Edition 5, 2017
The benefits of dedicated learning environments see p10
How can your school help to stem the rising tide of depression, anxiety and selfharm amongst children?
Girls in STEM…
More protection is needed for pupils and teachers after calls for schools to deploy lockdown plans
p25 Why it’s time we stopped calling children ‘average’
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Contents 4 8
Outcome Measurement and Quality Improvement
Girls in STEM…
School’s state-of-the-art Science Centre opens The latest developments in therapies for primary school pupils
Teaching the teachers – BNF launches new nutrition platform
The benefits of
dedicated learning environments to inspire the next generation
17 emerging trends in Ed Tech for 2018
Robots taking our
jobs? Stop agonising and take action to skill up for the jobs of the future If you are building, developing new ideas or have some excellent examples of ‘good practice’, spread the word about them and contact PIR Education Magazine on
01234 348878 or
simple skills audit will secure better governance
Why it’s time we stopped calling children ‘average’
The state of Religious Education needs to be help to stem the rising tide of improved depression, anxiety and self Asbestos in schools: harm amongst children? the case for reassurance air Education monitoring workers put in Front cover picture is of a Green over 13 extra days Modular building.They supply unique and environmentally friendly work a year – outdoor modular buildings as here’s why this needs to stop effective space solutions.
21 How can your school
More protection is needed for pupils and teachers after calls for schools to deploy lockdown plans
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NEWS News News News NEWS News NEWS News
New safeguarding strategy boosts support for lone child migrants New training for foster carers announced as part of a new strategy to improve the care of unaccompanied children. Specialist training is being given to 1,000 foster carers and support workers to improve their skills and confidence in caring for unaccompanied child migrants. There is updated guidance for councils on caring for unaccompanied migrant children and child victims of modern slavery. Research is to be commissioned on the effectiveness of existing support for unaccompanied children and families reunited under the Dublin Regulation and whether more help is needed. New training for foster carers who support unaccompanied asylum-seeking children is part of a new safeguarding strategy recently announced. The training, which will be made available to 1,000 foster carers and support workers, is backed by updated statutory guidance, a review of local authority funding and a drive to improve inter-agency advice and information sharing. It complements the guidance already available to every foster carer as part of their duties under the government’s Prevent strategy. These measures are part of a wider government strategy to improve support for councils as they care for these children, and delivers on a commitment made last year as part of the Children and Social Work Act. Other measures in the strategy will help prevent children from going missing and support those who are reunited with family members.
Education Secretary puts teachers at the heart of social mobility Education Secretary Justine Greening addressed an audience of 4,000 teachers on 24th October 2017 and urged them to work with her to give every child the same opportunity to fulfil their ambition. In a speech at the Teach First conference at Wembley Arena, Justine Greening set out plans to help pupils from all backgrounds reach their full potential and highlighted the pivotal role teachers have to play in boosting social mobility.
She also used the speech to provide further detail on two new initiatives aimed at ensuring schools can recruit and retain the very best teachers, building on the government’s wider programme of support. She announced: “The 25 areas across England, which include Bradford, Derby and Salford, selected to run a pilot programme to reimburse student loan repayments for modern foreign languages and science teachers in the early years of their careers.” “Two new projects that will receive a share of the £75 million Teaching and Leadership Innovation Fund. These projects will help provide tailored training opportunities for teachers on both managing challenging pupil behaviour and developing leadership, so they can make the most of their talent in the classroom.” Ms Greening added: “I want to make sure that everyone has the same opportunity to achieve their ambitions, regardless of where they are growing up or their background. It’s great news that there are 1.8 million more children in schools rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ than there were in 2010 and the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their peers is narrowing.” “But we know there is more to do – particularly in parts of the country that are at risk of falling behind. Our 12 opportunity areas are central to this. Working together with schools, councils, local businesses and other organisations, this programme is looking at ways to give all children the best start in life.” “Great teachers help unlock children’s talents and Teach First is already playing a key role by recruiting top graduates with the potential to become excellent teachers in some of our most challenging schools. I look forward to continuing to work with them to broaden horizons for all young people.” These announcements follow the recent confirmation of a number of measures to recruit and retain more great teachers, including a new phased maths bursary and a £30 million investment to provide tailored support to some of the schools facing the most significant recruitment and retention challenges. Teach First CEO, Russell Hobby, also spoke at the event and urged the teaching profession to “go further, working alongside schools, the government, businesses and communities – with a collective will to create a country where the opportunities are available for all”. The two projects that will receive a share of the £75 million Teaching and Leadership Innovation Fund are Tom Bennett Training and EdisonLearning. 4
Jerry Baker, Managing Director EdisonLearning on behalf of EdisonLearning and NAHT said: “We are delighted that the success of the NAHT Aspire Programme has been recognised in the award of the TLIF contract. We look forward to continuing this success with the TLIF schools and building new Aspire networks across the country over the next two years.” Tom Bennett, Director of Tom Bennett Training, said: “Good behaviour is fundamental to every outcome we value in education: academic outcomes, social skills, employability, citizenship, creativity, critical thinking, and more. Teachers and leaders can make a huge difference by creating fantastic cultures in their rooms and schools where learning, civility and community are valued.” “Our training offers school staff the tools to do exactly that, in ways that have been tested in some of the best schools in the UK and beyond.” The local authorities covered by the student loan reimbursement pilot are: Barnsley; Blackpool; Bracknell Forest; Bradford; Cambridgeshire; Derby; Derbyshire; Doncaster; Halton; Knowsley; Luton; Middlesbrough; Norfolk; North East Lincolnshire; North Yorkshire; Northamptonshire; Northumberland; Oldham; Peterborough; Portsmouth; Salford; Sefton; St. Helens; Stoke-on-Trent; and Suffolk. Around 800 modern foreign language and 1,700 science teachers a year will be eligible for this pilot scheme. For a teacher on £29,000, the new student loan repayments pilot and the increased student loan repayment threshold of £25,000 will mean £720 cash in pocket. This is the equivalent of an approximate £1,000 increase in salary.
Helping children learn through a proportionate primary assessment system New assessment to provide better starting point to measure progress and the impact of schools. Plans have been announced by Education Secretary Justine Greening for a primary assessment system which focuses on pupil progress, mastering literacy and numeracy, and scrapping unnecessary workload for teachers. The plans to create a stable, long-term approach that ensures children are taught the essential knowledge and skills they need to succeed at secondary school and in later life were published following a 12-week continues overleaf u Education Magazine
NEWS News News News NEWS News NEWS News consultation with the teaching profession and other stakeholders. This is delivering on the commitments the government made at the election.
Ms Greening said: “A good primary education lays the foundations for success at secondary school and beyond. This year’s key stage 2 results showed our curriculum reforms are starting to raise standards and it is vital we have an assessment system that supports that.” “These changes will free up teachers to educate and inspire young children while holding schools to account in a proportionate and effective way.” The government confirmed that it will:
Introduce a new teacher-mediated assessment in the reception year from 2020 to provide a baseline measure to better track pupils’ progress during primary school. The check, which will be developed in conjunction with the teaching profession, will ensure schools are given credit for all the work they do throughout a child’s time at primary school; Improve the early years foundation stage profile – a check on a child’s school readiness at the end of their early years education. This includes reviewing
supporting guidance, to reduce burdens for teachers; Make key stage 1 tests and assessments non-statutory from 2023 and remove the requirement for schools to submit teacher assessment data to the government for reading and maths at the end of key stage 2, as these subjects are already assessed through statutory tests, from 2018-19; Introduce a multiplication tables check to aid children’s fluency in mathematics from 2019-20; Improve teacher assessment of English writing by giving teachers greater scope to use their professional judgement when assessing pupils at the end of key stages 1 and 2 from the current academic year (2017-18).
Nick Brook, deputy general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT said: “Today the government have confirmed that, from this year, teachers will once again be able to apply professional judgement when assessing pupils’ writing. Teachers and school leaders have argued strongly that sufficient flexibility to properly recognise pupils’ achievements was needed. This move is a welcome step in the right direction.” “The decision to make SATs for seven year olds non-statutory in favour of a new
reception baseline assessment may well be met with trepidation by some, but it is absolutely the right thing to do. Under current accountability arrangements, the hard work and success of schools during those critical first years is largely ignored. If designed properly, these new assessments can provide useful information for schools to help inform teaching and learning whilst avoiding unnecessary burdens on teachers or anxiety for young children.” “We intend to work with government to ensure that this is exactly where we end up. Taken together, these measures are a big step in the right direction.” The government has also set out how it will better support children who are not yet working at the standard of the national curriculum tests. The changes, which follow a consultation on the findings of the independent Rochford Review, will ensure there are appropriate assessment arrangements in place and there will be a pilot of a new approach to assessing the attainment of children with the most complex special educational needs. Introducing these measures will help schools support these children to progress on to mainstream forms of assessment during primary school, if and when they are ready, ensuring no child is left behind.
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Teaching the teachers – BNF launches new nutrition platform
The British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) has launched a new professional development platform for primary school teachers, in response to the results of research which shows that many teachers are getting little training in the area of nutrition; yet poor nutrition and an unhealthy lifestyle is detrimental to health and academic performance. Launched at a London conference for health professionals and educators to mark its 50th anniversary, the BNF hopes that the online training will provide much needed additional education for teachers.
Eatwell Guide and healthy eating, nutrition understanding, food safety, and cooking in the classroom. It provides downloadable guides for reflective practice, and culminates in an assessment and BNF certification for those teachers who successfully complete the full course. Roy Ballam, Managing Director and Head of Education at the BNF, said: “It is critical that teachers lay the foundations for children to make good dietary and lifestyle choices now and as adults. But most primary Roy Ballam teachers have received virtually no formal training in food, nutrition and physical activity. It is because of this that the BNF believes that there is an urgent need to support these teachers during their training and when they are practicing. “Our professional development programme is inline with the curriculum demands, as well as government food teaching guidelines in schools, and will equip teachers to be able to implement engaging food lessons and healthy school initiatives, for the benefit of all their students.”
Scientific experts presenting at the BNF conference, entitled ‘Talking about the next generation: Nutrition in school aged children’, discussed the importance of good nutrition in the wellbeing, growth and academic development of children. Professor John Reilly, professor of Physical Activity and Public Health Science at the University of Strathclyde, said: “Lifestyle in childhood and adolescence is not ‘just’ about health, but is also important to academic attainment. The Professor John Reilly brain is affected by levels of physical activity, body fatness, and physical fitness. Using new evidence on the effects of lifestyle on the brain might be a way of improving educational attainment in the future.” The BNF’s new professional development course (Teaching food in primary: the why, what and how) delivers seven different training modules, including: food origins, the
Professor Ashley Adamson Delegates attending the BNF conference heard from a panel of eminent scientific experts including Professor Ashley Adamson from University of Newcastle, Dr Graham Moore from University of Cardiff, Professor John Reilly of University of Strathclyde, and Professor Jeanne Goldberg from Tufts University in Massachusetts, USA, about the role and impact of a whole school approach to nutrition; the association between breakfast consumption and education outcomes in primary schools, with particular reference to deprivation; the impact of obesity, and of physical activity, on academic attainment; and research which points to the most effective methods of communicating about nutrition with school children. Nathan Atkinson, Head Teacher, Richmond Hill Primary School in Leeds, presented a
case study describing his local work on the impact of hunger, academic achievement and food waste issues. He said: “Our work has three key objectives: to remove hunger as a barrier for learning; improve wellbeing outcomes for children and families, both physically and mentally; and lastly to highlight the global issue of food waste. We use food as a medium to engage with children, families and the wider school community. The outcomes have been extremely powerful improving community cohesion being just one.” Roy Ballam concluded: “Evidence for the benefits of good nutrition and physical activity on the academic achievements of children is accumulating. Our platform enables busy teachers and trainees alike to supplement and enhance their subject knowledge, skills and experience. This will facilitate their work with students, helping them to make healthier choices that will benefit their physical and mental health now and in the long term.” About the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) Making nutrition science accessible to all. The BNF was established 50 years ago and exists to deliver authoritative, evidencebased information on food and nutrition in the context of health and lifestyle. The Foundation’s work is conducted and communicated through a unique blend of nutrition science, education and media activities. BNF’s strong governance is broad-based but weighted towards the academic community. BNF is a registered charity that attracts funding from a variety of sources, including contracts with the European Commission, national government departments and agencies; food producers and manufacturers, retailers and food service companies; grant providing bodies, trusts and other charities. Further details about their work, governance and funding can be found on their website (www.nutrition.org.uk) and in Annual Reports.
