefits. The UK has specific work-based patterns and rules to benefit those working for them. An average working week in the UK is Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. For those who find themselves working on Sundays, many companies close earlier. This means you have plenty of free time to explore the UK’s sites and experience the culture outside of your work hours. The UK also has laws in place regarding discrimination. Any discrimination based on gender, disability, marital status,age, race or religion, belief or sexual orientation is illegal.

Contributing to the UK’s economic growth

A UK-based work visa is a mutual exchange for the UK and the individual, contributing to the UK’s economic growth as well as career and personal growth for those seeking work in the UK. The UK is looking for skilled workers for the health, science and technology industries. It needs other skills for care homes, hospitality, teaching, poultry workers

and construction and is turning to work visas to make a crucial impact in these sectors.

Healthcare & education

The NHS is a stand-out feature in the UK as it provides primary healthcare without the costs often found in other countries such as the US. The UK also offers the same benefits with their education system, providing free public education to all children. An added bonus for parents looking to work here. L



School funding allocations announced for 2023-24 FUNDING

The government has set out school funding allocations for local authorities for next year, following the extra £2 billion funding for schools for next year and the year after, which was announced in the Autumn Statement.

The funding allocations mean that funding for children and young people with complex special educational needs and disabilities will increase by almost £1 billion - a 10.6 per cent increase compared to this year.

Special schools and alternative provision receive an average 3.4 per cent per place increase in their funding in 2023-24, as a result of the additional funding from the Autumn Statement.

Funding for mainstream schools will increase by over £2.5 billion in 2023-24, compared to this year.

Local authorities will receive average funding increases of 3.4 per cent for the 3- and 4-year-old free childcare entitlements and four per cent for the


2-year-old entitlement, as the Early Years National Funding Formulae are updated.

On top of this, the increased investment means pupil premium funding rates for 202324 will increase by five per cent – equivalent to £180 million - compared to this year, supporting schools to raise educational outcomes for disadvantaged pupils. The increase will support schools to continue using high quality tutoring as a key means of targeted support for the children who need it most, and embed tutoring in schools long-term.

The government has published the detailed methodology for how the new grant for mainstream schools will allocate additional funding following the Autumn Statement, so schools can plan for how much funding they should receive. All mainstream schools will receive their additional funding from April 2023.


Over two hundred more schools selected for a rebuild or renovation

Staffing problems making education recovery harder

This year’s Ofsted Annual Report describes the extent to which education and children’s social care have recovered in the wake of the pandemic. It finds that, while there is much to be commended, it remains a work in progress. The report looks back at the last academic year, from September 2021 to August 2022 this year. It highlights a number of issues in education and care that are either created or exacerbated by workforce and resourcing challenges, and which are compounding problems left over from the pandemic.

If the education and social care sectors are to be resilient in the face of future challenges, Ofsted says that problems recruiting and retaining staff must be urgently addressed.

Schools reported shortages of teaching assistants, and colleges are finding it difficult to recruit tutors in many areas. Fewer college staff can result in larger class sizes of mixed abilities, which can make it difficult to pitch the education or training at the right level.

The Department for Education has announced that 239 more schools and sixth forms have been chosen for a rebuild or renovation as part of the School Rebuilding Programme.

The new projects build on the 161 that have previously been announced, with construction works now nearing completion on the most advanced sites. It means in total 400 out of 500 schools and sixth forms have now been selected for rebuilds through the ten-year School Rebuilding Programme.

The new buildings will be more energy efficient for future winter resilience and net-zero in operation, with old facilities replaced by modern education environments including new classrooms, sports halls and dining rooms.

In addition to the School Rebuilding Programme, the government is continuing to invest in the school estate with annual capital funding. Over £13 billion has been allocated since 2015 to maintain and improve school facilities across England, including £1.8 billion in financial year 2022-23. Education secretary Gillian Keegan, said: “Education is a top priority for this Government. That is why, despite facing challenging economic circumstances, we are investing a record amount in our schools and colleges. This announcement will transform hundreds of schools across the country and ensure they are fit for the future.”

Schools have also continued to experience COVID-related staff absences. High demand makes it difficult to recruit supply teachers, so many schools have used their own staff to cover absences, which increases workloads. Managing with fewer staff slows the pace of intervention when children need extra help. And it has delayed the return of sports, drama, music and other enrichment activities that are normally part of the school experience.

Many schools have found it difficult to access external support services for pupils with mental health issues. Lengthy waiting lists have placed an extra burden on schools. In some special (and mainstream) schools, recruiting staff with SEND expertise has been difficult, and staff turnover has been higher than pre-pandemic. As a result, children’s individual needs are not always met.


How to streamline 156 academy conversions

The Challenge

In December 2019, the Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle Diocese, Bishop Robert Byrne, set out a vision to strengthen Catholic education throughout his Diocese.

His wish was for every catholic school to convert to academy status and join one of four newly created trusts within the Diocese. The growth plan was ambitious, with 156 schools converting and joining one of the four Trusts within a two-year period.

When considering the scale of the programme, the Diocese education team soon realised that their capacity was limited due to their small internal team. They had worked with us on several projects previously and therefore approached the directors to see if a solution could be found.

Our approach

The team required support from someone who could hit the ground running, was competent in the academy conversion process and could oversee the large and complex project from start to finish. The role involved establishing and maintaining good relationships with trusts and chief executive officers (CEOs) in order to deliver the Diocesan academy policy, as well as working with the four Catholic education trusts and schools to produce and deliver a trust growth plan in line with the policy.

The role also included developing and maintaining a clear overview of where individual schools are on their journey towards becoming part of a Trust, and providing support and advice to schools on all aspects relating to becoming part of a Catholic education trust.

The team also presented regular reports to the director of education and co-ordinated applications to the DfE, as well as securing Diocesan approval for academy conversions.

EPM also aided schools to establish an effective approach to due diligence and provided relevant advice to support the management, planning and timing of conversion, as well as working with the individual trust boards to ensure effective governance across the Trust.

The team also liaised with the Diocesan Department for Property, the trusts and Diocesan solicitors regarding all land and building issues, as well as liaising with the Diocesan solicitors to support the progress of schools towards academisation and to co-ordinate and archive relevant documentation.

EPM also assisted with the dissemination of relevant information for CEOs, trust boards, headteachers, governors, parents and clergy in relation to how each trust should operate regarding the scheme of delegation.

Other duties included liaising, as appropriate, with the Catholic Education Service and other Diocese; developing good working relationships with relevant officers in the 10 local authorities covering the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle area; and facilitating effective communication with all stakeholders.

Working together

In order to deliver upon this work, our lead project partner was deployed to the Diocese for two days a week for the duration of the programme.

To keep the growth plan on track, coordination was key and involved holding regular meetings to ensure that all participants were working proactively and identifying any issues as early as possible. We quickly established good relationships with the property team and the Diocesan solicitors which enabled potential factors that would

delay the conversion, such as land issues, to be dealt with efficiently and quickly resolved.

Our impact

To date, 131 schools within the Diocese have converted to academy status and four strong Catholic education trusts have been forged: with headteachers and senior leaders working collaboratively to deliver the best Catholic education available to the pupils within the Diocese.

Our support provided clear communication across all stakeholders, on hand expert advice and guidance, a can-do attitude with a solution-focussed approach, increased capacity working closely alongside the Diocesan internal teams, and a conduit for queries, questions, and responses to key partners such as the DfE, local authorities and trust leaders.

This successful deployment has led the director of education, Deborah Fox, to recommend EPM’s leadership, MAT development and consultancy services to the Diocese of Lancaster where a similar deployment has been successfully implemented.

Deborah Fox, director of education, Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, said: “The work of Suzanne Chell from EPM has been excellent. She has contributed significantly to the success of this project. Having a knowledgeable and competent colleague who has been able to quickly establish excellent working relationships with all stakeholders, and who also understands the needs and motivation of the Diocese in safeguarding Catholic education, has proved to be invaluable.” L


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The Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle Diocese set out a vision for every catholic school in the Diocese to convert to academy status and join one of four newly created trusts. They turned to EPM to support them with their ambitious growth plans

A payroll update for 2023/24

Lora Murphy, editor at the Chartered Institute for Payroll Professionals, reflects back on a turbulent tax year for payroll professionals, and looks ahead to ensure 2023/24 gets off to a smooth start

Payroll professionals up and down the country will be praying that tax year 2023/24 is less turbulent than 2022/23. We saw multiple changes to government in the year and this subsequently meant multiple changes to policies, many of which had a direct impact on the payroll profession.

It’s important for payroll professionals to pause and reflect on all the challenges they’ve had to overcome in 2022/23 before turning towards future changes in 2023/24. The function often referred to as a ‘backoffice’ one has had to grapple with many different hurdles, many of which those outside the profession will have no concept of. We saw not one, not two, but three changes to National Insurance (NI), affecting either rates or thresholds. Commentators

have expressed their surprise at this, as it’s not something that’s been previously witnessed. This meant massive changes both inside the payroll department and out, as employees struggled to understand their ever-changing payslips and NI deductions.

Then there was the now infamous ‘mini-budget’, which announced, among other things, the abolition of the 45 per cent additional rate of tax from April 2023 and the repeal of the off payroll working rules in the private and public sectors. It also announced the reduction of the basic rate of tax from 20 per cent

to 19 per cent from April 2023, as well as the announcement of new investment zones, which would offer NI savings for employers of eligible employees.

The abolition of the additional rate of tax from April 2023 was the first announcement for the government to U-turn on, but then within a matter of weeks of the ‘mini-budget’ being delivered, chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, reversed the bulk of the other measures announced.

During this time, payroll professionals wanted consistency and certainty, and both them and businesses alike weren’t sure of what was going on.

What changes are to come?

The autumn statement was delivered by Hunt on 17 November 2022. While the announcements regarding payroll weren’t as plentiful as expected, this gave the profession some certainty and consistency about things to come. However, the CIPP’s latest Quick Poll results which enquired how much change the industry expects to see in the future showed that 50 per cent of respondents sill felt unsure about what the future holds in terms of the pace of change.

One huge piece of news centred on the reduction to the threshold for the additional rate of income tax (charged E

Payroll upprofessionals and down the country will be praying that tax year 2023/24 is less turbulent2022/23than

at 45 per cent). As of April 2023, this will be reduced from £150,000 to £125,140. As a result, more people will inevitably be pushed into that additional rate earnings bracket.

While this means one change to tax, the other big news is that there aren’t any further planned changes to tax for some time. The income tax personal allowance and higherrate tax thresholds are to be frozen until April 2028. The original intention was for the thresholds to remain unchanged until April 2026, meaning an extension on the freeze of two years. Additionally, payroll professionals will be relieved to know that there are no intentions for big mid-year changes to NI in 2023/24. The primary threshold, secondary threshold, upper earnings limit, upper secondary threshold, apprentice upper secondary threshold, veterans upper secondary threshold and freeports upper secondary thresholds will all be frozen until April 2028. The lower earnings limit will stay at the same level in 2023/24 as it was in 2022/23. Similarly, the employment allowance is to remain at £5,000. So, no big changes to NI in 2023/24.

The autumn statement also included information regarding national minimum wage (NMW) and national living wage (NLW) rates for use from pay reference periods beginning on or after 1 April 2023. Please note that although the rates are often discussed along with the changes for the new tax year, they don’t technically apply from 6 April.

The table reflects the future rates, also detailing the percentage increase.

NMW and NLW rates are normally changed year-on-year and so this is an area payroll professionals should keep their eyes on. The government has plans to make big changes by April 2024, including expanding the scope of the NLW, so that it applies to those aged 21 and over, as opposed to those aged 23 and over. It’s thought the substantial increase to the 21-22-year-old rate has been implemented to prepare employers for the abolition of this rate from April 2024. The government also intends for the NLW to reach two-thirds of median earnings by this time.

Another set of rates which often changes on an annual basis are the statutory payments. So, these are payments made where individuals are on parental leave or absent due to sickness. The rates will increase in line with inflation, which has been confirmed as 10.1 per cent. Software developers and payroll professionals will need to ensure payroll software includes the correct figures, and to test that those payments are calculated correctly.

The documents that accompanied the autumn statement confirmed that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is also set to receive an additional £79 million. This is intended to be used to tackle the most egregious cases of tax fraud and to monitor tax compliance risks among the wealthy.

Another area of note relates to public sector exit payments. Readers will no doubt remember the cap of £95,000 placed on public sector exit payments in November 2020 and then subsequently revoked in February 2021. In August 2022, the

government published a consultation which explored separate approval processes for public sector exit payments of £95,000 or above, and for special severance payments. The consultation closed on 17 October 2022, and the relevant page states that the government is still analysing responses. The standard timeframe between a consultation closing and a government response being published is 12 weeks, which would mean we could expect to see a response around 9 January 2023. Payroll professionals will be eager to see if anything will need to change in terms of the processes they carry out regarding exit payments.