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Outcome Measurement and Quality Improvement - Bringing Health and Education Closer Together Professor Pam Enderby. MBE., Ph.D., DSc (hon)., MSc.,FRCSLT Pam Enderby is Emeritus Professor of Community Rehabilitation at the University of Sheffield. She qualified as a Speech and Language Therapist and has combined research with clinical practice. She is author of 14 books and published 200 peer-reviewed journal articles. Her areas of research interest include: outcome measurement, assessment, evaluation of rehabilitation and speech and language therapy. She was awarded a Fellowship of the College of Speech Therapists, was honoured with an MBE for services to speech and language therapy. Schools have almost an impossible task! They are not only pivotal in educating our children but also have responsibilities in developing their independence, social participation and promoting their well-being. The success or otherwise of this by different schools is hard to measure and whilst educational attainment can be ascertained to some extent by reviewing the usual metrics the broader issues of development can be elusive. This is particularly difficult when considering children with special educational needs requiring the support of a wide range of health and social care professionals to work alongside teachers and their assistants. Explicitly identifying variation in achievement is valuable as it allows one to reflect on good practice and clarify weaknesses in the process of service delivery. It helps expose the important components that may be contribute to effective practice or missing from it. This is the essence of any quality improvement initiative and surely this is what we are constantly, and sometimes against the odds, trying to ensure. Identifying and protecting the strengths of a school whilst determining and addressing possible weaknesses. It is likely that the strengths and weaknesses of any service vary over time not only because of our own efforts but because of the milieu in which we are working. For example, the communication skills of children with speech difficulties may not progress if the speech and language
therapist goes on maternity leave or the well-being of children with special needs may improve following extra training of staff in strategies for dealing with this. No one will be surprised to learn that rehabilitation and enablement services commissioned by the U.K.’s National Health Service and mostly provided by Allied Health Professionals shows great variation in their staffing (grades and types), general resources, modes of practice, service users catered for (types and ages), care models, and intentions. These variations are particularly evident in the provision of NHS community services to children in schools. A powerful way of determining the influences on good practice is to compare the outcomes of different services and to inspect the processes that are associated with these. The objectives of benchmarking are (1) to determine what and where improvements are called for, (2) to analyze how other organizations achieve their high performance levels, and (3) to use this information to improve performance. In order to conduct benchmarking it is necessary to identify the necessary data to collect and an appropriate outcome measure. However, due to the broad number of health and social care professionals as well as the number of different client groups receiving rehabilitation there are numerous outcome measures available to choose from. But this causes the problem that different services favour different approaches to outcome measurement making it difficult to compare and contrast service provision. A generic measure which could be used alongside more specific outcome measures may assist more general comparison of services. Focusing on outcomes is the essential ingredient in quality improvement but it is necessary to select an outcome measure which is generic and can collect meaningful data in a reliable fashion on the broad range of individuals needing different services. The Therapy Outcome Measure (TOM)1 was designed to be a simple, reliable, crossdisciplinary and cross-client group method of gathering information on a broad spectrum of issues associated with enablement/ rehabilitation. It has been rigorously tested for reliability and clinical validity. It aims to be quick and simple to use, taking just a few minutes to complete. It was based on examining the goals used in assisting those with special needs whether children or adults. It has been used for treatment/ educational planning, clinical management, audit, benchmarking and research. The TOM1 allows therapists, (with the teacher where appropriate) to describe the
abilities of a child or young person (CYP) in four domains the first three of which are based on International Classification of Functioning (World Health Organisation) definitions 2: The fourth domain of well-being, of both the individual and the carer was added to the TOM due to the finding that having an
Impairment Dysfunction resulting from pathological changes in system: this is the medical bit and allows description of the cause of the disability and the severity of such a disability.
Activity restriction/function Functional performance: this concentrate on the degree of independence and the amount of assistance that the individual requires.
Participation Integration in society: this considers the individual’s ability to relate to others, have friends, autonomy and a role. impact on well-being is an objective of most services and thus needs to be separately identified in the outcome measure. TOM1 has an 11 point ordinal scale which is a scale on which data is shown simply in order of magnitude since there is no standard of measurement of differences. A rating from 0 to 5 is made on each domain, where a score of 0 is profound, 3 is moderate and 5 mild. For example a score of 0 for ‘Activity’ represents a CYP who is totally dependent/unable to function; a score of 3 for ‘Impairment’ represents a young person who has a moderate disability resulting from pathological changes; a score of 5 for ‘Participation’ represents a CYP who has is integrated and able to maintain their expected different roles in society, is valued by others, and exercises choice and autonomy. A score of 0.5 or ½ a point may be used to indicate if the person is slightly better or worse than a descriptor. The TOM Core Scale has been adapted into 47 scales reflecting conditions that are familiar to a range of health, social and education professionals involved in rehabilitation /enablement. The accompanying manual provides background as to how the tool was developed, how TOMs can be introduced to a team or service, guidance on how to use the tool and
guidance on how to analyse data.
Research underpinning the TOM7-17 indicates that some services emphasise and have an effect on improving the underlying condition (impairment) whereas others concentrate on having an impact upon improving activity (independence), social participation or well-being and that services can have significantly different patterns of outcome.
By using a generic outcome measure health and education staff can work together to identify the severity of the disability or health condition, the aspects reducing independence, the degree of social participation and issues to do with wellbeing. In this way one can identify who is doing what, monitor change over time and identify the processes that are facilitating improvement. Training on the use of the Therapy Outcome Measure can be provided and further details and enquiries can be made via The Community Therapists Network (CTN) at www. communitytherapy.org.uk. Information on the manual and how to obtain a copy are also available from the CTN.
Enderby P, John A, 2015. Therapy Outcome Measures for Rehabilitation Professionals. 3rd Edition J&R publications. Guildford. International Classification of Functional Disability and Health. 2001. World Health Organisation, Geneva Enderby P, Hughes A, John A, Petheram B. Using Benchmarking data for assessing performance in occupational therapy. Clinical Governance: An International Journal 2003;8(4):290-295. Enderby, P. (1999) For richer for poorer: outcome measurement in speech and language therapy. Advances in speech language pathology volume 1 number one pp. 63–65. Enderby, P. and John, A. (1999) Therapy outcome measures in speech and language therapy: Comparing performance between different providers. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 34, 417–429. Enderby, P., John, A., Hughes, A., and Petheram, B. (2000) Benchmarking in rehabilitation: comparing physiotherapy services. British Journal of Clinical Governance, 5(2), 86–92. Enderby, P. and Kew, E. (1995) Outcome measurements in physiotherapy using the World Health Organisation’s classification of impairment, disability and handicap: a pilot
study. Physiotherapy. Volume 81 number four pp. 177–183. John, A. (1993) An Outcome Measure for Language Impaired Children Under Six Years: A Study of Reliability and Validity. MSc. Thesis, City University. John, A. and Enderby, P. (2000) Reliability of speech and language therapists using therapy outcome measures. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 35, 287–302. John, A., Enderby, P., and Hughes, A. (2005a) Benchmarking outcomes in dysphasia using the therapy outcome measure. Aphasiology, 19(2), 165–178. John, A., Enderby, P., and Hughes, A. (2005b) Comparing outcomes of voice therapy: A benchmarking study using the therapy outcome measure. Journal of Voice, 19(1), 114–123. John, A., Enderby, P., Hughes, A., and Petheram. B. (2001) Benchmarking can facilitate the sharing of information on outcomes of care. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 36 Suppl. 385–390. Ryan, A. (2003) An Evaluation of Intensity of Community Based Multidisciplinary Therapy Following Stroke or Hip Fracture for People Aged 65 and Over. PhD Thesis, University of Sheffield.
The benefits of dedicated learning environments to inspire the next generation By Craig Riley who is passionate about the environment and creating sustainable and stylish solutions for extra space.
When it comes to learning environments, one size doesn’t always fit all. While some lessons like English and maths can easily be taught in a normal classroom, specialist subjects from art and music to chemistry and IT require proper access to specialist facilities and equipment. But with school funding cuts on the horizon, schools are increasingly lacking the resources to provide these dedicated learning environments – resulting in a lack of uptake for these important areas of education. So, what’s the solution? Understandably, many schools focus on investing their resources into the core subjects at GCSE – English, maths and science – to ensure that their pupils pass exams in these key areas which are vital for progression to further study or employment. But educators argue that the teaching of arts subjects like fine art, design, drama and music is not just an optional extra; it:
• • • • •
enhances students’ experience of learning helps children to think creatively increases self-esteem improves motivation, and provides a broader education, resulting in better employment prospects for our young people
want to study music if they had a dedicated soundproof studio with state-of-the-art recording facilities? What effect would we see on the uptake in STEM subjects if pupils had the opportunity to avail themselves of equipment they might find in a university or commercial lab? If this level of hi-tech innovation is beyond your current budget, it’s possible to make positive changes on a smaller level, which can be equally effective in encouraging participation in minority subjects. Just by ensuring that learning environments are carefully designed with pupils’ needs at the forefront, schools can improve engagement and increase motivation in their students – so in an art room for example, schools might make a point of displaying inspirational artworks on the walls, providing extra lighting or arranging the furniture to benefit from natural light. To effectively increase engagement, a positive attitude to learning needs to come from the top down, so it’s about the teaching, too; pupil-centred teaching methods such as the flipped classroom technique can help to hand autonomy back to your students, allowing them more power to engage with the topic and think creatively. Which comes first? Deciding whether to invest Increasing the take-up of optional arts and STEM subjects in schools can be a chickenand-egg undertaking. Without well-equipped facilities, pupils are turned off by science and
technology subjects, seeing them as staid, boring or simply too difficult. Arts subjects are often viewed (by parents, teachers and pupils) as irrelevant, with many children failing to find inspiration and opting for a more academic path. But without sufficient pupil uptake, schools find it difficult to justify investing resources in these underfunded areas of study. So which should come first, pupil uptake or investment in specialist facilities? We believe the latter is the way forward – and that making such an investment will ultimately benefit every school. Dedicated learning environments that inspire young people to study a broader range of subjects will provide a solid return on investment, resulting in:
greater pupil wellbeing
better academic outcomes
an improvement in student behaviour, and
What’s more, by creating multipurpose dedicated learning environments that can be used flexibly for a number of subjects, the initial investment might not be as sizeable as head teachers may fear. Practical solutions We’ve seen how high-quality, dedicated learning environments can have a positive impact on schools and their pupils. But as anyone in senior management will know, there’s a gap between knowledge and action. If schools are to provide dedicated classrooms for specialist subjects, they’ll require a
Furthermore, good access to modern science and technology facilities from Year 7 right up to A Level is essential if we are to encourage more students to take these subjects further and make up the current shortfall of skills in science, technology, engineering and maths. Without young people’s engagement in technology, our increasingly tech-dependent world faces a crisis that will seriously impact on future generations. Increasing pupil engagement through positive learning environments Very often, our attitudes to education are shaped by the environment in which we experience it. In shabby surroundings that haven’t been prioritised, we can pick up on a feeling of neglect and apathy, which often translates into detachment from learning. With a bit of TLC, however, our learning environments can provide the impetus and inspiration to explore, learn and achieve. How many more children would
Green Modualr buildings
practical plan that offers up feasible, costeffective and convincing solutions. We’ll start with the classroom space. Increasingly, schools facing expansion projects are opting for modular constructions that offer a cost-effective way to increase classroom space in crowded campuses. These modern buildings can be built to a bespoke specification, offering a comfortable and pleasant learning environment with lots of natural light. Design features can be incorporated to provide classrooms boasting all the facilities you require for specialist learning – and offering the flexibility to double up for dual use. If your school is serious about providing dedicated learning environments for arts, STEM subjects and extracurricular activities, this type of classroom could provide the practical characteristics you require.
In terms of teaching, a truly passionate and inspirational teacher can make all the difference to pupil engagement. Very often, teachers themselves are affected by their working environments – so making positive changes here can result in dramatic improvements, not just to student engagement, but also to staff wellbeing, motivation and loyalty. Teachers can also be offered training to help engage their students and inspire them to study subjects outside the core curriculum. Head teachers can encourage teachers to pursue their interests in professional life, by offering them time and resources to run clubs and groups, or by incorporating elements of music, art and drama into regular curriculum subjects. Peripatetic teachers can be hired to provide extracurricular activities outside school hours.
Creating a positive school culture Attitudes can be infectious. By promoting a positive culture within a school, through both dedicated learning environments and actively engaged staff, it’s possible to inspire your pupils and increase their motivation to learn. And from there? Happier students, improved academic attainment and a positive outlook for the future seem like a good place to start. Craig Riley is the Managing Director of ‘Green Modular’ a company which supplies unique and environmentally-friendly outdoor modular buildings as effective space solutions.
17 emerging trends in Ed Tech for 2018 Experts from each area of RM Education share their predictions on how technology will influence classrooms and back office operations in 2018. #1. Pupils will expect seamless technology in school Toby Black, Managing Director As the drive for learning to more closely reflect life becomes greater, pupils will have higher expectations of the technology available to them in the classroom; they’ll expect it to be seamless, as it is in their homes and personal lives.
#2. Peer-led support will form a key part of safeguarding Kat Howard, Online Safety Lead Peer-to-peer mentoring schemes are reinforcing positive and supportive behaviours, and helping pupils to take responsibility for their own online safety. Schools will start to make these schemes accessible to pupils from an earlier age, empowering future learners to be safe online.
#3. Machine Learning will be at the centre of everything Mark House, Education Consultant Most schools are probably using machine learning every day without realising it. G Suite and Office 365 use ML extensively in
their productivity suites to help users do things more intelligently. Most exciting is the ability to provide reliable and valid predictions on student performance, and thus make meaningful interventions.
technology, cover absence and transfer the risk to the service provider.
#4. We’re all going to need more bandwidth
Silvana Tann, Relationship Manager
Kevin Kong, Product Manager for Connectivity and ISP Services Schools are consuming ever-greater volumes of bandwidth - a trend more pronounced in secondary schools due to the widespread adoption of cloud technologies. Bandwidth consumption increases by around 40% year-on-year, so it will become critical for schools to get their infrastructure right to support this.
#5. Outsourcing will become inevitable Kevin Robinson, Services Consultant While some schools might think it’s more cost effective to run all their IT systems ‘in-house’, there are substantial risks in doing this because schools are limited to one person or one skillset. Outsourcing will help schools to reduce costs, future-proof
#6. Systems security must be more robust The prevalence of malware and ransomware is a growing cause for concern, and in an age where data is so critical, schools must be rigorous in mitigating these kind of attacks. Having remote technical support that can detect risks before they reach your networks, and putting a clear governance policy in place for opening emails, will become more critical to system safety.
#7. Flipped learning is here to stay Becca Wren, Brand and Channel Manager The trend towards flipped learning and a more collaborative classroom is continuing at pace. Online platforms that help to foster collaboration in the classroom – such as Google Classroom, One Drive and Microsoft Teams – will become more central to learning.
#8. Using 1:1 devices will become standard Rachel Baker, Network Account Manager The need for affordable 1:1 classroom devices will see a surge in demand for such products. The use of technology to share lessons and ideas ‘live’ and in real time with other schools, companies and establishments around the world will become more common.
#9. Critical data will be stored in the cloud Chris Taylor, Product Manager As we become more security-conscious, schools will look to store more data in the cloud. Using tools like Google Drives removes the need memory sticks and allows teams to access their work in the cloud from anywhere – using secure passwords.
#10. BYOD (Bring your own device) schemes will become standard Martin Pipe, Head of Service Scope & Design 12
Providing that proper planning and the right infrastructure are in place, we will begin to see the majority of UK secondary schools adopting BYOD in some form as part of a wider plan to reduce costs, save time and increase engagement.
#11. School systems must be scalable Jesse Johnson, Head of Multi Academy Trusts School and academy trusts will need technology to scale to the rapidly changing requirements of their learners, teachers and administrators. Embracing the use of cloud-based applications, infrastructure and collaborative platforms will reduce costs, increase flexibility and enable educational technology to be more responsive to changing needs.
#12. Schools will make better use data for decisions Caroline Fisher, RM Integris Product Manager Schools are now realising the potential of the data held in their MIS, and in 2018 we’ll see this trend gain momentum. Schools will start to fully exploit their data for monitoring attendance patterns, communicating with parents, storing documents electronically, holding medical information, tracking SEND requirements and exploring contextual data analysis to spot anomalies and identify trends.
#13. Servers will become redundant Steve Forbes, Head of Networks at RM Education Few schools will continue to burden themselves with the large capital outlay on replacing costly servers like-for-like when they reach the end of their functional service; ‘server-less schools’ whose services and systems are delivered to staff and students through the internet is becoming the norm.
#14. We’ll build a culture of reading for pleasure Alan Hodgin, Head of RM Books The National Literacy Trust’s recent research highlighted the measurable impact of ebooks on reading motivation and skills, and their ability to positively influence reluctant readers. By the end of 2018, almost every school will be trying or using ebooks on a regular basis to improve reading, to help build a culture of reading for pleasure, and to support learning in one or more subjects.
#15. Collaboration tools will become more prevalent Hannah Wornham, Trust Relationship Manager Outside the classroom, children are fully conversant using technology to collaborate; they use it daily to make friends and
socialise. Increasingly, we’ll see the use of similar technologies in the classroom, and this will enable children to learn from one another whilst engaging them in learning by making it both fun and relevant.
#16. Windows 10 adoption in schools will accelerate John Srawley, Procurement Manager In 2018, we will see a wider adoption of Windows 10 in the classroom, in part due to decreasing availability of systems that support Windows 7. Windows 10 allows devices to be faster, more secure and have even better multi-tasking capabilities than previous version of Windows accumulating in more collaborative classrooms.
#17. Video communications tools will become more widespread Michael Oakes, Google Sales Specialist The popularity of video communications tools is testament to the way content consumption and communication is shifting categorically. While this will never replace the face to face conversation, it’s a good substitute when the latter isn’t possible. These technologies will be more prevalent in the classroom, with tools like Google Expeditions putting students into places and situations they wouldn’t otherwise experience.
Size Matters: Why the education industry needs to take screen size seriously By Paul Wilson, business manager, Visual Instruments, Epson UK According to the World Health Organisation, 80% of educational material is remembered when delivered via visual means compared to just 25% retained from one-way verbal lectures. As a result, visual communication technologies – such as projectors and flat panels - are revolutionising the way education is delivered in schools and universities. But as the traditional delivery of education diminishes and digitisation increases so does the negative impact on eye health. There has been a dramatic increase in shortsightedness among half of Europe’s young adults – double the total amount 50 years ago.
Ensuring the screen is fit for purpose Epson works with partners to ensure they have the correct product for their purposes. The result is that everyone in the room has the same opportunity to engage and share information. According to guidelines set out by the University of South Wales in its report entitled Audio Visual and Teaching Space Guidelines: increasingly by some establishments due to familiarity and perceived simplicity. However, research shows that 58% of students cannot read all content provided on a 70inch flat panel, which can be detrimental to learning, and creates undue eye strain.
Despite the established link between the use of screens and eye health, many schools remain uninformed as to proper screen use and decision making protocols.
Projectors offer a far more responsible and flexible choice for the education environment, providing much bigger, scalable screen sizes of up to 100 inches.
Flat panel or projector?
Today’s projectors can perform in daylight with super high colour-brightness, as well as incorporating connectivity that allows for BYOD interaction, interactive sensing and touch technologies. Furthermore, they are more portable and take up much less space.
There are two technology choices when it comes to group screen-teaching in schools: flat panels and projectors. Projectors are the established technology, but flat panels are being adopted Education Magazine
The bottom of the screen should be no lower than 1.2m from the floor;
The minimum distance between the first row and the screen should be twice the screen height,
The minimum screen width should be the same as the distance between the closest viewer and the screen; and
The maximum horizontal and vertical viewing angle is considered to be 45 degrees and 30 degrees respectively.
When it comes to visual communication and interactive and collaborative learning, screen size does in fact matter.
Robots taking our jobs? Stop agonising and take action to skill up for the jobs of the future New study forecasts only one in five workers are in occupations that will shrink; lays out blueprint for reskilling workers September 28, 2017 – Pearson, in partnership with Nesta, and in collaboration with researchers from the Oxford Martin School, released a report entitled “The Future of Skills: Employment in 2030.” The study takes an entirely new approach to forecasting employment and skill demands in the US and UK. In contrast to many recent headlines, the study finds that many jobs today will still be in demand by 2030 and beyond. However, while jobs may remain, the skills needed for success are changing. For the first time ever, researchers combined diverse human expertise with active machine learning to produce a more nuanced view of future employment trends. Using this innovative approach, the study forecasts that only one in five workers are in occupations that face a high likelihood of decline. The research also forecasts one in ten people are highly likely to experience a rise in demand for their job. The remaining roughly 70% of workers are in jobs where there is greater uncertainty about the future: these workers can boost their prospects if they can invest in the right skills. Rather than “doom and gloom”, the findings show how we can take action to help more people prepare for the future. Across both the US and the UK, the occupations forecast to most likely experience a rise in employment are associated with education, health care and wider public sector occupations. In the US, however, confidence in the growth of health-care occupations, traditionally defined, is lower than might be expected given the size of the industry and the aging of the population, perhaps reflecting political uncertainties related to US health care policy. Creative, digital, design, and engineering occupations are also found to have bright outlooks in both countries. Decline in employment is forecast to take place in occupations related to transportation and traditional manufacturing. Knowledge areas such as English language, history, philosophy and administration and management are all generally associated with occupations forecast to see a rise in workforce share. By contrast, STEMrelated knowledge areas such as science
and technology design will find use only in particular occupations. Meanwhile, strong social skills will be the key to success as demand for uniquely human skills rises. The skills forecast to be in higher future demand include social perceptiveness, active learning, active listening, judgment, and decision making. In addition, cognitive skills such as fluency of ideas, originality, and oral expression are forecast to increase in demand - whereas physical abilities such as stamina, depth perception, are forecast to decline. “The future of work is brighter than conventional wisdom suggests--it is not going to be human versus machine, but rather human and machine,” said John Fallon, chief executive officer, Pearson. “It is clear that technology is changing the global economy and labour markets, but we still retain the ability to control our destiny. We must reevaluate the skills people will need for a digital future, and update our education systems to ensure teachers have the right tools to help students succeed in the workforce of tomorrow.”
Many studies agree that occupations with relatively low skills requirements are those most under threat of automation. However, this study finds that some activities like food preparation and hospitality will grow in importance, reflecting wider consumer trends, such as the re-emergence of artisanal employment in occupations like brewing and barbering. In the US specifically, occupations related to education and teaching, animal care, the legal profession and engineers are likely to see a high rise in demand. These jobs are followed closely by social science professions, personal appearance occupations, counsellors and social workers and entertainment and sports related occupations. In the UK, occupations related to natural and social sciences, food and hospitality and education and teaching are the most likely to see a rise in demand. Engineering occupations, health and social services jobs, artistic and media occupations and public service jobs will also see an increase in demand. The full report can be viewed here: http:// futureskills.pearson.com. For the Future of Skills: Employment in 2030 project, Pearson partnered with Nesta. The report is authored by Hasan Bakhshi (Nesta), Jonathan Downing (University of Oxford), Michael Osborne (Oxford Martin) and Philippe Schneider (independent researcher). About Nesta
“While there is no shortage of research assessing the impacts of automation on individual occupations, there is far less that focuses on skills, and even less so that has actionable insights for stakeholders in areas like job redesign and learning priorities. The future of work for most people is not inevitable,” said Hasan Bakhshi, Executive Director, Creative Economy and Data Analytics, Nesta.