Get 2023/24 off to a smooth start Now there’s confirmation on many payrollrelated items for 2023/24, software developers and payroll professionals alike are advised to begin planning, sooner rather than later. Testing early means that where there are any issues, they can be identified and resolved with sufficient time in which to do so, rather than a mad, lastminute panic to iron out any problems.

Payroll professionals will be accustomed to large change in small amounts of time due to the rapid pace of change seen in the last few years. It wouldn’t be too shocking if we

did see future changes to be implemented in small timeframes, but hopefully this won’t happen. To keep up to date with everything and ensure payroll is processed compliantly, it is advisable to always keep one eye out for the variety of resources available for payroll professionals, whether that be the CIPP’s News Online pages, or the GOV.UK page, for example. We do know there are some more announcements to be made (at the time of writing). This includes the maximum amount of statutory redundancy pay and student loan plan 4 threshold. This further demonstrates why it’s so important for payroll professionals to always keep up to date, to ensure they are paying employees correctly.

It’s already been confirmed that there will be a spring budget in 2023, which will inevitably bring with it new changes and challenges for the near and distant future. What we know, now more than ever, is that payroll professionals are suitably equipped to deal with change, while still ensuring the business-as-usual action of paying individuals accurately and on time takes place. Payroll professionals are heroes! L


Now there’s confirmation on many payroll-related items for 2023/24, software developers and payroll professionals alike are advised to begin planning, sooner rather than later

Four steps to successful MAT growth

Step 3: It is never too soon to start planning the HR function,

structure and operating model you will need

You will also find this far easier if you are able to compile MAT-wide data, rather have to than rely on school-by-school information.

There are real advantages to getting ahead of the game. Our survey showed that over the past 12 months personal workload is increasing significantly. Nearly 90 per cent of respondents said their administrative duties had increased. HR, financial planning and reporting took up most of their time.

One in five MATs received 20 or more HR-related queries a week, yet only 37 per cent said they use HR/people software that could alleviate the admin burden.

There are compelling drivers for growth from the Schools White Paper proposal that all schools will be part of strong trusts by 2030 or in the process of joining, to pressure from the Department for Education or your Regional School Commissioner.

There is the lure of financial stability, the need to fill gaps in local provision, and, of course, the desire to make a positive impact on pupils’ lives.

There is a lot to think about, and it is no surprise that in a recent survey of over 80 MATs carried out by Strictly Education, 35 per cent said they had concerns about their capacity for growth and adding new schools.

Leaders were worried about their capacity to manage the onboarding of new schools, due diligence, finance and legalities, at the same time as getting the day job done and notably ensuring that resourcing of shared services is scalable at their trust grows.

The good news is that there are steps you can take to streamline the process and give your growing MAT every chance of success. So, first things first. Do you have a clear strategy?

Step 1: In our experience, supporting MAT growth, having a clear vision and roadmap is critical to inform and drive the when, where and how you grow. So if you don’t already have a robust framework in place, this is the time to develop one. It is essential to invest time and resources in this planning before you embark on your growth plans.

What to consider

What is our capacity? This includes the overall capacity of your trust to take on more schools and do a good job – if your challenge will include turning around struggling schools, it is also important to be sure that your leaders and financial situation are strong enough to do so.

What is our structure and system for acquiring and converting new schools into our trust? You will need to make the acquisition work so it fits your model.

Have we got the right team and the right leaders in place – can we do this ourselves or do we need external support? You will need to think through potential gaps in talent in your executive team – or conversely any overlap if you are bringing a smaller trust into a bigger one.

Step 2: It is also vital that you understand your culture and that of the schools you are onboarding

Why do you need to do this? Because MAT growth is essentially a business merger or acquisition. According to Harvard Business Review, 70 to 90 per cent of mergers and acquisitions fail mainly due to culture mismatch – people leave, don’t get along or get demotivated.

Some school cultures are more open for change than others. Some leaders and staff are ready to embrace the progress they can make by joining your MAT, others need to be taken on a journey.

A word of warning: if you believe your cultures just don’t align, do not go ahead.

HR software could significantly reduce workload and release capacity to support your people strategy and inform decision making.

On the other hand, the implications of poor planning include: loss of staff motivation, poor performance, high turnover, absence through stress, burnout, new schools joining not having a good experience, and financial cost.

A thorough grasp of your organisation’s management information and people data is imperative to inform your growth strategy and align your vision.

Step 4: Do all you can to get staff onside and engaged

There may be some turbulence ahead, so prepare for it.

You know your biggest cost is your payroll and your employees are the single most crucial asset to improve outcomes for children.

Yet recruitment and retention are big headaches – in fact, in a recent webinar poll carried out by Strictly Education, a resounding 43 per cent of MAT leaders said recruitment and retention will be the biggest challenge that lies ahead in 2022/23 and beyond.

If you make your expansion about your people as much as about the financials involved, get the culture right and use data to evaluate your capacity, then you can make it work –and actually become an employer of choice. L


opportunity of a better education
Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) is an exciting prospect – offering more pupils the
to improve their life chances. There are many pitfalls to be
however, and it’s not surprising that many MAT leaders find expansion daunting
Issue 28.1 | EDUCATION BUSINESS MAGAZINE 17 Advertisment Feature
Written by Caroline Cusselle, head of education HR at Strictly Education, in collaboration with Mandy Coalter, founder of Talent Architects



Ensuring your IT really makes a difference

How can schools ensure that their IT provision is inclusive, effective and tackles digital inequality?

Computing and digital skills are vital to enable young people to access opportunities across society and technology. Properly used, they have ‘the potential to enhance teaching and learning across schools and colleges, including in curriculum design, teaching and learning methods, and digital approaches to assessment’ according to Pearson’s report into the future of Qualifications and Assessment.

The Covid pandemic and lockdowns greatly accelerated schools’ adoption of technology, particularly to support students working at home. Despite the inevitable challenges caused by this rapid change, the DfE’s EdTech survey in May 2021 reported that; ‘the majority of headteachers (88 per cent) and teachers (84 per cent) indicated that technology had or would contribute to improved pupil attainment’ and that technology already had, or would in the future, contribute to reduced workload.

However, this potential can only be realised if young people have the access they need, both at home and in school and through schools ensuring their computing provision is inclusive and enables children from all backgrounds to thrive in the world of tech.

The Learning Foundation, a charity that works with schools to support one-to-one schemes, reports that despite growth in home access to the internet, there are still more than two million children and young

people in the UK who have little or no access to a device or cannot get online at home. This is a real challenge, and the Digital Poverty Alliance has brought together industry partners, charities, educators, and other stakeholders to tackle it. Many schools are already working with these two organisations to support their students’ access at home. This article focusses on what schools can do through their in-school provision of technology to ensure all students benefit from their use of technology. It suggests five key questions that schools could discuss when thinking strategically about deploying technology.

Question 1: What’s the ‘theory of change?’

Too often I’m asked, ‘does IT improve X’, to which the answer is nearly always ‘it depends.’

A theory of change spells out the links in the chain connects a use of IT to a desired outcome. Usually, it involves a change in how

something is done. For example, the banking sector invested in ICT infrastructure so it could move to online banking, to improve 24-hour availability at less cost. Without modern supply chain management, point of sales systems in supermarkets would not provide enough return on investment. Often this helps identify to other things that need to be implemented to reap the rewards. In schools, we need to take the time to think through what it is that will make the difference (for example, allowing students to revisit ideas they have found challenging) then think through how the IT enables that.

Question 2: What’s the evidence that backs up the school’s theory of change?

While the idea of IT as a ‘cure all’ for all the complex things that schools do is not supported by evidence, there is a wealth of evidence about the specific things that IT can support. Nesta’s Decoding Learning report (produced by London Knowledge Lab) lists the areas where evidence is strong such as ‘learning through making’ and ‘learning through practising’. E

Niel McLean, head of education at BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, suggests five key questions to ask
IT & Computing
Schools areincreasingly moving away from buying kit to a strategic approach to technology procurement

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The Education Endowment Fund’s Teaching and Learning Toolkit provides helpful guidance on teaching approaches that have been shown to improve outcomes for disadvantaged children and young people. For example, the toolkit identifies that encouraging parents to support their children’s learning has a significant positive impact. The schools IT strategy could take for this as a focus. For example, we are going to improve boys’ reading by involving parents in their children’s reading by using IT to share texts and tips with parents.

Question 3: Does the theory of change which is driving any IT investment line up with the school’s wider plans?

The previous example assumes that improving boys’ reading is a school’s priority. Being clear how the IT strategy is linked through the theory of change to the school’s aspirations for all its students is essential. Without it, teaching staff and others risk becoming confused about the purpose of the IT investment and suppliers will not be able to ensure they meet the school’s needs.

Question 4: How do you ensure that the school’s IT actively engages all students?

The adaptions put in place in haste by schools during lockdown varied greatly. Some teachers tried to replicate the classroom experience in an online environment with varying degrees of success. A teacher using a presentation can hold students’ attention in a classroom by gauging reactions, pausing and asking questions based on how the students are reacting. This form of direct teaching struggles in an online environment where these cues are not available. Interaction needs to be built into the lesson explicitly, especially with students who struggle to concentrate. This means providing students with the tools to create their own content rather than expecting them to consume and respond to content created by others, so that IT is used not simply as a ‘conduit for content’ but as a powerful tool for thinking.

Question 5: Which suppliers understand what we’re trying to do?

Schools increasingly are moving away from buying kit to a strategic approach to tech procurement that supports the schools’ ambitions and the plan to achieve those ambitions. In the words of one supplier, ‘we have all the jigsaw pieces, but the school

needs to show us the picture on the box’. This changes the relationship between schools and suppliers. Rather than a purely transactional relationship between school and supplier, schools are increasingly looking for ‘partners’ who buy into the school’s vision, strategy and theory of change. If my barber understands that I’m having my hair cut for a job interview, or going on holiday, they will provide a far better service than if I just call in for a haircut. This is especially important as the school’s IT become more central to what the school does, reaches out beyond the school, and integrates different aspects of teaching, learning, assessment and management to include the widest range of learners.

Finally, if all this seams a bit timeconsuming, the time taken to think things through is nothing compared to the time that is wasted when schools buy IT kit, content and services without the clarity that comes from strategic thinking. The past thirty years are full of examples from around the world of schools, school districts or even whole countries rushing, hoping that magic will happen, then being disappointed in the results. Let’s learn from the past and build on a new interest in IT in schools to really make a difference to young people’s lives. L


IT & Computing
Rather than a purely transactional relationship between school and supplier, schools are increasingly looking for ‘partners’ who buy into the school’s vision
Niel McLean is head of education at BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT. He chairs the Learning Foundation and is a board member of the Digital Poverty Alliance.
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Raising the quality of computing education

An Ofsted review into computing has identified factors that can contribute to high-quality computing provision, and has stressed that the shortage of computing teachers must be remedied. We examine what the report uncovered

Ofsted has published its review into computing, in the latest in a series of reviews into different subjects across the curriculum.

The review explores the literature relating to the field of computing education to identify factors that can contribute to high-quality computing curriculums, assessment, pedagogy and systems.

Ofsted will use this understanding of subject quality to examine how computing is taught in England’s schools before publishing a subject report to share what it has learned.

The national curriculum for computing sets out that ‘a high-quality computing education equips pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world’.

The review highlights approaches to constructing, sequencing and teaching a coherent computing curriculum that achieves the aims set out in the national curriculum. Central to this is the importance of identifying and ordering the underlying knowledge that pupils require to make sense of complex ideas and engage in tasks or activities within the subject.

Teachers’ content and pedagogical knowledge are important factors in highquality computing education. The review notes that there remains a shortage of suitably qualified computing teachers, which will have significant consequences for the quality of education that pupils receive if nothing is done to

remedy the situation. School leaders need to provide teachers with sufficient professional development to enable them to design and teach a high-quality computing curriculum.


curriculum approaches

Ofsted recognises that there is no singular way of achieving high-quality computing education and there are a variety of ways that schools can construct and teach a computing curriculum. However, the review does identify some common features of successful curriculum approaches. This includes ensuring that a planned curriculum includes a breadth of knowledge in computer science, information technology and digital literacy.

Successful computing teaching ensures that declarative knowledge (‘knowing that’) and procedural knowledge E

IT & Computing
contentTeachers’and importantknowledgepedagogicalarefactors incomputinghigh-quality education

(‘knowing how’) are identified, sequenced and connected in the curriculum.

Schools that are successful in computing ensure that pupils learn important programming knowledge to enable them to become skilful programmers. They also ensure that programming languages are chosen to meet curriculum goals.

A successful approach ensures that the development of computational thinking and problem-solving is underpinned by domain-specific knowledge that is identified and sequenced in the curriculum. The curriculum to teach pupils how to create digital artefacts is underpinned by specified declarative and procedural knowledge.

The report says that teachers should not make assumptions about pupils’ prior knowledge of digital literacy, and knowledge related to e-safety should be carefully sequenced to ensure that content is appropriate for pupils at each stage of their education.