Nesta is a global innovation foundation. We back new ideas to tackle the big challenges of our time, making use of our knowledge, networks, funding and skills. We work in partnership with others, including governments, businesses and charities. We are a UK charity that works all over the world, supported by a financial endowment. To find out more visit www.nesta.org.uk.
“In the face of legitimate concerns about the consequences of technological change on jobs, our study identifies where new opportunities might emerge,” said Michael Osborne, co-Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Technology and Employment. “We show what the entirely new jobs of the future might look like: these include those accessible to those affected by automation.”
The Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford is a world-leading centre of pioneering research that addresses global challenges. We invest in research that cuts across disciplines to tackle a wide range of issues such as climate change, disease and inequality. We support novel, high risk and multidisciplinary projects that may not fit within conventional funding channels. We do this because breaking boundaries can produce results that could dramatically improve the wellbeing of this and future generations. We seek to make an impact by taking new approaches to global problems, through scientific and intellectual discovery, by developing policy recommendations and working with a wide range of stakeholders to translate them into action. Web: www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac. uk Twitter: @oxmartinschool Facebook: / oxfordmartinschool
Philippe Schneider, researcher and co-author of the report, said: “Jobs are the cornerstone of our social and economic lives. Today many are concerned that jobs face a period of sustained disruption - not only as a result of automation but also globalization, demographic and environmental change and political uncertainty. Thinking systematically about these trends cannot give conclusive answers on what is around the corner, but it can provide clues and challenge imaginations as we design policies to improve the adaptability and employability of our workforces.” 14
About the Oxford Martin School
Digital Health & Literacy - Mitigating Screen Fatigue Up until now, tinted overlays, glasses and screen filters for smart phones, computer screens and tablets have been the only visual aids available for protecting one’s eye from prolonged viewing of sub-optimally calibrated digital devices. Following 11 years of research driven development the S.M.A.R.T. Foundation is launching an early preventative intervention as part of their Digital Health & Literacy Campaign the Dupree Screen Optimiser or DSO. What is the Dupree Screen Optimiser? Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) and Screen Fatigue are quickly becoming a global pandemic not only in the workplace, but in almost every setting. Increased hours of computer screen usage causes eyestrain and blurred or double vision. Unless the workers of the future or the children of today are made aware of it and have the tools to mitigate it, what awaits them is a working life-cycle of under-performance by an average of 20% on-screen and incapacitating repetitive stress injuries. The body’s well meaning adjustment presenting as CVS, simply signaling “adaptation exhaustion” or the point where a person’s automatic survival strategy runs out of adaptations. At this point, if not addressed properly, it will resort to discomfort and pain as the body’s attempt to prompt an escape from any unmediated stressor.
reading rate and comprehension in a text based learning environment. The app also aims to help the functionally illiterate children gain better access to text, often prompting a self-modification of their more defensive behaviours.
S.M.A.R.T. Foundation’s Dupree Screen Optimiser is the very first objective and patented DSE Visual Risk Assessment and mitigation tool accessed FREE for educational purposes. Offering an effective methodology that genuinely reduces the risk of screen fatigue by identifying optimal screen settings for the individual pupils / students, reducing visual stress and thereby, as a bi-product, improving their
In order to secure long term funding / sponsorship the S.M.A.R.T. Foundation plans a corporate launch of the DSE Tool-Kit in 2018, as a paid-for self-administered commercial version of the application, but in the meantime everyone is invited to participate in the app’s Beta Trial !
For more information visit screenfatigue.me.uk/
Score My Screen - Screen Risk / DSE Fatigue Screening and Mitigation Tool-Kit Try, Rate and Share with those at risk of over-exposure to standard Display Screen
Are Your Staff and Students Ready for Lockdown?
Due to recent events, safety and security in UK schools are a paramount concern. There have also been reports of violent attacks on staff and students all over the country. However, it’s not just direct attacks on school property which are causing concern, but other incidents which potentially put staff and students at risk. Examples of dangerous occurrences include armed raiders running into a school after a robbery, a secure unit abscondee on the loose in Conwy, a man wielding a gun outside a Cambridge school and a shooting outside a Liverpool school. All these resulted in schools going into lockdown. It is essential that accurate information is communicated clearly and quickly throughout the school, no matter whether the situation warrants evacuation or lockdown. Schools must Education Magazine
have a working fire alarm fitted by law, but many use the same fire bell to announce class changes. This can lead to confusion, and whilst a bell can provide a clear alert that an emergency situation has arisen, it cannot differentiate between lockdown or evacuation. In the event of a possible violent intruder on the premises, the last thing any school wants is pupils streaming out onto a playground and gathering at assembly points. To solve this issue, some schools have installed integrated class change and PA systems such as Bodet’s Harmonys, which store a range of different tones, melodies and pre-recorded voice messages. As well as routine announcements such as class change, lunch or the end of school, in the event of an emergency they enable specific alarms to be broadcast across the entire site. That way, both staff and pupils know what’s happening and what action to take. Due to the random nature of these attacks and threats, there is little schools can do to prevent them. However, by having clear and effective communication systems installed alongside robust lockdown and evacuation procedures, schools can be certain they are doing all they can to ensure the safety of staff and students.
Richard Manby is managing director of Bodet Class Change Systems
Website: lockdown.bodet.co.uk Tel: 01442 418800 15
Lease Options Lease options for Lockdown Alert Systems are available from Bodet’s financial leasing partner, over periods of either two or three years. For example, a financial amount of £10,000 plus VAT over a 36 month period would equate to monthly payments of £284.78 plus VAT plus an agreed residual payment. Please contact us for further details and to obtain a lease quotation for your school. Bodet Limited is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. We act as a credit broker in this finance transaction and work with an asset finance lender to find a suitable arrangement for you. We do not make a charge to you for helping you to find a suitable asset finance lender, however, we may receive a commission payment from the lender for our work. Business customers only.
For further details and to obtain a lease quotation for your school, please contact Bodet.
Bedford Modern School’s state-of-the-art Science Centre opens Space Scientist, Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, officially opened Bedford Modern School’s (BMS) state-of-the-art Science Centre on Friday 16th June 2017 at an event attended by staff, students and special guests.
Following an investment of more than £9m, the new Science Centre includes 17 laboratories; three in each subject for specialist use and eight multipurpose laboratories together with adjacent preparation space. A separate floor is devoted to each discipline: Biology, Chemistry and Physics and a central learning atrium provides a flexible teaching and display area. The three specialist labs on each floor are primarily aimed at Sixth Form teaching, although based on the universal layout they have subtle differences which take into account the nature of the subject. The remaining eight laboratories are designed to be multi-purpose and are identical in all respects. 16
The main atrium is fitted with movable seating and tables to facilitate all types of non-practical work. The method of display is a 3x3 video wall which can handle multiple inputs. It is managed from a touch screen device and has the option to broadcast via a camera in the laboratories; useful for demonstrating intricate practical work such as a dissection. Flexibility is key and each laboratory is built on the model of five, fixed service towers around which there are movable tables, allowing teachers to configure the classroom as they wish or as befits the lesson activity. At the front of each laboratory is an interactive projector which has the same capability as an interactive whiteboard and can handle multiple inputs, offering Education Magazine
split screen projection. Each unit is also connected to Apple TV which allows easy management of apps including YouTube and BBC iPlayer. Teachers can connect via a hardwire USB 3.0 port or wirelessly so that they can be mobile within the classroom. There is also a whiteboard wall in each lab.
The ample storage and preparation space is located at one end of the building meaning technicians can transport equipment through interconnecting doors between the labs during breaks. During lesson time the corridors are used and this means that there is no potential for collision between a stacked trolley and a student. The building offers potential to be a learning tool in itself. The kinetic flooring in the entrance is linked to a monitor which displays how much energy has been converted over a period of time. In the atrium there is a Foucault Pendulum and on the first floor an interactive Periodic Table display has been
installed. These fantastic additions help bring science to life and have been donated by parents, the BMS Parents’ Association and the School’s alumni association; the Old Bedford Modernians (OBM) Club. Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock inspired students from across the school during her visit and said: “It has been wonderful to visit Bedford Modern School; there is a real sense of community here. “I have spoken with several students who have asked me so many impressive questions and I can see that this level of interest is as a result of the fantastic encouragement from their teachers.
“I am looking forward to returning to see everybody back in action!” Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Psychology are popular subjects at BMS and make up a third of the subject choices in the Sixth Form. Many students go on to study a science-related course at university. The Science Centre is by far the most significant capital investment in the School’s history and is an exceptional teaching and learning environment which will, together with the efforts of the excellent teaching staff, undoubtedly inspire countless young scientists for many years to come.
Girls in STEM… By Anna Tomlinson
Anna Tomlinson is Head of St Margaret’s School for Girls in Aberdeen. Educated in Lancashire, she began her journey north when she took up a place at St Andrews University to read theology and English. For 16 years, Anna taught religion and philosophy at St George’s School for Girls in Edinburgh, where she was latterly a deputy head, before moving to St Margaret’s in May 2014.
We may now have our second female Prime Minister and a female First Minister in Scotland, but the reality is still that men outnumber women in many professions, not least in engineering. According to the Office for National Statistics, women make up just 8% of engineers in the UK compared to a slightly more favourable 20% in the rest of Europe. In Aberdeen, we are resolved to buck this trend. Giving girls the knowledge and skillset needed to achieve university entrance qualifications in STEM subjects is only the first step in preparing girls for a career in science and engineering. We need to develop the right mindset as well. To help girls become CEOs we need to build CEO into our curriculum and give them Confidence, Enthusiasm and Opportunity! As the only girls’ school in Aberdeen, we have long been committed to eradicating gender stereotype around subject and career choice. We are situated in the heart of the North Sea oil and gas industry and engineering often features in the university course choices of our pupils. We know we are exceptionally fortunate to have two world-class universities on our doorstep, which provide a diverse range of degree courses for those attracted to a STEM career. We were delighted, therefore, in 2016 when the University of Aberdeen approached us to discuss how together we might break
down some of the barriers which prevent some girls from even considering a career in engineering. At our initial meeting, the idea of a ‘Girls into Engineering’ conference was born. We have since held three such events in partnership with our colleagues at the School of Engineering. The first conference in October 2016 saw 90 girls from 16 maintained and independent schools come together at St Margaret’s to explore different types of engineering and to take part in diverse hands-on activities. The arrival of Aberdeen University’s studentbuilt racing car in the playground added to the excitement and enthused the whole school community. I am a great believer in the power of role-models for young people and the conference delegates were undoubtedly struck by the stories of current female undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as by the thoughtprovoking presentations given by women currently working in the oil and gas sector. In their feedback, the girls commented on the number of times speakers mentioned the importance of problem solving and creativity. Indeed, Professor Ana Ivanovic said, “I believe that the next generation of female engineers has an important role to play in using their creative and team working skills to change perceptions of the industry.” Throughout the day, it was abundantly
The latest developments in therapies for primary school pupils By Jeff Thomas FCIM The main developments that have taken place in the last five years have been: consolidation of the Integrative Holistic model, now practised in 29 countries; the regulation of Play Therapy and Creative Arts Therapies in the UK through the Accredited Registers programme; the confirmation of the effectiveness of the model.
respond well to music therapy but another better to art and another to the therapeutic use of sand tray or puppets. No school can afford to engage, or the time, to manage half a dozen different specialist therapists.
The use of play therapy and other creative arts therapies such as art, art psychotherapy, music and dramatherapy developed in parallel as separate professions for treating children’s psychological and emotional welfare problems for a number of years. One of the practical problems for schools was that different pupils responded differently to the type of therapy. One might
Many children cannot or do not want to talk about their problems. Research shows that on average the child only spends 7% of the session time talking when given the choice. Consequently talking therapies which use conscious processes are generally not appropriate for children under the age of 12. Psychological theories are now enhanced by the rapid advance of neurobiological evidence.
The Integrative Holistic model of Child Therapy has been developed over the past 10 years to solve this problem. It has been used with children of many cultures and in many countries. It integrates: Working with unconscious and conscious processes
‘Why did you kick the dinner lady Jimmy?’ will often lead to the response ‘I dunno!’ because the most traumatic memories, which trigger such behaviour, are deeply embedded in the amygdala. The hippocampus, a key component for effective learning, may also be damaged. Both are parts of the unconscious area of the brain. Non-directive and directive approaches The non-directive approach is safe and effective. It is used to form a therapeutic relationship with the child. However, it will need to be supplemented with a directive approach when there are time or budget constraints. Working therapeutically with groups of children also requires a combination of both ways of working. The use of many therapeutic creative arts media The model uses a ‘Therapeutic Tool-Kit’: sand tray work; drawing and painting; clay; music;
clear that the engineering industry needs individual women to bring their own unique skills and qualities to the workforce. Pupils left with an understanding that engineers come in all shapes and sizes and that diversity is encouraged.
Our ‘Girls into Engineering’ conference for senior pupils will now run as a biennial event and in the intervening year we shall run an event for primary 7 girls from a range of schools. There is clearly a need to get in there early with girls in order to address gender stereotypes long before subject choices are made.
colleagues, and working together has given us the confidence to be innovative in our approach. Inspired by the success of our collaboration to date, we are now planning a more ambitious venture: a national residential ‘Women in Engineering’ conference at the University of Aberdeen The inclusion of as many girls as possible from 30th July to 1st August 2018, which will from all over our area was one of the be sponsored by Chevron. Interested strengths of the event. The large from across the UK will shortly “Our inaugural engineering conference girls numbers generated some great be invited to apply for a place at interaction: the girls could see how for primary age girls not only generated the conference, which will provide many they were and that they were a wonderful opportunity to explore interest in engineering but also not alone; they were not the solitary engineering both in a university one or two girls in an Advanced provided a fresh angle on the growth setting and in the workplace. Staying Higher physics class of mainly boys. in halls of residence and supervised mindset and intellectual character Rather, they were part of a dynamic by experienced teachers, successful community all keen “to boldly which we encourage in our pupils who, candidates will benefit from a travel go” into fields where they haven’t bursary and a highly interactive in the midst of a technical challenge, largely gone before. Confidence programme rich with hands-on building takes many different forms. recognised the value of learning from activities and face to face contact This is where challenge days such with female engineers. A visit to the mistakes and developed a stronger as this, multi-school and national Integrated Operations Centre at competitions and conferences rollercoaster ramp as a result!” Chevron’s headquarters in Aberdeen come into their own, offering girls will allow participants to interact with opportunities to learn, to be creative engineers working on and offshore. and to interact with both peers and higher The partnership we have developed with Our intention is that we will not only redress education experts who are passionate about the School of Engineering at the University any misconceptions about the engineering their subjects and only too keen to share of Aberdeen has been a fruitful and joyful industry but that we will inspire the female their infectious enthusiasm with participants. venture for both institutions. St Margaret’s CEOs of the future. What better way can there be to instill a ‘can- staff bring the experience of working with do’ mindset in the girls? school age children which complements the engineering expertise of university
puppets; movement; masks; therapeutic story telling; guided imagery. In this model therapists are trained to communicate with the child using the media that the child has chosen. Not just to set and observe exercises.
Holistic: The model takes into account all the needs of the child including: emotional; physical; communication; understanding and thinking; caring for self; moral and spiritual; social relationships; creativity. It includes systemic elements such as advising and coaching parents when this is desirable.
Research with practice It is essential that practitioners integrate research with practice. This combines evidence based practice with practice based evidence taking the profession forward as well as the practitioner.
The effectiveness of the model Commissioners of services need to know that they are getting value for money. Is the time spent by a child in play therapy worth the time taken out of lessons and
the cost? Play Therapy UK (PTUK), a not for profit professional organisation, has over 12 years used the programme evaluation method to find out how well the model works. This measures what happens in real life conditions, taking into account all the variables of the child, the environment and the therapists. The main measurement tool, the Goodman Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), is also continues overleaf u
The latest developments in therapies for primary school pupils continued used by Government agencies for measuring children’s mental health.
a more effective way of communication when dealing with the emotions.
A recent analysis conducted this year, based on over 12,000 cases from 1100 PTUK registrants, shows that between 77% and 84% of children show a positive change. receiving play therapy, delivered using the Integrative Holistic model.
But it’s more than just letting a child play and observing. The therapists provide a safe environment in which the children can heal themselves, provide safe boundaries, verbal reflections, only when they add to the process and have a very close focus on the child. They must be able to communicate with the child in whichever medium the child has chosen and ground them safely at the end of each session.
The extent of the improvement depends upon the severity of the presenting issues – the more severe the problems the greater the percentage of children showing a positive change. 77% for those with slight/ moderate problems, 84% for those with severe problems. A statistical test indicates that these results are less than one in a thousand due to chance. There is little difference between the outcomes observed by referrers, mainly teachers or SENCOs in schools and those of parents in the home environment.
“Neither are there significant differences by gender, country or culture. The structure and working of children’s brains are the same the world over. It is their minds that are different, depending upon the experiences good and bad that they have encountered. The Integrative Holistic model provides a safe environment in which the children, with help from the therapist, heal themselves.” It may work in practice but how does it work in theory? Play is a natural process that is essential for the development of a child’s brain and mind. Without the stimulus of play the physical size of the brain will be much smaller as shown in research undertaken with Romanian orphans who were confined to their cots with very little stimulus. Many of the reasons why an integrative model works so well are explained by the discoveries in neurobiology. Beneficial chemicals such as opioids and oxitocin are released naturally as a result of play and creative activities. The amygdala is calmed and the hippocampus is repaired. Play therapy uses metaphors and fantasies which have been shown to be
Play and Creative Arts Therapists help to co-ordinate the rational brain with the emotional systems of the mammalian brain. Some children are tormented by the triggering of flight, fight and freeze impulses resulting from traumatic memories embedded in the amygdala. Others have been cut off from feelings of love, care and are unable to form close relationships because they are ruled by their rational brain. The Regulation of Play and Creative Arts Therapy has been a major step forward in the recognition and credibility of the profession. The Register of Play and Creative Arts Therapists, was accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) under the Accredited Register (AR) programme in April 2013. Working with children’s minds carries risks. These are considerable if the person is not trained to post graduate level, is not clinically supervised, is not on a PSA Accredited Register and is unaware of the needs for absolute confidentiality. This latter point is becoming increasingly important because of the need to conform to the latest data protection legislation. This requires record management systems that cover therapeutic, as well as academic data. The Accredited Register mark:
helps anyone looking for good quality therapeutic services for children
provides protection for the commissioners of play and creative arts therapy services for their pupils
gives confidence to the employers of the therapists
recognises the commitment of practitioners to provide work of a high quality
For more information visit www.playtherapyregister.org.uk
Jeff Thomas FCIM Jeff is the Registrar of Play Therapy UK. He is responsible for research, systems, quality assurance, communications and education policies. He played a crucial role in obtaining the Professional Standards Authority accreditation of the Register of Play and Creative Arts Therapists, consulting with the Authority upon the development of their standards and processes for the AR programme. Awarded a Fellowship of the Chartered Institute of Marketing for contributions to the children’s mental health field. Jeff’s current objectives are the career development of PTUK and PTI’s registrants whilst raising the quality of therapeutic practice to the level that children deserve and is at the forefront of all health and social care professions. Jeff was formerly a Navigator/ Bomb Aimer, Marketing Manager and a Principal Consultant in Office Automation.
How can your school help to stem the rising tide of depression, anxiety and self-harm amongst children? Diana Dewin explains how this can manifest in outbursts of troubled behaviour and aggression towards staff and other pupils, as well as harder to spot behaviours such as self-harm and depression. Diana explains the importance of a whole school approach to deal with this increasing challenge. Incidents of self-harm among children and young people have risen in almost half (45%) of schools in England, which equates to an incident in more than 10,000 schools. In addition, three in five (60%) of headteachers and school leaders surveyed have also seen an increase in student depression over the past two years, according to the annual state of Education report from The Key published July 2017. While these findings are hard to hear, the first step towards making a difference is to acknowledge the extent of the problem. Then, to explore what can be done in school to support healthy emotional development and meet children’s needs early, to stave off more serious problems and anxieties later. There are major benefits to committing to a whole school approach to children’s emotional and social development. Whilst having specific staff responsible for safeguarding and wellbeing is important, a whole school approach involving all staff can bring about a fundamental shift in the understanding of, and response to, children’s individual needs. So how do you screen for developmental needs that might lead to anxiety and depression later on? Behaviour can be seen as another means of communication. By understanding what particular skills-sets and behaviours are telling us, we can be in a better position to respond appropriately. Some children may exhibit troubling and/or disruptive behaviour, which might signal a deeper need, such as the need to feel safe, or special. By establishing what the child needs, and repeatedly meeting this need, rather than focusing on the behaviour, the situation is likely to improve, not only in the short term, but for the longer term as well. Surely – staff may argue this is not the role a teacher should play. We are not here to make children feel special – but to help them to learn in a safe and supportive environment. Well, that’s the fine line that child-psychology and an understanding of children’s brain development is teaching us and that we’re working to share. Children’s emotional and social wellbeing has such an impact on their ability to learn, that getting Education Magazine
the foundations right across the whole school – sets the right tone and environment for learning – that protects children against this rising tide of anxiety and social pressure. A good start to understand these challenges and act before serious depression and self-harm takes place, is to use a screening tool to identify children who are in in need of additional support. Screening will help to identify withdrawn or overly compliant children with deeper emotional needs, who might otherwise be overlooked. A school we worked with recently commented how behaviour appeared at first to not be a problem in their ‘failing’ primary school. Digging deeper, the compliance and quiet submissiveness of most of the children, stemmed from a massive fear of failure, lack of self-worth and identification of self-value with material possessions alone, that meant children were focusing on doing the bare minimum to get by. Depending on the level of need identified for each child, support can be provided through highly cost effective, classroom based activities or on a one-to-one basis. When early signs of developmental need are addressed with targeted strategies and activities implemented by school staff, parents and carers working together, the positive differences for the child and whole school community can be enormous. Staff providing individual assessment and one-to-one support need to be supported with in-depth training. Training the rest of the staff and support team more widely, at minimal extra cost, will help screening and appropriate action plans to roll out smoothly. How to work better with other agencies? Adding to the pressure felt by schools, almost two-thirds (63%) of school leaders reported last year that children’s services or social services were slow or failed to respond to referrals and this was a barrier to fulfilling their safeguarding duties. More than a third (37%) also reported that excessive paperwork and bureaucracy were obstacles to completing their duties. With a whole school approach and a universal screening programme, schools can build their own in-house capacity to 21
respond early to children’s emotional developmental needs and calls for agency support can be reduced. Class teachers are able to deliver the curriculum and classroom based activities in a way that supports and enhances the age appropriate emotional development of all children in their class. And they are also equipped to identify those needing a more in-depth assessment and one-to-one support from staff, working in partnership with parents or carers. The result is a better learning environment for pupils and staff, reduced demand on external agencies and reduced waiting times for those that do need specialist help from outside. Planning in time to focus on supporting pupils: It is easy to feel the pressure to strive for academic results and improved Oftsed rankings and to ignore wider emotional and social development as too intangible and just a small part of what Oftsed measure your school on. But many schools are finding that the opposite is true. If you focus on supporting emotional and social development in school – not only will pupils be less anxious and decrease the likelihood of depression or self-harm in later years, the result is a better learning environment for all pupils who can achieve better results. Funding you can tap into to help … In response to calls for more support for pupil mental health, the government pledged £200,000 towards mental health “first aid” training for secondary school teachers to help them identify and deal with issues like anxiety, self-harm and depression. The money is expected to fund training for 1,000 teachers in the first year of the scheme. What works:
“Support that is working to reduce pupil anxiety includes early staff interventions, working closely with with parents, counselling provision in nearly 6 in 10 (58%) schools and over half of schools already running their own training to help staff identify early indicators of mental health issues. With a whole school approach, where leadership teams provide the general environment for positive emotional and social support, the children will often volunteer peer support. ” Ultimately, all children and young people should be given the best chances in life. Training in how to support normal, healthy emotional and social development, coupled with the tools and techniques to identify and respond appropriately to early signs of difficulty is important. If such training and tools are available to the wider body of staff, specialist time is freed up for pupils who need it. Diana Dewin is the managing director of Thrive a leading provider of training and software to support emotional wellbeing in schools, talks about the problems of stress and anxiety in children and young people.