Another good approach is to ensure that component declarative and procedural knowledge are identified and sequenced to enable pupils to be successful in learning complex ideas or processes.

What’s more, successful computing schools ensure that teachers have access to continued professional development in high-quality computing to develop and maintain their subject knowledge.

Workforce knowledge

The report highlights that teachers’ content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge are important factors in high-quality computing education. This

is because this knowledge helps teachers decide, for example, what to teach, how to question students about it and how to deal with problems of misunderstanding. However, research consistently identifies that there is a lack of suitably qualified computing teachers to teach the subject.

A 2017 UK-wide survey of teachers with responsibility for computing education found that only a small percentage of primary school teachers held a computer science qualification as their highest qualification. While primary school teachers cannot be expected to hold specialist qualifications in all the subjects that they teach, this research highlights the importance of subject-specific CPD in primary schools.

Global change

Digital technology is driving extraordinary global changes that some are calling the

Fourth Industrial Revolution. Navigating these changes effectively and safely requires a significant understanding of digital literacy, information technology and computer science.

Her Majesty’s chief inspector, Amanda Spielman said: “Digital technology is driving extraordinary global changes, so it’s crucial that children and young people are educated to make use of their opportunities.

“Computing is rich in complex knowledge, which can make it interesting for pupils to learn. Yet it is also hard to teach well.

“I hope this review is useful for teachers and school leaders and helps to raise the quality of computing education.” L


Read the review here.

IT & Computing
The review highlights approaches to constructing, sequencing and teaching a coherent computing curriculum that achieves the aims set out in the national curriculum. Central to this is the importance of identifying and ordering the underlying knowledge that pupils require to make sense of complex ideas and engage in tasks or activities within the subject.

The Romero Catholic Academy accelerates IT strategy with Promethean

The Romero Catholic Academy decided that a move to cloud computing would deliver a sustainable foundation for digital development across the entire estate, starting with bringing all schools on to a shared network

“In the same way that we started with a mixed communication network, we were also faced with a broad range of display technologies being used throughout the MAC. To achieve truly sustainable digital development and seamless transition for our learners, we needed consistency in all aspects of the IT estate.”

Delivered against an agreed timeframe, this training ran simultaneously with the phased ActivPanel implementation to ensure that teachers were equipped with the essentials of using the key features from the start.

‘Nurturing the talent of tomorrow’ runs through the very heart of The Romero Catholic Academy. This family of one secondary and seven primary schools offers a seamless learning journey for children aged two to nineteen years, while its centralised operations enable the Coventry-based multi-academy company (MAC) to deliver economies of scale and operational efficiencies.

Committed to developing a self-improving and sustainable school-led system, The Romero Catholic Academy continuously looks for new ways to drive forward pedagogical approaches and enhance MAC infrastructure. Embracing digital transformation as part of this development path, The Romero Catholic Academy reviewed its existing IT estate to identify key areas for improvement.

Led by the head of IT, Hitesh Vara, this evaluation concluded that a move to cloud computing would deliver a sustainable foundation for digital development across the entire estate, starting with bringing all schools on to a shared network: “Our secondary school, Cardinal Wiseman, was operating in a cloudbased Google environment, the primary schools had on-premise infrastructure with Microsoft 365,” explained Hitesh.

While Cardinal Wiseman used projector and screen set-ups to deliver secondary and sixth form lessons, the primary schools had been early adopters of the Promethean ActivPanel: “Staying focused on our longterm objective to deliver a sustainable strategy and consistent teaching provision MAC-wide, we concluded that the whole estate should be upgraded at the same time.”

Alongside the introduction of ActivPanel displays across the entire trust estate, The Romero Catholic Academy committed to Promethean’s MAT Accelerator programme. Available to all Multi-Academy Companies who invest in the ActivPanel, the MAT Accelerator improves effective adoption, embeds ActivPanel best practice, and fasttracks educational value. This is achieved through the development of a customised training and support programme that aligns with individual MAC needs. For The Romero Catholic Academy, the MAT Accelerator initially focused on IT staff and teacher training, as well as the creation of Digital Champions.

“The transition from a mixed estate to the ActivPanel being used in all classrooms meant that a ‘one size fits all’ approach to training wouldn’t have been sufficient. Promethean invested significant time in planning the training provision to ensure that it focused on the areas that would deliver maximum impact,” explained Hitesh.

While Cardinal Wiseman was using interactive panels for the first time, the primary teachers were already familiar with some aspects of the ActivPanel –particularly the accompanying ActivInspire software which is supplied as standard.

Moreover, with cloud-computing now a key part of the academy’s strategy, there is growing interest in Promethean’s ClassFlow – cloud-based software that connects classroom devices and supports interactive activities such as polling.

“As the ActivPanel comes with a choice of software, we’re able to give teachers the flexibility to choose which will best support pedagogy at a given time. By helping them to develop competence and confidence in using the full Promethean solution, teachers will then have the freedom to embed the technology in a way that best suits them,” explained Hitesh.

An accelerated approach


consistent and commercially sound strategy

With the decision made to transition all eight schools to cloud computing with Microsoft 365, Hitesh and his team simultaneously appraised how this would work with the teaching technologies.

Hitesh talked through what this looked like in practice: “Delivered in partnership with Primary Goal, Digital Champions is supporting us to bring a new Digital Support Technician up to apprenticeship standard. Crucially, this programme focuses on the ActivPanel specifically, as well as wider digital literacy, adoption of cloud technology and online safety. This content aligns perfectly with our priorities and IT roadmap.”

Tailored training

For the teaching team, Promethean designed a flexible training programme that provided access to virtual and on-site sessions.

Although The Romero Catholic Academy has moved forward at pace to accelerate the ActivPanel upgrade programme, the successful installation of 200 panels is only the start of the Promethean journey: “The MAT Accelerator proved a critical success factor for our MAC-wide IT strategy, giving us access to a structured programme that supported our unique objectives. It’s been an excellent springboard, but we recognise the real value lies in a long-term commitment, and we’re excited to move to the next stage of our journey in partnership with Promethean.” L FURTHER INFORMATION

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Ransomware attacks: protection and prevention

‘Cybersecurity criminals perceive schools to be an easy and potentially lucrative target, which is why Ransomware attacks within education are on the increase,’ says Sophos in its latest report The State of Ransomware in Education. So how can you prevent, and also deal with, a ransomware attack on your school – a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.

Protecting your systems and raising awareness

The first and most important action you should take is to defend your systems and educate staff about the growing threat presented by ransomware.

You should check that you have a comprehensive cybersecurity policy in place which outlines the school’s guidelines and security provisions that are there to protect its systems, services, and data in the event of a cyberattack. You can download a free template here

Check to confirm that cybersecurity risks are detailed in your school’s Risk Register, and used to assess, evaluate, prioritise and manage cybersecurity risks. Remember too to keep your Governors informed. You can download a free template here

Consider attaining the Cyber Security Essentials certification. Using the selfassessment option you can evaluate if you have the basic controls your organisation should have in place to mitigate the risk from common cyber threats, and obtain certification if you meet all the criteria. Alternatively, you can use it to map areas of improvement and implement a development plan based on it.

You can also subscribe to the Early Warning Service from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) designed to help organisations defend against cyber-attacks by providing timely notifications about possible incidents and security issues.

Train and educate staff Train and educate staff and students about the risk of ransomware and their role.

You can run Cyber Security Training for School Staff from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) designed to raise awareness and help staff manage some of the key


cyber threats facing schools. It’s free.

You can also run regular simulated phishing campaigns that are linked to training to raise awareness of how to spot phishing emails. Make sure staff are aware of what to do if they notice something suspicious on their machine, and who to report it to.

Protect your finances

Make sure that there are appropriate finance processes in place when a company requests changes to bank details. New information should always be confirmed via an alternative method, not just email.

Ensure requests for out of the blue payments/gifts/prizes are verified in person or via a phone call.

Lessen your vulnerabilities

Ensure any new systems/software are reviewed at the procurement/purchasing stage to ensure they meet security standards. E

Gareth from Learning, shares his top tips on how to prevent a ransomware attack on your school, as well as what to do should one Written by Gareth Jelley, product security manager, edtech charity LGfL-The National Grid for Learning
thatAssume at some point you will be affected by a cyber attack and make sure you plan accordingly
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Primary School Principle

Implement Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) where the level of access to the network is determined by each person’s role within the school, and employees are only allowed to access the information necessary to effectively perform their duties. Access can be based on several factors, such as authority, responsibility, and job competency. In addition, access to computer resources can be limited to specific tasks such as the ability to view, create, or modify a file.

Download security patches - software and operating system (OS) updates that address security vulnerabilities within a program or product - as soon as possible to help resolve hardware, operating systems and application vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers.

Install and monitor antivirus software – a program or set of programs that are designed to prevent, search for, detect, and remove software viruses, and other malicious software like worms, trojans, adware, and more.

Implement Multifactor Authentication – an authentication method that requires the user to provide two or more verification factors to gain access to a resource such as an application, online account, or a VPN – for all systems that support it.

Run regular backups, check that they cover all relevant data and systems so you are able to recover from any incident (fire/ flood/ransomware) and test that they work.

Keep backups offline/offsite to prevent them being impacted by the ransomware (although online, some cloud backup solutions can be considered ‘offline’).

Undertake regular housekeeping and remove user accounts and files/software/ systems that are no longer needed. This will help to reduce your exposure to risk.

Replace software and systems that no longer receive regular security updates from their vendors, e.g. Windows 7/Shockwave/Flash Player.

Schedule reviews of security configurations to ensure obsolete settings are removed, particularly on firewalls. Perform vulnerability scans of internal systems to detect and classify system weaknesses in computers, networks and communications equipment and to predict the effectiveness of countermeasures.

Commission penetration tests to evaluate the effectiveness of your security systems.

Email configuration

Check that your email is configured with SPF/ DMARC/DKIM – this will prevent hackers from impersonating your email. The Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is an email-authentication technique which is used to prevent spammers from sending messages on behalf of your domain. Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) is an open email authentication protocol that provides domain-level protection of the email channel. DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) is a protocol that allows an organisation to take responsibility for transmitting a message by signing it in a way that mailbox providers can verify. Limit, where possible, the locations from

where accounts can be accessed – e.g. prevent users logging on from outside the UK (Russia/China/Australia/America/etc) using geofences – virtual geographic boundaries.

Be prepared for an attack Assume that at some point you will be affected and plan accordingly. This includes implementing a specific Incident Response Plan for ransomware – including communication plans. You can download a free template here Run desktop exercises of the Incident Response Plan to highlight gaps/updates. The NCSC has exercises here

Consider the DfE Risk Protection Arrangement (RPA) for schools as an alternative to commercial insurance, which includes cyber cover and may save time and money.

What to do after or during an attack

If you are attacked, take the following steps immediately.

If you have been asked for a ransom, or are a victim of cybercrime, contact Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime and a central point of

contact for information about fraud and financially motivated internet crime.

Disconnect infected computers/laptops or tablets from all network connections.

Consider if you need to disconnect networking equipment, or the school’s internet connection.

Review cybersecurity insurance policies to see how they can support you.

Wipe infected devices and reinstall their operating system and applications, and install, update, and run antivirus software.

Check backups are not infected, and then restore them, and reset credentials, including passwords and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) registrations.

Reconnect to the network and monitor systems.

Review your Incident Response Plan to ensure lessons are learnt.

Assume that at some point you will be affected again, and plan accordingly.

Inform the Information Commissioner’s Office if you are subject to a personal information data breach. L


further top

for schools visit:

Cyber Security
tips on cybersecurity
The first and most important action you should take is to defend your systems and educate staff about the growing threat presented by ransomware

Promethean’s next-generation interactive panel delivers our most robust, seamless, and secure user experience yet. Rich in features that respond to your unique needs, ActivPanel 9 is built for the educational landscape of today and the future.

To learn more, visit:

Connectivity ActivSync technology directly links with devices Simplicity Easy to use, so you can focus on teaching Security Enhanced security protects your personal data Adaptability Ideal for all learning environments Longevity Built to last and powered with robust capabilities Meet the all-new ActivPanel 9 ©2022 Promethean. All Rights Reserved. Promethean, the Promethean logo, ActivPanel, ActivSync, ActivInspire, ActivConnect, ActivSound, ClassFlow, and Vellum are trademarks or registered trademarks of Promethean Limited in the United Kingdom, United States, and other countries around the world. All other product and company names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders. Unless specifically identified as such, Promethean’s use of third-party trademarks does not indicate any relationship, sponsorship, or endorsement between Promethean and the owners of these trademarks. Learning, transformed

Connecting and collaborating at

On 29-31 March 2023, Bett is back at ExCeL London for three days of inspiring content, networking and product discovery.

Bett is the first industry show of the year in the education technology landscape, bringing together over 600 leading exhibitors and sponsors and over 20,000 attendees from the global education community.

The exhibition hosts innovative EdTech and resource solution providers showcasing cutting-edge and impactful products and services. From global tech companies to renowned education brands and startups, visitors will find solutions for all education settings, challenges and budgets.

Brand new for Bett 2023, the show organisers will be restructuring the way it schedules content to ensure the Bett Arena becomes a must attend, featuring the most important voices in education. In its brand new, sound proof home off the show floor, there will be morning and late afternoon Arena sessions designed to not clash with the other stages or its meetings programme.

Bett’s overarching theme for this year is “Reconnect, Reimagine, Renew”, with Bett 2023 being the place to reconnect the

education ecosystem, reimagine the potential of technology in education and renew a commitment to equitable learning for all.

Industry-leading speakers

More than 350 speakers are set to take the stage for the three day event, with the first wave of keynote speakers now revealed.

Diary of a CEO host and youngest ever dragon on Dragon’s Den, Steven Bartlett, leads the list of inspiring speakers, along with author and poet Michael Rosen, and author of ‘She’s in CTRL’ and CEO and co-founder of Stemettes, Anne-Marie Imafidon who’s a leading voice on inclusion and diversity.

Other high-profile speakers include ex-prima ballerina and founder of DDMIX, Dame Darcey Bussell, and Radio 4 presenter and new host of University Challenge, Amol Rajan, who will be interviewing Steven Bartlett.

Bestselling author and co-host to the High Performance Podcast, Professor Damien Hughes, will be sharing his insights on the most innovative and exciting approach to leadership as praised by Sir Richard Branson and Muhammad Ali.


There are a number of theatres at Bett covering a range of important topics. The Leaders @ Bett theatre is the place for policy, digital strategy, whole school management, FE transformation and more. Sessions are led by institution leaders and their teams.

The Teaching & Learning theatre is where we celebrate the best use of technology for engaging all students, demonstrating creative learning experiences that enhance teaching and enrich learning across the curriculum.

Bett Academy Live will be modelled on the online series of Bett Academies. This theatre is the perfect place for educators and leaders to top up their CPD. Bett Academy Live will take a closer look at classroom practice with schools sharing best practice and expert bodies delivering practical advice and support.

The Tech in Action theatre is the place for practical product demonstrations to deepen understanding and evaluate efficacy of hardware and software solutions.

The Futures theatre is the home of the startup where you can discover emerging innovations from EdTech companies in the UK and around the world, at the start of their journey. Sessions are a mix of advice for start ups, showcase pitches from exciting young companies and best practice case studies around evidencing impact.

The Global Showcase is the stage where Bett meets the world. The Global Showcase Theatre will host case studies from E

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 Ministries of Education, explore methods of entry into regional markets, and present key opportunities for international resellers looking for new products and partners. These sessions will support those looking to build an international network and develop their import/export strategy.

Esports @ Bett

Esports is everywhere in education, rapidly growing in K12, Further Ed and Higher Ed. An engaging, inclusive way to build STEAM and social-emotional skills, esports also helps develop students’ interest in future technology careers. In a 2020 survey of over 1,100 esports athletes conducted by GYO, over 60 percent said that they planned to pursue a career in either a STEM or esports field.

Esports @ Bett, hosted in association with British Esports, will showcase how schools and universities can harness this growing industry to engage students, support teaching and learning objectives and identify future skills. Each afternoon will host a takeover tournament between schools Esports teams.

Connect @ Bett Connect @ Bett is a new large scale meeting programme, designed to


transform how meetings get done in the global education sector. It will enable EdTech companies and other solution providers, to connect with buyers from education institutions and governments via individual and group meetings.

More than 2,000 participants from education institutions and governments, 300 EdTech Companies and other solution providers are expected to participate in over 5,000 meetings at Bett UK 2023.

To ensure they are valuable, all Connect @ Bett meetings are double opt-in (both participants want to

meet each other) and are scheduled based on each individual’s availability. The meetings will be held in a central location in the Bett Exhibition Hall.

Individuals from Education Institutions and Governments will be joining Connect @ Bett to use their time at Bett in the most efficient way possible, to meet the EdTech Companies and other Solution Providers they want to meet quickly and easily.

It will allow visitors to discover new and emerging products, services and solutions that can help address their organisation’s challenges and opportunities. E

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@ Bett is a new large scale meeting programme, designed to transform how meetings get done in the global education sector. It will enable EdTech companies and other solution providers, to connect with buyers from education institutions and governments via individual and group meetings 0345 145 1234 Internet solutions enhancing education to find out how Exa and The Exa Foundation inspire, supports and promote the effective use of technology in schools. Visit our stand at We’re more than just an Internet Service Provider, we’re committed to improving the learning experiences of pupils nationwide

 It will also allow visitors to participate in 45-minute small peer group discussions called Tabletalks on key education topics.

“We launched Connect @ Bett to help our community of solution providers, education institutions and governments meet new people, discover new organisations and create incredible opportunities and meaningful connections at our events,” said Rachel Brodie, managing director of Bett. “This new meetings programme will result in positive changes for them, their organisations and their learners.”

Louisa Hunter, Bett director, said: “This year at Bett we are transforming the way that the community connects and collaborates by launching our groundbreaking new meetings programme, Connect @ Bett. We are excited to welcome the community back together again for what is set to be the best Bett yet and can’t wait to hear from our inspiring keynote speakers about their own journeys with education.”

Ahead by Bett

Higher education institutions around the world are working at great pace to adapt

to new approaches to learning, accelerate digital transformation, and take advantage of new business models recently introduced to the sector. With tech companies eager to pitch in on what is predicted to be a $40bn market by 2024, how can we ensure we are providing senior leaders in higher education with the right tools to move forward? To support universities and solution providers through this process and in response to emphatic demand from the Higher Education community, Ahead by Bett was launched in 2022 to sit alongside Bett.

Ahead by Bett is the destination for higher education leaders to come together with their peers and the world’s leading EdTech’s to learn, network and trade.

Ahead by Bett’s content spaces provide an opportunity for senior leadership, heads of faculty, technology leads and heads of research and innovation to congregate and tackle the current business issues faced in tertiary education.

Spread across three learning and networking spaces, Ahead by Bett will be hosting over 60

speakers including highly acclaimed author and journalist Matthew Syed, who will be discussing mindset and high performance in higher education, professor Sir Steve Smith, the UK’s International Education Champion on the future of higher education, professor Rose Luckin on AI’s uses for understanding student data and professor Diana Laurillard on professional development as the new frontier of higher education.

Visitors will also be able to hear from other changemakers, experience innovation and collaborate with peers all within one place dedicated to Higher Education. Founding partners Jisc, UCISA & Universities UK will be supporting the event and commenting on the launch of Ahead said: “Higher Education institutions around the world are working at great pace to adapt to new approaches to learning, address accelerated digital transformation, and adjust to and benefit from business model disruption.

Supporting universities through this process, Ahead by Bett provides a forum to connect with cutting-edge technology solution providers to jointly tackle urgent business and pedagogical challenges. We are proud to support this event.”

Max Oliver, event director of Ahead by Bett said: “We are dedicating a whole new sister show to the Higher Education sector. The appetite and interest in this sector has grown over recent years and now is the perfect time for academics, changemakers, heads of faculty, and technology leads to gather together to share the very best in Higher E

Exa – fast, reliable and safe internet services for schools

Founded in 2003, Exa is a market-leading Internet Service Provider (ISP) with one vision; to provide fast, reliable and safe internet services to schools and businesses, complemented by excellent technical support.

With years of experience and a customer base that includes many of the country’s schools, multi-academy trusts, and businesses, as well as numerous customer service awards, Exa has now made that a reality.

Exa is passionate about providing solutions that enhance your learners’ education whilst ensuring you meet the statutory guidelines to keep your students and staff safe online.

To meet this demand, Exa has put together its cost effective, fully managed, customisable

Protect and Connect® solution, which delivers future-proof full fibre connectivity, content filtering and monitoring that provide effective eSafeguarding for your pupils and staff and world-class firewalls and antivirus that ensure your network, data and devices are secure.

2023 will mark Exa’s 20th year and we are looking forward to celebrating with everyone at our favourite event of the year, Bett. To book a meeting with our experienced team please get in touch via or call us on 0345 145 1234. See you in March! L

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Ahead by Bett’s content spaces provide an opportunity for senior leadership, heads of faculty, technology leads and heads of research and innovation to congregate and tackle the current issues faced in tertiary education
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Roary Pownall, chief HMI, presented at the Sex Education Forum’s annual members conference on 22 November outlining how personal development (PD) is being inspected in both state and independent sectors. This follows the publication of the updated School Inspection Handbooks and the annual refresh of Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE).

His message was clear Outstanding student personal development hinges on a triangulation between a wholeschool approach to pupil attitudes and behaviours, safeguarding, and the taught PD curriculum. School leaders are expected to have given ‘proper attention’ to having a spiral PD (PSHE) curriculum in place. Pupils must extend their learning in PD from year to year, based on effective assessment, and there should be appropriate challenge and ambition within PD curricula. Staff need to be trained, enthusiastic and knowledgeable. The PD curriculum also needs to be relevant to students with up-to-date, relatable content. The links between a school’s safeguarding provision and the taught curriculum is a ‘golden thread’ running through any PD judgement, according to Mr. Pownall.

What’s happening on the ground?

Recent evidence from schools is telling us that inspection of PD is more rigorous than ever. Schools have been surprised at the depth of inspection around PSHE, and its relevance for safeguarding. Inspectors have been critical of lacklustre teaching and resources, as well as ‘poor’ timetabling that does not allow for high quality teaching and learning in PD.

Members of staff responsible for teaching PSHE in primary and secondary settings have routinely been asked the ‘whats, whens and hows’ of the PSHE curriculum, and questioned on the relevance of the programme to KCSIE.

In larger settings, consistency of provision is anticipated.

Subject leads have been required to evidence monitoring and evaluation of teaching and learning across the school. Scrutiny of resources is also common

where inspectors are seeking currency and adaptability. This is to ensure ‘ambitious’ learning in PD for all pupils, including those with additional needs. While this rigour is welcome to drive positive change for students’ wellbeing, which in turn can positively impact learning, it also poses significant challenges for schools who have not given due attention to the PD curriculum, or whose teaching teams are less than enthusiastic about it. L

This article was co-authored by Richard Palmer and Angela Milliken-Tull, Founders and Directors of Chameleon PDE Ltd.


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Inspection and personal development – what’s really happening on the ground?

Last year, content was delivered in The Auditorium, The Sandbox and The Collaboration Space. The Auditorium is the heart of Ahead by Bett and a key platform for change makers, innovators and leaders in higher education.

The Sandbox is an opportunity to experience innovation in practice and get hands on with new technologies.

The Collaboration Space meanwhile is the central hub for peer to peer learning through curated networking sessions and in depth roundtable discussions.

Bett Awards

The Bett Awards are designed to celebrate the inspiring creativity and innovation that can be found throughout technology for education. This year they will take place in the evening of 29 March.

Last year, the winner of the coveted Innovator of the Year award was Practice Pal – which gives children premium music lessons with professional musicians for just £7.99 a week – less than half the cost of a normal half hour lesson.

Marty the Robot, a walking, dancing, footballplaying robot that helps introduce children to the world of coding and robotics, won the Hardware, Digital and Robotic award.

The fast-growing LGfl was crowned the winner of the Technical and IT Support service after making its free schools meals eligibility checker free. The tool helps schools track down the up to £100 million in pupil premium funding that they could be missing out on.

The company also scooped the Digital Wellbeing award with its tool, built in partnership with the Department for Education, that helps students identify extremism online.

Julia Garvey, deputy director general, British Educational Suppliers Association and chair of judges for the Bett Awards said: “The Bett Awards always attract top calibre submissions and this year was no exception. The winners are all amazing and the standard in 2022 was incredibly high – the hardest job we had was narrowing it down to pick a winner each time. We are delighted to be able to recognise the hard work of so many businesses in the EdTech space all of whom have gone above and beyond to support teachers and learners during these uncertain times. L


Learning and collaboration tools from Promethean

Promethean has been a leader in the world of education technology for almost a quarter of a century. From its beginnings in Blackburn, England, to its global operations in 22 countries today, Promethean has continued to explore, innovate, and inspire – designing learning and collaboration tools that are built for breakthroughs.

Promethean’s award-winning interactive display, ActivPanel, and lesson delivery software, ActivInspire and ClassFlow, were designed to engage students, connect colleagues, and bring out the brilliance in everyone. Its complete edtech solution also includes superior professional

development and comprehensive customer support.

That’s why Promethean has earned the love and loyalty of so many educators. It’s why its partners are so enthusiastic about selling Promethean’s products. And it’s why the company’s 500 employees across the globe are proud to work for a company that has the most noble of missions: to transform the way the world learns and collaborates. L


Chameleon PDE provide teaching resources, consultancy and training that inspire schools to seek excellence in the personal development of pupils. Chameleon PDE have a burgeoning reputation as the ‘go-to’ provider for schools who wish to advance this area of the curriculum and evidence outstanding practice. Directors Angela MillikenTull and Richard Palmer of Chameleon PDE Ltd each have over 25 years’ experience as teachers and consultants, supporting schools to provide the very best personal development / PSHE / Citizenship programmes for students. Their extensive experience in the public health and university and sectors together with work with private sector organisations bring an enhanced understanding of

the needs of students, and how best to prepare them for life beyond school.