Education workers put in over 13 extra days work a year – here’s why this needs to stop by Lee Biggins This article will discuss the dangers of becoming overworked, addressing how this can affect education professional’s life outside of work. Not only this, but we will look at why businesses need to tackle this head on and how they can do so.
their working day, something that can be difficult to achieve if you are tired and overworked. What should employers do? As an employer it’s important that you can recognise the signs of overworking and burnout. And be sure to keep an eye on those repeat offenders who are always doing overtime or who look like they’re suffering from fatigue. Knowing how to recognise the signs and monitoring your workforce means you can address the problem straight away if you think an employee is doing too much overtime.
What happens if you become overworked? There are a number of negative outcomes if you become overworked and fatigued because of your job. Firstly you risk becoming unwell. In more extreme cases this can then lead to burnout and potentially needing a longer period of time off work. While as a business it’s only natural to want to get the most out of your staff, those who are feeling the strain will often operate on lower levels of productivity.
Being overworked can cause problems for both staff and their employers. And recent data from CV-Library found that the average education professional (44.2%) puts in over 13 extra working days a year, with one in five (21.2%) putting in as many as 34! With the majority (65%) admitting that they often work more than their contracted hours it’s time that organisations and employees addressed work-life balance and the effect it has on their wellbeing.
It’s also important to keep the lines of communication open. Part of building a great company culture is creating a friendly and open atmosphere. An open door policy is the best policy, as it means staff can come and talk to you if they’re facing a problem. This way you can nip it in the bud before it goes too far.
“What’s more, new research found that 82.1% of workers in the education sector cite workplace stress as a key cause of disrupted sleep. A further 94.5% then admitted that getting little sleep due to work-related stress negatively affects their emotions. This can make the next day at work a real struggle for professionals in the industry, and over time can lead to fatigue and potentially illness. ”
Encourage a good work-life balance, where staff can switch off at the end of the day and recharge. This should help them to feel more comfortable and enjoy their downtime. It also ensures they don’t feel guilty, as is so often the case these days. If you can see that your employees are struggling with their workload and have to take a lot of work home with them or stay late, you need to consider ways in which you could ease the pressure.
Education workers also confessed that lack of sleep affects their ability to stay focused (72.5%), deal with challenging situations (48.8%) and make important decisions (36.3%). All of these are extremely important aspects of being an education professional. As such, it’s vital that staff feel less stressed and get the recommended amount of sleep each night.
It’s understandable that in the education industry tasks such as planning and marking are often done at home, but keep an eye on just how much your workers are taking on. Alongside this, encourage staff to make
As you can see there are a number of problems that can arise for both workers and their employers. Education professionals need to feel energised and positive during
the most of the school holidays and ensure that they’re taking time out to recharge. Otherwise this could lead them to become less productive when they are actually at work. Another issue that arises from the education sector is the growing skills gap. As an employer you need to be sure you’re making the most of your recruitment efforts, offering the best possible packages and working hard to attract talented professionals into your organisation. This can help to ensure others aren’t trying to pick up the slack, which can result in them taking on more work than they can handle. What should employees do? Ensure you’re doing your best to get a good night’s sleep – though sometimes this is easier said than done. Try not to have caffeinated drinks too late in the day or spend your time after hours taking work calls or answering emails. Work-life balance is important, and you should take it upon yourself to make sure you’re getting the balance right. Hopefully your employer will be supporting you in this endeavour. And if you are facing problems at work and it’s causing you to become overworked, you need to approach your boss so you can find a solution as soon as possible. It’s easy to see how education professionals can end up putting in the overtime, losing sleep as a result. But for organisations across the industry it’s best practise to get systems in place to avoid this as much as possible. If you want staff operating at their best during working hours, ensure they can come to you with any problems they face. Not only this, but be sure to build a company culture that encourages a strong work-life balance and open and honest communication.
More protection is needed for pupils and teachers after calls for schools to deploy lockdown plans Following news that a teacher’s union is calling for schools across the UK to have lockdown plans for emergencies, Klaus Allion further examines what schools are doing to protect their staff. Whilst a number of schools are carrying out adhoc lockdown drills, if a serious incident does arise, a pre-recorded alarm and message is played from a tannoy, with pupils getting under tables, teachers locking classroom doors, lights being turned off and window shutters pulled down – but is this enough? Shouldn’t schools be considering staff safety more holistically? What clear processes are in place to help staff deal with incidents quickly and effectively? How is everyone in the school made aware if a serious incident occurs, including those off site? How are issues escalated and a response put into action before it’s too late? What’s more, how does a school prove it followed the correct process?
Today’s connective technologies mean that modern panic buttons offer much more functionality than a basic alert; they can automate a range of actions to escalate a response instantly and discreetly. When pressed – often via an app on a user’s smartphone – a panic button not only triggers an alert to notify colleagues of a developing incident, it reports the details of who triggered it and their location. The most effective tools can activate live audio recordings that allow colleagues to listen in and assess what course of action is required, in real time. These recordings are also invaluable for post-incident assessment. Finally, to underpin the approach, panic button technology can capture a real-time log of activity to satisfy audit requirements and demonstrate to staff that their safety is a priority. Historically, many schools have been reluctant to invest in such technology due to common misconceptions around cost. However, since these tools are managed in the Cloud, deployment is relatively inexpensive; with the main infrastructure already built, schools are not required to pay full-scale development and implementation costs, they simply need
to tailor their escalation processes to suit local requirements and Standard Operating Procedures. Calculations show that it costs as little as a daily newspaper to protect its staff. The price of failure is far more expensive.
«The application of this kind of innovation is common place in other sectors where organisations need to safeguard staff who work alone. For example, social workers and healthcare professionals are finding that the use of such technology provides reassurance on the rare occasions they encounter hostility. » Similarly, the devices are supporting manufacturing organisations with lone workers in hazardous remote locations – helping them both protect employees and comply with Health & Safety legislation. That same legislation, with the same severe penalties for non-compliance, applies in schools. continues on page 30 u
How a simple skills audit will secure better governance Ian Armitage, chairman, SGOSS – Governors for Schools Over the last three years SGOSS - a not for profit enterprise – has placed over 2000 candidates per annum on local governing bodies (LGBs) – all of them highly motivated and skilled people who bring the energy and expertise that our schools need to support their senior leadership teams in improving the education of the next generation. We believe that the main driver of educational outcomes is the quality of the leadership throughout a school. As the appointment of the leader is the responsibility of the governors or Trustees, it follows that where governance is effective, the pupils in these schools have better life chances than where the work of boards is not pursued with energy, rigour or balance. We serve schools who recruit governors with reference to their motivation, the skills and experience and the behaviours they bring to the table. Representation is considered to be part of the skill and experience requirements. Of course before a search starts, a well run LGB will take stock of the capabilities of each member and the body as a whole and compare these with the opportunities and challenges the school faces. This work, often called “a skills audit”, defines what it wants the successful candidate to deliver with some precision. For example it might be successful experience in property management, HR or finance. I have found that much of the guidance around skills audits is poor, confusing and incomplete. Moreover the competency framework on which they are based does not look like anything used in business. Wading through a 50 point checklist, which hardly supports decision making, will sap the will to live from most busy people. How might a board improve? It starts by asking what the vital health indicators of any enterprise are. What are the determinants of success or failure? Research into business suggests we look at seven areas of skills, then experience, motivation and behaviour. I will start by looking at the skill in assessing and selecting leaders. People Nothing much can be achieved without the support of teachers and support staff. The quality of the head, the teacher and their assistants in the classroom determines outcomes and social impact. Schools are in a war for talent competing against other schools and against employers outside
education. So access to good human capital skills seems essential to help schools with their recruitment, training, development, culture, retention and organisational design.
planning, control, accounting, budgeting and forecasting and operating improvement will keep the wolf from the door and provide the financial foundation for the school to deliver.
Of particular value is a chairperson who accepts that the most important part of the job is to attend to the wellbeing of the head and contribute to establishing a positive team spirit and healthy morale. A healthy leader tends to be good leader.
Customers or Stakeholders Always close to the top of a pyramid - the customer. There are three critical groups to address, to understand, to communicate with and to serve. Students and pupils, who are in school to learn and acquire the ability and motivation to learn. Parents, who influence the behaviour of pupils and “the paymaster” -- the DFE either via regional schools commissioners (RSCs) or Ofsted. Obtaining a clear understanding of the varied needs, communicating with them and influencing them to the advantage of the school and its pupils demands balanced and disciplined marketing skills. Strategy Organisations only deliver if their goals are well chosen, they are understood by staff, customers (and suppliers), they are accepted and the interim performance measures required to manage the execution of the plans are agreed and used. A board which includes a person who has experience and skill in building plans and managing to objectives will minimise wasted time, effort and money and de-stress the organisation. Risks Every enterprise faces risks; the ones that hurt are those where we underestimate probability and/or impact. The ones we tend to ignore are what I call ‘upside risks’things can happen that are better than you expect. When this occurs, the goal is to take advantage of your good fortune. With this in mind, extensive experience of life brings most to the table and an awareness of the tools and practices that help schools manage risks closely, while minimising the time they spend on compliance, delivers value. I think that our schools must now comply with up to 60 statutory regulations - the only choice is how much resource you put into remaining compliant. We might complain, but it is the same in other industries, so the skills are out there to use. Finances The real issue is not to run out of cash. Once a school receives a financial notice to improve the probability that it will deliver on its core purpose -to educate children- becomes vanishingly small. A board member who has experience in financial 24
Successful boards look at each candidate’s motivation. What do they believe and why are they giving their time? Typically the Chair and Headteacher set the tone. They start by making sure all members know “why are we here and what we believe in?” Only then can the board progress to objectives it wishes the school to pursue. The question arises at the “audit” stage - does the board share a set of values? If so what are they? New members start by following the lead of the existing team. Behaviours If schools are to be successful we need governors to place a high degree of trust in the Head, and indeed vice versa. This does not happen overnight, people have to work at earning trust because it makes life easier and organisations work more effectively. Boards only work if individual members do their work diligently, focus on understanding and then, when appropriate, have the courage or independence of mind to make an effective constructive challenge. All candidates require testing on this aspect. Gap analysis Gap analysis is necessary once you have set out what you think the school actually needs over, say, the next three years. Is the skill set it needs well covered? Where are their gaps? What is likely to happen to our environment and do we have governors who wish to retire? From this work the recruiter can understand your school’s priorities and begin the journey of mapping your needs against the bank of candidates available to make best use of the Chair’s valuable time – there’s no point in putting forward unsuitable candidates and ultimately recruiters want to give you the person who best fits your needs.
SGOSS is a not for profit enterprise and market leader in recruiting skilled business professionals to volunteer as school governors. It aims to support the work of senior leadership teams to improve the education of the next generation and believes that the main driver of educational outcomes is the quality of the leadership throughout a school. The appointment of the leader is the responsibility of the Board of Governors or Board of Trustees. It follows that where governance is effective, the pupils in these schools have better life chances than where the work of boards is not pursued with energy, rigour or balance. Education Magazine
Why it’s time we stopped calling children ‘average’ By Shane Rae
In the 1950s the US Air Force realised that its planes’ cockpits were too small for its pilots, who had tended to put on pounds and inches in the 30 years since they were first designed for the average airman. So it commissioned a survey of 4,000 pilots to figure out what the new average was on a range of ten dimensions. When the results were in, the air force was surprised to discover that not a single pilot was average across all ten fields. Even when the dimensions were reduced to three, only 3.5% of pilots registered as average in all of them. A pilot who was short in the leg could be long in the arm and vice versa. Varying chest circumferences, torso lengths and head sizes made any concept of average redundant. And so, with the miracle of adjustable seats, headrests and belts, cockpits were redesigned to accommodate the extremes – the tallest, shortest, fattest and thinnest – rather than any ‘average’. Harvard academic Todd Rose recounts this anecdote in his book The End of Average, in which he argues that school systems often do what the USAF had tried to do: they prize standardisation and ignore variability and individuality. “Human beings don’t line up perfectly,” he says. There is no average learner. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. Even geniuses do. If teachers in England were asked what an average grade was in the new GCSEs, what would the answer be? Is it a standard pass, a 4, or a good pass, a 5? Or is it potentially any score from a 3, a near miss, to a 7, an approximate grade B in old money? The answer I guess depends on expectations and on context. But there is no doubt that thanks to the overhaul of GCSEs, and the addition of more granular grading, our understanding of
average has been officially stretched. I’d like to go further. I’d like to stretch ‘average’ so far that we only use it sparingly and recognise that as far as individual assessment is concerned it’s practically useless. I accept that when teachers want to determine how a student’s abilities compare to his or her classmates or plot them against a national benchmark, ‘average’ is a useful word. Everyone understands it. It’s convenient statistical shorthand. But it tells us nothing about a student’s problems and potential and even at the group level, as statistical shorthand, it obscures an awful lot. Consider the following: the vast majority of students – 80% according to our study of over 24,000 children – exhibit some type of verbal, quantitative or spatial ability bias. Even if the quarter of children at the top and the quarter at the bottom of the ability range are excluded, the remaining 50% who lie in the ‘broad middle’ show distinct differences.
Three-fifths of these ‘broad middle’ children have a measurable propensity for or deficit in verbal, quantitative or spatial abilities (spatially able children think in pictures first before converting them into words). This means that although they might be regarded as solidly average by a school, they have very different learning strengths and areas for development.
This has a significant impact on outcomes at GCSE. Among the half of students in the middle of the ability range, the chances of getting a B or above in English at GCSE ranged from one in ten to seven in ten in 2016, depending on their verbal ability bias. This is because, according to our analysis, only 2% of students who were weaker verbally gained an A or A* at English GCSE compared to 33% who were more verbally able. Similarly, only 9% of those ‘average’ students with weak verbal skills achieved a B at GCSE English, compared to 38% of those with stronger verbal reasoning abilities. At the other end of the scale, over half (53%) of students who were verbally weaker failed to gain a standard pass (or a 4 in new money) at GCSE English in 2016 compared to less than one in ten (8%) who were verbally stronger. Remember this is the ‘broad middle’ of students we are talking about, not those at the top or bottom of the ability range. If significant numbers of ‘average’ students achieved so disparately last year at GCSE, what use is the word within teaching and learning? If anything it is a distractor. It won’t help teachers identify struggling students or those who with a bit more support could really improve. Let’s look at the issue from the student’s perspective. What does the word ‘average’ do for them? Does it inspire? Does it instil confidence? Does it encourage? Educational psychologist Poppy Ionides thinks that “the notion of average doesn’t elicit the awe and wonder of high scores or the concern often associated with low ones, but scores falling in the middle of the range deserve equal examination to those at the continues overleaf u
Why it’s time we stopped calling children ‘average’ continued extremes. After all, each average score is part of a unique life story for which the future is all to play”. There is a reason parents refrain from calling their children ‘average’. “Our daughter is so average,” is not a boast often encountered at the school gates. It doesn’t do justice to the array of abilities, talents and problems that make up any individual. ‘Average’ blurs distinctions; it masks personalities.
“Schools shouldn’t let those three syllables define so many students. It suggests that any problem cannot be serious enough to worry about and that any potential is too feeble to shine. That’s not fair and it’s not smart.” At a time when new GCSE grades have stretched the ‘middle’, when rigid setting has been called into question by new research from the Institute of Education, isn’t it time that we accepted that every child is basically in a set of one? We need a more fluid approach to assessment and we shouldn’t put teachers in the invidious position of making broad judgements based on crude data. We should start by refusing to call any child ‘average’.
Shane Rae is Head of Publishing at GL Assessment. A copy of the ‘Lost Middle’ report is available as a free download from www.gl-assessment. co.uk/lostmiddle
The state of Religious Education needs to be improved Imran Mogra, senior lecturer in Religious Education at Birmingham City University, shares his views on the recent news of schools breaking the law on religious education. A new report by the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE) and Religious Education Council for England and Wales, based on Freedom of Information Data gathered by the Department for Education in 2015, has found that more than a quarter of secondary schools in the UK are not teaching their pupils any religious education (RE). The report makes a clear case to strengthen the importance and provisions of learning and teaching the subject in contemporary British society across all schools. The report, based on a survey of 790 schools, found that 25% of all schools surveyed said a weekly RE lesson is not available. 28% of secondary schools were struggling to make RE provisions. The situation seems poorer in academies and free schools, which make up the majority of secondary schools, where more than a third (34%) were not offering RE to 11 to 13 year-olds and nearly half (44%) were not offering it to 14 to 16 year-olds. Such a low level of RE is found in only a third of schools where a locally agreed syllabus applies and in 10% of schools with a religious character. 4% of schools with a religious character do not offer a weekly lesson. Legally, all state schools in the United Kingdom are legally required to teach RE to their learners at all Key Stages, though parents continue to have the right to withdraw their children from RE. Faith schools are permitted to teach their own form of RE. Schools controlled by local authorities must follow their local RE syllabus. Academies and free schools should also teach RE which can be of their own kind, which is determined as part of their funding agreement. These figures are surprising considering the fact that the teaching of RE has been statutory for a very long time. Having said this, it is important to recognise that the majority of schools do offer RE to their children, albeit of varied quality, and this is a welcome and positive situation to be in.
“In a diverse society like Britain, it is crucial that there is an opportunity for children to learn RE so that they can know and understand what influences the beliefs and practices of their peers and those in the wider community. The data provides evidence to challenge some assumptions about the provision of RE in schools with a religious character.” It is plausible that pressures from other subjects, recruitment difficulties, utilisation of non-specialists, a change of priorities and the exclusion of RE from the English Baccalaureate might be affecting the situation. Given that there are reports suggesting an increase in the level of hate crimes based on religion in the form of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in particular, it is imperative that the state of RE is improved. Perhaps, the forthcoming Interim Report on religious education by the Commission on RE will provide an added impetus. There is a need for a clear statement to be made by those in authority that it is unacceptable for a school not to provide RE. For those involved in the training of future teachers it is important to provide future teachers the opportunity to learn about RE to observe RE being taught, to teach RE in schools and, most importantly, to think about the value of the subject and the consequence of not teaching it. References http://religiouseducationcouncil.org. uk/media/file/State_of_the_Nation_ Report_2017.pdf
PET-Xi’s managing director Fleur Sexton –Businesswoman of the Year
Fleur Sexton, a former teacher, has been named Businesswoman of the Year 2017. The awards panel praised her not only for her success in building a nationwide company with clear commercial and social aims, but also as a shining example to other women of how to never give up when the going gets tough. Fleur Sexton co-founded PET-Xi Training in 1995 from a spare bedroom in her family home in Coventry and has turned it into a UK-wide business delivering intensive, immersive, motivational and inspirational learning programmes to thousands of schools and businesses.
Now an increasingly significant player in the sector, it lists making a positive impact on the academic progress of more than 100,000 youngsters from Northumberland to Cornwall amongst an impressive range of company activities. Yet the going has not always been smooth. When a change in government policy threatened to render some of her company’s flagship products obsolete overnight, Fleur managed to design and write a series of new GCSE revision programmes in time to prevent her company lurching into trouble, despite the fact that she was still recovering from childbirth and looking after a new-born baby. Fleur and her husband also risked their family house to finance the business. This tenacity, drive, and ability to keep focused on the big picture has been instrumental not only in carrying the business to success, but also in creating a family atmosphere among its 500 full and part-time staff where much emphasis is placed on never giving up on any learner. Fleur is also involved in fundraising for The Trussell Trust food banks across the UK; supports Coventry’s St. Basil’s centre for homeless young people; backs the Coventry Blaze ice-hockey team; and also mentors groups of young children at two specialist schools in Coventry. A mother-of-three, she also established the PET-Xi Foundation in 2014 to provide support
to young people to break down barriers and enable their progression - an effort which has offered multiple forms of support from buying clothes for job interviews to funding a prosthetic leg for a young girl. Currently the company is heavily involved in supporting Coventry’s bid to be the UK City of Culture 2021. “I am absolutely delighted to have won this award,” said Fleur. “I will do absolutely everything I can to inspire and encourage women to break barriers in their way”. Judy Groves, director of the Businesswoman of the Year Award, said: “Fleur Sexton is an inspiration to the thousands of women out there with business ideas they dream of turning into a living, breathing company. “She has shown that with faith, courage, perseverance and a lot of hard work, everybody has the chance to build a better future for themselves, their families, and the wider community.” “Having built up a national business while also acting as a mentor to countless young people, Fleur Sexton is fully deserving of being our 35th award winner.” Fleur Sexton is a former teacher and now managing director of Coventry-based PETXi a leading providers of motivational and inspirational results-based educational training programmes for young people.
Asbestos in schools: the case for reassurance air monitoring By Charles Pickles
work to walls or the movement of furniture, as well as vandalism, accidental damage or boisterous behaviour have all been mentioned as potentially causing damage to building materials and so increasing the health risks associated with the release of fibres. Rigorous systems of asbestos management are therefore needed to prevent teachers and children disturbing any ACMs that are accessible to them. This involves the careful monitoring, inspection and management of education buildings at all times. As part of this, an assessment of the risk associated with each identified occurrence of asbestos is required. Effective risk management Against a background of growing public concern over the potential harmful effects of asbestos in schools, the periodic monitoring of workplace air samples using modern analytical techniques is now much more relevant and realistic than simply monitoring conditions after building repairs or asbestos removal work. In particular, a formal programme of reassurance air monitoring using powerful scanning electron microscopy (SEM) can more effectively measure occupational exposure concentrations for asbestos fibres than other techniques.