Chameleon PDE’s mission is to ensure that every student is equipped with a broad set of knowledge and skills to help them manage any challenges, and make the most of any opportunities ahead. This is best achieved through the empowerment of teachers, conferring the expertise to assure sustained and valued learning in this vital part of the 21st Century curriculum. L


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Education practices and their vision for the future of tertiary study around the world.”
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Young people are deeply influenced by their environment, so it’s essential that the space around them reinforces and supports their education and individual developmental needs to the full.

Whether you are looking for a versatile, open plan space with plenty of natural light and room for activities, or an inspiring space with in-the-round seating for maximum student engagement, here at Cabins for Schools we have the right solution for you.

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School buildings which support pupils and planet

Alongside the need for our built environment to operate within the boundaries of our natural environment, the schools we build must perform well to meet the needs of teachers and pupils. So what does a successful sustainable school building look like? The UK Green Build Council’s Alex Benstead shares some thoughts

Record-breaking temperatures this summer sent a clear signal that climate change, along with its hazards, is well-and-truly here. Every effort available to us to limit temperature rises below 1.5C must be made, including when it comes to the buildings within which we live, work, and teach. Many of the solutions to delivering sustainable buildings, which both protect and enhance nature, already exist in today’s market. Delivering them at the scale necessary to ensure we meet our climate targets is the current challenge we face and one we must overcome.

With the built environment directly responsible for around 25 per cent of the UK’s carbon footprint, it is mission critical to our climate targets that we transform the way all buildings - including schools - are planned, designed, constructed, maintained, and operated. That is precisely why it is UK Green Building Council (UKGBC)’s mission to radically improve the sustainability of the built environment. With over 700 organisations spanning the entire sector, our members are at the forefront of driving sustainability.

What does a successful school building look like?

Alongside the need for our built environment to operate within the boundaries of our natural environment, the schools we build must perform well to meet the needs of teachers and pupils. What does a successful school building look like, and how can we continue to create that within our planetary boundaries?

RIBA’s Caroline Buckingham offers a compelling response to this question by suggesting “a good school is driven by its educational vision and ethos. The role of school buildings, whether new or partly refurbished, can facilitate this vision. In school design there are many common parts, teaching spaces, staff spaces, and large spaces.”

However, Caroline stresses that while one size does not fit all, a good school building needs to be “eliminating challenges such as cramped spaces, lack of natural light, and bad acoustics.” And when it comes to those who occupy them, a good school building should be “welcoming and uplifting, providing a sense of ownership and pride for pupils and staff.”

For me, this is the exciting part of design, uncovering building solutions that not only perform well functionally and aesthetically, but also exist within the capacity

of our planet. If we are educating children to thrive within society, then we should be helping to protect that very future through our actions.


buildings for net zero and future generations

When considering the need for any development, one of the best places to start is the Institution for Structural Engineers’ Hierarchy of Net Zero Design. Not only does it challenge us to understand whether a new build is truly necessary, but it asks us to consider whether we can continue with existing structures and rethink the space we already have. In a country with an estimated 165,000 empty premises, it makes sense to re-use our existing stock. The Hierarchy of Net Zero Design steers industry to firstly consider not building at all, followed by seeking out opportunities to refurbish and renovate, ultimately resulting in building less. During a renovation project the typical aim is, at a minimum, to keep the core structure. Nearly half of the carbon emissions associated with constructing new school buildings come from the foundations and main structural frame – by choosing to retain as much of the existing structure as possible, considerable carbon savings can be made. This can be taken even further through preservation of the facade. While working with existing buildings can be challenging, prioritising renovation over new build is where we will have the largest impact. It is a challenge we should be tackling head on.

Solutions to build more sustainably already exist

Now we’ve looked at whether we need a new building, the next step towards net zero design is to build clever. How can we design in a way that uses fewer materials, uses low carbon E

Written by Alex Benstead, advisor –advancing net zero at UKGBC
Design & Build
As netdesignwefor zero, it’s important that there’s a understandingcommon of what aimingwe’re for
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 materials, and focuses on longevity and adaptability. These principles start to take us into a circular economy approach. Moving from a linear take-make-waste industry, to one that recognises the value of materials and prioritises keeping hold of their functionality.

Focusing on materials, a well-designed building will firstly explore all opportunities to reduce the amount of material used, this may produce design options that weren’t previously considered as reducing emissions becomes the top priority. Secondly, and handin-hand with reducing material volume, we should be using low carbon materials, such as sustainably sourced timber. Concrete and steel are typically the highest source of carbon emissions, and if it isn’t possible to design them out, then it’s possible to use a high proportion of cement replacement, reused steel, or steel with a high recycled content.

In terms of the building concept, we should be designing for sustainability across the lifetime. In the construction phase, this means designing with standardised, prefabricated, and modular products. Waste is a significant problem for the construction industry and exploring solutions such as off-site manufacturing can have a positive impact on reducing waste. We also need to consider how the building may need adapting in the future, as needs can change over time. An adaptable building that can be easily disassembled or remodelled prevents future emissions and resource use. It’s easy to see the value of this as we look at our current buildings and the complexities involved with renovation.

As we design for net zero, it’s important that there’s a common understanding of

what we’re aiming for, how we measure it, and how we confirm that a building has indeed reached Net Zero. UKGBC have done foundational work on this, with our Net Zero Carbon Buildings Framework released in 2019, to provide the industry with clarity on the definition of Net Zero buildings. Improving on this further, UKGBC are collaborating with other leading organisations to develop the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard; an agreed methodology.

If you’re in the process of designing a new school, or planning a future one, then it would be wise to consider both the UKGBC Framework and the upcoming Standard. Going beyond carbon, we should also explore how a school sits within its environmental surroundings, considering its wider ecological impact and the benefits of incorporating nature-based solutions. Options such as green walls, sustainable drainage systems, and green space play a critical role in futureproofing buildings, providing much needed adaptation to climate-related risks such as flooding, whilst also delivering benefits for biodiversity and nature. When it comes to schools, the positive outcomes of enhancing on-site nature are massive, with natural environments shown to increase academic performance, motor skills, and rates of physical activity.

The time to act responsibly is now Designing for net zero – and future generations – is both an opportunity and a challenge, but one that should be pursued by all. Not least because the solutions exist,

Case study: Bartlett School of Architecture

This was a deep-retrofit of an academic building within the Bloomsbury conservation area.

This means that there were policies to follow to conform to local planning rules. At the heart of the redevelopment of 22 Gordon Street was the desire to minimise the whole life carbon impact of the project, from demolition through to construction and ultimately in operation. The retrofit option presented carbon, cost, and programme time savings as well.

The building achieved BREEAM Excellent rating and saved 440tCO2 by retaining the original structure. Bartlett is also connected to the UCL district heating network and has solar panels on the roof. The structure was exposed where possible, meaning thermal mass aids passive heating and cooling strategies, storing heat in the winter and providing free-cooling in the summer.

Providing the building with a new high performing envelope has helped reduce operational energy demand. Enhanced fabric efficiencies with high levels of insulation and air tightness minimise the amount of energy required for space heating.

Retaining the existing concrete structure of the original building significantly reduced material use and embodied carbon emissions. It also meant a greater usable floorspace was achieved as the floor to ceiling height is smaller than in a typical academic newbuild. At a high level it is estimated the reuse of the building saved £10million compared to demolishment and newbuild.

The flexibility of the building has been considered with communal spaces being designed to be flexible. Some of the walls can pivot open or are lightweight simplifying future layout configurations.

What’s more, a green roof has been installed to enhance biodiversity and reduce surface water runoff.

Read the full case study here

but because it provides a better outcome holistically, with school buildings that are aesthetically pleasing, comfortable, functionally adaptable, and inspiring for the pupils. But further than this, designing sustainably is about understanding the complex world we inhabit, acting responsibly both for ourselves and others, and not shying away from the challenges in front of us. L


Design & Build
How can we design in a way that uses fewer materials, uses low carbon materials, and focuses on longevity and adaptability. These principles start to take us into a circular economy approach
Photographer: Paul Smoothy

Reducing the impact of fire on education

The pandemic sadly created a legacy of lost learning. But incidents of fire at a child’s school can also have a negative impact on education. Tom Roche, secretary of the Business Sprinkler Alliance makes the case that protecting schools from fire is about protecting continuity of education

The upheaval in education due to the pandemic was well documented and sadly created a legacy of lost learning. Now, more than ever, further interruptions to education should be avoided. Fire can also have an impact on a child’s education. Despite the fact there has been an increase in school fires since the lockdowns of 2020-2021, sprinklers are still only mandatory in new school buildings in Scotland and linked to funding in Wales, but not in England and Northern Ireland. Yet observations on the incidence of fires relative to the population of school buildings, indicates that the rate of fires in England is similar to that of Scotland and Wales. Tom Roche, secretary of the Business Sprinkler Alliance makes the case that protecting schools is about protecting continuity of education. When you consider the huge costs associated with school fires such as rebuilding, temporary relocation, loss of equipment and pupils’ academic work, we are still not learning the lesson about fire and its impact and building schools without sprinkler systems. Fewer than one-in-six new schools have been built with a sprinkler system installed yet the fire incident statistics for England in primary/secondary and other educational establishments has seen a rise from 250 in 2020/21 to 341 in 2021/22.

Derbyshire schools

I do not think anyone will have missed the two fires across Derbyshire schools in 2020 which were a painful reminder of the damage, the displacement of pupils, disruption to education and the costs incurred when they are not fitted with sprinklers. On the morning of Saturday 3rd October 2020, St Mary’s Catholic Voluntary Academy in Darley Abbey, Derby was largely destroyed and reported as a ‘total loss’. Just 48 hours later, in the early hours of Monday 5th October, there was a second severe fire only four miles away, this time at Ravensdale Infant School in Mickleover which required 12 fire engines from the Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service. Whilst the Fire and Rescue service brought the fire under control there was extensive damage to the building. Neither building had sprinklers fitted.

The 110 children from the St Mary’s Catholic Voluntary Academy were originally sent to work from home for three weeks before being displaced into two separate local schools

where they have been since April 2021. There is no firm date for the replacement school but it is noted to be part of a pilot scheme for the Department of Education and will be rebuilt as the UK’s ‘most environmentally friendly school.’ The 227 children from the Ravensdale school were moved to temporary locations prior to completion of a £8 million rebuild in June 2022.

Halifax school burns to ground

An event that did not attract as much attention was a fire that broke out at the unsprinklered Ash Green Primary School in Mixenden on February 1st 2022. The fire destroyed a quarter of the key stage two block and impacted the entire school population. The severe fire required 10 crews and one aerial ladder platform from the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service. Despite their efforts there was such extensive damage to the single-storey upper school building that the upper school had to close, the pupils from this part of the school were displaced to temporary classrooms or further alternative spaces. The estimated cost of the upper school rebuild is £4.5 million and it is expected to be completed in 2025 – that’s three years of disruption to the education of 500 pupils. It is worth stressing that the fire at Ash Green Primary was not about the destruction of the whole school. Whilst such events garner the headlines, fires that cause damage to two or three education spaces or classrooms can really have an impact. Put simply, a school just runs out of space to relocate students in such an incident, and it leads to the work of an entire school/department and the delivery of education being hampered.

A thousand school children displaced Whilst many may be struck by the financial consequences, the key item is that across these three events is that over 1,000 E

Written by Tom Roche, secretary of the Business Sprinkler Alliance
withstanddesignedshouldSchoolsbeto the risks they will be exposed to, whether that is fire, flood, theft, or storm
Harringtdon School fire
We offer the following services: ● Fire alarm ● Intruder alarm ● Access control ● CCTV ● Fire extinguisher ● Emergency lights ● Gates and barriers ● AOV systems ● Risk assessments ● Fire door inspections ● Nurse call We offer a complete compliance service to take all the worry and hassle out of fire safety. A fire and security company with a difference Honest Trustworthy Professional Friendly Reliable

 pupils were displaced and have seen weeks of disruption to their lessons. That disruption has meant parents adjusting childcare, trying to continue lessons at home and dealing with the impact of the event with their children. That impact continued until they found temporary accommodation but that was not always in the same place as the original school.

Prior to the pandemic, government was insistent that even a week’s interruption to their education would have a negative impact on a child’s attainment. Indeed so adamant were they that they fined parents £60 a day for removing them from school. Fires such as those described have an even greater impact.

According to a 2019 study by Zurich Municipal, education insurer for half of the schools and universities in the UK, two-thirds of schools have ‘poor’ fire protection and are not properly prepared for a potential damaging fire. It also found that schools in England are ‘twice as likely’ to suffer fires than other commercial buildings. The insurer has stated that a change to government legislation to make sprinklers mandatory will not only protect children in school but will also contain a fire to the room it starts when it begins out of school hours.