Charles Pickles is Chief Technical Officer at Lucion Services and is directly responsible for the technical, administration and support aspects of the specialist hazard management business, including Environmental specialist services for the surveying, identification and analysis of asbestos containing materials. In his role as Chief Technical Officer, Charles is directly responsible for managing technical operations. Even though asbestos has been banned in construction materials since late 1999, and a huge amount removed from buildings over the years, there are still many school and education buildings where the decision has been made to leave it in situ and manage its presence. This choice to manage asbestos containing materials (ACMs) may not necessarily be a bad one as asbestos in good condition can be safe as long as its presence is known about and the material is maintained. However, for those responsible for schools where asbestos is known to be present, the crucial question is how it can be dealt with safely? Responsibilities To safeguard teachers and children there is strict health and safety legislation in place that is aimed at reducing the risks to health that asbestos poses. In particular, the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, Regulation 4.8, (Duty to Manage) Asbestos, states that a determination of the risk from any asbestos known to be present is made. Moreover,
“the regulation is designed to make sure anyone who carries out any work in nondomestic premises and any occupants of the premises are not exposed to asbestos from ACMs that may be present”. This responsibility falls to the duty holder, which can be the local authority, school governors or organisation that has clear responsibility for the school and its premises. The duty holder is required to assess and manage the risks from asbestos to employees, children and others, and must ensure that anyone who is likely to work on, or disturb, asbestos is provided with information about its location and condition. Government policy considers that asbestos that remains in good condition and is unlikely to be damaged or disturbed is not a significant risk to health as long as it is properly managed. Only when ACMs are disturbed or damaged is the risk of exposure increased through the release of airborne fibres. The most common way that ACMs might be disturbed is during maintenance, repair or building works. In addition, in schools, some classroom activities such as attaching 28
For example, there have been a number of reported cases in schools where air sampling has identified situations where asbestos fibres were being released into rooms. However, without regular monitoring it is impossible to tell for how many years this may have been taking place unnoticed. In such situations the impact of any release of fibres from classroom cupboards, slamming doors, damage to walls and columns or from heaters might only be properly identified by periodic air sampling. In particular a formal programme of reassurance air monitoring using powerful scanning electron microscopy (SEM) can more effectively measure occupational exposure concentrations for asbestos in workplace premises than other analysis techniques. SEM enables asbestos in air to be quantified to very low levels, typically achieving lower limits of detection to 0.0005 fibres/ cm3 and below, compared to the 0.01 fibres/ cm3 capability of standard phase contrast microscopy (PCM). SEM can also distinguish between different asbestos fibre types and other non-organic fibres. Current analysis using standard PCM has a limit of detection that is wholly unsuitable for risk assessment in an occupied environment and is only really valid for asbestos removal monitoring. In such circumstances, SEM’s ability to more accurately determine whether asbestos fibres are present means it can better identify the level of any risk that might be present – and what remedial actions are required. Education Magazine
Used in this way, air monitoring using SEM enables actual and direct asbestos risk measurements to be made in specific building locations. This is turn can be used to prioritise risk, target spending on maintenance works and provide reassurance that those present in the building are not being exposed to harmful fibre levels. A future defence This is particularly important in bolstering any defence against a potential future legal claim where the duty holder will need to demonstrate that the best available practicable technique was used to enable a suitable and sufficient risk assessment to be made. With asbestos fibres there is usually a time interval of decades after any exposure before the onset of disease. For the person
responsible in law for the provision of a safe working environment, the prospects of civil litigation arising at some time in the future from a very small contribution to the asbestos exposure of someone who subsequently develops mesothelioma should not be overlooked. As a result, if potential liabilities are to be avoided or defended, it will often be necessary to demonstrate that airborne asbestos concentrations do or did not significantly exceed background levels. To be relevant the sampling needs to coincide with suitable and representative site activities and conditions â€“ however, the impact of false positives associated with the inclusion in samples of non-asbestos fibres can be considerable.
In such circumstances, PCM will give only a total fibre concentration rather than an asbestos fibre concentration, so the ability of SEM to discriminate between asbestos and non-asbestos fibres can provide a true reading. In this way, periodic air sampling and analysis in older educational buildings utilising powerful SEM can ratify the effectiveness of existing asbestos management techniques and prove that asbestos fibres levels are not elevated - providing vital reassurance that teachers and children are not being exposed to potentially harmful asbestos fibre levels. Lucion has produced a special white paper on asbestos in schools and reassurance monitoring using SEM. It is available at http://www.lucionservices.com/ asbestosinschools/
New chapter for Birmin
More protection is needed for pupils and teachers after calls for schools to deploy lockdown plans continued
A sports school in Birmingham has become an academy as it begins a new chapter in its 98year history. Kingsbury School and Sports College has become Erdington Academy after it last month joined Fairfax Multi Academy Trust. At a special opening ceremony to celebrate the milestone moment, Erdington MP Jack Dromey unveiled a plaque while pupils released 40 balloons into the air – one balloon being released by a pupil from each tutor group in the Academy.
It’s worrying that a high number of educational institutions still use the school bell as an alert mechanism. This does nothing to help third parties locate an incident, while the sudden sound of an alarm can send confusion and potential panic amongst the school. Similarly, many schools believe that conventional mobile phones provide an effective solution. This assumes that in the heat of a tense situation, a colleague has the time and opportunity to make an emergency call. But who do they call? And what happens if no-one answers? In either scenario, staff can be horribly exposed.
Mr Dromey said: “It’s an honour and a privilege to celebrate a great school being reborn. We are also celebrating the triumph of excellence over mediocrity. Youngsters only have one start in life and we have the sacred duty to ensure they get the best start. This was a school that was failing, but now the right and necessary steps have been taken to turn it around. I now see pupils at Erdington Academy who are bright-eyed and planning for a future thanks to their new confidence that their school is a success. My praise to the work of Head of Academy Mark Rhatigan whose efforts have seen this school grow from strength to strength. What he has achieved means that the school’s pupils can look forward to the best opportunities in life, which I thank him for on behalf of all the people of Erdington.”
As the Department for Education states, “schools have a legal responsibility to ensure staff and pupils are safe” but from recent reports, whilst schools do have a level of safety plans in place, they don’t appear to be going as in depth as they need to in terms of reviewing their processes and updating their plans. Moreover, they’re not taking advantage of new technology innovation that is available to support them in their on going efforts to protect staff and students. Klaus Allion, Managing Director at ANT Telecom
The school first opened in 1918 as Ryland Road Council Secondary School and moved
to its existing site in Kingsbury Road, Erdington, in 1923. Its former names also include Erdington Girls County Grammar School and Erdington Council Secondary School. Mark Rhatigan, Head of Academy, was appointed in February 2015 and has been instrumental in seeing the school being removed from special measures by education watchdog Ofsted in November 2015. Ofsted inspectors conducted a monitoring visit in April 2016 and found the school was on course to be rated ‘Good’ after having made rapid progress and improvement. Mr Rhatigan said: “We were pleased so many people joined us to show their support and help us celebrate as we marked this milestone occasion, which is an exciting step in our journey of transformation. Our school is steeped in history and our new name reflects our proud heritage.We are thrilled to join Fairfax Multi Academy Trust, which shares our passion for encouraging the development of traditional values in our students - teaching them about manners, courtesy and respect. We believe these values will ensure our students grow into confident, responsible citizens who have an understanding of the world around them and will encourage them to make a positive contribution to the school, as well as their local communities, as we prepare them for life in modern Britain.”
Product showcase Crown Trade takes redecoration to the next degree
Crown Trade products are providing the University of East London with a trusted route to transform student accommodation for the new academic year under a comprehensive redecoration programme. Crown Trade Steracryl Mould Inhibiting Matt Paint, Crown Trade Clean Extreme Scrubbable Matt and Crown Trade Fastflow Quick Dry Gloss are all being applied as part of the refurbishment of 57 dormitories and associated kitchen areas at the university’s Docklands Campus. Consisting of an individual bedroom and private bathroom, the dormitories - part of the Redbridge Student Accommodation - are in the transition from term time to summer school programmes. A video about the project is available to view at https://youtu.be/f8FTXAbZpZQ For more information on Crown Trade’s high performance, quality products please contact the Crown Trade Specification Team by calling 0330 0240310, email email@example.com or visit the website at www.crowntrade.co.uk
Armstrong laundry equipment supplied to Derbyshire Special School The Pegasus School in Caldwell, Derbyshire, run by the Senad Group, is an independent residential school for young people ages eight to 19 years with severe learning disabilities, autism and associated challenging behaviour. The school is part of the SENAD Group of specialist schools, adult care homes and community based support services. The main laundry facilities handle the young people’s personal clothing, bedding and towels and operate seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. The main laundry also handles all the medical/control wash needs for the school. In the autumn of 2015 the school purchased two new 11kg Primus washers, supplied by Armstrong Commercial Laundry Systems and installed by Armstrong dealer, Claridge Electricals. For further information contact Claridge Electricals Tel: 01543 373207 Website: http://www.claridgeelectricals.co.uk
ngham Sports Academy Head Girl Andie Milliken and Head Boy Ramkel Wakow also gave speeches, while local dignitaries, religious leaders and education chiefs also attended the ceremony. Former pupil Nellie Murphy also attended the celebrations and enjoyed a trip down memory lane as she toured the school where she was a pupil from 1936 up until 1939, which is when she had to leave after the school was forced to close temporarily due to World War Two. “I have such wonderful memories of the school and I still feel very attached to it,” said the 92-year-old, of Erdington. “It’s a joy to come back and meet its current pupils, who are so warm, polite and welcoming.” Fairfax Multi Academy Trust, which also runs Fairfax Academy in Sutton Coldfield and Bournville School in Bournville, has been providing school-toschool support to help transform Erdington Academy since February 2015 after being asked
for assistance by Birmingham City Council. The Trust is growing a reputation for helping struggling schools and is also currently providing school-to-school support to Smith’s Wood Sports College in Smith’s Wood. Andy Bird, CEO of Fairfax Multi Academy Trust, said: “We are delighted that Erdington Academy has joined our growing family of schools as we continue to play a pivotal role in its transformation. “The children of Birmingham deserve an outstanding education and we feel it is our moral duty to assist schools and help them to provide the best opportunities in life. We look forward to watching Erdington Academy as it continues to improve and develop, delivering a rich curriculum which will bring to life our five core values – excellence, dedication, ambition, integrity, and tradition.”
Visit SPATEX 2018 to ensure your pool makes the grade Academic rigor is doubtless top of most parents’ wish lists when it comes to choosing a school but good sports facilities come a very close second. A sparkling, inviting swimming pool is one of the most obvious manifestations of a school’s commitment to the non-academic curriculum.
giving all the latest health and safety guidance as well as topics such as how to prevent outbreaks of Cryptosporidium and Legionnaires’ disease. All attendees receive CPD points and certificates of attendance.
via a simple PLC controller. Typically, for every unit of power that a Calorex unit consumes, it converts three times this amount to useable heat. Compared to traditional heat and ventilation energy, cost savings of over 60% are achievable while corresponding C02 emissions are dramatically reduced by up to 70%.
Even in hard economic times, swimming pools are regarded if not as vital, then certainly a desirable ingredient, to the sports mix and the life of the school. Which is why it is essential that schools keep abreast of all the latest developments in wet leisure, many of which can save significant amounts of money. The maintenance of swimming pools is considered to be one of the most costly and complex items in a school’s budget yet there are many ways of minimising these outgoings to more manageable levels. Good housekeeping starts with attendance at the UK’s only dedicated water leisure Exhibition, SPATEX 2018, held at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena Tuesday January 30th to Thursday February 1st. With over a hundred exhibitors from the UK and abroad, every aspect of wet leisure is covered from pools, enclosures, heat retention covers, spas, safety flooring, chemical dosing systems, heating and ventilation and the latest in energy efficient products. SPATEX offers a fantastic free-to-attend double seminar and workshop programme on all three days
Kingham Hill School recently upgraded its swimming pool environmental control system to a Calorex Delta 14.
Efficient heating and ventilation is one area where vast amounts of money can be saved, as Kingham Hill School in Oxfordshire recently found out thanks to a brand new Calorex Delta swimming pool environmental control system. Scott Birnie, Head of Hospitality & Leisure at Kingham Hill School explains: “The 25m pool’s previous environmental control unit had done a sterling job, but after 15 years of continuous service it had pretty much reached the end of its life and was increasingly needing repairs and maintenance.” A Calorex Delta was installed to control the environment, pool water and air temperature
Attendance is FREE at SPATEX 2018 Tuesday, January 30th to Thursday, February 1st at the Ericsson Exhibition Hall, Ricoh Arena, Coventry - easy-toget-to, just minutes off the M6 and 2,000 free on-site car parking spaces. For further information, visit www.spatex. co.uk or contact Michele or Helen in the SPATEX office T: 01264 358558, helen@ spatex.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org
Published on Dec 4, 2017