Building Bulletin 100

The government consulted on a revised version of Building Bulletin 100 (BB100): Design for fire safety in school over a year ago. The consultation document had no impact assessment supporting the assertions in the document or an indication of the impact fires have on the education of pupils. The BSA has always highlighted that the current BB100 sets the right expectations around the protection of schools and the continuity of education. It sets an expectation that the school should be fully functional within 24 hours of a fire, apart from the

room where the fire occurred. The BSA wants the government to explicitly maintain these objectives in the revised BB100 so that fewer schools are damaged or destroyed by fire. Better still, the government should make property protection a consideration

for the fire safety Building Regulations to effectively protect all buildings of significant social and/or economic value from fire. Automatic sprinklers would be a key tool in achieving this outcome.

Fire can have a lasting and devastating impact on both schools and communities and must be avoided and minimised.

Schools should be designed to withstand the risks they will be exposed to whether that is fire, flood, theft, or storm, etc. Too often these considerations are limited.

Ensuring the safety of a building’s occupants is the minimum under current regulations, but it is clearly not the optimal outcome. Continuity of education would be a more appropriate outcome. In the pursuit of such an outcome a sprinkler system would be an ideal part of the fire strategy, serving to protect both the occupants and the building, allowing students to return to normality far more rapidly and with considerably less disruption to teachers’ already hectic schedules during this pandemic.

The impact of fires on schools can be minimised. As a nation we continue to spend billions of pounds on the school estate. Yet how many more fires need to occur and children’s educations be disrupted before sprinkler installation becomes a part of that thinking for school design and safety? L


Fire Safety
A sprinkler system would be an ideal part of the fire strategy, serving to protect both the occupants and the building, allowing students to return to normality far more rapidly and with considerably less disruption to teachers’ already hectic schedules during this pandemic
St Mary’s School fire
Ravensdale School fire

Last year Checkmate inspected over 150,000 fire doors and provided remedial works to over 30,000 fire doors in occupied buildings.

30o + 12k + Fu ll y National Co vera ge M aintaini ng Bui ldin gs Each Year
Inspection and consultancy
Fire door remedials/replacements
• Fire-stopping
with hundreds of educational establishments, and supporting schools, colleges and universities nationwide,
provides a full range of passive fire protection services, including:
• Pre-planned
StudentProtectingLives For Over 30 Years 0330 124 7650 Passionate about everything passive fire protection, talk to us further about how we can find pragmatic solutions for your educational establishment. 100+ schools & universities 2000+ Experts in PBSA Primary, Secondary and FE

Managing fire doors as an “in-use” asset in educational establishments

through regular third-party accredited inspection/maintenance works.

Challenges of Working in Education

Working within schools, universities and student occupied areas present varied challenges. Fortunately, our management team are adept at ensuring solutions are compliant, delivered on-time and in budget.

Working in and around places of study means we deliver to tighter timescales, taking advantage of school breaks, or adjusting shift patterns to operate outside of hours.

Fire doors, in often well populated areas, require constant vigilance around maintenance – buildings with more frequent, planned maintenance schedules are extending the asset life cycle.

If you are responsible for managing fire safety within your educational establishment, fire doors and compartmentation are likely to be hot topics. Like any other building assets, inspection and maintenance of these elements should be a standard part of your maintenance cycles. Having regular planned inspections and remedial actions forming part of future budgets will ensure fire doors and compartments reduce the spread of fire and smoke – enabling adequate means of escape and diminishing the risk to life and property.

Every educational establishment should have a plan on how these assets are to be managed. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RRO) requires under article 17 that fire safety provisions i.e., fire doors and compartments, are subject to a suitable system of maintenance and are maintained in efficient working order and in good repair.

Are you prepared for the Fire Safety England Regulations?

For those responsible for residential properties above 11m, boarding schools, universities, or student accommodation blocks, built-in fire protection is a fundamental component in ensuring the safety of your students, and the compliance of your buildings.

From the 23rd of January 2023, new legislation will come into full force – and for the education sector, this can be particularly daunting.

“It [will be] a legal requirement for the responsible persons of all multi-occupancy residential buildings with storeys over 11m in height to have systems in place for the regular checking of fire doors.”

This means you must undertake: quarterly checks of all fire doors (including self-closing devices) in common parts; and annual

checks – on a best endeavour basis – of all entrance doors (including self-closing devices) that lead onto a building’s common parts

This highlights the requirement set out for the inspection of doors, together with expected timings. It is firmly recommended that a sensible approach from building owners/managers is expected to continue to improve the safety of our built environment.

Echoing Dame Judith Hackett at the recent FPA Fire Conference, she said: “Work has been ‘impressive’ but changing the regulatory framework…is going to take time. The direction of travel is right, and progress on implementing is encouraging. But we’re not moving fast enough to change any of it. So, what are we waiting for? You need to examine why you are doing this. You should be doing this because it’s the right thing to do. Not because the rules and legislation make you do it.”

Choose the ‘commonsense’ approach…

At Checkmate, we are seeing more education businesses adopt a commonsense approach to their estates. Many are putting new processes in place across all buildings, irrespective of height.

This decision highlights the value placed on the safety of occupants, along with creating a simplistic approach to all fire doors.

Advocating for this method, we are partnering with our customers to guide them through these changes...and our advice is all about supporting you – where can our services best compliment your own resources to meet the new requirements?

This could be supporting your teams through CPD and passive fire awareness training, or undertaking detailed analysis

Understanding the importance of education, we deliver full turnkey solutions to ensure your buildings are compliant and lives are protected, so that students and staff can continue to feel safe.

The Checkmate Way

Fire doors form an essential part of an overall building’s fire strategy, with a common goal of protecting occupants’ lives. As a result, we are in constant communication with our clients to help them get the best possible inspection regimes.

For some, this can be entrusting Checkmate to undertake every fire door inspection, on a quarterly and annual basis, to ensure they have safe, functional assets. Other clients are taking a hybrid approach, where Checkmate supports in-house teams by offering training to facilities and building managers. This enables them to undertake quarterly inspections, with support from a fully third-party accredited inspection bi-annually or annually.

Whilst a consistent approach to inspection is vital for all fire doors, this changing legislation is really just the “call to action”. Inspecting a fire door does not make it safer – it’s what you do with the findings that does.

Putting an ongoing maintenance regime in place, where buildings truly become safer, must always be the number one priority. L

Fire doors form an essential part of an overall building’s fire strategy, with a common goal of protecting occupants’ lives. As a result, Checkmate Fire is in constant communication with its clients to help them get the best possible inspection regimes
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The risks in a school’s water system

What is Legionella bacteria, where is it found and what risks does it cause? We outline what schools need to know

Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia caused by legionella bacteria, which is common in natural water sources such as rivers, lakes and reservoirs, but usually in low numbers. They may also be found in purpose-built water systems such as cooling towers, evaporative condensers, and hot and cold water systems. This is why most organisations, including schools, must manage the risk.

Who is at risk?

Everyone is susceptible to infection, although the risk increases with age and for certain people at higher risk including smokers and heavy drinkers, people suffering from chronic respiratory or kidney disease, diabetes, lung and heart disease and anyone with an impaired immune system.

How do people get it?

Legionnaires’ disease can be contracted by inhaling small droplets of water (aerosols), suspended in the air, containing the bacteria. Certain conditions increase the risk of legionella occuring, for example, if the water temperature in all or some parts of the system is between 20-45 °C, which is suitable for growth, or if breathable water droplets are created and dispersed, such as aerosol created by a cooling tower, or water outlets. The risk of the bacteria is also greater if the water is stored and/or recirculated, or if there are are deposits that can support bacterial growth, such as rust,

sludge, scale, organic matter and biofilms.

What are the symptoms?

Initial symptoms are high fever, headache, chills and muscle pain. Some patients then develop pneumonia, diarrhoea and delirium. The incubation period is from two to ten days. Because the symptoms are similar to those of flu, it is not always easy to diagnose. A blood or urine test will establish the presence of the disease. The illness is treated with antibiotics. There is no evidence of personto-person spread.

What should schools do?

The National Education Union says: “Schools tend not to have complex air conditioning systems that involve the use of cooling systems which have been the source of major legionella outbreaks in the past. However, schools may have fixtures such as drinking fountains, showers and spa baths which may give rise to sprays or aerosols containing legionella bacteria and it is here where the major risk lies.”

Particular hazards for a school are old and unused or infrequently used showers, water features, machine tool coolant

systems and hose reel and sprinkler systems. Other potential hazards include poorly maintained ageing hot and cold water systems, roof tanks, hidden unused pipework, and emergency eyewashes.

According to the Department for Education’s Good estate management for schools guidance, schools should appoint a competent person to take day-to-day responsibility for controlling any identified risk, sometimes referred to as the ‘responsible person’ - this person may be a member of school staff but they should have sufficient knowledge of the water system and sufficient authority to deal with the issues. They should identify and assess sources of risk in accordance with HSE Approved Code of Practice L8 and prepare a written scheme (or course of action) for preventing or controlling the risk.

The school’s responsible person should also implement, manage and monitor the written scheme, keep records and check that what has been done is effective. If there is a cooling tower on site, the responsible person should notify the local authority. The risk assessment and preparation of the course of action should be undertaken by a company which offers these specialist services.

The National Education Union also says that the “detection of legionella bacteria in a school water system does not represent an immediate hazard if there is no chance of the bacteria getting out. Provided the bacteria remain isolated in the pipework, and prompt and adequate efforts are made to deal with the problem, there should be no cause for major concern”. L


NEU guidance can be found here DfE guidance can be found here HSE guidance can be found here

Water Management
Legionnaires’ disease can be contracted by inhaling small droplets of water, suspended in the air, containing the bacteria
Air Ventilation cleaning and testing to TR19® and BS EN 15780 & fire damper testing Water L8 Legionella control (ACOP) & water tank cleaning Fire Kitchen extract cleaning to TR19® Grease & grease trap cleaning For more information, call now: Help your school achieve top marks in compliance 0800 243 471 or visit our website:

Swiftclean UK – avoiding schoolboy errors in schools

In every educational establishment, it important to prevent outbreaks of Legionella bacteria, which cause the potentially lethal, ‘flu-like Legionnaire’s Disease. David Randlesome, from risk experts Swiftclean, explains the need for Legionella control best practice

Under the provisions of the Health and Safety at Work Act, staff should be provided with a safe working environment, which includes a safe, Legionella-free water system. In an education setting, students and other visitors, for whom the building is not a workplace, must also be protected. This is particularly essential for those with underlying health conditions who are particularly vulnerable to Legionnaire’s Disease.

A legal responsibility

Owners and managers of academic buildings have a legal responsibility to control Legionella bacteria and to prevent outbreaks of Legionnaire’s Disease. If the worst happens and an outbreak occurs, if the Duty Holder or designated Responsible Person is found to be in any way negligent, both the organisation and individuals with responsibility for the water system may be prosecuted. If this results in a conviction, the penalties may include a limitless fine for the organisation and even a possible custodial sentence for individuals.

Therefore, the management of every educational establishment must be able to demonstrate its compliance with the Approved Code of Practice for the control of Legionella (ACOP L8), issued by the UK’s Health & Safety Executive. Evidence of compliance protects both the named individuals managing the property and the organisation itself. Fundamental to this is ensuring that there is an up-to-date Legionella risk assessment for each separate property and that any risks identified are immediately remedied.

Risk assessments must be kept up to date

You must update a Legionella risk assessment after any significant change. This will include any change of personnel, as well as any significant alteration to the water system itself. If the Responsible Person leaves, or is replaced by an outsourced facilities management provider, the Legionella risk assessment should be updated to name the new Responsible Person.

Since the pandemic, water usage in some buildings has changed. For non-teaching staff in higher education, some degree of working from home is now commonplace. This can mean that a once fully occupied admin building is now only partially used, and extra care must be taken in regularly flushing its water system. If you find that you now have water outlets which

are infrequently used, it may be worth considering removing them altogether and revising the risk assessment accordingly.

Legionnaire’s Disease

Legionnaire’s Disease is contracted by breathing in minute particles of water contaminated with Legionella bacteria, so, when flushing, special care should be taken not to create splashing or aerosols of airborne water particles. Ideally, toilets should be flushed with the lid down; shower heads should be immersed in a receptacle filled with water before turning on the shower; and taps should be run into a plastic bag or glove. This helps to avoid splashing as the water is carefully directed into the waste outlet.

It is also essential to protect cold water from solar gain and a rise in temperature. This is a particular problem with rooftop water tanks, which should be well insulated to prevent cold water from being warmed due to heat from the sun. Water tanks should also be regularly cleaned and disinfected to ensure that the water passing through them remains clear and bacteria free. The optimum time to conduct tank cleaning and inspections is often during the breaks between academic terms.

However, these breaks can themselves prove a challenge, as the water in an unoccupied or underused building will be

at greater risk of Legionella proliferation. This is especially true during the warmer weather of the summer break.

When reopening the building for the start of a new term, flushing routines are particularly important. If possible, these should be completed before a cleaning team is deployed. Ironically, it can be the cleaner, who unknowingly splashes water while cleaning, who is most vulnerable to airborne Legionella bacteria. Vigilance and ongoing water testing are vital, as the fortnight long incubation period can mean that an outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease may take hold before any first signs or symptoms are detected in those first infected.

While you can conduct your own Legionella risk assessment, this does carry legal responsibilities. If you have any doubt at all about how to apply best practice, you should use a member of the Legionella Control Association (LCA) as your specialist provider. LCA certification is awarded annually and providers are required to meet a strict set of criteria, so you can be sure that you are getting expert support in complying with your legal duties. L


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Developing your Teaching School Hub

Teaching School Hubs support the profession by providing the best possible training and development opportunities for teachers and leaders. Lynne Birch from Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Teaching School Hub shares the key learnings from her Hub’s development journey so far

In February 2021, the Department for Education (DfE) announced the creation of 87 new Teaching School Hubs which were selected to provide high-quality professional development to teachers and leaders in England, with a £65 million investment over an initial three years. Each Hub, all of which would go on to be operational and helping schools from the start of 2021-22, was given its own defined geographical patch and expected to be accessible to all schools within that area, serving on average around 250 schools each. In the DfE’s statement at the time The Rt Hon Nick Gibb MP, minister of state for schools, said: “These new Teaching School Hubs will further support the profession by providing the best possible training and development opportunities. It is important that teachers and school leaders feel supported in their career. The Hubs will make this substantially easier, with expert practitioners able to give experienced advice to those schools able to benefit from it.”

So, two years on from this initial announcement – and halfway through the initial three-year funded cycle –how are these Hubs getting on?

At Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Teaching School we provide high-quality training and professional development to support teachers and leaders at every stage of their career with the aim of raising teaching standards and contributing significantly to school improvement. We offer Initial Teacher Training (ITT), Early Career Framework (ECF), National Professional Qualifications (NPQ) and wider Continuous Professional Development (CPD). These are the key learnings from our Hub’s development journey so far.

Have a vision, but deliver what is useful now

We believe that children deserve high-quality education, and to achieve that

our children should attend schools with highquality teachers and leaders in all phases. As part of this we want teachers and leaders to have the best professional development they can (and locally we are exploring wider collaborations to support other school staff).

A simple underlying mission to “deliver what is useful to people” has been at the heart of everything we have delivered/achieved to date. Strong leadership during initial set up and delivery from Hub Strategic Lead Lesley Birch, Hub and Trustees at Meridian Trust (Cambridge Primary Education Trust and Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust until April 2022) has been an integral strategic component of our vision and ethos.

Build strong and supportive partnerships

Under the overall principles of the TSH Framework – but focusing on strategy, delivery and implementation (set-up and operations) during our first year – we have created what we believe is a centre of excellence in the region, working collaboratively locally E

Written by Lynne Birch, Hub lead at Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Teaching School Hub
Two years on from the announcementinitial – and halfway through the initial three-year funded cycle – how are the teaching Hubs getting on?

Planning for the future

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 and nationally through strong, supportive partnerships which promote and value fairness, equality, inclusion and diversity. Existing relationships with MATs/schools, other Teaching School Hubs and the Teaching School Hubs Council have been critical to our progress. This extends to our delivery partners – lead providers, curriculum hubs and research schools. Our approach has been very much around achieving operational excellence.

Focus on engagement, deepen relationships

Starting the 2021-22 academic year with a core team of three, we devised a Hub engagement plan that is appropriate to the region we serve. Integral to the success of the Hub has been the deepening our relationships with schools, Trusts and partners in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough over time. We see ECF as the start of a professional development route for individuals, and NPQs for middle leaders – as a result, recruitment of other team members is tailored for those audiences. We have sourced a wide range of expert facilitators/coaches, including specialists in the areas being supported through our NPQs. We ended the year with a near doubling in the team, and further investment in engagement as we seek to support those schools we are not currently working with.

Listen to schools, respond to their needs

We have sought and responded to feedback from participants and schools, especially with ECF localisation and key stage groupings for face-to-face sessions. This has also been a growing feature of our facilitator training. Local experts delivering locally (and sharing their own experiences with participants), with national experts supporting executive leadership level professional qualifications. The team has responded to rapid changes in criteria and

policy, including Teaching School Hubs designation as an Appropriate Body (an organisation which quality assures statutory teacher induction), which has impacted on both recruitment and operations. This comes back to our ethos of wanting every teacher and school leader to have the best professional development they can.

Be accountable

We have met and exceeded targets set by the DfE through a combination of growing reputation, sustainable relationships and new programmes and we now expect to double the number of leaders and teachers that we support in the 2022-23 school year. Specific achievements in the Hub’s first year of operation include supporting 380 Early Career Teachers (ECTs)/380 mentors against a target of 200 ECTs/132 mentors, including 162 schools and 47 programme facilitators.

Regarding NPQs, we have supported 237 recruits against a target of 231, spanning 13 cohorts, and collaborating with partner Hubs in the eastern region.

Regarding CPD, we have supported 74 participants against a target of 65, becoming a Chartered College of Teaching Learning Partner, and facilitating a unique network of Curriculum Hubs to ensure a coherent and high-quality professional development offer for schools.

In a DfE survey of headteachers, 100 per cent agreed they would recommend working with Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Teaching School Hub; 100 per cent of respondents thought the training delivered by the Hub was likely to have had an impact on pupil outcomes; and 100 per cent said the training they received from the Hub was of high quality.

Set new goals, guided by your community Overall, we have tried to make the changes to how new teachers are supported, and leaders

developed, as easy as possible for schools. We do not have a single ‘cold spot’ across our region where we are not operating, but we want to explore opportunities to deepen our relationships further. In 2022-23 we are offering new NPQs in Early Years Leadership and Leading Literacy, bringing the number of NPQs being delivered to nine. As we look forward, a new strategic board for the Hub was convened from October with full responsibility for the Hub’s direction. The board is fully representative of the communities we serve, and our specialisms in areas such as early years and SEND. L


Five steps to building your Teaching School Hub

Here are five steps to building your Teaching School Hub:

1. Collaboration: remember the importance of existing relationships with schools and other partners as a baseline for supporting future growth.

2. Agility: adapting to local need, gained through feedback from participants and schools, is a clear winner in terms of proving your worth.

3. Opportunity: education is fastpaced, with new programmes emerging to meet appetite for specialist leadership development.

4. Challenge: strong leadership and strategic governance representative of the communities you serve is required to help the organisation to flourish and evolve.

5. Outcomes: numerical targets are one thing, but ultimately the work should be measured (over time) on impacts in the classroom.

We believe that children deserve highquality education, and to achieve that, our children should attend schools with highquality teachers and leaders in all phases.
Lynne Birch, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Teaching School Hub 01925 814525 Leaders in School Cricket Ground Equipment

The Qatar World Cup will create a grassroots footballing legacy

Schoolchildren are the lifeblood of grassroots football all over the world – whether that is on the local park, school playground, or at after-school clubs, with a ball and a couple of jumpers for goal posts or a full-blown pitch – it’s arguably the most universal and accessible sport children can play. Its success as a social phenomenon is due in part to a vast network of teachers, volunteers, and coaches who work to integrate communities and tirelessly dedicate their time to introducing children to the beautiful game. It is this grassroots base which nurtures the talent that we later enjoy watching as elite players competing at major sporting events such as the 2022 FIFA World Cup. As the most watched sporting fixture on the planet, the World Cup in turn has the potential to inspire millions of children to play the game and dream of becoming the next generation of players. Across the UK, there are countless organisations dedicated to cultivating an interest in the sport among our children. This year alone, the English School Football Association has over 800 schools from across the UK registered to take part in its own Schools’ Football Week initiative.

As a primary school teacher and PE lead, I know the power that football has to transform the lives of schoolchildren and support local communities, and the crucial role schools play in the process. Football is all-inclusive and open to everyone – regardless of ability, gender, ethnicity, or socio-

economic background. With schools often the first place where children are introduced to team sports, they play a key role in improving access to sports and supporting children as they develop critical life skills during their primary education.

The physical health benefits of football to children are well documented, but it is only in recent years that we have started to sit up and take notice of the mental health and social development benefits the game can bring.

I see first-hand how sports helps young children live happier and healthier lives. The buzz children get off the back of playing a game in the playground during break helps them come to class full of energy and ready to learn. It’s how they develop compassion, teamwork and leadership skills, often in ways that can’t be taught in a classroom.  While there have been understandable criticisms of the choice of host, the power of this World Cup to inspire schoolchildren and create a grassroots legacy is great – especially as it was played during term time, unlike previous World Cups taking place during the summer holidays. After finishing school, all my students went home and watched the matches, and came in the next day excitedly talking to their friends and classmates about it.

Wider discussions

The games themselves aren’t the only subject up for discussion: more often than not,

conversations turned to the different cultures and fans they have seen on TV, which country has the most interesting national anthem, what Qatar looks like, or how impressive the stadiums are. On the playground, I’ll see children emulating a trick or goal celebration they have seen on TV, pretending to be Mbappé, Ronaldo or Messi, or wearing replica jerseys of other countries during after-school clubs.

The 2022 tournament also marks the first time that female referees have been selected to officiate at a men’s international competition – and seeing young girls notice this and talk about it is wonderful. The impact of the Lioness’ success at the Euros this summer can’t be underestimated, and seeing female referees take charge on a world stage previously dominated by men will go a long way to encouraging the next generation of female players.

When all’s said and done, football is ultimately about community, bringing people together through shared love of the game and inspiring a new generation to play sports. The World Cup is an amazing vehicle for inspiring schoolchildren to take up sports and develop their skills not just as individual players but as part of a team, and by extension, a community. L FURTHER INFORMATION

The World Cup and other high-profile sport competitions have great power to inspire school children and create a grassroots legacy, writes James Keane, teacher and PE lead at Keys Meadow Primary School

Award-winning Action Mats releases the world’s first Mindful Mats resource for emotional self-regulation

2022 has been a big year for Action Mats. The company’s resources were successful in three different awards ceremonies, scooping the Kids Judge BETT award from the BETT show in March, an Education Resources Award for best Primary Resource (non-ICT) in May, and most recently, an international award at GESS Dubai where the resources won in the innovation category. A hattrick for 2022!

challenges with objectives such as problemsolving and cross-curricular outcomes. If PE can promote teamwork and peer support then Action Mats PE, combined with a jigsaw puzzle race, a cup stacking challenge or a maths-based task, for example, can use the power of immersive movement to engage those hard-to-reach children in a unique way.

Action Mats has launched a new range for this academic year called Mindful Mats. They are specifically designed to be used as a tool to help children regulate, refocus and be in the right frame of mind to learn. Selfregulation is necessary for effective learning and being able to self-regulate is a key skill.

The objective of the programme was to use the Action Mats concept of simple graphics to help children deescalate and regulate using simple but absorbing and engaging activities. Movement based challenges, conveyed through simple graphics were found to absorb a child’s attention, distract them from their dysregulated state, enabling them to refocus and therefore return to class ready to learn.

The award from GESS was quite a special one for company owner Jonathan Bhowmick, because it endorses the true international nature of Action Mats resources. It doesn’t matter what language you speak, said Jonathan, you can use Action Mats simply by looking at the simple graphics for visual clues and feel empowered to start joining in.

Action Mats resources are designed to promote camaraderie and friendship, peer support and trust, self-esteem and belief, commitment and resilience, physical and emotional wellbeing, teamwork and cooperation. All the attributes that combine to create rounded individuals, which was commented on by the judges in both the ERA and GESS Awards. The additional observation was made that Action Mats sessions are timesaving and yet still deliver independence to pupils thanks to their simplicity. They are useful in classes, PE lessons, play times and lunchtimes, and that can be led by and used by pupils of all ages. Often, the term ‘soft-skills’ is used to describe qualities such as cooperation and collaboration whereas, in reality, these are actually quite hard skills, thanks to many factors such as short attention-span, increased screen-time, and also reduced opportunities for social interaction (what we used to call, playing out).

Action Mats helps to develop those skills in children, encouraging the individual to look at the collective, to look to the greater-good and work with others to achieve it, which, of course, helps shape future societies into better societies.

Action Mats create lessons that promote all the character-building elements that PE delivers and combines them to create

The Mindful Mats range is suitable for children who have more difficulty regulating than others. Difficulty with regulation is often reported in autism, ADHD and attachment disorders. The key to Mindful Mats is that they can be used by any child whether for a specific regulation linked purpose, or simply to provide an alternative means of stimulus.

The designers at Action Mats realised that a child’s sensory seeking behaviour can be used to help them regulate. Simple, universally understood graphics are the key to engagement throughout the Action Mats range, so the designers have focussed on this feature for Mindful Mats.

A development programme was undertaken with schools from the Bath and Wells Academy Trust, lead by Clare Greene from St Michael’s Garden Primary School in Bath, as well as Parklands Primary School in Leeds and Hobletts Manor Juniors and Infants in Hemel Hempstead.

The development and trials carried out were met with fantastic responses that range from appreciation of the engagement of the children in the tasks on the mats, to joy that finally, something has been developed as a tool to help address the growing need, that is simple and quick to deploy and that works. The resource can be used in Ad hoc ways in classroom settings or in sensory circuits and more structured configurations.

Schools that trialled the mats have reported excellent peer-support amongst the children using them. Peer support is a wonderful benefit of wider PE and school sport of course and is perhaps one of the best character traits to develop as it opens up wider empathy and awareness of the needs of others.

Mindful Mats are a world-first resource (as are the other two Action Mats ranges) that are bound to find many friends in schools around the world, wherever regulation is recognised as being an important need to be addressed to help children stay in class and keep learning. L


Advertisement Feature

School trips –plan ahead to reduce the stress

There’s a lot to think about when planning an educational visit or trip – from selecting the right location or destination to organising transport and collecting money from families. This can be seen as stressful and time-consuming. However, the longer you have to plan, the less stressful the process will be

For your pupils, planning well in advance will give families more time to budget, and they will be able to pay in smaller instalments. For you, it means you can consider what you want to achieve through the experience, identify the best location for this, secure a travel provider or tour organiser that’s right for your group and take advantage of early booking discounts.

For many UK trips, planning six to nine months ahead is usually sufficient. For a trip overseas, nine to eighteen months is recommended, although some adventurous or long-haul trips may need 24 months planning to ensure they are delivered successfully.

This means that for a trip in June or July, you really should start planning in January. Here are the seven stages to consider when organising your educational visit.

Decide what you want to achieve Write down your objectives for the visit or trip. What do you want to achieve? It could be to focus on one area of your curriculum – to

provide a broader understanding of a subject, or you might want to combine different subject areas to get more value from the experience. Alternatively, you might want to concentrate on developing core skills such as leadership and communication. Also, think about budget and your preferred mode of transport.

By writing this down, you’ll start to develop a clear idea about the kind of trip or visit that would be best for your group.

Decide where to go

The first thing to consider is where to go. If this is your first time organising a trip, talk to your colleagues, find out what has been done in the past and how effective those

trips were. Consult your school’s educational visits coordinator or get in touch with your region’s outdoor education adviser. They have considerable experience in organising off-site educational visits and may be able to suggest suitable venues, providers or locations.

A specialist school travel or tour provider, such as a member of the School Travel Forum, can be helpful too. Their staff have decades of experience in organising school visits and trips, as well as being able to answer your questions they can suggest options you may not have thought of. They will share what other teachers have chosen to do and provide feedback from other groups.

Decide when to go Is summer the best time for your trip? Many schools set aside a ‘residential’ or ‘activity’ week which is usually in the final few weeks of the academic year. While this can make lesson planning and staffing considerably easier, think whether this really is the best time for what you want to achieve.

As the Learning Away research concluded, school trips and residentials offer powerful learning opportunities so running these experiences in the dying days of an academic year just as your pupils are about to head off on the long summer holidays means you don’t have the chance to capitalise or build on the learnings and relationships developed during the trip. Organising a visit or residential during the autumn or spring term gives you more time to integrate the experience into the curriculum. It can also be cheaper or give pupils experiences that aren’t possible during the summer months. E

School Trips

For UK trips, planning six to nine months ahead is usually sufficient. For a trip overseas, nine to eighteen months is recommended
Written by Justine Lee, The School Travel Forum

Tell your colleagues

A stage that can often be forgotten. Involve your teaching assistant(s) in the decisionmaking and planning. This can help them feel included and part of the trip. It will also give you time to build their needs into the arrangements. Remember also to let your colleagues in the wider staff team know. They may need time to adjust what they are teaching to accommodate pupils who will miss lessons and/or ensure any trips they have in mind don’t conflict or clash with what you are organising.

Choose the right venue or provider

Planning well in advance will give you the time to find a tour provider that you trust, that understands your and your students’ needs and can recommend how to get the most from your trip.

If you are organising an educational visit within the UK you should look for a company or provider that holds the LOtC Quality Badge. The Department for Education recommends that schools organising off-site visits and trips use organisations holding this accreditation as it is the only accreditation that covers risk management as well as the quality of learning.

For trips overseas look for a company that has the LOTC Quality Badge and is a member of ABTA – all School Travel Forum members hold these accreditations to give you and your group maximum protection regarding your booking. Members of the School Travel Forum are also regularly audited for health and safety and risk management, giving you complete confidence.

Get approval

You will need to get approval for your visit from your senior leader and/or your educational visits coordinator. Depending on the process in your school, either you or your EVC will need to log the trip on Evolve, the school online trip management system. This involves completing a form with information about the trip - group leader name, number of children travelling, name of external provider, learning objectives for the trip, destination etc. You will also need to attach copies of risk assessments and letters being sent to families. Once completed, the information will be checked by your region’s outdoor education adviser who will approve it and return it to your school for your headteacher to approve. This process can take several weeks or even months so starting planning early will give you plenty of time to collate the required information and to receive approval.

Notify parents

As you are taking children off-site you will need parent/guardian permission. You may also need to collect monies from them for the trip. As mentioned earlier, giving families

more time to save and/or make regular small deposits can help to keep the trip affordable. This is even more necessary when families have multiple children to consider.

It is important to keep parents on board and onside throughout the planning process. Families need to feel confident that their child, however old they are, will be safe, happy and looked after on the trip. Some children may have additional needs that need to be considered. By allowing enough time in the planning process, you will be able to make sure all pupils are able to take part and enjoy the experience.

The most successful trips are those that are thoroughly planned - knowing what you want to achieve from the trip, connecting the experience to classroom-based learning and considering the safety and wellbeing of pupils whilst in your care. And by planning ahead you’ll be confident that all areas of the trip are covered, so you can get excited and enjoy the experience as much as your students. L



Organising a visit or residential during the autumn or spring term gives you more time to integrate the experience into the curriculum. It can also be cheaper or give pupils experiences that aren’t possible during the summer months.

The importance of play opportunities in schools

Tamsin Brewis from the Children’s Alliance discusses the importance of play opportunities in schools and what benefits play brings to wellbeing, fitness and academic attainment

What is play? “Play is self-chosen and self-directed. Play is intrinsically motivated – means are more valued than ends. Play is guided by mental rules, but the rules leave room for creativity. Play is imaginative. Play is conducted in an alert, active, but relatively non-stressed frame of mind”.  This is a broad explanation of what we understand by ‘play.’ In some cases, when we think about play, we think about children doing something with limited purpose and benefit before the child becomes involved in more organised, adult-led activities. However, the broad consensus of research shows that play is intrinsic to the development of a child from birth to adulthood. If we take play away from a child, we take away their equivalent of adult ‘work’ which can lead to unhappy and depressed behavioural patterns. Why do we value academic achievement over play? Is being able to pass a test more

important than developing social skills? As parents, we want our children to learn; but what impact does the environment we create have on their learning ability?

Research summary, ‘The Case for Play in Schools’, produced by the Outdoor Play and Learning Organisation (OPAL), provides compelling evidence demonstrating why play should be an integral and expanded component of the school curriculum. The benefits to both children and staff members are tenfold, but the report also points out the importance of considering time, space and permission when planning playtimes, the play environment, and the rules of playtime.

According to OPAL director, Michael Follett: “Social, outdoor, free play is an essential

element for every aspect of children’s mental, physical and social development and yet it has almost disappeared from the lives of many children. By providing at least 45 minutes quality play opportunities, for each child, each day, schools can help ensure that the benefits of play do not disappear entirely from childhood.”

Additionally, the summary reviewed playtime from the perspective of both the adult and the child. Whilst adults saw playtime as a means of improving the health, welfare, social, cognitive, physical and academic abilities of children the children associated playtime with freedom – a chance to try out new languages, use their imagination and to explore.

Other benefits included adapting to and negotiating with their environment –choosing to play in a collective or alone – and developing their own play culture. What’s more, as children learned to mix with one another, they demonstrated a greater ability to cope with risk and social issues, whilst in the classroom they were visibly more attentive with enhanced powers of concentration.

What therefore, do children learn through play and what does play provide?

Freedom is a starting point because unsupervised, ‘free’ play permits children to move their play in any direction they wish. This could be indoors/ outdoors, using toys or materials, making things or taking things apart. Freedom is essential because it stimulates creativity, use of the imagination, exploration of the

inFreedom play is essential because it creativity,stimulates use of the imagination, and exploration of environmentthe

environment and the surrounding world. The child has an opportunity to make decisions, problem solve and take responsibility for their actions; building resilience in a safe, non-judgemental environment.

Playing enables children to play with others and negotiate, or remove themselves from a group, fostering equality and selfawareness. Play may be physical, social, risky, imaginative, and creative. All of these identified characteristics are essential to producing children who are healthy, content, want to learn and who have the ability to become the future leaders of adult society.

Can play be incorporated in the classroom as well as outdoors? Psychologist and child development theorist, Jean Piaget, asks: “Our real problem is – what is the goal of education? Are we forming children that are only capable of learning what is already known? Or should we try developing creative and innovative minds, capable of discovery from the preschool age on, throughout life?”

Is it possible to introduce play into the modern classroom and at the same time, include the accountability that features so prominently in our current curriculum?

It is now generally agreed that the early years set the foundation for the person we will be in future life as shown in a recent study from Harvard University. Positive early experiences lead to better health, more robust children, a better ability to manage stress and a longer life expectancy. When children learn through play, their developing brains are afforded the opportunity to develop in a positive, experimental, nurturing environment. This sharpens alertness, attention, and motivation and thus, creates greater readiness for learning. This is why a play-based approach to learning, particularly in the 4-11 years, where the teacher encourages a child to inquire, question and experiment will lead to better achievement. We want children to learn to think independently, question what they are being taught and to think ‘outside the box’. This is only feasible if the learning is play-based; initiated by the child and supported by the teacher. Educators such as Maria Montessori and Stanley Greenspan recognised these methods of teaching and implemented them successfully.

Although physical activity is only one type of play, there is clear evidence that physical activity has an impact on the fitness of the brain. This applies throughout the life course. ‘The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain,’ by Dr John Ratey explores the impact of a healthy body and mind on academic achievement. Ratey argues that physical activity has an impact on preparing nerve cells to bind to one another which is the basis for logging in new information. This then has an impact on the development of new nerve cells from stem cells in the hippocampus which prepares the brain to learn and helps mental retention.

Effectively, exercise facilitates learning.  These theories have been tested in schools in Chicago where the implementation

of early morning physical activity has resulted in a marked improvement in both academic standards and mental welfare.

Following the pandemic, The Children’s Alliance published a report – ‘The Physical Health of Children and Young People’ –emphasising the importance of play and the factors needed for a healthy play environment; space, time and freedom to explore. Children have spent nearly two years isolated away from friends, family, indoor and outdoor play spaces and are only now learning all those basic skills of freedom, curiosity, socialisation, exploration and decision making. If nothing else, this should be reason enough for play to be an essential part of the curriculum for all children allowing them to grow, develop and gain confidence in a safe, free, non-judgemental space.

This is echoed by Mark Hardy, chair of the Association of Play Industries: “Providing time, space, opportunity and a positive attitude to play benefits children of all ages. Physical activity boosts concentration, learning behaviours and mood. Children have natural energy and enthusiasm so physical activity needs to be built into the whole school day: physical literacy levels will improve but schools also report improvements in behaviour and wellbeing too”.

In a modern society, the tendency is for education to be done ‘to’ children, but children will naturally educate themselves.

This proposition is considered by Dr Peter Gray in ‘Free to Learn’ where he states that: “Children are biologically predisposed to take charge of their own education. When they are provided with the freedom and means to pursue their own interests, in safe settings, they bloom and develop along diverse and unpredictable paths, and they acquire the skills and confidence required to meet life’s challenges.”

Maybe now we should be looking at what our culture actually wants from ‘education’? Are tests, league tables and corresponding results the sole measure of success or should education offer a multi-faceted approach – less structure, less adult controlled

environments, more freedom to explore and create?

‘Play’, in all its myriad forms, certainly



About the Author

Tamsin Brewis is ‘a Water Babies franchisee and charity director at The Children’s Alliance, an initiative set up by Water Babies, the UK’s largest baby swimming school, to broaden politicians’ awareness of the health and wellbeing issues currently facing children in the UK. The Children’s Alliance is campaigning for the establishment of a Minister for Children at Cabinet level to ensure the future of children and young people takes its rightful place at the heart of government policy making.

has a central role to play!
If we take play away from a child, we take away their equivalent of adult ‘work’ which can lead to unhappy and depressed behavioural patterns
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